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
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?
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
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?
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.