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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

And we’re back!

Monday’s Rugby News dissects Australia’s performance at the Hamilton Sevens, Dave Rennie’s thoughts on overseas players playing for the Wallabies along with the final trials for the Super Rugby sides.


Semi final struggles

Lewis Holland - has sneaky acceleration

Lewis Holland – has sneaky acceleration

Both Australian sevens teams have suffered losses during the semi-finals of the Hamilton Sevens.

First up was the women’s team, who were defeated by Canada 28-14 after going unbeaten throughout the opening day.

The Canadians would come back from a 12-7 half-time deficit to take the contest before they were eventually beaten by New Zealand in the final 24-7.

The Aussies would end up losing the bronze place match to France 19-14, with coach John Manenti choosing to rest multiple star players with the Sydney leg of the series on the horizon.

The men’s team were soldiers of fortune heading into the semi-finals, with an incredible performance by Argentina to upset gold medalists Fiji in the final group match sealing their place.

Whilst their good run looked to continue after taking a half-time lead against New Zealand, a yellow card to Maurice Longbottom allowed the Kiwis to fight back and take the semi-final 17-14.

They would end up winning the tournament 27-5 against France, making into two from two on home soil.

The men’s side would have no dramas during their bronze medal match against England, cruising to a 33-21 victory after doubles to Josh Turner and Lachie Anderson secured the result.

It was the highest finish for Australia since a silver medal in London last season.

“It was a really good weekend for us and a good stepping stone for next week in Sydney. That’s the best result of the season so far and hopefully we can go a bit better next weekend,” new Aussie skipper Nick Malouf said.

“Hopefully (Sydney) will be even a more polished performance than what came out this weekend.

“We dropped two games against Fiji and New Zealand and games like that are ones we’d like to be winning.

“Just the next step up next week and today’s a great day to be an Australian.”

Rennie disproves Giteau’s law

dave rennie

New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has opened up on his selection policy, revealing that his preference is that his players are playing in Super Rugby.

Rennie had his first open media session on Friday and told reporters that he will look to select home-grown talent unless they are willing to pull a Nic White and recommit to coming home.

“I think what’s really important is that we are picking guys from here,” Rennie said.

“We’ll have more influence if they are playing in a Super Rugby competition which we know is really strong.

“Ultimately if there are guys overseas that either make a commitment back here to be in the mix, not too dissimilar to what Nic White did for the World Cup and committing back here.

“I just think it’s important if you want to be a Wallaby, you need to be playing your footy down here…otherwise the fear is that you will have a lot of guys chasing the pound or the euro instead of plying their trade here.”

One player that is firmly on the radar is potential castaway Will Skelton, who may be forced home after Saracens were embroiled in a salary cap scandal that will see them relegated next year.

“Yes, I think conditioning wise he’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen him,” he said on Skelton.

“We (Glasgow) played against him three times last year and he’s playing great footy.

“He’s certainly someone we are keen to get back but we need him to commit back to Super Rugby.”

Rennie also revealed that he isn’t afraid to select U20 stars such as Isaac Lucas and Will Harrison with limited options at flyhalf, believing that age shouldn’t be a factor.

“Yeah I think Matt will end up playing a lot of 10 for the Rebels as well, so clearly he’s a strong contender (to play fly-half),” Rennie said.

“There’s no doubt that 10 is probably thinner than most in regard to experience.

“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough,

“It’s a great opportunity for a lot of these young men to front during Super Rugby and if you do, you’re playing against some of the best players in the world within that competition, so I’d love to see that and promote a young fella — but they’re going to have to earn the right to play.”

Noah ready to Go(ah)

Noah Lolesio Canberra Vikings v QLD Country NRC 2019

Brumbies young gun Noah Lolesio has declared himself ready to step into Christian Lealiifano’s lofty shoes after a stellar performance during their trial win over the Rebels.

Lolesio was one of the shining stars in the Brumbies 45-14 thumping win over the Rebels on Thursday, with the performance edging him in front of Bayley Kuenzle for the number ten jersey.

Both teams ran out near full-strength line-ups in the second game, with the first half offering a rugged 7-7 affair before the two coaches emptied their benches in the second term.

This spurred the boys from the nation’s capital on, with the Brumbies scoring five tries in the last fifteen minutes to seal the win.

Whilst Lolesio admitted to pre-game nerves before the clash, he stated that he enjoyed the occasion and is ready to step up if selected for their opening round contest against the Reds.

“I was obviously pretty nervous before the game, but when I was there, it felt pretty natural and normal, to be honest,” he said.

“I enjoyed it and loved being out there today.

“I want to stamp my name as that number one ten, in that starting role and hopefully I did enough tonight to prove to the coaches that I’m up to it.

“I felt like we played too much footy in our 40, where I could have stood up and played down there, but it’s definitely a learning curve.”

Coach Dan McKellar was full of praise for the 20-year-old, pleased with how he stepped up against his idol and Wallabies flyhalf Matt Toomua.

“I thought he controlled the game well,” McKellar said.

“He will learn from that first 20-minute period where we did try to play a bit too much from our own end, we have been guilty of that a bit in the past.

“(We need to be) identifying backfield space when it’s open and hitting the corners and not asking our big units to carry 10 or 15 times.”

Reds take bragging rights

Photo Credit Brendan Hertel / QRU

Photo Credit Brendan Hertel / QRU

The Queensland Reds have secured a pair of wins during their clash against the NSW Waratahs.

Whilst the Reds claimed a28-19 victory during a testing trial in Dalby, coach Brad Thorn will likely be more pleased to come through the clash unscathed with no fresh injuries.

They ran away with the game in the second half, scoring three unanswered tries before the Waratahs crossed twice late in the game to add some respectability to the scoreline.

Thorn was pleased with the result along with the news that former captain Izack Rodda and prop JP Smith are set to be fit for the start of the season.

“What I liked about today was just seeing some rugby get played by both sides,” he said.

“Just the calibre of player was different this week, from the Waratahs, which actually helps the flow of the game.

“Last week was a little bit slow. When you get two teams that are competitive, it just helps the game.

“We’re hoping that those guys will be available, they’ve been working hard,” Thorn added on the injured pair.

“Big Izack Rodda I think could have played two weeks ago but they stuck to the thing that (the medical staff) wanted him to do and that’s really good. And the same with JP.

“It would have been perfect if it would have been a normal season start but it is what it is and every other team is dealing with the short season.”

The same couldn’t be said for Waratahs coach Rob Penney, who will be sweating on the fitness of flyhalf Mack Mason after he was forced from the field with a groin injury.

This could lead to the debut of U20 star Will Harrison or the potential shift of Kurtley Beale to the position, opening up a position in the back three for Mark Nawaqanitawase (Nah-WANG-gah-KNEE-tah-WAH-zay for those wondering how to approach his glorious last name).

“(Mason) looks to have a bit of a groin, I don’t know too much detail yet,” Penney said,

“If he’s not available, that will impact on the fact that he’s not available. You deal with the injuries as they come about.

“It’s not a position we have a great deal of depth in but as the week unfolds, we’ll get more information on Mack and see where it leads.”

  • sambo6

    BOOM. GAGR is back.

    Forget this Australia day versus invasion day stuff. The return of GAGR is more than enough reason to celebrate…..

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Absofriggenlutely mate

      • sambo6

        Did I miss a big reveal of the adjustment in your username? Or have you subtlely slipped that through as a 2020 initiative..:)

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Became an Australian citizen on 24 Dec at the Embassy in Seoul mate.

        • John Tynan

          juswal head explode in 3..2…1…
          Could you change your avatar to Karl from the Simpsons (ie Lenny and Karl)

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Hahahahahaha I’ll have a look.I sort of like the idea of the military part and both nations though

  • Brumby Runner

    Welcome back Nathan and the rest of the daily news team. Great to have the news available again.

    Lolesio is likely to get the first go at the starting No 10 spot, but Keunzle will also do a great job if he gets it. If the Brumbies want to exit their own end, BK just might be the better option. His line kicking in the trial was far more effective than anyone else in all of the trials, including Tom Banks.

    • Bobas

      I actually thought Kearnzle was better at NRC too.
      I think Lolesio might have conditioning advantage atm.
      The brumbies shouldnt miss the opportunity to use Hansen in a role taking pressure off the main playmaker from the wing. Would love to see him getting extended minutes with Banks and Pulu.

  • Geoffro

    Some pretty handy young no. 10s running around this year across all the Aus franchises.

  • Steve

    Great to have you guys back.

    Pretty excited about Brums Reds this week, both trialled well with a lot of young guns.

    I’m still not sure Lolesio did better than Kuenzle but if McKellar backs him then good luck to him.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan, so good to see you back. Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and Happy Australia Day. I must admit I’ve been checking every day or so waiting to get my fix.
    It’s great to see some of the youngsters step up and I’m hoping this continues and we’ve gone past the “bring back X” crap we’ve had to endure for the last 5 years.

    I’m really looking forward to the 10 battle this year. There’s some great players coming through. TBH Nic White didn’t impress me that much. Good at times but he also showed at other times why he wasn’t picked. Lolesio looks good as do some of the others so I’m hoping they step up.

    Good to see the boys and girls playing well in the 7’s and hope they step up for this weekend. Unfortunately deployed in South Korea until end of April so will miss a lot of the rugby this year until I get back.

  • andrewM

    Welcome back! I”ve missed you guys!

    Castle says that Force players are eligible for Wallabies selection, but Rennie says they need to be playing for a Super team. Whilst that may be true informally, this statement along with his lack of interest in meeting with the Force during his recent tour is a real kick in the guts for us over here. Maybe Castle needs to sit down with Rennie and discuss the lay of the land with him. Admittedly his time was tight but there just happens to be a direct flight from the UK to Perth.

    On top of this, losing some of our key Under 20 players such as Tizzano and McDonald, plus previously unheralded eastern states players such as Deegan and Fines to Super Teams and not even getting the chance to blood local juniors such as Campbell Parata and Reesjan Pasitoa before they are lost to Eastern states private schools is really not doing much for the relationship. RA needs to step up its game.

    That’s my WA gripe for today, and hopefully for the year, except of course when DFB Clyne next opens his mouth.

    • JJ

      Well said Andrew. It is disappointing when the new Wallaby coach does not even acknowledge the existence of the Western Force and Global Rapid Rugby.
      I did send him an email via the RA of a link to the NRC grand final in case he had not seen it, where the Force flogged the Vikings 41-3
      https://www.rugby.com.au/videos/2019/10/25/nrc-grand-final-force-vikings

      I watched the Brumby trial game against the Rebels thought to myself that several of the Viking players would likely feature in Dave Rennie’s Wallaby training squad. Like Tom Banks, Joe Powell, Pete Samu etc.

  • dru

    Thanks Nathan – especially on the pronunciation of Marky Mark.

    Brumbies v Reds opener should be a pearler – as long as heat doesn’t kill the spectacle.

  • Huw Tindall

    Normal service has resumed! Off season sucks.

  • Ian Rodger

    GAGR is back! Finally i can pretend to be doing something at work but actually read about rugby.

    I’m excited for the coming season. A lot of new, young players in key positions for their clubs and a wallabies coach who says he is going to pick on merrit and not shift with positions!

  • NSWelsham in London

    Great to have you guys back..
    Would love to see Penney start with Harrison at 10 and a perfect chance to do so. I dont think many tahs fans would want to see Beale at 10. On paper this is not a game we should win, nor is it one many teams tend to win so perfect opportunity for the young gun to test himself against arguably the greatest provincial side on the planet. let beale play where he plays best and lets start the season not playing people out of position. Im excited either way, as it looks like this is the season where i need to learn new names across all Aussie sides and have absolutely no idea who the wallabies will be. Hoping for the tahs to win but will be happy to see all of our sides do well. bring it on…

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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