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

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News sees Kepu being handed a well-deserved ban, the Wallabies falling down the rankings, some more positive Super Rugby News and some more positive club rugby news.


It’s a fair cop

kepu

The aftermath of the Wallabies-Scotland match continues, as Sekope Kepu was handed a well deserved three week ban for his god-awful attempt of a ‘clean out’ on Hamish Watson. For his troubles, World Rugby has slapped Kepu with a three week ban.

The ban will be held over into next year, meaning Kepu will miss the opening two matches of the Waratahs Super Rugby campaign against the Stormers and Sharks, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Pulled before the committee on Tuesday, Kepu had to answer against infringement law 10.4 (h), that ‘a player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without use of the arms, or without grasping a player’.

Yeah, sounds like he messed up. Even Cheika admitted the ref had no choice but to send Kepu off (WHAT?! Cheik actually agrees with a ref?!).

The ban could’ve been worse, however, World Rugby considered that because Kepu had a clean record before this event, it warranted a “maximum discount of 50 per cent and reduced the length of the suspension to three weeks”.

This effectively will allow him to play on March 4. Kepu has the right to appeal the decision, but frankly, if he does, that’ll make him even more of an idiot. Yep, even more than Sonny Bill.

Slip Slidin’ Away

Wallabies v Barbarians 2017 first half-2

Not that anyone really gives a crap about rankings, but the Wallabies have lost their third place ranking as a result of their defeat to Scotland. 

Third place now belongs to Ireland, after nailing down a solid performance against the Pumas on the weekend. Surprisingly though, the Pumas actually rose up the rankings as a result of France drawing with Japan.

The French how now fallen to ninth, equalling their lowest ever spot on the rankings list. See Wallaby fans, it could be worse… you could be France…

The Wallabies’ 53-24 loss to Scotland ripped 1.8 points from their total, while the Scots look to be closing in on fifth place with their win, if it were not for South Africa‘s win over Italy. New Zealand and England remain unchanged as one and two

For more info, have a read of rugby.com.au here.

Right, now all the depressing news is out of the way, lets get onto some more positive stuff.

Super Rugby News

2017-Reds-v-Brumbies-23

In some news that has Reg quietly optimistic (hear it from the horse’s mouth here), the Reds have announced their squad for next year. And it looks like a pretty handy squad at that.

Paul Carozza and Tony McGahan will be the right hand men supporting Brad Thorn in his first year as head coach, as he looks to get the Queenslanders back to winning ways.

The squad is a pretty similar one to the one we got this year, with two notable inclusions: the signing of Brumbies and Stormers prop JP Smith as cover for the Tongan Thor, and standout NSW Country Eagles hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

Amosa’s inclusion is particularly encouraging, as the Southern Districts and Rams/Eagles hooker has been one of the most outstanding players to emerge from the NRC, and has been knocking on the door of a full-time contract for some time now. He should provide plenty of competition for Alex Mafi and Andrew Ready, as all three compete for that starting hooker position.

The other big news will be that 2017 assistant coach Jason Gilmore will also be remaining at the Reds, taking on the role as head of the Reds’ Elite Youth Development pathway.

Reds fans, check out the squad here. 

The other big news comes from Melbourne, as the Force Rebels announced a brand new strategic plan for the club on Tuesday afternoon. Hundreds of Rebels fans, (and a couple of GAGRs) got the chance to meet Dave Wessels, and to check out what the club is planning to do going forward for the next few years.

Along with a new catch cry of ‘Never Back Down’, the Rebels aim to slash ticket prices by forty percent to encourage more fans to come to games, as well as focus on financial management (insert Rugby Australia funding joke here), connect and influence within fans in Victoria, and to improve facilities and infrastructure.

“We are only temporary custodians for the next generation of Rebels and we have a duty to leave the club in a better place than we found it,” Melbourne Rebels General Manager Professional Rugby & Pathways Nick Ryan said to rugby.com.au.

“The strategic plan has been established to ensure that the Melbourne Rebels set the benchmark for Australian rugby on and off the field, and ensure positive engagement with local schools and clubs to reinforce local player pathways.

“We believe that a united and aligned club will give us the stability and security to perform at our best, foster behaviours that is the envy of others and prove to be our most significant competitive advantage.”

The strategic plan also includes a stronger partnership with La Trobe University and an improved junior pathways program. The club has also brought on GM Commercial Tim Cherry to help with off-field duties, who has worked with the Essendon Bombers and the Australian Grand Prix.

Club Rugby News

Shute Shield

Starting in Sydney, some history was made in the Shute Shield this week, with the announcement that West Harbour has a new president, Siobhan Seiuli. Why is it significant? Because it is the first ever female president in the Shute Shield’s 143 year history.

Siobhan had been a volunteer at the club for 11 years, and was voted in as president unanimously.

“It honestly wasn’t something that I had thought about but I had a few people say to me that they thought I would be the right person for the job when it became clear our current president didn’t want to renew,” Seiuli told RUGBY.com.au.

I kind of laughed when it was first suggested but enough people at the club – players, parents and staff – along with the board, all backed me so here I am.

“We need to invest in them and resources for our players, as a rugby club isn’t all about the stuff that happens on field.

“We want to support our players in every way we can and that’s something we are going to be putting a big emphasis on moving forward.”

In Queensland, the QRU and Rugby Australia are teaming up to create the Deadly 7s. The program will travel to eleven schools throughout Queensland, with the aim of encouraging indigenous students to take up and play the game.

“Having spent time working with Queensland’s Indigenous youth through the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program, I’ve seen first hand the benefits that Rugby can have within Indigenous communities, both on and off the field,” Indigenous Reds player Moses Sorovi said in the Reds official press release.

“It’s great to see both Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union working together to introduce both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as rural children, to Rugby through the Deadly 7s program.”

You can check out the official schedule for the Deadly 7s in the link above.

And finally, RugbyWA recently released some encouraging statistics recently about the growth of the game, with a 15% growth on 2016 of  primary school kids playing in the ‘Game On’ program. RugbyWA Development Officers  delivered 663 ‘Game On’ sessions at 50 primary schools across the state in 2017, reaching 4,603 students between the ages of 6-11.

What was most impressive though was a  56% increase in Sevens participation across the state, with an upcoming junior and senior sevens program scheduled to begin next year.

The good news news is certainly needed for many rugby fans in the west, after the loss of the Force this year.  One can only hope that the program will lead to more kids from WA picking up a rugby ball.

Check out the release of the report here.

  • Moose

    I was too slow today to say thanks to Nick H for his efforts with rugby news. Best of luck with whatever’s next buddy. Thanks to both Nick H and Nick W for all the news through the year! Much appreciated.
    Tah’s need to organise some sort of four way, fifteen minute quarter preseason trial match with say a couple of subbie teams and maybe a schoolboy team. That would surely count as two matches of Kepu’s suspension?

    • Brumby Runner

      Was wondering how a three match suspension only covered two SR games next year. Is atrial match going to wipe out one of the suspended games?

      • Nicholas Wasiliev

        The Tahs have a bye in round 1, which counts as one week.

        • Miss Rugby

          I thought they changed that rule at the beginning of this year – bye weeks weren’t counted
          “In the determination of an incident and the handing down of any sanctions, the committee will now have the ability to exclude any regular season Super Rugby byes as part of a meaningful sanction.” (sanzaar.com)
          Has this changed or is it case by csae and they let it count for Kepu?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          They felt sorry for him because he’s a Tah player.

        • Brumby Runner

          Ah, the old bye in the back pocket trick, as Maxwell Smart would probably say. But like Miss Rugby, I thought that had been sorted after a number of poor examples of the bye offsetting suspensions last year, Remember Michael Hooper? And others.

        • Kevino

          I thought they changed that rule last year, that a weeks suspension can no longer be served during a bye week. Hooper I think could not say he was playing for Manly during the bye to get out of his week off.

  • andrewM

    “We are only temporary custodians for the next generation of Rebels and we have a duty to leave the club in a better place than we found it”
    Not a terribly hard thing to do one would have thought

    • Bakkies

      Nothing like reading a bit of spin of sifting through 337 pages of Rebels and the RA financial reports from ASIC.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    How can Tony McGahan receive such accolades after such a disaster as the coach of Melbourne? I really don’t get this.

    • P00chie

      Perhaps he is just not cut out for the head-coach gig but is a useful member of the coaching staff.

      He is very experienced.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah but experienced at losing and I’m not sure that’s a good attribute. This just smacks of more of the same when they got Graham in after a diastrious session with the Force because of his “experience”. Last year the Rebels were on the end of some friggin hidings and he’s now responsible for defence at the Reds WTF?

        • P00chie

          He’s a hired gun for Thorn, not calling the shots.

          From what I have heard he is a competent coach. Head coach requires a different set of competencies.

          But I agree based on how clubs have performed while he was there you couldn’t express too much confidence.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hired Gun! Well for the last few years he’s been firing blanks so not sure how that’s going to work out

        • P00chie

          Rebels were a freak show of a club. He has a lot of admirers at Munster. I think you’re being unfair.

          And most importantly, he’s not the head coach.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I am being unfair but that’s because this seems so similar to the Woody Graham situation where a proven failure continued to fail. I’m not sure the lesson was learnt

        • P00chie

          That isn’t a fair comparison at all and is needlessly cynical.

          Richard Graham’s record you are critical of is as the head coach of the Reds and the Force where he was not a success. This is not the role McGahan has been appointed to here.

          McGahan was a coach at Munster when they won 2 Heineken Cups and he was the head coach at Munster when they won 2 Celtic Leagues. His reign as Rebels head coach was not a success clearly but there were mitigating factors and to use that to characterise his entire coaching career as being a failure and compare it to Richard Graham is incredibly unreasonable and inaccurate. You cannot objectively say that it is similar.

          He is not a proven failure.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I hadn’t seen his results with those teams so yes it may be unfair, however based on his results at the Rebels I don’t see what he can bring to the Reds that couldn’t be provided by a coach with a successful resume. TBH my bias is because of the past in that franchise with poor coaches.

      • Bakkies

        Look where he was coaching, a complete basket case of a club. There no issues with him when he was he coaching Munster.

  • Nutta

    Congratulations and good luck Siobhan. I mean that.

    Kepu to cop it sweet with a bit of class. I’ve always rather liked the guy..

    Looks like just maybe the Reds are awakening.

    Cutting prices to fill a stadium? What a thoroughly novel idea.

    Rugby in WA and Western Sydney have clear parallels. Both growing and yet both ignored in favour of more relatively Eastern orientated ideals. That’ll do it lads! Here’s to the future of my great game.

    • P00chie

      The Waratahs could take note of cutting ticket prices, especially if they get this ludicrous compensation being touted.

      The ticket prices are scandalously high and are ruthlessly pricing out families without household incomes of 200k+

      During the redevelopment of Allianz I would love, if they really want to grow the game and represent NSW, if they played a sizeable amount of their games in Parramatta. Even though it would be of a personal inconvenience to me. It’s a long term investment that could pay off.

      • Bakkies

        Not sure why North Sydney Oval is mentioned. It’s a sure way to lose money. Take games to Gosford, Parramatta, Wollongong and Newcastle

    • Pearcewreck

      Nice stuff Nutta.
      One correction though, “our great game”.

      • Nutta

        I take your point. Please don’t think I’m being dismissively arrogant though as I often choose to be a little bit more confrontational and call it “mine”. The reason why is because if I say “ours” then I can obfuscate and hide behind the inaction of others (dilute accountability behind the group). If I say “mine” then I must own my bit and be accountable for what happens.

    • Fatflanker

      All the Oz Super teams bar my Tahs are looking pretty bright for next year. Tahs should probably forfeit the Super season and concentrate on getting ready for the Ireland series :-)

    • Phil Kcraig

      I think it is fantastic to see Siobhan as first Female Shute Shield President, so well done….there is a load of talented women out there with great leadership skills and if we want to make our game appealing to families and both sexes this also sends the right messages by showing we are not an ageist sexist sport!

  • P00chie

    Siobhan Seiuli… that name is Modern Australia. I love it.

    Best of luck Siobhán.

  • mark conley

    ” … if he does, that’ll make him even more of an idiot.”
    Nick, rather harsh. mr Kepu obviously got his ‘using arms’ technique incorrect but that doesn’t necessarily make him, ‘an idiot’
    100% of good tackles the arms only contact the opposition after the shoulders have done all the work

  • Bakkies

    An attachment has popped up on Submission number 13 that includes the minutes of the RA meeting in August 18th 2016 where they agreed to moving from 5 teams to 4 despite Rob Clarke telling the Inquiry that this wasn’t decided upon until 2017. The Brumbies and the Force are the clear targets despite the money that was going down the pit in Melbourne which is highlighted in the ASIC reports sent to the Inquiry.

    Financial reports: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Futureofrugbyunion/Additional_Documents

    Submissions:
    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Futureofrugbyunion/Submissions

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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