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 the Force take on the Reds at Suncorp, with the Brumbies travelling up the Hume Highway to meet the Waratahs, as the Shute Shield returns this weekend and the Aussie Sevens programs secure olympic funding.

 


 

Force to be reckoned with

Byron Ralston scores for the Western Force.

This week the Western Force will travel to Queensland to take on the Reds at Suncorp on Friday night. The two teams havn’t played each other since 2017, but in their last visit to Brisbane the Force scored 17 points in the final 17 minutes to seal a convincing 40-26 victory.

The Force want to bounce back after last weekend’s 14-23 loss to the Waratahs, whilst the Reds will be looking for a better performance after their frustrating 18-all draw with the Rebels.

Having emerged victorious from their previous three Super Rugby encounters over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the boys from the West would be feeling a little bit confident of getting one over their Queensland rivals. Of course, this is a completely different side to the one that run out in 2017, but they have drafted in some good players. It will be interesting to see how they gel.

One of the new faces is veteran prop Greg Holmes, who played for the Reds a staggering 144 times in his career.

The 27-time capped Wallaby made his Western Force debut off the bench last week against the Waratahs, and is expecting a “physical” encounter against the Reds.

“As a front row we’ve got a lot of focus on their scrum. Up front they’re very tough, so if we can nullify that threat, it will go a long way to winning the game,” Holmes said.

The Force have also welcomed 2011 World Cup-winning All Black Richard Kahui into the squad and will be counting on his experience. “First and foremost it’s important to get my performance right and play the best I can to help the team win. I could play this week, but maybe next week or the week after,” Kahui noted.

Super Rugby redemption

Banks is back in action.

The second game of Super Rugby AU will see the ACT Brumbies and the NSW Waratahs renew their rivalry on Saturday at ANZ Stadium. The Brumbies and the Tahs battled it out in the last game of regular Super Rugby for 2020, with the brumbies coming out on top 47-14.

Brumbies Flanker Will Miller said he expected NSW to be stinging from that loss.

“Without a doubt,” he said.

“They’re a quality side and they’ve got a lot of quality players. Any team in this competition’s going to be as good as possible and that break’s just helped out teams that weren’t going as well beforehand.

“It’s evened the playing fields a lot, I think it’s going to be a tight one and one that we’re all looking forward to. As long as we play our brand of rugby, I think we should look pretty good.”

Electric Brumbies Fullback Tom Banks will return after missing round one because of stress fractures in his foot.

“I had a few stress fractures in the outside of my foot,” he said. “I don’t know how long they’d been there for but they flared up from the running I was doing during the break, then came back in training, had a few scans and they popped up. Obviously worked through with the rehab team, fair bit of hard work but it’s all paid off.”

Banks returned to full training last week and is confident he will be right for Saturday’s Waratahs clash. His return will be a big boost for the Brumbies as they look to continue their momentum through the competition.

Shute Shield time

Michael Adams – Photo Credit – Karen Watson Photography

Sydney’s Shute Shield competition will kick off this weekend in front of limited crowds. For this year, Penrith and Newcastle have joined the 13-team competition, with plans to run the comp over 13 regular rounds with a top six finals series culminating in a grand final under lights on 31 October.

Round one sees a grand final re-match between 2019 premiers Sydney University and Warringah at Rat Park, which will be broadcast on 7Two from 2pm.

Warringah hope to go one better than their second place in the last two Shute Shield competitions.

“We were runners up, we don’t want to do that again,” coach Michael Ruthven told the Daily Telegraph. “We are definitely looking to reverse the last two seasons. Last year we were good for 60 minutes, not 80. We haven’t reinvented the wheel. No great need to reinvent the wheel. It’s about creating an environment where we challenge each other and improve. Just coming up with different ways to challenge.”

Another highlight will be a battle of the beaches of a different kind when Randwick host Newcastle at Coogee Oval.

It has been 20 years since the Wildfires last played in the premier competition, upsetting Eastwood 20-17 in the final round in 1999, before being axed along with Canberra, Parramatta and West Harbour.

Coach Scott Coleman is impressed by the enthusiasm and work ethic of his team ahead of their opening game. “There is just excitement to be honest. They know they are up against it but they are jumping out of their skin to get out there,” Coleman said.

Scott will join his brother Darren in the Shute Shield, with the latter Coleman at the helm of Gordon.

Shute Shield organisers are still expecting fans to watch, but will be enforcing strict social distancing protocols.

Saving the Sevens

Emma Tonegato beats the tackle of Michaela Blyde

It has been announced that Australia’s Sevens teams have received $2.2 million in AIS funding as they look to relaunch their respective olympic campaigns.

With the Tokyo Olympics postponed and the remainder of the Sevens World Series in doubt, the one-off grant comes at critical time.

thanks to their gold medal in Rio, the Australian womens Sevens has stronger clout than the men, with coach John Manenti confirming the program would remain centralised and full-time in 2021. This grant will come in handy, as NRLW teams have been circling a number of high-profile players.

Most of Australia’s Mens Sevens players under a cloud with their contracts expiring on 30 August and a recent revised player pay deal only applying to Super Rugby AU players.

A number of players have departed the squad to link up with Super Rugby teams, while Ben O’Donnell recently inked a deal with Ireland’s Connacht.

Rugby AU CEO Rob Clarke said the funding was an endorsement of the teams’ Olympic prospects.

“On behalf of Rugby Australia and both of our Sevens teams, we thank the Australian Institute of Sport for their increased support for our programs,” he said.

“This increase is a tick of approval for our teams and the progress they had made before the World Series was suspended with our Australian Women’s Sevens pressing for another title and our Men’s team were finishing the season with a wet sail as they sat in fourth position with four rounds to go.

“This extra funding will allow for more security and greater planning ahead the Tokyo Olympic Games and as we move forward in a new Sevens landscape.”

The Tokyo Olympics were scheduled to be starting next week but have been pushed back a year to begin on 23 July.

  • Nutta

    Morning Cobbers and many thanks Jack.

    Very much enjoying having the Forcies back. I think the Holmes and Kahui additions are fantastic. Very much looking forward to the game with the challenge for the Reds being to develop some maturity and turning their set-piece potential into actual results and for the Forcies coming up to speed quickly enough to be more than just competitive against the front-runners. Wouldn’t it be poetic if the unwanted children of the old ARU toppled the competition leaders after only a fortnight back in? I’m a romantic so I’m tipping the Forcies in this one.

    The Donkeys v Tarts will be interesting. The venom of contact in the Oz comp over recent weeks has been quite something and I have been very much enjoying that aspect of our play. In fact it’s probably my only criticism of the NZ rugby at the moment that they don’t seem to show enough of the same. They seem a bit too matey-matey for me but that’s only me. Comparatively the naked aggression in the Oz games has been plain and obvious. That said I am hoping some clear thinking finds a space and we see some quality vision in the footy this weekend to accompany the contact. For that reason I’m tipping the Donkeys in being a bit smarter and experienced than the Tarts where & when it counts.

    Great to see club footy starting up around the place. It’s the heart and soul of what we are.

    And likewise it’s great to see the women getting squared away to an extent instead of being cost-cutting sacrifices. Some medium to longer term thinking on display there. Perhaps some lessons have been learnt from the BuildCorp fiasco of a few years back. Good to see.

    • Dally M

      Ironically the Kiwi’s think their games are more intense, and have flagged that as one reason for the Aotearoa version as not being sustainable – Halfbacks Weber (Chiefs) and Hall (Crusaders) worry that a New Zealand-only version could grow stale quickly, while there’s also the toll on the athletes from the white-hot Kiwi derbies. Their views come after Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith also questioned whether “anyone is left standing at the end of Super Rugby Aotearoa” such is its intensity.

      • Nutta

        Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder eh? No doubt the Kiwis are playing hard largely because of the speed and skill level of the game they are playing. But for me, there is a sense of more open outright venom on display in the Oz games. But again, that’s only me and certainly I’m not out on the field.

      • UTG

        Leave it to a bunch of halfbacks to be whinging about contact. All that can be said is that they have the best view of the collisions.

      • Yowie

        Such was the intensity, I question how anyone was left standing after the games at the high point of my playing career.

        In my high school 6th IX team we got puffed just running back to stand on the goal line while the opposition attempted a conversion.

        • Obviously very poor commitment Yowie.
          We could all nearly run back to the 50 for the restart. even twice a game on occasion

        • Yowie

          Well, I say “we” got puffed. I didn’t get puffed on the reserves bench.

        • ahh, reserve bench.

          Good place for a ciggie, as well as halftime, injury time..
          They just dont it play it like it was anymore

        • Yowie

          Good place for a ciggie

          My school was really strict on that sort of thing.

          The smoking boys’ halftime huddle had to be at least 3 metres away from the chroming boys to prevent explosions.

        • Reds Revival

          I might be a bit rusty with my Roman numerals, but if you only had 9 in your team, I think I know why you were regularly running back to your goal line.

        • Yowie

          To add insult to injury, we only had 9 in the team but I was still kept on the reserves bench!

          (or I could follow Dennis Denuto’s example and get around to learning Roman numerals)

        • Andrew Luscombe

          And the school apparently had 5 other teams of 9 too, or maybe more.

        • Damo

          And on a related matter is there no greater insight into human relationships than the conversations between players behind the tryline awaiting the conversion of another try and in the midst of a thrashing?

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Or maybe a lack of conversation.

        • Damo

          Let’s just say the tight 5 don’t have many comforting words for the outside backs after the 1st phase double cut out move finishes in an intercept try under the posts.

        • Nutta

          We will communicate our displeasure clearly enough, but yes twill likely be in a non verbal manner.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Only because you couldn’t talk coherently

        • Nutta

          You’re right. We had been bustin’ our arses to get ball just to watch some limp wristed nonce Fairy with gel and blonde tips do something completely bereft of sense, point or skill… tends to leave you breathless and gob-smacked.

        • Yowie

          At such a moment I was informed by the captain that “now isn’t the time for jokes”

      • Nutta views his rugby through an interesting tint, mainly amber liquid I think?

        Like you, I think the intensity is much higher in NZ, at least the smart application of skill and strength is, along with the speed of play.

        • Nutta

          In vino veritas

      • Greg

        I am afraid whenever I read about Aaron Smith I mainly think about…. never mind.

    • Mica

      I was going to upvote you Nutta until I saw that you are tipping the Force over the Reds. For full disclosure though, I do have a soft spot for the Force too and hope they do well!!

      • Nutta

        The Pinko’s should win. They really should. But I reckon the Jedi just may pull it off.

        • I need to see team sheets. The way it looked last week, the Force can’t sustain the intensity, the Reds may not play well, but they play at their level for a solid 80. So an early lead for the Force and then the Reds hauling them back sounds like the prediction to go for. But… the Force can get better, the Reds can fail to produce a bit of magic and the Force can do it, just not sure they will.

        • Wonky Donkey

          Yeah the force looked knacked after 30. If they can pace the game down and suffocate Maybe the force can win.

  • Dally M

    And in news just in – NZ to host the Rugby Championship in September/October.

    Thanks Victoria…lol!

    • Yowie

      When they get around to that enquiry into how Coronavirus started, I hope they take a long look at which country seems to be benefiting the most.
      Cui bono indeed.

  • Yowie

    “They’re a quality side and they’ve got a lot of quality players.”

    I’d go further than that to say that there are some quality people in NSW generally.

    • Reds Revival

      I thought that was player speak for “They’re a bunch of powder puffs and we’re gonna put another 40 on them”.

    • Andrew Luscombe

      Some – how many do you reckon?

      • Yowie

        At least a few. How many Queensland expats are down there you reckon?

        • Andrew Luscombe

          392,538 but who’s counting.

        • Yowie

          Ok, at least 392,538 quality people are in NSW, raising the state averages for XXXX consumption, thong-wearing and support of demonstrably unhinged candidates in elections.

        • some support the Reds too

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Jack, I agree that it’s great having the Force back and like Nutta I’m loving the aggression on show in these games. I sort of get what people are saying about the intensity of the NZ games but I think the passion and aggression shown over here is great and adds something that’s missing in the NZ games. I’m picking Reds and Brumbies this week.
    Club rugby coming back is great and not just the SS but also stubbier rugby is back this week too. Got my first match this weekend and for my sins they’ve given me a Div1 game so expecting to be sore and knackered on Sat night. Sunday’s might be a quiet day.
    Really good to see the woman’s 7’s being looked after as I’d hate to lose some to NRLW and have them injured. They had been playing some great rugby and I’m looking forward to them play again

Rugby

Mad rugby supporter from Newcastle. Offering unbiased takes on why the Brumbies are the best team in Super Rugby.

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