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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s rugby news has the NRC grand final confirmed, Fiji to join the NRC, Matt Toomua yellow carded in his debut in England and Richie McCaw admits the Wallabies pushed the All Blacks to win the 2011 and 2015 World Cup.


NRC Final Confirmed

The final of the National Rugby Championship will be played in Tamworth and will be contested between the Perth Spirit and the NSW Country Eagles.

The Eagles defeated Melbourne Rising 50-24 in Newcastle whilst the Perth Spirit upset the Sydney Rays 42-24 at Pittwater Rugby Park.

Neither team have won the competition with Brisbane City winning the competition in the last two years.

It will be the first time the Eagles have been to the grand final whilst it will be the second time the Perth Spirit have competed in the final.

Fiji to Join NRC

ARU CEO Bill Pulver announced on Friday that a Fijian side will be included in next year’s NRC.

The Fiji Warriors have been granted entry for the next four years and comprise of players from Fiji’s second national XV.

“There’s a major desire at a world rugby level to help promote the game in the Pacific Islands,” Pulver said.

“Clearly the economic imbalance of the game is a great challenge and trying to find an opportunity for players to remain resident in their home nation and earn an income or become professional players is a really important step.

“World Rugby were all over – they had their hands in this agreements from day one.”

Toomua Sees Yellow

toomua wallabies

Matt Toomua has been yellow carded just 13 minutes into his debut with his new club Leicester.

Toomua was playing inside centre when he lifted Glasgow fly-half Finn Russell in a tackle and put him in a dangerous position.

Leicester were beaten 42-13 by Glasgow in their opening European Champions Cup pool match.

The loss was the the most points Leicester had conceded in a European Cup game in the club’s history.

Wallabies Pushed AB’s

Former All Blacks coach Richie McCaw has admitted that losing to the Wallabies before their 2011 and 2015 World Cup campaign’s pushed them to win the two tournaments.

“What it did, it firmly planted us back with feet on the ground. If anybody was getting a bit carried away or subconsciously thinking we had it all under control, it shook us and brought proper reality back​,” McCaw said. ​

“I know going into the World Cup final, having that memory of only a few weeks earlier, we spoke about if we don’t get it right, we could come second here. There is a lot of respect between New Zealand and Australia.

“I remember in 2011 it was similar too, we lost a week before the tournament in Brisbane. Going into the semi-final (against the Wallabies) of that World Cup, that defeat wasn’t too far out of the mind either. We had to get it right or we would be finishing up.”

  • Bert

    Frantastic news for Fiji and the NRC

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yeah great work by the ARU. So good when they get it right

    • Greg

      Hopefully a step towards a Super team.

      That could be outstanding.

      • Die Hard

        Except that they would probably replace one of the Australian teams

  • onlinesideline

    shouldnt fiji really have a super team, there plenty good enough. If Japanese do why cant Fiji.

    I would much rather see Island countries each have a super team actually and completely do away with SA side of tournamnent. After 15 years I still have no interest in SA provincal rugby, I still dont know where each team is from, where on the map each place is – transvaal, capetown – who cares – its on the other side of the planet for me – I have never been there and probably never will go there – to play them at test level GREAT – even an unknown which would be nice – it would be special – but for a week in week out winter tournamnent for 3 months Im not interested – there is no tribalism which is want inspires. Alternatively, at least with island teams I know where they are from, who they are, interact with them in day to day life and the matches would be in our time zone.

    I hate the way rugby admins have turned players into cattle that are schleped around the globe like commodities – its stuffed the game up.

    Look at the massive crowd at Melboure City v Melbourne Victory – it was just a local derby – we are losing this battle BIG time. Soccer is going to get bigger and bigger.

    Scrap the June tests too and let the Super tournament reach a natural crescendo without interuption – sooooo bloody obvious

    And while I’m have a whinge scrap that bloody music at games too – it kills everyones natural tendency to roar, sing, chant, scream, fart !

    • TheMountain

      No money in Fiji

      • onlinesideline

        well some turnouts at our matches are pitiful actually arent they – I reckon you would get healthier crowds than expected.

        • Qwas

          Not at $20+ a ticket

        • Seb V

          I don’t think crowds to grounds is the big issue (although certainly helps), it’s more about TV viewers and given the population density in Japan the growth potential for TV views is huge.

    • Tim

      Fiji could have a team but as its a poor country no big cash grabs would be made. Although i do think having a super rugby team their stadiums (ovals) would be sold out each game. If not they could put one of the teams home games in NZ which also pulls big crowds as large Pacific island nation.

    • We can’t get rid of the June tests. Without those the ARU will go broke.

      • paul

        That is debatable. It is the ARU that have backed themselves into a corner with the June tests.
        Yes they need the revenue, but how much other revenue are they losing by relying on Test rugby as a one stop strategy.
        look at it this way, your set up is WRONG when just 3 test games in 4 weekends earns you more money than what you can potentially earn with 20/25 domestic games over the same period.

        • onlinesideline

          exactly Paul – nailed it

          Look at the English premiership in soccer, internationals are a rarity, massive crowds based on local or nationwide rivalries are the most potent form of tribalism. Same in all successful tournaments. Super rugby is weird.

    • Joy

      What a feeble excuse for your lack of interest in Africa. Download Google Earth and have a good look at it. It will do you a “world” of good.

      • onlinesideline

        Oh OK Mr/Mrs “wordly” – You’re right, the fact that Ive lived in Sweden , Holland, Hungary and the US for over 20 years and travelled to about 40 countries does make me rather provincial. Where can I get that app your suggesting ?

        • Joy

          Mrs thank you. My point is if you don’t know where SA provinces are why not find out rather than bagging them.

        • onlinesideline

          I know where they are, I’m not “bagging them” joy(ce)

          Provincial competitions were always built around local or reasonably local rivalries. Lets play the Saffas and Argies internationally and provinces locally or ones that are a hop, skip and jump away – the kiwis – its a model thats worked for decades – playing the Saffas, the Japanese and Argentinians provincially doesnt work for me. If you have the opinion that it does work, fine…enjoy.

          The season is too long and the reason people are getting bored with test matches is because we are playing these players too often in Super rugby prior. A test match should hold some mystery as to what standard other players from other countries are playing at – that was always the allure of internationals – the Test.

        • paul

          Agreed

    • McWarren

      Yes Fiji should be in SR, but why Fiji and not Somoa or Tonga?
      Mate I love having the Saffa’s in the comp. I do know where they are from, because I’ve got a fairly rudimentary grasp of Geography, I interact with Southern Africans almost daily. I’ve never been there, but I’ve never been to Fiji either. Perhaps if having been there is a prerequisite for entry we should give Bali a run, or base a team out of Niseko?
      I am sick to my back teeth with f’ing ‘local derbies’. I don’t get the same excitement when Qld play NSW anymore, because if we lose we get another shot in a few weeks. For me the whole emphasis on Australian teams playing Australian teams more often and sold to us under the exciting guise of a local derby has set us back years. We need to be playing the nz and saffa teams more and we need more teams playing them.
      Agree with running the SR season continuously, and the whole music shit at games. And I’ll add one more to that. Can we please stop getting the lead from a local musical, actually stop getting anyone to lead us in the national anthems. Nothing sounds better, even on TV, than an entire stadium belting out there anthem.

      • onlinesideline

        Maybe we should do what the welsh do and that is get someone to do the note guide thing by periodically playing the triangle at different keys through course of the song over the PA – thats what they actually do.

        I totally agreee that the anthem should not sound like “les miserable” – it should be civic sounding, its insane

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I think the issue with SA is that it brings in the money. The problem with any South pacific team is that there isn’t the funding to make it a sustainable team and no higher union to back it up. If any of the current teams struggle then the national organisation (NZRFU, ARU, SARU or the Argentinian one) can cover them for a while and is able to help them get out of trouble. There isn’t that safety net in the Pacific nations and it would only work if they came under the umbrella of one of the other three. I can’t see that happening anytime soon unfortunately

  • IrishFanInSydney

    RIP Axel Foley.

    • Kevino

      For those who see this, Current Munster coach Anthony Foley passed away in his hotel room on Saturday night (French time), Munster were due to play Racing Metro on Sunday and the match was called off obviously.

      Foley was captain of the Munster 2006 Heineken Cup winning team, also played 62 times for Ireland.

    • mikado

      Shocking news :(

  • Tonald

    I do not want to be cynical for the sake of being cynical, but does involving Fiji not defeat the purpose of our NRC?

    • RugbyReg

      how? Same number of Australian teams and players getting a chance to showcase their talents. And now they get to do it against an international team.

      And, to be fair, Australian Rugby owes a debt of gratitude to Fiji Rugby. If it wasn’t for them we may not be around anymore.

      • Pedro

        I would also imagine the Fiji games will be the best attended, just based on family members. It will be good for the comp, plus there are already non Australians playing, so it doesn’t change a whole lot.

        • Greg

          I think it is great that a Fijian team will be playing.

          They certainly bring big families and…. there is always something unexpected!

          I think a challenge for them might be to get into the daily grind of the tournament.

          Will the games all be in Australia…. or some in Suva and Lautoka? The humidity would be tough for the visitors.

        • Joy

          It gives us a good look at their talent and gives them a career pathway.

        • jamie

          So. Many. Cousins.

      • Tonald

        I can see the clear benefits of this

  • Tim

    Pretty happy about Fiji joining the NRC. There style of play is exciting and physical. Toomau good hit very lucky the person didn’t land on his head or neck as he would have got a red! I hope the Force have a good season next year with alot of talented young people playing in their squad.
    Anyone worried about Phipps starting this week against the all blacks. They will get under his skin in the first minute so his passes will be awful for the whole game

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’m ok with it mate :-)

      • Tim

        hahahaha well with Phipps at 9 foley at 12 dean Mumm at 6 should be an easy win. :(

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yep, that’s what I’m thinking mate. In all honesty I’d like Cheika to make some big changes. Hodge to 12, DHP to 15, Folau to wing (don’t care which), bring in a speedster on the other wing, McMahon to 8, Timane to 6 and give the AB’s something to work on. I can’t see it as he seems to have a fascination with Mumm at 6 which I just can’t understand and Foley at 12 which I really don’t think is working

        • Tim

          Yeah i agree with that team im just unsure why he wont pick it. The All Blacks will have a field day they will target the 10-12 channel and pressure the lineout. Phipps is one that is easily rattled which again is an easy target. Wallabies have to many easy targets to coach against

        • mikado

          Agreed. I don’t think that team will win but it’s worth a try at least.

    • Keith Butler

      Just make sure the ABs have their boot laces securely tied.

    • Hoss

      If he can hit the AB’s hard in defence as he did the medic and visualises the pill as a ‘shoe’ his passes will be 40+ metres. With a bit of luck he could be MOM.

  • tortfeaser

    So much heading apostrophefail.

  • The Big Lebowski

    Good move for the NRC bringing a Fiji team in, but I agree with some of the other comments – they need to be in Super Rugby.

    But….only if Super Rugby can punt the Saffas out. Nothing against the Boks or SA Rugby, but it’s doing out head in in Australia.

    Putting my case forward for a Pacific Rugby Championship:

    5 x Australian teams
    5 x New Zealand teams
    Sunwolves
    Jaguares

    New teams from Pacific Islands and United States.

    Why the US? Because rugby is played in the universities and towns while American football doesn’t really exist post high school/college. Now that it’s an Olympic sport it will grow massively. And it doesn’t have to grow much to be profitable.

    • Kevino

      If your going to boot SA, no point bringing in America’s.

      • The Big Lebowski

        SA in European time-zone and single-minded for that market. Maybe they can keep the Jaguares.

        • Kevino

          Current issue at the moment is the competition is to complicated to follow. The whole thing needs to be simplified. Later on if you want to do a European style cup for the best sides from each. But at the moment make a ANZ league and get the fans back. Cause the AFL and NRL are walking all over rugby and the ARU does not stand a chance with the current model. Even the A-League is a more attractive to the Australian market.

    • Joy

      Jags are a time zone issue. They’re closer to Africa. US and Canada have the same time date problem for us.

      Add in a Melanesian side (PNG, Fiji, Solomons etc) and a Polynesian side (Tonga, Samoa etc). Add NZ Maoris to Polynesia for a really balanced competition.

      Join South Africa to Africa and the Americas which can be split in two as the sport grows across the three continents.

      • The Big Lebowksi

        Probably should have clarified – West Coast US.

        It’s 8pm in San Francisco right now, albeit a Sunday. US team playing in BNE/SYD/CBR/MLB can have 2pm kick-off local, beamed in to US prime time. Or live games in SF can be beamed in to eastern states for afternoon rugby.

        And an 8pm kick-off here is about a 5am or 6am kick-off on the East cost. Not overly bad, but West Coast works better.

        So Saturday or Sunday arvo rugby in Australia is Friday or Saturday night rugby on the west coast. Who doesn’t love watching footy in the afternoon here?

        Agree, Jaguares a bit more difficult. But if we keep throwing ideas around on this forum, we’ll work it out!

        • Joy

          Agree with your point about live broadcasting although the reverse applies for viewers in the Americas.

          I was actually concerned about two way jet lag for players which affects the competitiveness of all teams. I should have been clearer.

      • Willem Labuschagne

        Mate, adding an NZ Maori team doesn’t work because those players are already integrated into the other NZ Super Rugby teams.

        • Joy

          It was just a jab at the Kiwis.

    • Tonald

      Strongly believe we need to leave Super Rugby. It has all-but destroyed the game here. The attendance figure trends speak for themselves.

      Ultimately form a new competition with NZ, following the NRL or AFL format.

      I see no point in re-creating a Super Rugby catastrophe by inviting teams from random countries. I can see a geographical and cultural argument for Fiji or Pacific Island sides (I would not be in favour though). American sides, I do not see any rationale.

  • AllyOz

    there was talk before about a pacific island team that might play out of North Queensland (Townsville I guess and they have a new stadium on the way)

  • Adrian

    Beat the All Blacks at Eden Park?

    It is possible.

    Of course it will be hard, but let’s give it a crack. It’s an opportunity to stand up, and let them know they’ve had a game, not just a training run.

    The squad of 31 is ok, given who is available and who isn’t. I’m not picking from outside the squad.

    I obviously don’t know who Cheika will pick, or what tactics, but I suspect that he could be at least be thinking of adding a couple of big bruisers to to the game day 23, without making wholesale changes.

    The idea is to bend their line (and offload to the backs), whilst at the same time keeping a functional lineout.
    This probably means a 6:2 bench.
    Assume McMahon’s not quite fit.

    Assume Sio, Moore, Kepu in front row.
    Maybe, Robertson, LATU, Alaalatoa on the bench. Latu hits and runs very hard.

    Cheika hasn’t put Skelton in the squad for nothing, so it wouldn’t surprise if he’s picked.

    To get 3 lineout jumpers on at all times Cheika might try Coleman and Skelton as starting locks, with Mumm at 6, Hooper at 7 and Timani at 8.

    The forwards bench could be Arnold (replacing Skelton), Pocock replacing Timani. Even with a 6:2 bench, Simmons would only replace Mumm or Coleman, ….if necessary. Ideally Coleman would play the full 80.

    Having 3-5 heavy runners (Skelton, Timani, Coleman, Sio, Kepu, Alaalatoa, Latu, and perhaps Robertson) on the field at any one time, we will bend the line.

    With any 2 of Coleman, Arnold, Mumm, Simmons on the field at any one time, supported by Timani should be enough to retain our lineout ball.

    To clarify what I mean, Skelton will only be on with Hooper, and will go off at the same time as Pocock goes on.

    In the backs, Cheika will probably stick with the same guys, except for Phipps replacing Genia. Oddly enough, Phipps functions best behind the heavy runner forwards strategy, and is good at backing up the runners. Phipps also won’t be taken by surprise by a quick tap by the opposition.

    During the match Cheika might get Foley and Folau swapping places occasionally, rather than DHP and Folau swapping, as happened a couple of times last week. Cheika likes guys who are good under the high ball at fullback, and knows Folau is the best, and better than DHP in this regard. Foley is better under the high ball than most.

    The backs bench would be Frisby and Kurandrani, with Naivalu or Speight added if its a 5:3 bench.

    Having said all of that, it wouldn’t surprise if for this game only, Cheika put in Kurandrani for Foley to strengthen the defence in the centres.

    The main job of the backs will be to seize on offloaded ball when heavy forwards make a half break, as well as to attack on their own, particularly if the defence is backpedaling or disorganized.

    The above team has only one unforced change and one forced change to last weeks run-on team, and only 4 changes to the 23 (2 unforced, 2 forced by unavailability)

    It’s the tactics that are different.

    Cheika definitely knows how to use these tactics, having done so successfully at the Waratahs. He hasn’t seriously tried them with the Wallabies.

    If we play the “bend the line” in attack, brutal defence way, and the All Blacks have an off day, we are a chance.

    If we just play a mindless pass the parcel game we are no chance, even if the All Blacks have an off day.

    What do we have to loose?

    • mikado

      I agree that a highly physical game *might* beat the All Blacks. I think the ABs and NZ Super teams have been vulnerable to pick-and-goes from the ruck. I’m not sure your heavy runners are up to the task though. Kepu seems good with ball in hand, and Timani looks to have the capability (although he didn’t make much yards vs Argentina, I think). The others are not line benders for me. I’d agree with putting Kuridrani in for Foley. Australia’s defence needs to be outstanding.

      • Huw Tindall

        Pick and goes are it. The Tahs game this year vs Chiefs demonstrates that. You can’t ‘suck in’ defenders by at the breakdown as NZ will just stand off and rely on their rush defence to cause errors and keep us behind the gain line. Need the pick and goes and sniping half back runs as this draws defenders in closer to the ball, opening up space out wide and disrupting their defensive structure. This is pick and go. Not hit ups one out from the 9. That wastes too much time. It will take good ball handling skills from the forwards, and the pack will need to be right up the bum of the guy who picks and goes so they don’t get isolated, but this isn’t beyond these guys. Some good skills in there. I’d see a guy like Tyrone Viga of NRC fame to really excel at this.

        Really think there is merit in having Kuridrani in there at 13 for his defensive reads. NZ are so red hot on attack this year we really need rock solid defense to shut them down. TK is your man here. Although Kerevi has been great at 13 he is still learning the defensive nuances. Shift him to 12 to give Quade a legitimate. Means Foley on the pine or left out altogether if it’s a 6:2 bench. 12 isn’t a long term solution for Foley and he could do with a rest. Yes we’ll lose some kicking reliability but without tries we are no hope of toppling the kiwis.

        • Adrian

          Agree Huw.
          That game v Chiefs illustrated how to do it. Skelton & Palu were great, with Hooper and Phipps backing them up.
          Re our heavy runners, I’m hoping that our props, Latu (if he plays) plus Skelton, Coleman & Timani will display the best form they ever have.
          I’m not counting on Mumm or Simmons or Fardy to do much heavy running. I’m not sure about Robertson, but Sio and Alaalatoa at their best plus Kepu can bend defences.
          A big ask I guess,… but worth a try

      • Adrian

        Thanks Mikado.
        I’ve replied to Huw below re heavy runners, and I think we have them, IF they “turn up”

  • MST

    I just sat down and watched Chasing Great, the whole Richie McCaw movie. Can’t believe they got the details wrong, not one single mention that he was the former All Blacks coach! At least we know now who the real brain behind Graham Henry was.

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Wallabies, Waratahs and Northern Suburbs supporter. Twitter: @Hughadams01

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