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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News sees Karmichael somehow getting off, the Reds in limbo, Walsh named as the new Sevens coach and Rugby Australia attempting to patch things up.


The Hunt is called off

Karmichael Hunt makes a break

Karmichael Hunt makes a break

Finally, Rugby Australia has handed down its verdict on Karmichael Hunt, and the result? Well, pretty much a $10,000 slap on the wrist.

Hunt was found guilty of  a “low-level” breach of RA’s player code of conduct and received the fine, as well as a four match ban.

However, seeing as he has already missed four matches, that doesn’t apply. So it pretty much makes the whole four match ban statement pretty null and void.

While he’s now available to play for the Reds again, Fox Sports keeps reporting that the Reds are pretty much fed up with him, even though he extended his contract with them last year after previous cocaine charges in 2015.

“Rugby Australia has run this investigation and has determined the penalties announced today,” QRU boss Richard Barker said today in response to the result.

“The QRU is working with Rugby Australia to understand the implications of today’s announcement for the QRU.”

“We take all matters of off-field behaviour seriously and have conducted a thorough investigation into the events surrounding Karmichael Hunt’s arrest in December, and the subsequent Court proceedings,” Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle added in regards to the announcement.

“In arriving at today’s outcome, we’ve considered the judgement of the Court and all the evidence we had available relating to Karmichael’s arrest, as well as considering the damage that the very public nature of his arrest and the subsequent speculation has inflicted on the game.

“The penalty handed down to Karmichael today also takes into account a previous disciplinary matter for which he was fined and suspended in 2015.”

Well GAGRs, what you reckon? Would you allow Karmichael to play for the Reds again? Or even more so, do you reckon Brad Thorn would?

Red-faced

Reds Assistant Coach Brad Thorn

Reds Coach Brad Thorn

Speaking of the Reds, they’ve had plenty of drama of their own the last few days.

Turns out, they’ve been struggling to get into South Africa for the last day and a bit, due to the team not getting vaccinated for yellow fever.

The ensuring confusion has seen the Reds head to Sao Paulo, then to London. Lucky you if were an unexpected Reds fan in transit at Heathrow.

From there, they will fly straight back to South Africa.

Apparently, the Reds were informed that getting inoculated for yellow fever was not a travel requirement. Yellow fever is prevalent in the north of Argentina, but not in the capital Buenos Aires, where the Reds beat the Jags over the weekend.

Additionally, any inoculation for yellow fever for Super Rugby teams visiting Argentina is not specified in SANZAAR’s tournament manual, according to Fox Sports.

Not gonna lie, I didn’t realise the Stormers saw the Reds as THAT much of a threat.

All up, the detour will cost the team fifteen hours in South Africa, but Brad Thorn used the opportunity to reinforce to the players that they should embrace challenges and adversity, no matter where they arise from.

“We’re just going to throw the kitchen sink at it and give it our all,” said Queensland’s South African-born prop Ruan Smith after their sides victory over the weekend.

“There’s a lot of guys in the group who haven’t played there and your first time playing in Cape Town, it’s always special.

“It’s a big crowd always, an enjoyable stadium to play in.

“We’re just going to go out and enjoy it. We’ve got nothing to lose.”

Walsh takes the reins

Credit - Ultimate Rugby Sevens

Credit – Ultimate Rugby Sevens

With Andy Friend gone from the Mens Sevens coaching position, Tim Walsh will jump over from the gals coaching role to manage the boys.

It was a bit of a weird one for Friend. His contract was not renewed by Rugby Australia, but the governing body still want him on board in a new role, which is still to be specified.

Walsh has got plenty of chops though, taking the Womens team to a gold medal at the Rio Olympics and to the top of the Sevens rankings.

“I had no expectation of remaining in Australia and had very seriously considered taking up an option elsewhere,” Walsh said to rugby.com.au.

“But as I have always said, I am passionate about Australia, as much now as a coach as I was when I played, so naturally it was an opportunity I wanted to pursue.

“I certainly don’t see this move as a promotion, but it brings a number of new challenges and I am incredibly honoured to be given the opportunity to coach the Australian Men’s team, especially having represented the team in the past as a player.

“I also enjoyed the opportunity to coach the Men’s team during their Olympic qualification in a dual capacity role back in 2015 and I have always been passionate and kept an interested eye on the team.

“I believe winning consistently is well within reach for them.”

The Mens team haven’t actually been that inconsistent this year, winning the Aussie leg of the Worlds Sevens Series, and are still in the top five in the competition so far.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision and obviously we had two high quality candidates for the role from within our own Sevens program in Tim and Andy,” Rugby Australia high performance manager Ben Whittaker echoed.

“We very much hope that both remain within the organisation.

“Tim’s record with the Women’s team speaks for itself and we believe he has a considerable amount of proven Sevens expertise and offers a coaching style that can continue the progression made by the Men’s program and take performance to the highest level.

“Tim and Andy are absolute professionals and have their focus and energy firmly on the job at hand of winning Gold on the Gold Coast.

“They are both first class individuals and the way they have conducted themselves throughout this difficult period is testament to the character of both men.”

We’re okay… aren’t we?

Shute Shield

Shute Shield

Speaking of Rugby Australia, they’re looking to try and patch things up this year after the disaster that was 2017.

In an attempt to reconnect with the grassroots, they’ve nominated a Shute Shield president to fill one of three board seats that are currently vacant.

With Raelene Castle taking Bill Pulver‘s spot, the committee has nominated Gordon president Hayden Rorke and Australian Rugby Foundation chairman John Wilson for the two remaining spots.

Previously, there hadn’t been any Shute Shield members on the board, so it’s quite clear that Castle wants someone from clubland on the board, particularly after much of the grass roots was in open rebellion against the governing body under Pulver.

Never was that more the case than last year, with the then ARU cutting the Western Force from Super Rugby, which only added to the all-out dislike for the governing body on both sides of the country.

It even got to the point where the Shute Shield tried to push a vote to remove all current directors from the current ARU board.

Should the applications be successful at the next AGM on April 9, then according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the RA board will be back up to full strength, with Rorke and Wilson joining Castle, John Eales, Brett Robinson, Pip Marlow, Ann Sherry, Paul McLean…. and Cameron Clyne.

  • mikado

    Bizarre scenes at the Belgium vs Spain match this weekend. Belgium scored a shock 18-10 victory, possibly aided by a performance by the Romanian referee that has been described as incompetent and incomprehensible. All of Belgium’s points came from penalties. The loss cost Spain the chance to qualify automatically for the Rugby World Cup and they now face a play-off to get in. After the match the enraged Spaniards pursued the referee around the pitch. Meanwhile, the team that has qualified for the RWC due to Spain’s defeat is… Romania.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Saw that. Crap all round and not acceptable. Too much of a soccer influence in those guys

      • Brisneyland Local

        Are we surprised by the Romanians! Have worked there. Dodgy as all f$#%^

        • onlinesideline

          closely followed by where I live, Budapest, rapidly climbing the world index for corruption. Just cant lie straight in bed these ppl.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I have spent a bit of time in the old Buda. Yep all dodgy deals and backhanders everwhere!

        • onlinesideline

          The double standards in this place are shameful and boy do they talk up a “holier than thou” story too blaming everyone except thmesleves for Hungarys ills. Only 3 days ago PM got up at a rally and made reference to the silent money manipulators behind the scenes pulling the strings threatening Hungary. Just disgusting anti-semites. These losers never learn. George Soros has spent 10s of millions on 3 beautiful buildings for the Central Europe University in Budapest and now the govt wants to close the down the uni because they teach a western facing ciriculum. Truth apparantley is that the PM and his cronies want to get their hands on these buildings. They dont care a damn about the nations youth. Just shameful shameful people. The worst gansters in Europe.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. I worked in The Emirates for a year so and that is about the same level of dodginess.

        • Bakkies

          Not to late for them to nominate for the RA board.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Too late they already bought it with a brown paper bag!

      • onlinesideline

        not sure this was soccer infuence – more like mafia influence and match fixing influence. There should be a review on this straight away and a rematch. The Spanish guys who play rugby Im sure respect the ref and know what rugby is all about. They are pretty well behaved bunch of guys. This reffing by all accs was more than blatant, something clearly has gone down here. Good on them for standing up. If they touched the ref, of course it’s an instant team ban but otherwise…….

    • Missing Link

      so the ref pulled a “Stuart Berry” on Spain

      • Happyman

        Made Stuart Berry look like Nigel Owens

    • Happyman

      Watched some of it on Youtube. It is of serious concern and Rugby Europe is ducking and diving on it. The kicker for mine was when the Ref called back Spain for one of their few penalties ( I have seen reports of 24 to 4 against) after giving them advantage and then calling it back when the Spain winger made a break and had an open line in front of him. The Spain players lost their shit after the game and that is not cool but it would be pretty difficult to remain composed as a semi pro when your dream is robbed from you by a corrupt official.

    • Bernie Chan

      Isn’t it odd that World Rugby (such a grand title…) doesn’t have a say in the appointment of Match Officials to the REC…despite the fact that this comp determines who qualifies for the RWC. This is a serious failing on the part of WR…..the poor Spanish team were royally robbed.

      • Bakkies

        They probably don’t have a say to be fair. FIRA now Rugby Europe was set up as a separate rival organisation to develop the game in Europe by the French when they were kicked out of the Five Nations.

        • Bernie Chan

          OIC..but now France is ‘back in the fold’ but RE runs it’s own show? Still…seems odd that RE can autonomously run a comp that is the pathway to the “big dance”…ie the RWC. Kind of emphasizes the fact that in an ideal world neutral Refs would be the norm…I know a lot of Super Rugby fans have commented about the need for neutral Refs (though Refs should always be “neutral” in their approach…). Pity any result is determined by the Ref and not the players…

        • HK Red

          To be fair, the French were only on the outer for seven years (’32-’39), FIRA was setup in 1934 and agreed to come under World Rugby control in 1999. Rugby Europe has now been within the WR organisation for 18 years, so WR really should have a better level of oversight of Rugby Europe and pay it more respect than they currently seem to.

      • From NooZealand

        Si señor Bernie Chan, nos robaron el partido. (yes sir, we were robbed). Gracias.

        • Bernie Chan

          Amigo…I don’t mind being beaten by a better side…even if luck plays a part (for heaven’s sake…I support the Reds!), but to be robbed by piss poor officiating that smells of corruption, that boils my blood. Rugby is the poorer for this debacle…

  • Sideshow

    Regarding Hunt: ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yep but with his history easy to see why it wasn’t applied. TBH I don’t think he’s being missed by the Reds that much. Let him go to Europe

      • Sideshow

        I get that, but it should always apply. For example, he now has a target on his head in the eyes of any cops that are adamantly anti-drugs, and thus you have a situation where he could be easily blamed for someone else’s crime. As I understand it (and I might be wrong), he was out on the town at a nightspot where drugs are commonly used, and drugs were found on the ground near him. Can you say with any absolute certainty that the drugs were his? Nope, didn’t think so. His previous record isn’t a good look, but it doesn’t mean he did it. Which is why the presumption on innocence must apply.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I do agree on that. Not so concerned the cops have their eye on him; he deserves that

        • Parker

          Cops always have an eye on what they think might be an easy collar.

        • Chinese Dave

          What are you talking about? He pleaded guilty to the Xanax charge and was cleared of the other charge. In what way would the presumption of innocence apply? Also, in general, there is no requirement to be absolutely certain that someone is guilty, only a requirement for it to be beyond reasonable doubt.

        • Sideshow

          So he was found guilty of possessing a prescription drug without a prescription?

          And sure, I know some people mix benzos with coke, but again, the presumption of innocence applies on the coke side of that.

          Don’t twist my words, you know what I meant. But let me rephrase it just for you “he was out on the town at a nightspot where drugs are commonly used, and drugs were found on the ground near him. Can you say beyond reasonable doubt that the drugs were his? Nope, didn’t think so.”

        • Chinese Dave

          I’m not twisting your words. You explicitly said “absolutely certain” and that is the wrong test to apply. Regardless of what you or I may think of the drug laws (personally I think most drugs if not all should be legalised), it is still a criminal offence, even if I think lightly of it.
          Bottom line, he admitted to a drug possession offence, and was acquitted of another. You put forward that the presumption of innocence should apply to him, first in Latin and then in English.
          I understood the English part, and replied that it should certainly not apply to him since he admitted his guilt to a specific drug related offence.
          He may have felt that the chances of a jury of his peers thinking that it was beyond reasonable doubt that the drugs were his were slim. He may have felt that he just wants to get it over with, given the penalty is minor and he can always play in France.
          But you don’t get to plead guilty to a criminal charge and then claim the presumption of innocence, certainly not if you’re a rich person who can afford good legal services.
          Australia isn’t (yet) America, where innocent people are routinely thrown in prison because of plea bargains they are blackmailed into, and certainly a man of K Hunt’s means would not be one of those in the first place.

        • Sideshow

          He pleaded guilty to one charge. He most certainly does still get presumption of innocence on any other charges.

        • Chinese Dave

          Of course he’s innocent of the cocaine charge, I would never argue otherwise. If the prosecution dropped the charges, he’s innocent, not only presumed innocent.

          I still don’t get your point though, no one is punishing him because he was charged with cocaine possession. He is a man with a history of drug related offences and has recently plead guilty to another one. Are you arguing that he has somehow been wronged? That the Reds should accept him back into the fold because it was only a prescription drug? If not, other than the Latin, what was the point of the post?

          Personally, I feel sorry for him, he clearly has a drug addiction that is casting a huge shadow over his considerable talent. I hope he overcomes it and makes a success of the rest of his career, I genuinely do. But I certainly understand any team that doesn’t want to take a chance on him.

        • Sideshow

          My point is, that his career isn’t in jeopardy because he was found guilty of possessing a prescription drug, it is in jeopardy because he was charged with a cocaine offence, and thus he is being treated by some people as if he was guilty of the cocaine offence, and thus they aren’t giving him the presumption of innocence. I might be wrong, but that’s how it feels to me. For example, there have been comments on this site that word is from the Reds sponsors that they want him gone.

          I do feel like RA have actually given him a penalty that does match what he was found guilty of, and not what he was not found guilty of, so hats off to them.

          The question of why he had Xanax.. well maybe he was taking it with coke, or maybe he actually suffers anxiety and instead of going to a doc about it, one of his mates gave him some Xanax. Or maybe who knows what, truth is stranger than fiction, and we will probably never know. And thus why the presumption of innocence is such an important bedrock of our legal system.

        • Chinese Dave

          Look, you might be right, in that people are judging him based on the dropped cocaine charge as well as the Xanax. If I was an administrator making a decision on whether or not I could take the risk on him, the Xanax would be enough, given his background. Not in a moralistic sense, but in an outcome sense. I see the Xanax as a continuum of his drug problem and having someone with a drug problem is, well, problematic. In the context of Australian Rugby, every team spot is precious, every Wallabies top up is extremely valuable, and I totally understand if the Reds are excluding him based on his history and the recent Xanax charge alone.
          Anyway, I totally agree about the presumption of innocence principle. While it might be hard, from a human point of view, to look past whatever transpired and our own judgement, we have to accept the law as it is. If anyone is judging him based on the conviction that is dropped, I propose they try and see how that would apply to them instead.

        • Sideshow

          I do see your point, and it’s a lot easier to take my view when I’m not the administrator having to make the hard decision.

          One question though, is any of this affecting his playing performance? I would say no. Or at least that he is still going to be picked on his performance. And the reason I bring that up is that I find this comparable to the grief and hate that Beale copped back in the McKenzie/Patston incident. And now look at the reverence that Beale is held in as his on-field performance has returned to world class, and the vast majority have forgotten the off-field issues.

          Anyway, I guess we will find out soon what stance the Reds take.

        • Guest

          With Beale, it was a different issue, Beale is always “the clown”, in that case he crossed the line, big time. There is a huge different between a clown and a person with drag problem, I don’t think Beale is addicted to jokes, and I do believe he learnt from that. Having a great player, with a off field problem can effect the performance of the team, so, no, I don’t think one should pick on performance base only.

        • Parker

          Not so sure innocent people don’t get thrown in jail in OZ, maybe not in the same way as in US but the result is the same.

        • McWarren

          Shouldn’t all cops be adamantly anti-drugs? I’m more concerned about cops who aren’t anti-drugs.

        • Sideshow

          Well there is a large percentage of the community (cops included) that think that the illegality of drugs is plainly ridiculous (especially whilst alcohol – one of the most dangerous, destructive and addictive drugs – remains both legal and socially acceptable). There are a lot of laws that exist, but shouldn’t, and you might have noticed that the cops give a lot of leeway with them (eg J-walking, drinking in public (on an afternoon picnic in the park with family), and bike helmets). If a cop believes a particular crime is rubbish, then he’s likely to let it slide. Some cops think drugs are evil, and others think the drug laws are evil.

        • Alister Smith

          Regardless of whether police officers believe a law is just or not doesn’t give them a choice in whether they enforce it or not. If any officer believes drug laws are evil and isn’t enforcing them for that reason then they should quit their jobs, run for parliament and have the law changed. As for your comments on alcohol – it certainly can be addictive and socially damaging and lead to other crimes of violence etc but most people manage to consume it in a socially responsible manner. In any case, pointing out that a drug that is legal has issues isnt a reason to allow the legalisation of other drugs – actually its a reason not to allow them.
          and on jaywalking – the law is there for a reason – so people dont get hit by cars – just because its broken often doesnt and the police dont have the resources to enforce it doesnt mean there isnt a good reason for having
          so in general sideshow i call bullshit on your comments re: illicit drugs and police attitudes towards them
          I also agree with Chinese Dave below that he pleaded guilty to posession of the other drug – one he didnt personally have a prescription for (I understand it was his wifes). In any case, while there may be some uncertainty about what else he did or didn’t do (it would seem that someone had cocaine on them but that there was insufficient evidence to prove it was Hunt) none of it is the Reds fault. And the Reds Administration and Coaching Staff have every right to re-look at his contract if they don’t believe his performance (on or off the paddock) lives up to it. Thorn also has the right to pick and choose who he plays and trains with his team and who he doesn’t want around. In the end, he has been given the responsiblity for coaching and managing the squad and Thorn’s own contract will be in jeopardy if he fails to deliver.

      • Happyman

        KRL on his first one I said tear up the contract. I have to admit he slowly won me over but I am done. He obviously has an issue with drugs allegedly all the way back to the Broncos. As a senior player it is just not needed. Send him on his way

    • Missing Link

      I love it when you spontaneously break out in French like that :)

    • Parker

      Please post that on fB so I can hit the translation button

  • dsb

    …and none from West Australia??

    • Custard Taht

      None of what?

      • Missing Link

        Grass Roots

        • Custard Taht

          Thanks.

      • Perth girl

        No one from WA on the board to replace geoff Stooke Why doesn’t that suprise me!

      • dsb

        Quoting the Perth Girl below “No one from WA on the board to replace Geoff Stooke Why doesn’t that surprise me!” Apologies for being vague Custard Taht but I am from NSW, but still feel WA was dealt a poor hand. Went to same high school as Geoffrey Stookes so liked the Force but now fancy the Rebels a bit.

  • Chinese Dave

    Interesting to see Walsh move from the Women to the Men. While the Men’s team plays well, with lots of passion and intensity, certainly more than the Wallabies sometimes do, the Women’s team take that to a whole new level. That game against the Kiwis where they shut them out was a beautiful sight to see of a team of people utterly committed to achieving their goals, and putting every last ounce of their strength and ability on the line to achieve them. In other fields of endeavour it would be the stuff of legends. If Walsh can get the Men operating like that they’ll be unstoppable, they’ve certainly got the skills.

    • Gun

      Shame what they did to Friendy…….again.

  • Muzz

    Brad Thorn in that photo reminds me of Milo Kerrigan from Full Frontal

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s, well this places the Reds in a pickle then doesnt. The RA have firmly shoved this one straight back in the QRU face. Why do I get the sneaking suspicsion that if the Reds tear up his contract, then there is the possibility of another club picking him up!
    Up here in Brisbane, the sentiment seems that a lot of the fans and rugby public dont want him back in the team. The reports also say that Thorn doesnt want him back either.
    Besides if they took him back, the cries of hypocriscy would be staggering.
    Lets watch this space.

    • Custard Taht

      I think the Reds would be mad to drop him. As soon as he is eligible to be selected, the Reds should play him.

      Whilst Thorn has the reds fundamentals improving, they aren’t crossing the white line much. Hunt could show the young guys how to sniff out the white line, when an opportunity lands at your feet.

      • Sideshow

        lol

      • Huw Tindall

        hat tip

    • Wallaby Dave

      Will be interesting how Brad Thorn sees this especially as he seems to have taken the Sydney Swan’s “no dickhead policy” and applied it to the Reds

      • onlinesideline

        the old Bronco’s loyalty factor could kick in me thinks

  • Bakkies

    The RA board becomes even less independent.

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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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