Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Fridays Rugby News sees the World Seven Series caught up in the worldwide virus alert, Super Rugby Round Three, Super W kick off and Brumbies trying to draw a crowd


WORLD SEVENS DISRUPTIONS

Gold for Fiji Men and New Zealand Women

Gold for Fiji Men and New Zealand Women

In a move that will probably not surprise anyone given the state of play worldwide, World Rugby announced on Thursday that the iconic Hong Kong Sevens, along with the Singapore Sevens will be postponed until October in order to deal with the Coronavirus issue, ESPN reported.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement, “The wellbeing of the rugby family and wider public is our priority & the decision to reschedule has been made in full consultation with the HKRU, Sport Singapore, unions and national authorities.”

This followed a rash of similar cancellations and postponements in other sports including soccer, golf, basketball, athletics and Formula One among others.

Hong Kong was to feature as a full stop of the Womens Series for the first time in 2020, as part of the expansion this year, while Fiji have won the last five Hong Kong titles on the men’s side.

While it is always disappointing when something like this happens, World Rugby really had little option, with safety being paramount in a situation where no one is sure what is going to happen next.

The upshot of this is bit more of a gap in the schedule for both men and women, although at this stage the Challenger events to qualify for the 2021 World Series are still scheduled to go ahead in South America for the men and South Africa for the women,

SUPER RUGBY WEEK THREE

Karmichael Hunt Waratahs v Reds 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

Week Three will see one positive for Australian rugby. One more Australian team will get a win after tonight, when the Rebels host the Waratahs at AAMI Stadium, (7:15PM AEDT). Neither side has set the world on fire in their first two games, with the Rebels improving against the Brumbies last week and the Waratahs looking dire against a weakened Blues side. Mr Wobbly takes a look at the matchup here

Saturday has the Brumbies at home (again!), this time against the Highlanders. The Highlanders were disappointing last week at home against the Sharks so the Brumbies will be seriously eyeing this one off in order to put some more space on their rivals in the Australian conference. (7:15PM AEDT SAT)

Over in South America, the Reds world tour continues with their third game in three weeks on their third continent, facing the Jaguares. Teams aren’t yet out at the time of writing for this one but it will be interesting to see what sort of backline rejigging occurs from Brad Thorn this week after shifting James O’Connor to 10 last week, which to my eye, was ineffective from an attacking sense. (10AM AEDT Sunday)

The round kicks off with the Blues playing the Crusaders, the Sunwolves host the Chiefs, Hurricanes take on the Sharks, and Lions against Stormers.

Teamlists are here.

Tips: (also known as what not what to tip): Blues v Crusaders: Crusaders by 6, Rebeels v Tahs- Tahs by 9, Sunwolves v Chiefs- Chiefs by 15, Hurricanes v Sharks- Sharks by 8, Brums v Highlanders- Brums by 7, Lions v Stormers- Stormers by 5, Jaguares v Reds- Jaguares by 9.

 

SUPER W KICK OFF

Sera Naiqama tackles Super W 2019 QLD v NSW (photo credit Keith McInnes)

The new season of Super W kicks off tonight down in Melbourne, with the Rebels taking on the Waratahs as part of the double header. Saturday will see the Brumbies play WA in Canberra, while Sunday has Queensland (who has the bye), playing Fijiana at Ballymore in what should be a good tune up for the Reds.

As has been the case since the inception of the competition, two issues have again reared their head- the length of the comp and the lack of payments to the participants. Asked by Fox Sports about the length of the competition, Brumbies skipper Michaela Leonard said, “Four rounds building into five rounds in the second season was great and I think it would be an even better opportunity to have that full home and away.”

Clearly for the perpetually cash strapped Rugby Australia money is the issue at play here, as Raelene Castle alluded to when she said when asked about payment for the players, ““Over time we’ll grow towards paying players to play Super W. But we have to make sure we crawl, then walk, then jog, then sprint.” In other words, not in the forseeable future.

The issue with that clearly is with AFLW that is playing at the same time while paying a reasonable wage, you cannot realistically expect a decent athlete to choose rugby if given the choice. Rugby is extremely fortunate that whilst paying their players, the NRLW is at the other end of the season so for the time being players can pick both. This won’t last forever with agitations to extend that comp and also a much stronger second tier NRLW State Cup being set up in Queensland in 2020. It’s really only a matter of time before Rugby Australia is forced to change their minds and pay the players.

With regards to the competition itself, my view is it needs to be longer or even co-opted with NZ to make a cross Tasman provincial comp. It makes good sense time wise and NZ are clearly the benchmark when it comes to the XVs format for women so while there likely be some shellackings in the short term, if we are ever going to seriously challenge the Black Ferns come test time, then it seems like the best approach.

While the format of the competition has not changed, some of  the faces in it have changed but Rugby Reg is here to help. He’s previewed the Round One games here.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Ben, big weekend of rugby again although no 6N to distract us. I feel the women’s rugby is at a huge disadvantage with the clash with other codes that have more exposure, longer rounds and paid players. I think RA needs to move faster on this if they want it to grow.
    Pity on the 7’s moving but good to see people looking after players welfare.

  • Nutta

    Cheers Benny Boy

    Tarts v Scum random thoughts: HJH is going to typify the Tarts overall in having a rough scrummage evening, Hunt vs Meakes will be interesting ($$ on Hunt) and Sauce will show how a good 15 plays vs the other guy. That said I tip the Tarts backrow over their opponents. Should be interesting.

    Corona issue is starting to have big implications. Trying to order and get product of any type out of China has already turned into a shitfight and it’s spreading as given the drop in out-bound volume from China (because factories are shut) I hear some of the major shipping companies have already started to pull capacity to balance the enforced drop in supply. This means there is less floating capacity around the balance of Asia/Pac to shift other goods. The knock-on will be big. Our legals have been fine-toothing supply contracts and war-rooming over potential damages impacts for weeks. This will get messy…

    • P. H. Grind

      Working in logistics out of HK, I can tell you things are dire. Worst part is getting product from factories to ports/airports as most truckers are stuck (quarantines, road closures, infrastructure lock down) and nothing is moving. This is going to take months to clear up. Kids have also just been told that school won’t start again until mid-March, odds on for closures through Easter. Only upside so far is that we’re pretty much all ordered to work remotely, so lap top, couch and RugbyPass is coming together nicely!

      • Nutta

        Cheers for that. On the ground intel is always appreciated.

  • Reds Revival

    Just saw the Reds team announced, and Petaia is out again with a shoulder injury (not a short term fix, but still unkown how long). Is there an unluckier kid in the sport? Having said that, Hunter Paisami gets a start, and I really rate this guy. Low centre of gravity, good feet, and can come up with some monster hits in defence. Him and Hamish Stewart should make it very hard for the Hags centre pairing.
    If the Reds can get forward dominance and be in touch still at the 60th minute, the introduction of Lucas and Hegarty in the last 15 – 20 could tip the scales in the favour of the Reds. Long shot, but not beyond the realms of possibility.

    • idiot savant

      I admire your positivity but I fear the Argies might blow the Reds away. What did we learn from the Brumbies game? That you can dominate the set piece but lose the game because the breakdown is more important. So against a back row that includes Kremer, Thorn has chosen players with less breakdown ability – LSL is a runner with no on ball presence and a suspect workrate and has been chosen at 6 over ASY who has really been putting in the hard yards around the breakdown. Thorn has added another beanpole on the bench in Hockings so he has 4 locks playing! Against a side whose forwards play a pick and go and offload game around the ruck! Add in the fatigue of travel and altitude – this could get ugly. Strange how the Reds always think size is the best weapon. I remember they went huge against the Sunwolves last year and got annihilated by 60 points. I think controlling the breakdown is going to be more important in beating the Jags than dominating set piece. If the ref even allows them to do that.

      And who is kicking for goal? I haven’t seen JOC kick at the sticks for years and Stewart cant hit a barn door. Maybe it’s Campbell? As you say if scores are close Lucas and Hegarty might add some spark in the last 20. Some interesting calls by Thorn.

      • Reds Revival

        I did say I thought it was a long shot. In fact, I have tipped the Argies in both my comps (but wishing for a Reds win).
        I would suggest that Jock Campbell will do the kicking. Hopefully, he is able to do a better relief kick than Hegarty (one of the few downsides of Hegarty’s game, but an important one given his position).

    • Who?

      So, our saviour Jordan Petaia’s injured yet again… He played what, 1.25 Super games last year, 2 games before injury this year, he was injured for two of his intended Wallaby debut Tests… Why are we trying to damage this kid? Can’t we just give him time and space to harden his body, get some real strength into his frame? He’s not going to be poorer for getting some rest.
      Not a rant at you, RR, I just look at blokes like Petaia and Uelese and think we’re rushing them to higher honours when if we left them to develop a bit more… Perhaps they’d have a longer, more consistent Test career. I’m worried that we’re going to prematurely end their careers at 25 by breaking their bodies.

      • Nutta

        Completely agree.

      • Reds Revival

        I actually agree with you Who. While I was keen to see him play this year, I was happy to hear that he was doing his own S&C training to try and strengthen his core and skeletal muscles. It is similar to how Valetini was out for much of last year. As young guys, their bodies aren’t quite ready for the rigours of full contact with big men.

      • AllyOz

        1.25 last year, 2 this year….that’s progress at least. He’ll come good. He is a 19 year old flinging his body about amongst the best of super rugby but, on the strength of the 1 (not the 0.25) of last year and the World Cup QF I think you have to expect a bit of this … perhaps replace him at 50 and manage him in a bit.

        • Who?

          Replace him at 50, give him the next week off as workload management… I just hate the thought of grinding young players in the mincer that is top flight rugby. Because we’ll lose them from the game too soon. It might’ve been ok for Russell Fairfax, and Horan and Little, but that was the amateur era. JOC and Pocock were freaks – JOC had an insane ability, one I’ve not seen replicated – to go into contact with three or four forwards as a 19 year old and come out again with those four on the ground, barely having touched him. And Pocock’s renowned for managing his own fitness, his insane, obsessive fitness work in the middle of the night as a kid. But they’re exceptions, not the rule, and the game’s moved on even further since then.

        • idiot savant

          Pocock is also renown for getting injured.

          Russell Fairfax! Jeez Who you are old.

        • Who?

          Russell Fairfax was WAAAAAY before my time. :-D Pretty well a decade before I entered this world.
          .
          You’re right about Pocock – though his injuries followed the reverse pattern to Petaia and Uelese. He debuted for the Wallabies in 2009 (I think?), and didn’t cop a serious injury until 2013. He missed a game at the RWC in 2011 (which cost us dearly, given the fool Deans failed to pick a backup, and then asked the Big Dog McCalman to step in there, where he wasn’t suited), but not major, full-rehab type injuries until the knee in 2013, 2014, and so on.

        • idiot savant

          I remember Russel. Tall skinny and quick with long blonde hair. He could play 10 or 15 equally well. Played league as well.

        • Who?

          I vaguely recall him as a journo when I was a kid. Mainly with League – but I remember reading he debuted crazy young for the Wallabies.

      • Hoss

        It’s no good. I’ve been waiting for my body to harden up for years. I will let Mr Homer J explain

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jGk7sy0X34

      • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

        The problem is the leaguies will swoop in and sign them to offers they can’t really refuse.

        • Who?

          I’m not saying don’t sign them, I’m saying don’t over play them, don’t burn them out. Don’t look at them as our saviours (the way some looked at Petaia last year). Give them a chance to breathe, find their feet, mature into their bodies, without having to carry the nation.

        • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

          I get that and agree. But young men are going to want to play every minute they can, if they don’t, they will walk for more money and more playing time.
          Unfortunately rugby from a commercial stand, can’t afford to pay players good money and then under use them.
          Throwing young’uns to the wolves is the by-product of professionalism of sport.

  • Hoss

    TV rights pieces falling into place. They have secured rights from Channel 7 and Club Rugby (they must be grinning all the way to the bank – well played) and Optus publicly confirming their very interested in ‘acquiring the rights to Rugby’

    Well played thus far RC…..FOX who ?????

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/shute-shield-deal-signed-off-after-marathon-negotiations-20200213-p540lv.html

Rugby
@Ben_Marczyk

Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

More in Rugby