The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

This week we take a look at more injury problems for the Brumbies, the young Waratahs making an impact, throw a few punches at the Reds, look globally and re-visit the Women’s 7’s from Sydney.

Another one bites the dust

Another trial match and another serious injury blow for the Brumbies. This time it was import scrum half Tomas Cubelli who received a potentially season ending (before it has even begun) knee injury.

38 minutes into the match against the Waratahs in Mudgee, Cubelli was injured in a tackle which appeared to nearly bend him in half backwards while he was on his knees (this particular author* wasn’t brave enough to watch the replay due to the sight of players being injured making me feel sick so I’m going by how it looked in real time). Cubelli could be heard screaming in agony and was helped off the pitch, appearing on the bench towards the end of the match in a knee brace.

According to reports on Monday Cubelli has ruptured his patella tendon, an injury that can require a long layoff. Some estimates are up to 6 months, which would mean the whole season out for the Argentine star.

Last week I floated the idea of possibly wrapping players in cotton wool to avoid injuries during the pre-season. Yes, I fully understand that rugby players know the risks, and injuries could just as easily happen in round 1 and wipe a player out for the season. But being a Brumbies supporter (yes, feel sorry for me, it’s going to be one of those years) it’s a little hard to take that 2 of our better players have been wiped out in matches that don’t mean anything. Injuries are always hard to take, but when they happen in competition it doesn’t seem as gutting as when they happen in practice matches. All I can say for certain is that if there is another long-term injury at the 10’s this weekend I will personally march into Brumbies HQ with large roll of cotton wool!

One upshot is that we will get to see more of Joe Powell. The 22-year-old impressed Cheika enough to make it to the initial Wallabies squad mid-year with very limited game time. He will have big shoes to fill if needed, but from what little we have seen of him he definitely has the talent.

*This particular author being Mrs MST. Mr MST doesn’t want you all to think he’s a wuss.

IMG_3086

 

Good guy gone bad

Scott Higginbotham was last seen in Australia captaining the Melbourne Rebels. After 2 seasons in Japan he is back in Australia to play once again for the Reds. He hasn’t put a foot wrong off the Rugby field in his 8 years of Super Rugby. Now, maybe he is annoyed that his return didn’t get as much news as Quade’s. Maybe he’s upset that Reds fans appear more joyous about Quade re-signing than himself. Maybe he thought “whatever Quade can do, I can do” and decided to give boxing a go (though to be fair I think he took on a tougher opponent than Quade) … hmmmm … Quade Cooper plays into this a lot more than I realised when I sat down to write it, I guess we can  say it is all Quade Cooper’s fault (just beating Mr Rowling Rowley to it)… anyway for whatever reason, Scott Higginbotham allegedly thought it was a good idea to march into a Police Station and allegedly attempt to assault an officer.

According to the Courier Mail “Scott Higginbotham allegedly illegally entered a Fortitude Valley Police Beat and assaulted an officer after one of his friends was arrested for urinating in public Sunday morning.” No further details are being released at this stage, the QRU are not commenting because it’s a police matter. The ARU have said that they will look into the matter.

With a couple of the senior players throwing a few punches around (allegedly) recently, I wonder if Reds fans are starting to get a little worried that Steve More will clock one of his team-mates.

We will definitely be keeping an eye out for updates on this one.

Scott Higginbotham

Mug Shot?

 

Tahs Young Guns

The Waratahs showed on Saturday that they have a bunch of young guns that certainly have some fire power. While a lot of the damage was done by the more experienced Reece Robinson, it was the youngsters like Jake Gordon (scrum half), Andrew Deegan (fly half) and Irae Simone (centre) who really impressed. These are the same players who stood out in the NRC last season and it’s great to see them continue their careers into Super Rugby.

BUT … look at the positions these guys play. In a season where 3 out of 5 teams have imports listed as fly halves (Rebels – Jackson Garden-Bachop from NZ, Brumbies – Wharenui Hawera from NZ, Force – Peter Grant from SA) because apparently there is a real lack of local talent, these 3 young guys will be waiting in line at the Waratahs behind the likes of Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Rob Horne etc (see, a very good reason for AAC NOT to come back to the Tahs as it will just push the young guys further down the line).

Now I’m not saying that the youngsters should take the place of Phipps, Foley etc (well in Phipps’ case maybe :-D ) but how long before they get sick of waiting in line and take their trade elsewhere? It’s a real danger facing Australian rugby, as we are already losing a lot of talented young players to overseas clubs.

Global Rugby Calendar

Last week a two-day World Rugby meeting was held in San Francisco. On the agenda? A global Rugby calendar which would bring international seasons closer to alignment so there were fewer clashes and less disruption to the Super Rugby Season.

So what would it look like? Well it is only tentative at this point and there are few details, but one of the biggest impacts on Super Rugby would be the moving of the June Internationals. If it goes ahead, this will come as a huge relief to many a fan who have watched their team lose momentum one or two rounds out from the finals due to not playing for close to a month. Instead, these tests would be moved to the first week of July, at the end of the Super Rugby season. This would also mean that the Wallabies would have a continuous season from then through to the end of the Spring Tour, allowing for more continuity within the side as they had a longer run as a team.

While it is doubtful there is an ideal solution that will suit everyone and keep everybody happy, not breaking up the Super Rugby season would be a good start.

It is hoped that the recommendation will be made to the World Rugby Council in May, so it is still a way off before it is even (if it is) going to actually be considered by the council. If any changes are going to be made, it is likely that it will not be until after the 2019 world cup.

Aussie Women suffer heartbreaking finish at the Sydney Sevens, but rugby was the winner… (by Nick Wasiliev)

In what was a thoroughly entertaining Sydney Sevens tournament, the Aussie women’s team found themselves unable to replicate the success they had in Rio last year, finishing 4th overall. Our girls cruised through the pool stages and first round of the quarter finals, however found themselves undone by a stalwart Canadian team in the semi-finals, losing 7-12.

In a similar fashion, the USA Women’s accounted for the Kiwis in the other semi-final (who then dispatched the Aussies in the third-place playoff, winning 19-0), setting up an all North American hit out for the Champion Cup final. It was a thriller from start to finish, but the Canadians had the edge on their North American counterparts, holding on to win 21-17. It is their third championship victory in Sevens tournament history, and they were deserved winners against a vastly improved US outfit.

In terms of the overall standings, the Kiwis still hold a slender lead at the top of the leader board (36 points), with Australia (32 points) and Canada (30 points) making up the top three. It is still early days yet, with four more events still to come in the US, Japan, Canada and France, but our girls look like they’ve got a good fight on their hands to defend their championship title.

Despite the lack of success for both the men’s and women’s teams, no one can deny the success of moving the Sevens to Sydney. While it didn’t match the success of the sold out crowds of last year, over the two days, over 75,000 people packed in to watch a great display of Sevens rugby. The only big negative was scheduling issues around many of the women’s final matches having to be played outside of Allianz Stadium. But, despite that, I for one would be totally happy with watching another joint event of the men’s and women’s rugby again next year. It was just so damn entertaining!

Australia Women v Canada Women

Australia Women v Canada Women

  • McWarren

    Bad luck ladies, but it looks like this team is playing the long game getting ready for the Olympics. Well done to Canada and the US. I for one love seeing those two countries playing rugby.

    Gee I’m worried about the Brumbies. Just when they need a really strong season injuries are hitting. One thing the Brumbies have done since their inception though is unearth talent and manage to play better as a team then their individual talents would suggest.

    Higgers you dickhead!! Yes he’s got a history of good behavour and yes he has shown to be a good leader, but ffs what was he thinking. He has to sit out a ban for a few weeks at least. Do think any of the Womens sevens stars were arrested or caused any trouble Sunday night in Sydney?

    The Tahs seem to be cruising along nicely. The young guns from last year are being complimented by some promising new guys. As a Reds fan this makes me really shitty, as a Wallabies fan I am delighted. Its great seeing the NRC talent being identified and invested in, that goes for all the franchises.

    How do you get a gig for World Rugby or who ever it was meeting in San Francisco? I do not believe there head office in the Bay city but what a splendid idea to move your meeting the very pleasant West Coast of the States. I think I’ll propose that at my next budget review meeting.

    And too finish off, Higgers you dick head!!! I mean that from the bottom of my big Red heart.

    • Braveheart81

      Re the World Rugby meeting in San Fran: they were there to launch the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens which is on there next year.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4538d945ffad5f242e303769ae370a75135178a2125c457d3105fd3cf902ee73.jpg

      Photo is from the CEO of USA Rugby, Dan Payne’s twitter.

      • McWarren

        Fair enough, but I’m still going to try and get my budget review meeting moved OS. Is there a budget review world cup launch anywhere?

      • McWarren

        Are sure thats them BH, looks more like Donalds cabinet?

        Good old Billy went the stubbie option rather than a glass of Napa valley red.

      • DK

        Good to see Pichot going the trackies and joggers modern day casual business attire…hopefully no socks (as is the strange trend now days).

  • paul

    What worries me about a so called global season is the idea that the Wallabies are the only vehicle for rugby for 5 months of the season. So they move the June tests.
    That means July on-wards the Wallabies are pretty much it for Australian rugby.

    May work for the Kiwi’s but will be a disaster for Australia. Why? simple without greater domestic penetration, the code here will never get anymore popular.

    You can’t grow a code using one team. Where are those Wallaby supporters gonna come from without growing the support base.

    Every year ya gonna be flogging the national team to an ever dwindling supporter base.

    • McWarren

      Paul they’re would still be the NRC. I think it would suit the NRC to run in conjunction with a Wallabies season. All fringe Wallabies could play in the NRC until the end of September. The NRC would benefit from being the only game in town most weekends.

      • paul

        Lets hope the NRC can grow, but the ultimate test for that competition is will it be able to gain market share when it is essentially a development or for lack of a better word reserve grade competition.

    • I have to disagree. The national team (and the success thereof) is the number 1 reason more people will watch rugby in this country. Already, most people’s only exposure to rugby is the Wallabies because it’s the only form of our sport available on FTA TV. Until Super Rugby is on FTA TV the only way to get more eyeballs on the game is for the Wallabies to do well.

      • paul

        Agreed, but my point is that you are relying on a single team to grow the code, it is such a risky strategy when unlike the All Blacks you are not the dominant code in the market place.
        Put it this way its the same strategy they’ve had for 20 years now,and hows that working.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          The strategy worked so well between 1980 and 1995 that rugby had to become professional to head off Packer or Murdoch splitting the code in two. It kept working up to 2005 or so. The last ten years has been more problematic, but that could well be due to many other factors e.g. the 25 year olds from 1984 who were captivated by the grand slam are now 56, the middle class is hollowing out, etc.

          They still got 1.6 million+ watching the England Australia games this year. When you have no grand final, state of origin, or true derby games to generate widespread interest, you depend on the national team to fill some of that gap.

  • SuckerForRed

    I really need to ask, since there appears to be a lot of boys on this site, what is it with pissing in public? FFS it is not as if there is a line for the mens loos out the door of every venue that you go to.
    (Yes I know that Higgers wasn’t the one urinating, but if his mate wasn’t then maybe we would be talking about his hangover rather than an arrest report. And, NO I am not blaming his mate either. Higgers is a big boy and should have known better.)

    • Brisneyland Local

      SFR, as well pissing in public, there is an old saying about nothing good happening in the city after 1 am. FFS These guys are grown men! They should know better. He had a bleamish free record, and now has gone and screwed the pooch big style!
      Really dissapointing, this also sucks the wind out of the Reds pre-season and any positive PR they may have had, especially as it was the first day George Smith was back in the fold.
      Just oh so dissapointing!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      It’s a traditional action of the pissed rugby player and has been for years. Never underestimate the amount of stupidity excess alcohol can bring on. I know I’ve been guilty of some clangers in my youth that I’m not particularly proud of now

    • Xaviera

      Why? Because men can. Simple as that. In some places, it’s even encouraged (e.g. Japan) and some public toilets for men are out in the open (e.g. France and their “pissoirs”). See Exhibit A. After three dozen schooners, that creates a lot of pressure, and so when that happens, the nearest stationary object (and occasionally a mobile one), becomes an easy target. The fact that it happens to be in public is neither here nor there, unless of course there is a wall, and that changes everything. Load up with another dozen schooies and try and piss over the wall. Because (you think) you can.

  • harro

    Anybody seen this?

    Just In: Man charged over All Blacks hotel-room bugging
    http://ab.co/2jWGHdK

    The guy was a security consultant hired by the Kiwis. No explanation as to why he planted it

    • DK

      He’s been head of their security detail for almost 10yrs! Apology please!

  • Chinese Dave

    I hate to say it, but part of me is glad Cubelli is injured. I don’t think Australian SR teams should be allowed to field OS players at critical positions, which right now are probably THP, FH, SH and Lock. Why we have 2/5 OS scrummies is beyond me, it’s a disgrace.

    • Julesie

      I totally agree. Need to grow the depth!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      The trouble is mate the coaches are judged on results not the numbers of players they grew. I can see why they bring in experience but I’d hope there was also local depth behind it. Maybe a restriction on the number of overseas players per team and position should be brought in

  • Brisneyland Local

    So the bug planted in the Kiwis conference room was planted by a security consultant that was working for the All Blacks! Wow.
    I dont think we saw this one coming! ;-)

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha I don’t think anyone did mate. What a friggen rock show. It’ll be interesting to see who he put it there for. I personally think it would be one of the betting fraternity trying to get some info for their odd making decisions. Either way he’s really crapped himself big time

      • Brisneyland Local

        KRL, welcome back!
        My other cynical thought is he was trying to ensure his ongoing employment. As in, look at me arent I good, look what I found, there is a threat so you must keep me employed to protect you from it.
        Either that or bookies as you suggested.

        • Xaviera

          Logic would suggest the former. Logic would also suggest it’s a REALLY stupid thing to do, so who knows what his true motivation was. That said, I’m not holding my breath for an apology from Jabba the Hutt. Not in his nature. Sorry KRL – I’m sure you love him, but I don’t, and his lack of grace during this episode was particularly galling.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Those injuries are a real shame but I guess just part of the game. I’m not a fan of too much protection as I think it has limited value and players who are over protected early seem to suffer more injuries later than those who aren’t.

    Why is it that one or more of those flyhalfs in NSW aren’t going elsewhere to try and show they can compete or be better than the incumbents? I really don’t understand that although with the pressure on coaches to win maybe no one will give them a slot

    • Braveheart81

      Mason left the Reds in the offseason to join the Tahs. You’d suggest he is the fourth choice 10 option. I think he’s still a while away from being ready for Super Rugby wherever he is located. Hegarty is returning from a knee reco and was previously unwanted by the Rebels. He’s most likely the Tahs backup 10. Deegan improved a lot in the NRC and would be third. None of those guys would be better than second choice at another Aussie team and in a couple of cases third. The gap at the Brumbies due to Leali’ifano’s illness only became known fairly late in the piece when some of those other guys had already locked in contracts.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah that’s fair enough but I would have thought 2nd best at a different location would be better than 4th best and hoping the other three get injured so you get some game time

        • Braveheart81

          I have no real idea why Mason left the Reds. Maybe the Tahs offered him slightly more money although he is only part of the supplementary squad so you wouldn’t think the dollars involved are substantial. Maybe he thought it was a better environment to develop in?

          I tend to think it will be next year when one or more of those guys moves on looking for more opportunity.

          Hegarty would be rightfully thinking that if he returns well from injury he’s a matchday 23 player.

          Deegan is probably thinking that he’s probably not going to play much if any Super Rugby in 2017 wherever he is and planning on playing another year of Shute Shield and NRC and being happy doing that with a Tahs contract is a good option to continue his development.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Absolutely!

ACT Brumbies

Brumbies first, then for the love of the game. "It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right." —Moliere

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