Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees the first Super Rugby results, the Waratahs hoping to win back fans, Coleman aiming to be honest, and some new rules from Rugby Australia.

The Rugby Is Back

Photo credit: Steve McLeod

Photo credit: Steve McLeod

God, it feels good to write that! Yep, Super Rugby is indeed back, kicking off over in South Africa with two cracking games.

Starting in Cape Town, the Stormers got off to winning ways with a scrappy win over the Jaguares, 28-20.

In what was a really seesawing affair, the Stormers got off to a flyer with tries to Raymond RhuleDamian de Allende and loose-forward Siya Kolisi. The Argentineans were struggling, with Joaquin Tuculet being sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.

However, the Jaguares woke up in the final 20 minutes, coming from 22-6 down to score though a penalty try and a second meat pie to Emiliano Boffelli. It proved to be too little too late, with the Stormers surviving to get the win.

While the Cape Town match was a rusty affair, the Lions-Sharks derby in Jo’Berg was something else entirely.

Both outfits looked slick and ready from the get-go. The Sharks took a surprise lead through a try to Robert du Preez. The Lions however recovered through set piece dominance, and led 14-7 at the break.

Both sides traded two tries a piece after halftime, and the match turned into a full-on arm wrestle. In the end, the Lions were able to repel a final wave of Sharks attack to win, 26-19.

“I’m happy with the result, but not so much our performance,” said Lions captain Warren Whiteley. “We lost a lot of ball in contact and made it difficult for ourselves. We just couldn’t finish.

“We know we need to up our performance if we are to get to the business end of this competition.”

Check out the highlights from those two matches here.

For the Fans

Curtis Rona, Highlanders v Waratahs

Curtis Rona, Highlanders v Waratahs

The Waratahs have had a couple of rubbish seasons, and it’s fair that many longtime fans have been turned off going to games since their premiership win back in 2014.

But at least the Tahs recognise one thing, that to get people to come back, they have to start playing better rugby. With their season opening on Saturday night against the Stormers (a team that won’t exactly get people coming through the gates like a Reds, Brumbies or Crusaders outfit), the Tahs aim to set a standard for their season.

The stars are lining up for them to do well on paper, with Michael Hooper, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau all retained in the squad. The squad has also picked up a bunch of players after the removal of the Force last year, which will add much to player depth.

But, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, it all counts for nought if a team with this much potential don’t turn up.

This year sees the first time that a finals series could be free of Australian teams. That is, if the Sunwolves REALLY turn it on. The Brumbies are seen by many as the team to beat this season, even despite them having a new Super Rugby coach. With big changes going on the Rebels and Reds, it’s a real case of now or never for Daryl Gibson‘s men.

After averaging only 14,500 per season last year, a crowd of a similar size is predicted to make it to the Tah’s Saturday night game. If the Tahs do get off to a flyer with a win, and back it up with solid tour of South Africa and Argentina, then hopefully it’ll encourage people to turn up for their round four clash at home against the Rebels.

That is, if they play well.

Honesty is Key

Lopeti Timani, Adam Coleman and Rory Arnold about to pack down a scrum

Lopeti Timani, Adam Coleman and Rory Arnold about to pack down a scrum

Down in Melbourne, GAGR Favourite Dave Wessels has been putting the final touches to the Rebels preparation for their opening match against the Reds. However, his biggest preparation plan has been focused heavily around his captain, Adam Coleman.

The pair have been working with each other for several years in the WA system, and had really begun to take the Force places until the ARU unceremoniously pulled the rug out from under their feet.

But, with Wessels landing the Rebels gig and Coleman joining him, it presents a new opportunity for both coach and captain. And for Wessels, it comes down to Coleman being honest with himself.

I think he is a good leader already. He leads through his physical presence on the field and he’s a real ‘follow me’ captain,” he said to

“I think he gets that he doesn’t have to be somebody he’s not. All I want from him is the same Adam, just with the same intensity that he’s always brought.

“I think if he can do that, he keeps being honest with me, I think we’re going to have a good relationship.

“I’m probably more honest with him than anybody else in the team and I have been for a long time but that’s because my expectations of Adam are higher than other people on the team.

“He’s very honest with me, he’s prepared to tell me exactly what he thinks and I probably tell him a fair amount of exactly what I think as well.”

It’s clear that ‘Blood’ has already rubbed off on Coleman, particularly when both had to go through the removal of the Force last year.

“I really enjoy playing rugby, I enjoy the physicality and I just see myself being the same player to be honest and just enjoying my football,” said Coleman.

“When we’re doing that, it goes a long way.

“It can be a good thing, leading by example but I suppose making smart decisions on and off the field, I think I’ve come a long way in that area.”

“He has turned down some very lucrative opportunities to go overseas to stay here in Australia and commit himself not only to Melbourne but also to wider Australian rugby,” Wessels added.

“I think people should recognise the personal sacrifices that he’s made to be here and I think what it also gives him is a real purpose.

“It’s a relationship of mutual respect but we push each other but that’s why I picked him.

“If I reflect on what we did as a group [at the Force], I think we fought much harder than people anticipated us to. On the field, off the field, in the media, in the courtrooms.

“We did everything we could to try and save the team. For me personally I feel very proud of those efforts. For me, it’ll always be part of our identity.”

New age-weight dispensation rules introduced

Shute Shield

Shute Shield

Finally, last Friday Rugby Australia announced some major changes to the junior rugby system in 2018, with new age-weight dispensation rules set to be introduced.

Previously, kids could be just moved up and down two age groups, and there was no standard methods or qualifications to determine how this would be measured.

Junior players who are between the age of 10-15 and who fall outside the weight and height bracket will now be independently assessed to determine what age group they should play in.

The aim is, according to Rugby Australia head of rugby services Lachlan Clark, to encourage junior players to keep playing the game by putting them in the right environment.

“The changes we have made with our size and age guidelines are aimed at making the game safer and more enjoyable for all participants, while staying true to the value that Rugby is a game for people of all shapes and sizes,” he said to

“In every age group, there are exceptional cases where a junior player might be better suited to playing up or down a grade, and we now have a structured process to ensure those players are playing at a level that best suits their physical and personal development.

“This is the culmination of a review which has been two years in the making and is backed by an extensive research project, which we believe puts Australia at the forefront of world rugby in this area.”

On top of this, Rugby Australia will also expand the ‘Blue Card’ concussion system that was trialled in the NRC last year, with all junior teams now using the same system.

“The Blue Card system will be in place across all Rugby nationally from under 13 to NRC level, enhancing Rugby’s commitment to protecting players from the rare occurrence of concussion,” Clark said.

“There will be ongoing structured education of match officials, medical attendants, coaches and  team managers in the signs and symptoms and management of concussion.

“Our commitment to protect players from head injuries is reinforced with strict high tackle laws with the understanding that the head is sacred across all levels of the game.

“The blue card system reinforces that player safety is paramount in our game.”

  • Patrick

    What a positive start to the week :)

  • Jack

    well done Nick

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nick, So good to see it all starting again. That Sharks Lions game was a cracker and I think we may see a start to some positive plays with the SA teams this year. Be interesting to see how that translates across to the national team.

    The weight for age thing is a great move. I remember when it came in in NZ and while there were a few hiccups it was such a great improvement and brought so many more poeple back to the game. They even brought in a under 80 or 90kg grade for post school leavers who didn’t make the Colts or Junior 1sts and didn’t want to get smashed moving into the senior grades. I’m not sure of the idea of people being assessed by an independent assessor though. Who are these people, how many of them are there and where are they going to be situated. If this means people will still play as per normal until the independant assessor is available then it could cause more issues than it solves. A straight weight based system actually works and may be better.

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      Amen to that KRL. I agree a lot with this idea. I think we want to keep people in the game, and I think the age-weight idea is a solid one. It may also encourage kids to try out Rugby. RA weren’t very clear on how the independent assessment will work, will there be people running around going to every out player? Regardless, if it works, that’s awesome. If not, I agree with you it could cause more issues.

      • Dally M

        It’s a weight/age criteria first and then if the kid is a certain % over or under the average they get assessed on fitness, skills and maturity.
        They claim that where it was trialled, they had more kids moved down than moved up.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I sort of understand the concern that just relying on weight is an issue because an unskilled person can get hurt if they go up too far too fast. But I think an unskilled big person does more damage to little blokes than might get done to him/her if they play up a grade. I just don’t know why they ant to complicate it. Surely having a weight range would solve most of those issues and getting it 80% right would be better than going for perfect and still not achieving it.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Hey KRL, yep an interesting weekend of Ruggers.
      re the weight for age thing, I think it is pretty simple. I dont think independant assessors are required. If there is any issues or questions before a game, the referump can pull out a set of scales, throw the individual on it, if they are under the play, if they dont they dont.
      Just issue all referumps a set of scales and we are good to go.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        mate, I’ve just signed up to start again down here in Sydney. Now that it’s been put out there I think there’ll be an expectation that reffs will sort it out. Could be interesting to see how it pans out

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep, I was always of the view that if they were twice the size of the other kids, throw them on the scales.

        • Xaviera

          You might need to re-read the press release. It’s not weight for age like the NZ system – it’s more complex than that, and it’s not simply about weight. Those that are outliers will be independently assessed, and an age recommended. Parents will then have a right of appeal. As I said elsewhere, it’s a bit messy, but once it settles down, it will lead to good outcomes, while still respecting the need for rugby teams to have a variety of body shapes within each team.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Gee I probably will. sounds like we are over complicating a ham sandwhich. we should take a system that already works rather than inventing something and trying to implement it. This has got tyopical cluster written all over it.

        • Xaviera

          A LOT of work has gone into it, and while it’s a bit messy both in the way it has been communicated, and the way it will need to be managed, it will better suit our rugby community.

          Unlike NZ, we don’t have the numbers to make pure weight for age work, which is why it has never been truly implemented here, and the various administrators have rightly recognised that, so I applaud them for that, and look forward to seeing it implemented, frustrations notwithstanding.

          Worth also noting that while NZ does use weight for age, it’s not universal by any means, so bear that in mind when comparing us to NZ. Shades of grey… (or black for some).

      • Who?

        Weight for age… If you’d been on those scales (given you’re a larger than average human – no insult intended!), you might’ve been playing against kids 3 years older than you. Not ideal! How do you do that when you’re U8’s, and you’re playing against U10’s? Might be your first year, but you’re unlucky enough to be playing against U10’s kids who’ve been playing since U6’s. It’s a great way to see kids get discouraged and give the game away. It’s a very good thing that it’s going to be assessed by coaches in advance (advance of the season), rather than a call on the day. A call on the day makes it hard to plan anything – you could be short of players without notice.
        Size isn’t an indicator of hardness, technique, maturity. The junior team I ran for years had kids ranging from the 3rd percentile to the 97th percentile on the growth charts. The kid on the 3rd percentile was as hard as any of them! And he didn’t get injured more often than anyone else (i.e. he didn’t get injured, other (larger) kids did).
        And contrary to the report above, you couldn’t move down an age group, unless you were in the SJRU. The SJRU had a very intelligent system in place which contravened the rulings of the ARU, and no one else was permitted to use it. In fact, the ARU’s position was that the insurers wouldn’t cover it so other regions couldn’t use it. The SJRU’s position was that they were the biggest junior player pool in the country and they’d do the right thing by their members, regardless of ARU intransigence (I had a great exchange with a senior person in the SJRU thanks to Xaviera).
        I am VERY pleased to see Rugby not following an alarmist approach as advocated in the media, not retaining a pig-headed approach as others would advocate, but looking to ensure a mix of player sizes (because you don’t play weight-based in seniors, so you’d better figure it out before then!), and allowing kids at the extremes to move both ways to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate I am sure it is not simple, and for the record at juniors age although i was a foot taller than everyone, I was a total stringbean, and most of the other kids actually weighed more than me.

          At our juniors it wasnt the problem that i see at the rugby training I attend that my daughters play.

          In the girls grades it really isnt much of an issue but in the boys grades, I am seeing the age group have an 18 inch variation in height, and upto a 30kg (double the body weight) of some of the kkids playing. All of the factors you mentioned are spot on and I dont disagree with them, I am just saying that if there is a way to screw this up then RA will probably find the way to do it.

          But your last statement is 100% gold.

          “….. but looking to ensure a mix of player sizes (because you don’t play weight-based in seniors, so you’d better figure it out before then!), and allowing kids at the extremes to move both ways to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment.”

  • Pearcewreck

    Ta Nick,
    The new age-weight dispensation rules introduced should be a good thing for the juniors.
    Children grow at different rates & stages, and hopefully this will recognise that.

  • Sideshow

    Good to see no Aussie team lost a Super Rugby game this week! Well done Aussies!!!

    • Kiwi rugby lover


  • Funk
    • Nutta

      This is probably really petty but was this pic taken in-line with the court appearance? I’m asking as if so then I’m pleased to see he was really aware of presenting himself in the correct light. I mean the glasses, hair, designer stubble etc as in that pic just completely screams ‘clean living professional athlete’ yeh? Wouldn’t possibly be mistaken for anything else…

      My old dad would probably offer him a reputable antihistamine to help with the runny nose.

      Beyond episodes of player stupidity, I seriously ask myself just what player managers get paid for sometimes – to act and advise in the best interests of their Client?

      The shame is that I really like the guy as a player. Smart, tough, makes defenders make a choice and so much more. He could/would/should be a magnificent Wobbly No12.

      Not sure why but I kept having The Shamen going through my head…

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate you can’t teach attitude and respect. That has to come from within.

        I think the question people will be asking will be along the lines of “Do we need someone that we have to monitor so closely and will the effort needed to do that actually be worth it in the long run?” I know there isn’t the depth here that there is in NZ but personally I’d cut him loose. Anyone who thinks that they’ve got the absolute entitlement to do whatever they want in order to please themselves has a defect that would come into his game under pressure.

        Also personally, I’ve always struggled with some of the reviews he gets. I’ve seen a lot of mistakes with him out of position and seemingly unaware of what he’s meant to be doing. I don’t actually rate him that high and I think others such as Kerevi, Paia’aua and Perese are actually better players,

  • Greg

    @Nutta Mate, I am hanging out for your reflections on 10-15.

    I know it is hard to find a lot of substance back there and so I can understand why it is taking some time. You can do it.

    Yours in anticipation….

    • Nutta

      Dude No10 and Centres have been submitted and are awaiting approval so I don’t get anyone sued – least of all me!

  • Bakkies

    We need more of an updated on the NRC as Rugby WA’s plans that were discussed at their forum that NSW are only going to be fielding two teams this year. City and Country. The Spirit will be known as the Western Force and the Sydney Rugby Union have again decided to schedule the Shute Shield Final on the same weekend the NRC kicks off.

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      Have the Shute Shield and NRC clashed again with times again?! This is getting ridiculous now. No wonder the NSW teams struggle, when I was chatting with Darren Coleman at last years NRC he made it no secret that it having less time than the other NRC clubs to prepare the team set him and the players at a disadvantage. Even a week or two delay, I dunno, move the NRC back a week, or the Shute Shield forward a week. Why is that so bloody hard?!

      • Bakkies

        Hi Nick it was mentioned on the forums here that it will clash again this year.

        Darren Coleman is right as the NSW sides only started getting results when it was too late.

      • Nutta

        Because it would mean Sydney/Eastern rugby recognising there is something else in the world other than itself…

      • Brumby Runner

        I could well be wrong Nick, but my recollection of 2017 was that by the end of the NRC some teams lost players who were selected for their country’s national sides. The Drua I think were especially affected. It really isn’t practical for the NRC to be delayed any further without the finals series being comprehensively compromised. It is time the SS had their tails kicked and their heads pulled in, and made to finish their competition to fit into the schedules of the ARU’s agenda.

        • LBJ

          How does piss right off sound…?!!!
          One team from Sydney in the NRC is one too many.

          The Shute Shield is the only living thing in Australian Rugby – its a brilliant competition that has support as deep as its heritage. And despite over a decade of concerted effort from self interested professional administrators trying to cannibalise it for their own benefit – the SS competition is thriving!

          Only Australian rugby and its myopic supporters could be so inept that they would seriously want to kill a competition (the only Aussie competition) that people LOVE (~20k to the semi’s and finals as well as to a number of in-season derbies), just so that two men and a dog can watch some trumped up rep footy…sorry, there are also a heap of paid marketing people handing out free stuff that goes straight in the bin.

          Seriously, how could you not learn from last year?! Yours is the exact same logic (led by the exact same muppets) who joyfully murdered Rugby in the entire state of WA, so that they could access a few extra $$ and players (of course they’ll realise in a few years that there is a mysterious vacuum of both).

          SS continues to nurture the vast majority of Australian professional players (I’ve got no data to back that up – but it feels about right) and takes great pride in wherever they land, because it is about the rugby and the values of rugby – not the politics. And because this is what it is about, it runs successful juniors (Manly and Warringah alone have >20 u6 sides) through to grade or subbies and in doing so delivers a good chunk of the rugby support in Australia’s largest city. The competition is outstanding in everything from its display of footy to its display of community – come and be part of a Manly v Warringah game on the village green and you’ll see what I mean.

          What works in Aus is right under our noses – and it needs to be nurtured, treasured, promoted and copied across the nation! Imagine if each capital city and region had a local competition that was as strong as the SS?! imagine if the top team from each played each other – that would be an NRC worth aspiring to. That would be Aus Rugby reaching for greatness.

          Instead Rugby bureaucrats and keyboard warriors will keep trying to copy what works in NZ or in SA or wherever else satisfies their need for confirmation bias. And they (you) will continue to try to kill the only living thing in Australian rugby in the hope they can eat it’s parts.

          But when you find it hasn’t worked, don’t fret – SS will still be here soldiering on in another hundred years time.

          NOTE: ARU have very little influence over the Shute Shield since they removed all funding about five years ago. We the Sydney rugby playing community pay the ARU and the NSW RU – and the Shute Shield teams are required to Pay (circa $300k each) for the privilege of playing in an NRC that destroys their season. Idiocy.

        • Who?

          Only myopic eastern suburbs types would consider that the SS is the only comp worth considering in the country…
          The SS has some strong points. But the problem with the NSW teams in the NRC is all about the way the NSWRU handled the process. The QRU blocked the Qld clubs from applying for licences, on the grounds that clubs shouldn’t be forced to take on that risk. That was logical – it meant that players could be funnelled evenly to the two teams the QRU entered, and it’s worked. How many titles for Qld teams..? 3 out of 4, isn’t it? 3 out of 4, with good support, even whilst the game in Qld has otherwise been struggling (the Reds? Who cares about them?).
          If the NSWRU had any intelligence back when the ARU created the thought bubble NRC (because that’s how the QRU saw it when it was announced – a thought bubble, with no real substance), they’d have done the same. Instead, the SS clubs ran the show, which meant that clubs’ resources were overstretched. If you’ve got a bloke coaching the SS GF and coaching an NRC team, he’s not going to be able to do both jobs effectively in the changeover period. Whereas if you’ve got staff from Moore Park to help out, to run the players in ‘camps’ as their SS seasons finish, it makes the workload simpler, it means player distribution (of SR players) can be more equitable, and it means the clubs aren’t stuck with massive financial risk.
          All this from the state union that is based in some of the most affluent areas in the country, while other areas struggle to find money to subsidize a bit of fuel for referees to get the games literally hundreds of km’s away on the weekend…
          It’s good that SS looks to guard its strength and nurture what’s there, but the clubs – who seem to think that they’re the only clubs that matter, that they’re the true grassroots of the game – need to bear in mind that their success isn’t based solely on their U6’s, it’s also on the boarders who then play for them, the country kids who move to the city and play. They’re still beacons that draw in those from the darkness of the true grassroots, the smaller clubs and regional clubs (which is only right!). And they need to consider that they’re never going to be in a position to create a viable alternative to the NRL or AFL when they’re only a city-based prospect (where the other two are either national or at least are genuinely interstate, with significant extra revenue from that), so we’ll continue to see young players like Angus Crichton sign over to professional teams to survive rather than sticking with the game we love.
          The SS will still be here in 100 years, the question is, without change and embrace of the NRC, will they be capable of supplying enough players of high enough quality that Australia’s still in the top 20 nations in the world..?
          No one wants the death of the SS, we want it to continue to be strong. But we want that strength to spread, for SS people to transfer – along with their players – to NRC at the end of the season, rather than having people happy at what they see as failings in the NRC (when I didn’t read any complaints about the NRC when it was running). There’s no good reason why someone involved with an SS club can’t be an engaged NRC fan. In fact, I’d argue that if the NSWRU really wants to see the game grow, they’d be putting more effort into that.

        • LBJ

          Anyone told you’ve got a weird obsession with the Eastern suburbs of Sydney? I’m from Dural and played my footy at Eastwood – A great institution of Aussie rugby.
          SS is the best success story in Aussie rugby – by virtue of its success being led by the people- in spite of the bureaucrats. That doesn’t make it the only relevant comp. far from it – but perhaps it makes it the model for the other comps.
          Anyway- you’ve made my point for me – both the NRL and AFL we’re grown out of extremely strong local competitions in Sydney and Melbourne respectively (I don’t really know much about AFL). They then bolted on appropriate teams and merged/ dropped/ transferred unsustainable ones. Interesting cases being Souths and Sydney swans (both doing okay). This is not a cut and paste model for Aussie rugby, but there is a lesson to be learned.
          Your whiteboard warrior approach to imaginary success has the direct effect of driving the SS into a fourth tier – which has the direct effect of killing the relevance of the competition- which has the direct effect of killing the enthusiasm surrounding it. No 1 test case is that Eastwood have just had to sell our beloved home ground because we’ve been sent broke by this approach.
          Alternatively, Imagine the pride and energy that would build if the Melbourne/ Perth/ Adelaide clubs knew they were competing in (or for the right to be in) the third tier and with the household names.

        • Who?

          Dural’s east (and way north) of anywhere I could have afforded when I lived in Sydney. It’s also east of the geographic centre of the greater Sydney area. Also, look at the name of your club. EASTwood… :-P So, I’m still a fibro compared to your Northern Suburbs silvertail. :-P
          SS is a local success that can’t be enlarged because any competition run by the clubs has an obligation to protect its existing members. So they’re always introspective. I’ve been in those sorts of meetings, no matter what any rep says, they all continue to wear their club colours into the meetings, and are always unhappy with the concept of compromise, let alone the act of it!
          The AFL and NRL had successful local comps, but they were professional where Rugby was always amateur (even if the lines were blurred for all codes). They also experienced SEVERE growing pains – just ask any Fitzroy or North Sydney Bears fan how they feel about losing their clubs. Which SS club do you think we should cull so that the SS can expand to a national comp?
          The NRL and AFL didn’t have as successful a rep structure. Because the clubs were financially stronger than the governing bodies (as opposed to Rugby, where clubs have some funds, but no group of clubs – not even the SS – has money to outmanoeuvre the ARU). So the NRL has State of Origin (they’ve killed off City/Country, to my understanding), and their handful of internationals.
          Rugby is a very differently structured code, due to the amateur legacy. The professional teams emerged out of rep teams – the Tahs, the Reds. It makes sense to do the same a level down, for Qld Country, Brisbane City, and it would make sense to do the same in NSW, if the NSWRU had possessed any form of vision when the NRC was being structured.
          Having the SS as a fourth tier doesn’t make it irrelevant. In the same way that the Qld Cup and NSW league comp aren’t irrelevant. In fact, I’d argue that the Qld state league comp is more visible and productive now than it was 20 years ago.
          I can’t imagine that there’d be any pride/energy built among Melbourne/Perth/Adelaide or even Brisbane clubs if they knew they were competing in or attempting promotion to ‘the third tier’, with ‘the household names’. By ‘household names’, I’m guessing you mean SS clubs, who are largely irrelevant to anyone not in the Sydney basin. In terms of trying to compete to get to the Third Tier, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but even in the English Premier League, they’re trying to end promotion/relegation (Rugby PL), as it’s just not sustainable for clubs to move like that. The difference in resources between a third tier and fourth tier club is just too great for a club to carry. Clubs who are relegated lose huge amounts of money (sponsorship, distributions from rights, etc), clubs who are promoted gain money but suddenly find themselves as a guppy in a shark tank. So they’re generally immediately relegated, continuing the cycle. There’s little benefit in a 4th tier club making it to the 3rd tier for the players, too, because they find themselves way out of their depth.
          So it makes sense that the 3rd tier would be some form of rep arrangement. Especially when there’s a great tradition of rep Rugby in this country, stronger than rep footy as it exists in the other codes (I know the Qld Country Heelers play the NSW Country Cockatoos every year, I never hear about NSW Country playing Qld Country in League at senior level, but I constantly hear about ‘rep clubs’ who were created to play Qld Cup in League. League clubs don’t complain about those ‘rep clubs’.). And rep footy shouldn’t be seen as a hindrance to club footy (and, ideally, it shouldn’t be a hindrance to club footy). Clubs should be boasting about how many players they’ve developed to the NRC as much as they boast about how they fared in last year’s SS premiership.
          Everyone talks about a need for tribalism. And then they talk up the tribalism of the SS. That’s fine. But the SS doesn’t have the same tribalism as the NRL does. I see cars in my town driving round with all sorts of number plates supporting NRL teams from Sydney. I don’t know anyone in my area who has an allegiance with an SS club. The only reason I could think of where someone might have an allegiance is if they’ve moved from Sydney, or if their kid has moved to Sydney and chose to play for a particular club. That’s not enough to drag a regional competition – administered by a sub union of a state union below the national body – to be a national competition.

  • Attizar

    Good move to protect junior players. Have the actual weight/height for age brackets been published anywhere? I can’t seem to find them.

    • Xaviera

      The detail is not yet available. I expect it will be rolled out shortly. The thinking behind it is sound, but there will be some issues, it’s labour intensive, and the Law of Unintended Consequences will kick in. We’ll lose some players but hopefully gain some others.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I think it has been way over complicated. I understand the main issue they have in that a big kid who hasn’t been trained can be at risk if he/she gopes up too high too fast but if they just have a weight range for each age group then that should be ok. Also, this needs to be done early and brought up so you don’t end up having a newbie brought in at 2nd XV level and playing with kids who have trained for the last 6 years.

        • Bakkies

          It needs to start at under 8s not under 10s. Kids take up contact Rugby at this age and I have seen kids drop out or opt out of matches due to the sheer size of some of their opponents.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yep, as soon as it’s contact. That’ll help those guys who develop really fast later and reduce the amount who might have to go too far without skills

    • Fatflanker

      Looks like a step in the right direction. The weight/size range at primary school level in my kids’ local competition is just ridiculous – most kids just get out of the way of the biggest children or have to gang-tackle them with 5-6 players if they get a chance to catch them before they get going, (the equivalent of me having to tackle a 200kg monster back in the day – never would have happened). I would make one observation – I’ve never seen a much larger child use their size to try and hurt the other kids on the field.

  • jamie

    Geez those Argentinians know how to cheat… Discipline must be their biggest issue


Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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