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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby news sees the Force on the road again, Super Rugby AU reaches the halfway point, 6 Nations fixtures are confirmed and Kearns leading the World Cup 2027 bid. 


 

Force head north

Jono Lance QLD Reds v Western Force. Photo: QRU Brendan Hertel

The Western Force are on the move again and will play their final two ‘home games’ at Cbus Super Stadium after relocating from the Hunter Valley.

After spending the first five weeks of the competition sipping shiraz and playing golf, the WA side are packing up and moving to Kingscliff, and will travel up to the Gold Coast and back for their games.

The Force have the bye this week, and their next two home games are against the Waratahs and the Reds on the Gold Coast. The Force’s round 7 and 8 games were originally set to be played in Perth but government restrictions in WA mean that teams would still have to quarantine for two weeks if they were to try and play games in Perth.

Their round 9 clash against the ACT Brumbies is still scheduled to be played at GIO Stadium on Friday 28 August in Canberra.

This move follows the news that Queensland has classified the ACT and NSW as hotspots and entry will be restricted.

In some good news, this recent development won’t affect the Super Rugby AU competition, with all five teams able to travel in and out of Queensland with a government exemption.

The Melbourne Rebels are another team that are yet to lock in their final home games, with their matches against the NSW Waratahs and the Force on 29 August and 4 September still to be confirmed. Those clashes were originally going to be played at AAMI Park, but that has changed after Melbourne went into stage four lockdown, and those fixtures will likely be relocated.

Redemption time

Reece Hodge kicks for touch. Photo: Keith McInnes

We have reached the halfway point of the revamped Super Rugby AU season, as finals contenders start to emerge and the fixtures reset. In this weekend’s Super Rugby AU games we see The Melbourne Rebels seek redemption against the ACT Brumbies after putting together a few wins, and the rematch between the NSW Waratahs and the Queensland Reds.

Leichhardt Oval will again be host to rugby on Friday night for the Rebels and Brumbies game. The Brumbies claimed the chocolates when the two teams met in round 1 of Super Rugby AU, winning 31-23.

The match up that will have new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie interested is between hookers Jordan Uelese and Folau Fainga’a, considering the shakey form of hookers throughout the competition, especially when it comes to lineout time.

Fainga’a has 4 tries to his name, benefiting from the Brumbies potent rolling maul. His set piece combination with Allan Ala’alatoa, Scott Sio and James Slipper puts him in a good position to snag the Wallabies starting role.

Victorian local Uelese is finally starting to find his feet in 2020 after some solid performances, but will need to take his game to the next level.

Meanwhile, Waratahs lock Ned Hanigan said “There’s always plenty to play for and the Queensland -NSW game is something every player from both sides wants to be a part of.”

Their round 1 clash certainly delivered on spectacle, and both teams are gearing up for more of the same on Saturday night. The Waratahs lost that game 32-26, and has reignited the rivalry between the two states.

If Jake Gordon is to believed, powerful backrower Lachie Swinton is already “practising tackling at home on the pillow case.”

Battle nations

Stuart Hogg is pleased with himself.

Organisers of the Six Nations have revealed the news dates of the suspended competition, and includes a triple-header of games set to take place Saturday 31 October. Venues and kick-off times for some of the remaining four fixtures were also decided.

The 2020 Six Nations Championship will reboot on Saturday 24 October when Ireland face Italy at the Aviva Stadium, with a kick-off time to be confirmed.

The remaining fixtures will then be played the following week with a triple-header of games taking place across the day.

First up will be Wales and Scotland, although a venue has not been confirmed, as the WRU are unsure if the Principlaity Stadium will be available.

That game will be followed by England going up against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico, and Ireland facing France at the Stade de France.

“In rescheduling these matches, the health and safety of players, associated staff and supporters has been at the forefront of our thinking,” read a Six Nations statement.

There are still plans to invite Japan and Fiji to a new eight-team tournament.

“In recent weeks, Six Nations has also been progressing contingency plans for an alternative tournament format in place of the Autumn Internationals for 2020, primarily driven by travel restrictions not allowing many international teams to play the scheduled matches,” the statement read.

Decisions are still being made around match schedules, operational details including venues as well as commercial arrangements. An announcements is expected to be made later this month.

World domination

Phil Kearns AM. Photo: rugby.com.au

Phil Kearns has been announced as executive director of Rugby Australia’s World Cup bid advisory board, putting him in the driver’s seat for the 2027 World Cup bid.

Kearns, who played 67 Tests for Australia, will lead the team as they engage with Federal, State and Local Government as well as international stakeholders including World Rugby Member Unions and he will be a key conduit for the Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid Advisory Board.

It is a savvy move from new Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan, who has managed to placate a man who only a few months ago was leading a captains revolt against the organisation.

Rugby Australia Chairman, Hamish McLennan said: “Phil has an impeccable international reputation both in the corporate sector and with his network of contacts throughout the rugby world.

“Phil will be front and centre of Rugby World Cup bid team and will lead our international relations to put Rugby Australia in the strongest possible position to win the right to host the 2027 showpiece.

“As part of his role, Phil will be spend time overseas to be a key contact with the World Rugby Member Unions, to showcase our bid and to highlight why we would be a tremendous host in 2027.”

It seems that this appointment has all but ruled out Kearns running for Rugby Australia’s top job, telling rugby.com.au, “I think this will put paid to that aspiration.”

“I think there’s a couple of really big roles in Australian rugby at the moment, this is certainly one of them,” Kearns said.

  • Nutta

    Regarding crowds at Leichhardt oval – are we (random Punters) allowed to go and watch? I only ask because the ground looks a ghost-town during match-telecasts over recent weeks whereas I thought it would be a great spot to go and watch. Forgive my clear lack of Covid restrictions implications.

    I heard Phil Kearns on the wireless yesterday commenting on how honoured he was to be asked by McHamish to lead the Bill Bid. I wonder if the offer is genuinely leveraging off Lightenings contacts or is a ‘peace-bone’ over recent politics and turmoil? If the guy genuinely has a behind-the-scenes network to leverage then that’s great. But given his public brand at the moment that may be questionable. My impression was always that foreign opponents thoroughly disliked the guy. But that’s not uncommon for Hookers and that’s only an impression from afar. If it’s designed to be a peace offering to settle recent disquiet, I confess it looks more than a tad piss-weak. Time will tell. I hope my reserve is misguided. Good to see it will take him travelling a lot.

    Lachy Swinton tackling pillow-cases? There are so many places to take that. Best not. I dying to question about whether he is biting them. Best not. Move on…

    Would be great to see the 6N back up and charging. No goal-line drop-outs and 40/20/67.567’s there.

    • Yowie

      Good to see it will take him travelling a lot.

      Must have been the pick of the available jobs to keep PK out of the way for a bit https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6f791521dd8001887aafd7780013aefaa242a3e80d91e1ac6a7634f41276369e.gif .

      • Nutta

        Well spotted 99.

      • ATrain

        When I started this job my predecessor said that he used to regularly ask our boss questions that would require significant follow-up from time to time. If you keep him busy then that will keep him out of your hair. It was his personal definition of “managing up” but maybe not what the management theory text books had in mind. perhaps Hamish has come to a similar place with this role. I noted, with great interest, that Kearnsy said that, while not currently interfering with his job at Fox, it may be that he will eventually have to ditch the commentary role in time….please Hamish make it so.

        • Yowie

          Gold.

          That reminds me. There is some “wonders of engineering” (or similar) documentary series from a few years ago. In one episode a lighthouse is to be built on a bit of rock off the coast that is submerged by the tide x hours per day. The big-name designer back on London (?) and the on-site engineer in charge of construction didn’t get on. The on-site engineer made it his business to keep the designer occupied and out of his way by writing long letters to the designer asking hundreds of irrelevant questions (eg “what kind of screws to use in the internal shelving?” etc). The designer would reply in similar detail, then have his letters ignored.

        • ATrain

          Well I don’t work in engineering so that’s not my fella but they certainly have a very similar approach.

    • IIPA

      Definitely open to public. The cameras are only on the grandstand side facing the hill and the hill has been empty. Maybe that’s part of the Covid plan that punters must have a seat – hard to police social distancing on the hill. See: Knights v Storm at Sunshine Coast Oval.

      That said both games have been on cold nights and not featuring the Tahs so I don’t think the crowd has been very big. Certainly bigger numbers at most Shute Shield games the next day ( that’s not a dig, but as Donald says ‘it is what it is’)

      • Hambone

        I’ve wondered why they don’t position cameras on other side so there atleast had some spectators in shot

        • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

          They are trying to recreate a genuine imitation of pre covid super rugby.

        • Hambone

          Bahahaha.. that actually makes sense

        • Who?

          They always – at all stadia – tend to seat the crowd in the stands first. But they tend to have the cameras on the side with the highest stands (venues like Leichhardt). Or, at places like Suncorp, they site the cameras in the shade looking to the sun, but that’s also the better viewing angle. And, given season ticket holders get consistent seats, that doesn’t change for night games.

    • ATrain

      I sat on a table with PK at a presentation night once. He seemed decent, knowledgeable and intelligent – at least for the first half of the night – I may or may not have got a bit loose in the second half.

      I don’t get the same impression listening to the fox commentary but maybe he is just not suited to it. He is certainly, in my view, no comparison to a Chris Handy in terms of humour etc and doesn’t seem particularly interested in bringing insight into the technicalities of the game or what is happening in the scrum or lineout.

      • Yowie

        ….no comparison to a Chris Handy…

        I can’t believe it’s not Buddha

      • UTG

        The problem with Kearns in commentary is the way he expresses his parochialism as much as it his one-eyedness itself. Bill Lawry was a pretty one sided commentator but it was mainly because he loved to talk up Victorian cricketers no end (and Australian). Kearns’ bias always manifests itself as disputing decisions that go against the Tahs and Wallabies so he comes across as a sore loser and someone with a chip on their shoulder.

        • Who?

          Somehow Phanto always had a sense of pride in the accomplishments of his fellow Victorians, but tied to a sense of humility. Kearns doesn’t give any sense of humility.

        • ATrain

          I agree. When Fatty Vautin or Bill Lawry or Chris Handy do it it still comes across as entertaining…when Greg Martin and Kearns do it, I find it tedious.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Hope he find his niche away from the Fox sport commentary team.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Jack, I feel for the Force and Rebels having to play away from home for the whole tournament. While it will provide some good bonding for the team, the family issues can easily prey on their minds and I hope they’re being looked after. Both games this weekend will have a bit of spite about them as teams either look for redemption or look to maintain their ascendancy over each other. I hope the referees start adjudicating the laws more strictly, especially around the ruck and off side as that actually helps the games to flow once the players adapt to it. I can’t see it happening as it’s almost too late and there would just be so much whinging from everyone about it. I think the Tahs vs Reds will be particularly fiery. I’m not sure how tackling a pillow will help but good on Swinton. I just hope Tupou stops giving away so many stupid penalties.

    Be good to see the 6N rugby again and I hope they work things out so it can be played. Sometimes the games can be boring but always a great atmosphere and maybe this year the COVID changes may allow some upsets.

    I just hope the new role for Kearns gets him away from the commentary box. I hope it works out as I’d love to see the 23 RWC here in Australia. I don’t know enough about his contacts or business acumen to know how he’ll go but it needs to be about 1000% better than his commentary to give me ay confidence.

    • Yowie

      I just hope the new role for Kearns gets him away from the commentary box.

      If Fox needed his comments while overseas, would PK have any experience “phoning it in?”

    • onlinesideline

      ah yes many a winter Sunday afternoon spent watching 5N reruns back in the day with Dad, warmed up by the ever so comforting sound of Bill Maclaren and Saturdays corned beef and chips leftovers. Between that, the Goodies, the Young Ones and a belly full of butterflies from the sheer excitement of a whole life ahead of you, in addition to the fact that the girl down the road may be warming up to my existence in the cutest of ways – the goood old days. Wheres all it gone ? Oh how I feel for this generation on what they will never know, how good it really was. 5 Nations footy back in the 80s.

      P.S – and the 84′ Wallabies toooooo

    • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

      I kinda feel sorry for the Rebels as they are normally based on the east coast in a highly ranked world most liveable city, but at least they have escaped the lockdown.

      But Force, not sorry for them at all, they get to experience a city/cities that are more than just a shanty town in the middle of a desert.

      • Yowie

        Mate that’s uncalled-for.

        It’s at the bottom-left edge of a desert.

        • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

          Look, if accuracy is important then yes, you are correct. However I live in a post truth matters era. I have decided with no expertise, that the Indian Ocean is a water desert, as it is obviously more remote than a land desert, as you can easily fly a plane into it and never find it.

      • Well thats offensive.
        Accurate maybe, but offensive.
        I’m sure they will enjoy Palmer Land.

        • Ouch, down-voted.
          My WA Hannes, born and bred.
          Perhaps you need to lighten up a bit

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Ouch

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        It is offensive and ignorant comment. The Force is not getting any home games because Victorians failed to comply. The shanty town is keeping Australian economy going during this crisis as they did in the previous one.

      • Max Graham

        I figured the Rebels players would enjoy playing back at home for a few weeks. Melbourne is lovely, but no one likes living out of a suitcase.

  • Dr K Mootoosamy

    does this mean PK isnt commentating ???

    • Hambone

      If only

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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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