Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s rugby news will try to bring you up to speed on local Super Rugby team ins and outs, the latest round of 6 Nations and takes a closer look at the MND/rugby rumours hitting the press.

Waratah Woes

Folau provides some good news for the 'Tahs

Folau provides some good news for the ‘Tahs

With Waratah props falling faster than the papier-mâché trees during my grade seven end of year Henry Lawson performance, one could almost feel sorry for the mob from Sydney.

Paddy Ryan left the club last year to join the other Paddy Ryan in the USA’s major league rugby, Wallaby-squad member Tom Robertson busted his ACL in Argentina and now our f(r)iends in blue have lost Shambeckler Vui.

The 21-year-old Bankstown product has succumbed to a rather unique injury- a Lisfranc fracture; which is more commonly associated with sports like snow-boarding due to its odd underlying mechanism, and it looks like the engine room duties will now be shared between Harry Johnson-Holmes and Chris Talaka, oh, and of course, stalwart Sekope Kepu.

If ‘Tah forwards coach Simon Cron was worried, he wasn’t letting on, talking up both props, “Harry Johnson-Holmes at 21 will have to step up. He had exposure with us last year and now this is his chance.

“Chris is a great fella, and he has a pre-existing relationship with Tolu (Waratah hooker Tolu Latu) obviously from Sydney University,” he said.

It’s not all bad news, word ‘round the campfire is that ticket sales for Friday’s opening clash are going well and the club are hoping they’ll sell out Brookvale as they set off on a bit of a tour de force this year while their home ground is rebuilt.

Lastly, while the front row is being depleted, the back three are coming up the goods with triple code hopping, try-scoring machine, Israel Folau signing on for another 4 years of the real stuff.

Perhaps Folau could step up and help out his buddies at scrum time?

Methinks not but it felt like my article was fading out…

Reece Unlikely for the Rebels

Hodge could remain sidelined for the opening round

Hodge could remain sidelined for the opening round

Injury concerns mare the lead in to the season for the other “team from down south who wear predominately blue” with Reece Hodge looking unlikely to suit up on Friday night.

The back, capable of covering a number of positions, was injured during last year’s Bledisloe campaign, missing the third game in Yokohama.

The Rebels fell agonising short of a finals appearance last year but it seems they’re taking no risks.

Hodge is nearing full-strength, but not there just yet and the talk is he may sit out the first game, biding his time until March for their round 3 clash.  (Melbourne sit out round 2 with the bye)

Speaking of the injury and his recovery, Hodge hinted they would be approaching the situation from a safety-first angle,

“I’m back into doing most things at 90-100 per cent, so I can’t say for sure if I will be playing on Friday. Everything would need to go at 100 per cent right for me to play.

“The safer option is to say round three, given we have a bye in round two, but there is still a chance I get up for Friday.”

The Rebels have turned things around in the last few years with coaching and playing personnel changes attracting deserved attention as things ramp up for another year.

Be it round 1 or round 3, Hodge took advantage of his time away from the game to reset,

“I’m feeling really refreshed now and right for the season”

The Rebels travel to Canberra to take on the Brumbies on 15th February, GAGR will of course be there in some capacity and somebody might be able to pen some sort of wrap up for your reading pleasure.

Six Nations Round 2

England put the boot into France this morning

England put the boot into France this morning

The six nations circus rolled on over the weekend.

Scotland hosted Ireland, Italy greeted Wales and the Dodgers welcomed France.

No doubt stinging from their first loss at home in forever, Ireland made no mistake in dispatching the Scots, outscoring them 3 tries to 1 to take the points, 22-13 and deny Scotland a losing bonus point in the process.

There may be a further post-script to this match with Scottish scrum-half Greig Laidlaw singling out referee Romain Poite after the game stating, “He doesn’t seem to like us, Romain” although added, “We’re not going to blame him”

Over to Rome, and it was again the visitors getting the chocolates with the Welsh proving too strong for the Azzuri racking up 26 points to 15 to equal the nation’s longest ever winning streak in test football.  GAGR’s Diego has put together his take on what went down.

The win saw Wales (temporarily) leading overall but they face England at home in two weeks’ time and their coach Warren Gatland is looking for big improvements,

“There are lots of things we need to improve for England,” he said. “The line-out was a bit concerning, we didn’t have enough tempo. We kept having to step away and Italy closed down that space pretty quickly.

“We all need to improve in lots of areas to beat England, they are a pretty good side at the moment.”

It was a timely advice too, as England took the field this morning and blew France away, scoring within 70 seconds and continuing to pile the points on, taking the tie 44-8.

The win propels the Poms into top spot on the ladder.  Their perfect 10 points see them sit 2 points clear of Wales.


Suggested Contact Sport/MND Link

We didn't really have a suitable photo in our gallery

We didn’t really have a suitable photo in our gallery

I read with interest an article about motor neurone disease and a potential link to rugby.

Motor neurone disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease is a degenerative disease resulting in progressive loss of voluntary muscle innervation, it caused the death of Springbok Joost van der Westhuizen in 2017.

I’m sure you’ll all happen across it or be emailed it at some point this week so let’s take a closer look.

Firstly, please go and read the original peer-reviewed article as it appears in Global Spine Journal, you can access it here –

And then secondly, please pay particular attention to the end of the third last sentence in the discussion, “this review would seem to invite a more formal evaluation of professional sports exposing its players to repetitive blunt head and neck trauma, such as professional American football, Rugby Union, soccer and ice hockey, possibly also motor racing sports with repetitive impact potential” (Blecher et al. 2019) (emphasis added by author)

The above mention of rugby is one of only a handful of passing references throughout the review and in fact, none of the studies included specifically looked at gentlemen acting like thugs.

One of the article’s authors, Mike Hutton, offered up some suggestions as to why the link seemed to exist, ’There may be other factors. A certain body mass index or muscularity, which makes people more likely to play top level sports of this kind. We don’t have that detail, but no one has done this kind of investigation and the findings point to a need for a greater understanding.’

For more information or to donate to the cause (without the associated bucket of iced water) visit


  • Andrew H

    Morning sports fans. Super rugby graces out television, psyches and livers come this weekend, who’s excited?
    Big blow for the Rebels but sounds like they are doing the right thing by Hodge and by extension, the Wallabies. Good on them for looking after him.
    What are your thoughts on how the Waratah front row will hold up? Has anyone seen much of HJH or Talakai in Shute Shield?
    What, if anything, can we read in to England’s performances so far this year in a World Cup Context?
    The MND/contact sport correlation-keen to hear from anyone who has links to further research that might shed a bit more light on the subject.

    • Keith Butler

      Have to put my hand up and say I’m a SD. The G&G are my reserve team. Positive about the way we have started. For the first time we’ve had virtually a full squad of players to select from. Big difference in selecting players in their best positions gives a better balance , one reason why I hate the Pooper, particularly in the back row and also in mid field. A good position to be in. Also looks like the players are better conditioned noticeably in the front row – far more dynamic than last season. Big test against the Taffs on Saturday week. Will need to bring and all court game, not just kick and pressure.

      • Fatflanker

        England’s certainly looking formidable, players and coaching-wise. Cheeky, please note…you can’t stuff around with players out of position against them – ol’ EJ is the master at spotting and exploiting a weakness.

        • Ed

          Us Wallabies fans will have to wait until 2020 where we hopefuly have a coach that analyses the opposition and has plans to counteract their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. What a luxury that would be.

    • Happyman

      Mate look up the fine work of the Qld Brain Institute who are in this space. I have been to a coulee of lunches of theres over the years.

      In short lots of work being done but a cure is a fairly binary solution as diagnosis is effectively a death sentence at the moment.

      • Andrew H

        Thanks Happyman, I’ll have a dig around. Do you have any links to resources that might help?

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks for this Andrew,

    Thanks F*ck Super rugby is about to start. It seems forever since we’ve had some real rugby to watch. I know there’s a fairly big level of dissatisfaction with the way it has been crapped up but at last the games are starting again on the field. I for one am just glad it’s finally back.

    Good to see Hodge taking his time, I think that at times players are hurried back too fast and this just delays the full recovery process. The rebels won’t miss him that much and with the bye up 2nd game this will be useful.

    Be interesting to see how the Tahs go against the Canes this week. My Canes aren’t the best scrummaging team in the competition but they may have an edge and if they limit the available ball then Tahs may struggle. I haven’t seen the two newbies play so will have to wait and see.

    TBH the 6 Nations has been a bit of a rock show for me. I thought Scotland gave the game to Ireland a bit and I think they have definitely stepped down a couple of levels compared to the way they played against the Abs in November. England are looking good and seem to have the right balance of aggression and skills although I think they are liable to lose a few more to injuries as the year goes on and they will suffer when this happens. Wales vs England next week will be the definer of this year I think and if England win then a Grand Slam is theirs for the taking.

    • RF

      “It seems forever since we’ve had some real rugby to watch”

      Sadly feel the opposite about this McRugby competition starting this weekend. Poorly attended, poorly watched, poorly structured and loose on the rules. Have to wait a few more weeks for real rugby to start back in Australia when the club season kicks off.

      Since the last season ended we’ve had the joy of the NRC, Spring Internationals, European leagues, the Heineken Cup which now is clearly the world’s premier club competition, and the 6 Nations starting back.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That’s sad you feel that way mate. Still got the best players in Australia playing in the same competition and no club rugby will replace that. I’ve signed back up to referee in Sydney so looking forward to that as well – as long as my dodgy hammy gets better.

        • Happyman

          Good on you mate looks like I am managing a team this year. I don’t have the temperament or cardio for reffing. I don’t know about down your way but there are some really good young ones in Brisbane.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah we do have some good ones here too. Still a bit of an old boys club getting through though

        • Happyman

          Same up here mate. The good news for mine is there are a few who are just refs and have not played so they are really impartial and are very good at letting the game flow.

        • formerflanker

          “very good at letting the game flow”
          The best way for a ref to minimise any biff. Players get too tired to fight.

        • Keith Butler

          Good warm up and you’ll be fine. Only pulled a hammy once, felt like I’d been shot.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Just part of getting old mate. Injuries just take longer to come right now

        • Keith Butler

          Tell me about it. In our youth we thought we were indestructible. Not so sure now after a shoulder reconstruction and a knee replacement in successive years all as a result of the game I love. Wouldn’t have had it any other way though.

        • GeorgiaSatellite
        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bahahawahaha I’m sure some of the players I referee will agree with you mate. That’s gold

    • Happyman

      Morning KRL and thanks for this Andrew.

      I agree on the Super Rugby feel lilet he 6 Nations has been a nice entree.
      For mine the Tahs are in a bit of trouble as games are decided in the front and by how far at the back. if Kepu goes down the Tahs can’t win much.
      As long as Hodge is working on his pass I will be happy the rebels have a very good backline. Look to Billy Makes for a big year running smart lines of Quade.

      Watched the Scotland game as they are my second team so I cannot claim to be unbiased but my god the French ref was poor. Ireland probably still deserved the win but he was poor. On one occasion gave a scrum infringement and Ireland went 35 metres on first phase before knocking upon so he went back to the scrum pen. Even the biased Irish commentator thought advantage over. The French refs are more schizophrenic than there teams.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah he didn’t have a good day. I did think Scotland made a lot of unnecessary mistakes that really gave the game to Ireland though.

        • Happyman

          Agreed the give away for the first try in particular was poor. Scotland’s game does not have the depth of knowledge to play under adversity which is why they are really good at home and poor away.

      • Keith Butler

        Agree about the long advantages, how much do they need? Couple of times yesterday the Irish go away with it. Difficult to make rules about it though.

        • Happyman

          Mate I have always been an advocate for less TMO not more so when it does not go my way I cannot really complain. I did think the Two should have had a look at the Hogg late hit though for mine it looked bad in general play and we were not given eh benefit of a replay.

    • Andrew H

      Just read that there are big concerns about the surface at Brooky, I wonder if older, more wily props will be able to exploit it?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        It may actually be the leveller the Tahs need if they play it right

    • Keith Butler

      Absolutely right KRL. Too many teams, particularly in the UK premiership bring back players from injury before they have fully recovered. I’m all for sending them back to their junior clubs to get a game at a less intense level before returning to the top level. The Rebs have more than adequate backup. I’m more worried about their front five than anything else. Even though the SDs smacked the French I was more impressed with their Ireland win. They preyed on The French weakness in dealing with the tactical kick but will need to bring more to the table against the Taffs. As you say, could be the 6Ns decider.

  • Who?

    Regarding Laidlaw… I’m not a fan of Monsieur Poite. Never have been! I’ve defended him once or twice (including after the England/Italy game a few years ago, where some wanted him to reinterpret the definition of how you form a ruck, the game which led to stupid, unnecessary law changes from the idiots at WR), but I generally think he’s quite poor.
    It seems the players must agree. Given Laidlaw’s said, “He’s not a fan of us.” And that’s despite Poite’s opinion of the Irish! Remember last year, when Sexton became acting captain in the third game after Folau’s third knock down of POM? Sexton’s first words to Poite were, “I know you hate me, but……”
    Gold. :-)


Turned to writing for GAGR before my over the top rants about rugby landed me in hot water. Hoping this will keep me a little more measured.

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