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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby news sees the Force and Rebels reunite for a fiery clash at Leichhardt Oval, and the top-of-the-table Brumbies look put put some distance between themselves and the Reds, while the Hospital Cup kicks off in Queensland and a new challenger emerges for the World Cup 2027 bid. 


 

Hungry for redemption

No love lost between the Force and the Rebels.

The first game in round 5 of Super Rugby AU sees the Western Force do battle with the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night. This game will serve as true test for both teams to see where they land in the Australian rugby pecking order.

After a slow start in the revamped Super Rugby AU competition, the Rebels claimed their first win against the NSW Waratahs. Conversely, after pushing teams for the full 80 minutes in their opening two matches, the Force came crashing back down to earth after being kept scoreless in their defeat to the ACT Brumbies last week. In the wet in Sydney, the two teams would have been forgiven for keeping the ball in close and kicking out of trouble, but the Brumbies kept the ball in hand and exposed the Force defences.

The Force return to Leichhardt Oval in Sydney’s inner-west to take on the Rebels. There will be some bad blood between the two sides. The Rebels survived the infamous culling when the Force were kicked out of Super Rugby, and benefitted from the mass exodus of players leaving the West for playing opportunities. Amongst that batch were Matt Philip, Richard Hardwick, Billy Meakes and Dane Haylett-Petty.

One player that has gone the other way is Jack McGregor, who is tipped to retain the Force starting fullback jersey after finding some good form of late.

“Since coming to Perth, I’ve been given some opportunities which I’m very grateful for,” McGregor said. “The team dynamic is really good at the moment and everyone’s really enjoying the opportunity and the chance to play against the best teams in Australia.”

“There’s a lot to play for and it will be good coming up against old mates. It’s in the back of our minds but this is a really important game for us so we’re just focused on us and what we can do to get the win.”

In their last Super Rugby meeting in 2017, the Force recorded a 31-22 victory in Perth, and will be looking for a repeat effort on Friday.

Battle lines

Baby rhino on a rampage.

This week’s other Super Rugby AU game will see the ACT Brumbies host the Queensland Reds at GIO Stadium in Canberra on Saturday night. The Brumbies are sitting on top of the Super Rugby AU ladder after 4 rounds, with the Reds nipping at their heels in second position.

While, the Brumbies have won all three of the matches so far in this revamped competition, their set piece hasn’t fired as usual coming into Super Rugby AU. This is an area the Reds will be looking to exploit, and the Queensland side boast a young, dynamic pack that could get the job done. The Brumbies are no slouches when it comes to muscle up front, with the likes of James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa and Scott Sio forming a fearsome trio of props. Experienced scrummager Scott Sio will be keeping a close watch on Taniela Tupou, who has been in blistering form.

“He’s playing some great rugby, he’s putting tries on the board and he’s been very destructive at scrum time there,” Sio told rugby.com.au.

“I know it’s going to take all of us there in that eight to really nullify them but he’s got a good support crew around there, as his eight as well who are working hard behind him to get him over the line.

“We know that it’s going to be an all-forward battle up front, it’s not down to individuals taking the rein but we do understand there are those little individual battles we’re going to need to win.”

Meanwhile at wide, gun rookie Jordan Petaia could be in the box seat to make a return for the Reds. Jordy has been back to full training in the past week and could get a run against the Brumbies in his first Super Rugby AU game.

Question is – is it worth the risk?

Petaia was ruled out of action after suffering a shoulder in Argentina and underwent surgery back in February, effectively ruling him out for the Super Rugby season. But in a Covid silver-lining, the extended season could give him an opportunity to play.

Back on the pitch

The Queensland Premier Rugby captains at the 2020 launch. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

The Premier Rugby season kicks off in Queensland this weekend. The Allsports Physiotherapy Hospital Challenge Cup will resume, with all four matches to be streamed via the Qld.Rugby website.

In the Match of the Round, GPS take on Wests at Yoku Road. In other matches, Norths go up against University of Queensland, while Souths host Brothers at Chipsy Wood Oval.

Former Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen will line up for Easts when they do battle with Sunnybank.

“On a personal note I’m really excited because I haven’t had a full season down at Easts since about 2003 or 2004,” said Mowen.

“It’s been a long time between drinks, but it’s been nice and refreshing to be around the young guys and obviously pretty excited for the season. Like everyone, it’s been a long pre-season now and we’re ready to get into it.

“There’s definitely a massive wave of talent coming through club Rugby and from what I’ve seen there’s a lot of guys there who could step up to that next level, all they need is that opportunity and then they’ll get to that point. It’s going to be exciting to see the way they play this year and I’m sure there’s some representative honours waiting for a few guys out in clubland.”

Speaking on the season relaunch, QRU’s head of game development Gaven Head commented: “With regional competitions returning to play over the past few weeks, Queensland Premier Rugby is one of our last competitions to return to action and I know players and coaches alike are keen to take to the field this weekend.”

Bond University have the bye.

Bidding war

Australia is still in the box seat to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

In a bizarre twist in the World Cup 2023 bid process, the Russian Rugby Federation has confirmed the country will bid to stage the global tournament. President Vladimir Putin has backed the surprise bid from Russia.

“On July 24 the supreme council of the Russian Rugby Federation established a committee to prepare an application to host the Rugby World Cup in Russia in 2027,” read a statement on the Russian Rugby Federation website.

It remains to be seen how seriously this bid will be taken, considering Russia finished bottom of Pool A at Japan 2019.

Australia is the current favourites to earn host status. It will be the first time since 2003 that we have hosted the Rugby World Cup.

Officially, the bidding process starts February 2021, with the 2027 host decision expected in May 2022. The 2027 and 2031 tournament hosts were originally set to be announced in 2021 but that has been pushed back to 2022 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia is well-positioned to host for the tournament, naming an influential World Cup bid advisory board for the bid.

RugbyAU Chairman, Hamish McLennan has previously signalled his ambition to host the tournament, saying: “The 2027 Rugby World Cup is an incredible opportunity for rugby and for our country and we have signalled our intentions clearly by bringing together some of the greatest minds in rugby, politics, business and the tourism sector to deliver a winning bid for Australia.

“As I announced after I first agreed to become chairman of the board, the 2027 Rugby World Cup bid was one of my top priorities and today we have taken a giant step towards laying the foundations for a successful bid.”

  • Geoffro

    I will eat my shorts if Russia get selected to host a world cup but hey,stranger things have happened.(FIFA WC going to Quatar,one of them)

  • Nutta

    Well the Ruskies bought themselves a Winter Olympics and a soccer World Cup so I can’t see why they can’t buy themselves a Bill. It would only be fair and there’s a certain symmetry to it. And with all those high performance athletes barred by WADA from competing at the Olympics they may just cobble together an amazing athletic team I guess…

    What could possibly go wrong?

    • ATrain

      How come it’s Russia? Weren’t Qatar interested?

      • Yowie

        With the oil price a bit wonky lately they can’t just back up a truck full of cash to World Rugby at the moment.

        • ATrain

          Pity – buying our vote might work better for us than running the thing ourselves

        • Yowie

          Haha, the next day’s Rugby Australia press release:-
          1. We’ve voted for Qatar to host;
          2. We can afford to run a few rugby competitions and broadcast them now. F*ck off Rupert.

        • Nutta

          Nah, vote for Russia. Then suddenly teams of fitness contractor guys in jeans and black leather jackets will randomly show up at Ruperts equipment stores and simply say “We understands this all now belongs to the RA da? You help us move dese tings to Moore Park da? How is your daughter Mary doing at school in Mrs Reardons class of Geography?”

          Nice guys. Here to help as well.

      • Nutta

        The temper explosions deriving from the sand in the undies of big men sort of discouraged the locals a bit.

    • Greg

      Perhaps they are bidding on behalf of Georgia?

      There is a team that lives to scrum!

      • Nutta

        See if they had a Bill where it was simply scrummage then that would be gold. Played between the 10yard lines, and within the touch to 15yard lines. That makes it nice and tight for TV, spectators etc so Marketers would luv it. Toss for the first feed. Same double-call for ‘use or lose’ movement as-per lineout drives to keep it choogling otherwise it’s a handover and re-feed to the opponent on the mark where it stalled. 4x 10min quarters = match. Cheese and Reds for collapsers. Penalties get a 5yard march forward. 3x Reserves each. Most tries wins. I would watch that.

        • Greg

          Too late @nutta I have been watching NH teams play that game for years!

    • Yowie

      If the ABs thought a bit of food poisoning from the host nation was bad, they should read a medical manual on Nuclear. Biological and Chemical Warfare symptoms.

      • Nutta

        Suzy the Waitress has been up-skilling… Covid and all.

        • Yowie

          Uncle Vlad could use some skilled people. Look at the two muppets he had to use in Salisbury in 2018.

        • Nutta

          Man it was all just a fantastic, fatal coincidence that two x2 Stasi trained independent contractor fitness contractors just happened to take a 30quid flight and stayed in a 40quid hotel for one night to then take a 1day visit to fulfill their ‘lifelong ambition’ to see the Salisbury Cathedral bell-towers and then traveled 36hrs straight back to Mother Russia at exactly the same time. Huge. Terrific. Best Ever.

        • Yowie

          Regarding their Russian TV interview when they were quoting the exact height of the cathedral etc. – comedian Frankie Boyle said something to the effect of:-

          “Someone should have edited the Wikipedia entry for Salisbury before that TV interview just so these Russian Agents are on TV talking about the Beatles being from Salisbury.”

        • laurence king

          Gold mate

        • Квх

          By chance, there is a biological weapons laboratory in Salisbury. They have the same Novichek. But Russian tourists and Soviet KGB are to blame. Guys, where did the citizens of Russia Skripals? Are they still alive? Or MI6 eliminated them as inconvenient witnesses …

        • ATrain

          Why don’t we hold it in the demilitarised zone between Nth and Sth Korea. One half in one country and one half in the other. The losers get to stay in Nth.

        • Nutta

          Motivation stemming from fear is severely underrated in my book.

        • Yowie

          I think there are a few land mines in the DMZ.
          On the up-side, that might discourage those show-pony diving-through-the-air tries.

        • Nutta

          On the contrary, it would make for lots of bodies flying through the air.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I can picture the Russian Woman’s team now. It’ll make the AB’s Front row look small

      • Keith Butler

        Check out Tamara Press on Wikipedia. Russian lady(?) shot putt and discus thrower in the late 50s early 60s. A real beauty at 1.80m and 102 kg would have made the AB front row of that era small and probably had them for lunch. Had an equally beautiful sister Irina who was sprinter. Collectively know as the Press Brothers in the days before sex’s testing.

        • Nutta

          More muscles than a Chinese swimmer!

      • Kevino

        Yeah, i’d rather think about some of the attractive Russian spectators that the camera man can select during scrum resets etc.

    • Brisneyland Local

      They have vays of making us talk!

    • Квх

      I am Russian. There is not a single truthful fact in your post. Why do you believe in any propaganda?

      • Nutta

        Hey KBX.

        Mate I think you need to sit back, watch & read the chat on this site for a while and work out the sense of humour of Australians. You will find we tease everyone and everything but nothing and no-one more so than ourselves.

        But not to worry, all contributors are welcome here Digger as long as you’re straight-up, fair-dinkum and not an overly sensitive prick. So welcome aboard Cobber. Relax and you will have a blast. You may even learn a few things about rugby.

        Besides all that, some bonehead in our national rugby administration (called Rugby Australia or RA for short) appointed an ex-Wallaby called Phil Kearns to be the Australian point-man on our 2023 World Cup (Bill) bid. So we all know now that we’re stuffed. The guy is a wanker. So it looks like the struggle is going to now be USA vs Russia. Interested in your thoughts on that Cobber?

  • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

    I am really looking forward to the Red A’s v Waratah A’s. It obviously won’t be up to NZ standards, but hey, what games out of NZ could ever reach those dizzy heights. But nonetheless, watching battlers battle it out by throwing haymakers at each other is always entertaining. This game will be the rugby equivalent of the Goodies or Benny Hill show.

    I think for the Waratah A’s to head in the right direction, they should probably re-locate about 3,900km to the east.

  • ATrain

    I spent every second weekday afternoon at Allsports Physiotherapy during my time playing in Brisbane so great to see them stepping up as a major sponsor.

  • Funk

    So the teams have been announced:

    Force
    1. Chris Heiberg 2. Feleti Kaitu’u 3. Kieran Longbottom 4. Jeremy Thrush 5. Fergus Lee Warner 6. Henry Stowers 7. Tevin Ferris 8. Brynard Stander 9. Ian Prior 10. Jono Lance 11. Marcel Brache 12. Richard Kahui 13. Kyle Godwin 14. Byron Ralston 15. Jack McGregor
    Reserves 16. Andrew Ready 17. Pek Cowan 18. Tom Sheminant 19. Johan Bardoul 20. Ollie Callan 21. Nick Frisby 22. Henry Taefu 23. Brad Lacey

    Rebels
    1. Cameron Orr 2. Jordan Uelese 3. Jermaine Ainsley 4. Esei Ha’angana 5. Trevor Hosea 6. Michael Wells 7. Richard Hardwick 8. Isi Naisarani 9. Ryan Louwrens 10. Matt To’omua 11. Marika Koroibete 12. Billy Meakes 13. Andrew Kellaway 14. Tom Pincus 15. Reece Hodge
    Reserves 16. Efi Ma’afu 17. Cabous Elouff 18. Pone Fa’amausili 19. Matt Philip 20. Rob Leota 21. Brad Wilkin 22. Frank Lomani 23. Andrew Deegan

    Brumbies
    1. Scott Sio 2. Folau Fainga’a 3. Allan Alaalatoa 4. Darcy Swain 5. Nick Frost 6. Rob Valetini 7. Will Miller 8. Pete Samu 9. Joe Powell 10. Bayley Kuenzle 11. Tom Wright 12. Irae Simone 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Solomone Kata 15. Tom Banks
    Reserves 16. Connal McInerney 17. James Slipper 18. Tom Ross 19. Tom Cusack 20. Locky McCaffrey 21. Issak Fines 22. Mack Hansen 23. Andy Muirhead

    Reds
    1. Dane Zander 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa 3. Taniela Tupou 4. Angus Blyth 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 6. Angus Scott-Young 7. Liam Wright 8. Harry Wilson 9. Scott Malolua 10. James O’Connor 11. Filipo Daugunu 12. Hamish Stewart 13. Hunter Paisami 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia 15. Jock Campbell
    Reserves 16. Alex Mafi 17. Feao Fotuaika 18. Jack Straker 19. Ryan Smith 20. Fraser McReight 21. Tate McDermott 22. Bryce Hegarty 23. Jordan Petaia

    • Keith Butler

      Nice to see Isi back for the Rebs. Thought Matt Phillip put in a decent shift against the Tahs so why the bench? Also looks like Pone selected as an impact replacement – ouch. Rebs by not too many and the Ponies with home advantage.

    • Geoffro

      Plenty of punch in the force backs and reckon the rebs will be in troubllllllllllle if the piggies dont get on top

    • Timbo

      Force Backline looks pretty good. Will be good to watch Kahui put hits on

    • Timbo

      Force Backline looks pretty good. Will be good to watch Kahui put hits on

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Jack, some interesting games this weekend and while I think the Rebels will beat the Force ok, the Reds vs Brumbies could go either way depending on how the Reds muscle up and if they can reduce their penalties.

    Great to see club rugby back and I’m loving getting back involved with refereeing the Subbies games here in Sydney.

    Russia – There’s a likely choice. The sort of thing that the NH will vote for, not because they think it’s good, but because it aint the SH and will suit their rugby better.

    • Nutta

      Wouldn’t it be funny if on the weekend… I promise I’ll call you ‘Sir’.

      • Yowie

        Perhaps leave that sort of “role-playing” stuff off this family-friendly forum.

        • Nutta

          Are you saying that me respecting a Referee is ‘role-playing’? How bloody perceptive of you…

        • Crescent

          I may have uttered “Sir”, but it was spelt “Cur”….

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I think most of them are

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Mate I’d crack up if you were on the field. You’d get a penalty just cos

    • ATrain

      JP could add a fair bit to the Reds attack – I would have favoured the Brumbies before his inclusion, packs are pretty evenly matched but the Brums have the better backrow and are the better disciplined of the two packs and any additional penalties could be the difference. But JP in the backline adds something to the Reds.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah I agree. I’m just not that fond of relying on one player, especially one who gets injured so often.

        • ATrain

          Yes very true – and he is only on the bench this week.

    • Brisneyland Local

      ANd is easier to travel to!

    • Given how popular Russia is with the establishment right now, I can’t imagine too many of the stuffed shirts in this part of the world voting for Russia tbh. And Australia doesn’t really scare anyone at the moment if we’re being brutally honest…

  • Crescent

    Couple of other bits of news coming out – Fiji and Japan to look north and join a NH tournament (the byline says 8 Nations….) according to The Guardian. That puts a bit of a dent in potential for The Rugby Championship being more influential. Too much dithering and no hope, can’t blame either Fiji or Japan looking at banking some coin out of Europe.

    I also saw that Rob Simmons is off to Europe as well – so another recruitment gap for the Tahs to fill and a loss of an old head they so desperately need to help develop the young squad. On the other hand, could open the door to get Rodda back in Aus…..

    • ATrain

      I wasn’t sure if that 8 nations was a one-off thing – just for this season rather than the November tours – but still they could be coming south and doing the same thing so you are right. I reckon you could be right on Rodda.

    • Hoss

      Rich isn’t it. The same powers who vetoed the World League or whatever it was called and specifically asked for Japan and Fiji to be excluded now come knocking with a temporary invite to the exact same parties. I don’t know what ‘fuck off’ is Japanese but I would be keen to find out.

      • Geoffro

        I’d take it with a grain of salt mate.Wont happen.Same as the K’roos v ABs.Mostly the media giving oxygen to the few persons who think its viable

    • The Eight Nations thing is only for this November because the normal November tours aren’t going to happen with Covid as I understand it.

      That doesn’t mean it won’t become a more regular thing, but I think England, Wales, Ireland and France, who will all fancy their chances for 2023, will want to play NZ, SA and assuming the Wallabies turn it around, will want to play them too. Japan may get a seat at that table too, after 2019, but we’ll see.

      The Six Nations, if it expands or changes, won’t include Fiji or Japan, messing around with Georgia and/or Russia will be the limit – and given that’s been on the table for about a decade, i.e. swapping Italy for Georgia because Georgia are higher ranked by WR, I’m not holding my breath.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    The Force may think they reached a critical point: they are already a month away from home and would realise that they will not see their families for another 6 weeks. They may think the pressure is on as they have not won a single game and that this long awaited grudge match against the Rebels matters.

    They would be wrong. They already shown that they belong in this company by overcoming huge disadvantages in a competition that could not be more uneven. They play all their games away from home, none in front of their supporters, they would be almost 3 months away from home when the competition ends and the draw could not be more unfair in terms of scheduling of byes and recovery time between games – and that with a squad made up with players that could not make the squads of the other Superugby franchises. They already overcame significant odds just to be competitive and they have done it with admirable guts. determination and team work. My expectation for tomorrow’s game is just more of the same, focus on improving and wait for the win to come…don’t force it.

    This competition and this game will be immaterial. The Force is strong where it matters: the negotiations… and there is no Cameron Clyne to influence the outcome in Victoria’s favour. The decision will be simple, Rugby Australia must decide if they want to work with someone that is prepared to spend tens to hundred of millions on rugby union or against that person that will then establish a competitive competition. The Force’s future is secure regardless of the outcome… the opposition cannot say the same. Relax, give your best and enjoy the game!

    • Perth girl

      Spot on Hannes. At least they know their families will be safe over here despite what Clive Palmer is up to!

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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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