Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Fridays Rugby News sees The best rugby no one’s talking about, news from the semi-finals and, Japan the real winner



The NRC Final Is Here

The NRC was always on a hiding to nothing this year with the Rugby World cup scheduled at the same time. It’s a pity because this year’s competition has been the best yet. It all culminates this weekend with the Vikings heading over to Perth to take on the Force.

Canberra Vikings Head Coach Nick Scrivener has made one change to the starting XV for the National Rugby Championship Grand Final against Western Force in Perth this weekend with winger Mack Hansen back in the team.

Hansen comes into the line-up for the injured Toni Pulu, who tweaked a hamstring in training.

Meanwhile over in the west, explosive backrower Brynard Stander will make a return to the starting XV as the Western Force’s only change for Saturday’s NRC Grand Final against the Canberra Vikings.

Last season’s Best and Fairest, Stander will join the run-on side for the first team in three weeks having fully recovered from a knee injury. Nicknamed the ‘Bull’, he is sure to make his presence felt early in the match.

“Brynard came off the bench last week and contributed really well and having his experience and quality coming back into the starting side is of huge benefit,” Coach Tim Sampson said.


Force to face Vikings: 1. Harrison Lloyd, 2. Heath Tessmann, 3. Tom Sheminant, 4. Fergus Lee-Warner, 5. Jeremy Thrush, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Carlo Tizzano, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Issak Fines, 10. Andrew Deegan, 11. Jonah Placid, 12. Nick Jooste, 13. Pama Fou, 14. Byron Ralston, 15. Jack McGregor. Reserves: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Cameron Orr, 18. Dom Hardman, 19. Ben Grant, 20. Tevin Ferris, 21. Rory O’Sullivan, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 23. Jake Strachan.

Vikings to face Force: 1. Bo Abra, 2. Lachlan Lonergan, 3. Angus Wagner, 4. Blake Enever, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Pete Samu, 7. Will Miller, 8. Angus Allen, 9. Ryan Lonergan, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Mack Hansen, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Tom Wright, 15. Tom Banks. Reserves: 16. TP Luteru, 17. Fred Kaihea, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Will Sankey, 20. Luke Gersekowski, 21. Joe Powell, 22. Bayley Kuenzle, 23. Lincoln Smith.

Saturday October 26 3:00pm AEDT, UWA Sports Park


World Cup Semi’s England v New Zealand

All Blacks post match press conference – Steve Hansen and Kieran Read

Yes, England is playing New Zealand this weekend and the usual Eddie Jones inspired entertainment is in full swing. We had allegations of spying, advice for Journalists, stories of the terrible pressure the All Blacks must be feeling, etc, etc etc…

Which of course, makes New Zealand respond. And I guess gets New Zealand a little distracted from what they are supposed to be doing which I guess was the reason for the stories in the first place.

Kieran Reed had his go at responding. 

“Pressure is something as All Blacks we constantly live with,” Read told Stuff at a crowded squad naming press conference in Tokyo. “It’s been there from the start. When you come into this side there’s internal pressure on yourself as a player to perform, let alone what’s going on outside.

“For us a big game is a big game. No matter where it is in the world and who we’re playing, the expectation is to play well.

“But the semifinal (of a World Cup) is different. You can’t expect that same preparation you’ve used before to work in a game like this. We can’t just roll into this one. The English are going to be right on edge and we need to match that and be even more hungry for it.”

And so did Steve Hanson

“Eddie and I both know that all is fair in love and war. There is nothing better in war than throwing out a line. You guys [journalists] can’t resist. 

“He talked about it being somebody else, it was probably the same bloke who videoed us when we were there, but everyone has jumped on it and he’s been successful in getting the clickbait.”

One journalist attempted to say Jones had made up New Zealand spying on England, but Hansen was having none of it.

“He didn’t make anything up. He was very particular about what he said, that someone had filmed their training. He said it could have been a supporter. He didn’t say New Zealand did. You guys did. It’s quite clever.”

“It’s not mind games. We are not buying into it. It has allowed us to have a good laugh.”

One thing is certain, Test match week is always more interesting when Eddie Jones is involved.


South Africa v Wales

Photo by Tom Offer

The big news coming into this game is injury ruling out Cheslin Kolbe. The pint-sized winger has had an incredible world cup and will be sorely missed. But I don’t think that will change the result.

The Springboks’ star wing suffered the injury against Pool B opponents Canada and then aggravated it during the quarter-final victory over Japan four days ago.

He has been replaced by Sbu Nkosi as a solitary change to the starting line-up that accounted for Japan.

“It’s disappointing not to have Cheslin available as he has been brilliant for us since we first called him up last year,” Springboks rugby director Rassie Erasmus said. “But we really rate Sbu, and he will slot straight in.

“I am as excited to see what he can do as I would be if ‘Chessie’ were playing. Sbu has been very close to selection as it is.”

Meanwhile, Wales seem less concerned with the loss of backrower Josh Navidi calling up winger Owen Lane to replace him.

This from the Guardian.

Such is the strength in depth that Wales have developed since the last World Cup, when they were eliminated by a late South Africa try in the quarter-final, their opponents in Sunday’s semi-final, that they are sending for a back to replace the back rower Josh Navidi who suffered a tournament ending hamstring strain against France on the weekend.

Wales have ample cover for Navidi, a flanker who has established himself at No 8 in the World Cup, but their centres Jonathan Davies and Hadleigh Parkes are carrying injuries. Gatland has therefore decided to call up the Cardiff Blues wing Owen Lane who was part of Wales’ pre-tournament training squad. The 21-year-old, who scored a try on his Test debut in August’s warm-up defeat to Ireland in Cardiff, is also comfortable at centre.


Japan The Real Winner

So Japan have been knocked out of this World Cup but that doesn’t mean they weren’t winners. They’ve won the heart of a nation with their performances over the last few weeks. They scream ‘Leitch’ every time their captain touches the ball. They cheer hysterically when their side scores a try.

Japan has been so enamoured with the World Cup that they turn up for games where their team isn’t playing in full kit to support… anyone. Just for the love of the game.

And things like this happen.

The shrine in Marunouchi is a little different to the 1,500 or so others in Tokyo. It has the same trappings, an altar, a bell, paper lanterns and a coil of twisted rope, but it sits on a patch of bright green AstroTurf, and its torii, the distinctive red entry gate, is in the unmistakable shape of a set of goal posts. They even have a wrap of foam padding. There’s a bilingual sign outside inviting you to stop and “pray for the happiness of all people who love rugby”, and a little how‑to guide for all of us who don’t know how to do it. Ring the bell. Bow twice. Clap twice. Bow again.

And this.

It was busy on the Monday morning after Japan were knocked out. I sat on the bench opposite and watched a stream of people, little kids, middle-aged men, elderly ladies, go through the ritual. It sounds solemn, but it wasn’t. Everyone was smiling, and posing for photos. Then an old man asked if he could join me and we sat there together in silence. Until finally he started to laugh, a happy, high-pitched giggle that swirled like birdsong. He stopped to snort fresh breath, slapped one hand on his slacks, used the other to dry his eye, then started up all over again.

“But,” he said, “but,” barely able to get the words out his mouth, “but Japan lost!”

He didn’t mean it scornfully. There wasn’t a hint of admonishment in it. He was just delighted by everyone else’s newfound enthusiasm for a sport they had never really cared for before. They were almost as merry about it as he was. No one was crying, scowling, or scolding the players or calling for the coaches to be sacked, there weren’t any furious inquisitions in the papers or on the radio or TV shows. Instead there was a quiet, jolly pride at what the team had achieved in the past few weeks.


  • Yowie

    “…You can’t expect that same preparation you’ve used before to work in a game like this. We can’t just roll into this one….”

    Sh!t hey. Specific preparation for a specific important game. Somebody write that down on the list of “things worth trying for the next World Cup cycle”.

    • laurence king

      One day, Cheika’s reign with all it’s weirdness and spin will be just a dim memory. Maybe the first well executed team play that results in a try, could be it. As opposed to the self-inflicted butchery that has been common during his tenure

  • Missing Link

    Geez, where is everyone? Have I been sent to an alternate comments section after being downvoted into oblivion yesterday? Is this my punishment for daring to have an opinion other than what is acceptable by certain groups? hahahaha

    Everyone knows I don’t like NZ winning so much, but if there was ever a game that they need to win it’s this one. I’ll be watching the game tomorrow wearing an All Black’s jersey and enjoying the wheels falling off the chariot and the red rose wilting an dying. If the Wallabies couldn’t do it, then I’m all for our trans tasman brother’s to end England’s run.

    • Yowie

      Friday’s news has only been up for a few minutes, but I quite like your persecution theory. Come to think of it, I got a down-vote on something this week, so perhaps this is the purgatory comments section.

      • AllyOz

        Gees I only just realised you can down vote. I thought that was just for taking off up votes. Prepare to get a lot more Yowie you cheeky little sh$t

        • Dud Roodt

          It was a revelation to me that people actually used the downvote button!

          Even in the heady days of the Israel Folau saga I never dared even hover over the down arrow lest I be seen to be a downvoter.

        • Yowie

          Yeah, it’s one thing for someone to come across like ranting zealot in the Folau debate, but to be a Downvoter is beyond the pale. (or seems like a “dog act” in the League vernacular)

        • Custard Taht

          Downvoting is the equivalent of a team referring a tackle to the voting commissioner…..two faced.

        • Ads

          to “McKee”. verb.

        • Missing Link

          Even the flood of Scottish fans that came in here after they were eliminated in 2015 didn’t downvote us!! sure they argued with us, but a scotsman would never stoop so low

        • John Tynan

          Like a head coaches rant, it is best used sparingly and not every day.
          I have resorted to it at most 3 times, mostly not for someone’s rugby opinion, but from memory because they were just being awful humans.

        • Yowie

          But there are more than three New South Welsh people who post in here…

        • John Tynan


        • Hoss

          Just wanted to see if it works

        • Yowie
        • Brumby Runner

          Looks like it works anonymously Hoss.

        • Yowie

          Well, nobody would abuse the anonymity of the internet to be awful to another person…

        • Missing Link

          I wont hold it against you :)

        • John Tynan

          Did I give you one? Wasn’t yesterday at least.
          Went back to have a look at what you said yesterday – a good example of why GAGR is the only place I actually read internet comment forums, so I hope it (reaction) doesn’t repeat frequently!

        • Nutta

          Down Voting – Right up there with being called a “Whisperer” in my book (someone who doesn’t return the shout). As a wee lad growing up in country hotels I well recall that to call out someone as a “Whisperer” was a sure-fire way to start punches and bar-stools flying…

        • Yowie

          I never knew John Farnham was such a tight bastard.

        • Nah, The Whispering Jack was what you could end up with from frequenting those country hotels…

        • Nutta
        • Nutta

          Nah, just got himself mixed up with the Mentals – Too Many Times…

      • laurence king

        Somebody has possibly just made some dislexic mistake. Some of us are getting pas tit

        • Yowie

          Don’t make jokes about dyslexia or there will be complaints to the DNA*

          (*National Dyslexic Association)

        • laurence king


        • Missing Link

          oldy but a goody…

          a dyslexic bank robber goes into a bank and says “freeze mother stickers, this is a fuck up”

        • laurence king

          Never heard it before, lol

        • It is a long way from the mainland

        • laurence king

          Must be

        • John Tynan

          (See below), jokes about Tassie also generally tend to be complaints about DNA.

        • !!

        • laurence king

          Just because we have two heads, and one is stuck up our arse, there is no need to be insulting!

        • Dud Roodt

          I hate when that happens to my tits

        • laurence king

          Know the problem

    • eh bro

      • Missing Link


    • donktec

      i don’t have an all blacks jersey, might pull out a black t-shirt…
      meanwhile go Boks! there, i’ve said it out loud.

      • Missing Link

        singlet will do bro aye

      • Custard Taht

        Painting your face black with kiwi shoe polish is also acceptable.

        • John Tynan

          And find the nearest uni bar to watch it in!

        • Mica

          Nah – pub closest to a building site.
          Especially if scaffolding is going up.

        • Yowie

          How to tell when you’ve been spotted:-
          “Hey cuz, chuck out thus shut.”

        • Yowie

          haha, yeah. Don’t forget to do a Haka while showing your support.

        • Timbo

          Only if you have a silver fern on your cheek too. Any cheek

        • Who?

          Just don’t stand for political office in Canada afterwards. Or sing in front of Harry Connick Jr.

        • laurence king

          I can understand the cultural sensitivities over there, but we don’t think the same over here

        • donktec

          i think the important part is the brand of shoe polish, your honor

        • Custard Taht

          Absolutely, Kiwi Shoe polish gives you a natural, authentic shine and tone.

        • Human

          Not in Canada.

        • Custard Taht

          He used the wrong brand. If he had used Desert Sands or Sahara shoe polish, he would have been sweet as.

    • Ads

      I’m struggling to care ML now we are out.
      For me, it’s now a choice between the smug and sanctimonious kiwis, the smug Gatland, the annoying Steady Eddy leading the white goods, and the Saffas.

      Go Saffas.

    • David Creagh

      There is a part of me (a very small part) that wants the poms to win. I just can’t stand the thought of the All Blacks winning it again.

      Maybe I will cheer for the Boks just so that we can still have a Southern Hemisphere win.

      • Yowie

        Your knob wants the Poms to win?

        • John Tynan


          Love it!

        • Kiwi rugby lover


    • Crescent

      It’s a battle. Can’t stand the smugness of the English press in particular, but feel the All Blacks have had their time in the sun and someone needs to knock them over for this tournament. Have to look to South Africa for that forlorn hope – but feel the All Blacks have the game plan, intelligence and fitness to take home three consecutive cups. That said, anything can happen, and I will be glued to the coverage for the rest of the tournament.

      • muppet

        “anything can happen” (read: High Tackle Assessment Framework)

        • Custard Taht

          Never heard of it.

        • Yowie

          Well, if you were a professional player you would be expected to know it chapter and verse.

      • adastra32

        They build them up and then knock them down. That’s what the media do. Don’t mistake all that horse manure for what real rugby fans think. To sum the latter up for most, we are more in hope than expectation of a win.

        • Crescent

          Yep, which is why I isolated my comment to the English press. Ours are just as bad, and are an equally poor reflection of the real rugby fan.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’m with you mate

    • Who?

      Hey mate, just thought I should try to avoid you from the shock of not having downvotes. :-P
      With you on this semi – I want England to be SMASHED.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        As an expat, I’m always surrounded by Atom Bombs, who are insufferable when they win. Kiwis and Aussies tend to stick together more because there are fewer of us, and none of us can stand the Atoms. Indeed, it comes down to hemispheres. ABs and Saffers all the way!

  • AllyOz

    “Until finally he started to laugh, a happy, high-pitched giggle that swirled like birdsong. He stopped to snort fresh breath, slapped one hand on his slacks, used the other to dry his eye, then started up all over again.”

    Quite magnificent writing Sully. Not what I was expecting from a rugby news report. You’ve put a little spring in my step this morning. Thanks

    • Not me mate, stolen.

      • Yowie

        Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.
        That’s my original thought on the matter.

        • onlinesideline

          so you were a half-back then ?

        • Yowie

          Nah, a crap centre, then a crap No.8

    • laurence king


  • muppet

    What odds for?:
    cards warranted = n
    cards presented = 0

  • Brendan Hume

    Should be three really good games of footy coming up. The NRC teams look strong. The AB’s look strong but I wouldn’t put it past England to have a plan to upset them. Can’t see Wales getting up over the Springboks. Congratulations Japan on hosting a really magnificent Rugby World Cup.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    If the media reports are correct, Eddie Jones has said overnight that Cheika brought pride back into Australian rugby.

    Let that sink in.

    • Yowie

      Is it a multiple-choice problem? Eg Was Eddie Jones:-
      (a) sh!tstirring in the media as usual;
      (b) damning Cheika with faint praise; or
      (c) referring to some specific occasions in the 5-years only?

    • AllyOz

      He certainly helped restore English pride – they won 6 on the trot against us.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        I believe it was 7. Sigh.

        • AllyOz

          I must be starting to repress them

        • Nutta

          Repression? Concerning the English? Nah, couldn’t be right…

    • laurence king

      Well, it is appropriate in a way. ‘Pride goeth before a fall’.

    • Custard Taht

      I heard that Eddie said Cheika brought sexy back.

    • Who?

      Given Cheika took over from Link, and Eddie’s assistant at the Brums and Wallabies was Link… Ouch.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Sully,
    The NRC final should be good. Hopefully we’ll see NSW get a bit more serious about it next year. I think it’s starting to prove itself and hopefully it’ll keep building.
    Looking forward to the ABs avenging your defeat last week. It’ll be closer this week but I’m still confident. Find out Saturday. Still picking a Boks vs AB final.
    I hope SANZAAR review the Sunwolves and keep them in. I’d also like to see Japan join the RC. I think they’ll struggle but it’ll certainly be good rugby and likely bring in the dollars.

    • laurence king

      I really like that so many young blokes are getting experience that is closer to Super Rugby standard. There are some good ones coming through

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Absolutely mate

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      Heard the NRC is on its last wheels, they want to change it to make it a club competition. Just when it is working NSW has to mess it up again.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Really? I hope that doesn’t happen. Be almost worth doing it without NSW if they’re pushing that

        • More or less have been anyway, wouldnt really make any difference.

          Hope it not the case..

  • Dud Roodt

    Another interesting (in my opinion at least) insight into Cheika from someone in the know;

    • laurence king

      Thanks for that,good to know, and a genuine insight into the guy that is very positive about Cheika’s character. And also hints how MCs inability to see things differently white-anted his best intentions. Well expressed, and Turinui is certainly a gentleman.

      • Yowie

        Agreed. Shows that there are real people who care greatly – not just caricatures.
        The article also shows how an inner circle of true believers forms around such a single-minded figure.

  • Forceright

    You know, everyone’s throwing names for a new coach out there -Schmidt, Rennie, Eddie…. that’s all good in a perfect world. But where’s the money comin’ from? Cheika was on a bloody good wicket and emptied a good bit of the pot, Scummy Clyne & his mates have wiped millions off on keeping the Rebels alive along with their VIP Junkets, the Folau saga is gonna cost $$$$$? Still to play out, And who in their right mind would even want to touch this pack of i competent prats called RA in « how not to run a company 101? »

    • Neil Pocock

      Well they would have a very very good selection of quality players to run with…… but yes that’s about it atm!

  • Kiwi rugby lover


    • Steve

      Bad luck KRL – lost to the better team on the day, ABs didn’t have an answer to the super-aggressive defence of the poms.

      Gotta give it to Eddie Jones, he’s a devious little bastard

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Absolutely mate. England well deserved the win they were all over us


Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

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