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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at Christian Lealiifano’s reaction to his award nomination, Simone’s re-signing, the potential return of the Australia A concept and how the coronavirus could impact Global Rapid Rugby


Lealiifano honoured by Laureus

Christian Lealiifano settles the Brumbies

Christian Lealiifano settles the Brumbies

Departed Wallaby Christian Lealiifano has expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming reaction to his nomination for Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year.

The comeback award is given to those “who has overcome injury, illness, adversity, disappointment or failure and risen back to triumph in the sporting arena.”

The former Brumbies and Wallabies flyhalf is joined by Andy Murray, NBA star Kawhi Leonard, the Liverpool football club, swimmer Nathan Adrian and F3 driver Sophia Florsch on the nominations list.

Lealiifano is the only Australian nominated for the awards ceremony, with the 32-year-old just happy to be alive.

“You feel like you have won already,” Lealiifano told RUGBY.com.au from Japan.

“You probably shouldn’t get an award for being recognised for being healthy and alive. I have been given the gift of life already.”

“Adding an award on having been the gift of life …I guess it is just recognition of how you can inspire different people and different walks of life in the world.

“And that’s a huge honour. It’s truly humbling.”

In true Lealiifano style, he was quick to shift the honour to others, believing that the “overwhelming” experience has given those doing great work with leukaemia their rightful recognition.

“It’s been overwhelming hey? I am truly, truly humbled,” Lealiifano said.

“I have said that a fair bit, just the recognition of people seeing me back to play footy and the support they’ve shown.

“The publicity around it has been pretty huge and people have been sending me private messages and whatnot.

“My initial thoughts was oh man, this is a big thing but it is not only me, it’s not only myself.

“There are a lot of people in the background who have got me to where I am, so for me, it is not an individual award.

“It is a family, it’s a rugby community, it’s a whole thing.

“I haven’t done this thing by myself. It’s been a whole family of people that have got me to there.”

Simone re-signs

Irae Simone Canberra Vikings v QLD Country NRC 2019

Brumbies centre Irae Simone has confirmed his future in the nation’s capital after signing a two-year extension that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2022 season.

Simone arrived from Sydney in 2018 and was an integral piece in their push to the semi-finals, having played 16 out of the Brumbies’ 18 games.

He continued his strong form during their 27-24 win over the Reds during the first round, scoring their opening try.

The 24-year-old was pleased to have secured his future, excited by the club’s playing group and plans for the future.

“I couldn’t be happier to be extending my stay at the Brumbies,” Simone said.

“My family and I are really enjoying our time here in Canberra and the organisation has welcomed us with open arms since I arrived here last year.

“I’m really excited by the future the club is building and am looking forward to a successful season in 2020.”

With his future wrapped up, Simone has his eyes set on representing his adopted country, Australia.

“I came down with some goals. I got an opportunity and I didn’t look back – I grabbed it with both hands,” he revealed.

“It was good to get that security (of re-signing). All I need to worry about now is playing good footy.

“(Wallabies) is a goal but at the moment my priority is Brumbies.

“If can do well here then everything else will take care of itself.”

Coach Dan McKellar was equally as excited, believing that he will continue to develop and improve over the next two seasons.

“I’m really pleased we’ve been able to lock Irae in for another few years here at the Brumbies,” he said.

“He played a lot of minutes for us last year and I’m sure he’ll be looking to go up a level with his performances in 2020 and beyond.

“Irae has grown on and off the field since he arrived last year and is a really well-respected player amongst the group.”

World Rugby planning ‘A’ new schedule

Wallabies experimental back line.

Wallabies experimental back line.

World Rugby is looking for ways to provide more international fixtures for ‘tier-two’ nations, which has heralded the return of Australia A.

Australia A hasn’t played since 2008, with the side regularly playing in the Pacific Nations Cup against the likes of Fiji, Japan and Samoa between 2006-2008.

As these nations continue to develop and impress, Rugby Australia Raelene “Queen of the” Castle has decreed that they will look to bring the concept back as early as next year.

“We have a responsibility to deliver to our tier-one Test schedule, but tier one nations also have a responsibility to deliver to tier two – and tier two is not the greatest language – to make sure they’re growing and developing, and getting regular Test schedules,” Castle said.

“There is no doubt the option of Australia A playing a fixture in Fiji or Samoa or Tonga is something that is achievable and doesn’t mess with the straight Wallabies schedule,

“So we are working with World Rugby, as are New Zealand with the New Zealand Maori team, and South Africa, around seeing how we can build the wider scope to make sure we grow all of that big international content.”

Whether that means a re-entry to the Pacific Nations Cup, which now includes the likes of Canada and the USA, is still up for debate.

However, Castle believes that it can provide the perfect pathway for up-and-coming players along with those on the cusp to take the next step.

“It (Australia A) is in for discussion, with the support of World Rugby,” she said.

“They’re all looking for the top nations, to see if they can find that Australia A level or New Zealand Maori level, in a way that helps and still has that significant profile.

“For us, there would be upside in exposing players to that international platform and transitioning them into the Wallabies.”

This announcement came at the launch of a new partnership between Australian rugby and the Benestar Group, which will look to enhance the health and wellbeing of players, employees and their families.

Corona concern

Henry Taefu passes

Henry Taefu passes

The outbreak of the Coronavirus is set to play havoc on Global Rapid Rugby as they look to continue their expansion into Asia.

The Andrew-Forrest led competition announced the inclusion of the Shanghai-based China Lions as the final team in their 2020 debut season of the $1 million prize, with CEO Mark Evans expressing his delight about their continual development of Asian rugby.

“Our expansion into China is an important development for the competition. We believe that rugby has the potential to become an extremely popular and successful sport throughout the country,” Evans said at the announcement last week.

“Rugby is a game with broad appeal. Add the on-going energy, entertainment and family fun created by Rapid Rugby and I am confident crowds in Shanghai will love supporting their home team, the Lions.”

However, a day later, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australia would not allow people who have visited or transited through mainland China into the country.

This bodes poorly for GRR, who also have a team based in Hong Kong; the South China Tigers.

While Evans admits that it is a concern, he is hopeful that they can keep the teams in the competition after delaying their home games.

“These are uncharted waters,” Evans said.

“We’ve run another schedule whereby we push the first game, to be played in Shanghai, out further into the comp. So that’s one contingency.

“The other is you look at whether you take the team and put them in a less restricted, hard-hit area. You have to look at all of those, and we are.

“We’re spending a lot of time mapping out different scenarios and different contingencies depending on how the situation develops.”

If the outbreak continues, the comp may be forced to relocate the team for the inaugural season, likely to the Bay of Plenty region as part of the club’s partnership with the Mitre 10 side.

Despite this, it is expected that it will not affect players, with the majority of the squad recruited from outside of China.

  • Steve

    Super glad about the Simone re-signing, the guy is a very rare mix of size, power and ball-playing ability. I think he was the main reason Kuridrani showed such good form last year, and why he looked so at odds outside Samu in the Wallabies.

    Lealiifano – What a mix of humility, honest and determination. It frankly makes me sick.
    As an aside, for Sophia Floersch to even get in a race car again after her crash in F3 last year is incredibly gutsy.
    To be 19 and invincible again…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=445YsTL9fOs

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think it’s good news too and that he combined well with TK. He has great hands – particularly at second receiver, but even when he steps into first receiver – and takes a lot of pressure of the 10. But he will need to improve his defence further and make more impact when running the ball if he wants to own that 12 jersey in the future. Can foresee a time when Kuenzle is playing 10 and in which Lolesio is at 12 otherwise.

      • Geoffro

        lot to like about the youngsters in this Brums backline.Apart from Simone , Tom Wright has showcased his abilities as well.After being touted as a potential 10 I’m glad Lolesio and Kuenzle have come to the fore to keep him out wide where best suited.

    • Nutta

      L’fano and Pocock – they simply disgust me. It’s all so clean it must be dirty somewhere. I get their social feeds and I’m waiting to pounce when the mask finally slips. My wife is fully supportive. She can’t wait to pounce on Poet…

      • Yowie

        If you get sick of waiting you could start some rumours to tarnish their name/s. Eg “Pocock has not let police dig up his backyard“, which is probably technically true….

        • Nutta

          You need the music though. Homer proved your not a bad-guy unless you have dark music in the background.

      • Missing Link

        Rumour has it, Pocock’s social media feed has been certified as organic.

        • Nutta

          One of these days I’m going to propose an article simply calling for people to make up headlines for Poet and put them in the comments…

    • Hoss

      How did anyone survive – that’s horrific.

    • Yowie

      I’d heard rumours of some elite sportswomen “jumping the fence”…

  • Huw Tindall

    Interesting to see Australia A back in the mix. What a great way to continue to develop and blood our emerging NRC talent and the players who are just out of the U20s Wallabies but not yet at full Test level. Basically more higher calibre games to keep the non Test match players engaged in Australian rugby and developing as players. Now, I wouldn’t want to restrict it to ‘developing’ players. Nothing wrong with including Wallaby training squad players who aren’t in the match day 23 either.

    • idiot savant

      Is it motivated by GRR I wonder?

      • Nutta

        Surely. And bloody good outcome to. Isn’t it amazing how motivated folk suddenly become when some old fashioned capitalist competition kicks in?

        • Hoss

          You can almost hear Cameron Clyne cant you. sitting back, leather patches, pipe a glass of Courvoisier – ‘that World Series Cricket, it will never take off…..’

  • Nutta

    Morning Blasphemers

    I’ll second all already who up’d L’fano’s nomination. Good gear.

    I reckon Simone could be fantastic if he just develops some consistency.

    The universe continues to conspire against Twiggy’s rebel comp. I think rugby needs the rebel comp. For too long we stomached the garbage we had no option but to accept so I hope he gets up and charging if for no other reason than to force the powers-that-be to wake up, grow up and provide a decent product worthy of consumption and investment.

    Australia A – great to see it back on the agenda. Although to be fair, on their day Tonga, Samoa and Fiji especially may make us wish we fielded the Wobblies instead. However we should be there (“Australia will be there” for all the history buffs out there). And selection should be limited to current/last season NRC players with gaps plugged by Australian U20’s. Get fair-dinkum about NRC as a pathway.

    • Keith Butler

      ‘A’ team rugby a great idea. Cut price tickets and take it to the country rather than the cities.

      • Yowie

        ‘A’ team rugby a great idea

        I’d travel & pay to see BA Baracus as blindside flanker in the Rocky Elsom mould.

        • Nutta

          Dude, forget BA Baracus. I’m old enough to remember Viliami Ofahengaue. And I do still pity those fools.

        • Yowie

          Sideline interview “My prediction for the second half? Pain!

        • Nutta

          I listened to an interview with Rod McCall once. He said he only ever heard WilliO speak on the footy field once. Apparently Tony Daly and reserve Dan Crowley got hurt in a test once and Nobody asked WilliO if he would cover the last 10min at loose head if there was a scrum. WilliO’s verbose and long-winded reply was “No”.

        • Patrick

          I would have liked, a lot, to see that. Been a long time now since Australia had a no 8 in the Willie O mold, even Totai Kefu was basically reliant on my photosake to do the real tight yards.

        • Nutta
        • Patrick

          I love that one

      • Nutta

        Bravo. Toowoomba, Dubbo, Wagga etc would be gold.

        That said, some bonehead from the Donkeys had the womens side playing in Wagga last weekend. Now I dunno if you have ever been to Wagga in January but normally – and especially last weekend – it was hot enough to make Joan of Arc squirm. Even better they transported them there in a bus with no air con (from canberra – no joke), had them playing throughout the heat of the day (no morning/evening split) and had them staying at a ridiculous un-airconditioned shithole called Borambola about 10km out of town. It was bloody medieval.

        • Keith Butler

          Should apply for a sports grant!

        • Nutta

          Federal Division of Riverina is/was/always will be a safe Nasho’s duvet. No need to buy milk where you already own the cow. Sports grants there have about as much chance of approval as getting a fair and reasonable Murray-Darling water plan…

        • Keith Butler

          You’ve got to laugh. Old Collegians rugby club in a marginal seat in Adelaide get $250k to build ladies changing rooms after the ladies left en masse in 2018 due to the clubs misogynistic attitude towards them. Couldn’t make it up could you. My first and last political posting.

        • Hoss

          No breach of ‘ministerial standards’ though…………

          Like the Nashos. A guy roots the help, lies, cheats, runs around town, tosses the old mob out and now wants to lead again.

          High calibre individuals.

        • Nutta

          You know the Labradors are only going to make some noise for the show yeh? Both sides know full well not to push this too hard because if they do then someone is going to challenge the funding as a good-governance / constitutional issue (so straight to the High Court she goes) and once Dennis Denuto wins that then the grants of the last 10yrs would be subject to challenge and THAT would put both sides both under the bus and be left with no viable argument to not come under a national integrity scheme (ICAC on federal steroids). Both sides will avoid that like Corona & Heineken virus. They dead set believe it’s their divine right to do this shite.

        • Hoss

          Yep fully. ‘look at those dirty bastards over there, just don’t look over here’

        • Nutta

          It reminds of the week prior to Christmas when Scotty from Marketing finally came back from holidays and Albo was standing in front of the cameras saying “I’m not going to take cheap political shots over his absence” … whilst turning another snag on the firefighters BBQ outside Bilpin … Dead set funniest political jab of last year hands down.

        • Keith Butler

          Couldn’t resist this definition of the upstanding member aka The Beetrooter. Tamworth Pig described in the UK as a rugged, self reliant bacon producer. My definition of the Tamworth pig NSW style. Described as a soft as shit, self serving child producer. Hope we’ve seen the last of him but unfortunately shit floats. Positively my last political comment today.

        • Nutta

          I am incensed by the negative connotations and associations with all things göttliches Schwein.

          And for the record, “Positively” and “today” both give you up Dude. Come now Mr. Creosote… just one more little wafer…

        • Keith Butler

          Reminded me of the quote by Jack Palance from City Slickers. “ at least you haven’t shot anyone today” – “days not over yet”.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          No one going to mention pork-barrelling?

        • Keith Butler

          Good point.

        • Nutta
        • Yowie

          In the name of gender equality, for the Friday 27 March Reds v Brumbies game at Suncorp Stadium, I demand that the Brumbies mens team is driven to Brisbane from Canberra in a sh!thouse bus and that they are accommodated in the cheapest motel in Ipswich.

        • Nutta

          Deadset it was just about that ridiculous.

          I played in a NSW Provincial tournament in Parkes in 1993 (it was trials for Country). It was a murderous 4 days of playing each day in +40* and washing our jerseys in the motel pool each night. I was there as the reserve hooker for Southern province but as the 1st stringer and other fronties began to fall to heat & injury I wound up playing every minute of every game by necessity. Anyway I actually thought I was delirious when I got named in the Country team at the end of it. I found the Coach and double-checked it was actually me they picked – it was so I wasn’t completely delirious – but I then asked “why me?” because in all seriousness there were much better fronties than I at that tournament. I’ll never forget the reply: “Two reasons lad – firstly you can play all three spots, we’re not sure we have anyone else who can do that, but more-so because you lasted and I damn well know you’re the only guy who did that.” I wasn’t sure if I should be either proud or get myself committed.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          well done mate. Good to see stubborness rewarded

        • Nutta

          There is a lot to be said for just being the last guy left with a heartbeat.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      Forrest has surely shocked the Rugby Australia establishment into action which is great for rugby and overdue. With the waning support for the Superugby competition from SANZAAR partners, broadcasters, spectators and viewers, I think that the success of GRR will becoming important to Australian rugby. Some may even realise that GRR can be complimentary to the SANZAAR competitions just as SARU realised with Pro14 as it can create that important bridge to connect Australian rugby to the India-Asia-Pacific market.

      The Wallabies has dropped to an all time low of 7th on the RWC men’s ranking after France beat England this weekend. However when I read comments I am surprised how many still accept this mediocre performance. World Rugby stats debunk the myth that Australia just do not have enough players. We have 53% more registered players than New Zealand, and more than double the number of register players Ireland and almost three times the register players than Wales – all teams that rank above us. The problem is surely not with the number of players or the lack of interest in Rugby Union.

      Ranking: https://www.world.rugby/rankings/mru?lang=en
      Participation numbers: https://www.ruck.co.uk/top-20-country-registered-rugby-players-world/3/

      • Nutta

        It’s a pity I can only like this once.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Most of it isn’t true really though.

          – Forrest hasn’t shocked RA into anything. RA is doing exactly what they did before, but with more of an emphasis on u/20s.

          – We don’t really have anywhere near the number of serious players as New Zealand. Many are casual, and I’m certain RA cuts the figures to be flattering. Rugby is still a minor sport in Aus, and declining in importance.

          – The ranking declined for three reasons: (a) we had the worst coach we have had for fifty years at the same time most NH nations hired exceptional SH coaches, (b) the talent drain to the NH and (c) expansion to 5 super rugby teams we couldn’t support, with (b) and (c) leading to a plummeting in cohesion, which Ben Darwin hangs on about.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          I love how you try to change the facts when it doesn’t meet you narrative.

          So RA overstated the players they have on their books by a factor of more than 50%. The same players that used the new Rugby Australia website to register for which they need to buy insurance, provide officials, competition, facilities and coaching. They must be extremely competent to get it so wrong. Or alternatively our coaching, competitions and systems are just not as good.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Except there is nothing to suggest that most of those players are serious players at all. The fact that New Zealand has such a far higher number of kids indicates that most of those playing in Australia are casual adults.

          But then we come back to the fact that, unlike New Zealand or South Africa, most of the top football players are drafted into the AFL or rugby league.

          Most of these guys aren’t serious player looking to go professional. It is the opposite in New Zealand and South Africa.

          And of course Australia’s ranking is at an all time low after Cheika. If it stays this low under Rennie, you may have a shadow of a point. Until then, you don’t.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          In South Africa about 25 schools provide the bulk of the Springboks, most of the other 400,000+ players play casually. But lets assume you are correct that Australia has more casual players and that South Africa and New Zealand have more serious players, why would that be?
          South Africa has well establish competitions including school competitions, club competitions, Varsity Cup and Currie Cup competitions and all of these competitions feed into professional Superugby and Pro 14 sides that covers the whole geographical area of South Africa. I am not so familiar with the New Zealand system but my impression is that they have excellent clubs with strong competitions including Mitre 10 that feeds into the Superugby teams that also span the whole geographical area of the country. Both counties makes it easy for a casual player to pursue a professional career without having to relocate to the other side of the country. If SA/NZ expected that players that want to pursue a professional career relocate to Cape Town/Auckland to do so, they may also struggle to delivery enough serious players.

          Australia is much bigger than NZ and South Africa, the least we should do is to have a professional rugby team in each population centres with local teams and competitions that feed into that team.

          I stand by my conclusion that we have enough players, but that our system is not set-up to develop the interest in rugby union into serious (quality) players. That is a failure of the administration of the game.

        • Nutta

          You’re correct to the point that RA hasn’t actually done anything yet.

          Upfront I agree with your points 2 & 3.

          But regarding pt1, Th Powers That Be in Aus rugby – under whatever cloak is convenient at the time – only acts in some way when an external commercial entity forces their hand. That’s why Twiggy is necessary. A similar example may be found with Twiggy in west Syd. At the first whisper of that suddenly we had SRU, NSWRU and RU promising ‘big things’ and a revitalisation and the ‘culmination of serious plans’ for western Sydney… and what we got was a single development officer in Parramatta. But in an objective empiric sense we got SOMETHING (even if it was pissweak and immaterial). Now we get another spasm of action. However my support (for the little it counts) would be contingent on that AusB team having a clear linkage to NRC and then even better for NRC to have clear geographic linkage to clubs. Bugger me – a PATHWAY.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Twiggy isn’t the saviour. He’s done nothing to indicate he was the saviour. Refused to do anything for the Force in the years leading up to their removal from super rugby despite the dire financial stage. Either he didn’t care or he didn’t realise they may be kicked out. Either way, it isn’t exactly evidence of the saviour of Aussie rugby.

          Since he got involved it has been clear that what he really cares about West Australian rugby, not Australian rugby.

        • He run off with your missus or sommit?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nah, just sick of WA fanboys pretending he is the saviour of Australian rugby.

        • The “saviour” of Rugby in Oz will not be a single individual.

          I could go on but the Us v Them argument is tiresome

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          You do realise that it is some of the Force fans making the ‘us vs them’ argument? RA have kept Perth in the NRC and are continuing to provide Wallaby tests there – including multiple Bledisloes. The test scheduled in Perth has actually improved since the Force were cut.

          Some Force fans just will not accept that for a variety of reasons, RA needed to cut a team, and that it happened to by the Force.

        • And how does this affect you?
          If you believe RA should have cut the Force thats fine by me.
          I have an opinion too, as most no doubt have.
          A splintered base will not be the saviour is the only point I could be bothered making.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          RA set-up the us vs them mentality when they pitch the Force vs Brumbies vs Rebels.
          RA has also threatened to remove the Perth based NRC team as well according to the Chairman of Rugby WA which RA later denied and also left the team stranded and isolated as the team is not aligned to any professional side. Why would any player play for such a NRC team when they have a better change to make a Superugby side by moving to any of the other NRC teams?
          How many of the players that play NRC for the Force last year would have played for if Twiggy didn’t sign them up for the GRR? How competitive would this team be and how long will this team survive before RA axe them when they are not competitive?

        • Nutta

          You are correct in that he is no messiah. He’s a business man and besides and feel-good he may get I’m sure there is a buck or six in the plan somewhere. But overall I think your position is a bit harsh. He quietly bankrolled the Australian U20 programme behind the scenes for what – 5yrs? 10yrs? Ok, a massive sponsorship like that is simply money paid to rugby instead of to the tax man, but he did it where plenty of others didn’t. And when RA was out there broadcasting to the world “Woe is us we are broke” he stepped up and put $50m cash on the table. Would there have been strings on that cash? Bloody oath. $50m doesn’t come free. RA rejected it (their call) and maybe they were right to do so in terms of the strings attached. No one outside that inner circle will ever know the truth of that. But no one else stood up and put down $50million when RA said they needed it… No one.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          A fool an his money is easily parted and Twiggy is no fool….

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m yet to see any evidence of the $50m being true.

          We also don’t know what conditions were attached to it even if it were true. You can get your life that there would have been huge ones. It isn’t really putting $50m on the table if the conditions attached to it are going to be unacceptable. It is a way of offering a deal just to see the opposing part reject it.

          Not that I’m saying Twiggy is like Austria-Hungary, but that’s what Austria-Hungary did as a pretext to destroy Serbia in 1914.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          To be fair – Twiggy has not nominated himself as the saviour of Australian Rugby, he only made a very public commitment to the Western Force and has been a long term supporter and part of the WA Rugby Community. Twiggy provided the bulk of the finance for the Future Force long before the Force were axed and was a member of the Force since 2004. His family has a long connection to WA that starts with the 1st premier of WA – John Forrest and it is not a surprise that he will champion WA interest when he believe our interest are neglected or we are trampled on by those in the Eastern States.
          Twiggy acknowledged that he was surprised when Rugby Australia axed the Force as better alternatives like mergers were available but not pursued. The mistake he made was that most of us made, we trusted that RA will run a fair selection process and base their decision to axe a team on merit. We later discovered that RA could not axe wither the Brumbies nor the Rebels, so that when they decision to axe a team only one choice was possible regardless of merit. So even if Twiggy put his hand up earlier would it have made a difference? Really?
          What could not be disputed is that Twiggy has the resources to make a huge contribution to Australian rugby. It is untested if Twiggy has the appetite to make a larger contribution or under what conditions would he be prepared to get involved as this administration has been pretty awful and are leaking support everywhere.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘Better alternatives’, unless you were a fan of one of the teams potentially merged. Risked killing two teams, not one.

          Twiggy waited until the eleventh hour to really get involved. Unfortunately, it was too late.

          It’s great he supports Wear Australian rugby. But the idea that he has kicked RA into gear or whatever is ignorant in the extreme.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          I am a fan of one of those teams that potentially would be merge – the Western Force. A short term merger with some risk are preferable to killing off professional rugby in a state WA or Victoria. I do not think RA realised how important the Western Force are to WA.
          RA agreed to axe a side at the SANZAAR meeting. There was no consultation between RA, WA Rugby or any of WA stakeholders before RA voted at SANZAAR to axe a team and Pulver even provided assurance to the WA government that RA supported a Superugby team in Perth just a couple of months prior to that meeting. I do not understand how you can blame Forrest for not knowing what is going on behind closed doors when WA Rugby didn’t even know what was going on? it become clear later that the process to “select the team to axe” was just a public relations farce.
          Did he kick RA into action? I think he did as there are serious questions asked about the way RA conducted itself under Clyne’s leadership that resulted in changes to the composition of the Board and the resignation of Clyne. I am not confident that RA has its act together yet.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        TBH I’m not enamored with GRR. The games don’t excite me much and I find it hard to get enthusiastic about them. I also think the rule changes are too much and that people playing well in this competition may struggle if they get selected for a competition where the rules are so different. IN saying this I do agree that it is something that is almost needed here to wake RA up and to counter the bullshit that comes from the knobs in NSW and QLD who consistently undermine RA and it is great to see the rugby brand expand into the areas where it is playing.
        I personally would rather see the money go into a revamped NPC where teams have more of a link to the local areas and where all states actually support the competition

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          GRR has the potential to develop a serious Asia-Pacific competition and doesn’t require RA funding. GRR is also played during the Superugby season so there is no compromise or trade-offs between the NPC and GRR. The NPC, GRR and NPC can be complementary competitions. I would also like to see more support for the NPC as well, especially from NSW.

        • Nutta

          I’m going over well watered ground, but what the hell… In my opinion, regarding NRC in Sydney, there should be 3 teams with set feeder clubs:

          Norths – Manly, Rats, Gordies, Norths, Woodies.
          Souths – Wicks, Souths, Uni, Easts
          Wests – W.Hrb, Parra and then whatever happens with Penrith (eventually)

          NSW Country are allowed a more expansive approach to recruit by invitation (whoever they get from wherever).

          The point of this is it would naturally attract more ambitious fringe players in Sydney to Parra and W.Hrb clubs as a pathway to get into the NRC. This would make those clubs stronger. This then drives up success which drives sponsorship, participation etc etc for Club, NRC team and so on.

          I would also support this by pushing certain university affiliations such as Eastwood/Macquarie, UNSW/Souths, UWS/Parramatta (or better still UWS/Penrith) to complement Uni/Uni. A couple of good scholarships a year from each Uni in return for sponsors/advertising rights with those clubs means a good U20’s player has a Club/NRC/AustA/Super/Wobbly pathway clearly aligned to a Uni (post-career options and stops what I call “Mungo rot” when a 21yr old with cash & testosterone has nothing to do besides getting into trouble) which makes a much more attractive packaged alternative to compete with France/England/Japan, AFL & Mungo.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Agree with the thought process that there must be clear affiliation of club teams to NRC and then Superugby and Wallabies. I am from WA and therefore more concerned that there is no clear line of progression for a young club player between NRC and Wallaby level without having to resign from their job and move away from their family 3,500 km East to restart their career. It is not practical for an 16-21 year.

  • Yowie

    Australia A hasn’t played since 2008…

    For the most part those guys are going to be 10-12 years past their peak form now. A rumble against the Samoans is the last thing their 33-40 year old frames need.

    • Nutta

      After a few rums maybe…

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, Really good news on Simone, he’s demonstrating that he’s continuing to learn and trying to improve which TBH is a bit rare at times in Australian rugby. I hope he keeps improving and he may get a run in gold if he keeps it up. The good news story keeps getting better for Leallifano and it is such an inspiration – good on him.
    I’m a bit in 2 minds about the Australian A team. I like the concept but I feel there’d be more value in getting all the states behind the NRC and perhaps changing it a bit so it can be more representative. The pathway is a good idea but only for a select few whereas the NRC provides a pathway for a greater number of players. Maybe an A team where to qualify you have to play NRC would be a step forward.

  • Hoss

    I dont get all the fuss. A few of my mates have often had Corona Virus, but always come good around mid-afternoon.

    talk about fear mongering.

    • Yowie

      Also, what about some public health resources for Guinnessvirus, whose symptoms can include vomiting black liquid!. Scary stuff.

      • Damo

        Good thing the virologists didn’t go to the GABS Best 100 Craft Beers to name the virus. 10 Toes (Yuk), Feral, Furphy (No virus here), Mountain Goat (Hmmm) & Hemingway’s ( a few ladies in the 30’s contracted that!). And it’s a pity it can’t be cured by taking 10 IPA’s and go to bed.

        • Yowie

          Was it Speight’s Virus or Monteith’s Virus that originated from human contact with wool-bearing farm animals?

        • Nutta

          I thought it was Lion Red?

      • Keith Butler

        Went on a tour to Ireland many many years ago and drank nothing but Guiness and Port. Shat black turds for a week.

        • Yowie

          Fecal Alcohol Syndrome?

        • Keith Butler

          Nice one.

        • Patrick

          That’s only because you forgot the blood sausage morning hash.

    • Nutta

      Bundy virus is completely harmless to others but leaves you with World War Z symptoms though.

    • Keith Butler

      Changing the name to Ebola XXXX.

    • Patrick

      Corona is an irreversible disease

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    News in the Australian is that Foxtel has walked away from Australian rugby. This ends a 25 year associated between Foxtel and Rugby Australia. Not enough details to assess the situation and the likely impact on Rugby Australia.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Wow! To be fair over the last 5 years it’s been a losing proposition for them

    • John Tynan

      Funnily enough, a lot of negative/down talking by the NewsCorp media who just happen to own Fox.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Divide and conquer is Fox’s strategy and the NewsCorp media will surely play their role to exploit divisions between the major players in the Australia Rugby’s administration. I expect this strategy to be successful as it is a known weakness that the stakeholders within the Rugby Australia administration put heir interest above the national interest. If there is a good deal for Shute Shield I expect that the Sydney clubs will sign up even if it is at the determinant of Australian rugby and so will the GRR.

        • John Tynan

          Unfortunately, you are spot on, I reckon.

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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