Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News recaps an exciting round of club rugby, Irae Simone ready to jump at a Wallabies berth, Dave Rennie’s statement over kneeling and David Pocock’s retirement


Club recap

Gordon win the Minor Premiership in 2020.

Gordon win the Minor Premiership in 2020.

With the Tri-Nations yet to commence, club rugby across the country stepped up and delivered some cracking encounters.

Starting in Adelaide with the Coopers Premier and it was Southern Suburbs that would nab the minor title, defeating Woodville 51-7 thanks to a Savenaca Ronavuso hat-trick.

In the main event, Brighton would claim the major championship, dominating Old Collegians 43-22.

Josateki Tuilawaki and Jack Jenkins would cross for doubles as Brighton made it two titles in three years.

Heading up to the Queensland for the Premier Rugby preliminary final and it would be Easts that bounced back from a shock loss, overcoming Bond Uni 28-3.

Former Wallaby and captain Ben Mowen led from the front in his final season at the club, scoring the opening try of four as Easts never look fazed despite a lightening streak delaying the contest by 90 minutes.

The Tigers shoot for their first premiership since 2013 when they face Uni of Queensland on Sunday.

Finishing in Sydney with the Shute Shield, minor premiers Gordon booked their spot in the Grand Final for the first time in 22 years after overcoming Easts 28-10.

Despite trailing 10-3 with 30 minutes to go, flyhalf Rodney Iona would steer them over the line as he set up three tries.

They will face Eastwood in the decider, who delivered one of the great finals matches as they overcame Norths 12-9 in wet and wild conditions.

The match headed into extra-time as neither team could be separate after 80 minutes, with Norths flyhalf Angus Sinclair missing a kick in the 98th minute that would’ve sealed their path as the highest-ranked side.

Irae ready to go

Simone tries to evade.

Simone tries to evade.

Brumbies centre Irae Simone is ready to step into the Wallabies set up if called upon by Dave Rennie after Matt Toomua was ruled out with injury.

Simone has bolted into contention as a result of a lack of depth at the inside centre position, with the alternate being blooding young gun Noah Lolesio into flyhalf and shifting James O’Connor.

The 25-year-old was near speechless when asked about potentially debuting for his adopted home country.

“It would be huge…words can’t describe it,” Simone told reporters about a potential debut.

“All the sacrifices you and your family had to go through … it makes you reflect on your journey and that’s what I’m truly grateful for.

“Hopefully I do get the opportunity and it’s something that no one can take away from me if I get the opportunity. It’ll be a memory I won’t forget and hopefully we get the win.

“I train like I’m going to play. My role is get my job right, learn my role, learn my detail, get my shit right and own it. The team stuff will fall into place. Nothing’s been said though. There’s a lot of chat and white noise.”

He’s received some major backing, with former Wallaby Drew Mitchell believing that the Wallabies must stick with picking players in their natural position.

“I think you play players in their position,” Mitchell said.

“For too long we’ve tried to fix things by putting the best players in the XV. Because they can play the position doesn’t mean they should play the position.”

No kneel

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The Wallabies will look at further ways to honour their Indigenous heritage after coach Dave Rennie confirmed that they would not kneel before the third Bledisloe Cup match against the All Blacks.

With the Wallabies set to wear their ‘First Nations’ jersey for the all-important third test match on September 31 at ANZ Stadium, fullback Dane Haylett-Petty hinted that the side would consider taking a knee before the match to recognise the injustices facing Indigenous people.

This caused significant debate across the rugby community, with 1991 World Cup winner and Aboriginal affairs expert Nick Farr-Jones claiming that there was no issue in Australia.

As the squad regroups in the Hunter Valley ahead of the Tri-Nations, Rennie has shut down any suggestions of them kneeling, confirming that the team did not wish to make a political statement whilst wearing the newly designed Indigenous jersey.

Instead, Rennie was hopeful that they could embrace the Indigenous history and culture of Australia heading forward.

“No we won’t,” he told reporters.

“The key thing is, this is about honouring our Indigenous people, we want the focus to be on that.

“We talked about the Indigenous jersey, the group would like to see that represented every week in our Test jersey, not just as a one-off, so I think this is a first step in regard to embracing that part of our history.

“We’ve talked a lot about who we are, and who we represent, and we’ve got a lot of different cultures in our group, but we’ve spent a lot of time talking about past, present and future in regards to our first nations people and this is a great opportunity to honour that next weekend.”

In actual playing-related news, the Wallabies have received a major boost after it was confirmed that flanker Ardie Savea would remain in NZ after the birth of his child.

Meanwhile, they have added Isi Naisarani and Connal McInerney to their squad, with Tom Horton dropping out.

So long, partner

Captain David Pocock

Captain David Pocock

Former Wallabies flanker David Pocock has confirmed that he has retired from all forms of rugby union.

Pocock made the call to walk away from Australian rugby in September last year, opting to take a deal in Japanese rugby after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“After retiring from the Brumbies and international rugby in 2019, I have decided to hang up the boots entirely,” Pocock said in a statement to his fans.

“It was a childhood dream to play at a Rugby World Cup and the last 15 years of professional rugby have been an amazing adventure.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had and so much support along the way.”

He was set to return to Japan where he was due to play under former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans at Panasonic Wild Knights.

In true Pocock fashion, he will turn his focus towards helping others, launching the Rangelands Restoration Trust to help regenerate nature and land in his home country of Zimbabwe.

“Regenerative agriculture aims to work with nature rather than against it,” he said on the project.

“It can repair degraded land and draw carbon out of the atmosphere while producing great, healthy food and creating more habitat for wildlife in our farming areas.

“The Rangelands Restoration Trust aims to build models of land management that regenerate degraded rangelands, while creating wildlife habitat and improving the prosperity of people who depend on the land for their livelihoods.”

Pocock would make his debut for the Wallabies in 2008, pulling on the green and gold on 83 occasions across his 11-year career.

He also played 112 matches for the Brumbies and Western Force in Super Rugby.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, Big week coming up and it’ll be interesting to see Rennie’s choices. I personally like the idea of starting either Simone or Lolesio and having the other one coming off the bench. Don’t really mind which way it goes but I like the idea. I get calling Naisarani into the squad. With no more club play he can’t work on whatever shortfalls Rennie sees on his own so good idea bringing him into the team environment to watch him. Plus it means he is available if needed. Reminds me a lot of Akira Ioane in that he does some good things but goes missing during a game.
    Farewell Pocock, a great player who will be missed. Liked his clear thinking and ability to see plays develop so he could get to the right place. Good luck with the future.

    • Greg

      I will be forever disappointed that we did not achieve more when Pocock was playing. I feel we let him down.

      Glad however, that he seems to have emerged from the attacks on his neck without long term injury.

      • Nutta

        Funnily enough, I think good acting in a tragedy often accentuates the true skill of the actor.

  • Steve

    Thanks Nath.

    Think it’s a bit unfair to say Simone is in contention ‘as a result of a lack of depth at the inside centre position’ – He’s performed strongly in his position for a number of seasons and has earned his place.

    Great to see Poey hang up the boots and move on with is life, if any player was able to see beyond rugby and move on it would be him. Going to bet we won’t be seeing him on the Fox Sports commentary team any time soon.

    • Yowie

      hahaha, or “Sky News After Dark” for that matter.

      • Alister Smith

        Poey & Jonesy? …. a match made in heaven in terms of political debate I would have thought. Credlin & Co changes to Credlin & Po…..oh, I have shown too much knowledge of the evil empire…just back away quietly now.

        • Yowie

          A person who watches Media Watch (and similar) would know all those characters and their form.

          Re Poey & Jonesy – I’d love to see Jones get so wound-up that he challenges Pocock to a punch-up or something. Even Poey going all Gandhi and deflecting Alan’s feeble attacks would probably send Jones to the floor.

        • Alister Smith

          I think Jonesy would just go red-faced and pop a valve. He debates Graham Richardson but some nights that I have watched it is purely to see which one of them is going to pop a clog first. Richo is NSW Right and, in my view, Jones has a heavy dose of populism in his right-wing views, and some agrarian socialism when it suits him.

        • Yowie

          I had assumed that the risk of blowing a head gasket was the reason for “doctors orders” for Jones to step down from his radio show.

          A radio show that received an imperceptibly small change to its ratings after the indispensable Alan Jones left….

        • Alister Smith

          surely that is down to the incomparable talent that is Ben Fordham?

    • MichaelA

      Agreed re Simone. He’s been knocking on the door for a while.

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      I read the ‘lack of depth’ comment as meaning ‘within the squad’, not the country. Perhaps you’re right, though.

    • Geoffro

      If they’d picked the form oz 12,Simone would probably have been capped by now

  • Nutta

    Thanks Nate.

    I really hope Simone gets the nod. Skilled, capable, big body, positional specialist – all the right elements. For once I agree with Drew Mitchell (how about that?)

    Take a knee – having a opinion of ‘to do or not to do’ on this is a sure-fire way to a hiding either way. My opinion is that a limited right to freedom of political expression is one of the few rights we have under our constitution. So I make no value-judgement on anyone exercising their constitutional right.

    Thanks Poet. Much I could try and say. Little would do it justice. What I will say is that for me you rank alongside Poido and Georgey in terms of reverence. Again, my thanks and best of luck to you and yours.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I agree 100% with his comments about playing people in their position and not putting them in another position because they’re “too good to leave out”. I think that is a flawed plan

      • Geoffro

        brings me to JOC.Have pretty well liked his work at 10 this year but…he got found out a bit last time around.Noah 10,JOC or Simone at 12

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I’d maybe start him at 10 with Simone at 12 and bring on Noah later and depending on how Simone went either to 12 or the bench

    • Jason

      I hope Simone gets ‘the start’ too, I just hope he doesn’t get thrown too far in the deep end, if he’s got the depth to start against the AB’s in a must win game… then that’s cool, but it’s a BIG ask for a kid.
      I’d actually rather Lol’o get the start at 10 and JO’C move to 12.

      • Nutta

        Dude, leaving aside the substance of our mutually fearless keyboard opinions, I think our difference of opinion is exactly why you and I can whisper secret prayers of thanks to the rugby gods that we aren’t the one’s actually making the call…

      • Geoffro

        Big ask for a kid so better throw Noah in at 10 ??/ I’d take em both actually.Irae is a lump of a lad and they’ve both played some nice footy together this year

      • I honestly don’t mind either way. Someone is getting a tough ask and I don’t really envy Rennie for having to make the call.

        I guess I have a really slight preference for JOC at 12 (it’s not like he doesn’t have recent experience there after all), just because it’s spreading the inexperience out with the experienced players in between them but I can see the attraction of JOC at 10 and a specialist at 12 as well. I just think it makes for a really inexperienced midfield and if things start to go wrong there, it’s hard for players with less then 10 caps to pull them back. With older heads scattered around, you’ve always got someone next to you to give you advice right then without a huddle.

  • Pfitzy

    I don’t think its ever right to say we get a boost from an opposition player being absent. Lets focus on us.

    • Mike D

      Though at least he is out for a good reason, not an unfortunate necessity like injury. I don’t wish the latter on any player. Except that pommy git who tackles round the neck.

  • Sambo

    I think Irae is a shoe in there. Not having a specialist inside centre exposed the wallabies on the last outing once Toomua went off injured. Backline lost all structure both defensively and on attack. I was interested to see how Paisami and Petaia would go in the centres together though and got my answer… Now a problem (good one) is who to put at outside centre? Paisami or Petaia?

    • idiot savant

      Im with you on Simone though no indications yet thats what Rennie is thinking. Its interesting that his squad has pretty much 3 choices in every position but when he lost Toomua he didn’t replace him with another 12. So that leads me to think he fancies himself as being able to coach Paisami to fill that void in very short order. So it wouldn’t surprise me if he keeps the two Ps in the centres. Its impossible to know what is happening at training but if form is the measurement Simone was the best 12 in SR AU and should get the nod. I would have Simone at 12 and Paisami at 13, the two form centres of SR AU. Id play Petaia on the wing as he has played his best rugby there and is a weapon on kick return and roaming across to the open from the blind side. He cant do those things in the 13 straight jacket.

  • formerflanker

    Most players have a highlights reel of tries or tackles.
    Pocock leaves the game as the first player to have a “greatest pilfers of all time” to his name.
    Thanks for the memories David.

  • onlinesideline

    does this guy play flanker ? – because errrr look.
    You telling me Ned is more effective ?
    If he is fit, put in the 23 – we need some serious grunt.

    Start Simone too – hes got got feet and hits hard too. Jordy at 13 and JOC at 10 with Daugunu and Riak outside. Thats powerful and fast.

    I say give Banks more time. DHP I personally dont think is the answer.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LfWdseIEYI

    • Greg

      Not sure… does this 8 go forward enough in contact :-)

      • onlinesideline

        exactly mate

  • Missing Link

    Naisirani has been brought into the squad as well as some bloke from the Brumbies who’s name would be more at home in the Irish team :)

  • MichaelA

    It says Ben Mowen’s last game for Easts. Is he retiring from rugby altogether, or going elsewhere?

    • Geoffro

      Think he’s got his sights set on coaching

      • MichaelA

        Thanks.

  • Alister Smith

    Congratulations to David Pocock on his retirement and thank you and good luck on his future in regenerative agriculture, this has a strong history in southern Africa with one of the major proponents, Alan Savoury, coming from Zimbabwe, so I am not surprised in a way, to see him following this path. He didn’t really seem to me to be the sort of bloke that would be hanging around in the corporate boxes at games in his retirement.

    Good to see both Naisarani and Simone being considered. For me Irae is a definite and Isi is a good bench option at least, was surprised he was left out. I am not really familiar with Connal McInnerny’s work but was wondering, is he the young Irish lad that moved as a teenager to Perth??

  • Greg

    Not included in the quote from Mr Pocock above was that he also plans to stay involved at the grass roots level in Oz and Zimbabwe. Best wishes to him.

  • Perth girl

    So Nick Farr-Jones thinthinksks everything is ok with indigenous people here in Australia. Maybe in his world! However when you have an 11 y.o. girl commit suicide after her attacker was given bail something is not right!
    David Pocock, a great rugby player and an exceptional human being. Looking forward to seeing him in Perth carrying out his duties as Ambassador for the Future Force

  • LBJ

    What the absolute F#@* is Rennie on about talking about ‘our’ indigenous people?!
    |
    I’m surprisingly offended by his commentary on this – he genuinely has absolutely no legitimacy on this matter.
    |
    This is really difficult territory and there is no possibility of him having an informed view – to me, this is even worse than Farr-Jones (and that’s not great).
    |
    Clearly at least some of the men want to make a statement, and he’s told them to shut-up. Very disappointing.

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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