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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Welcome to the last rugby news of 2019.

Fridays Rugby News sees Women named for Oceania Sevens, Fans reviewing RWC2019, Cheika reviewed and, the Beast retires.



Squad Named For Oceania Sevens

Sydney Sevens 2017 Murphy to Cherry v Canada

1. Shannon Parry (c), University of Sydney, QLD
2. Faith Nathan, University of Technology Sydney, NSW
3. Sariah Paki, University of Technology Sydney, NSW
4. Cassandra Staples, University of Queensland, NSW
5. Hagiga Mosby, University of Queensland, QLD
6. Georgia Hannaway, University of Queensland, QLD
7. Rachel Crothers, University of Canberra, ACT
8. Madison Ashby, University of Technology Sydney, NSW
9. Lauren Brown, Bond University, QLD
10. Demi Hayes, Griffith University, QLD
11. Rhiannon Byers, University of New England, NSW
12. Mahalia Murphy, University of Adelaide, NSW

The Aussie Sevens women are off to Suva in Fiji this weekend for the Oceania Sevens Championship.

Joining them is a string of next-generation players including Rachel Crothers, Hagiga Mosby and Madison Ashby.

Australia Women are the defending champions having defeated New Zealand last year in the Final of the Oceania Sevens.

Due to the Olympic qualifiers, Australia will play in a separate competition team to the teams who are in the hunt for Olympic qualification but will meet Canada and New Zealand as the Aussies’ fixtures.

Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens Head Coach, John Manenti said: “We’ve been building well into our season over the last few weeks and the Oceania Sevens gives us a great opportunity to continue to do so.

“This tournament is tough, and we know just how hard teams will be coming at us this year.

“It’s fantastic for Demi (Hayes) to be back in the fold, she’s been working very hard to make sure she is in the best physical condition and she’s hungry for game time which is great for the group.”

The Oceania Sevens is the last major pre-season tournament before round two of the HSBC Women’s Sevens World Series in Dubai. Australia finished round one of the series in second place.

Fans Review RWC2019

Rugby World Cup – William Web Ellis Trophy

There’s a great article over on the Guardian website with Fans from countries far and wide giving their opinions on how their team went in the big show. Here are some of the highlights.


We performed as expected. We’re mid-ranked internationally and played that way. The challenge for Australia rugby is to attract, develop and retain talent through efficient and effective administration. Changing coaches is merely tinkering and will not bring long-term improvements. The game has been in decline for over a decade.

I attended 10 matches at the World Cup. Being in the crowd when Japan defeated Scotland was the most joyous part of the tournament – plus the warmth, hospitality and administrative excellence of the Japanese people. Gary W Stainton


There’s no way to fully mask the disappointment I’m feeling but, to be honest, barring that last final step, we had an amazing World Cup. We were immense across the field as we beat Australia then New Zealand convincingly. Every single one of the players deserves credit but Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler and Tom Curry were incredible throughout. Had Sinckler not gone off in the final we might have done better, but you can’t win them all. Huge congratulations to South Africa, who were deserved winners. Nat Maxfield

South Africa

The Springboks exceeded everybody’s expectations. Having lost to New Zealand early on, I didn’t expect us to win the tournament a few weeks later! But winning the final by 20 points was very convincing. Hans Van Leeuwen

New Zealand

It’s hard to feel too upset about the outcome of our tournament. The New Zealand rugby public have chilled out a bit over the last eight years. We have had such a positive, attack-minded approach under Steve Hansen that is brilliant when it works, but prone to dramatic collapses when teams play intelligent defensive rugby against us. In a way, seeing the devastation etched on the English players’ faces after their defeat in the final, it’s nicer to win the bronze final, ending the tournament on a high, than to lose the final.

I’m optimistic for the future. There is a heap of young talent, some of whom didn’t even make the squad. A revitalised Rugby Championship including Japan and Fiji will be for all teams involved, and we are at our best when South Africa are at their strongest too. Their dominance in 2007 and 2009 made us take our rugby to a new level. Now the same will have to happen. Who will get to four World Cups first? Tim Smith

Will Cheika Face The Review Panel?

The Review Committee of Bo Hanson, Nathan Sharpe and Pat Howard will quiz Michael Cheika on the flaws of the Rugby World Cup campaign if the departed coach gives them the chance.

Cheika has decided not to seek reappointment to his role as Wallabies coach but he is still employed by Rugby Australia until December 31 so his unvarnished view of where the Wallabies and their high-performance environment must improve is valuable.

The panel has the potential to shake things up because RA said “all elements of the Wallabies program and the World Cup 2019 campaign” would be under the microscope.

Coaching, planning, athletic performance, campaign preparation such as the value of the team’s pre-Cup camp in New Caledonia, team cohesion and selection processes will all be scrutinised.

Skipper Michael Hooper and the entire World Cup squad will be interviewed.

“Having these three individuals leading the process will provide a well-rounded perspective on the Wallabies program and enable us to take forward any key learnings into the major tournament preparations of all of our national teams over the next four-year cycle,” RA chief executive Raelene Castle said.

A less obvious part of the review will be assessing the changes to RA’s high-performance structure during the past 12 months.

The more integrated high-performance plan across national and Super Rugby programs can still be improved while the recruiting and retaining of Australia’s best young talent needs to step up again next year. The success of the Junior Wallabies and the Australian Schools and Under-18s team in beating Kiwi teams was a big positive that owed plenty to improvements in talent management.


Bye Bye Beast

Beast of Burden – Tendai Mtawarira

Tighthead props the world over breathed a sigh of relief today with news that Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira had announced his retirement. That’s international retirement guys, he’ll still be around to f#*k you up in Super Rugby for a while longer.

The 34-year-old Mtawarira leaves as the Springboks’ most-capped prop with 117 test appearances, and as the Boks’ third most capped player behind Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana.

Born in Zimbabwe, Mtawarira moved to South Africa as a teenager with little more than a bag of clothes, a pair of old rugby boots, and a dream of becoming a professional player.

“I have many memories to cherish forever, but winning the Rugby World Cup is the perfect ending and cherry on top,” he said.

Saturday’s 32-12 victory over England in the final in Yokohama proved to be his last international.

“The Beast is someone who never complained, always put in the hard work and simply got on with his job in his typically unassuming way,” said Mark Alexander, president of South Africa Rugby.

He played for the Springboks for more than a decade and won two southern hemisphere titles, a series against the British and Irish Lions, and the Rugby World Cup in his last test – just about everything a Springboks player can win.

He also collected three Currie Cup titles in South Africa with the Durban-based Sharks, the club he’s been at ever since turning professional.

Bismarck du Plessis, Mtawarira’s former front-row team-mate with the Sharks and the Springboks, wrote a newspaper article about Mtawarira after Saturday’s World Cup final. In it, du Plessis recalled the time when a hopeful Mtawarira arrived at a Sharks training session 15 years ago.

“He was 19 then and as far as I could see all his possessions were in a small kit bag,” du Plessis wrote. “His boots were worn and torn. For his first two years he walked to training. Then he got himself a bike.”

Mtawarira was a “big hearted warrior,” du Plessis wrote.



This is our final rugby news of the year. The GaGR news team would like to thank everyone who read our articles this year and we’re looking forward to seeing you all next year.

  • Brumby Runner

    Thanks to all the team at GAGR. Another great year for the site if not for the world of rugby in Australia.

    Looking forward to better things on the rugby front in 2020.

    • Thanks mate. We do it for the love of the game but, it’s nice to get a thank you every now and then.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Lots to be excited about. A new coach who hopefully understands rugby, a new World Cup cycle, the best young players we’ve had since at least 08/09.

    • Yes, thanks to all.

      And hopefully a happier new year, in rugby terms at least!

  • John Tynan


    Thanks to all the contributors who give me something to read and start the awesome conversations between all. As someone posted the other day, while we might not all agree, the passion is undisputed and the diversity of opinion is a great way to challenge your own thinking. And most of the time, it stays civil, which is the biggest credit to GAGR folks of all persuasions.

    • Yowie

      GAGR might be one of the most fun & pleasant corners of the internet. There is a base level of mutual respect that endures very passionate differences of opinion and plenty of p!ss-taking.

      Thanks to all the News and Article contributors especially. There must be a lot of work in producing that much quality content (often with high quality jokes within it) over such a long period.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Sully. Thoroughly enjoy the articles. Thanks to you and all the team at GAGR for the effort you put in for all of us. Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year. Rock on 2020 and some good changes for the Wallabies.

    Thanks to everyone on here for the insight, thoughtful comments and fun times. Undoubtedly we all have a passion for the game and long may it continue. We’ll never all agree about things but the banter, discussions and sheer fun has been amazing.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Stay safe in the DMZ old boy! Dont let little Rocket Man ruin your Christmas!

      • Yowie

        It sounds like the pitch for a Christmas movie:-
        Join us this holiday season to see the heartwarming story of how one Kiwi rugby fan can teach a dictator the true meaning of Christmas

        • Brisneyland Local

          MAte you are on fire today!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate you’re gold

  • Yowie

    The quoted New Zealand fan is “Tim Smith”

    Gold Sully.

  • Yowie

    If Cheika faces the review panel, for the sake of typewriter wear & tear, I wonder if the stenographer will abbreviate “yaknowwhatImean” or get permission to leave them all out?

    • Brisneyland Local

      That is pure gold.

    • Bernie Chan

      Only Pat Howard will know what he means…remember he was CAs High Performance Manager at a time we were in the cricket deep funk that rugby is in now..

  • Greg

    Best wishes to all and enjoy the break.

  • Mishad

    For the past 3 years this has been the FIRST website I click on first thing every morning right after I sit down with my cup of coffee. Not emails, not business news, not any news, nor any other rugby websites. This one. Thanks to all GAGR administrators, contributors, commentators and readers. Look forward with renewed hope to 2020.

  • Happyman

    Thanks to the GAGR team for the year I am with Mishad it is the first page I read in the morning and it is always worth the comments section as well. From the Daily news, Tuesday Top 5 and the Pods great reading and listening.

    Would be great if Admin could just set up the page each day without news and just say go.

    Special mention to the commenters we seem to be a self policing bunch who call each other out when we overstep.

    Hoss for the poetry.
    BL for coming off the long run.
    KRL for insight

    2020 will be interesting a new year new national coach and a great bunch of kids coming through I look forward to the banter.

    Have a great break guys.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Thanks Old Boy!

    • Hoss

      Cheers Happyman
      It’s usually first rate dribble, but i do the best that i can

      Posting on Gagger is usually a blast
      Although i mostly just talk out my arse

      Happy to see Cheik get the punt
      Lets hope the next ones not another useless………


      Ciao & Happy Merry.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Thanks buddy. Have a great break

  • Crescent

    Big thanks to the GAGR team for your efforts all year and giving us a place to talk rugby and whatnot in equal measures, united by the game we love and creating an enjoyable community. Have a great and well deserved break – already looking forward to the return!

  • Nutta

    No Daily? My productivity at work will now lift I guess…
    Cheers all for the honesty, the banter and the shared pain.

    • Yowie

      During the peak of the world cup excitement I had to ration my “days on” and “days off” the forum for work productivity reasons.

      • AllyOz

        I should have done that….my have escaped with a caution.

        • Yowie

          Deferring logging in until mid-afternoon is a reasonable compromise for a busy day. Less chance of getting wrapped up in something, but still enjoyable to read the comments.

    • Brisneyland Local

      What are we going to do with those extra 3 hours a day!

  • paul

    Thanks for the daily updates during the year, gonna miss them over summer.

  • juswal

    Love the Beast

    Thanks and Merry Christmas to the news team.

    • AllyOz

      He’s my favourite on The Chase too

  • RF

    If it is a behind closed doors respectful discussion then Cheika is obliged to engage in such a meeting.

    If it is some sort of show-trial or internal kangaroo court he shouldn’t dignify it with his presence.

    • Yowie

      I reckon it wouldn’t take much to set him off with any kind of questioning.

      If MC left the job on his own terms under no pressure with a self-selected lack of grace on exit, “So, why did you do x Michael?” from Sharpie has reasonable odds of escalating to thrown furniture.

      • John Tynan


    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      I expect Cheika has been set-up to be the scape goat and contributed much to do it himself. The fact that Cheika had to deal with a dysfunctional RA leadership above him and isolate the team from all the distractions, may self inflicted. will not carry much weight as this review is clearly set with an outcome in mind. Contrast Cheika’s position with that of Rassie where the SARU organisation stepped back from literal enforcement of quotas, allowed Rassie to pick the best team regardless for where they and for the much better way SARU handled the axing of two Superugby teams vs the Force fiasco. You have to be a genius to overcome all of that and be successful – Cheika was not.

  • Greg

    Here is a question to close out the year…. who will play 10 in 2020?

    • Yowie

      James O’Connor? :p

    • Andrew Luscombe

      I’d like to see Karmichael Hunt have a go at it for the Tah’s as an experiment. Have they replaced Foley yet?

      • Who?

        They’ve got both Mac Mason and young Harrison (from the U20’s), both of whom have potential to be excellent. If used properly.

    • Neil Pocock

      Only sensible thing to do for Wallabies next is use fresh young guys moving forward and bring Quade Cooper back into the squad too take advantage of his immense skills, international and world experience and his possative winning culture! Let the fact he’s Australia’s most sucsessfull 10 in over a decade ooze into the young blokes! The 10 position is far too important to do a immense Cheika failure again…. how he managed too use only 2 specialist 10s all season(1 tremendously out of form and the other apparently still recovering from cancer) is mind blowing!
      Bring on next year!

    • Honestly… not a clue. I wouldn’t mind, at this juncture, seeing 2Cows do it.

      But here’s a radical idea. There will be approximately 15 matches for 4 franchises, and hopefully that will gives up about 40 matches worth of first choice 10’s and 20 matches worth of backups (counting substitution time and so on) to choose from. Lets hope the new coach picks a couple on form.

      Marries them up with a bevy of decent 9’s and 12’s, again on form.

      Adds something radical like plan A AND plan B, maybe stretches the point to plan C!

      And then sees how it goes… it doesn’t have to be perfect, because it’s going to be up against Pollard and de Klerk, Mo’unga or Barrett and Smith at least some of them time and they’re settled. But Ireland will be rebuilding. The Pumas… who knows?

      Signs of improvement is what I’m looking for next year. Learning and building for the future, all those things. Not running every sodding play out of our 22. Decent kicking out of hand. Good decision making. Using the forwards when it’s right and spreading the ball when it’s right and kicking when it’s right too. If we have those and still lose twice to SA and twice to NZ I’ll be happier than I was this year tbh.

      Beating Ireland will be a better measure because they’ll be more in the same boat with a boatload of retirements and a new coaching setup.

      • idiot savant

        The interesting question will be who will play 10 next year if Toomua get injured? Its not impossible that Cooper of Foley could be brought back from os! Maybe O’Connor or Beale but thats backwards too. If they choose not to go backwards, it looks like the candidates will be: Lucas, Hegarty, Mason, Harrison, Lolesio, Deegan. Are any of these guys going to be great 10s?

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well GAGR’s it looks like it is that time of year. Where the GAGR closes up, and we all actually have to find something apparently productive to do with our lives. Personally it drives me mad.
    So the final ramblings of a mad man for this year:
    – I hope everyone of you GAGR’s has a safe and wonderful Christmas. What ever you are doing, do it well. Eat big drink big get big!!
    – Thanks for keeping me sane during the year. My work year sucked a little this year, so having you guys and gals to keep me sane on important matters was like my version of men’s shed.
    – Everyone here knows that I am not sorry to see the end of the Ass Clown, Spanners and Beale. I don’t hate them or hold malice towards them, but they have contributed in their own way to our nations rugby demise.
    – As far as RA goes. This review will be another white washed joke. But did we expect anything different?
    – I look forward to a new year. A new dawn. And hopefully a new Board!
    – TO the gang all the usuals: KRL, Nutta, Hoss, Happy Man, Sucker For Red, Richard Patterson, Adrian ( I hope he comes back), Kate Elizabeth, Happy Man, Bernie Chan, Keith Butler (Mayor of Tasweigan Land), Eloise Pastuer, and all the many others who I chat with (if I have left your name out I am sorry).

    Thanks for all of the positive contributions and great and passionate discussion on here. It is “THE” place to chat rugby.
    Stay safe, love to all, have a great break. See you in the new year.

    • laurence king

      I for one am going to miss the Monday morning rants mate, Cheers

      • Brisneyland Local

        Ly pleasure LK. It is a cathartic process.

        • laurence king

          You see, where else am I going to hear the word ‘cathartic’? lol

        • Brisneyland Local

          Educational too apparently!

    • Damo

      Cheers mate. Plenty to look forward to in 2020. I wonder how long it will be before RA does something that gives us the shits.
      In the meantime I look forward to watching Steve Smith’s willow wielding genius.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Indeed. But it is still 5 weeks ntil the BBL kicks off. That is usually my saving grace.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Ditto brother

  • muppet

    As always, someone’s written my thoughts first, so “thanks” again.
    I’m looking forward with 2020 foresight and I see a new broom…ok, a dustpan…alright a chux (but it will be greenandgold!!)

    Feliz Navidad everyone

  • laurence king

    Thanks guys, really enjoyed all your efforts throughout the season and all the comments. Best site on the net. Cheers.

  • Parker

    Thanks GAGRs. You do a sterling job keeping us entertained and informed in equal parts.(Though I hear Hoss’s parts are quite asymmetrical) Have a fantastic holiday season. Look forward to seeing you all back in action to cover the dawn of a new era.

  • Who?

    Thanks to all the news editors – Sully, Nick, Dylan, Nathan, thanks to all the regular contributors, especially the MST’s. It’s amazing to think that a fan site could be the best Rugby asset in the country. It’s a credit to you all.
    And to everyone else who joins in impassioned yet mindless debate about things we could never hope to control, have a great Christmas break. Here’s hoping the bushfires are kind to everyone, but that somehow the structures that govern Rugby in Australia can burn down at least enough to allow the new growth that’s just below the surface to burst through.

  • Andy

    Thanks Sully. Great job this year.

    All the best for the Xmas break yawl.

  • sambo6

    And so GAGR goes into hibernation, and pornography once again dominates my internet usage……

    Thanks all contributors. From this London correspondent, have a great festive period all, and I look forward to a strong pre-season….


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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