Monday’s Rugby News talk about the massive final over the weekend along with the World Cup, the future Wallabies coach speaks out and the Bledisloe fixtures have been confirmed
West is Best
The Western Force has claimed the 2019 NRC with a convincing 41-3 victory over the Canberra Vikings.
It was a see-sawing battle during the first half with neither team willing to give an inch in defence, with the only try coming from Force hooker Heath Tessman giving his side a 7-3 halftime lead.
However, the Force would blitz their Canberra rivals in the second half, with two tries in the 10 minutes after the break gifting them a comfortable lead, before a pair of late tries to Jeremy Thrush and Jonah Placid sealed the result.
Second rower Fergus Lee-Warner was immense for the Force and was rightly awarded the Phil Waugh Medal for best on the ground.
The overall tally of six tries was a welcome sight for Force fans and the 2019 Telethon Appeal, with Force owner Andrew Forrest donating $100,000 per try to help sick and disadvantaged kids in the west.
The title marks the second time that the ‘toast rack’ will remain in Western Australia, with captain Andrew Deegan proud of the way that his side repaid the faith of the raucous home crowd.
“I think we just got our opportunities and we took them at the right time and we came away with the win there,” Deegan said.
“But I was really proud of the boys and the blokes that came off the bench, that whole second half we took our opportunities and we scored five tries there
“We wanted to send all the blokes off on good terms and for the Sea of Blue (supporters), we can’t thank them enough, and (the result) for next year, builds a bit of momentum for Global Rapid Rugby.”
Vikings captain Blake Enever heaped praise on the victorious Force, particularly the way they were able to shut out the game in the second half.
“They made the most of all their opportunities and we made too many mistakes,” Enever said.
“Good on them. They’re a good team, they’re well drilled and they have a good coaching staff.
“Well done to them and I think we just weren’t clinical and we missed a lot of opportunities today.”
World Cup final confirmed
The final for the World Cup has been confirmed with England set to play South Africa next Saturday.
England was the first team to secure their place in the final with a stunning 19-7 win over defending champions New Zealand.
Eddie Jones men controlled the first half, with Tuilagi’s converted try and the first of Ford’s penalties gifting them a 10-0 lead.
Another Ford penalty early in the second half made it 13-0 but the All Blacks eventually broke through when Ardie Savea snatched an overthrown line-out to reduce the margin to just six.
However, England would continue to control possession and territory thanks to a superb forward effort led by locks Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje, with Ford nailing two more penalties to secure the win.
The win pretty much secures Eddie Jones as head coach and let’s face it, with the likes of Itoje (24), Ford (26), Underhill (23) and Curry (21) set to lead that team for the next 5+ years, why would you leave.
Their opponent will be South Africa, who narrowly held on for a 19-16 win over Wales.
The contest was dominated by the boot with both teams resembling AFL teams withthe amount of times that they kicked in open play throughout the match.
The Springboks would be the first time to find the tryline when centre Damian de Allende crossed to give them a seven point advantage with 25 minutes to go.
However, Wales would hit back with a late try to Josh Adams levelling the scores with just 10 minutes remaining.
Ultimately, it was the boot of Handre Pollard which secured the result, slotting a 76th minute penalty to give South Africa the win.
“We’re in the final of the World Cup… but that’s only half way there.We’d love to win the World Cup,” said South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus.
“We play a class England team in the final now but we’re there. We’ve got a a chance now and we might go all the way. You never know.”
The destinations for the 2020 Bledisloe Cup have been confirmed with Brisbane and Melbourne the lucky recipients of the two tests.
With ANZ Stadium set to out of action during the second half of 2020, Rugby Australia confirmed that the third clash is set to be held at Suncorp Stadium after earlier revealing that the first will be at Marvel Stadium.
The deciding (hopefully) contest is pencilled in for an October 17 showdown and will be the last test on home soil before the Wallabies contiki tour around Europe.
They also confirmed that Brisbane will host a test match next July as well, with Australia welcoming Ireland for their mid-year matches in a two-test series.
The Irish test is set to be held on July 4 and will mark the first challenge for Michael Cheika’s successor.
Suncorp has become some sort of a stronghold for the Wallabies, having defeated Argentina in their last match there along with winning their last Bledisloe fixture at the venue in 2017.
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle believes that Brisbane would be a great spot for two Tests next year.
“Suncorp Stadium has been the venue for some of the most memorable Wallabies Test matches in recent years and the stage is set for two more high-quality Test matches in 2020,” Castle said.
“Brisbane knows how to put on a great show and the Wallabies always have outstanding support every time they come to town.
“The Wallabies have a strong record at Suncorp Stadium, and it is no wonder that it is one of the favourite venues for our players.”
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones was naturally pleased with the news, suggesting that rugby fans would be delighted that Suncorp would host two of the Wallabies’ matches in 2020.
“Fellow World Cup quarterfinalists Ireland and the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe Cup match are good gets for local tourism operators,” Ms Jones said.
“The Queensland Government supports major events like the Wallabies because they attract visitors and create jobs in the local tourism sector.”
Rennie refutes reports
Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie has denied any contract has been signed with Rugby Australia whilst reiterated his interest in the role.
Rennie is the red-hot favourite for the vacant position, with reports suggesting that he was already pencilled in for the job before the Wallabies were knocked out of the tournament.
The former Chiefs coach is currently contracted to Glasgow until the end of the European season in June next year, which he has reaffirmed that he plans to stick to.
“Probably the easiest way to clarify this is that I know there’s lots of speculation in the media that I’ve already signed [a contract with Australia] and people have been informed and all this sort of stuff,” he said.
“That’s not accurate. I haven’t signed, and I will definitely be here till the end of this season, which is the end of June.
“I’ll just reiterate: regardless of what happens to me beyond this season, I’m here for the full season. It’s important to me. I’m committed to the Warriors and I won’t leave earlier.”
Whilst no contract has been signed, Rennie admitted that he is definitely interested in the role, although refused to discuss it further until it had been confirmed.
“Yeah, I think we’ve discussed this before, so yeah, absolutely,” he said.
“I guess what I’m implying is there’s lots of talk about this and I’m already committed [to Glasgow], you know. There’s a lot of speculation, as there has been for months.
“All I would say to that is that it’s almost like when we sign players,
“We don’t discuss anything until there’s an announcement to be made. It’s no different to coaches and me.”
There has also been talk that Rennie’s assistant and Scotland defence coach, Aussie-born Matt Taylor could join him at the Wallabies, which the NZ-born coach responded with “Speculation”.