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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees a familiar face returning, Flook earning his shot, the latest from clubland and a delicious bit of Tah-Brumby banter. (Shout out to Sully for helping write this news segment too).


Nic White is back!

nic white scores wallabies all blacks 2015

The Reds Tate McDermott in white-hot form (see what I did there), the Brumbies Joe Powell is humming along nicely in the capital, and even Jake Gordon is on a streak. Yet, even despite the talent on show at scrumhalf, there couldn’t be a better time to introduce Nic White back into Super Rugby AU.

Nic made it back into the Wallabies fold for the World Cup with a bit of accounting that would have made Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas of Midnight Run fame proud. Old mate made the squad because he signed a contract to play with the Brumbies sometime way in the future, and because of COVID the future came early.

White has been named at reserve halfback amongst 15 other changes for the Brumbies, his first appearance in the capital in five years.

McKellar said the World Cup Wallaby brought a competitive edge that would help drive the Brumbies forward, when speaking to rugby.com.au. 

“He’s just a competitor,” McKellar said.

“I had the pleasure of working with Whitey for a couple of years before he left and he competes hard, he demands incredibly high standards of himself and others around him and, to be honest, he’s like having another coach on the field which is an incredible benefit for us.

“I can already see our young 9s and 10s, our team in general, is just learning from his experiences and knowledge.

“I just love the fact that he competes hard, wants to win everything – it doesn’t matter what it is – and drives standards and accountability within the group, and that might rattle a few people every now and then but it’s for the betterment of the group.”

The multiple changes by the current leaders sets up an intriguing clash, with the Brumbies looking to maintain their fortress reputation against a rapidly improving Tahs side. Following their last clash when the Brums prevailed 23-24, the Tahs have gone on to convincing wins against the Reds and the Force, while the Brums finally were knocked over by the Rebels 30-12.

i.e. watch this match, it’s gonna be fantastic.

Flook Wins Reds 13 Jersey

Josh Flook will run out in the Reds 13 jersey on Friday night after Hunter Paisami injured his troublesome knee just before halftime in their match against the Rebels last week. Incumbent wallaby outside center Jordan Petaia continues his stint on the wing to accommodate him and balance the backline.

Flook is another exciting young player from the exceptional group coming through the Australian system right now. Flook captained the 2019 Australian Schools and U18s team in their tour to New Zealand, leading them to their first win in New Zealand since 2012. The teenager played alongside Brumbies playmaker Reesjan Pasitoa in the 2018 GPS premiership-winning Nudgee College GPS team.

Flook’s inclusion in the XV sees Jack Hardy recalled into the 23 in one-of-four changes to the bench.  

Loosehead prop Harry Hoopert has overcome a knee injury and is back in the side with Josh Nasser named as Queensland’s replacement hooker.

While scrumhalf Moses Sorovi has been selected for the first time during Queensland’s Super Rugby AU campaign and is set to come-on as a finisher tomorrow night.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “We’re excited to head down the coast and play in front of our Queensland fans tomorrow night.

“The Force will be hungry. They’re a dangerous team with plenty of experience. It’ll be a tough contest and we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“Josh Flook will make his first start for Queensland which is a great achievement. He’s got a few caps now and will only get better with more experience.

“Moses has been working hard in our program and deserves his spot in the side. It’s great to have Hoops back as well. It’s a timely boost in the loosehead department having him there as a finisher this week,” said Thorn.

i.e. watch this game too. Not joking. It’s gonna be good.

Waratahs – Brumbies dirt

We’ve been watching it for years. The Brumbies rock steady lineout I mean. Through a succession of players and coaches, the Brumbies lineout has just got on with the job.

Now the Waratahs want to upset the apple cart and attack a Brumbies pillar of strength. And frankly, they’re a good chance of doing it. The Tahs lineout is clearly the best in Super Rugby AU and on pure stats are 10 per cent better than their opponents.

NSW forwards coach Matt Cockbain can take plenty of credit in this domain and his second-rowers had a field day against the Brumbies in round three by spoiling eight of 22 lineouts.

“I thought [Ned] Hanigan and [Rob] Simmons really challenged us in that area. We’ve got to be better,” Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said after the 24-23 victory sealed by a late try by Issak Fines.

A lot has happened since that nail-biter at ANZ Stadium and, while lineout success is only one element of a team’s game, being able to unsettle the Brumbies’ set-piece will be a top priority for a Waratahs team third on the ladder with a chance to lock up a finals spot.

 “Teams are becoming really nervous around us now with their lineout knowing that we’ve got good people in there who are really going to contest,” Penney said. “Matt Cockbain has done a really good job in getting the boys to really buy into a defensive system and they’re really putting pressure on that set-piece.”

Cockbain, the former Wallaby, was understated this week when asked about the lineout performance.

“We try and attack what is a strength of theirs,” Cockbain said. “Sometimes it’s that perceived pressure as well. Sometimes you might not win the ball on that particular lineout but the next time, because you got close, the thrower’s thinking about it.”

Turns out, things got a bit hairy after this discussion, when McKellar came out with a more colourful comment against their rivals.

“They’ve won two games in a row so they’re world beaters again and full of confidence, according to most,” McKellar said.

Unsurprisingly though, Penney played this barb with a straight bat.

“Did he say that, did he? Talking us up. Do you think he’s trying to deflect?

“Yeah, we certainly wouldn’t be viewing ourselves as world beaters after a couple of wins.

“No, we’re pretty grounded. They are very hot favourites at their home ground and what they’ve done in the last few years that would be an appropriate status for them.”

Ahh, the dirt is back.

Clubbing around

The Queensland Premier Rugby captains at the 2020 launch. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

The Queensland Premier Rugby captains at the 2020 launch. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

Clubland is still kicking in 2020, with most comps set to hit the halfway season.

The Queensland Premier Grade had some big upsets over the course of last weekend, with Sunnybank and Bond University picking up wins. This weekend will likely see several close clashes to separate the pretenders from the contenders, the best of which will be Easts v GPS. Both sides have been in red hot form and haven’t dropped a game yet, so be sure to get along to that match.

Similarly, the Shute Shield also is approaching the halfway mark this season, with Randwick, Sydney University, Gordon and Norths the current contenders. However, Southern Districts proved they’ve very much got what it takes to also break their drought, after beating Uni away from home last week. This weekend they face Randwick, which will be an interesting clash for the Wicks given they have faced the four easiest teams in the competition these first five rounds.

Most of the John I Dent Cup this weekend will be having a wet weather bye, with the exception of Gungahlin and Canberra Royals, who will be both fighting to keep their seasons alive with a critical win in the capital.

The Perth Fortescue Premier Grade crossed the halfway point in the season last week, with Cottlesloe emerging as the current favourites for the competition. This weekend however will see more crucial games, as Associates look to make ground on the Gulls, while Wests Scarborough and Perth Bayswater will looking to continue their run to challenge for the top six.

The Coopers Premier Grade in Adelaide sees it arriving towards the business end of the season, with Brighton currently ahead on the ladder by a considerable margin. This weekend will see plenty to play for, with multiple finals places currently up for grabs.

Lastly, the Tasmania Premier Grade sees a top of the table clash between Devonport and the Taroona Penguins (best name, I know). Currently, Devonport have swept the competition as they hit the halfway point, however Taroona have been able to keep pace despite dropping one game. It’ll be a critical match at Royal Park in Devonport, which will likely determine the minor premier.

To find out more about the club rugby coming up this weekend, head over to rugby.com.au and check out my full column covering every single premier club rugby game happening this weekend.

I would go into more detail here, but it’s 11:30pm on Thursday night and I’m crashing harder than Windows 95, so I’ll just leave a link here when it’s published.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nick, be good to see how White goes. In my opinion he needs to do a lot more than he demonstrated last year to push his way in. TBH I found him underwhelming and when he was placed under pressure his game went to crap very fast. Good to have competition though.
    Tahs vs Brumbies is looking as though it might be a bit tense. I’m really looking forward to see if the Brumbies have a plan B or C and what they’ve done to fix their lineout woahs. As I mentioned yesterday, while I think the Tahs have got better, for the first time in about 7 years I might add, I think the Brumbies have regressed. Their back line lacks direction and while they have very good forwards they seem to operate individually more than as a team.
    I can’t see the Force getting up TBH but in some ways I hope they do. They have definitely shown they deserve to be here and I think are recognizing the step up is quite large. I’m not sure GRR prepared them for this level.

    • donktec

      I’m gonna say it: “Brumbies & woahs” – please tell me that was deliberate!

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Of course

    • You do realise over half the team that played GRR are now elsewhere KaRL?
      Blame poor play, poor coaching, poor whatever, but that line is losing its relevance.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah fair call. But I still think it’ll take a couple of years for them to build a competitive team

  • Hoss

    Good morning and welcome to Friday,

    Bout time the Tah’s got the recognition they deserved from a rival coach, especially as we are the MOST successful Australian franchise of the last 6 years, so kudos D McKellar. With 28 changes to his match day 23 and their form ‘flattish’ at best, combined with no Palestine and the fact they don’t take penalty shots I can’t see the Ponies actually scoring so it’s Tah’s 45 Ponies 0 for mine.

    Not sure I like HJH playing for the Reds this round but thanks Big Nick for the scoop. Must be part of a new trial law variant that sees players free for any side over any week.

    Reds v Wooden Spooners. It will be a telling insight into the grey matter of the young Reds. Force have an upset or two in them and a defensive effort like that of the reds last week can leave them emotionally flat, a fraction off the lace and susceptible to the force who surely are due. So much to be gleaned from the effort and application, more so then the result.

    And for one thing that’s annoying me for a few weeks. Kepplers moustache. Has there ever been a worse moustache in Australian Rugby. He looks like a year 9 boy who lost a bet or a TAFE graduate on his first day of placement as an adult entertainer in low grade Hungarian porn flicks that I have heard of. Keppler, it’s gotta go, for the emancipation of manliness please, I beseech you, get it gone.

    • Alister Smith

      Really good point re: the Reds. This game is one where they prove their metal. Any easing off the pedal is a retrograde step and raises questions about the maturity/mental application. It would have also been physically draining so their might be a physical as well as mental aspect to it.

      Oh, and why Hungarian in particular?

      • Hoss

        Based on what a fellow blogger Onlinesideline tells me, not that I have any knowledge of such matters.

      • Hoss

        Yes and the distressing loss for the Petaia family would also see the group ‘lift’ for last weekend but emotion can also exact a reverse payment in kind.

    • Keith Butler

      I’m becoming seriously concerned for your health my friend. The ongoing fantasy that the Tarts are the greatest thing since sliced bread and the use of CAPITALS leads me to believe that you may be morphing into another Aussie version of the Orange One. Very frightening.

      • Yowie

        We’ll be past the tipping-point when Hoss brags about “millions of upvotes” for a post.

        • Hoss

          You should have been at my inauguration

        • Greg

          I know, I know…. it was a great crowd and the photos are fake.

      • Hoss

        LISTEN HERE YOU AGITATOR. I’LL BE STUFFED IF I WILL SIT HERE AND LET YOU BESMIRCH THE GREATEST US PRESIDENT OF THE LAST 3.9 YEARS. NO SITTING PRESIDENT HAS EVER CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH TO THE LEXICON:

        – FAKE NEWS
        – ALTERNATIVE FACTS
        – JYNA (CHINA) – AS AN ASIDE IT WOULD BE FASCINATING TO HEAR HIM PRONOUNCE ‘VIRGINIA’

        NOR HAS ANY PRESIDENT SINCE LINCOLN WORKED SO HARD TO REINSTATE A ‘STATE OF ORIGIN’ SERIES WITH THE ONLY RULE THE SECOND AMENDMENT BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH. ARM EM ALL AND LET EM DUKE IT OUT – ALL COVERED BY FOX.

        SO, IN CLOSING – I ACCEPT YOUR APOLOGY AND KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO APOLOGISE BEFORE ANY ONE ELSE, ITS A TREMENDOUS APOLOGY AND ANYONE WHO DOESNT THINK ITS A BEAUTIFUL THING CAN TALK TO MY BFF VLADIMIR.

        • Yowie

          I did hope, for the sake of our rugby news website, that Hoss might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the comment section that had been placed in his care.

          But he never did. For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his Disqus account to help anyone but himself and the Waratahs; no interest in treating the comments section as anything but one more comments section that he can use to get the attention he craves.

          Hoss hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.

          And the consequences of that failure are severe. Pay cuts for players and administrators. Dozens of Super Rugby live spectators gone while front-rowers at the buffet take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our SANZAAR institutions threatened like never before.

        • Hoss

          Wasn’t it a terrific speech by BO. It’s was like being told by your father how deeply disappointed he is in you. No histrionics just admonishment and a call to action for sceptics to vote or risk the same

        • Yowie

          Perhaps echos of a dressing-down by R Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket:

          Private Pyle has dishonoured himself and dishonoured the platoon. I have tried to help him. But I have failed. I have failed because YOU have not helped me. YOU people have not given Private Pyle the proper motivation!

        • Damo

          Mate, it reminds me of the big xxxx beer strike in Qld in the 70’s. You would go up to the bar and ask “what’s on tap?”. The barman would say “Southwark”. You go “oh shit no… (sigh)… 3 pots thanks. Will enough US punters go into the booth in November and put their X against Joe “Southwark” Biden’s name?

        • Hoss

          Sadly you couldn’t rule out a #2 term for Jim Henson’s worst ever muppet based on a combination of apathy, stupidity and general lethargy of the Average American and we will all suffer (Further) for it. What the orange moron has shown is that beneath the veneer of Americana is a divided vacuous void of self-interest and delusion that has left me aghast and China’s emperor He’s Leaping and the Russian Imp and leader Tyrian Putin with a free run.

        • Reds Revival

          You have to reason that considering their level of apathy and self interest, they are getting the President that they deserve.

        • Hoss

          Yep – a Nation will usually get the leader it deserves.

        • Yowie

          But Jacinda seems really good. I’m terribly confused.

        • Greg

          “is that beneath the veneer of Americana is a divided vacuous void of self-interest”

          Not even beneath the veneer. The problem is that the old white guys (like us) that don’t have a great education, now don’t see a way forward.

          They need to heal the rift between the haves and the have nots, and across the racial groups, or they are done. My hope is that the catastrophe of Mr Trump will be the catalyst.

        • Greg

          @hoss I agree. It was great. It was a calm and dignified slap-down. Even if he is not an American citizen.

          The question is how many of our American cousins will vote… and then how different people interpret Make America Great Again.

          I live in hope.

        • Reds Revival

          I always preferred the slogan, “Ban shredded cheese, make America Grate Again”…

        • Keith Butler

          Another Hoss classic.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Hahahahaha love the Mosman approach to the Tahs. I hear Cheika is sending you Christmas Cards now

      • Yowie

        Dear Hoss
        Thanks for all your support and Merry Christmas, ya-know-what-I-mean.
        I hope the enclosed 1-wood suits your swing. If it doesn’t, I have a whole bin full of them left over from 2014 so you can pick one that works.
        I have more driver options for you than I have game plans hahahaha.
        Love
        Mick

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          That’s too articulate for Cheika. Only 1 “you-know-what-I-mean” in five lines pfffft!

        • Yowie

          I think Cheika dictates his letters and Christmas cards for the Warner Brothers cartoon Tasmanian Devil to edit and type-up when Cheika wants the clarity of his written items improved.

        • Damo

          If MC has started giving away some of his rugby memorabilia I might ask him if I can get his copy of “Coach Box Repairs for Dummies”.

      • Hoss

        A quick check of wiki facts shows the last Australian team to win the whole competition was……so ipso-facto, ‘most successful side of the last 6 years’ is empirically correct. I’m sorry, it’s science, it’s fact, it’s the vibe.

    • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

      I can’t believe the Reds have had to stoop so low, as to take an old Waratah jersey add a splash of maroon, in a cynical attempt to get more players on the PONI list…..shame shame shame.

      • Hoss

        I know mate, I know. You’re welcome Australia.

  • Ads

    GeeRob is reporting Rennie’s current PONI list as follows:
    Halfbacks: Nic White, Jake Gordon, Tate McDermott
    Five-eighths: Matt Toomua, Noah Lolesio, Will Harrison
    No.12: James O’Connor, Reece Hodge (13), Irae Simone
    No.13: Reece Hodge (12), Jordan Petaia, Tevita Kuridrani
    Wing: James Ramm, Tom Wright, Marika Koroibete, Filipo Daugunu
    Fullback: Jack Maddocks, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tom Banks.
    Tighthead prop: Allan Alaalatoa, Pone Fa’amausili, Jermaine Ainsley, Taniela Tupou, Harry Johnson-Holmes
    Loosehead prop: Angus Bell, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Harry Johnson-Holmes (both)
    Hooker: Folau Faingaa, Connal McInerney, Jordan Uelese, Tom Horton
    Second row: Ned Hanigan (6), Rob Simmons, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Trevor Hosea, Matt Philip, Cadeyrn Neville
    No.6: Lachlan Swinton, Ned Hanigan (lock), Harry Wilson (8), Peter Samu (8), Rob Valetini
    No.7: Michael Hooper, Liam Wright, Fraser McReight
    No.8: Harry Wilson (6), Pete Samu (6), Isi Naisarani

    By the numbers
    Brumbies – 14
    Waratahs – 11
    Rebels – 10
    Reds – 9
    Force – 0
    (Total: 44 players)

    “A Rugby Australia source said Rennie was in contact with the Western Force with a particular eye on winger Byron Ralston, centre Kyle Godwin, flanker Brynard Stander and second-row/flanker option Fergus Lee-Warner.”

    • Reds Revival

      That’s a great list to choose from. Great to see Brynard Stander and Ferg Lee Warner on the list. I feel sorry for Jono Lance missing out at this stage.

      • Ads

        Agree RR – its a decent list with all the right guys there apparently. 2nd row looks a bit of a worry to me still.
        Also interesting he sees JOC as a 12 only and Hodge too!

        • UTG

          Blyth unlucky

        • Hoss

          Just a year or two early I reckon and also needs more beef on the frame to be considered. Reckon Rennie wants the locks to also be line-bending ball carriers as well.

        • UTG

          Yeah I think you’re about line-bending—he doesn’t make a lot of noticeable carries. He’s shown more than Neville, imo, but Rennie has obviously seen something with Neville so I’m happy to roll with it.

        • laurence king

          Well, we’ve got these very good young 10s coming through and O’Connor mentoring alongside makes sense.

    • Hoss

      State bias aside Hortons my bolter for the 2 with Uleaes the other

      • Reds Revival

        “State bias aside – where are the other 22 Waratahs???”

        • Hoss

          Certainties.

      • laurence king

        Horton has been very impressive hasn’t he?

        • Hoss

          He just goes about his business doesn’t he. Good at the basics, fit, tough as old leather and hardly on the reds radar re infringements. Surprisingly quick for a piggy my only ‘but’ is he is on the smaller side at 103-104 kgs, however it’s the size of the fight in the dog that counts and he seems to have plenty.

          I am a big fan of Uleses’s as well. Same strength at the basics, good over the ball and plays like an extra #6 in the ruck, plus he is a fair size unit as well. Certainly I have them both ahead of Palestine at this point and BPA isn’t even in the conversation.

        • laurence king

          Not knowing a damn thing about this stuff, but would 103kgs be a problem beside a prop that is 137kgs.

        • Hoss

          Depends – if the breakfast buffet is empty it could be an issue.

        • Keith Butler

          Must say I’ve been impressed by Horton as well. Size is not everything, very quick round the park and throws pretty straight arrows.

    • Alister Smith

      I think the Players Of National Interest terminology is biased in favour of the Brumbies.

      Also if, you aren’t on PONI list but you are from a particular region like WA are you a Player of Regional Interest.

      note: available for children’s parties, bah mitzvahs. I am submitting these for inclusion in Christmas crackers

    • laurence king

      This info is not on the ARU website, so is it authoritative?

  • Alister Smith

    Anyone with a country background would claim Flook should be a walk up start for the Wallabies against the sheep loving Kiwis

    • Yowie

      …the sheep loving Kiwis

      tautology
      noun
      the saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g. they arrived one after the other in succession ).

  • Matthew Brocklehurst

    Good on you Nick, really loving the Club Updates this year. its great to see what is going on at club level around the Country. Also as a member of the Taroona Penquins its not only a great name but a great club :-)

    • mortlucky

      Your profile suggests that this is your first post so welcome aboard, Matt.
      I was kidnapped by my Tassie wife a couple of years ago and landed in Taroona only to find that the club is on the other side of the city/town/village.

      I’ve chatted to some of your team-mates (or maybe it was you?) who sold me a snag at Bunnings. One even played against Andrew Slack when they toured. Getting to a game is still on my to-do list and as the Time Bandits get older I will do so.

      • Matthew Brocklehurst

        Should definitely come along to a local game, it’s a pretty competitive competition this year so the games are enjoyable to watch

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician, second rower. Still trying to make sense of the 21st century. Dropped a debut novel last year...

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