Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees Super Rugby AU Week 2, Super Rugby Aotearoa Week Five, Dave Rennie’s Anti-Scarring Theory and Will COVID-19 Stop English Rugby?



2020 Western Force jersey close up

The return of the exiled is upon us. After being unceremoniously booted from Super Rugy, the Western Force return to top level competition this weekend after cooling their heels in Week One of Super Rugby AU. With a vocal and fervent fan base made even more angry with their removal the plaything of Twiggy Forrest returns to face the Waratahs on Saturday evening (715EST).

While they most certainly won’t lack passion and have a chip the size of Montana on their shoulder, I think it will be a struggle for the Force to be competitive in this competition iteration. With a lack of serious competition over the past few seasons, and the late additions of several players (Holmes, Lance, Frisby, Godwin et al) I think wins could be hard to come by.

Now this is not in any way saying they should not be there- they absolutely should be but this short competition can be the springboard back into a permanent place in the legitimate Australia/NZ Super Rugby structure, whatever that may be.

On the plus side, the face a Waratah side that while working hard, were let back into the game by sloppy game management and poor attacking choices by the Reds last week. And again, emotion will certainly be on their side.

Team wise for the Force, it looks and smells very much like the team that took out the NRC last year, with the addition of Jono Lance at 10 and Kyle Godwin on the bench. The Waratahs remain the same as last week with the exception of Karmichael Hunt onto the bench with either Ben Donaldson or Tepai Moeroa to drop out.

On Friday night, at the unlikely venue of Brookvale Oval the Melbourne Rebels “host” the Reds. Melbourne are out on their rear after the unfolding chaos down there and are unlikely to return home at all this campaign and were fortunate to finish as close as they did to the Brumbies last weekend.

Scott Rea has the preview of the Reds game here

The Reds conversely, let the Waratahs into the game with some poor lineout work in the second half combined with a baffling lack of width in attack. The Reds have named an unchanged 23, with Angus Blyth passing the HIA protocols after leaving the field early on last week.

The Rebels have largely stuck to their guns with one key exception, Reece Hodge will come off the bench in what is still a very potent backline. The forwards were more impressive than I gave them credit for last week, winning a number of scrum penalties but will be tested against the Reds pack in that area. I think the Reds should have enough firepower, and if they play 80 the same way they played the first 30 last week they will not be headed.

Team lists courtesy of ESPN here

Tips: Reds by 14, Waratahs by 17.


The mullet takes on the Blues this weekend

The Crusaders did as expected last week and put away the Highlanders, which sets up the top of the table clash with a rested Blues outfit. (Saturday 505PM) The resurgent Blues have had the week off and welcome back the scrummaging moustache Karl Tu’inukuafe back to the bench as well as Blake Gibson. Harry Plummer and Finlay Christie come into the starting line up.

I know the Blues have added Beauden Barrett to their squad and many would attribute his presence to their uplift and consistency but I do not think it is as simple as that. Barrett has been solid but not game breaking in his time so far, but what I think he has done is breed more confidence and calmness in those around him, which has been the key to the success. Having players like the newly re-signed (sucked in Eddie Jones) Hoskins Sotutu and breakout Caleb Clarke certainly helps as well.

The Crusaders have only had minor changes too, with Bryn Hall and Mitch Drummond swapping at half, Tom Sanders and Sione Havili doing likewise at 6 and George Bridge coming in on the left wing and Sevu Reece on the right.

Blues team here Crusaders team here

The Sunday afternoon game sees the Hurricanes hosting the Highlanders in Wellington (Sunday 135PM). Both teams have only one win from three games and a similar for and against record so this could be a hard game to pick. Hosting the game should be enough to get the Canes over the line on this occasion.

The winless Chiefs get the week off to consider what has gone wrong in what should have been a better showing thus far.

Tips: Crusaders by 9, Canes by 8.


dave rennie

New Wallaby Coach Dave Rennie has been using his time in quarantine wisely, as he prepares to finally make his way to Australia for the first official visit since starting in the role a week or so ago. This enforced isolation has given him more time to refine his theories about how he might select the team that he hopes will wrest the Bledisloe away after 18 long years.

After recent speculation on these shores that the only chance Australia has would be a complete relaxation of the Giteau law to allow selection from overseas, Rennie has knocked that idea back in an article here, courtesy of, He tells them that he thinks there is enough talent here to broadly fill the squad with a competitive bunch, with only minor needs to call on players from overseas.

“I reckon the ideal scenario is that we keep picking from within Australia, encourage players to stay there if they want to be Wallabies,” Rennie said.

Rennie also wasted no time getting into the tradition of bagging South Africa saying, “It doesn’t mean that we won’t grab someone from overseas but it won’t be wholesale like South Africa does.”

The new coach is also keen on the new bunch of young players coming through, noting the success of the U20 and Schoolboys team in recent years against the Kiwis. The theory being that they won’t have the baggage or scarring from having never beaten the Kiwis that many of the current bunch have largely gone through.

Of course, Rennie himself hasn’t been on the side of these years of beating at all levels so the man himself doesn’t carry the baggage that previous coaches have done. He is placing pressure on himself, and by default the squad by taking the view that the time to win is now. Refreshing news from a sport that always seems to think it should just build for the World Cup and cop poor results in interim.

Looks like positive news all around for those hoping for some positive selections and positive outcomes. Of course the ultimate test of all this time will be in October, when (fingers crossed) the Wallabies run out to face the AB’s.





As English rugby grapples with it’s own crisis of money and leadership (NewsCorp agitators please note it wasn’t all Raelene’s fault), the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threatens to torpedo the proposed restart to the English season.

Fresh off a week that has seen the RFU announce it will axe 139 jobs as it struggles to cope with it’s own massive revenue plunge, the first round of testing has identfied 10 positive tests among players and staff from the 804 tests conducted.

Northampton, Saracens and Harlequins have all admitted they have returned positive results in the first round. BBC has the article here. With a scheduled restart date of 15 August, the English Premiership is undergoing a testing regime similar to the soccer, where testing will occur every few days to theoretically reduce the risk of large outbreaks as training resumes.

Of course the catch is you can train for soccer without getting too close to team mates, whereas rugby requires many elements where personal space is greatly reduced. Soccer too had similar test results in the early phases so there is still some hope that with players following proper protocol that everything will run smoothly.

Stand by for further test results in further days, and fingers crossed they can get out on the field in August. The world needs as much rugby as it can get at the moment.

  • Brisneyland Local

    MOrning GAGR’s, the sun is shining brightly on another beautiful Queensland morning. The working week is almost over and I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend of rugby coming up. My random thoughts whilst reciting the mantra “Coffee or die!”:
    – Cant wait for the Western Force game. Having them return will right the wrong of the past, but also give us the opoortunity to benchmark this team. I am so hoping that they smash the Tah’s. Only because a loss for the Tah’s is good for rugby! ;-)
    – The NZ games this weekend will be great. But particular the Drak Saders vs The Blue balls. This will be a cracker of a match and I for one cant wait to see it.
    – Dave Rennie just keeps making sense when he talks. I know that waht he says isnt amazing, but after the babble of the ass clown, it makes him sound like a Rhode Scholar. I rally do look forward to seeing what he serves up. I am not looking for miracles. But a competitive team, with players playing in position with a game plan that is not stupid and is adjustable. Do I ask to much?
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • idiot savant

      Yeah Im looking forward to the Force vs Tahs game as well. I desperately want the Force to win to help heal our national wounds. But Im not confident. I think the Force will hold their own in the scrum and at the breakdown but the Tahs line out will be too good. Simmo earns a bagging for his lack of physicality but he’s the best lineout caller and jumper we’ve had for more than a decade. And I think the Tahs fairies have too much class. Tactics will be interesting but I was mightily impressed with the Tahs game plan against the Reds, so Sampson will have his work cut out. And Lance hasn’t had long to learn the plays and combos. Just off the top of my head, I would guess that the Force game plan would to play this game at breakneck speed. That was what they learned in GRR. Only trouble is the Tahs are quick and looked fit to me. Fingers crossed.

      • Brisneyland Local

        YEah I agree with you there. I think the Force will trget them at scrum and breakdown. Their back is whopping, and they will use that with Force (pardon the pun) against the Tahs weak pack. I think that they will likely get the lion share of the penalties. This will frustrate the Tahs and more penalties adn potentialy cards will follow. The Force have great kickers so any infringement in the half will etiher be 3 points, or a penalty kick, and a rolling maul off a line out. If Simmo works his magic, they will keep taking 3 points and mount scoreboard pressure.
        But Like you said the Tah fairies are good. I think the Tah’s will win but it will be close.
        Either that or we all got it wrong and the Force bugger them with a fish fork!

      • Hoss

        Tah’s by 20+, maybe even declare at halftime, make a game of it.

        • Like a drunken tart at any Hunter Nightclub, all shall soon be revealed.
          Have your excuses ready

        • Hoss

          Low blow. You leave my grand mother, sisters, cousins, Aunty and nieces out of this mate

        • Never mentioned the fairer sex.
          Thought I recognized that hat though

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Black Rifle Coffee down range mate and all is good. I picked up my new referee kit and all ready for next weekend on. Going to be great.

      I think the Tahs should be worried because I sense that the Force will come out firing with nothing to lose and if they aren’t on top of it they could suffer. I’m not sure the leadership there in the team has got enough ability to put in place any changes they need to make if things start going wrong either.

      Auckland Canterbury will be epic mate.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Mate my new Black Rifle Coffee Company Tshirt just arrived in the mail!

  • Crescent

    Thanks Ben – you must enjoy getting beaten up by the West Coast – I reckon there will be some taking exception to some of your comments. Good work – keep stirring the pot and passion flowing!

    I suspect the Force will beat the Tahs tomorrow night. With some law variations in Super AU having already been implemented in GRR – the Force players as a whole have had more time to be tactically smarter on the 22/50 kicks or whatever they are called – something both the Tahs and the Reds struggled with. They will be stronger up front, plenty of motivation to stick it to “The East Coast Mafia” – it would not surprise me if they get this game over the line by plenty. Not sure of their travel arrangements and how that will play into the Tahs hands, but with the current level of handling skills, they will drop that advantage too. Still, going to pull on the sky blue jersey, crack open some cans and yell at the TV hoping my boys will find a way to win – the joy of tribalism.

    Good to hear Rennie talking good sense and looking to reward guys that are making a commitment to play at home. Not sure about bagging the Saffa method – they are the current holders of Bill using their wholesale importation of players. It was a risky strategy Cotton, but it seems to have paid off. His biggest challenge will be keeping the expectations on the team realistic. As Nutta points out, Yr 1 of the Bill cycle, we have time to build and develop players, not throw them in the deep end with a sink or swim mentality. There will be some more difficult games ahead before the Wallabies really turn the corner on being consistently competitive again, so we need to keep developing the pipeline and stop throwing the young wunderkind under the bus expecting them to perform like 50 test veterans from day 1.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Crescent, really good point about the Force having already played with these rules for a year. I had forgotten about that. Plus Jonno Lance has a pretty handy boot. This one will be more intersting than people think.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      Hope you are right about the law variations, however didn’t think it changed tactics much last year. The game they played last years looked suspiciously much like rugby union.

      I just hope the Force play a high tempo attack minded game as I does not care who wins. I know they are a very fit team, just hope the ref will not slow the game down and the Tahs will also show the same mindset.

  • Force v the flowers, cant wait.

    Quick bit of googling…apparently Waratah is local (NSW) aboriginal word for beautiful.
    Neat and apt all at the same time. ;)

  • Yowie

    …you can train for soccer without getting too close to team mates

    During a soccer game you can even go arse-over-tit with an excruciating injury without being close to the opposition player.

    • Boof

      And get back up just as quick!
      The recovery rate of the so called injury happens at a blistering pace!

    • onlinesideline

      true – just watch the Pumas

  • Hadn’t heard about the $2m for women’s rugby PG.
    Good stuff!

  • Keith Butler

    Crusaders v the Blues is the main course this weekend as far as I’m concerned. Rebs v Reds, evenly matched teams but the Reds back row stronger should win it for them. I hope the Force turn over The Tahs and the Hurricanes to beat the Highlanders. Great weekends rugby ahead.

  • Dally M

    Nice to see some push back from Aus Rugby today to the leaks out of NZ about only want 2-3 Aussie teams in any new Trans Tasman comp next year.

    Saying the Force will be part of whatever happens and talks of a Big Bash style domestic comp if necessary, would indicate Twiggy is coming back into the fold which can only be a good thing.

  • Dally M

    He needs to be part of whatever planning Oz Rugby does going forward now that the they have cleaned out the ones that cut the force and rejected his money the first time round.

    • Perth girl

      No they are not cleaned out, Clarke is now the acting CEO, he was COO when the Force was cut and actually was the one who came over to Perth with the non existent spreadsheet to tell us we were being cut. Twiggy and RugbyWA will do whats best for WA rugby but I can tell you that getting back into bed with RA would be about as popular as our Premier opening up our border!

      • Dally M

        But Clarke is only interim CEO and didn’t he resign before the decision was made?

        • Perth girl

          The decision was made before he came here. Clarke went back to the Rebels after that.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      No I don’t think Twiggy owes Oz Rugby anything. The focus should remain on developing the player base in WA so that we become part of the “heartland” of Australian rugby. That is the only way the Force will be sustainable. There is no guarantee or invitation for the Force to play Superugby after October 2020.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Ben, Big game this weekend. Really looking forward to seeing the Force back and I’m sure there will be huge intensity in this match. I think the Force will lack depth but I think they’ll make up for that in passion. TBH I wouldn’t want to be in the team facing them in their first game back and I’m thinking they only need a few things to go their way and they could roll the Tahs.

    Auckland vs Canterbury will be a good game and I’m picking Canterbury as being too strong. Mind you I don’t rate Bridge as high as Jordan so an upset could be on the cards there too. Picking Reds and Canes in the other two matches

    Rennie just keeps saying the right things doesn’t he? I’m hoping that once things get underway people give him a chance. I personally am expecting a huge amount of changes from the team picked by Cheika and I think some people should be looking at their agents for other gigs as I’m not sure a lot of the previous team will be on the paddock.

    • idiot savant

      Will any coach in history get a stiffer start? 4 consecutive tests against the All Blacks. Unless this virus dies down and borders re-open. Even if they go for a bubble adding the worlds number 1 side to the opponents list wont make it much easier!

      Who he chooses as captain will be interesting. Not choosing Hooper will likely upset the Mosman cowboys and how long will it be before the Australian running dogs start trying to undermine him. Id call them journalists but after the Castle destabilisation campaign they lost that right. I guess it will keep rugby in the spotlight!

      • Brisneyland Local

        They were never journalists to start with. I displayed better forms of journalism the last time I wiped my ass!

        • idiot savant

          Were you writing something….

        • Hoss

          Abstract painting

        • idiot savant

          No form or structure

        • Brisneyland Local

          Nah just putting some shit on a page. Look I could be Gee Rob!

        • John Miller

          This thread reminds me of a Greg Davies anecdote: “like a faecal Jackson Pollock“.

        • Yowie

          Greg Davies is such a funny bloke. He’s one of the few people who cause me to play a podcast interview twice back-to-back because he tells such funny stories.
          Brilliant in Inbetweeners too.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I almost choked on my drink!

        • Yowie

          fuqn show-off.

          “oooh look at me with as much toilet paper as I could want in a period of shortage”

        • Brisneyland Local

          I am not in Victoria where they are hoarding again. We have plenty up here in Qld.

        • Yowie

          not according to the shelves and signage in my local Coles. Good to know I live near a lot of idiots.

        • Crescent

          In Qld, I hear that covers a lot of ground…..

        • Yowie

          Look. We shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush as Pauline, Clive, the Member for Manilla, the fine people of the Murder Belt, the Gold Coast intelligentsia, …..

        • idiot savant

          Im not sure what that last word is

        • Hoss

          I believe its a pasta dish, or Italian porn, not really sure.

        • idiot savant

          Whatever it is you can eat it right

        • Hoss

          Took several years of having my face slapped in Italian restaurants when ordering fellatio to realise my Latin was not as good as i had imagined

        • Yowie

          I suppose all the crotch-grabbing and womanising wouldn’t be so weird if the Italian man is actually in an adult film.

        • Hoss

          COVIDIOTS please, lets maintain a certain decorum on these pages

      • Hoss

        Nope – we will be 4 & 0. The Nearlies are already panicking – Carter is back and i’ve heard (keep it quiet) they’ve approached Nigel Owens to do all 4 matches AND sing at the after match dinner, so………

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Shhh that’s a secret

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I like the term running dogs mate. Yeah if he either gets a win or two, or at least shows that the team is playing well and players are committed and improving then I’m ok but I really worry about the Mosman crowd as you put them not giving him any leeway.

    • Hoss

      It shows how mistreated, downtrodden and disparaged we all were under Cheika that a new coach just says simple, common straight forward things like ‘i will pick on form’ and we all swoon.

      It seems i have been a victim of Cheika – anyone interested in a class action?

      • Yowie

        We’ll need a tough silk to deal with Cheika in the witness box.

        I say again Sir, we do not “know what you mean”. You will need to tell this court what you mean!

        • Hoss

          Gold – mate, gold.

    • Geoffro

      Rumblings of a few players being targeted by league due the uncertainty over contracts.Sure Rennie will be less than impressed if we lose talent to the mungoes at this point.

ACT Brumbies

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

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