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 Reds and Waratahs battle it out at Suncorp, the Brumbies host the Rebels in Canberra, players agree to another paycut deal and Japan and Fiji potentially move north for a new tournament.

 

 


 

State of the Union

James O’Connor runs onto the ball during training.

One of the oldest rugby rivalries is set to be reignited for the Super Rugby AU opener. The NSW Waratahs will take on the Queensland Reds at Suncorp stadium on Friday night, and already players are champing at the bit to get a piece of each other.

“We’re very looking forward to going out and smashing some new South Welshmen,” said Reds captain Liam Wright.

“I think if you ask any of the boys, this is the number one game on their calendar and we’re just lucky we get to start with it and can’t wait to get out there Friday night.”

The Reds and Waratahs didn’t lineup against each in this year’s Super Rugby comp, but did play in a preseason trial in Dalby, which Queensland won.

The Waratahs brought in league hardman Paul Gallen to speak about the Queensland-NSW rivalry, while Reds coach Brad Thorn has provided all the motivation the Queensland team needs.

Both teams will be fielding fairly young line-ups. NSW will be relying on their inexperienced backs to take charge following the departure of Kurtley Beale, and injuries to Jake Gordon, Lalakai Foketi and Karmichael Hunt. They have some exciting prospects, with Will Harris starting at the back of the scrum, and powerhouse prop Tiaan Tauakipulu set to come off the bench.

Meanwhile, the Reds have a stacked backrow, with Liam Wright, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson forming a formidable trio.

“I’ve always fancied the lineout so to get back in there and do some more jumping will be pretty cool I think and it allows us to unleash,” said Wright of his move to the otherside of the scrum.

“I think we’ve still got that real good combination going in the back row with me, Harry and Fraser, so I think we’ll work well with each other and it’s not a huge change for my game, just a bit more set piece-orientated and then me and Frase will try and get around as much of the field as we can.”

Read Rugby Reg’s preview for the lowdown and the starting lineups.

Rebels with a cause

Dane Haylett-Petty makes a break.

On Saturday night, the Brumbies will host the Rebels in Canberra. It has been a rocky to the start of Super Rugby AU for the Rebels, with multiple curveballs thrown at the team in the lead up to their opening game.

The Rebels were forced to relocate to the nation’s capital after a spike in COVID cases forced Victoria to tighten their border restrictions. The team will now be based in Canberra for the foreseeable future.

Rebels centre Billy Meakes believes the competition could be the perfect proving ground to push his case for national selection, with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie emphasising that form will trump all other criteria when picking players for the Test side.

“It’s quite an amazing opportunity we have with this new Super Rugby AU to put your hand up for selection,” said Meakes.

“It’s almost like a trial every week, you’re playing against you direct competition for jerseys at the national level and every single week you’re playing against Australian players so a strong run of form can definitely put you in contention.”

Meakes has been on the Test fringes since he came back from England in 2017 but has not cracked the 23 in that time.

“It’s hand on heart the most important thing to me,” he said.

“There’s so much uncertainty at the moment and no one really knows what’s going on next year but for me, all I’ve ever wanted to do was play for the Wallabies and that’s still all I want to do. It’s definitely at the forefront of my goals and something I’m working towards and I’ll be doing my best in everything I can to get there again. Fingers crossed I can play as well as I want to and that’ll take care of itself.”

The Brumbies will be looking to replicate their great early season form in this truncated domestic season, and are the favourites to take out the Super Rugby AU title.

Winger Andy Muirhead said players felt the responsibility to perform on the field. “We like to think of ourselves as a pretty dynamic backline so it’ll be a good way to see where we’re at after a break against a red hot backline that the Rebels have.”

Peaceful resolution

Tom Banks chases a kick

Just two days away from Super Rugby AU kicking off, it is being reported that Australia’s Super Rugby players have finally agreed to a 30 percent pay cut until September 30 after a confirming a new deal.

After intense negotiations over the last few weeks, players from the Brumbies, Rebels, Waratahs and Reds and Rugby Australia agreed to the updated conditions last night.

Under the existing deal, players were on an average of 60 percent cuts weighted towards the highest-paid players but this new agreement will be applied as a uniform reduction across the board.

The news will come as a relief to the Australian rugby public after reports last week suggested that players were threatening potential strike action. We can now turn our focus to the on-field action.

As rugby.com.au put it, this new reduction is in line with the pay cuts that Rugby Australia’s executive are currently on and that of Wallabies coach Dave Rennie when he begins his tenure. The 30 percent reduction also applies to match payments and bonuses.

The original deal put in place in April was set to run until 30. That deal has now been renegotiated after the the Super Rugby AU competition was finalised. Another agreement will be negotiated when plans for the Wallabies 2020 season are clearer.

Rugby Australia CEO Rob Clarke praised the playing group for their “cooperation” in the negotiations.

“Australians all around the country are currently facing an incredibly difficult economic environment and rugby is certainly no different,” he said.

“The professional players have acknowledged the important role they play in ensuring the future health of rugby in Australia and I thank them for their cooperation throughout this negotiation, to ensure the competition starts this coming Friday night.”

Australia’s Sevens players remain on the original deal and what their future looks like is still yet to be confirmed after the remainder of the World Series season was cancelled on Tuesday.

Eight Nations?

Will Japan and Fiji head North this year?

The Irish Independent is reporting that Japan and Fiji will be invited to an inaugural eight-team tournament to compete against the Six Nations sides in November and December.

Negotiations between unions and clubs are ongoing as World Rugby looks to settle on the 2020 fixture schedule and the formation of a global season.

The new-look tournament would replace scheduled matches against southern-hemisphere opposition, as Covid-19 has made international travel increasingly difficult.

The Southern Hemisphere teams are looking to recoup some of their losses by playing each other, but surely they could fit in a couple of games against Fiji and Japan?

Ireland was due to face Australia, South Africa and Japan at the Aviva Stadium in November, but those fixtures are set to be replaced by a tournament involving two pools of four, with matches played on November 14, 21 and 28. The final would take place on 5 December.

The fate of this year’s Six Nations remains a mystery, and would have to factor in the resumption of Premiership Rugby. The Champions Cup final is scheduled for 17 October, and the English clubs have earmarked the following weekend for their final.

Talks about the global calendar are even more complex, with the clubs in England and France raising objections to a proposal by the World Rugby working group representing the Six Nations and southern hemisphere nations to move the July window for Test matches to October to create a new international series.

  • Yowie

    The Rebels were forced to relocate to the nation’s capital after a spike in COVID cases forced Victoria to tighten their border restrictions. The team will now be based in Canberra for the foreseeable future.

    That’s really rough.

    • ATrain

      First step in the merger? At least the Melbourne blokes get a chance to check out housing options for next year?

      • paul

        Be funny it it wasn’t true.

      • Yowie

        “hey coach, we’ve been all over town and we can’t find the party district”

        • ATrain

          can’t find the CBD perhaps…but did find some cool fireworks and some interesting magazines

        • laurence king

          Up until Google Maps, I’d always get woefully lost. Better places to get lost

    • Dud Roodt

      I’d rather take my chances with COVID

  • Nutta

    The underlying intonation that predictably surfaces whenever Qld plays NSW that we somehow need Mungo to provide a rev-up element is both bewildering and infuriating to me.

    It’s bewildering because it isn’t a representative side from NSW playing a representative side from Qld. They are licenced Franchises FFS. They are stacked with players from both sides of the border and other places/states as well. Representative sides my arse.

    Secondly, NSW has been playing Qld in rugby since 1883 whereas the Mungo State of Origin kicked off in 1980. If we are going to leverage some sort of state based jingoistic pride, why look to some mob who have been at it for 40yrs when our game has been at it for nigh 140yrs? Again, FFS.

    I say have some fkn pride and stand on our own identity. This fawning over Mungo SOO is as pathetic as the fawning over a Mungo vs Rugby exhibition match. Rugby has nothing to gain from this insinuation that only adds legitimacy to the Mungo half-wits.

    • ATrain

      Excellent point Nutta. We have plenty tradition of our own to build on without needing to borrow it from the younger brother.

      • Yowie

        I dunno, there are some new words and expressions that the loig boys might be able to enlighten us about.

        Eg. “hey youse”, “more better”, etc.

        • Damo

          No, league speak will have to wait. I’m still working my way through Cheik’s Lexicon. Ahhh, naah, ya know what I mean.

        • ATrain

          He might have borrowed his speech from league….that is where he got his game plans from.

        • Yowie

          “plans” plural?

        • ATrain

          a mis-key obviously – singular only

    • Damo

      Spot on mate. If these young guys can’t get passionate about this game they shouldn’t be there. And the sooner the proposal for the cross code match goes in the shredder the better.

    • Tah Tragic

      Also Gallen was a member of the NSW SofO team between 2006 and 2016 where they only one the series once (2014). Hardly an inspiring choice.

    • Keith Butler

      Hit nail on head on both points.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Bang on Nutta. What a load of shit dribble and really questions the ability of both the coaching team and the players. FFS some muttonhead who doesn’t know the game. Good one NSW

    • Frosty morning

      Totally agree.

  • Dr K Mootoosamy

    Meakes is tripping

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Jack, it’s getting tantalizingly closer to kick-off and looking good. Glad the money got sorted but to be honest I don’t think it was ever going to go to a strike. That would be a stupid decision by the players and would just cement the problems we already have wit the game here.
    Not sure what Gallen would bring to the party apart from expertise on how to lose to a Queensland side more than you win. Doesn’t say much for the coaching team to have to bring that idiot in.

    Nice to Meakes excited but he needs to get bit more consistent on the field before he can be sure of stepping up. Not quite there yet for me.

    The different competitions are going to be interesting going forward. I think the biggest issue faced up north will be the ever present club owners and trying to negotiate more time for the representative games. I note that some English players have decided not to take a pay cut and move on. Be interesting to se if they get games outside of England and if Jones is going to be able to call them back for the tests.

  • Mart

    Good vid Reg.

    Anyone know if Banks is injured?

    • Hoss

      Yep mate – Bastards is missing this week, local Pony junior making debut.

  • ATrain

    Damian Smith is prominent in a couple of those shots in your vids….quite angry for a winger

    • Michael

      Yes, he even managed to get himself sent off in a game for punching or a cheap shot on Campese once. One of the backrow (Kefu maybe) had to feign an injury to get replaced for another outside back.

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

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