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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby news see the Brumbies host the Force at The Fortress on Friday, and the Waratahs take on the high-flying Reds on Saturday, while planning ramps-up for Trans-Tasman rugby and the Rugby Champs, and the Aon Uni 7s kicks off on the weekend.

 


Bucking Brumbies

Brumbies star Any Muirhead plays long.

The first game in Round 6 of Super Rugby AU sees the ACT Brumbies welcome the Western Force to GIO Stadium on Friday night.

The Brumbies have not lost to the Force since 2013 in round 20 of Super Rugby.

Nic White will captain the Brumbies as they look to rebound following their 40-38 loss to the Reds.

Slipper himself is returning from a knee injury for the match, with Harry Lloyd packing down with him for his first start this season. Test star Allan Alaalatoa is still suspended and Tom Ross suffered an injury.

Rivalry resumes

Jack Maddocks

The NSW Waratahs will be looking to restore some pride back in the jersey on Saturday night when they take on traditional rivals the Queensland Reds.

The Tahs will be sporting retro jumpers when they lock horns with the competition leaders, and hope to channel the glory days for this heavyweight battle.

They welcome back Will Harris and Izaia Perese, but lose backrowers Lachie Swinton and Jack Dempsey as they try for their first win of the season at Stadium Australia. Their most recent loss marks the first time the Waratahs have not won any of their opening four matches of a Super Rugby season.

Reds coach Brad Thorn has raised some eyebrows with his selections this week, as he looks to keep the team’s momentum going. Incumbent Wallabies No.8 Harry Wilson has been dropped to the bench to allow Seru Uru a chance to start at the back of the scrum.

“After a big pre-season, Seru has been in some really good form and has earned his opportunity to get a start this week,” Thorn said.

Angus Blyth drops out of the team completely after a strong season so far, with Ryan Smith earning his first start at lock.

The Reds will be wary not to drop a game against the embattled Tahs after securing a breakthrough win over competition favourites the Brumbies. In recent years Thorn has lamented his side’s inability to back-up after big matches.

Bright outlook

Taniela Tupou warms up

With the rugby calendar still very much up in the air, speculation is growing around how the Trans-Tasman competition and the Rugby Championships will proceed.

New Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos has come out and said that they want to host the entire Rugby Championship later this year. Australia successfully hosted the truncated Tri-Nations last year and Marinos believes they are in a good position to host again this year. The 2021 tournament may require another Covid-19 bubble scenario, and Marinos is preparing for every eventuality.

“We have all resigned ourselves to the fact that we’re probably going to be in a bubble in some way, shape or form,” he said at the launch of this weekend’s Aon Uni 7s. “We successfully hosted the Tri-Nations last year on a very short turnaround; our request to Sanzaar is let’s get ahead of the game a lot earlier and be able to build a proper model.

“There’s a fair appetite (to) host it here in Australia again and it’s something that we’ll put a lot of effort into.”

The Trans-Tasman comp will go ahead as planned if New Zealand allows a travel bubble between the countries on 6 April, but there is a back-up plan to create a hub in one location.

After seemingly missing out on the opportunity to host the British & Irish Lions Series against South Africa, RA is looking at every avenue to bring as much rugby to the country as possible.

France’s visit to Australia could be pushed back to mid-July to accommodate players involved in the Top 14 final.

Back in action

Charlotte Caslick of Bond University tries to beat Cassandra Staples of University of Canberra

In case you missed it, the Aon Uni 7s kicks off this week, with a new format that splits the competition between NSW and Queensland. The first-up regional rounds will be played concurrently at Woollahra Oval in Sydney and Easts Rugby Club in Brisbane on Saturday and Sunday.

The tournament will provide the 7s stars with much-needed game time ahead of their Olympic title defence in Tokyo.

The Australian Sevens squad players will join the competition in round two and will be recruited to different teams throughout the competition, as well as in the lead-up to the finals.

Australian Sevens Performance Manager Scott Bowen told rugby.com.au, “The Aon Uni 7s Series is integral in continuing our professional pathway, and player development.

“This year’s tournament is about preparing the women for the Olympic Games as well as continuing to fine-tune our squad ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Paris Olympics.

“As the competition amongst the Universities continues to grow, it is inspiring to see the next generation putting their hands up and competing for a spot in the national squad.”

Australian Women’s Sevens Head Coach John Manenti said: “While the women won’t be taking part in every leg of the Series, it’s an opportunity to be out playing competitive Rugby.

“A lot of the squad are returning to their old teams this year, so it’s imperative that when they get an opportunity to play, they make the most of it.

“With the World Series suspended last year, it’s fantastic to get players into teams and playing high-quality Rugby, as we continue to build prepare for Tokyo.”

Every match of the competition will be streamed live on Rugby Xplorer.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Jack, on the face of it this weekend looks pretty settled with both Reds and Brumbies expected to win, and win well. However, as we all know this can be a funny old game and if either the Brumbies or Reds get complacent anything could happen. Personally Brumbies by 8 and Reds by 12+
    I personally hope the bubble does get put in place for both the TT and RC and that teams can travel between Aus and NZ. I feel for both SA and the Argies but think having teams travel between Aus and NZ is a better outcome for the fans of both countries.
    Go the girls. I hope they do get to put in some good games and looking forward to watching them play again.
    Not in the post but I’m not sure the comments by Marinos on the Tahs have been that helpful. Nothing about putting things in place to help, just a rehash of the crap put out by the Tahs Chairman with a slightly adjusted tone.

    • Huw Tindall

      Has Marinos ever done anything helpful in rugby administration? I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt but SANZAAR and Super fell apart on his watch, much like the Tahs fell apart in Roger Davis’s watch. Clarke and McLennan wouldn’t have brought Marinos in if he was sh!t so assume there is something we don’t know. I guess SANZAAR is a job nobody would envy having four bosses and trying to endlessly compromise!

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Mate I’m with you. I’m happy to wait and see if he does do anything positive but for me his record with SANZAAR and his failed attempt to become chairman of World Rugby means I am highly sceptical of anything he does

        • paul

          It was reported that his attention to grassroots growth was the point of difference in his selection.

          Not sure of the connection that has with SANZAAR and World rugby though.

          He has a lot on the plate, but I would be interested in what his specifics and plans were about the grassroots, that led them to believe he was the best candidate.

        • Patrick

          He knew the word?

        • Yowie

          Interviewer: “What about grassroots rugby?”

          Andy M: “Yeah? If you like.”

          Recruitment panel in a huddle: “He’s head and shoulders above all the other candidates!”

        • Nutta
        • Yowie

          The Gurkha security detail must be just out-of-shot.

        • Nutta

          They are behind the camera crew.

        • The real reason we closed our borders.

        • Nutta

          Don’t laugh. I’m sure they were eyes-on for the whole Melbourne ‘Ring of Steel’ thing. And there was a headline just begging for some punning that just went begging.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Be interesting to see what that means. Haven’t seen anything out of RA that will grow grassroots rugby yet. After some discussions I’ve had, centralising insurance and paying for it would be the number 1 thing that’d make the biggest difference straight off

        • Nutta

          My opinion has not altered much from this… http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/republic-nutta-fixes-aussie-rugby/

      • Nutta

        I once worked in a business where I was a Direct Report to the Office of the CEO. All good, that’s not unusual.

        The problem was there were 3x brothers who were the Co-CEO’s. 3x Bosses. Brothers. All competing in-front of Dad to be Big Man. With all the bullshite that comes with it (games, competing agendas, cloak&dagger, betrayals etc).

        I lasted 2yrs. I couldn’t take any more of it. I’m perversely proud I didn’t bite any of them on the face or stab anyone with a screwdriver before I resigned.

        One of them rang me last year and asked if I would come back.

        I would rather chew broken glass. Again.

        SANZAAR got nuffin’.

        • Mike D

          So, you didn’t stab them with a screw-driver BEFORE you resigned… hmmm, interestingly precise wording.

        • Nutta

          I’m a precise person.

  • Hoss

    Memo to: Mr O’Rourke and fellow GAGR Journo’s

    Those who have watched Mr Dempsey play this year will note his preferred position is ‘winger’

    Please stop referring to him as a ‘backrower’ until such times he contributes to the side, consistently, as same.

    Yours in Rugby
    Mr Hoss.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Hahahaha he can’t look flash in the tight mate. And it’s all about the look

      • Hoss

        I am a fan of his, albeit a disgruntled one. IMO he hasn’t been the player he was or potentially could be since that horrible injury against the Baa-Baa’s a few years back. Just seems to lack the grunt he had, perhaps its confidence related. A few years back, after the win against the Darkness in Brissie where he was my MOTM the world was at his feet. His footwork just before contact was a real point of difference to his game, he was physical, fit, skilled and had that edge to him. Then he tore his hammy from the bone (i think) before the European tour and has never quiet hit the form heights again and he is off to Glasgow at end of SR season and i cant see him figuring anywhere in gold at present.

        I see the Padre has shaken the cage with the Reds too. Wilson to the bench, Eru starts at #8, Blyth out of the 23 all together and a new 15.

        Interesting.

        • Reds Revival

          I agree Hoss. He burst onto the scene showing a heap of promise, but the injury definitely cruelled him. He just hasn’t been able to get back to his early form.
          I suspect that Uru is there to counter a more mobile Tah’s pack (and give Harry a bit of a rest). Blyth is an interesting one. While Ryan Smith is a big human, Blyth offers significantly more mobility around the park. I wonder if it is a discipline related issue, although, I’m sure that the team would have all been on their guard after seeing what happened to Hamish.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I rate Uru. Be interesting to see how he plays at 8

        • Hoss

          Me too – very highly. I was also impressed and intimidated by Timani being back. Man he looks fit. He was also more involved than i remember him from previously.

          Our locking stocks don’t look to bad at all now. few young bucks running round well and the return of someone like Timani who under-delivered in his time in gold previously, but his time in France may well be a bonus for us all when it comes to gold.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Rodda might find it harder to get back in gold than he thinks mate

        • Reds Revival

          I hope so!

        • Who?

          It seems that Sita learned to jump whilst he was in France… Why is it that our bigger locks seem to need a stint up north to learn how to jump?!

        • Yowie

          More gravity (which pulls downwards, obviously) in the northern hemisphere, so jumping in lineouts up there builds those leg muscles.

        • Nutta

          It’s why we are so good at handstands.

        • Damo

          Must be why it’s hard to get up and walk around after a meal in an English pub. It’s gravity, not stodge.

        • Yowie

          Yeah, the pints of heavy ale are irrelevant to that phenomenon.

        • Reds Revival

          Yowie, did you end up listening to the second half of the Marc Evans interview? What did you think?

        • Yowie

          I did. Really good. The guest was excellent. It was a really interesting insight into the business elements behind sport. He’s quite funny too “We offered 27%, the players wanted 29% and b*gger me if we didn’t settle on 28%!”

          I don’t know if earlier episodes make it clear why the host wants to take rugby out of schools, but his agenda-pushing during that interview got a bit annoying. The guest was great though.

        • Reds Revival

          That’s the first time I have heard him suggest taking out of schools, but he is also one of The Egg Chasers hosts, so they may have discussed it on there.
          Like you, I found the business side very interesting. I also liked his philosophy of trying to grow the sport as a whole, instead of just one or two teams. Ideally working towards having each team’s supporters genuinely feeling like their team has a chance at the title at the start of the year. I think with the improvements with the Rebels and the Force this year, there will be 4 teams with genuine title aspirations next year.

        • Yowie

          He had an interesting analogy regarding growing incomes leading to growing expenditure (then losses) with a general escalation over time.

          The same seems to be true outside of sport and also on the home front. To butcher a saying I read somewhere “There was a time I dreamed of earning the income I’m starving on now”

        • Reds Revival

          Love that quote!

        • Yowie

          The Schools thing seemed to be based on concern about concussions or something. Yet in the same interview the host had some very assertive comments about how he would still play rugby regardless of the demonstrated risks (with the guest pointing out the difference between adult and child decision-making).

          The whole agenda made me feel like I missed the early exposition scene in a film.

        • Mike D

          Interesting that AFL has approached that through the draft concept. They have effectively regulated their market, while Rugby is still more ‘free market’ style, for want of a better analogy.

        • Keith Butler

          Sir, I must protest English ale is not heavy. Nectar of the Gods and Dan the Man is my supplier.

        • Hoss

          One game doth not a season make, but to my eye he looked leaner, but stronger, more involved around the park and better at the set piece. If he can build on that, well, he would be there-about’s.

          Be interesting to see if he makes the PONI this weekend, albeit after one game.

        • Nutta

          Because of the element of competition for jobs. You learn to jump and improve the other deficiencies in your game – or you go home. Simples.

        • Keith Butler

          Big Willy is still on the learning curve but seems to be getting better.

        • Keith Butler

          Would have been interesting if the 3 Timani brothers could have played in the same team a few years. Two locks and an 8 all over 1.98m and 120kg. Some scrum and line out presence.

        • Damo

          Bit of mid season R&R I reckon RR. However I also would like to see Uru have a run at 8. Also looking at the team on the Reds website, I notice that 11,12,13 and 14 are affiliated with Wests. If they all knew how to get to Sylvan Rd and ever all played together there it would be a pretty impressive club backline.

        • Nutta

          Rest & rotation I reckon

        • Mike D

          Regardless, stoked to see Uru starting. I’m making my once a year bold prediction, Uru for Wallaby bolter.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          At the game in Parramatta both him and Swinton were acting like cocks. Standing up and swaggering after every tackle and getting in the face of the opposition all the time. Didn’t come across on tv because they were nowhere near the ball. They both seemed to be trying to prove how tough they were instead of just playing good rugby

        • Nutta

          A common and deep seated problem in Tarts rugby there.

        • Nutta

          I’ve always liked his footwork prior to contact. He hits a soft shoulder and gets his shoulders through the line. So his line penetration and post-contact metres are quite high for guy of his relative size.

    • Nutta

      Look, that said, the same accusation may be made towards Pete Samu…

      • Hoss

        I get the distinct impression its more about structure and counter with the ponies. Samu gets in the middle of park in D, but soon as t’s on he gets out wide as part of a well-developed plan.

        I think with Dempsey its not perhaps as well crafted and more in line with a propensity to avoid some hard graft.

        • Yowie

          I can see the poor NSW cultural fit right there. The State is build on graft.

          (As opposed to corruption-free Qld. Just ignore the Sir Joh years and add a bit of a safety margin either side).

        • Hoss

          Just watch episode #3 of ‘Exposed’ next Tuesday night re the Luna park fire of 1979 and NSW Incorporated will be exposed and its incredibly murky underbelly.

        • Nutta

          Or the purity of the moralistic ACT! Just ask Scotty from Marketing! Seriously, did you know that whilst Hillsong has less than 50,000 fully fledged paid up members in Australia, nonetheless our 22 person Federal Govt Cabinet has 13 of them? Fair Dinkum. 13 of 22 in Federal Cabinet are Hill Songers. Now I’m proper hard-bitten Fenian-Catholic and well-schooled in the history of “Blacks and Catholics Need Not Apply” in Australia so I’m one of the more sensitive about folks right to freedom of religion. But that number (13/22) raised an eye-brow with even me. So the ACT is more pure than driven snow yeh? I mean, surely there is no corruption in a place and institution under the thumb of organised religion yeh?

        • Yowie

          13 of 22 in Federal Cabinet are Hill Songers

          If you think that’s a big proportion, allegedly most of the Vatican and even the Pope are pretty much all Catholics.

        • Nutta

          Yeh I read that somewhere. Once. Not sure of its veracity though.

        • Yowie

          Also where do bears actually sh!t?
          Why are Four Corners harassing our morally upstanding politicians when they could be getting to the bottom of these Pope/bear type conundrums?

        • Nutta

          The ABC are a complete misappropriation of funds and effort. Shame on them. All they need to do is call Jonesy, and Eddie Obeid each day for some direction on what/where they should be looking. C’mon, how hard is it?

        • Yowie

          But how many ABC news stories be sustained by “a good hard look at themselves in the mirror“?

          Perhaps Sky/Credlin/Jones/Rupert/Bolt should just do all the journalism and opinion for the sake of efficiency.

        • Nutta

          Just get Rupert to appoint one person as the designated font of all things fact & truth. More efficient again. We can call them “The Referee” or maybe just “Nigel” or perhaps “Eddie” or “Kearnsy”. Or something like that.

        • Brumby Runner

          Sounds like a job set up for the Orange One.

        • Nutta

          Now THERE is a suggestion for balanced, representative and even-handed journalism eh? I always knew Rupert was a smart guy with our best interests at heart.

        • Mike D

          Well that’s certainly what Rupert et al. think is the appropriate course.

        • Who?

          The pope isn’t Catholic. Don’t believe me? It was on QI!!!
          https://youtu.be/RMf4OtC7SXY

        • Yowie
        • Who?

          Nutta, do you have a source for that 13/22? Because I just had a quick Google, and the stuff that my Google box brings up questions the accuracy of those claims. In fact, it claims some of those listed as Hillsongers are actually Catholics… I try to use fact checked media wherever possible (i.e. ABC, etc), I can’t find anything on there with those numbers.

          If anyone thinks that anyone vaguely connected to power is pure as the driven snow… It’s like thinking that a US President over the age of 70 isn’t going to have moments of embarassment on non-flat surfaces. Be it falling up stairs, shuffling down a ramp, or something as simple as having bog roll on your heel. It doesn’t reflect on their politics, just their age. And being in power doesn’t reflect on your intentions or the validity of your political values, the only commonality is that all of them end up burned.

        • Nutta

          My source in the total numbers of HS members may be dodgy as it was a google search 6mths ago for unrelated purpose. But my source for the number of cabinet members who are HS is solid – but also undeclarable beyond calling them a ‘well placed federal bureaucrat’.

        • Who?

          I think your numbers for HS members is probably fairly accurate. That bastion of journalistic integrity Wikipedia lists 30 churches with 43,000 on the books (HS and similar churches often don’t have formal memberships) in 2018, referenced from their (HS’s) annual report from 2018. That’s an average of almost 1450 per church (not small churches – how many 1,500 seat churches do you see in your average subrub or town? My town has one – and it’s not HS – and I only know it’s that big because I built it).

          But the 13/22 is much more questionable. Even if you go to the obvious people. ScoMo himself isn’t a part of HS (anymore). He’s now part of a church in his electorate which is friendly with HS, but not formally affiliated. Which means the numbers there aren’t part of that 50k from HS. Stuart Robert is listed as part of Metro Church, which is ACC, and therefore not HS. Friendly, but not formally affiliated. If you include the friendly but not affiliated churches, the numbers aren’t 50k. If you only include ACC, that’s another 225k (Wikipedia, not the census).
          Other articles I quickly referenced that stated 13 people included people like Kevin Andrews (Google says Catholic), Andrew Hastie (Google says Presbyterian). That doesn’t mean they may not pray together (hopefully not at the same time as the people using the prayer room for, shall we say, “Other purposes”), that they wouldn’t share having some commonality of faith. But neither does it mean they share all the same beliefs. And it means the number of people who share their faith (though not necessarily all their values, and not necessarily people who voted for them) is even higher. Going off the 2016 Census figures (which I’m sure are out of date) saying 52% of the population nominated some form of Christianity as their nominal religion, perhaps the figures are higher than average, particularly in terms of active engagement, but not outlandishly so.
          And don’t think that all in a faith body vote the same way. The Catholic church is a perfect example of that – you have raving lefties and hardline conservatives in the same group. I think the term might be a “broad church”..?

        • Nutta

          All valid points. And as I referenced a wee bit earlier, I’m a keen student of history and so am cognizant of unwarranted religious discrimination (the ‘No blacks or Catholics’ reference). But I confess to be well concerned about the growing influence of new-wave christian churches in Aus politics. But let’s be polite and sensible and leave that alone. We should be making baseless accusations supported by wild assumptions at people over rugby.

        • Crescent

          I can say that is false thanks to lazy reporting. 13 of 22 will, no doubt, be pew warmers. However, if they are of the happy clappy persuasion. they get labelled Hillsong members. Hillsong is merely a subset of the happy clappy persuasion – for example Scomo attends a happy clappy, but that flavour of happy clappy is not Hillsong. For those that follow these things and recognise the semantics, the recognised happy clappy set belong to a denomination known as Assemblies of God (AoG), and Hillsong do not belong to that denomination anymore – they are, in fact, a stand alone entity as their own denomination.

          Does not alter your key point about being wary of just how representative (or not) the make up of cabinet is to the Australian electorate, but my penchant for pedantry means I have to make the above distinction.

        • Yowie

          For how long have you been a fellow member of the Society of Pedants*?

          (*formerly the Pedants Society, formerly the Pedants’ Society, formerly the Pedant’s Society)

        • Nutta

          Probably a fair observation.

        • Nutta

          Labrador – bludging on the blind.

        • Is there a term for bludging on the loose?
          2nd thoughts, maybe not go there…

        • Nutta

          I was just trying to be nice.

      • Mike D

        And I believe on occasion one T. Tupou.

  • Hoss
    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      It’ll be interesting to see the makeup of these teams and if there are any rules around the number of players from each country. I hope it works out and it’ll no doubt add to the tournament. Wonder where they’ll be based

      • Hoss

        Nutta wrote a good piece about this a couple years ago – Nutta, if you’re about any chance of re posting?

        From memory you suggested and i 100% agree basing a side in Western Sydney amongst many other salient points.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I think one of them out Penrith way would be awesome

        • Brumby Runner

          KARL I’m concerned that the proposal needs NZRU approval. That indicates to me that both Pacifica sides will be in SRAo. While I reckon one based in Western Sydney would be ideal, I don’t think we’re about to see it.

        • Who?

          Isn’t Moana Pasifika the team that was trying to get into SRNZ last year..?
          The Drua, they were affiliated with RA, but I believe that NZR’s snagged them, too.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Yeah I think so too but I’d still love to one out here. I’m not sure having 2 in NZ would work as while 1 additional team in Auckland would go ok, I’m not sure either Wellington or Christchurch have the facilities for an additional team at this level

        • Reds Revival

          Are NZRU likely to agree to one being based in Australia?

        • Hoss

          If the form of our new Bulldog & Chief Hamish McSomething is anything to go by i’d say we will get one for sure. basing them in western Sydney does two things:

          1. Connects with Australia’s largest PI population and lifts the profile of the code a thousand-fold in so many ways, almost by default – it’s a no-brainer
          2. Sends a warning show across the bows of HMS Waratah in terms of development, grass-roots, recruitment, memberships – actually in every aspect. Again, simply by default the Tah’s organisation must improve on every level and that in turn helps Aus Rugby

          What’s not to like!

        • Reds Revival

          While I’m not one to support anything related to rugby in NSW, the fact that this team will be completely independent of NSWRU is a big plus. I’m sure that they blocked Twiggy’s Western Sydney team as they knew it would show how incompetent they are. Don’t be surprised if NSWRU do everything within the powers to not have the team based in their turf, for exactly the same reason.
          QRU would welcome them with open arms, and there lies the different fortunes of the two franchises…

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I think you’re correct mate. The NSWRU will not want their poor management exposed any more than it currently is

        • Reds Revival

          Do you mean Hamish McStewart? Geez, that young guy has a lot on his plate!

        • Hoss

          When sober – yes.

        • Reds Revival

          Touche!

        • Nutta

          You’re a kind and generous man. And my opinion regarding that topic hasn’t changed much. I’ll scrounge something up from the cellar…

        • Nutta

          @HossRugby:disqus

          From 21/07/20. Light editing.

          Regarding having Tonga, Samoa & Fiji in Super footy, I’m keen on putting at least x2 Poly teams in Oz and 1 in NZ. Reasons why (in no particular order):

          1. We need to generate public interest. Having them in Oz and in western Sydney or south Brisbane or Melbourne engages the pre-existing ex-pat communities in a big way whilst also getting a clear march on Mungo & AFL regarding directly impacting those communities. Plus their ‘away’ crowds would be bigger than their home crowds; imagine the roll up if “Melbourne Samoa” came to Sydney to play the Tarts? Plus the viewing TV public would eat it up (and pay) bith home and abroad.

          2. They need to be cost effective. Having them in Oz strips out a lot of cost for us. It’s our bloody comp after all.

          3. They need to be sustainable and have decent governance and probity standards. Having them ‘at home’ is historically proven as doomed from governance & probity perspectives. They are sewers of misappropriation and money pits. If here, we can leverage them to develop good administrative & development pathways for (say) folk approved/scholar-shipped by their governments with Universities and our Govt and thereby get access to federal funding (it’s business after all).

          4. We can assist them retain their identity. By being here with good governance & probity controls we can support standalone Fiji, Tonga and/or Samoa teams in Super plus allow the players to be free to make their initial choice of playing for home or Oz. Imagine the marketing opportunity that a brand like “Sydney Samoa” or “Brisbane Drua” represents? Plus they don’t then have to be stuck in the exploitation of the French and Japanese markets and being excluded from representing their home country in tests.

          We would have (say) Fiji and Samoa. That means NZ can support Tonga (example only – we can work out who support who) and then NZ still has an option for a Maori side. Plus if we activate everyone else’s cultural sides it may just finally light a fire to have our own First Nations / Koori team. It would take some time but imagine that? And imagine the good will, public interest and funding that would flow from that? Plus the opportunities to then leverage all that back into the Koori set-up with governance and universities pathways etc the same way we can do with the Poly sides?

          Back it all up with a properly supported NRC as a feeder/reserve set-up (likely running their Reserve teams) and I reckon we would have a proper winner of a pathway and competition.

          It’s win/win/win stuff. Better footy, better product, makes us a stronger and more egalitarian sport… fkn hurry up, I’m excited!

        • Hoss

          Cheers mate – it seems you were ahead of your time and a visionary.

          Welcome to the exclusive club, you are officially member #2.

        • Nutta

          No vision. Repetition. I use the RugbaLeeg formula – If I just keeping running at the line often enough, eventually I’ll go through.

        • Who?

          Nutta – think you’ve got your PI Nations switched up in terms of historical allegiances. Fiji has a reasonably equal affiliation with Australia and NZ, but Samoa seems to have more All Blacks, whereas Tonga has stronger ties to Australia. Starting with Willie O, through guys like George Smith to our current Tupou. I’m not sure what the distribution of PI Sydneysiders and Qlders might be – maybe there’s numerically more Samoans than Tongans in Australia, and we don’t want to lose anyone – but worth pointing out that we have Tongans who grow up in NZ who want to be Wallabies.

        • Yowie

          we have Tongans who grow up in NZ who want to be Wallabies.

          Three cheers to them!

        • Who?

          Because that includes Taniela. :-)

        • Yowie

          That too.
          More generally though, any big/fast/tough rugby-playing units who want to play for the Wallabies are ok in my book. Doubly so if they live in NZ.

        • Nutta

          Ahh you are uncovering my natural inclination for arse-covering by being all-inclusive and ‘swappy’.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    A lot would have to happen, infrastructure-wise and sponsor-wise, but I really hope that the ultimate goal, post-pandemic, is to have these Pasifika teams playing home games in Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, probably on a rotational basis. WR can make this happen if their will is genuine.

    On the occasions that Super Rugby and the NRC played games in the islands, the welcome, hospitality and carnival atmosphere has been worth the inconvenience to the visiting unions.

    I note that NSW will be wearing a ‘retro’ jersey this weekend – so no faux Argentina shirt this round?

    • Faux Argentinian jersey – Dastardly ploy by the Tahs for when they next play the Force.
      Trying to confuse our FR and half, there should be a law..

      • Yowie

        The side-line microphones might pick up Tahs runners calling for the ball in Spanish when the Force have possession.

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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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