Thursday’s Rugby News: Latham backs Jesse Mogg, Queensland Rugby starting a Hall of Fame, Rocky Elsom rumours and the possible return of Juan Smith
Chris Latham – keep Mogg at No.15
Chris Latham has come out in defence of keeping Jesse Mogg at No.15, endorsing his potential and urging Ewen McKenzie to leave the young Brumbies player at fullback and resist the temptation of slotting Israel Folau into the position.
Latho said ‘His first Test, if anything, he was just probably guilty of trying too hard. In that position of fullback, and I’ve been there myself, if you make mistakes they are generally exposed and seen a lot more. I think it would be a bit harsh to not pick him this week’.
Playing in his second Test and first run-on Test, Mogg seemed to play a safety-first game, making none of his trademark long raking kicks for touch. Considering the Wallabies lineout was the strongest part of their game on Saturday, with Rob Simmons stealing two of the All Blacks throws, Mogg’s tactical kicking should be utilised to the full in Wellington.
In related news, McKenzie has indicated that he intends to keep Matt Toomua at No.10 after what was viewed as a pedestrian debut on Saturday. McKenzie stated ‘I don’t pick people or get rid of people on one game, you’ve got to have a good look at the whole detail’. Scott Fardy for the injured Hugh McMeniman is the only change expected.
Juan Smith back to rugby?
After calling time on his playing career back in February this year, Juan Smith may be joining the star-studded French Top 14 club Toulon. Smith is scheduled to undergo a medical this week, and if successful could be joining Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, and an impressive list of former Springboks at the 2013 Heineken Cup winners. Later reports mention that he has passed the medical and Toulon will make a decision next week on whether to sign him.
Queensland rugby Hall of Fame
As part of the QRU’s 130th anniversary celebrations, a Hall Of Fame is being established to honour outstanding contributions to Queensland rugby. Entry will be based on the following criteria: retired for ten years, played or coached Queensland, made an overall contribution to rugby in Queensland.
A panel including past Queensland Rugby players, coaches and managers, current Queensland Rugby officials, journalists, and rugby historians has selected a shortlist of 52 from the foundation of the QRU to the early 2000’s based on their impact on the Rugby landscape and their contributions to the code in Queensland over the past 130 years. Nominees include Alec Evans, Bob Templeton, Brendan Moon, Dan Crowley, Frank Ivory, John Eales, Lloyd McDermott and Tom Richards.
The first members will be inducted at the annual Reds Gala Ball, to be held on 30 August. It’s not known how many members will be added for this initial group.
Rocky Elsom back in town
Fresh from his release from Toulon where he was providing injury cover (a position some readers may find highly ironic), Rocky Elsom has been linked with a move to Bob Dwyer’s second division French club Narbonne. The latest rumour has South Sydney NRL coach Michael Maguire denying that he is trying to lure Elsom back to the NRL.
Elsom was sighted at Redfern talking to Souths assistant coaches and later having a coffee with Maguire. Elsom played two seasons of NRL before joining the Waratahs in 2003 and went on to play 85 Super Rugby games with the Waratahs and Brumbies, and make 75 Wallaby appearances, captaining the team between 2009 and 2011. Souths coach Maguire said that Elsom had merely come down to see how Souths went about their business.