The Brisbane Global Rugby Tens - it's on! - Green and Gold Rugby
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The Brisbane Global Rugby Tens – it’s on!

The Brisbane Global Rugby Tens – it’s on!

Hot off the success of the sold out Sydney Sevens last weekend, another shortened version of the game between international teams played over multiple days kicks off this weekend in Queensland – the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens!

Tens hey? So what’s that?

It’s all in the title really. Ten aside rugby played over ten minute halves. It’s by no means as prominent as 7s rugby is, but it has a reasonable presence around the globe. In Australia at least, it seems to have been the domain of the corporate world as a staff engagement activity, but it seems to most popular in Asia.

There is a World Club 10s, which has been given a bit of prominence in Australia lately when the Force won the competition in Mauritius last year.

The rules are pretty standard. It’s still rugby, just focussed on the tight five with another five faster guys further out.

Personally I’ve only caught snippets of Tens Rugby (when the Force won last year), but from what I can make out it’s 7s rugby with a bit more structure around the forward play (and set piece).

Sydney7s-Day3-22

The action off the field at the Sydney Sevens is as much of an attraction as on the field. Will it be the same with the Tens?

Who’s putting this on – the QRU or ARU?

Actually it’s a third party promotor, Ducco Events who have made this happen. Now the ARU have endorsed it while the QRU have been pretty active in supporting it (from a promotional and operational perspective), and they stand to benefit from some of the revenue opportunities potentially too.

Ducco are the crew that created the Auckland NRL 9s (which may be the Brisbane NRL 9s next year, if rumours are correct) and they’ve partnered with the local tourism bodies in Tourism and Events QLD and Brisbane Marketing to create this event.

It’s not a bad result for rugby here. Another high profile event with money coming from outside of the traditional avenues (ie the ARU haven’t had to pay for it), so let’s hope it pays off.

Ok, so who’s playing?

The basics are that the five Aussie Super Rugby have teams, as do the five kiwi sides. The remaining four sides are pretty random. We have glamour French club side Toulon and the Robbie Deans coached Wild Knights from Japan. The Blue Bulls are sending a team (the Currie Cup side not the Super Rugby side) while Samoa have sent a team I can only assume is a locals only or development team.

Here’s a clip that the Reds did to show how it all works:

It won’t just be the men’s with a two-match ‘series’ between QLD and NSW wowen to take place over the weekend. The matches were a somewhat late addition to the program and perhaps seems a little tokenistic and an attempt to leverage off the profile of our Women’s 7s team.

Still, there is some wonderful talent on show headed by one of our Rio Gold Medallists in Amy Turner, as well as Wallaroos Mollie Gay, Emily Chancellor and Kirby Sefo.

REDS: – Cheyenne Campbell [c], Ivy Kaleta, Vuanimasei Rasolea, Kiri Lingman, Kirby Sefo, Loretta Lealiifano, Amy Turner, Nareta Marsters, Charlotte Kennington, Samantha Treherne, Liz Patu, Toakase Filimochala, Vetekina Aho Fangaloka, Lori Cramer, Rachel Crothers

NSW: Emily Chancellor [c], Nita Maynard, Bo Vette, Victoria Latu, Katrina Baker, Mel Howard, Grace Hamilton, Mollie Gray, Kate Gilbert, Millie Boyle, Sarah Havenson, Emily Robinson, Simaima Taufa, Raecene McGregor, Layne Morgan

Brisbane Global Rugby Tens City Cat Launch - Toakase Filimoehala, Liz Patu, Kirby Sefo and Ivy Kaleta

QLD Reps Toakase Filimoehala, Liz Patu, Kirby Sefo and Ivy Kaleta

Who do I watch out for?

Let’s start with the Aussie teams first as they seem to be the ones who have ‘embraced’ the concept most fully. Well most of them. The home team have a very handy squad that is missing the one big name that seemingly would have been perfect for this format – Quade Cooper. Whether concerns over how his body would recover from his boxing match last weekend, or whether it was always the intention to rest QC (and his likely halves partner, Nick Frisby) is unclear. However other than those two, and the guys who’ve just finished their Japanese season (George Smith, Hendrick Tui and Scott Higginbotham, who has other reasons to miss the weekend) it’s a top squad. Taniela Tupou is one to watch and, like Quade, seems made for this format, which seems odd considering he’s a 130kg prop. Expect him to be lingering out-wide whenever he can to take advantage of any extra space he can find. Broncos signing Lachlan Maranta will also be looking forward to the extra spaces, yet similar structure, to work his way back into rugby mode at a ground he’s very familiar with.

Reece Robinson caught on the hop

Reece Robinson caught on the hop

The Brumbies have suffered a set back with the potentially season ending injury to Puma scrumhalf Tomas “Chubbily” Cubelli. Jordan Jackson-Hope strikes me as the type of player that could cause a few headaches across the pitch for the Brumbies, while Tom Staniforth’s running and off-load game should also suit the conditions pretty perfectly.  The Waratahs have picked Israel Folau who is basically the face of the tournament, but I’d expect he’ll be spend most of his time signing autographs or in corporate suites. Coach Dave Gibson has gone with a lot of youth in his squad while resting most of his Wallabies. Expect Reece Robinson to continue his rugby development in this format and his speed, and developing instinct for the game, should serve him well. Jake Gordon’s continued rise in recognition could receive a mighty boost this weekend if his running game proves as effective as it was in the NRC last year.

The Rebels have been struck a huge blow for this tournament, but moreso for Super Rugby, with their star recruit Marika Koroibete out with a knee injury. Unfortunately it means the former Storm star will make his Rebels debut in the high intensity of Super Rugby rather than the more forgiving environment of this Tens tournament. Keep an eye out, instead, for one of the stars of last year’s Australian Under 20s team in fullback Jack Maddocks. A top level cricketer in his own right, Maddocks was a constant danger for the Junior Wallabies in last year’s Junior World Cup and is a key off-season signing for the Rebels.  Vision for space is surely a critical need in this game, and then the ability to find that space to back it up. The mercurial Jack Debreczeni seems a good fit for 10s, if only is consistency throughout the game can stay switched on and focussed. He’s a wonderful talent who isn’t where Australian rugby quite needs him just yet.

Finally, the Force have a very strong squad headed up by their own league recruit Curtis Rona who has the speed and strength to break through rugged NRL defense, so should enjoy the open space available here. This will be the first chance many people get to see Tatafu Polota-Nau wearing a Force jersey. While his body is a little older, and injuries a factor, his vigorous defense, smart ball work and strong running game could serve him well in this game. To chuck a couple of other names to the mix there’s the strong running backrowers (sometime converted to locks) Isireli Naisarani and Onehunga Kaufusi. Both had excellent 2016 NRC competitions and can make a further name for themselves at Suncorp Stadium.

Then of course there are the wild cards. The older players who have come back to help drive ticket sales with the nostalgia crowd. Think of them as the “Stranger Things” of the rugby world. Chris Latham is back for the Reds, apparently keen as mustard and looking sharp at training. Lote Tuqiri played for the Classic Wallabies last week at the 7s in preparation for his run with the Tahs. The Brumbies have doubled down on Bernie Larkham alongside Andrew Walker with Walks still playing rugby (league) a couple of years ago.  The Rebels have called up Morgan Turinui, who has allegedly trimmed the grey hairs from his head so as not to stand out too much. And the Force have picked Matt Hodgson…..sorry, that was unfair. Hodgo’s a legend!

Oz 10s

Looking at the New Zealand teams and while the likes of Izzy Dagg, Jerome Kaino and Damian McKenzie were used to launch the event, the NZRFU recently ruled them out of competing. In fact they pulled a whole bunch of All Blacks out as if they were listening devices behind a couch. As a result the New Zealand teams look pretty depleted. Now there’s no doubting the kiwis have a ready-made production line of rugby talent who would no doubt thrive on expansive rugby, it’s just a shame the the big names aren’t here to stamp their class.

Reds v Sharks 2013

Diggers circa 2013

There’s still plenty of test players around place though through the likes of Rene Ranger, Liam Messam and the returning Nehe Milner-Skudder all of whom (assuming they get decent game time) should feature strongly in the tournament highlight reels. From an Aussie perspective, the Crusaders hold special attention through former Sydney club players Mike Alaalatoa and Peter Samu and former Wallaby winger (and QLD Red Premiership winner) Digby Ioane. Ioane is a fascinating signing for the Cru and his return to big match footy could have no more suitable setting than at Suncorp Stadium.

NZ 10s

Moving on to the rest of the attending teams and of most intrigue are the Panasonic Wild Knights, from Japan, and Toulon. The Wild Knights will bring former Reds Berrick Barnes and Dan Heenan back to Briso alongside some talented QLD Rugby juniors, Jake Cornelson and Ben Gunter. From the local players former Force squad member, winger Akihito Yamada is a try scoring machine and should continue that form this weekend.

KMP-WARvWEL-5541

Jacques back baby!

Toulon have left behind Gits and Gilly, but have still packed Drew Mitchell and James O’Connor. Mitchell will be using the tournament to prove he still has ‘it’ to some potential Super Rugby scouts while O’Connor will hope to create some happier Suncorp memories than those during his lone season at the Reds. Speaking of Reds, former winger Rocket Rod Davies will be stoked he’s no longer around with the Samoan wrecking ball Alesana Tuilagi also in the Toulon team.

The Bulls and Samoan teams are largely uninspiring. Former Waratah Jacques Potgeiter will look to reacquaint himself with some former team mates for the Bulls. And while I celebrated the impact Taniela Tupou may have on the event, Census Johnston for Samoa (of similar size) seems to be an odd tens pick.

Foreign 10s

 

Will it be good?

It’s got a few obstacles to overcome that’s for sure. Put aside the big names that aren’t playing, it seems that most coaches are pretty unfamiliar with this version of the game. A number have already come out and suggested they haven’t even looked at the rules, and I don’t think they’re kidding. With Super Rugby about two weeks away, you can understand their focus is elsewhere.

Another factor is going to be this damn heatwave. Latest forecast is that it will be 38 degrees on Sunday. Surely that impacts both the quality of the play AND the potential crowd. It might help beer and ice cream sales though I guess.

Finally, we need to consider the ticket deal. It was mentioned on the podcast how unusual the ticket policy was of only two-day passes. I know it ruled me out of purchasing tickets, and I have met and spoken to many others who are in the same boat. The talk is that 30,000 to 35,000 tickets have been sold but that could still mean only 10,000 or so turn up Saturday (with school sport on), opting to just come Sunday. Or perhaps many who come Saturday decided to stay home under the air conditioning the next day. You’d like to think there will be walk up single tickets available, at least on Sunday.

So putting all that aside, will it good?  As the first hit out of the year for many teams (or the last as the case may be), expect some scrappy footy. But there is enough exceptional talent across the teams for there to be some quality rugby played.   There is the unknown as to exactly how much time the likes of Folau, Ranger and Naivalu play, but there’s still enough wonderful rugby players there to grab the eye. In fact it’s probably the greatest collection of rugby talent in one venue perhaps ever in Australia. So yeah, that’s pretty damn good.

So who’s going to win?

Well we really don’t know who is out to win. The mindset of the coaches is the great unknown. But if you are forcing me to tip, then I will go with the Force. For a few reasons. Firstly, they have form winning the World Club Tens last year, so they know how the play the game. Secondly, I think their new coach Dave Wessels is preparing his team cleverly. They’ve  named a strong squad, particularly with the late inclusion of Jono Lance, and they’ve blown the cobwebs off with a strong trial win over the Rebels. And I think they are really eager to make a statement early, show they can win games of rugby and give some hope to their loyal supporters. The cross-pool draw is odd, and I’m not sure of the implications, but I’m backing the lads from the west to take out this title. For what it’s worth.

 

  • Pedro

    That’s a comprehensive write up. Good stuff Reg.

  • sampro

    I’ll be there on the weekend. No idea what to expect really, except for overpriced beer that I’ll drink too much of…

    • Brisneyland Local

      If you are s Reds member you can go to the Reds Members bar where you can get full strength over priced beer! ha ha

      • There’s also a public bar at Suncorp that sells the premium beers. It’s in the northwest corner – no membership required.

        • Brisneyland Local

          MC, very true but I must becoming an elitist snob. Also the Reds Bar is air conditioned and it is going to be bloody hot!

    • Tangawizi

      Plenty of places to get a decent beer around the Stadium now. Sadly Newstead Brewing are still a month or so away from opening their Castlemaine Street brewery but my plan is to watch first hour or so of the rugby on Saturday, then hit up the Railway Terrace/Milton train station area for the afternoon. Ribs’n’Rumps, Burger Institute and Aether Brewing will all be on the agenda, and then back to the rugby around 4:30pm til finish time and on to Caxton St.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am impressed.
        A man with ‘the’ plan!

  • I’m finding the Ticketing restriction a real hurdle!

  • Muzz

    Like Hugh said on the podcast this event can serve as a launch for the super rugby season as we haven’t really had one previously. That’s a good thing. And I don’t have a problem with all of the stars not being there but they need a sprinkling of big name players. The Aussie squads are ok but the NZ teams are a bit lacking on that front. Did they really not know that Dagg, Kaino, McKenzie etc wouldn’t be playing until 3 weeks ago? That’s a massive oversight if that’s the case. If not it’s kind of like false advertising.

  • Pearcewreck

    After last Saturday night’s efforts Higgers, should make an appearance for the Wild Knights.

    • Brisneyland Local

      PW, pretty funny!
      I am still amazed that a guy with a pretty much spotless record went and screwed the pooch that badly and that publically!

      • Pearcewreck

        “screwed the pooch”?.
        Classic BLL, that’s a new one for me.
        Anyhow, I guess Higgers just had too many angry pills or something.

        From what I read, it sounds like he broke into the Police Station. Is that right?? Crazy

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thats similar to what I am hearing.
          Just a total and utter brain fart!
          Very dissapointed, on the day they were planning to announce George Smith’s arrival and it is totally over shadowed by that!

      • jamie

        Considering how good he’s been in the past, I’m not making judgement until every facet of the story is released.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Jamie, my inside goss says he has already admitted culpability, so it is really now about what potential criminal action that he faces, and then what the Reds follow up action will be.

        • Huw Tindall

          Hopefully the local cops are mad Reds fans and don’t press charges :D

        • Brisneyland Local

          Lets hope so. But I have the funny feeling he is going to have to wear this one! Oh so dissapointing!

  • “In fact they pulled a whole bunch of All Blacks out as if they were listening devices behind a couch”. Touché, sir.

  • Simon

    The Force are paying something like $23 to win and I agree they are a decent chance, so that seems great value.
    The Kiwi teams are heavy favourites with the bookies, which I think is a bit odd. They have left out so many of their stars and 10s is a very different game, more akin to 7s in the sense that a heavy favourite can find themselves down two quick tries and not have time to recover. I reckon it’s a pretty open competition.

    • RugbyReg

      I’m disappointed I didn’t pick that up earlier. Even them to win their pool at $5.50 is tasty. The Rebels at $5 to win their pool aint too bad either.

      • Simon

        $5.50 to win the pool is excellent value, just looking at the matches. They are up against the Canes, but even if they lose to the Canes, the Canes are playing the Highlanders and Toulon, while the Force are playing the Blue Bulls and Toulon. So the Canes could beat the Force but lose to the Highlanders by a bigger margin and the Force could top the pool.

    • JimmyC

      Simon and Rugby Reg I think the tahs @$9.5 are good value. The playing squad has at least 7 or 8 former aussie 7s players and Folau

      • RugbyReg

        you make a good point about the 7s players. I don’t think Izzy will actually play that much though. They still a little below the other Oz teams perhaps, other than the Brumbies I think. We shall see though.

        • DK

          The Brumbies have played in and lost the last 2 world club 10s finals…majority of their squad have played in both those tournaments…they have a lot of 10s experience as they send Brumbies runners (academy) into asia regularly to play 10s.

  • Stin

    Sorry if I missed it but – ANY TV COVERAGE?

    • Stin

      Fox – got it…

      Except I don’t have it so – nothing.

      • RugbyReg

        Go for this. 2 week free trial. Just remember to cancel before the 2 weeks is up.

        http://www.foxsports.com.au/get-fox-sports

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate great tip and it isnt even tight ass Tuesday! (Throwback to Merrick and Rosso).

      • Huw Tindall

        Overseas coverage seems lacking, at least in the UK. Been trawling the Sky Sports website and nada :(

  • Pclifto

    I’ll be watching with interest as I’ve had no exposure to 10s before…

    But I have to ask the question – why? Why do we need a 3rd variant of rugby? I love my 15s – it’s like Test cricket, the pure unadulterated version that I think is the best sport in the world by a country mile – and I love the colour and speed and amazing skills of 7s.

    So why 10s? Is rugby spreading itself too thin?

    Maybe I’ll get some answers on the weekend. But the most obvious answer is $$$…

    • RugbyReg

      money is the heart of everything these days and I was doubtful too. I’m not sold but I understand.

      They (promoters) wanted a multi-day event so that rules out 15s.

      7s becomes the option, but they can’t compete with Sydney 7s from an international perspective and rights usage. They could just target super rugby clubs but coaches aren’t going to care too much about 7s just a couple of weeks out from the season proper.

      10s has more structure than 7s and is more 15s-y. It means you can give your tight five a run, and run some structures similar to 15s. Thus making it an easier sell to the Super Rugby teams.

  • DK

    I live in Asia and our club goes to a 10s tournament within a 3hr flight once a month year round…the summer ones are brutal, But you could go to a 10s tournament just about every single weekend. I reckon for the real 15s supporters they’ll (like me) find it a great short version of the game, in my opinion more so than 7s. great to watch, I went to the world club 10s in Singapore 2 yrs ago and watched the Brumbies lose the final to the Blues, great weekend and a bigger crowd than they had for the 7s world series leg.

Rugby
@RugbyReg

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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