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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News examines worries around the SCG surface, the Folau that is scoring tries for fun, the resting of a giant Rebel and the return of the Honey Badger.


SCG all good on the surface

Kepu gets the fend going.

Kepu gets the fend going.

The SCG has been given the green light (unofficially) ahead of the Waratahs clash with the Crusaders on Saturday. The ground has come under heavy criticism after transforming into Bondi Beach after the first couple of mauls and scrums in the side’s derby against the Reds two weeks ago.

In response, the SCG Trust has replaced 3000 square foot of the ground after it came through Friday’s NRL match and Sydney’s weekend deluge unscathed and the Waratahs have been given unofficial assurance that the ground is safe to go.

Waratah prop Sekope Kepu was unfazed by talks about the quality of the surface, noting the importance of adapting to the conditions regardless of what is thrown up at them.

“I believe they’ve re-turfed it and looked to improve it, particularly after what happened in the Reds game and as far as I know we are out there, and regardless of the surface, you just have to adapt to the conditions and whatnot…We will be going out there to scrummage as per normal and do a job,” Kepu said.

Kepu was surprisingly calm on the issue, considering himself and fellow prop Matt Dunning tore their ACL’s when the turf at Wembley Stadium similarly “rolled up” and collapsed like its current inhabitants Tottenham (joke for the round ball fans), during a Wallabies match with the Barbarians in 2008.

The clash will be an emotional one, with it marking the first match back for the Crusaders after the awful tragedy in Christchurch, which led to the cancellation of their match with the Highlanders and talks of potential name changes coming under serious consideration.

Waratahs star Israel Folau was especially affected on the NSW side of this encounter, with his wife originating from New Zealand and having family who lived in Christchurch, resonating the positive thoughts sent out by the rugby community towards the area during this time of hardship.

“We definitely feel for the people that have lost their lives and their families and obviously it’s going to be very emotional,” Folau said “Everyone has different beliefs and different followings but you just wouldn’t think something like that would happen in places like New Zealand but unfortunately that’s the way the world is going.”

The try-scoring Folau

Folau Faingaa

Folau Faingaa

If you said that a Folau would be the leading try scorer after 5 matches, the majority of people would instinctively think that Israel would be carving up the competition.

However, it’s another Folau, Folau Faingaa, who has found the try-line more than anyone, with his double against the Waratahs making him the first Australian player since Andrew Walker to score in five consecutive games.

The ability to find the try line has bolted Faingaa into prime position for the vacant Wallaby hooker position due to the nature of his tries, with all five coming from the back of the rolling maul.

This has resulted due to the strong start to the season by the Brumbies pack, particularly their front row who should be three of the first names on Cheika’s team sheet if they keep their performance up.

This would bruise the egos of most wingers, which are generally bigger than the average rugby team’s dinner bill. However, Brumbies winger Henry Speight was all praise for his teammate and the work that their forward pack has put into creating those tries.

“He is probably five ahead of me and other backs,” Speight said. “(Faingaa) is really benefiting from the strong work they are doing as a forward unit, and if it is good and it is not broken, let’s stick at it.”

This was shared by fellow front rower Scott Sio, who sprouted the old saying of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ in regards to the Brumbies continuing to go to their rolling maul in attacking situations.

“I live with him, so he reminds me that he’s the top try scorer in the Australian conference every day,” Sio said. “I think we’ve harped on, just making sure we get around our core roles and our knowledge in the team and he’s reaping the benefits of it at the moment and I’m really happy for him and we’re just going to continue to support him.

“If our maul keeps going well, he could be top try scorer in all of Super Rugby so hopefully fingers crossed we can continue that form this week.”

Up and (not) Adam

Adam Coleman and Michael Hooper warm up

Adam Coleman and Michael Hooper warm up

Rebels lock Adam Coleman has been rested ahead of the side’s clash with the Sharks on the weekend.

Wallaby and Rebels lock Adam Coleman has been rested ahead of his side’s clash with the Sharks in Durban.

Coleman travelled back to Australia on Monday night whilst the rest of the side headed onto Durban as part of the Wallabies resting policy ahead of the World Cup.

He joins the likes of Kurtley Beale, who was left out of the Waratahs’ round one team, along with Izack Rodda and Taniela Tupou, who were rested from the Reds win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo last week, to fall victim of the resting policy introduced by Rugby Australia to minimise fatigue ahead of the season-ending tournament.
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As part of the policy, Rugby Australia has indicated potential matches to Super Rugby franchises to rest players who are either being considered or apart of the Wallaby set up, with the preference being put on overseas matches, however, the final decision would always be with the clubs.

It seems that coach Dave Wessels has taken this advice through the resting of Coleman, indicating that the side’s clash with the Sharks would be an opportunity to rest some of its international players before their departure from Melbourne last week.

It is still unclear whether anyone else from the Rebels Wallaby contingency would be stood down from the clash.

However, after their heartbreaking loss to the Lions on the weekend, the Rebels will be keen to play a strong side to ensure that they maintain their position on the top of the Australian conference.

There have been some questions in regards to the Rebels leadership after their last-minute loss to the Lions, particularly around the lack of pressure put on the referee as a result of the one-sided penalty count.

“But what the unfathomable penalty count showed was a lack of leadership at the Rebels. It was one of their shortcomings last year and it remains an issue. A nicer bloke than Dane Haylett-Petty you will not find, but he is new to the captaincy and still finding his voice,” said Fox Sports rugby reporter Christy Doran.

“An experienced captain would have reminded Seconds of the penalty count, of the fact it won’t reflect well on him and there are, in fact, two teams playing…A seed of doubt goes a long way in sport.”

Cummins raring for his return

cummins

Nick Cummins is going off like a cut snake ahead of his return to rugby for the World XV as they get set to play his old side, the Western Force, on Friday night in the initial match of the Global Rapid Rugby season.

Cummins returns to the rugby field after his adventure on reality TV to find love came with all sizzle and no steak and his return to play the side which he played 87 Super Rugby games for has left him as nervous as a mouse in biology class.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of memories there, mate, and a lot of training sessions down here actually- pre seasons- a lot of throwing up, that sort of thing- all really positive,” said Cummins.

“You’re making me nervous (reminding me how long ago I played). I’ll probably be gassing it down the sideline and there’ll be some sniper will get up and get me, because the old hammies aren’t conditioned that well.”

Cummins was looking forward to his return to the game, having last played professionally for the Coca Cola Red Sparks in Japan in 2016, believing that the exciting law changes of Rapid Rugby would allow for more ‘pill’ to come his way and greater opportunity to bag a couple of ‘pies’.

“It means just spin it wide and have a go, that’s what it’s about isn’t it,” he said. “High energy, putting bums on seats, the people want to see that sort of stuff. This nine-point try business from inside the 22 – mate – swing it wide.”

This clash marks the first of the expanded Rapid Rugby series, which is set to feature teams from China, Fiji, Samoa and a combined Asia Pacific team.

This reflects the fresh investment that World Rugby and particularly Andrew Forest has put into the Asian region, which is crucial for Rugby’s prosperity according to World XV coach Robbie Deans.

“There’s no doubt that Asia’s going to be big in the future, economically and in the game,” said Deans, “Out of necessity World Rugby needs to cater for this area, and clearly Rapid Rugby want to be part of that, and I’ll be very surprised if they’re not…There will be a lot of people who will want to join them, the concept’s good, the community-based concept is good.”

Deans has named a strong side for what is expected to be an exciting clash, with former Force and Wallabies flyer Digby Ioane part of the squad, along Springbok Gio Aplon, ex-All Blacks and Crusaders trio, Andy Ellis, Wyatt Crockett and Corey Flynn and 50-Test Argentinian back rower Leonardo Senatore.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan.

    First thank you to everyone who has supported NZ at such a terrible time. I have always held the ANZAC spirit high in my life through my military career and seeing it transform throughout the country over the last week has been very heart warming and makes me proud of the people from both countries I served with for so many years. Thank you

    I tend to agree with Kepu and that things like the turf are the same for both teams and it’s just something you need to manage.

    I think people underestimate the effect of fatigue and how it affects decision making. This is something the military have studied for years and in some areas train to get over. To my mind the Rebels were just shattered and their decision making went out the window. I haven’t seen the split of penalties by quarter but I’d expect more in the 3rd and 4th as the fatigue hit and then less as replacements came on. I still agree it didn’t seem legitimate at 20-1

    If Folau Fainga isn’t the Wallaby hooker then there is an injustice going on.

    • Custard Taht

      Fatigue is a killer alright, it not only causes a drop off in decision making, it impacts core skills.

      I remember doing 10km patrol order runs doing weapon handling the entire way, with every mistake rewarded with 10 push ups. The mistakes soon disappeared.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        There’s nothing like physical pain to gain improvements

        • Greg

          “nothing like physical pain”

          Thanks Cheik!

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep I hear you been there done that. And spewed many times.

        • Custard Taht

          The bastards always timed it first day back from leave and whenever they knew we had all gotten on it hard.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep I remember when I went through Duntroon, we were taken on a tour of 7 Bde up in Brisbane (back in those days known as 6 Bde). We were taken to the 6 RAR officers mess for drinks, and told to enjoy ourselves as we had a late start the next morning. Code for get on the sauce! The bastard drillies and PTi’s woke us up at 0500, and run us up and down Mt Enoggera until we spewed. What such good memories. NOT

        • Custard Taht

          Ahhh fond memories.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Apparently!

    • Keith Butler

      Morning KRL. Totally agree with your sentiments. Regarding fatigue and decision making I recall back in the day having the ‘pleasure’ of playing in Nairobi at 5500ft. It was totally knackering and as CT has pointed out affects both mental and physical skills. Playing club rugby in the UK we placed great emphasis on fitness and were on more than one occasion were able to close out games because our better conditioning allowed us to use that ‘top 2inches’ that coaches talk about.

      • Damo19

        Does that mean if you played rugby alongside the Dead Sea at 400+m below sea level it would be like 30 Eveready bunnies on the field!

        • Keith Butler

          Hadn’t thought of that.

    • Brisneyland Local

      KRL, as always my friend a considered and well worded response. Our hearts and thoughts are with you and your fellow countrymen and women. Aus and NZ will always stand together (except on the rugby field!).
      Fatigue yep you and I know that one. I remember sitting high in the hills in the Hindu Kush. Well above the comfortable breathing level , and the effect was staggering. Regardless of how fit we were, the impact was unbelievable. The longer we were there even with reduced activity, the effect was cumulative.
      It has been years since I have been to Jo’burg but by memory it is almost 6000ft AMSL. That certainly has an impact.

    • Hoss

      I hear you mate. I just walked to the fridge for a cream bun and a chocolate dipped anything and now after consuming same i am entirely fatigued and strangely alert, but at the same time feeling very very sleepxlkhdbqcfpgfpi;’oe

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Gold mate

    • David Creagh

      Whilst it is true the battle occurs on the same field you choose to fight on ground of your own choosing where you can. If your scrum is weak, depower your opponent’s scrum by having the field fall to pieces when the pressure comes on. How silly will we look if a referee decides the scrum is unsafe due to the ground conditions and we end up with uncontested scrums?
      Nailed it on fatigue vs decision making.

    • Parker

      That injustice is the Cheika selection strategy. Get ready for it.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. I am back I hope you missed me;-) Here are the mad ramblings of a mad man for today:
    – I agree with KRL, both teams have to play on the surface. Improvise, adapt, overcome!
    – I love the thought of the Honey Badger being back, even if it is for PR value alone. A non-sanitised, non-PC, says it how he wants to kind of guy. There should be more characters in the game not less.
    – Glad Adam Coleman is getting a rest, he has been playing quite well. It weakens the Rebels side, but hey, all of the sides have to have their players have a rest at some stage.
    – WARNING Rant inbound! Christy Doran talking about leadership. Mind you Christy Doran talking about anything rugby is just bullshit. The articles are strong and thoroughly absorbent. But I think the masses would be better served by proper toilet paper. Has Christy Doran turned that high powered perspective onto the Tahs and their complete lack of leadership, and having the most amount of Wallabies in a team and still blowing dog. No! the only Aus team doing well at the moment are the Rebels, and this article ripped into them. I don’t see any other Australian team doing as well against the Lions in Jo’burg! Go and write some other dross you incompetent fuckwit! Rant Over!
    – Looking forward to this round! Especially the next tahs game after the dribble they have put out in the press about AAC knows how to arrest the Tah’s slide. And Beale needs the back line to be stabilised with him at 12 to give him the most opportunity to weave his magic! Man both of those players have had a completely shit season so far. Please tell how hard you are training to overcome your skill deficiencies and lack of fitness.
    Over to you GAGR’s

    • Keith Butler

      Imagine the conversation.
      “Excuse me sir but don’t you think the penalty county is excessive after all there aretwo teams playing”.

      “Er, no. Have another one for being a cheeky bastard”

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure gold KB. “And here is a Yellow card for even asking you twat!”

        • ALJ

          Exactly right. “Sorry sir, do you realise that you have given quite a lot of penalties against us?”
          “Thanks for reminding me, here’s another yellow card for repeated infringements.”

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Doran’s an idiot. I read that bit in SMH on Beale and ACC and almost vomited. What a load of shit dribble. What was rally surprising though was the amount of support that it got. There are some delusional people out there, or I am

      • Brisneyland Local

        MAte you and me and most of the people here are on the same sheet of music.

      • Happyman

        Remember last ear they had the former Aussie woman’s 8 (Molly) does the super w now. She obviously got the bullet for not drinking the Kool aid.

    • GoMelbRebels

      Lack of leadership at the Rebels? Only the week before everyone was going on about how good Genia’s leadership was and how it helped them win over the Ponies. Make up your mind!

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep, not criticism of any other Aus SR teams leadership which also haven’t been up to scratch.

      • Keith Butler

        I’ve supported the Rebels from their begining. I suggest you direct your comment at Doran.

        • GoMelbRebels

          I was.

    • Andy

      Lol. Nice rant. I loved how Doran changed his mind on the Tahs being soft because he went to training and got decked holding the bags. He even admitted he’d never played a game in his life.. what a test for the guys! That guy would faint doing a crap he’s that skinny. A complete goose but another one in the Foxtel camp or as fuckface Mitchell calls it: the inner sanctum.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep. What a ponce!

  • Singapore Sling

    Christy Doran….Pffftt! That ref had made his mind up on the way to the ground.

    • Bernie Chan

      He must be embedded in the sanctum…God he writes some dross…

      • Brisneyland Local

        He is the Chief Dross writer!

  • Habitual Offender

    Elsewhere – French rugby to trial two-man tackle ban after safety summit.?

    • Andrew Luscombe

      And reducing tackle height to the waist apparently too.

      If you can’t prevent an offload, the next best thing will be to hit the legs really hard in hopes of causing a poor offload. Get ready for a flood of knee, and other leg injuries next year. And probably more tackler head injuries too from impacts with knees.

      The only way to reduce tackling and severity of tackles is to make it less, not more, productive for the ball carrier to run into opponents. It should be obvious that the person carrying the ball is the one that largely decides when and where tackles occur and how vigorous they are. Reducing the chance of the ball carrier getting the ball away during or after a tackle is the best way to reduce the amount and severity of tackles.

      It used to be that rucks weren’t policed very well, and this often resulted in the loss of the ball after a tackle. I can remember when 6 phases was a lot, now you get 15 or sometimes 20. Ball carriers used to attempt to avoid tackles more. There were less injuries.

      • Gun

        There’s deep irony theregiven Macqueen and others proposed rule changes would have made rucking less appealing as a way of maintaining possession. It would have meant faster games and by your logic less tackling. The northern hemisphere nixed it and funnily enough we are back there again now with rule changes that will be impossible to strictly enforce and possibly more dangerous outcomes.

      • Habitual Offender

        One low, one high can be nasty..especially if your knees are pinned to the ground and the high hit comes in. I dont think we were sposed to be pretzels.
        Having the refs call it dangerous and award penalties or cards depending on severity would be enough. Duty of care to the tackler and all that…
        Banning 2 man tackles seems a bit over the top.

  • RF

    It’s “Up and Atom”

  • Hoss

    Morning all,

    Nothing of value to add today – other than a sales pitch:

    * I have 4 x GA tickets to Tah’s v Sun Wolves for Newcastle – Friday 29th March 7.45 pm kick-off. They are $60 each and are located on halfway, in the Eastern Grandstand about 7-8 rows back – perfect for viewing and heckling of Spanners, Gilbert. Methuselah, Two-Dads and co. One downside you will be sitting with the Tasweigan Butlers and the Hunter’s own Hoss’ who may or may not be suffering from varying amounts of ethanol in the blood stream.

    Any interested parties – just reply on GAGR and i will send email details

    • Habitual Offender

      If the Australian is anything to go by, they may be worth something as a historical keepsake.

      https://outline.com/TXRbx4

      • Hoss

        I have for sale 4 x ‘Limited Edition’ Tickets to the Sun Wolves Game. See the Moon Doggies in their only-ever Newcastle appearance.

        Yours for only $249.95 each.

        • Habitual Offender

          Sold
          Oh, wait a minute , where’s Newcastle?

        • Bernie Chan

          Somewhere up in the UK. Wear black n white…

        • Bernie Chan

          Gold! Almost makes being a frustrated Oz rugby supporter worthwhile…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold Hoss!

    • Keith Butler

      The good news Hoss is that the Foghorn Brewhouse currently has 16 ales on tap. Ethanol of varying strengths is guaranteed. Hope that a few others can make it.

  • Andrew Luscombe

    SANZAAR to ditch Sunwolves apparently. Just when they are starting to win a few games.

    And it sounds like they are going to a single round robin with 14 teams – so 6 or 7 home games per year.

    • Moz

      Geez, I can’t catch a break…. After they dumped the Force, the Sunwolves became my team. I might start taking this personally!

      • Brisneyland Local

        I know it may hurt a little. But come and join the Rebs with me. I divorced my self from the reds.

        • Moz

          Too true, they are sort of my new team as well, I just try to keep that one quiet! I didnt support the Rebels last year, but that was just out of principle, but actually all aboard the train this year.
          I’m in a box at the Sunwolves game this Saturday in Singapore. I’ll be giving those free drinks a seeing-to, especially as we won’t be there next year!

        • Brisneyland Local

          I would be giving those free drinks in singas a nudge too. Lived there for a while, and I know just how expensive booze is over there.

        • Habitual Offender

          Still not sure its safe to wear rebels colours outside around Perth yet Moz.
          I would advise discretion.

        • Moz

          Haha, absolutely! I’m in Singapore, so would be safe if I did every venture out in Rebels gear. However, I still think its acceptable to wear Force gear if you’re following the Rebels! Anyway, I’ll be dragging along the family and wearing our Force gear when the Force play up here in Singers in May against the Asia Pacific Dragons! It’ll be at a smaller, local stadium, so better than at the National Stadium.

        • David Creagh

          I would but the amount of money and investment and breaks that the Rebels have had over some of the other franchises frustrates me. Having said that the alternatives are dwindling and I can’t force mysleves to support the Tahs over anyone other than England.

        • Brisneyland Local

          New franchises in non-rugby heartlands always need a leg up. look at how much they helped the Sydney Swans and GWS in the AFL.

        • David Creagh

          I agree with you BLL but they have taken a “leg up” to be a “helicopter ride to the top of the hill”. Millions in debt written off by ARU ($10million I think), artificially inflated figures to support their retention over the Force, then got the vast majority of the Force’s players. How the hell did they stay under the salary cap? Oh yes I almost forgot, I think they got salary cap break as well.
          Did the Force get similar investment?
          P.S Not picking a fight here and my ‘facts’ may well be false news. Happy to be proven wrong and truth be told Rebels are probably my second team anyway, Though the frustrations remain.

        • Brisneyland Local

          No i agree they were certainly given benefits. The ARU always intended to scrap the Force, and the Rebs benefitted from it heavily. Besides that QRU are still paying half of QC’s salary. Mind you the ARU are picking up some of the Reds bills at the moment too.
          The Brumbies were definitely the weakest financially. And have had to be bailed out as well.

        • Brumby Runner

          Are you sure BL, or just repeating “false news”? My understanding is that the Brumbies are the only team inrecent years not to be bailed out by the ARU/RA,and definitely the only club to make a profit in each of the last two operating years.

        • Brisneyland Local

          The R had to go gaurantor for them when they had that whole stadium deal thing go through.

        • Perth girl

          Try 30 mill and still counting Anyway there won’t be SR after 2020!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          If you’re correct in this prediction I’ll be pretty astounded.

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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