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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the Waratahs and the Rebels ahead of their clash on Saturday, tributes for a retired Reds and Wallaby Lock continue to flow in, and a former World Cup-winning coach responds to cheating claims.


Waratahs woes continue

Kurtley Beale strolls in for a try.

Kurtley Beale strolls in for a try.

The Waratahs have been hit with another setback with outside back Kurtley Beale fighting a bout of tonsillitis to be fit ahead of their clash with the Rebels.

This setback comes off the back of being the most talked about Australian Super Rugby team in the past week despite not playing a game due to the Israel Folau saga, with Beale expected to be a key part of the revamped backline.

Beale was expected to slot into the fullback role left by Folau, however, he has been sidelined from the training paddock for the past two days due to the inflammation, potentially leaving the side with a single full day to practice with their new combinations.

Coach Daryl Gibson conceded that the incidents of the past week may force him to pick one of his outside backs out of position to cover the role, with Hunt, Newsome and Ashely-Cooper being the backup options.

“Probably none of them would say that’s their preferred position, or their strongest position, so everyone we stitch together will be a part-time [proposition],” Gibson said.

“There’s lots of options on the table. Obviously, at this point, to lose a player of Israel’s calibre, it’s a great opportunity for our boys to step up and show what they can do.”

Halfback Nick Phipps was confident that the side could manage with the absence of Folau and potentially Beale, noting that the side is accustomed to different backline combinations and believed that their absence provided a great opportunity for their young flyers to step up.

“It’s funny because we chop and change at training and it’s good that we’re learning all those combinations on the run and we’re able to adapt pretty quickly,” Phipps said.

“Israel is hard to replace but we’ve got other people to bring things that he possibly can’t bring. We’ve got some hungry young guys in the back line ready to take their opportunities.”

The Waratahs are set to welcome back Jed Holloway for the clash with the Rebels, however, they are set to be without Ned Hanigan who has failed to recover from a medial ligament injury that he suffered early in the side’s loss to the Blues a fortnight ago.

Rebels wary of wounded Waratahs

Matt Philip is tackled by Hamish Stewart.

Matt Philip is tackled by Hamish Stewart.

Onto the other side of the encounter, the Rebels are expecting a unified and fired up Waratahs outfit when they take the field on Saturday night.

This was the belief of Rebels Lock Matt Philip, who suggests that the NSW side would have been galvanised by the dramas and media attention of the past week and will come out ready to fire, despite being without their all-time leading try-scorer in Israel Folau.

“I think obviously he does bring some very good attributes to their game with the high ball and stuff like that but with everything going on, it’s really going to galvanise the team and they’re going to be better for it this week…They’re going to come out hissing.” Philip said on Tuesday.

The Rebels will be looking to bounce back after their disappointing loss to the Stormers and are expected to welcome back Anaru Rangi, Jack Maddocks and Philip for the crucial clash, with Philip itching to return after missing his first game whilst being a Rebel.

“That’s the first game I’ve missed since I’ve been here at the Rebels,” Philip said. “It was a new experience for me and I didn’t enjoy it. I was sitting on the edge of my seat with Dane [Haylett-Petty] and Anaru [Rangi].”

“Watching from the sidelines is pretty tough to do. I’m just thankful to get back on the field this week and try to put a good performance out there.”

The Rebels will have extra motivation for the clash, having lost both clashes with the NSW Waratahs last year, with Philip drawing on the improved fitness of the side as motivation that they could avoid the late game fade that they suffered in the corresponding clash in Sydney.

“Last year, that really hot day, we were up and got gassed towards the back-end of the second half so we have to stick to the way we play for the whole 80 minutes,” Philip said.

“We have done a lot of work on our fitness and conditioning over the off-season…that will put us in good stead.”

The Rebels were unfazed about talk about the pitch with Philip noting “they have got to play on the same pitch as us…I’m a Sydney boy but I’ve never been to the SCG before so I’m pretty excited to go to a stadium with so much history.”

Tributes continue for Big Kev

Photo by Keith McInnes

Photo by Keith McInnes

In the aftermath of his retirement, the tributes for James “Big Kev” Horwill continue to flood in.

Horwill announced his retirement from the sport yesterday and no one had more praise for the second-rower then his former partner in crime and current Waratah Rob Simmons, who rated their relationship as the strongest he’s experienced.

“It’s a pretty special one,” he said. “He’s a close friend of mine and that was built through our relationship on the field. We played, I played most of my rugby with him so it’s hard to compare to any other relationship really.”

“It was the longest (relationship) that’s in rugby…It was awesome to play with him, I love playing with him and we’ve got a special bond on and off the field.”

Simmons partnered Horwill in the Reds set up for almost a decade, with the highlight being winning the 2011 Super Rugby championship, with the pair flourishing under the tutelage of former Reds and Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.

“That’s definitely something that kept us together and we enjoyed about each other on the field and I think we built that from the start, especially when Ewen came to the Reds,” he said.

Simmons was one of many who wished Horwill or Big Kev as he was known, the best of luck in retirement, with fellow tall timber Dean Mumm tweeting “Congratulations on a fantastic career @JHorwill Always loyal, commited and above all excited to play for his respective teams. Well done mate and look forward to waking up without a sore back most days!

The tributes continued across the continent, with Welsh back Jamie Roberts stating “Enjoyed playing with more than against you my friend…Some career pal” and part man, part cheetah Bryan Habana wishing him the best for his future endeavours.

Woodward denies cheating claims

767px-Clive_Woodward_1

Former England coach Clive Woodward has denied any claims of cheating during the side’s winning 2003 World Cup winning campaign.

The explosive claims came after UK media outlet TalkSPORT uncovered a report from former England international Dean Richards, in which he accused Woodward’s 2003 World Cup team of cheating during his own tribunal with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) during ‘Blood Gate’.

Richards was found guilty of masterminding the use of a fake blood capsule to take advantage of the blood rule, to allow Harlequins, where he was the director of rugby, an extra substitution to allow them to bring on their best goal-kicker during a Heineken Cup match in 2009.

The practice of faking blood injuries has become tabooed within modern rugby with Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll summing up that the actions of Richards on the day was in the same category as drug taking in terms of performance enhancing.

Despite the outcry around his own use of the blood capsules, Richards suggested that the practice was commonplace within World Rugby, especially England, citing Woodward’s team as regular users.

“The use of fake blood, cutting players, reopening wounds, feigning injury in the front row, jabbing players with anaesthetic all occur regularly throughout the game,” Richards said.

When asked to clarify his statements about the regularity of the practice, he stated “RWC 2003. England used faked blood to manage replacements”.

For his part in the scandal, Richards was banned from rugby for three years, however, he stated that the practice was not unusual within England Rugby, having been told himself by a person within the England set up.

The suggestion was slammed as “nonsense” by Woodward, who denied any involvement and questioned why a successful team like England would need to resort to the practice.

“We won every match in Australia. Why would we want to cheat? This is simply not true,” said Woodward.

“I am not sure why Dean raised this. I have never been involved in anything like this. It is ridiculous.”

  • Who?

    I’ve never previously heard that winning everything was proof you hadn’t cheated. Perhaps losing everything is proof you haven’t cheated (or that you’re beyond help!), but winning everything… Isn’t that the reason why people would cheat?
    That doesn’t mean they cheated, just that it’s the weakest possible argument in favour of them not cheating…

    • Steve

      Ah, I do love when someone picks up on things like this, totally missed it.

      It’s always amazing how little sense players, coaches and pundits actually speak when you actually stop and listen to what they’ve said.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Especially Cheika. I have never heard a person mumble more shit than him, except perhaps Clive Palmer!

        • Mitch Leach

          Phil Gould?

        • Dud Roodt

          The most amazing talent Gould has is to say he predicted something after the fact. Amazing insight really

        • Hoss

          I predicted you’d say that Dud.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Potentially. I dont watch a lot of rugby league to be honest. But I think gould is slightly more intelligible than Cheika!

        • disqus_NMX

          Ha, Clive Palmer was rated as one of the least trusted politicians in a recent poll (tried to find the link, but can’t find it). I doubt his “Make Australia Great Again” is going to go far this time around. I suspect Cheika wouldn’t go too well if Wallabies coaches were elected by rugby club members.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah concur.

    • disqus_NMX

      Yeah, his bleating protest gave more weight to the claim of cheating, not less!

    • Nutta

      It reminds me of the Chopper Read Argument:
      Choppa: ‘Look how much I’m discriminated-against! Look how much time I’ve done in jail! They target me!’
      Journalist: ‘No Mark. You did so much time in jail because you bashed and shot people.’

      • Yowie

        Chopper: Look. The bloke’s been me coach since 1997. We’ve had our fallouts from time to time, it’s no big deal. Y’know, it’s like…if your team medic stabs ya, whaddya do? Ya don’t get upset. Ya don’t get angry, ya go, “Sh!t, the medic’s stabbed me, I better sub-off for a good goal-kicker.”

        • Nutta

          Just put a smile on your face, be sure the Coach sees it and take one for the good of the team yeh?

  • theduke

    I always liked AAC at fullback – about a decade ago.

    As an adopted Rebels fan, I’m nervous about the Tahs this weekend. The siege mentality might focus them.

    Either way, excited for the game. Here’s hoping we can forget the sideshow and focus on the main event. Go Rebels!

    • onlinesideline

      the rebels need to learn some serious ruthlessness and put their foot on tah throats and stake their claim for 2019 – no prisoners.

      Izzy thing is sad but we have a world cup to win and we need players to start the physcho mode needed in the next few months.

      A merciless performance will harden them for some serious battles ahead.

      I tip Luke Jones to have a blinder and force Cheika to include him in the season ahead.

      There is nothing like being in the zone. As I type this sitting in Budapest cafe trust me, everywhere I look Im in the zone !

      • Hoss

        Half your luck mate. I am about to board a flight to Darwin. It’s not the arsehole of the world, but it is in the semi finals.

        • Keith Butler

          Darwin weather 33 degreesC. Not quite the Hades temp you are used to but should warm the toes. Bit sticky overnight though. Enjoy and Go the Rebels.

        • onlinesideline

          just reading the word Darwin makes me sweaty and uncomfortable. Get your stuff done, confirm your tickets and get out

        • Hoss

          I hear you mate. Even though now a svelte 132.5kgs, I sweat in places I didn’t know existed. If it wasn’t for family I’d never go.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I always thought his best position was wing. He was fairly decent defensively at 13 but didn’t love him at fullback.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    Woodward’s limp-wristed “defence” is straight from the Dave Brailsford (of Sky cycling aka “UK Postal” fame) weaselwords playbook.

    If Beale is out this weekend, at least we can look forward to a dramatic straightening of the Tahs’ attack.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I don’t mind Beale’s sideways running from fullback.

      But then again, I don’t like anything of Kurtley’s form this year.

      9. Phipps, 10. Foley, 11. Clarke, 12. Hunt, 13. Rona/Foketi, 14. Newsome, 15. AAC what we expect?

  • Brumby Runner

    I can see the Tahs coming out all fired up for this game, but I don’t expect that attitude to persist for the whole game. Rebels to win, going away late.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,
    I can see this weekend being a watershed for both the Tahs and the Rebels and it should be a cracker of a game. I was disappointed in Hunt last time the Tahs played and I hope he goes back to running straight instead of sideways. I think the rehash of the Tahs backline will be their biggest challenge. I’m not so concerned with Hannigan being injured as I think Staniforth is a much better player than him anyway. While the Rebels will have to manage the “anger” and fired up Tahs from the start, I don’t think that’ll last the game and I think if they play well they should have this one.

    Not sure about the “cheating” and even more of a so what? If they cheated and got away with it then it’s disappointing but nothing to be done about that now and like a lot of things that were done in the past, doing it now is a lot harder and I’m pretty confident that things like this won’t decide the RWC.

    • Keith Butler

      Spot on KRL. Make or break for both teams. Not sure where the Rebs stand with the resting player policy but they need to field their strongest teams for their home games plus the Sunwolves. With the best will in the world, I cannot see them turning over the Canes or Saders away from home.

      • Brisneyland Local

        It will be interesting! THe only real Wallabies they have are Genia, Hidge, DHP, and Coleman. Most wont have to be rested because they have either missed games or been injured. Genia has already rested a game so has Coleman. QC isnt a Wallaby so wont have to be rested. So I think overall they will do quite well.

        • Who?

          Genia’s missed one game. Hodge has missed enough, doing his rehab from his broken ankle last year. DHP has arguably missed enough with the current injury. Coleman’s missed enough with his injuries.
          The only player who’s yet to miss a mandated game would be Genia……… And whilst I haven’t been massively impressed with Ruru (the one game this year where I thought he’s done better than Genia was last weekend), I’m sure he’d do better with 80 minutes than 8.
          Oh, and Maddocks might have to miss another one, too, given he missed last week, but I can’t recall him missing another game yet (and he’s an incumbent Wallaby).

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah agree on Genia probably having to miss one more. DIdnt realise Maddocks was an incumbent!

  • Greg

    I hope that Beale recovers quickly.

    Perhaps they will make better use of the field width?

    • Bobas

      he got tonsillitis after the races…

      I’m sure he just drank and screamed too much, he’ll play after a berocca and a couple of sleep cycles.

  • Nutta

    Thanks for your efforts Big Kev. Never doubted your heart, pride and effort.

    I sort of like Phipps message in that they are professional footballers so get in and do your job. Dealing with players-in & players-out based on trades, fitness, illness, rest-policy etc is part of being a professional.

    I’m developing into a real Matt Phillips fan. The guy is a Trojan.

    England? Cheating? The remnants of the Benevolent Empire doing something truly shady for pure self-interest? That would be as preposterous as suggesting the Crusaders deliberately play offside and off their feet when defending in their 22. Surely not.

    • From NooZealand

      Mother England? yes … my Crusaders? not a chance ((:))

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    Did anyone watch Cheika’s interview with Leigh Sales on 7.30 a few nights back?

    On national TV, there was our idiot-in-chief, spouting a lot of words, punctuated with his standard “you know what I mean?” gibberish, via his usual half-sentences and thought-bubbles,without actually saying anything remotely coherent.

    If this is how he sets out the game plan to our players, no wonder we’re shite.

    • Bernie Chan

      Good God….what fool in RA thought that putting Cheika in front of Leigh Sales was a good idea…(I love watching her skewer people in a figurative sense on our ABCs 7:30)…?

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@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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