Tuesday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News sees us farewell a legend of the game, redevelopment on the cards for Ballymore, squads announced for the maiden Super W season and more bad news for Beale.


Wallaby great Sir Nicholas Shehadie passes away

wallabies logo

Aussie rugby is mourning the loss of legendary skipper Sir Nicholas Shehadie, who passed away on Sunday night, aged 92.

A pivotal figure in the growth of the game in this country, Shehadie enjoyed a lengthy period wearing the Green and Gold, with over 30 tests and a hundred games for our country between 1946 and 1958. During that time, he also served as captain.

He was part of the legendary 1949 Wallabies team that won the Bledisloe Cup for the first time ever on New Zealand soil, and also became the first member of a Barbarians team to be selected to play against his own national team.

He also was a well regarded player outside the national stage, debuting for his club Randwick at just fifteen, and going onto debuting for the Waratahs the following year.

However, he is remembered just as well for the contribution he made to the game after the end of his playing days. As a serving president of the Australian Rugby Union, he played an immensely pivotal role that led to the creation of the Rugby World Cup in 1987.

He fought against many Northern Hemisphere rugby administrations who were against the idea of a world cup. It’s fair to say now that his efforts in getting it off the ground have paid back ten times over for rugby as a global sport.

For his contributions to the game on a global level, he was made a member of the IRB Hall of Fame in 2011.

Outside of rugby, he also served as Sydney’s Lord Mayor from 1973-1975, and served as chairman of SBS for from 1981-1999. He also was the husband of former NSW Governor General Dame Marie Bashir. 

Many, both in the rugby community and beyond, have paid their respects to Shehadie.

“(He was) a wonderful, wonderful Australian … a beautiful man,” said broadcaster Alan Jones, who was Wallaby coach when Shehadie served as ARU president.

“Our thoughts are very much with Marie and the family, lovely people.”

SBS CEO Michael Ebeid also tweeted his respects.

“Deeply saddened to hear the news of Sir Nicholas Shehadie AC OBE, passing away. Was the SBS Chairman 1981-99, 18 yrs and instrumental in our formation. A great Australian on many levels. Thoughts are with Marie Bashir and their family.”

“Sir Nicholas Shehadie improved everything he was involved with,” wrote former PM Tony Abbott.

“He improved rugby as Wallaby captain, improved our city as Lord Mayor and even managed to improve SBS as its chairman.

“He will be much missed by the Sunday morning walkers at Balmoral where he was a fixture until quite recently. My deepest condolences to Dame Marie who has lost a wonderful partner.”

Rest in peace mate, and thanks for all that you’ve done for our wonderful game.

More Development Plans?

Queensland, the 2017 Super U20's Champions at Ballymore

Queensland, the 2017 Super U20’s Champions at Ballymore

One of the most important spiritual homes of rugby in Australia, Ballymore looks set to undergo a massive redevelopment in the next few years.

Rugby Australia Chief Raelene Castle met with the QRU yesterday, and the topic of redevelopment was an important part of the discussions. The QRU has been working a lot with the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council as to what the future plans around Ballymore may be.

There is reportedly plans for the site to be redeveloped into a ‘multi-use facility’ that will serve multiple sports, not just rugby. There are also plans for a space to be made more readily available for the general public.

The Reds have been big advocates of a redevelopment, with the upkeep of the stadium apparently a big drain on the QRU’s resources. It looks Castle herself might be an advocate for it too.

“We will be standing alongside the Reds in all of their conversations with the (state) government ­because it’s an extremely important venue for rugby and for rugby in Queensland,” Castle told The Australian. 

“It’s got to stay as a main stadium and high performance option for rugby. So that’s No 1. But I think there are some successful models, particularly AAMI Park, with the Rebels, the Victory and the Storm all cohabiting together. They play in competing competitions so there is no risk of anyone stealing game plans or knowledge, so that seems to make sense.

“But it allows you to build a genuinely world-class facility but spread the value over three codes instead of one code having it on their own. But whether that is as head tenant and support tenants … that’s a discussion we will be ­having with the government.

“But certainly being sensible about it and making sure that absolutely it is the home of Queensland rugby but making it a commercial ­proposition.”

With a state election going on in Queensland the last few days, the QRU have been sweating on the results before continuing discussions.

Another supposed discussion is that of the Brisbane Tens, which drew 30,760 spectators across two days this year.  Tournament organiser Rachael Carroll has also put forward whether the tournament should continue in it’s current form, and whether it should also be taking place before the start of the Super Rugby season.

Other options have been thrown open, such as moving it to the June test window (to allow Super Rugby players not selected for national teams to play), or even changing cities (Perth and Auckland have both put themselves forward as potential contenders to host the tournament) to freshen up the competition.

Super W Squads, Pt. 1

Western Force v Northern Territory Girls

The inaugural Super W is set to kick off in March, and the Western Force has amassed an impressive squad headlined by Wallaroos stalwart Rebecca Clough and young gun scrumhalf Trileen Pomare.

In total, there will be seven Wallaroos in the Force squad as well as several up-and-coming prospects, including Australian Schools Sevens star Courtney Hodder. 

“We have a really strong squad,” coach Sebastian Delport said to rugby.com.au.

“It’s been a good first month laying the foundation and getting a look at the players and now all focus turns to getting the team ready for the competition.

“The aim is to play an attacking brand of rugby, we want to keep the ball in hand, put teams under pressure and dictate the tempo of the game.

“We have a good mix of experienced players, including some Wallaroos, combined with some talented young players with Youth 7s experience.

“I really see that counting in our favour, we have players that can play different positions that are equipped with great skill sets.

“I think we will be an entertaining team to watch in Super W and hopefully the WA rugby public rallies behind the team and comes down to see what the team can do.”

Check out the Force’s squad here. 

Meanwhile, the NSW team will be a star studded affair, with the likes of Wallaroos Ashleigh Hewson, Grace Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Chloe Leaupepe and Alexandra Sulusi lining up for the squad. NSW are predicted to be the favourites to win the competition this season.

“It’s a fantastic initiative and one of the advantages that rugby union has over all other codes is that it has an established pathway,” coach Rob Baumann said to rugby.com.au.

“This really is the icing on a cake that has undertaken a lot of work to get to where it is today in the inordinate growth and success of women’s rugby in the last few years.

“It’s been capped off by a fully-fledged Super W competition and we are 100% supportive of the growth of the women’s game in Australia.

“We’ve got a really good blend of experienced players and youth and I’m pretty excited for what lies ahead.”

Check out the Waratahs squad here. 

I’ll be following up with the Brumbies, Reds and Rebels squads tomorrow.

A Big Injury Cloud

Photo Credit: Peter Mitchell

Photo Credit: Peter Mitchell

It’s looking like 2018 couldn’t be getting off to a worse start for the Tahs, with several big names under concerning injury clouds ahead of the first round of Super Rugby later this month.

Kurtley Beale, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps and Cam Clark are all nursing injuries at the moment, and are in a race against time to be match fit when the Tahs season kicks off against the Stormers in less than two weeks.

Beale had to pull out at the last minute of the Brisbane Tens due to a fractured elbow. With an upcoming trial against the Melbourne Rebels on Thursday, Daryl Gibson would not confirm whether Beale would play.

“We could have really pushed [Beale to play at the Tens] and strapped it up to get out there but he’s got a big season,” Gibson told the Sydney Morning Herald. 

“We have to be cautious and the doctor has had a say.”

Hanigan meanwhile hurt his knee in the first trial against the Highlanders in Queenstown, while Cam Clark tweaked his hamstring on the first day of the Tens. Phipps has been struggling with a calf injury for the last month, and is also a fifty-fifty chance to make it to round one.

Rob Simmons may also by MIA, due to his wife expecting a baby in less than two weeks.

Despite what looks to be one of the most challenging pre-seasons he’s had to deal with in recent years, Gibson is still keen to see where the group is at on Thursday, particularly from a fitness perspective.

“I’ve maintained all year we want to prioritise fitness and that’s been a real emphasis for us but we just really want to work on the footy now we’re two weeks out,” Gibson said.

“Thursday night will give us a good indication of how we’re tracking.”

  • Pearcewreck

    Apparently Kurtley’s got Drinkers Elbow.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Pure gold!
      Even What’s App elbow!

      • Bakkies

        At least he hasn’t got RSI from sending text messages.

  • Jason

    Sydney has 3 rectangular stadiums with a capacity over 30k capacity (well Hunter Stadium is in Newcastle), and they have 11 rectangular stadiums with a capacity over 20k.

    Queensland has two stadiums with a capacity of over 30k, the GABBA (oval) and Lang Park. There is only one more stadium with a capacity of over 20k Ballymore (I’m pretty sure it actually only seats 18k). (You could maybe cound the 27k Carrara but that’s more than an hour away from Brisbane propper.)

    One thing that Raelene Castle being the ARU CEO will really help with is unlocking the ARU from this ‘Sydney Boys Club’ that it has often been in the past. Queensland for so long has gotten the shit end of the pineapple so far as Wallabies games etc go. Yet every time Queensland gets a big game the fans turn out en mass. Sure their may be issues involving State Governments or other crap like that but the fans don’t see that stuff, and the best way to change the position of a government is by using the population!

    I can say from personal experience Rugby fans in Queensland are sick and tired of being a third choice host after Sydney and Melbourne. Fancy having Fiji play in Melbourne and then give Brisbane Italy. you’d probably 13,000 Fijian Supporters alone had Fiji played in Brisbane.

    • I’d argue that we get better games in Brisbane than Melbourne in general. Sydney has a 10 year deal for the first Bledisloe so we can forget about that. But for the most part the “next best” home game is in Brisbane – whether that be against South Africa or New Zealand. We also tend to get 2 games a year whereas Melbourne usually only gets one.

      • Kevino

        Giving out about Italy instead of Fiji is a bit weak, both were always going to be crap at drawing a crowd. I would have given Italy to Melbourne anyway, biggest Italian population in the country. Would not have choose the long weekend to play the game though.

        Would love to get a rugby championship game in Melbourne, seems we always get the touring sides in June, happy with Ireland this year. But France and Wales games at Ethihad was like watching grass grow. Think it’s time Melbourne had another Bledisloe. Think the next time Australia has Teir 2 teams touring they should look at playing a test in Adelaide (Nothing since 2003 RWC) or even Hobart to spread the game. Sydney and Brisbane will always have the good championship games.

    • Happyman

      Jaosn I agree with most of your statements. Previous state governments have consistently screwed over QLD rugby. The worst thing among many for the code in Australia was when the Reds were forced to go to Suncorp. If the Reds were to have stood their ground at that time Queenslanders might have had to face the fact that 200 million dollars were spent on a stadium that is essentially for a private company (Brisbane Broncos).

      Prior to that move we had a great stadium in Ballymore where the QRU got the bar and all of the gate. Yes Ballymore had its deficiencies but I cannot find a single Rugby supporter who prefers Suncorp to Ballymore. Unfortunately it is now a ghost of what it used to be and requires substantial funds to make it what it once was let alone a boutique stadium. Having said that it would be an immerbsuably better place for both the Roar and the Reds with big games played at Suncorp.

      Personally I am sick of going to Suncorp to be treated like a second class citizen by security. Pay extortionist prices for food and beverage. I now go to watch Premier Grade and have a better time.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Happyman, I maybe the first one that disagrees with you. Ballymore is my sentimental favourite. But getting to and from Ballymore is a pain in the ass from where I live. Whilst the food and beverages are extortionate at least you can get them.
        At two of the NRC games I lined up for 15 mins to get a beer and when I got to the counter they had run out, and it was only just after half time. They said they could give me a XXXX, but I wont drink that crap. So I was stuffed. The food at Ballymore was also below par.
        Also at the last lot of NRC, my kids were slding down the grass slopes on cardboard sheets, only have to security come and stop them, so it is about the same nanny state as suncorp.

        • That was my experience as well. While the atmosphere of sitting in a 52,000 seat stadium with only 10-15K others is dreadful, Ballymore would need a huge infrastructure overhaul with regards to public transport and ground amenities if it was to regularly start hosting games again.

        • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

          I’m old enough to remember watching you and your brother and sister as young kids rolling down the Fourex Hill grass on match days, Michael…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep! Queing for 15 mins to not get beer is a crime.
          If I wanted to que for things I would have been born in Russia!

        • Happyman

          I don’t disagree about travel. But I was like referring to the balmier before Suncorp. The current iteration as run by the QRU is a absolute discrace. They cannot get the food and beverage to work. 2015, 2016 and 2017 they ran out of beer on Grand Final day. Somehow being surprised that 10,000 people turn out for the biggest day in Qld Rugby three years in a row.

          It should also be noted that the Lang Park Trust has always been smart and had a member of both parties on the board at all times, therefore always having the ear of government.

          Re you kids sliding down the hill it is a right of passage. Last year the guys from our club got in trouble for barracking for the lower grad team to loudly.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ah the old days at Ballymore. Yep they are such a distant memory.
          I only go to Ballymore when my kids do Roookies to Reds and on the NRC games. Generally we go as a group so we pile 7 to a car, so that we arent trying to find to car spaces, or endure the parking at the game which can sometimes resemble the chariot race from Ben Hur. Farkin Crazy.

      • Bernie Chan

        So true…the surveys presented to the government of the time all recommended that the current showground be the site of the major stadium/venue (the access to transport via a busway, existing train station, no ‘noise mitigation’ needed..) but Lang Park was chosen to support the NRL/Broncos/league. BTW…you’ll at least get to see QC run around in Premier Rugby, at a far lower cost!

    • Bakkies

      ‘Queensland has two stadiums with a capacity of over 30k, the GABBA (oval) and Lang Park’

      QEII AKA ANZ Stadium?

      ‘Previous state governments have consistently screwed over QLD rugby.’

      What about the Rudd Government who pulled the already approved Ballymore redevelopment in 2007?

  • Bay35Pablo

    We can cover Phipps, Hanigan and Clark. It’s Beale that worries me. Can’t replace that X factor.

    • Packy

      Yep, and there’s some amazing X factor playing club rugby in Brisbane that NSW could sign.

    • Mart

      Time for Gordon to stand up. He’s up there with the best in Aus at this stage in my opinion

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    How can there be so many injuries to likely match-day 23 players before the season has even started?

    • Brisneyland Local

      The cynic in me says that they were never going to play in the first place.
      This is just how they get around advertising their top players, and then not playing them!

    • Bakkies

      Probably carrying them from last season particularly if they went on tour or played in the Barbarians match (Dempsey).

  • Gareth

    Good bye Sir Nick, what a man who lived life to the full and made the world a better place for being in it. Thank you

  • at what point has having Phipps and hanigan injured ever been a bad thing? Dang…. NSW super champs 2018.

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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