Monday’s Rugby News looks at the Wallabies record-breaking Bledisloe defeat, a boost to the World Cup bid, the Sydney and Brisbane club Grand Finals and Dan Palmer becomes the first Wallaby to come out as gay
House of Horrors
The Bledisloe Cup is officially gone for another year after the All Blacks produced a record-breaking win over the Wallabies.
The night for any Australian fan peaked at the anthem as the Kiwis dominated the first half to race out to a 26-0 win.
Whilst there would be a brief comeback, a late surge pushed the All Blacks to their highest victory against the Wallabies, securing the 43-5 margin.
“We’re hurting a lot from that,” Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said in the immediate aftermath.
“We really want to fly into these two weeks; it’s a hit to the confidence now. We’ve got to look back at sticking to our game plan, we get out on the field and we change direction.”
Despite the demoralising result, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie called for fans to remain patient as he begins to turn around the side’ fortunes.
“We’re five or six weeks into a four-year campaign,” Rennie told reporters.
“We’re gutted about the result.
“I must admit, first game in Wellington, I was nervous about an All Black performance that would find us under pressure, but we showed a lot of character that night.
“Look, all I’m going to say is, we’re going to keep working hard, we think we’ve got some good kids coming through, we need to respond immediately, and the plan is you’ll see that next week.”
Rennie lamented the fundamental errors that have plagued the side for the past couple of years, evident from the get-go with Filipo Daugunu’s third-minute yellow card
“As we talked about the last time we played the All Blacks, you can’t turn over the ball as often as we did,” he said
“It puts a lot of pressure on us defensively.”
Cup bid backed
Australia’s 2027 Rugby World Cup bid has received a major boost after an $8.8 million grant was confirmed by the Australian Government.
With the 2023 edition of the tournament set to be played in France, Australia firms as a big chance to host the event in eight years team as organisers look to move away from the Northern Hemisphere.
The tournament would boost the profile/exposure of the sport in the country whilst deliver $2 billion in direct and indirect expenditure to the economy.
RA CEO Hamish McLennan thanked Prime Minster Scott Morrison and his government for their support, calling it a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’.
“On behalf of Rugby Australia and the Australian Rugby community, I want to thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Australian Government for supporting Australia’s bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup,” he said in a statement.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our country and we have already made significant headway in laying the foundations for a successful bid.
“We look forward to working closely with the Australian Government over the coming months to present a compelling bid that will deliver significant economic benefit to Australia.”
This was shared by Bid Advisory Board Chairman, Sir Rod Eddington, who believes that hosting the tournament would be crucial for the transformation of the sport and the country.
I want to echo Hamish’s gratitude to the Australian Government for their commitment to supporting Australia’s World Cup bid,” Eddington believes.
“Hosting the Rugby World Cup would be transformational, not only for the game in this country and the Asia Pacific region, but also for Australia’s economy as we emerge and re-establish ourselves in a post-COVID world.
“The hard work is well underway, and the Bid Advisory Board has already made significant headway through this Foundation Planning phase.
“We’re excited to continue our dialogue with World Rugby as well as engaging further with the Australian Government and the respective State Governments.”
Palmer comes out
Former Brumbies and Wallabies prop Dan Palmer has been praised after revealing that he is gay.
In an article for The Herald, Palmer explored how hiding his sexuality put him in a downward spiral, putting him at the point of preferring death over revealing the truth.
“In 2012 I was living my childhood dream. I vice-captained the ACT Brumbies during the Super Rugby season and made my debut for the Wallabies,” he wrote.
“My life consisted of playing the sport I loved and travelling the world with some of my best mates. I had developed many close friendships, both in and out of sport, and had a loving family who were proud of my achievements.
“Despite all of this, I was incredibly frustrated, angry and desperately sad. I despised myself and the life I was living. I was trapped in a false narrative and could see no way out.
“Most nights, I cried myself to sleep and routinely numbed myself with a heavy cocktail of opioids.
“I fantasised about disappearing, changing my name and starting my life all over again. It is not an exaggeration to say my own death felt preferable to anybody discovering I was gay.”
His courage to speak out has been widely praised by those within the rugby community, with current captain Michael Hooper praising his bravery.
“I feel really happy for Dan. I do know Dan. He’s a great bloke, he’s a great Wallaby, a great rugby player and now coach. I wish him all the best,” Hooper said.
“It was a very powerful column.”
For the final time of the year, the club football graced suburbian grounds across Australia as the Sydney and Brisbane competitions hosted their grand finals.
Starting in Sydney and it was Gordon who would claim their first title in 22 years after defeating Eastwood 28-8.
In a sign of the times and why 2020 is the wildest year ever, the game was forced to be stopped for five minutes due to groups of fans not socially distancing (yes, you read that right).
When we actually saw some action at a wet Leichardt Oval, the minor premiers would be clinical in attack, with flyhalf Rodney Iona guiding them around the park.
The Stags survived eight minutes of constant scrums on their own try-line, three penalties and the sin-binning of prop Bosco Tagaloa to keep out the Woods as they secured the title for the Tartan faithful.
“The call of TT, Tartan Tough, is our call to arms and those minutes on our own tryline with 14 men is the epitome of what drives this team,” Jack Dempsey said.
“It’s awesome we had the chance to show it in the grand final…that’s what the guys in this team are built of.”
In Queensland, it was all about Easts who claimed the title with a dominant 33-18 victory over the favoured University of Queensland.
The Tigers dominated from the start of the finals, claiming six from six grand finals across the game, with captain Ben Mowen sent off a club hero as he formally retires from the sport.
“It’s not only a dream finish for me but for the club this season,” Mowen said.
“For us to win six-from-six, we are just ecstatic as a club.
“That’s a great reflection of the spirit at the club.”