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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s belated rugby news covers the Rebels handing out some fines, Folau’s possible switch to the Reds, the officials for the weekend and Beale’s message for his teammates.


Rebels Pair Cop Fine

Lopeti Timani in happier times

Lopeti Timani in happier times

Not content with missing out on a maiden trip to the Super Rugby finals being the prominent bad news story from the Rebels’ trip to New Zealand on the weekend, Lopeti Timani and Amanaki Mafi decided to make it even worse for the club by getting into an “altercation”.

The dust up saw Mafi land in court and Timani, while not requiring hospitalisation, looking worse for wear.

Mafi didn’t enter a plea and has been released on bail and his case is scheduled to be heard in August.

Speaking soon after the news broke, Baden Stephenson (Rebels chief executive) said “I am bitterly disappointed that an incident has occurred at the end of a season where we have taken pride in our on and off-field behaviour.  We will respect the process and won’t be making further comments until all investigations have taken place.”

The club has now spoken (of sorts) in handing the pair $15,000 fines EACH.

The fines handed down are only for the pair ignoring a direction from team management *not* to go out after their game as the team still had a chance of playing finals football.

Stephenson explained the club’s decision to fine the player by saying, “…it is only appropriate, given the seriousness of the incident, to sanction both players with a significant fine”.

And added, “The actions of these two players is totally contrary to our club’s values and has tarnished the excellent work of so many in the club, both on and off the field this season”, which goes someway to explaining the steep fines handed out.

In keeping with the times, Stephenson has also looked at a way for all involved to learn from this, “I only hope that both Amanaki and Lopeti genuinely reflect on and learn from this very troubling incident.  The club has supported both players over recent days and will continue to ensure their well-being now and into the future.”

It’s fair to expect Rugby Australia will add further punishment to this once the criminal matters have been dealt with.

Beale Backing Blues*

Kurtley Beale strolls in for a try.

Kurtley Beale strolls in for a try.

(*yes, I’m aware they aren’t actually the blues, but their jumpers are so just go with it, ok? For me?  Thanks fam.)

The Waratahs go into their do-or-die match against the Highlanders after a tough loss to fellow Aussie team, the Brumbies.

The last things they need to do, according to live-wire inside centre Kurtley Beale is retreat into their shells when their more enterprising style has reaped benefits for them this season.

Speaking to rugger.com.au yesterday Beale talked of the important of backing themselves in the clash, “What got us here in the first place is just our style of play and backing and believing in the structures both in the attack and the defence,” he said.

Beale also fobbed off last week’s loss as a bit of anomaly given their success this year and looked to focus on the good parts of it as they prepare to take on the Otagoites at home.

“I think that’s what we’ve been doing very well over the last few weeks, disappointing we didn’t get that result last week but we took a lot of positives out of that and hopefully with a really good attitude going into this week we were able to get the right result we want.

“It’s anyone’s game, it’s a total different beast playing in finals footy and a lot of our senior guys are certainly getting around a lot of the young guys to get them prepared for a big match against the Highlanders.”

Off-contract fullback Folau added to Beale’s comments on last week’s loss by adding “I think we were probably just sitting back on our heels and waiting for a result to come, so a bit of a wake-up call for us”.

In summing up, we’ll leave you with this from Beale,

“We’re aware we need to pick up our game from last week’s game and we’re fully recovered now and a lot of guys are pretty determined to get stuck into training and start the week off really well”.

Do it for the Aussies will you?

Officials Announced for Quarter Finals

Angus Gardner as depicted by the Simpsons

Angus Gardner as depicted by the Simpsons

The refs, touchies, the telly officials have been announced for the first week of finals.

Kicking things off for Friday night football is the ‘Canes hosting the Chiefs in Wello.

Glen “Sorry Miss” Jackson is the man in the middle with the whistle and he will joined on the sides by Nick “Brain” Briant and Paul “Will.I.Am” Williams while Glenn “Newman” Newman will be watching the game on TV.

The Saturday New Zealand match ‘tween the ‘Saders and the Shorkies in Christchurch will be looked after by Mike “the Island” Fraser and flag wavers Ben “Kerry” O’Keefe and Brendon “Peppers” Pickerill.  Taking my dream job of being a professional rugby viewer is Shane “Cricket*” McDermott.  (*too many to choose from, Warne, Watson, Craig, well, I guess that’s it)

Saturday also sees the ‘Tahs host the Highlanders.  Angus (see above) Gardner will be in control with Nic “we went to school together” Berry on one side and Will “we have a problem” Houston on the other.  George “couldn’t think of anything” Ayoub will be man with the screen.

The last match for the weekend is the Lions at home to the Jags in Joberg. Jaco “Cuts” Peyper cuts will be doing what he does, Marius van der Westhuizen* and Egon “Buster” Seconds run the lines and Marius “the Joker” Jonker is the TMO.

Let’s hope we don’t have a follow-up article on the officials next week…..fingers crossed.

 Folau Not Thinking About The Reds, Yet

Could we see Folau return home to Lang Park?

Could we see Folau return home to Lang Park?

After finishing his high schooling in Brisbane, playing two seasons of NRL for the Broncos and pulling on the maroon jersey for five state of origin matches Israel Folau has got strong ties to the greatest state in Australia.

Folau himself even threw his hat in the ring saying “being a Queenslander, I don’t feel like it’s right if I put on that blue jersey,” when a possible state of origin style rugby match was mooted earlier this year.

But when it comes to be a possible switch for super rugby the high-flying outside back was less keen to put his hand up and demand a maroon jersey, “I know there’s rumours going around, but not from my end in the sense of my management taking control of that,” describing the whole situation as white noise.

“It’s a bit of white noise in the background but nothing to worry about from my end.”

Quite how Folau was able to use the phrase “white noise” without immediately breaking out the double base and impersonating Australia’s favourite rockabilly band remains a mystery.

Reds coach (and another former Bronco) Brad Thorn is hoping that Izzy returns to the sunshine state, saying recently, “I guess it’s one of those things where you have those dreams at night and some people see sheep jumping, I see Izzy in a Queensland jersey” but at the same time is careful not to pressure the 62-test Wallaby. “Izzy is playing his footy and his manager is running that stuff and we aren’t hassling him or anything.

Folau nor his management have set a date when they will announce any decision, but with finals footy looming for the ‘Tahs it’s reasonable to expect we won’t hear this week.

 

Want to play against the Western Force? No, you are not reading that wrong!

stockman

The Australian Stockman Rugby Union is giving anyone and everyone the chance to play against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday 25 August.

This presents a rare opportunity for amateur players across Australia who have been consistently performing at a higher level to put their hand up for possible selection and play a professional rugby team.

While the squad will be complemented by professional players, it will consist mainly of club and country players from premier competitions around Australia including the Shute Shield and Queensland Premier Rugby,

The Australian Stockman side will be coached by former Wallabies Nic Henderson and James Holbeck and will go into camp in Perth from Saturday 18 August to Sunday 26 August.

“This fixture presents a great opportunity to reward some of the best club rugby players in Australia with a Stockman Rugby jersey and a game against a professional team,” said Henderson. “We reckon there is a fair bit of untapped talent in grassroots rugby, hungry for an opportunity like this one and able to perform at this level.”

As the Stockmen can’t go around and select players, the Australian Stockman Rugby Union is asking the rugby community to recommend player/s.

As a heads up, the key selection criteria include Character, Strength and Fitness, Experience and Potential. Unfortunately, due to constraints, there will be a touring cost of $2,000 for each player (incl. return flights, food and beverages) and for the week-long camp in Perth players will have to financially support themselves.

However, this is a rare and exciting opportunity for amateur players across Australia who have been consistently performing at a higher level to put their hand up for possible selection and play a professional rugby team.

If you know anyone who you think fits the bill, simply submit their name, contact deets and a brief outline of what sets them apart to info@stockmanrugby.com by COB Thursday 19 July. For any further information, visit stockmanrugby.com.

  • Hoss

    My question is why was Timani piggie-backing a Kiwi native & $15k for one punch is a bit extreme.

    The quality of Dunedin CC TV is to be admired though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8cDfnQD0ws

    • Adrian

      Yes, video seems appropriate. I wish I’d had a ringside seat Hoss

      • Hoss

        Clash of the Titans – Timani is a bohemoth.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Thursday night on the strip. Pretty normal

    • Mafi’s got to be a pretty good fighter if he can blacken both eyes with one punch!

  • Mart

    How is Ben Okeefe still a starting ref?

  • Adrian

    Very quiet news day Andrew.

    Might be quieter next week if Tahs loose,…or maybe angry mob slagging the chosen ones!

    My guess is they will win, despite bookies giving them 2.5 start.

    Whilst I still don’t fully understand the system, everyone is saying that if they win, they’ll play the Lions in SA.

    What if Jags beat Lions?….and Tahs beat Highlanders?

    My take is that then the Tahs would play the Jags in Sydney….a winable game!

    Am I missing something?

    • 22DropOut

      It wouldn’t be Super Rugby if it made sense.

    • Hoss

      Yep mate – spot on. Tah’s & lions win. Tah’s off to Boerville, Lions Lose Jags win = Tahs v Jags in Eden-on-earth.

    • Andrew H

      I’d think everything’s going to feel quiet this week until we actually get stuck into some games.
      Should be some crackers amongst them, although I have my suspicions the Crusaders will do it in a canter.

  • 22DropOut

    I cringe at the thought of a rugby union State of Origin. Desperate times when we are considering copying Rugby League gimmicks. We already have Queensland and NSW representative sides which play eachother twice a year.

    • Andrew H

      I don’t think the idea gained much traction.
      I only added that to show Folau still feels like he has ties to QLD. :)
      (oh and I think league nicked it from aerial ping-pong)

      • Adrian

        Na, AFL borrowed him from RL. RL is where he learnt to jump, not AFL
        RU got him from AFL

      • Adrian

        AFL had an origin version years ago, but didn’t market it

        • Andrew H

          if there’s something that RL does well, it’s origin. Not sure where you live but on game days the town is painted maroon up here in Brissy.

    • disqus_NMX

      I wouldn’t mind seeing a state of origin where you can only play if you’re born in the state. Completely unlike the RL farce where a guys like Folau and Inglis can be born and bred in Sydney, but somehow claim Qld origin. If fact, Folau is one of the few pieces of evidence that RA can claim of caring at all about western Sydney.

    • Nutta

      Driving around western Sydney this morning – and I mean proper western Sydney as in west of the M7 – I saw 3 ‘Play AFL’ branded cars. Smaller hatch type numbers dragging Play AFL trailers (full of kit for junior no-doubt).

      Nothing like a ‘Play Rugby’ car or trailer to be seen. Nothing on TV. Not even a mention of the Mafi v Timani blue on radio…

      Anyone would think there wasn’t a couple of thousand people playing Subbies and/or Shute rugby let alone schools and God-forbid a State Franchise in a semi-final this weekend eh?

      Blue Mountains Rugby, Hawkesbury Valley Rugby, Hawkesbury Ag Rugby and Blacktown Rugby – Keep fighting people. 4 humble little subbies clubs among +2million is surely enough yeh? It must be bloody lonely out there among all those millions of ignored potentials.

      Hearts & minds people. Hearts & minds.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well good afternoon ladies and gentlemen (and I use that term very loosely especially with you lot! ;-)). I am back from my sojourn to the land of the long white cloud, lovely sheep, and reasonably priced Pinot. ah and what a break it was. But back to reality:

    – Yes very quiet here to day, so I will see what I can do about sparking that up.

    – Folau to the Reds? I dont know how. they are fucking broke. So unless some magical benefactor is handing over money, I would be surprised by that one. Reds are still paying out hundred’s of thouasands to players that they arent using. One of their major sponsor is in court, so they have lost that dough. They are asking for handouts from RA to keep them solvent. So unless Israel is coming at reduced price rates, I dont see it happening. Mind you, it will bring all the happy clappers together in one location! Praise the Lord!

    – What is it with Melb Rebels players hitting each other. Has to be a club thing. Isnt that where Kurtley Beale was playing when he was injured, drunk and punched his club captain in the face?

    – I am going to leave the TMO thing alone.

    – After 10 days in NZ, and watching numerous matches from School boys to SR, I have to admit that I am in awe of the talent (bundles of it) that they have. I reckon it will be a generation before we catch up. Their players even at this age, can pass left to right, right to left, they can kick! Jesus their 16 yo 10, could kick 60m. A 16 yo kid disgracing our Wallaby 10. The systems are evident, and skills and technique coaching is evident. All of their players, even at juniors level, had skills most of our Wallabies dont.
    – Do we really think Toomua coming back is going to change Cheika’s selections?
    – for me, the Tahs will get flogged.
    Over to you GAGR’s! glad to be back!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Glad you enjoyed my NZ mate. Th e good thing about this weekend is the choices of what may come off. Still hoping for a Canes vs Crusader final with Canes winning but so many options depending on who steps up.
      I agree the Reds can’t afford Izzy. I also don’t think they need him. What they do need is a good 9/10 combination not waste even more money on someone who doesn’t provide them the right solution

      • Missing Link

        I know kiwis love a good NZ derby for a SR final. I can’t argue with the fact it would be a great standard of rugby, but I feel somewhat detached as a non NZer, likewise for the games in SA. So I’m hoping the Tahs make it to the finals, but the Crusaders look unbeatable to be honest.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I understand mate and I’ll be honest, I’d feel exactly the same way if we got knocked out. In some ways despite all the issues around the conferences I think it’s needed so that people from all the countries can be part of the finals. Be nice to see the Tahs move on but I wish it’d be against a SA team not a NZ team

        • From NooZealand

          Thank you, they will defend and succed.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah after watching the last Crusaders game, I think anyone will be hard put to trouble them for a win. They have this horrible habit of peaking at just the right time!

      • Brisneyland Local

        They already have a more than serviceable 10 that they are paying a shit load for.

    • Hoss

      Folau is the saviour hey, where have i heard that story before

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW8fDw8VzKI

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hahaha mate you’re on fire today. I wouldn’t waste money on him myself

      • Brisneyland Local

        Well I wouldnt call him the saviour. But lets just say they will be talking alot about the saviour up here. But none of it with the Reds will be referring to Izzy!

    • JS

      Good one BL. Brads church. Tax free status soon.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Cult like status!

    • Bernie Chan

      Did the Tahs really not understand the consequences of losing to the Brumbies? Not sure they can beat the Highlanders but it’s a knockout game and anyone can win on the night. Don’t think the weekend will go by without some refereeing controversy, but at least O’Keefe doesn’t have the whistle! Just hope the TMOs don’t keep butting in…Hope Izzy doesn’t come up to the Reds…it’d make a mockery of the supposed policy of renewal/new approach that resulted in both Frisby and QC sitting out the Super Rugby season. And as you noted…our QRU are basically broke!

  • Tomthusiasm
    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Ouch. Good punch

      • Tomthusiasm

        Nice pair of Irish sunglasses

    • Hoss

      If that’s all it took to get some publicity from the Tele i would have punched him in the face ages ago. Granted, i would need to do some speed work in the lead up – where;s Foley, i have an idea for some publicity next week……..

    • Missing Link

      They interviewed Justin Marshall and his reaction to this was “BOOMFA”

      • Brumby Runner

        The synergy of using two fists instead of just one.

    • Perth girl

      So all isn’t sweetness and light at the Rebels then! Rumours are going round that Genia might be off again as well. Anyone know anymore about that?

      • Missing Link

        There’s probably some crap being spun about it on twf.com.au by now, surely Cameron Clyne will appear at The Hague as soon as that ASIC investigation is done with him :D

        • Perth girl

          Being a bit precious aren’t you ML! Bit of a sore point is it?

        • Missing Link

          No not at all, I’m just not a fan of character assassination based on rumours and innuendo as opposed to facts

        • Perth girl

          Of course not! Better have a word with the Rebels and RA board then as they have been doing it for years

        • Missing Link

          Can you please provide proof of this conspiracy against Western Australia?

        • Perth girl

          Did you attend any of the Senate Enquiry meetings? Did you read the Senate Enquiry transcripts or any of the witness transcripts online? Do you know about the emails leaked by a whistleblower that have now been given to ASIC? Look ML if you are happy with the way RA have been running rugby in (Eastern) Australia that’s great. I, like many over here are glad that we no longer have to deal with RA and we are looking forward to some big announcements from WSR after our final exhibition game against Panasonic Wild Knights next month

        • Missing Link

          Contrary to the propaganda being spread from a small group of people, the senate inquiry has amounted to nothing and ASIC aren’t even remotely interested. What happened doesn’t sit well with me but it happened and I hope that RA and WSR will one day become a succesful joint venture. Rugby needs to unify not divide and by trying to takedown RA with baseless accusations will never work. The negative nellies from the west would be better served putting positive energy into making the Force a success.

        • Perth girl

          We will have to agree to disagree then ML but I can assure you the ASIC investigation is ongoing and that RA and WSR will never join together as long as Clyne is in charge. I can also assure you that we all over here are committed to making WSR a success!

        • Perth girl

          Also you never answered my questions so I guess that means you haven’t read anything to do with the Senate Enquiry

        • Missing Link

          Fair enough Perth Girl you have your opinion and I don’t set out to change that, but I think you’ll be surprised what happens in a year or so. Any decision made will be void of emotion, and it wont be made by anyone who has a axe to grind, certainly not Bakkies, I’m pretty sure he’ll be so disappointed and possibly chain himself to something in protest. I’m really concerned for his welfare with some of the stuff he comes up with. Anyway, I read a little bit of the senate inquiry, but got bored. I don’t think it’s the senate’s business to be poking around in private enterprise to be honest, they should stick to the big decisions like banning plastic bags and drinking straws and making sure people are paying the highest price possible for their energy.

        • Perth girl

          A troll as well!

        • Perth girl

          Are you also know as Bruce Gilbert?

    • onlinesideline

      “too many weights, not enough speed work eh ?”

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hahahaha never gets old

      • Nutta

        I was waiting for that.

  • Hoss
    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Gold mate

  • Missing Link

    What’s in Genia’s cryptic Insta-message “Thank you Melbourne – it was real Would’ve loved to have been on the park a little more, but I loved every minute of it.”?

    He’s contracted until the end of next year, so he’s either trolling for a few lolz and will be back next year, or something’s in the works?

  • JS

    Good one BL. Brads Church. They could apply for tax free status soon.

    • Brisneyland Local

      You know what, tax free status might even go half way to financially saving the Reds.

  • Brumby Runner

    Have to have just one comment on the officials before the weekend gets under way.

    Many of the most confusing decisions in Super Rugby occurred in the one game a couple of years ago, refereed by Jaco Peyper and with Marius Jonker in the box. What odds there will be controversy at least after this match this weekend?

  • Nutta

    Gotta say if I was 15-20yrs younger I would be on a plane to Perth. Where was this in the 90’s? Bloody yung people I tell ya’s…

Rugby

Turned to writing for GAGR before my over the top rants about rugby landed me in hot water. Hoping this will keep me a little more measured.

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