Tuesday’s Rugby News looks at the Chiefs win, the Brumbies signing Kautai, Eddie Jones’ critics, and the Australian club Championship.
Chiefs Break Losing Streak
The Chiefs broke their eleven game losing streak on Saturday when they defeated the Hurricanes 35-29.
The Hurricanes looked well in control up 26-7 with 23 minutes to play but from then on it was all chiefs as the ran in three tries in nine minutes to sneak in front before Jordie Barrett kicked a monster penalty to wrestle the lead back. The chiefs weren’t done though because #8 Luke Jacobson score the match winner after sustained pressure to seal the game.
The loss leaves the Hurricanes 0-3, and they will be desperate to save their season against the Highlanders. “It’s one of the most disappointing games I’ve been involved with, around how we threw that away,” said Hurricanes coach, Jason Holland.
“It’s all about how we get the boys into a state to be able to train well on Monday, Tuesday and go down and have a good crack at the Highlanders. That won’t be too tough for me because these boys love playing for the Hurricanes and working with each other,” Holland said.
“It’s around us as a unit making sure we understand why we’re not winning games. Look at the first half, and we see why we can, and the second half we’ll see what things we need to eliminate from our game to make sure we don’t give New Zealand teams a leg-up. You get away with some of that in the past, but you don’t against these Kiwi teams.”
Brumbies sign Kautai As Short Term Cover.
The Plus500 Brumbies have bolstered their front-row stocks for the next four weeks of Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU with the arrival of tight head prop Sosefo Kautai from Waikato in New Zealand.
Kautai will provide valuable cover for the Brumbies with skipper Allan Alaalatoa suspended for the next two fixtures and Tom Ross unavailable through injury, the ACT junior having suffered a knee injury against the Queensland Reds.
Kautai most recently played for Waikato in the ITM cup, New Zealand’s premier provincial competition, in 2020 after a stint in Japan with the Kobelco Steelers.
The former Junior All-Black has spent most of his professional career in Waikato, both with the Mooloos in the ITM Cup and with the Chiefs in Super Rugby.
Sosefo Kautai said: “I’m very excited to be joining the Brumbies.”
“I know (Plus500 Brumbies GM Professional Rugby and Pathways) Chris Tindall from my time in Waikato, and he gave me a call last week letting me know there was an opportunity here for me and I jumped at the chance to get back into Super Rugby.
“I’m looking forward to making the most of my time in Canberra, learning from some top-class coaches and players.
“Most importantly, I hope I can contribute on the field for the team and will give my all to the Brumbies for as long as I am here.”
Knives out for Eddie Jones
It didn’t take long for the critics to turn on our Eddie but England’s loss to Ireland hasn’t gone down well in the old dart. Fifth place in this year’s 6 Nations with losses to Scotland, Wales and Ireland has led to a chorus of voices calling for change.
Lawrence Dallaglio has demanded that England make changes to their coaching team and playing squad in response to an “unacceptable” Six Nations Championship from Eddie Jones’ men.
Sir Clive Woodward has also insisted that his old Australian coaching foe Jones should face a vigorous Rugby Football Union inquest after the championship performances had exposed “something very wrong” with England.
Dallaglio, a former red rose captain and 2003 World Cup winner, believes Jones must act decisively to engineer an exit from the current slump.
“Eddie is in his sixth year with England. He has done some very, very good things,” Dallaglio told BT Sport.
“England have won three of the last six Six Nations campaigns. They got to a World Cup final (in 2019) and were well beaten in that.
“Finishing fifth, losing to Wales, Scotland and Ireland is unacceptable for England. Things have to change.
“If Eddie Jones isn’t going to change, if he’s not going to be removed as head coach, then he needs to bring in some fresh faces on both the playing side and the coaching side.
“You can argue the team needs freshening up in terms of selection. England have gone backwards over the last six months and he needs to address that, he’s the head coach.”
Former red rose wing Ugo Monye has also called for a “brand new philosophy” to be introduced.
Woodward, the 2003 World Cup-winning coach, said in his column in the Mail on Sunday: “It’s time for Eddie Jones to look in the mirror, not the window.
“Somebody at the RFU – although I’m not sure who is qualified to do so – needs to ask some sharp questions of him. There is no respected rugby ‘brain’ asking the difficult questions.
“I would like to say I was surprised but deep down I’m not. I had hoped last week was a fresh start but there is something very wrong at present.
“The graph has been going steadily downwards since that World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand with just an occasional blip or pulse of hope.”
World Cup-winning England halfback Matt Dawson also urged Jones to stop looking for excuses.
“It is unacceptable that they lost three games in the Six Nations,” Dawson told the BBC.
“I know Eddie Jones will come up with excuses and say England cannot play like that every week.
“I think England have got to work it out themselves and it comes from the top. My concern is that it is not as joined up as we are all led to believe.”
Easts sneak past Gordon
A penalty after the final siren from Eli Pilz has secured the Australian Club Championship for Brisbane club East. The parochial local crowd streamed on to the field to celebrate the narrow 14-13 win.
“It’s a great start to the season for us,” said Easts captain Tom Milosevic.
“Gordon are a good side and they pushed us for the full game, we expected that, but they came up ready to play and we had to fight for the win.
“We’re confident heading into 2021. If that is a sign of things to come for the year ahead, I’m excited and I’d encourage everyone to get out and support your local club, buy that Stan membership and let’s get around grassroots Rugby.”
Gordon lock Brendan Mitchell, who previously played in Premier Rugby for Sunnybank, said: “It was good to be back in Brisbane and playing at Tigerland, the crowd certainly gave it to us, I haven’t missed that, but it was a tough game and both teams fought until the final minute.
“Both competitions, Premier Rugby and Shute Shield, are on level pegging. There was big hits, it was physical and fast, it bodes well for both competitions.
“Club Rugby is only going to grow from here, it was great to be the first club Rugby game on Stan and I’m sure things will only get better.”
Easts will begin their Hospital Challenge Cup title defence on April 10, as they host Sunnybank in Round 1 of the 2021 season with the Rick Tyrrell Cup on the line.
Easts 14 (Aidan Toua try; Eli Pilz 3 pen) def Gordon 13 (Ellis Abrahams, Jordan Ieremia tries; Reece MacDonald pen)