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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News looks at the results from the Super Rugby and Super W, the newest location for the Wallabies/Wallaroos and how the coronavirus has affected the gold medal defence of the women’s sevens side.


Super Recap

Reece Hodge through the gap Waratahs v Rebels 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

Round three of the Super Rugby separated the contenders from the pretenders, with some clear favourites rising to the top of the class.

One of these was the Crusaders, who dominated the Blues 25-8 in Auckland. The defending champions bounced back from their disappointing loss to the Chiefs, with tries to All Blacks trio George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga and Jack Goodhue sealing the win.

This was followed by the Adam Freier/Tom Kingston classic, with the Rebels hosting the Waratahs in awful conditions. The action would match the weather, with neither side playing inspiring rugby. Despite this, former Waratah Andrew Kellaway starred in his revenge game, scoring a double to secure the 24-10 win for the Rebels.

To start Saturday, the Chiefs crushed the Sunwolves to claim a 43-17 win in Toyko. The unbeaten Chiefs would share the load around, with seven different try scorers crossing in the bonus-point victory that maintained their spot on the top of the ladder.

Following this, the Hurricanes would look to back up their impressive win against the Jaguares when they hosted the Sharks, who were eager to end their NZ tour unbeaten. Unfortunately for them, they ran into a truck named Ben Lam, who dominated the second half with a double to claim a 38-22 win.

To wrap up Saturday, the only unbeaten Australian side, the Brumbies, faced their first real test in the Highlanders (no offence, Rebels and Reds). The Brumbies rolling maul, led by hat-trick hero Folau Fainga’a, looked to have sealed the game for the ACT boys. However, a late penalty and an 84th minute try to Teariki Ben-Nicholas allowed the Dunedin dudes to claim a one-point victory.

This was followed by the match of the round, with the Stormers looking to maintain their unbeaten run when they hosted the Lions. In a tense encounter, Ruhan Nel scored a last-gasp try to ensure that the Stormers pipped the Lions 33-30 and continued their impressive start to the season.

To finish the Super Rugby round, we ask for anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Federico Anselmi and co if they could contact a Mr B Thorn, whose team were victims of an absolute robbery in Argentina. Despite a dominant first half, the Reds were eventually run down by Anselmi and the Jaguares, who claimed a 43-27 victory. Just another case of hometown refereeing.

Super W kicks off

Grace Hamilton tackled by Sammie Treherne

Grace Hamilton tackled by Sammie Treherne

The Super W has kicked off for another season, with the Waratahs showing their male counterparts up with a dominant 33-3 win over the Rebels.

Whilst the Rebels put up a strong fight against the defending champions, the class of the Waratahs shown through, notching five tries to get their title defence off to a strong start.

Despite the win, captain Grace Hamilton was still unhappy with the performance, believing that they should’ve been more clinical.

“We can obviously do better,” Hamilton said.

“It was quite dewy out on the field and we’ve just got to play to our strengths.

“We’ve got to recombine and do what works best for us, so if that ball’s not coming fast, we need to play to those conditions.

“We got up today but we’ve got a lot of learning to do and it’s a big road ahead.”

This was followed by a trip to Canberra, where the Brumbies showed that they will be a force to be reckoned with after cruising to a 29-10 win over Rugby WA.

The victory was set up by a strong start with the ACT girls scoring three tries in the first 20 minutes to set the tone and secure the victory.

“Coming out here tonight we knew how crucial a first-round win; it’s only going to get harder from here; all the teams are only going to get stronger,” Brumbies co-captain Michaela Leonard said.

“Good to get the confidence up after that first win, there’s always things to improve on so hopefully we can pool all that together and come out even stronger next week.”

With the Reds having a bye for the first week of the comp, they would take part in a much-needed tune-up game against Fijiana.

Unfortunately, the physical Fijians would overpower the grand finalists, riding a strong first half to a 29-10 win.

The loss was compounded by the injury to New Zealand recruit Hasting Leiataua, who limped off after going down awkwardly in a tackle in the first half.

Heading up north

fiji wallabies japan rugby world cup rwc

Australian rugby is set for uncharted territory, with the Wallabies and Wallaroos set to play a double-header at the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium in North Queensland on July 18.

The Wallabies will face Fiji, who played in the old Dairy Farmers Stadium in 2003 whilst the Wallaroos will host 3rd ranked Canada.

It continues Rugby Australia quest to push the game outside of the usual 4-5 stadiums that host international fixtures, with the new stadium providing CEO Raelene Castle with the perfect opportunity to achieve this and grow the game in the rugby league heartland.

“We were hugely impressed by Queensland Country Bank Stadium and the offering it will provide for fans, both from the North Queensland region and for those travelling from interstate and abroad,” she said.

“It’s a world-class facility that the sports-loving people of North Queensland have been craving for many years and we look forward to being one of the first sports to experience the venue.

“Fiji have proven themselves to be well and truly on the rise, and I know Dave Rennie and the rest of the Wallabies coaches are preparing for another very tough contest.

“We’re also delighted that the Buildcorp Wallaroos will share the stage in Townsville and continue their growth ahead of their Rugby World Cup next year.”

Queensland Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni revealed that this will coincide with a series of community events and programs, designed to inspire the next generation.

“We committed and have now have delivered a world-class stadium in the heart of North Queensland meaning local rugby fans will have never been closer to the action,” he said.

“And it’s not just the Queensland Country Bank Stadium pitch that will be seeing some action, the Palaszczuk Government is working with Rugby Australia on a series of community events in the lead-up.

“There’s going to be a buzz around this event that we want to harness and convert to inspiring participation in grassroots rugby clubs like the Ross River Redskins and Brothers Rugby Union Club.”

Sevens schedule stress

Lachie Anderson, Australia v Jamaica

Lachie Anderson, Australia v Jamaica

The coronavirus has derailed Australia’s sevens schedule after the postponement of the Hong Kong and Singapore Sevens World Series legs.

This is particularly concerning as it leaves the real possibility of both the men’s and women’s sides heading into the Olympics underdone, particularly for the defending gold medalists, who will have a three-month gap between World Series tournaments.

However, RA performance manager Scott Bowen is looking to fill up that gap, revealing that they are looking to schedule friendly matches with the likes of Fiji and New Zealand.

“It’s early days at the moment, five and a bit months to the Olympics but we’d like to potentially find some competition in that space,” he said.

“All the women’s World Series teams are in the same position after that decision.

“We’ve had some dialogue with New Zealand and Fiji just to see what they’re planning on doing at that particular stage.

“In the big picture, we’ve still got two World Series to come, in Canada and Paris and we’ll have a final preparation camp that will provide us with some games.

“We’ll also have a final prep camp that will provide us with some games, but we’ll ideally look to fill the gap with competition.”

Whilst discussions are still in their infancy, Bowen is unconcerned if they aren’t able to come to an agreement, believing that the extra time will allow both sides to hone their skills at home.

“The first step is trying to work through our preferences and the ideal scenario and then proposing that to other teams and see what they’d like to do and hopefully coming up with a plan,” he believes.

‘If that doesn’t involve games because others don’t have a desire or logistically we can’t make it work, then it’s a good opportunity to continue to hone footy skills and continue improving.”

Australia’s men side will head to Los Angeles in the coming weeks with the LA Sevens kicking off on February 29, followed by the Canada Sevens in early March.

  • Happyman

    Thanks for Nathan

    Glad the Super rugby is back in my life.

    I feel the Australian teams are close to being very good.

    Brumbies beaten on the bell for something only Australian sides get pinged for sealing off. While a correct call the number of times I have seen that let go is beyond ridiculous.

    Reds well that just made my Sunday want to be very alcoholic. I rewatched the second half as I did not want to just rant as I am always a lot more dispassionate on the 2nd viewing. Reds were truly robbed which is a shame.

    Love the game in Townsville. Might make the trip up for that one. Drove past it the other day and it looks good. Although I would have liked a roof.

    Super W is improving at a rate of knots. If only Fox were not running dead on Rugby at the moment.

    • Timbo

      Sealing off and off feet during a counter ruck are the most inconsistent calls in Super Rugby so far. See both every game and they’re not reffed properly. As long as you look dominant doing either, the ref will let both slide.

      • Keith Butler

        Reffing the breakdown is a complete clusterfuck and has been for ages. You see it in every game from both sides. Side entry, not supporting body weight, sealing off etc. I get the distinct impression that refs do not enforce the letter of the law because they are then accused of not letting the game flow. Handing out a few YCs may be a solution and if there is persistent infringement then send the bloody captain off for 10 mins to get the message across

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          mate I think you’ve nailed it. Referees are directed to let the game flow and if the infringement isn’t having a major effect then to let it go. I think sometimes they get this wrong but it does come across as inconsistent which is difficult to take in. TBH I sort of agree with it, as if you blew the whistle for every infringement the game would be pretty crap. It’s the judgement on when to pull it up and when to let it go that is very difficult

        • Nutta

          What’s causing a lot of current issues is the amount of Sonny-Bill style offloads around/after the defender. To catch them the support runner has to be really flat. Being so flat means they can’t clean the ruck (if the pass isn’t made) unless they side-enter. So I say 5 things:

          1. Call the bloody forward passes as & when they occur. I have no issue with the pass-after skill but like we did with “Greegan Balls”, make sure it’s a proper & fair pass (which a lot of them aren’t)

          2. Penalise the beejezus out of side entries by over-running supporters. You can flat-support hoping for the Sonny-Bill or you can trail & support. But we can’t do both.

          3. The tackled player is not tackled until 2 of knees, arse/hips, elbows or shoulder is on the ground. Stop this passive “my knee is on the ground so they must release me” shite

          4. The tackled player must play the ball within a prompt 3-count and not the on-going “hand on” control as the ruck ebbs & flows we see now followed by a pop-pass off the ground 15sec after the ruck formed. He is off his feet and playing the ball off-feet is illegal.

          5. Penalise AND CARD consistently off-side players. The trend these days is for the 4th man to blitz. That’s fine. But if he’s off-side (as every 2nd one is) then bloody well penalise it and FORCE the clean zone.

          I just said “penalise” a lot. But like disciplining kids, we must not encourage or reward bad/poor behaviour. Be very clear that we will not tolerate unwanted behaviours.

          And for what it’s worth, I enjoyed the Jags/Reds ref ruck interpretation in the 1st half – if there is a collection of people lying on the ground then there is no ruck and so you can come over, knock an opponent out of the way (even if they are a 9) and pick up the ball. There is no ruck. So contest the ball. Play on.

        • Keith Butler

          100% on all counts particularly 4. Not enough emphasis on the tackled player releasing the ball.

        • Still “around” the ruck –

          Posting to defend a half, who is only going to box kick anyway, should be penalised too.

          If the 9s get slapped often enough they may even stop kicking the ball away.

          Either way its sounds more fun.

        • Nutta

          Slapping 9’s should simply get you 1 point for each slap. 2pts if it’s your own 9.

        • Mica

          Tee Hee :)

        • And a guaranteed spot in the starting XV

        • Nutta

          I remember a certain lazy No8 who had a quiet running challenge with me one year: for every time one of us bounced a ball off the 9’s face the other owed a schooy (at training – not games). The 9 was a knob so I agreed. I didn’t stop to think about lineouts. Bloody lineouts… Within about 2wks he went from a complete stooge to suddenly become a lineout-catching-freak-boy…

        • Keith Butler

          Reminds me of when I captaining our 3rd team many years ago. My lock was a young lad near 2m and around 115 kg. Plenty of potential but a bit soft. One game he was just going through the motions so to motivate him, I gave him a very minor shoeing and the pointed out his opposite number with a quiet ‘he did it’. He went on to play top grade rugby.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Hahahahaha I’ve done that before too

        • Yowie

          While reffing?

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I wish sometimes mate. Nah it was a J1 grade years ago

        • Who?

          I was calling this last year. It was particularly endemic with the Tahs, where they were running so flat that even those SBW-esque pop passes were forward, because they were running past the player before they could get their arms free to pass.
          .
          This is something that’s poor coaching, and, of course, given we seem to be more poorly coached than anyone else, of course we’re the worst at it. We support far too wide and flat. We remove the option of the pop pass directly up to the support following in close (and, let’s be honest, if the ball carrier’s been tackled, then the tackler’s going to be off their feet and therefore ineligible/unable to tackle – there’s a defensive hole there), we remove the option to secure quick ruck ball, and, as mentioned, far too often we run past the falling/offloading player. I don’t get why our coaches can’t see this, can’t see the value of supporting with depth.

        • Also the reason for late side ruck entries/slow ruck clean-out or security.
          I could go on about the inefficiency of it all- there is no doubt room for it, but to base an entire game around it is poor coaching.

        • Who?

          I completely, completely, completely, completely agree. I used to see Voldemort copping abuse for trying to offload to his team mates and throwing loose passes, but if he’d held the ball, given the passes he was throwing were dead flat and slightly behind his support, he was guaranteed to be completely isolated and turned over.
          It’s quite staggering the number of dumb structures we managed to allow to infest our game in Australia. :-(

        • Seems someone higher up the food chain decided the way.
          Infested across all states, inc SuperW.

          Any questioning of the structure is answered with some clap about not keeping up with current trends along with the implied lack of knowledge.
          Slowly seems to be changing, hopefully some are remembering that rugby has many facets, and are coaching to recognise, adapt and play what is in front of them again.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I think a lot of this would stop with early penalties in a game so players new the line not to cross. Referees seem to be reluctant to do this and I don’t know why.
          I’m happy with the tackle rule as it stands but referees should call maul earlier as once they do that the knee on the ground doesn’t matter.

        • Keith Butler

          Minor infringements I’m ok with but when it’s so bloody obvious that blind Freddy could see it, it just adds to the frustration. One thing I’m noticing more and more is that when players are clearing out, they often lift the opposition well above the horizontal and drive down with force. These invariably go unpunished. One day someone is going to get hurt. I reckon it should be a warning to player and captain. Your view as an official would be appreciated.

      • MNIMD

        As a Brumbies die hard i hate to admit this but…

        As a (sometime) Referee I am happy with the call. I Totally agree with the comments that the sealing off/ other ruck offences appears inconsistent BUT not all infringements are created equal and if a Referee went out there and blew the whistle for every one they would ruin the game and make it unwatchable and enjoyable to the players..

        What is important is the INTENT and the IMPACT on the game. The Brumbies INTENT was negative, they were not trying to play rugby they were just trying to kill the game which is always going to attract extra scrutiny from the referee and rightly so!
        Also the IMPACT on the game if he let that go in that situation changes the outcome of the game, you cannot ask a referee to be lenient in that situation. It is not his right nor should it be to decide the outcome of the game and he has to rule on the letter of the law.

        The brumbies should have kicked the fricken ball out and defended from half way instead of thinking they could hol,d onto the ball for 1:30 5m out from their own line. DUMB and Negative rugby!

    • Gottsy

      Was about to comment to say that I don’t think it’s panic stations just yet. Maybe I’m just a bit biased, but I feel like we don’t look anywhere near as insipid as usual. I think the early start to the season hasn’t helped either

    • Graeme

      I think refs are more clinical when a team is just trying to run down the clock. Little things that wouldn’t get called earlier in the game get called. The Brumbies should just have hoofed it into the Highlander’s half and defended the last 90 seconds. The highlanders hadn’t scored through the hands in 78 minutes. With the rain pissing down they weren’t going to from their half in the final two.

  • Missing Link

    If the Tahs are so bad with that kid at 10, and Maddocks is in the team, then why aren’t people demanding Maddocks be tried at 10? There was a lot of talk about him playing 10 for the Rebels last year.

    • Pfitzy

      Because the kid at 10 isn’t the problem.

      • John Tynan

        He showed some great rugby smarts at times, especially with some positional kicking that we haven’t seen form an Aussie 10 for a while. And defending in position most of the game as far as I could tell.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Absolutely mate. It’s the older players that are the problem not the newbies

        • Reds Revival

          For all of Thorn’s critics with how he handled Quade, it would appear that it may have been a good move with all the young guys coming through. I can’t help but think that maybe Rob Penney should take a leaf from his book and shuffle Gilbert on so that he new blood can get some ownership??

        • Who?

          It would be if there was clear talent coming through at 10. In Thorn’s three seasons, he’s had Stewart there, but hasn’t trusted him at 10. Lucas is arguably best at 15. So, the past three seasons (admittedly, this season’s only 3 games old), he’s primarily played ‘retread’ players at 10 – Jono Lance (who was a two time Super champ, back at the Reds after stints with the Tahs and Force), Bryce Hegarty (after being with the Tahs and Rebels), and now JOC.
          .
          That said, given Beale’s not contributing in any way, there’s certainly an argument for Penney to move him on. The only problem is that Penney’s team’s not yet shown anything to indicate they’re going to do anything regardless of Beale’s involvement.

    • RF

      Perhaps the Tahs should go out and sign a foreign 10 on a short term contract.

      A top class 10 for the new generation to learn from and also maybe put some bums on seats and wins on the board.

      • Keith Butler

        Danny Cipriani – a reformed character apparently. Hoss would blow a gasket. Only joking.

        • AllyOz

          Finn Russell perhaps

        • Keith Butler

          He has the right drinking credentials.

      • Keith Butler

        Harping back to the old days reminded me of the time the Rebs were more intent on signing marquee backs than donkeys. Between 2011 and 13 if they had all been around at the same time we could have had a back line that included Phipps, Cipriani as the half back, JOC at centre, Beale at FB with Mortlock to give them a slap if they misbehaved. Would have been worth seeing but maybe too many egos.

        • RF

          Gareth Delve wasn’t a bad cultural signing in fairness!

        • Keith Butler

          He was very good. My wife had the hots for him.

      • Dave P

        or a former Wallaby 10 by the name of Quade Cooper… that would be quite a turn up for the books

  • Greg

    Thanks Nathan.

    Gosh it’s a bad start for the warratahs this year. I am waiting for the big turnaround :-) !

    This article is worth a read. 3rd last para in particular.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/the-unlikely-media-experiment-that-helped-save-grassroots-rugby-20200216-p541aj.html

    • Methinx the disqus fwding url maybe confused.
      Copy and paste the link instead.

      • Greg

        Thanks!

        • Then again, reading about vampires v wolves on twilight.com made an interesting start to the morning… I’m sure there may have been some relevance.

        • Greg

          “vampires v wolves”

          Yep…. it was linked to the jags/reds game.

        • Yowie

          New broadcaster strategy to make Super Rugby appeal to school-age girls?

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan,
    A great weekend of rugby and so good to be able to watch it all. I agree with the Reds being shafted and I think the Jaguars will struggle away from home where they don’t have referees giving them all the calls. TBH I thought with all the calls going their way they were pretty crap to not finish it off better and while they do make some good plays they also stuff up a lot with poor decisions in contact. I hope the Reds are able to pick up from this as they look good when they get things right.
    Good to see the Rebels win their match and the pleasing thing for me was how they controlled the game and changed their play to take account off the weather. While the beat the Tahs though I think it’s still going to be a long year for them as they work out the best combinations. Some players like Hodge need to start stepping up or they may get left behind.
    Brumbies should have taken that game and I think the lack of experience at 9 & 10 at the end was the main issue. They are playing well and getting better each game but experience counts in tight games like that.

    Also, pretty happy with my Canes win over the Sharks, especially after they shafted the Highlanders.

    • Keith Butler

      Crap conditions that the Rebs adapted better to. Louwrens and Toomua look like a decent combination and with Lomani and Strang pushing it can only be good. Also like the run ons/ finishers. The hooker and TH put in a decent shift and I reckon that turned the game our way. Nice to see my NZ team the Canes doing well.

  • Damo

    I would like to experience one weekend of Super Rugby where I don’t see a single try scored from a rolling mall. Maybe I’ll have to go camping.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      The rules make it too good an option mate. It’s the only time in the game where the defending players can’t contest the ball. I hate it too but you can’t blame teams for using it as it is effective

      • Damo

        Yep. KRL you are right on all points. I’m just being hopeful I guess. I don’t like it when the teams I support do it either. Rod Kafer suggested during the Reds Jags game that the defending backs may as well come in and join the mall since they had no one to defend against in mid field . Yikes! Reminds me of refereeing my kids in Under 8s.

    • Keith Butler

      You get my vote. Effective but entertaining??

    • Frosty morning

      I know what you’re saying, but as a Brumbies fan the excitement mounts as soon as there is a 5m lineout and then it builds as the maul drives forward – I agree it is far from spectacular but it still gets the home crowd cheering. As a neutral, though, it is very dour.

  • AllyOz

    I confess to only listening to two of the Aussie games on radio and following the third on web updates on the Fox site but it was a pretty disappointing weekend. I think the Rebels can be proud of their effort. I watched the highlights after listening and the rain was torrential at times so to score that many points was decent. The Brumbies just lacked a bit of finish and I don’t think it will hurt the young 10 to have a little bit of a failure at this stage of the season. That’s how you learn. I think they have good structures for him to play within and that will help. The Reds one was disappointing as they seemed on a role and played some really good rugby in the first half. I don’t like sides making excuses around refereeing decision but this may be one case where it’s warranted. Still I think they probably gave enough of those penalties away legitimately to allow the Argentinians back into the game. I am not sure why we don’t have enough refs that we can’t have a Kiwi or South African with the whistle for that game. All refs should have the integrity but a home town ref in front of a home town crowd isn’t the ideal.

    • John Tynan

      A lot of doom and gloom about 6-0 vs international teams etc etc, but I thought there were positives in most places.
      Toomua was excellent in his execution in the Rebels vs Waratahs game.
      For that matter, young Tahs 10 also showed good positional awareness and insight to play a tactical kicking game in the conditions, whic he executed fairly well, but didn’t have a pack to back it up like the Rebels did.
      Brums probably should have won, and I thought were a bit out-enthused at breakdown time. They’ve still got a framework though, and need to work out how to get both the wingers – Kata and Wright involved more (should be a Brumbies instinct, I think?)
      Reds were very good to excellent in patches, and I see a step up again from last year. O’Connor was actually very good, and I was on the bandwagon ridiculing that call. The moves they worked and tries they scored showed good insight and tactics. Defence had venom and line speed for majority of the game.
      Yes, undone by not adapting to a ref, and yes some dodgy calls by the ref (that scrum?!?!?), as well as allowing some questionable decisions (ie 4 players flying in to the maul before the lineout was over…) but another one if we were good enough we would win, but the young blokes decision making was off at critical times. They don’t lack for heart or character though. Just need some executive functioning skills under duress.

      • AllyOz

        All fair points John…I have one foot off and ready to jump off the naysaying band wagon. I have a feeling that (1) the Brumbies structure will win more games than it loses and they have the best approach and structure to allow young players to develop – Harrison and perhaps Lucas would also look good if they were coming through at the Brumbies. (2) the Reds have the potential to establish a dynasty with the young blokes they have signed, the quality of their pack and now a more experienced coaching staff supporting Thorn – once they learn how to hold a lead, and how to win those tight scrapes they will build momentum and I think will be the dominant team in the Aus/Jap conference and will regularly push the Kiwi teams. JOC will play a big part in that I think. [ and TT needs to harness his aggression in a more disciplined fashion (which he will)]. (3) I am from NSW – I didn’t watch the Tahs except the highlights/lowlights. While I am committed to lifting my level of enthusiasm I am not prepared to engage in active self-delusion. They were ordinary in there first two games and they were ordinary last weekend too and apart from the Brumbies they haven’t played anyone yet who looks in decent form.

        • John Tynan

          It’s a long furrow we’ve chosen to plough as Australian rugby supporters!

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    None from 6 is not a good start against NZ and SA opposition, however SA franchises still needs to toured Australia. I thought SA franchises will struggle this year as so many of their regular internationals play overseas however even teams like the Lions with no real stars are performing well. The quality of Superugby is clearly not at the level we got used to with only a few teams played at Superugby level.

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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