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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News wraps up all the rugby across all the major competitions, weeps the heartbreak from the Under 20’s World Champs, looks at the carousel of Australian coaches, discusses the Wallaroos squad for their historic series and recaps award season for Super Rugby clubs.

*NOTE: This is an extended version as it has been a huge 2-3 days of news in rugby union that has been overshadowed by every man and their dog (including myself) talking about the fundraising efforts of a former multi-millionaire player.


Heartbreaking

Photo: Franco Perego/World Rugby

Photo: Franco Perego/World Rugby

The Junior Wallabies have suffered an agonising loss to France 24-23 in the final of the Under 20 Championships in Rosairo.

Despite scoring more tries than their opponents, the Aussies were wayward with the boot, with halves Will Harrison and Michael McDonald combining to be 3/7 from the tee.

This was compounded by Toulan and France fly-half Louis Carbonel, who contributed 16 points to secure back to back championships for the Junior Les Bleus.

The Junior Wallabies got off to the perfect start when Mark Nawaqanitawase crossed for the opening try after just 50 minutes after a lovely break from Reds fullback Isaac Lucas.

Both teams would trade leads throughout the first half, with tries to front-rowers Theo Lachaud and Alex Burin putting France ahead 18-13 at half time.

The Junior Wallabies would strike back right after the break, with Harry Wilson squeezing over the line from a line-out to give the Aussies a 20-18 lead heading into the last 30 minutes.

However, ill-discipline would ultimately be the downfall of Australia, gifting penalties inside the French half to allow Carbonel the opportunity to regain momentum and the lead for Les Blues.

The Junior Wallabies would have one final shot at goal to secure the win, however, McDonald would push the penalty kick wide to ensure back to back championships for France, making them just the third team to complete the honour.

Coach Jason Gilmore was proud of the effort from his boys, praising their ability to fight back from adversity throughout the tournament.

“It was a tough loss to cop,” Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore said. “Our boys showed plenty of courage but unfortunately just fell short. The period before half time swung momentum to France and they capitalised.”

“Full credit to them on their victory. I am really proud of this playing group, they have faced plenty of adversity and fronted up every time. They are a tight group and no doubt we will see them in the future in Super Rugby and the Wallabies.”

Result

France 24

Tries: Lachaud, Burin

Cons: Carbonel

Pens: Carbonel 4

Junior Wallabies 23

Tries: Nawaqanitawase, Lonergan, Wilson

Cons: Harrison

Pens: Harrison 2

Super Rugby finals begin

Christian Lealiifano settles the Brumbies

Christian Lealiifano settles the Brumbies

The finals series of the 2019 Super Rugby season has begun with four thrilling quarterfinals that have thrown up some dramatic contests.

The first quarter-final took us to Christchurch, where the Crusaders opened the finals hosting a Highlanders side full of confidence after their dominating performance over the Waratahs. The first half was tightly contested between the New Zealand rivals, with the home side holding on to a slender 17-14 lead as they went into the break.

The contest was then thrown wide open five minutes after the restart after Highlanders loose forward Liam Squire was yellow carded for a late hit on Whetukamokamo Douglas. This allowed the Crusaders to dominate the proceedings, with tries to Michael Alaalatoa and a second try for Richie Mo’unga securing the 38-14 victory and their place in the final four for the 16th time in 17 years.

Their opponent would be determined on the following day when the scrappy Bulls travelled to Wellington to face the red hot Hurricanes. The Hurricanes showed why many consider them to be the team most likely to knock off the Crusaders, running in three quick tries to lead 24-7 before half time.

However, the Bulls showed their trademark fight, with a double to Cornal Hendricks and a penalty try reducing the margin to 32-28. The Hurricanes would end up holding on for a 35-28 victory after a Jordie Barrett penalty sealed the win and an opportunity to get revenge against the Crusaders for their semi-final exit in 2018.

The hosting rights for the second semi-final were determined early Saturday morning when the Jaguares clinched a hard-fought 21-16 victory over the Chiefs. The men from Waikato looked to have caused a momentous upset when they raced to a 16-8 point lead.

However, the home side was buoyed by their passionate fans and they were rewarded through a try to Matias Moroni and a Joaquin Diaz Bonilla penalty to secure the win and their first finals victory.

The final position in the semi-finals was secured on a cold Saturday night in Canberra, where the Brumbies dominated the Sharks 38-13 to book their flights to Buenos Aires for the semi final. The side was boosted by a double to flanker Pete Samu and tries to Henry Speight, Joe Powell and Matt Lucas to secure their first semi-final since 2014. However, their trip to Argentina was made tougher with quarter final hero Samu ruled out with a hamstring injury.

With the quarterfinals completed, this is how the semi-finals shape up:

Semi-Final 1: Saturday 29 June
Jaguares [2] v Brumbies [3] @ Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires 9:05am (AEDT)

Semi-Final 2: Saturday 29 June
Crusaders [1] v Hurricanes [4] @ Orangetheory Stadium (Formerly known as Christchurch Stadium), Christchurch 5:35pm (AEDT)

Rugby ’round the country

Heath Tessmann

Heath Tessmann

We start this week in Perth where the Western Force have claimed the Pacific crown with a 45-24 victory over Fiji Latui.

The Force maintained their flawless campaign, running in seven tries to rewarded their loyal fans who turned out in droves (over 13,000) to celebrate the successful first season of the Global Rapid Rugby series.

The Force were rampant from the start, with tries to Davies, Deegan and Bardoul giving them a commanding 19-3 lead after 25 minutes.

However, Fiji refused to give in, with a power try to Stewart and Lagi reducing the margin back to just two points.

The Force would end up showing their class, running in three unanswered tries to secure the win and the Pacific crown.

Whilst in Perth, round 12 of the Forescue Premier saw Nedlands overcome Wanneroo 27-8, Cottlesloe hold off UWA 13-10 in a thriller, Wests account for Southern Lions 27-5, Palmyra defeat Coastal Cavaliers 21-3, ARK dominate Curtin Uni 50-13, Associates conquer Bayswater 20-7 and Joondalup upset Kalamunda 30-12.

In South Australia, the Coopers Premier saw Burnside dominate Woodville 84-14, Adelaide Uni outgun Elizabeth 69-31, Southern Surburbs hold off a valiant Onkaparinga 33-27, Brighton crush Port Adelaide 70-10 and Old Collegians mollywhop Barossa 130-0.

The Shute Shield in NSW had Manly upset Norths 40-31, Randwick run away from West Harbour 50-21, Warringah pull off a statement win over Easts 36-19, Souths get revenge over Western Sydney 47-10 and Sydney Uni beat Eastwood in a slobber-knocker 24-11 (click link for my recap/commentary of the contest)

The John I Dent in ACT threw up some thrillers with Vikings scraping home agaisnt Queanbeyan 37-28, Wests compounded Easts misery with a 33-20 loss and Royals maintained top spot with a 40-21 win over Uni-Norths.

In the 8th round of the Dewer Shield, Endeavour cause a boilover against Harlequins 7-0, Box Hill accounted for Powerhours 31-12, Melbourne maintained their unbeaten run by defeating Moorabbin 39-20 and Melbourne Uni crushed Footscray 74-0.

Finally in Queensland, Jacobus van Eeden broke the hearts of Wests fans with a late try to secure a 21-14 win for Queensland Uni, Souths hold off GPS 29-28 in a thiller to win the Torkington Daley Cup, Bond Uni overcame Easts 18-17 and in the match of the round Brothers came back from 26-0 down to defeat Norths 42-26.

Gibson feels the Berne

Daryl Gibson Waratahs v Rebels 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

The crazy carousel of Australian coaching was in full force over the past couple of days, with Daryl Gibson stepping down as the Waratahs coach.

Gibson has stepped down from the role with a year to go on his contract, stating that it was the right time to move on with the significant player upheaval that faces the club in the next 12-24 months.

“We’ve got some absolute gold nuggets here that are going to filter through our system over the next three to four years and it’s time for another coach to take them on that journey and really own that process,” he said.

“Having been here for seven years, it’s time for a new voice, a new direction, a new game style as new players come into the team.”

Gibson finishes his seven-year-long tenure at the Waratahs with a 44% win record, with his shining moment coming with the side’s run to the semi-final in 2018.

The decision to step down led many to believe that he would reunite with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika as the attacking coach, however, these rumours were shut down minutes later with the appointment of Rebels attacking coach Shaun Berne to the role at the national level.

Berne fills the vacant role that has not been filled since the departure of Stephen Larkham (who last week confirmed his move to Munster), and he emphasised the importance of shoring up their skills ahead of their taxing journey to Japan.

“This is a huge opportunity for me personally but more importantly, I want to do whatever I can to make the Wallabies successful this year,” Berne said. “I want to contribute to the team by focusing on the things that will serve us best when we are under pressure, like passing, catching, alignment, running lines and deception — on and off the ball.”

“I just want to add wherever I can to the coaching team around me.It sounds simple, but simple things done really well, all the time, will get us to where Cheik wants us to be as a team.”

Grace standing, falling for something

Kirby Sefo and Liz Patu struggle to bring Grace Hamilton down

Kirby Sefo and Liz Patu struggle to bring Grace Hamilton down

Wallaroos second-rower Grace Hamilton has been appointed captain as the side was announced for their historic four test series against Japan and New Zealand.

Hamilton was shocked by the honour, having just joined the extended squad two years earlier, with the appointment by coach Dwayne Nestor bringing her to tears.

“[Dwayne] rang me, I was doing my last assignment for my masters, I sat in my room alone basically crying for half an hour before I called my dad,” she said. “I was pretty overwhelmed. I don’t know how I completed my last assignment but got through.”

“I was pretty shocked. In 2016 I didn’t make a squad of 63 people so to be standing here, I’m just completely honoured and humbled to be in this situation. It’s all hard work and that’s testament to every girl in the squad representing Australia. They are all working hard and women’s rugby is growing, the support has been amazing.”

Nestor was full of praise for his new leader, noting that her spirit and effort embodied what he wanted and expected out of his captain.

“Humble and hardworking, she (Hamilton) embodies what we want this to team to be about and I know she will be supported by a strong leadership team,” Nestor said.

Nestor has named a 29 women squad for their historic two test series against Japan in Newcastle (July 13) and North Sydney (July 19) before they take on the Black Ferns as part of the Bledisloe series in August.

The squad includes former captain Liz Patu, who was infamously charged with biting during the Super W, along with 11 potential debutants.

The squad is as followed:
Forwards:
Millie Boyle (Queensland), Emily Chancellor (NSW Waratahs), Rebecca Clough (Rugby WA), Grace Hamilton (NSW Waratahs), Alisha Hewett (Queensland), Evelyn Horomia (NSW Waratahs), Asoiva (Eva) Karpani* (NSW Waratahs Women), Michaela Leonard* (Brumbies), Kiri Lingman (Queensland), Ashley Marsters (Melbourne Rebels), Shannon Mato*(Queensland), Averyl Mitchell* (Queensland), Sera Naiqama*, (NSW Waratahs), Liz Patu (Queensland), Emily Robinson (NSW Waratahs) Christina Sekona* (Queensland)

Backs: Mhicca Carter (Rugby WA), Georgia Cormick* (Melbourne Rebels), Lori Cramer* (Queensland), Ariana Hira-Herangi* (Rugby WA), Chloe Leaupepe (NSW Waratahs), Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea* (Queensland), Cobie-Jane Morgan(Queensland), Arabella McKenzie* (NSW Waratahs), Mahalia Murphy (NSW Waratahs), Asako Ono*, (Queensland), Trilleen Pomare (Rugby WA), Sarah Riordan (Queensland), Samantha Treherne, (Queensland)
*Denotes Uncapped

Wallabies rewarded

Samu Kerevi

Samu Kerevi

Two of the eliminated teams from the Australian Conference have finalised their season with the awarding of end of season awards to a pair of Wallabies.

The Reds have honoured departing captain Samu Kerevi with his second Pilecki Medal after being deemed player’s player for 2019.

Kerevi polled 301 votes across 15 games edging out young flanker Liam Wright (228 votes) and fellow Wallaby Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (200 votes) in third.

The honour was well deserved by the outside centre, who ended the competition as the leading player in terms of carries (220) and defenders beaten (71), along with being 4th in line breaks (26) and 8th for most metres carried (861).

Reds coach Brad Thorn was full of praise for his captain, stating his admiration for his leadership and communication with their staff and fellow players.

“To be voted as the best player and acknowledged by your teammates is the greatest honour a player can have,” Thorn said. “He took on the captaincy this year and thrived in the role. He has grown as a man both on-and-off the field…His presence and communication with players and staff has been something to admire.”

Thorn also rewarded rookie Jock Campbell with Rookie of the Year for his stellar season, along with Teti Tela with the spirit of the Reds award.

“We were really impressed with Jock Campbell this year,” Thorn said. “Jock played the remaining nine games for us and grew in confidence each match. As a group, we congratulate Jock on this achievement.”

“(Tela) sat on the bench and prepared with the team on game-day but unfortunately didn’t play any minutes this season. He carried himself well during those challenging times…He put the team first and pushed others around him to be their best. The Spirit of the Reds acknowledges someone who displays these characteristics in our team and Teti did that this season.”

Meanwhile, in Melbourne, back-rower Isi Naisarani has been awarded the Rebels Players’ Player award after his dominate initial season with the club.

Naisarani was rewarded for his strong performances that have pretty much cemented him the number eight jersey for the Wallabies, leading the side in metres gained and tackles.

“I am incredibly honoured and privileged to have been named the Players’ Player,” Naisarani said. “I would like to thank my family in Fiji and Brisbane for all of their support. They are my inspiration and have been with me every step of the way on my rugby journey.”

Prop Matt Gibbon won the Spirit of Weary Dunlop award in his breakthrough season after playing every game for the club despite arriving in Melbourne in November without a contract.

  • Steve

    Good on Samu and Isi, obvious best players for their respective clubs and deserved Wallabies.

    Hooper would be the obvious pick for the Tahs, but Rona also had a good season.

    Not sure who will be the pick for the Brumbies with so many players putting their hands up, I’d probably take 7As for his massive shifts every week and tightheading a dominant scrum (but then how do you look past CLL).

    Again, great game from the Brumbies on the weekend. The Jags go in deserved favourites, but I give the Brums more of a chance than most. Given that we want them to form the bulk of the Wallabies squad, I would hope they can go over and perform well. 30 hours of Monday travel definitely isn’t going to help though.

    • I give the Brumbies more of a chance than the Canes, but if I were a betting person I’d be putting my money on two home wins I’m afraid.

      I finally watched the Jags, and they’re solid and committed, without an obvious weakness at this level. The Brumbies, they’ve got the core of a test side, yes, but you can point your fingers and say “I’d replace with X with Y” at a bunch of positions for the Wallabies. Add in the travel, and while I will wish them all the best and not be shocked if there’s an upset, I think it will be an upset.

      The Crusaders are the only other side in the competition where you can say they don’t have an obvious weakness. They have players where you’d pick a stronger player in the AB side, but that’s essentially replacing someone that many other Tier One nations would have in their test side because of the depth of talent in NZ. I’m looking forward to a belter of a final after hopefully two good semis.

      • Keith Butler

        Difficult to see past the Crusaders but you never know – I hope the Canes turn them over. You would have to favour the Jags on their home turf but the Brumbies will certainly give them a run for their money. Brumbies to dominate up front and maybe sneak the win.

        • I agree, both could happen. Like I said, they could, but I wouldn’t put money on it. Unless you want to give me some… I’ll bet your money on it happily.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        “you can point your fingers and say “I’d replace with X with Y” at a bunch of positions for the Wallabies.”

        Can you? I think there is a really limited number of positions where that can be said. Hooper, Rodda, White (not Genia right now) and Kerevi are the only obvious ones to me. A few others are arguable.

        • Brumby Runner

          Hooper is a better player than any of Brown, Cusack or Samu but plays a much different style of game to the Brumbies trio, and wouldn’t necessarily add anything to the total effort of the forwards pack.

          Rodda will be the Wallaby lock to partner Arnold, but again the difference between him and Sam Carter this year is minor and it is hard to see that the pack would be more than marginally improved with his inclusion. Sam has run the Brumbies lineout, and his work around the ground has been top notch, particularly in defense.

          I will be particularly interested in seeing how Nic White performs when he comes into the Wallabies. On Aussie form, Joe Powell is the best No 9 running around this season and Nic will need to be in top form to be better than Joe.

          Kerevi is without doubt the best No 12 (not outside centre Nathan) in the Aussie conference and maybe the best in Super Rugby this year. But Simone has come on in leaps and bounds late in the season and again plays a different, more creative, distributing game compared with Samu’s more direct hard running game. Whether Kerevi would make a whole lot of difference if he replaced Simone is debatable.

          I agree these are the logical replacements, add in Naisarani for the No 8 spot, but none of them would add substantially to the tgeam as a unit the way the Brumbies have been playing this year.

        • Patrick

          Kerevi will add tons to the Brumbies because even though I agree that Simone has been good, he doesn’t break the line like Kerevi. So if Kerevi is there then both Kuridrani and Lilo get more space.

        • Brumby Runner

          But Simone has been putting players through gaps better than any other in the Aussie conference at least – even better than Quade.

        • Patrick

          Sure but Kerevi is for my money the only dead cert to change (Naisarani and Korobeite likely as well). Nothing wrong with simone and he might deserve a crack in at least one RC game but Kerevi has been amazing.

          Whereas with people like Genia (and for my money Korobiete and even Rodda and Jones) I would have them starting off the bench and see if they can work their way into the starting line up.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Lol…. HUH! Oh your joking…. that’s OK then!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          To preface, this is of course all my opinion:

          Hooper’s defensive involvements are massive, and he is one of the best 7s in the world. Definitely better than any of the Brumbies options (with Samu playing a more Hooper-esque role, and I don’t think Brown is eligible although he is great?).

          Carter has been good at super level, but he doesn’t have Rodda’s physicality. Carter is more of a Simmons than Rodda.

          Nic is definitely better than Joe. Joe is playing really well, but Nic was better when he went overseas and has improved as a player.m

          Naisarani… He just hasn’t played as well as McCaffrey, and doesn’t have McCaffrey’s ball skills or breakdown skills.

          This is the team I would pick for the first round of the rugby championship, bearing in mind that Pocock will not have had a chance to push Hooper out by then:

          1. Sio (50-50 with Slipper to start)
          2. Faingaa
          3. Alaalatoa
          4. Arnold
          5. Rodda*
          6. Naisarani
          7. Hooper
          8. McCaffrey
          9. White*
          10. Pulu
          12. Kerevi*
          13. Kuridrani
          14. Speight
          15. Banks

          16. Uelese
          17. Slipper
          18. Kepu
          19. Jones/Simmons (need a second line out caller)
          20. Pocock
          21. Powell
          22. Toomua*
          23. O’Connor*

        • Brumby Runner

          DB, have to say my comments were more in terms of improving the Brumbies than in selecting the Wallabies. Two quite different scenarios I think you’d agree. The Brumbies are playing to McKellars tune and I really think there is little any of the other players would offer in that situation. Of course, Cheika will have an entirely different game plan, if one at all, and I can see those players nominated would probably fit his ideas better than they’d adapt to McKellars plan.

          On Brown, I’m sure I’ve seen that he is Aussie eligible through an Aussie grand parent or some such relationship.

          On your team, you have apparently missed your No 10, showing Pulu there and no No 11. Do you have CLL in there?

        • A bunch is not a very quantifiable term, but I’d say at least four – that’s your count – out of 15, and I think there’s a serious debate to be had at 10 and in one or two of the back three at least. So even on your tight estimate we’re talking around a third of the starters would probably not be Brumbies, you could argue your way up to almost half – you might be willing to concede more than a third still – in most of the smart fans squads. (I’m sure there will be dyed in the wool, one-eyed supporters of particular clubs that will think the Wallabies should select all fifteen of their squad. Sadly one of those is the head coach!)

          I think it’s fair to describe a third to half the squad being picked from elsewhere as a bunch?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          There is no argument at 10 on form, or on combinations, or on defence.

          The argument in favour of Foley is incumbency, but incumbency shouldn’t be an argument given results last year, and Foley’s performances.

          Main argument in favour of Quade is that Lilo doesn’t have the physicality required after his cancer treatment, but he is defending far more physically than Quade or Foley.

          You could maybe argue against Pulu if you wanted DHP in there, but none of DHP, Hodge or Rona have played as well as Banks, Speight or Pulu over the last 2 months. Beale? No way.

          A third, I would agree, but given the Brumbies’ combinations, those 50-50 calls should go the way of the Brumbies.

          I would only pick Rodda at 5, Hooper at 7, Naisarani at 6, Kerevi at 12 as the non-Brumbies that start.

        • I’m not really arguing names… I still contend that a third of the squad being replaced at Wallabies level is “a bunch”

          There will be plenty of chances to debate the other names later… and I’m running late for work, otherwise I’d dive in. I will just say, I don’t particularly object to your squad, I just have some other names I’d put on the table for discussion and I’ve certainly seen other names bandied about recently that I’d look at too.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      To be honest, I think Rona’s season was okay but not fantastic. Hunt, in my opinion, was the second best Tah until he was injured. Hooper is so far their best player that it isn’t even funny.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,
    Well done the U20’s. Bummer on not getting there but be proud of how well you have done. I hope most of these guys start moving into the Super rugby setup as there is some good talent there.

    Qtr finals were great. I thought the Chiefs let themselves down but then again the Jaguars played well. Unfortunately now it means if my Canes get to the finals it’ll be either in Canberra or Buenos Aires. TBH I’m going for Canterbury at home and probably against the Jags.

    Good to see Gibson retain a bit of integrity and realise he really just hasn’t got it and so quit. His mis-management of players, lack of growth both in players coming through and development of those he’s got has been abysmal and his recruitment was crap. Not sure what his plan ever was in a game but whatever it was the players never seemed to be able to achieve it. Shit record and the only good news is he didn’t get the Wallaby attack job.

    Not sure the Rebels season demonstrated enough for their attack coach to be the best in the country and so deserving of a Wallaby call up. However, I’m willing to wait and see before I judge too harshly. My big fear is that he is good but has now screwed his future by being associated with Cheika.

    Good picks in Kerevi and Naisarani. Kerevi has really grown this year and will be a big loss and Naisarani seemed to be the only Reb that never gave up in the last couple of games.

    • From NooZealand

      “Not sure the Rebels season demonstrated enough for their attack coach to be the best in the country and so deserving of a Wallaby call up.” My thoughts as well.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    So, according to Wayne Smith James O’Connor is returning to Australia for next season and is becoming a part of the world cup squad if he can convince RA and the super coaches he is a reformed character, with the Reds as favourites (guess that solves their inside centre issue, and potentially the Wallabies’ also).

    Based on everything I’ve heard about him over the last year or so, I would be happy to have him at the Brumbies.

    • paul

      And just curious is he coming back next year if he’s not selected for the Wallabies.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        As I understand it he wants to come back to continue his Wallabies career.

        He’s certainly good enough to make the 23, if not the starting 15.

        • Brumby Runner

          I have just watched Samu Kerevi take all sides apart in the Super Rugby comp. I have not seen O’Connor play but just like all the other stars who return to our shores with enhanced reputations and who then go on to show that they are not as good as the reputation indicates, O’Connor should be kept well away from the 12 spot until he proves otherwise.

          And that’s without even considering his disruptive influence everywhere he’s been.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          But O’Connor isn’t a guy that struggled, then went overseas and had his reputation enhanced.

          He was always one of the most talented players Australia has perhaps ever produced. His 2015 season when he was injured notwithstanding, he has at all other times indicated he should be one of the first picked for the Wallabies.

          I don’t think O’Connor would take the 12 spot from Kerevi (no way), although he might be able to force TK from 13 if Cheika wants a more distributive but defensively less sound 13 (unlikely) or force his way onto the back 3 or bench.

        • Andy

          Nothing wrong with him on the wing. That was always his best spot when he was younger. Always good to have a winger who has the skill set of a 5/8 with pace to burn.

    • David Creagh

      Won’t go to the Reds, they had him a few years back and he let them down badly, plus he would not fit in with Thorn’s culture. Brumbies wouldn’t take him for largely the same reason and I can’t see the Rebels needing or wanting him. Warratards on the other hand have quite a few vacancies….

      Personally I don’t want to take the risk on the tosser.

      • AllyOz

        It is at least three months since I have read anything negative about in the paper (largely because we have focused on little else that IF for that time).

      • Dud Roodt

        I’ve kept a loose eye on O’Connor in the last year or so and he genuinely seems like a different person. The ego (from what i can see) has been replaced by an introspective (and downright odd) personality who uses his own time and money to improve both physically and mentally. He deserves a shot in my opinion.

        Also, when he was at the Reds, he had a broken ankle that he was shooting with painkillers the whole time.

        • Who?

          And a dud knee, I thought..? Undiagnosed until he went back north?
          He still gave everything he had each week, too… Ineffectively, but the effort was there.

        • Dud Roodt

          I think so yeah.
          He actually strikes me as a very thoughtful person these days. In his rehab for after surgery he paid for himself to do multiple rounds of different types of rehab including surfing based rehab in California, mountaineering in the Scottish Highlands and MMA amongst others.
          And you’re right, there was no lack of effort from him when he was playing for the Reds

        • Bernie Chan

          If his head is in the right place he is young enough to warrant a chance, even at the Reds (but BT won’t swallow his pride…)…his playing ability is not the doubt…?

        • Who?

          He’s had a lot of hard knocks over the past six years. The real shame is that he didn’t cop them sooner, because he’d have needed fewer knocks, which could’ve been less bruising. For the same outcome. :-(

        • onlinesideline

          agree mate – hes gives everything and punches way above his weight.The thing that annoys me is that school world, then media when he hits super ruggy go on and on about his physical talents but society fails on developing young kids inner world. Society is so proudly secular, happy there is separation between church and state but where do kids cultivate their inner world from. Lets be honest most schools turn a blind eye to any kind of ego coaching / spiritiality – call it what you will. If the parents are not growth orientated and pass buck on to school or wider society (school of hard knocks) is it any wonder at 26 years of age he had to discover this stuff alone in pain in the North away from everyone.

        • Dud Roodt

          I agree. From what I hear he didn’t really have anyone around him keeping him grounded. His parents seemed to cultivate the thought that he was the best thing since sliced bread and was untouchable. Granted this is just what I’ve heard about him and don’t know first hand but it did come from someone close to the Rebels during his time there.

        • Keith Butler

          What position will he play though. I watched a clip of some Sale games on you tube and he seemed to play anywhere in the backs apart from Scrum half.

        • Dud Roodt

          For what it’s worth – I always thought his best position was wing

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He’s playing brilliantly in the centres from what I’ve seen of the prem.

          I think it seems like he has honestly reformed himself. Everything I’ve read of him for the last year or so makes me think he has.

        • Who?

          His best position is anywhere he can get his hands on the ball a lot, without the responsibility of directing the play. He can run, he can link, he did well on the wing, at fullback, he’s playing well at 12 and 13 in England… Just don’t stick him at 10.
          But we all knew that before 2013…..

        • Dud Roodt

          Absolutely. And while he was a bit of a dickhead, it’s not like he was fired for raping/assaulting anyone. He deserves another crack

        • Who?

          It’s not like he’s created controversy online, or he’s been twice convicted of driving offenses, or bullied anyone in the workplace, or……

      • onlinesideline

        he had injuries all season at reds didnt he ?

    • Twoilms

      I don’t want him but the Tahs need a centre and supposedly AAC has been told he’s not needed.

  • Nutta

    Thanks Nathan.

    The U20’s got where they were on the back of talent and abrasive play. Abrasive play especially among younger guys can be over-played and there was some truly dumb penalties given away in the 2nd half that in the cold light of day they will watch and say ‘Oh Jeez, did I actually do that?’. That’s a maturity issue and therefore hardly surprising it played a significant role. They will learn from it. They didn’t die wondering – I mean that chip-kick for an attempted try? I reckon their result was nonetheless outstanding.

    Conversely the French have a quite mature, powerful group of young men there. After years of listening to how the international element in the French domestic comps is to their national detriment, there is certainly no issue with the class of cattle coming through. Their management of the clock in-particular in the last 10min was exemplary even if their Physio seemed to be a 16th player on-field for more time than off it. Cynical, gamesmanship but within the way the game is currently played so hardly surprising they took advantage of it.

    In terms of Gibbo, there is a perverse nobility in his decision. To look at a poor record and a swathe of players departing and say ‘Both I but also this place needs a change’ is an upright thing to do.

    Great to see the Force continuing to do well. How did the Rebs go again?

    • Geoffro

      Probably a few force guys I’d invite to a Wallaby camp.Rocket Rod would be one of them

      • Nutta

        Do you think he ever awakes at night screaming from dreaming about Alesana Tuilagi?

        • Who?

          I’m sure he does. I’m pretty confident he wouldn’t be the only one, though! Including Matt Giteau…

        • Geoffro

          Mate,he copped a hiding that day but he wasn’t the only one

    • Patrick

      Maturity definitely a factor but I think the French got the jump on us making Notre more changes earlier. Just before it all went to shit (I.e. that first in a series of dominant French scrums around the 65 minute mark iirc) I noticed how slow the team was even getting set for a set piece and that the frogs already had 3 new forwards on the field, and thought we had better bring in some changes fast.

      I felt like the kicking was also driven by a bit of fatigue.

      And at the end of the day we couldn’t convert our period of dominance into points because we 1) kicked too much, and 2) missed the kicks that mattered, I.e. the ones off a tee.

      • Nutta

        All quite fair points. The impact those 3 scrums had straight after their replacements was huge. Yes the kicking off the t was poor. But given the amount of ball and line-breaks we had it should have been put away regardless. But hey, that’s footy.

        • Patrick

          And final point, the French coaching team had the experience of winning it last year, so that probably helps too.

  • Missing Link

    Gutted for the under 20’s boys, so close yet so far.

    I don’t know much about Shaun Berne, didn’t even know he was a coach at the Rebels… a quick google reveals he was a bit of a journeyman and fair play, I have said before that a good player doesn’t necessarily maketh a good coach and vice-versa, however looking at the Rebels attack this year doesn’t make me feel excited about the Wallabies chances…

    Unless of course, you play conspiracy theorist and assume he was tapped by Cheika after round 3 and was told “don’t give anything away”. Berne, was left perplexed and decided to dig deep into the Rebels storage archive. he found a really big book, he thought maybe Folau left it behind after the last time the Rebels beat the Waratahs in Melbourne, but nonetheless, when he blew the dust off the cover it said “Rebels Playbook, by Tony McGahan”…. perfect, this’ll do.

    So with Berne’s secrets safely locked away, and Grey’s new defence system that will only work if the players trust and fully invest in it, I can see the Wallabies romping it in, in a canter….

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Oh ye of little faith! Cheika has a plan!

      • Custard Taht

        I think Cheika’s favourite song is James Blunts’ “You’re Beautiful” and his favourite part is “I’ve got a plan, but I don’t know what to do”.

        • AllyOz

          There is rarely an appropriate time to quote James Blunt lyrics in a rugby forum but this IS that one time. You have picked your timing to the tee CT. :)

      • Yowie

        He did, but the Annotated Compendium of Michael Chieka’s Rugby Strategies blew away in that light breeze the other day when someone forgot to put a water bottle on top of it.

    • Custard Taht

      There are two possible outcomes for the Wallabies, and Cheika and Co at the RWC.

      1. The rest of the world will feel the Berne, like Pococks calf after a dune sprint, or
      2. The Wallabies will have more afterberne than the morning after a vindaloo.

      • Missing Link

        Surely option 1 is more likely with those Kiwi teams playing so poorly at the moment… I mean look at the Crusaders, they’ve forgotten how to pass so their 10 has to kick the ball directly to their wingers on 1st phase hahahaha

    • Perth girl

      ML Shaun Berne came over from the Force with all the other players and coaches when the Force were cut

      • Custard Taht

        So he is used to being berned by RA.

  • Sevenwithasixonmyback

    Great recognition for Grace Hamilton.
    A wonderful member of Sydney Uni’s WRC and Tahs SW.
    Illustrious stuff.

    • Hoss

      Got my tickets for the Newcastle Game Test mate. Looking forward to the gold girls ripping in.

      Real momentum around our female athletes at present and clear air as well, how bloody refreshing.

  • AllyOz

    My thoughts:
    1. The Brumbies will miss Samu next weekend. He was enormous for them in the first half. They have some depth in those positions but you would have to think that any side that is missing both Samu and Pocock would be better if they were there.
    2. It’s a bit of a booby prize to win and, as a result, then have to travel to Argentina. This will be a tough game and even if they win the combination of travel and a very hard game against a near international team line-up will make it much tougher for the following week. Still, I think this Brumbies side might be the side to do it.
    3. I am a bit of a Sam Carter fan and am a bit biased as I was lucky enough to play with his dad for Quirindi in the early 1990s . Carter is unique in terms of what he does when you look at our other second rowers and his combination with Rory Arnold is very well balanced. He isn’t a big ball runner but he has an enormous work rate, performs well in lineouts, a good technician. I know he is getting towards the end of his career (which makes me feel very old as I remembering him running around as a 5 year old) but the Wallabies could do worse than to take in to the RWC. I think he is comparable to Rob Simmons and, if I was making the choice, I think he has the better form this season.
    4. Unlucky for the U20s but looking very much forward to this player group coming through into the Super Rugby and Wallabies fold. There is some promise there and hopefully we will have the coaching and support teams around them to see them reach their full potential as senior players.
    5. Thanks to Gibson – coaching is never an easy job and he has had some challenges over the last couple of year (and particularly this year) that would make things even more difficult. He seems like a decent bloke and I wish him success wherever he ends up. Qld have taken the punt on allowing Thorn to work with the younger group and bringing him through the ranks and I wonder if there is an opportunity for NSW to do the same – bringing Gilmore through with this group of NSW U20s that were part of his Junior Wallabies squad – and surround him with an experienced high level team with the equivalents of Laurie Fischer etc as the Brumbies and the Reds have. The problem is I think Gilmore is a Qlder but that, too me, shouldn’t matter.

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      Agree totally on Sam Carter. Always 100% and quality.

    • Andy

      I think Carter is a handy super rugby player but isn’t suited to International rugby. He’s not physical enough and has poor handling skills. But granted, he is having a decent season.

      • AllyOz

        I just feel that Carter will give you everything that Rob Simmons would in terms of lineout and lineout leadership etc but has a higher work rate and does a bit more around the field – not overly aggressive but then neither is Simmons (and when he does he can express it in the wrong way and give away the odd penalty). Rodda and Rory to start for mine and then the bloke who changed his surname to cover 6 and 4/5 and then a workhorse with good set play skills and Carter does that for me better than some of the others. At least there is a bit of depth in this position these days.

        • Who?

          Simmons advantage is his handling skills. But I wouldn’t want either Carter or Simmons on the bench – no impact from either of them.
          So we can blame Carter’s lesser handling skills on you not spending enough time throwing the ball to/at him back at Quirindi? :-P

        • AllyOz

          No not really. I have no ball skills to pass on. My stay was all to brief – a couple of seasons in 1994/5 but a great club – one of the best I have been associated with and the pack had four NSW Country players in it so I learned shitloads.

          All I remember was that he was a massive kid – a head taller than anyone else his age and the other kids used to come running in from the play area saying “Sam hurt me” (always accidents by the way). His old man was a warrior – one of the most inspirational blokes I have played with and if he lacked anything as a rugby player it certainly wasn’t aggression (which is why its strange that this is one of Sam’s perceived weaknesses).

        • Who?

          Maybe Sam’s aggression issues is that he got sick of all the opposition parents glaring at him for hurting their kids? Given they all know each other… And if you’re not a heartless cur, frustrations fester over seasons.
          My kids, we had an opponent in one particular team who was just filthy. He’d score a try, go looking for the nearest opponent and then punch them in the chest. Just filthy. The team hated him by Under 9’s (second year of tackle), had to be taken aside and taught compassion when he had a serious injury which ruled him out for an entire season (not suffered against us – they were all gleefully proclaiming ‘karma’ when word got around, we had to tell them that we don’t take joy in anyone’s injuries), and only became a human in their eyes when he started attending the same school as a few of our guys.
          So if you’re not wanting to have a terrible name, then even accidental injuries require the developing of look of the most sincere remorse!
          .
          And hey, you don’t have to have ball skills to help someone else develop them. Arguably, the poorer the pass, the better the receiver will be! :-D

        • AllyOz

          He was only playing hide and seek when I was there – don’t think he had graduated to junior rugby. I think most of the issues were just that he was a big strong kid and the other kids hadn’t developed at the same pace. He wasn’t a bully (at least as I remember it).

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Samu is a big loss mate. I guess a lot will depend on the travel factor as this always seems to be an issue. The Army sent me a lot further in the back of a C130 rather than business class and I was expected to go straight into work so I’m always a bit dubious about the effect of travel, although I agree it’s not easy.
      I’m not so sure on Carter mainly because I think in the past he hasn’t been able to step up to test level well and others were performing better. In some ways I think the starting should be Arnold and Rodda with Carter perhaps on the bench.

      I agree Gibson probably is a decent bloke, after all he’s a kiwi lol. I just don’t think he’s a good coach. For whatever reason he never got the Tahs working well and his succession and man management plans were total shit.

      • AllyOz

        Yes all good points. On Gibson, some blokes make great assistants but can’t step up into the top job. It requires a different skill set, strategic planning, managing a coaching team (which is different to managing players as the coaching team probably wants your job). And it means getting the right people around you (for you and the team – which is sometimes different perhaps than what NSWRU might think is best for the team).

        I wondered if, with Ronan O’Gara gone and Gibson a Crusader old boy, if he might finish up there. But, if he can’t coach, he won’t be at the Crusaders.

        • Who?

          Gibson was pushed out by (the unsuccessful) Blackadder, I don’t see him being called back.

    • Brumby Runner

      I am with you all the way about Sam Carter. His partnership with Rory this year has been top class.

      A lot of comments from others on Sam, particularly about lack of aggression. I seem to remember Cheika returned him to NRC from the Wallaby squad with instruction to up his aggression and promptly put Rob (Powder Puff) Simmons in. One thing Simmons does not possess is anything like aggression. Sam has it over him in spades, along with a greater workload, similar lineout skills, and much better defense. Hard to believe a word that comes out of Cheika’s mouth, assuming you can even understand it.

      I do not subscribe to the idea espoused by Who? that Simmons has good ball handling skills. If he passes the ball in a game then it is usually only on a handful of occasions, certainly not sufficient to justify his inclusion over a better performing lock. And the lock with real ball handling skills is Rory Arnold.

      Simmons did not stand out in a very ordinary Waratahs’ pack this year (Holloway was streets better), and should not be anywhere near the Wallabies squad for TRC or the RWC.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Simmons was one of the highest tacklers in the comp, their line out general (and the Tahs had a good line out) and passed extremely well, as well as working on his clean outs.

        He definitely played well, whether he makes the team or not.

    • Patrick

      I would also start with Carter and bring Rodda off the bench, then see if he earns a start.

      • AllyOz

        I think if you play a Carter (or a Simmons) you start them and then bring on Rodda.

        • Patrick

          That would be my starting point too. But I’m open to seeing what works.

  • Dud Roodt

    As much as I don’t want to kick off the kind of chat we had going on here on Friday, latest news is Folau’s gofundme has been shut down by the company and all donations are to be refunded;
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/folau-gofundme-appeal-shut-down-by-crowdfunding-site-20190624-p520nh.html?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0PNrjOEx-cR19R91V-3zppnnn_8DrC4fqJFI5BXQmYpHailF8t6-FvQM4#Echobox=1561336630

    • Keith Butler

      Too late. Prepare for incoming.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    BREAKING NEWS THIS MORNING:

    “Today we will be closing Israel Folau’s campaign and issuing full refunds to all donors. After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service,” said Nicola Britton, GoFundMe’s Australia Regional Manager.

    “As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity. While we welcome GoFundMes engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.

    “In the days since Mr Folau’s campaign launched, more than one million dollars have been donated to hundreds of other campaigns, large and small, across Australia. Those acts of kindness are the heart of GoFundMe.

    “Our platform exists to help people help others. Australians have shown themselves to be among the most kind and generous people in the world. We look forward to helping more Australians fundraise for causes they care about in the coming months and years.”

    “According to the terms and conditions on the website, users may not attempt to raise money “for the legal defence of … intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.”

    Full article here: https://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/wallabies/760k-then-nothing-israel-folaus-gofundme-page-pulled-down/news-story/99e53e1c8be48a28a56a6e50ad0bb7c1

    • Missing Link

      Excellent, I was beginning to think I’d never see my $180,000 again

      • Greg

        me too. If that’s 360k between the tow of us…. then the rest of the team has been a bit light on.

        Mr Folau is entitled to pursue his case. I think gofundme is for other purposes.

        If his objective was to get publicity, then he has done very well.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Awesome news

    • Yowie

      Litigatin’ on a Prayer
      Bon Jehovi*

      Izzy used to work in the backs, union’s killed his contract
      He’s down on his luck, it’s tough, so tough
      Maria works the netball all day working for her man
      She brings home her pay, for love, for love

      She says, we’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got
      It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not
      We’ve got supporters and that’s a lot for (straight) love
      We’ll give crowdfunding a shot

      Woah, we got a quarter-way there
      Woah, litigatin’ on a prayer
      Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear**
      Woah, litigatin’ on a prayer

      [*thanks Habitual Offender
      **there is no obligations on Israel Folau apply the funds in any particular way with respect to his legal action]

      (Recycled and mildly adapted from Friday)

    • Keith Butler

      Good.

      • Geoffro

        Sure is and discourages future unscrupulous grabs for cash on that platform.Go on folks , don’t be put off from sending him your donations privately , nothing unlawful in that. No ? …not the same squeezy feeling as seeing the meter tick over

        • Yowie

          Potential direct donors should contact me for the bank details.

    • Uncle Tony

      Excellent news.

    • Andrew Luscombe

      The ‘…’ missing from the reason for shutting down the campaign is ‘alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or’. There have been no crimes or allegations of crimes.

      The last GoFundMe prohibited reason for raising money is term 27. ‘any other activity that GoFundMe may deem in its sole discretion to be unacceptable.’

      That last one is the breached term.

      https://au.gofundme.com/terms

      • Depends on your interpretation of the word “crimes”.
        Interpretation like many things seems subjective?

        • Custard Taht

          I would have thought after all the centuries worth of court cases and legislation, the interpretation and definition of “Crimes” would be well established and regarded as judicial notice.

          I guess there are those who walk amongst us, of such simple mind, as to think “Causing offence” is the same as “Committing an offence”.

          Thankfully we do not have to rely upon them for such interpretations.

        • My only crime is conceit
          Never beeen to court for it.
          Actually, prob not my only crime..simple minded seems to be another one

        • Custard Taht

          My crimes are against fashion. Apparently Hawaiian shirts never have or never will be “in”.

        • Shame.Maybe because I have a couple, gifts of course

        • Yowie

          According to Homer Simpson’s and IF’s rules, that’s a 50% chance of going to hell right there. Are you a big fat party animal?

        • Custard Taht

          According to my wife I look like a beached whale, pretty sure she is just being mean to a heart that’s true!

        • AllyOz

          Elvis Presley and James Blunt lyrics quoted on the same forum on the same day….what are the odds of that happening

        • Yowie

          It would be even more remarkable if “Elvis Presley” were also a type of rhyming slang.

        • AllyOz

          I have tried for 10 minutes and I can’t come up with something….that is one the comedy geniuses like Hoss or yourself (well elvis and pelvis rhyme and both body parts are in the same general area I guess so there’s a start – go your hardest)

      • Mike Thompson

        The trouble with terms and conditions is that they are what Bret Weinstein calls a “low posted speed limit” .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGvI0O82fF0

      • Steve

        So the total sentence reads “for the legal defence of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.”

        In which case my reading sees it fall into the second category, not in defence of alleged crimes but in support of intolerance. I suppose it hinges on your interpretation of that key ‘or’. But by my reckoning it separates the ‘alleged crimes’ section from the ‘intolerance’ section of the sentence.

        • formerflanker

          The platform of such moral standing that it allows Hanson-Young ($200,000 ++ p.a. since 2008) to make an appeal to fund legal costs.
          Yet doesn’t allow Folau to do the same.
          That’s a text book case of hypocricy.

        • Steve

          I don’t live in Aus so had to look that up! I am long past thinking anyone in tech has any morality (I spend much of my life on the subject, story for another day).

          My main point was that, as I read it, Izzy’s campaign was a breach of their T&C’s.

          As a secondary point it’s hard to feel too sorry for that campaign no longer being on the site.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          There is no grammatical reason to separate the clause into two at the ‘ or’. If that was intended, a different construction would be used – e.g. make two separate clauses to make it clear. At least a comma after the ‘or’ However, if the word ‘crimes’ is to apply to everything after it, the wording used is the only natural wording. You can’t do anything other than list all the things ‘crimes’ applies to after ‘crimes’.

          But anyway Izzy would say he has said nothing intolerant. He sees everyone as a sinner, and everyone as benefitting from ‘God’s word’. He hasn’t tried to exclude anyone from anything except for a bad outcome after death. A lot of people understandingly don’t like what he said, but it’s not intolerant.

          There is nothing in any of the terms and conditions about sick people or the intention of the site as being for sick people. It is clearly for a wide range of funding purposes. It may well be mostly used for sick people, but it is used for other things too.

          It’s a strange argument that funding sites need to be or should be segregated by purpose of expenditure.

          But anyway, the site is clearly within its T’s and C’s to withdraw its services from anyone. I don’t have a problem with them doing it. I only made the point because I thought it inaccurately reported.

        • Steve

          Fair enough.

          This is by the by (I have too much time on my hands), but I read it as:

          “for the legal defence of: (1) alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or (2) intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.”

          Hence I thought the exclusion was fair enough.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Yep.

    • Hoss

      Gutted for RA – there legal costs will have to come from other sources now.

      • Custard Taht

        Izzy might have to sell that Lambo, bummer.

        • Who?

          Thought the reporting said he’d already sold it?

        • Id donate for that

        • Yowie

          Keep it down a bit or you’ll draw attention to a loophole.

          Otherwise brace for the news of a new “Israel Folau General Non-Specific Expenses ($3M for Sports Car Perhaps, Hard to Tell) Go Fund Me Page”

        • Ok , had to question my morals momentarily…
          Yes, I’Il donate
          Suitable brace position implemented.

        • Hoss

          I think he has mate

        • Custard Taht

          Fark, missed that. What is the world coming to! A millionaire sportsman, with a property portfolio having to sell his car to pay for legal costs. Oh the humanity!

          Has he thought about a go fund me page?

        • Dud Roodt

          Well fuck. This sad tale takes yet another victim. That poor Lambo did nothing, NOTHING, to deserve being sold off.
          When will the horrors end?!

        • Yowie

          If it’s just before the timing belt service* it’s probably a good move by IF.

          (*expensive nightmare for a mid-engined V10)

        • Dud Roodt

          But with his Lambo now gone, joining his Rangey that was unceremoniously snatched back a couple of months ago, and now his sweet, sweet gofundme money disappearing in a poof, it’s not going to be a good look rocking up to court in a beaten up Datsun 120y!

        • Yowie

          Might help with playing the sympathy card on the judge?

          “Sorry i’m late your honour, the Datsun was playing up on the way back from the orphanage where I was telling the kids Christmas is cancelled if I don’t have my Rugby salary to help pay for it.”

        • Sevenwithasixonmyback

          Disappearing where?
          Isn’t that what started all this?
          Does Alan Jones’ driver have an old Datsun?
          Cool.

        • Yowie

          Does Alan Jones’ driver have an old Datsun?

          I bet he has a few stories.

        • Dud Roodt

          Haha

        • Geoffro
        • Yowie

          if that red scarf gets caught under the wheel that pedalling priest is toast!

        • Timbo

          It’s called being Prostrate.

        • Geoffro

          Some priests are prostrate experts

        • Who?

          Think you’ve one too many r’s in there. :-P

        • Geoffro

          Well,I wAs thinking about the Catholic Church’s contribution to the science of proctology

        • Keith Butler

          And there’s me thinking they did it standing up.

        • Dud Roodt

          Izzy, despite rumours to the contrary, is very much a climate change warrior, so being able to pick up this rape papal wagon on carsales for cheap was a true godsend

        • Geoffro

          Yes,rather burn in hell than pollute the atmosphere here

    • Mike Thompson

      As a Rugby lover, this is good news. He can’t fund a legal attack using other people’s money. He has become easy to dislike.

      On the other hand, as a person who values western civilisation, this is seriously terrible. And scary. These bloody tech platforms now wield immense power and they are doing it in a very illiberal, uneven way. It should scare the crap out of anyone who is libertarian or liberal, much less Christian (I’m an Atheist) .

      There are a lot of levels to this.

      • Andy

        Yet to see the liberal takeover in Western politics. Quite the contrary. But certain corporations always hold the power. Before the tech companies it was oil, gas and weapons. And look at the mess that got us into.

        • Mike Thompson

          >Yet to see the liberal takeover in Western politics.

          I have alarming news for you. The takeover started in the late 1600s, thanks to John Locke et al, and it was all over within a 100 years.

          Perhaps you are talking about a different “liberalism” to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    The Force vs Fiji game was the highlight of my weekend. Fast, exiting and with both teams ready to play rugby and run the ball. it become quickly evident that who-ever control the ball (and not territory) will win the game. The Force bench was for me the difference between the sides and therefore I hope to see Fiji bring a stronger bench next year. These two teams play the type of game that GRR will be based on and will become the superpowers of this competition.

    • Even the replacement halfback scored.
      Seems we have positional competition for Issak Fines too.

      • Bernie Chan

        That lad can play…what a prospect. But of course the QRU didn’t notice that he was the Premier Rugby POTY in his debut season…at the Dragons(?)…

        • All I know Bernie, copied from the Force Website

          Juniors: Reef Raider, Port Douglas.
          School: The Southport School
          Senior Club: Sunnybank Rugby
          Current Premier Grade Club: Perth Bayswater

          QLD Schoolboys – 2013
          Red’s U20’s – 2015
          Australian Under 20’s – 2015
          QLD Country, NRC – 2016
          Brisbane City, NRC – 2017

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Fines is developing well and it is good to see a local UWA player playing well and to provide competition with Ian Prior also in the mix.

  • Custard Taht

    I am going with a Brumbies v Crusaders final. I think the Should be Wallabies will take care of the, they are the Pumas.

    • Kevino

      Brumbies v Canes final

      Brumbies to win, that would make it a hat trick of Aus wins during World Cup years.

      2011 – Reds
      2015 – Tahs
      2019 – Brumbies

      2023 – Rebels (We can all dream)

      • Brumby Runner

        Thought the Tahs were in 2014. Must be mistaken.

        • NSWelsham in London

          tahs were 2014… nice to dream though

  • Is this the same quality of prediction as we had for your Chiefs? :p

    I haven’t watched all the Jags matches, and while I can see what you mean, I think their passion serves to get them going in defence rather than make them sloppy. It won’t work over a whole 80 minutes, probably, but it seemed to work for 20 minutes on Friday night against the Chiefs, and they were a good enough side to get into a position when it could make the difference.

    I saw a match earlier in the season where it fired them up to come from behind too, so it can spark their attack.

    While I hope it’s not the case, I think they’ve got the beating of the Brumbies, but the Crusaders are another step in class.

    • From NooZealand

      If we overcome the Canes, will show them …. I hope.

  • Hoss

    Just watched the replay mate.
    I reckon the Jags played their final last week – man they invested some emotion in that. Maybe the tank will be empty this week. Like my wife’s scorecard always says in me – peaks too early.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I see Cully is thinking the same. I think as general rule the Latin race are more passionate than us so I’m not so sure they’re drained. I think we’re living on hope and looking for something that may not be there

  • From NooZealand

    “Thank you” KRL for bringing joy to my heart when you say that it will be a Crusader vs Jaguar final. The Canes are the only team that I think might stop the Crusader. I am rooting for the Brumbies though and I think they can do it.

  • I hope you haven’t been putting your money where your heart says then!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      No mate. I don’t waste money on games when I can waste it on wine and beer

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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