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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News sees Karmichael in the clear (possibly), Fiji calling for a Super Rugby side (again), more news on the Rebels and Force front, and a big loss for the Reds.


Kar-mon-icheal

Queenslander! - Karmichael Hunt

Who, me?!

Karmichael Hunt has basically taken on the role of the new James O’Connor in Australian rugby.

The only difference between them is James’ multiple awful hairstyles, and their choices of finding themselves in hot water.  One liked being thrown out of airports and breaking team curfew, while the other keeps getting arrested due to possession of cocaine.

Well, hopefully Karmichael can now leave it all behind, now that is cocaine charge that dominated the off-season headlines has dropped. But, according to Fox Sports, whenever Hunt will next step out onto the field again is uncertain.

The case was dropped due to a lack of evidence. While Hunt would normally be ‘over the moon’ about it, Rugby Australia and the Reds will be determining his playing future.

Hunt isn’t expected to be part of the Reds squad for their opening match against the Rebels, and he hasn’t trained with the squad since his arrest on December 30.

There are strong grounds for his contract to be torn up for bringing the game into disrepute, and because it is his second indiscretion in three years.

If his contract is torn up, he could find himself looking for an overseas club to play the game. If he had been convicted of cocaine possession, even that option would not have been open to him.

Already, French Top 14 clubs Bordeaux and Toulouse and English sides Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors have been noted to have taken an interest in Hunt.

While the Reds have another two years on his contract, Brad Thorn has reportedly already made plans for the club without Hunt.

Nadolo hopeful

nemani nadolo

Super Rugby has only just returned to fifteen teams, and already there are calls to change the format again. After chatting about Jarryd Hayne last week, Nemani Nadolo has added his two cents worth by backing calls for a Pacific Islands Super Rugby side.

With the competition layout unsure after the 2019 season, Nadolo believes that, should a change come that could see sides like the Force return to the fray, a Pacific Islands team should be in the mix too.

“In Samoa, in Tonga and in Fiji they idolise Super Rugby,” Naholo told foxsports.com.au.

“They watch more Super Rugby than their heroes who play in Europe.

“If you took a game to Samoa, to Tonga, Fiji and put the ticket prices down, you’re going to get numbers through and it’ll bring everyone together.

“It’s what the island nations need at the moment.

“We need a team that’s going to put us back on the map and Super Rugby would be the ideal competition.”

The case for a Pacifika Super Rugby side has been backed up by several successful matches that have been played in the island nations, a trend that is continuing with the Highlanders and Chiefs scheduled to play in Suva this season.

With the success of the Fijan Drua in the NRC too, that has only added to the calls for a team to be introduced.

“If you’re going to put an islander team or Fijian team, I’d combine a Samoan, Tongan, Fijian mixture because we’re probably limited to what we can do and all our players all play overseas,” Nadolo said.

“A Pacific Islander team would be ideal because having one country is probably not fair to us — we’re all in the same league in terms of infrastructure, rugby wise and resources — so if we can combine with one force and attack Super Rugby it would be pretty exciting to see and you’re going to get more numbers and more interest from the Pacific Islander community.”

Jack’s Back!

Happy Rebels Harris and Neville congratulate Debreczeni

The news keeps coming in from the Rebels camp.

After spending much of 2017 on the outer, Jack Debreczeni will be named as the Rebels first choice flyhalf. There had been plenty of competition from Jack Maddocks, but Dave Wessels confirmed that he believed Debreczeni to be an ideal first choice.

“I think he did a good job against the Waratahs and he came on and made a difference against the Brumbies,” he said to rugby.com.au. 

“I think he’s got certain abilities that will unleash other parts of our team, which is good.

“I also feel really confident in young Jack Maddocks – he’s trained a lot for us at 10 and he’s only a young guy but he’ll definitely get some game time at 10 in the next couple of weeks.”

Wessels did address the concerns around Debreczeni, and he believes that he can really get the best rugby out of the young flyhalf.

“I know having coached against him for many years, we’d spend a lot of time planning about how we were going to defend against some of the things he could do, particularly his kicking game,” he said.

“He’s got a lot of special talents.

“I think it’s probably just a time over the last year or two he just wasn’t enjoying his rugby and he’s admitted as much and he went away from Japan, probably cleared his head a little bit and has come back and is really enjoying his training, he’s got a smile on his face and I think that’s made the difference to his performances.”

Perese out, more Force players in

Izaia Perese

Izaia Perese

Izaia Perese,  one of the biggest rising stars in the Reds squad, has been ruled out for up to six weeks due to partially tearing the ACL in his right knee.

The injury was sustained during the Fiji Warriors trial last week, with scans on the injury proving it to be more serious than first thought.

It is a big loss for Perese, who had an encouraging season last year and continued to shine throughout the NRC, which also saw him break into the Wallabies squad. The injury will see him miss the Reds tour of South Africa and Argentina.

According to Rugby.com.au, the best case scenario for his return is a round eight clash with the Brumbies, which is , interestingly, the same game George Smith is eyeing his return to the squad.

Flying Fijian Filipo Daugunu is widely touted to be Perese’s replacement, after he also impressed alongside Perese for Queensland Country in the NRC. Lachlan Maranta is also reportedly in the mix to fufill the role on the wing.

Meanwhile, the signings keep coming in thick and fast for the Force, with The West Australian confirming that Cameron Orr, Harrison Orr and Rodney Iona will sign with the WA clubs for their National Rugby Championship and Indo-Pacific Rugby Championship squads.

The signings are another bow in the Force’s cap, particularly with the other three major signings they have already picked up in Peter Grant, Marcel Brache and Kieran Longbottom.

There are also whispers of two more signings, with Springboks’ Jaque Fourie and Ryan Kankowski also in talks with the Force.

Rugby WA and the IPRC team are set to have further talks with Rugby Australia again today, and the Wallabies eligibility selection is set to be the main topic on the agenda. This issue is proving to be the current main bone of contention between whether the competition gets a tick of approval from the governing body or not.

  • andrewM
    • Julie T

      Tell me more! Not a subscriber so can’t read the article.

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      This is fantastic news. Alcock is a brilliant player! Not gonna lie, this Force side is already starting to look pretty dangerous…

      • Alister Smith

        Perhaps Quade Cooper can get a gig as well – he has 70 caps so he could play for one of the other IPRC franchises and he would be a real drawcard – though I am not his biggest fan and can understand Thorn wanting to do something different I think he is still a very good footballer and would do well as a marquee in this comp.

        • Nicholas Wasiliev

          He would be a big signature for the Force, and not a bad one at that. He’s still got two years on his contract at the Reds though, but it looks like he’ll be spending it playing in club rugby, if Thorn keeps things as is. If the Force offer more though, you never know…

  • ForceFan

    Matt Hodgson/Andrew Forrest have said that they’d be trying to bring Aussies playing OS back to the fold. If Longbottom, 2 x Orr, Iona and Alcock become reality the re-born Western Force and IPRC can be nothing but good for Australian Rugby.

    Only RA would turn its back on Forrest’s $$ Millions.

    The naysayers are missing the level of Forrest’s involvement: financial rescue of RugbyWA; funding of the Future Force Foundation (12 males/3 females); local RugbyRoos initiative; recruitment of playing squad, coaches and support staff for Western Force (has to be at least $5M) with each recruit expected to put in 350 hrs/yr of community rugby involvement.

    Talk of 6-8 invitation games for the WF in 2018 (fully funded by Forrest), leading into NRC involvement and then IPRC in 2019.

    Has community rugby in the East seen much of those promised extra $$s from RA or is Melbourne the only community that’s still enjoying heaps of $$s from RA??

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    That’s a real shame for the Reds. I rate Perese and I think this year we are going to see some big strides in his game. Gee the hits just keep on coming for that side don’t they. Poor old Thorn must be wondering if he’s drunk from the cup of bad dreams at the moment.

    • Greg

      Bring cooper back in perhaps?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I think that boat has sailed mate. Besides he can do a lot but I’m not sure he’d do well as an outside back even though he’s defended there for years

    • Packy

      Re the Cup of Bad Dreams. Yes he is drinking from it. But so did the coaches before him.

    • Brisneyland Local

      The Queensland Reds = The Cup of bad dreams.
      Gee KRL I have been telling you that for years!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah mate. But in the past I think it’s been mixed by the Reds management. This one seems to be from the Angel of shit happens

        • Brisneyland Local

          Definitely both! Reds managment start the proceedings then the Angel of shit comes down and rubs lemon juice in their paper cuts.

    • Parker

      He’s suffering the Curse of Quade for his poor decision on the state’s best no 10.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        It’s going to be interesting how that pans out. I think if they get a few wins up it may be less of an issue

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    A Pacific Island team could be truly incredible, especially if Australia and New Zealand changed our eligibility rules so that players playing for the Pacific Island team would still be eligible for the Wallabies and All Blacks.

    As for the Rebels/Jacks scenario. I think if Maddocks can transition to a full time 10 the sooner the better for the good of the Rebels and Australian rugby.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think playing wise it would be good but I wouldn’t want to underestimate the difficulties in management financial accountability and selection that this would bring.

      I’d like to look at other options such as a number of PI positions in each of the NZ and Aus teams

  • Who?

    So, Brad’s dumped Quade with two years left on his contract, and is now quite possibly dumping Karmichael with two years left on his contract… Are there any other players that Brad played with/against (bearing in mind Hunt and Thorn would’ve been together at the Broncs), who are of Kiwi birth, and have two years left on their contracts..? :-P

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      I’ve got a theory it’s cause every Kiwi is ingrained from a young age to hate Quade… no one touches the god himself our lord almighty Richie and gets away with it ;)

      • Who?

        But Karmichael didn’t touch Richie… :-
        Maybe Brad’s thinking anyone he played against – or perhaps anyone he didn’t dust up – shouldn’t be in his team..? :-P I wonder what that means for Higgers, Lance, Ben Lucas (guys who either played or were in the squad that beat Brad’s Crusaders in the 2011 final)… Can’t think of anyone else who was around back then. :-
        Wonder if Kiwis will all hate Taniela, given he first moved to Auckland..?

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@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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