Monday’s Rugby News sees the results from the weekend, the results from the Commonwealth Games, big news out of WA and the fallout from the Tahs-Reds derby.
2017 is back!
It was a god-awful weekend of Super Rugby results for Aussie fans to stomach, unless you’re from Sydney.
We’ll start down this rabbit hole of awfulness in Melbourne, where the Rebels lost a crucial match in their season against the Jaguares. Leading until the last five minutes of the game, the Rebels lost a player to the bin and couldn’t keep up with the fast finishing Argentineans.
Dave Wessels however, ever the philosopher, reminded everyone to keep things in perspective, despite being disappointed with the result.
“The reality is we came last, last year,” Wessels said.
“We won one game and already we’ve scored 10 more tries than we scored the whole of last year.
“If anybody thought that the journey from last to first, which is ultimately where we want to end up, was going to be absolutely smooth it’s not possible.
“I’m definitely frustrated at the fact that we lost, but we did some good things in that game.
“I think the reality is we’re a good side, we know we can be a good side, we’ve just got to learn that winning consistently is hard and it takes as much mental application as it does physical application at times and I thought we went away from that.”
Meanwhile, we have to talk about Dunedin.
This week felt like, as a Ponies fan, I was heading towards a car crash in slow motion. And, judging by the final score 43-17, it certainly looked like that was the case for the Brumbies as they went down hard against the Highlanders.
But, truth be told, the Brums did throw everything at this game, and for 60 minutes, were right in it. The moment it all went to shit was in the 59th minute, when the Highlanders picked out a pass to score an intercept try that if they missed, would have seen the Brumbies draw level.
Unfortunately though, rugby is an eighty minute game and that last twenty minutes they were run off the park. Again.
And finally, the SCG hosted it’s first rugby match in 35 years when the Waratahs put the boot into the Reds and won 36-17. It was a good performance for the men in blue, who really had the Reds at their mercy for most of the night. Though, as we mentioned in our match review, there are still plenty of issues they’ll have to work on when they face the Lions next week.
It was a tough night for Reds fans. A lot of issues in the team were exposed by the Tahs, and the Waikato coaching team will be watching this game closely for their game next week.
It could be worse though. You could be the Sharks, who after a really encouraging NZ tour, got embarrassed at home 10-40 by the Bulls. Or the Moon Dogs, who lost to the Blues 10-24 at home for their seventh straight loss this season. In the only other result, (being your typically entertaining Kiwi derby), the Hurricanes knocked off the Chiefs, 25-13.
Still Not Happy
Both the Waratahs and the Reds were not happy with their performances after the derby on Saturday night.
We’ll start with Brad Thorn. In typical fashion, he blasted his own team.
“Probably tonight was probably our most disappointing game of the year,” he said to rugby.com.au.
“I thought we were disappointing, I thought we were poor.
“The first four games we were really bringing it right to the last minute.
“The last game of the tour of the tour, in Cape Town, we got beaten but we were right in it competing every play, giving ourselves every chance.
“That’s fine, but the last two games, especially tonight, just that energy or something doesn’t seem to be quite there.”
We’ll they’re going to have to find it quickly, as they’re playing the Chiefs next round at home. People are beginning to ask questions again, including whether to bring Quade Cooper or (to the fury of fans) Karmichael Hunt back into the mix.
“Quade’s been playing club rugby, he’s been playing well but we’ve just been working with the guys we’ve got there and for me, the last, especially tonight, our whole team performance is more what I’m talking about,” Thorn added.
“Like I said at the start of the season, we’re going in a different direction (to Quade).
“[Hunt] hasn’t been in, he’s not playing club rugby at the moment. That doesn’t look to be happening,” he finished.
As for Daryl Gibson, it was a real case of happy so far, but wanting more.
“We’re really chasing that 80-minute performance,” he said to rugby.com.au.
“We felt at times we lacked that ball control that we’ve been striving for and also that ball control that leads to pressure on ourselves.”
To be fair, eighty minute performances are seriously lacking in the Australian teams so far this year, so I pretty much agree with that.
Michael Hooper also added that, despite it being a patchy performance, to come away with a bonus point was still encouraging.
“It’s a really pleasing aspect within that negative not being able to finish our passes,” said Hoops.
“I think there would have been two or three tries that we just would have ran in under the sticks.
“The real pleasing thing is we were able to come back from that.
“That can sometimes get you down, when you create a really nice opportunity, turn it over and sometimes we’d turn it over and the Reds just started galloping away and then we were able to come back into it, refocus, (That) was a really pleasing aspect out of that negative.”
The Tahs however did see a lot of players in the hospital wing, with Rob Simmons, Will Miller and Michael Wells all under injury clouds.
What an absolute Cox up
There’s been some explosive accusations that has come out of the West over the weekend.
Perth Now has reported (through confidential documents obtained by Seven West Media) that Rugby Australia effectively paid money to keep the Melbourne Rebels in the competition at the expense of the Force.
Late last year, as the whole debacle went down on which teams were getting cut from Super Rugby, the then ARU agreed to pay then-Rebels owner, New Zealand businessman Andrew Cox, $300,000 and then-director Peter Sidwell $200,000. On top of that, two other directors Lyndsey Cattermole and Bob Dalziel were also paid an additional $250,000 each.
This money was then subsequently paid to the Rebels.
The Rebels at the time has a debt of $789,811, and with that being cleared by these payments, this allowed Cox to sell the club to the Victorian Rugby Union for $1 under a Put Option agreement in August last year, effectively legally ensuring the survival of the club into the next year.
As a result, it meant that the only option that could be taken was the removal of the Force from the competition.
In the documents that Seven West Media has, Cox and Sidwell say that they “had suffered loss and damage as a result of statements alleged to have been made by or on behalf of the ARU on and from 10 April 2017”.
April 10 was the day that Cameron Clyne said that a decision on the Force and Rebels being cut would be made. Soon afterwards, the Rebels rejected that move, and aimed to seek compensation. And these payments were the apparent result.
According to Perth Now, “RA and the Rebels did not respond to questions.”
The plot thickens….
Comm Games Results
The Commonwealth Games results are done and dusted on the rugby front.
So, how did we go?
Well, our girls put in a hell of an effort, smashing their way through the group division and smashing Womens heavyweight outfit Canada 33-7 in the semi-final, but fell in the gold medal match in an unbelievable game, going down 12-17 against New Zealand in extra time.
The whole Womens side of the tournament was really a two-way race between the two sides, with the Kiwis similarly knocking off the only other contender, England 26-5.
It was a tough end to Tim Walsh‘s time as Womens coach, which saw the Aussie girls win the Olympic gold and become World Sevens champions.
But hey, grabbing the silver medal is better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. I’m still proud of them regardless.
The Mens side on the other hand had a tougher time of it, putting on some outstanding pool match performances before going down to the old enemy England 17-26.
However, they did finish off the competition and ended the Andy Friend era of the Mens team in style, pummelling heavyweight outfit Kenya 33-5, and then doing the same to Scotland 26-0 to clinch fifth place.
After such a disrupted preparation time, hats off to them for putting in a brave effort. This Mens team really is going places this year, and despite not winning any silverware, this performance did show just that.
Oh, and New Zealand won this one too, beating Fiji 14-0 in the final.