Wednesday’s rugby news has some Reds reinforcements, the Rebels losing Weeks, the Wallabies trying to fit David Pocock in and an exciting Six Nations suggestion.
Gill and Hunt back at Reds
The struggling Reds will be boosted by the availability of Liam Gill and Karmichael Hunt for this weekend’s match against the Rebels. Gill received a two-week ban following his wrestling-style tackle on Nic White in the team’s 29-0 loss to the Brumbies, while Hunt’s club-imposed suspension for cocaine possession has expired.
Rob Simmons will also be fit for Queensland’s upcoming tour of South Africa, having recovered from a shoulder nerve injury that has kept him sidelined since pre-season. Despite sitting at the bottom of the Australian conference, captain James Slipper said that a finals berth was still possible, emphasising, “With the players we do have here, it’s a very good squad,”
Weeks facing injury layoff
Laurie Weeks has avoided surgery after injuring his knee in Friday’s loss to the Hurricanes, however the foundation Rebel will be sidelined for six to eight weeks after scans confirmed a fracture of his left tibial plateau. The news means that Weeks will be available for the second half of the season, with Paul Alo Emile expected to fill his role in the front-row.
The Rebels’ most-capped player will be a great loss to the squad though, as emphasised by head of Athletic Performance Bryce Cavanagh. “He is a wonderful, positive influence on the group, and his experience is invaluable; we’ll miss that on the field,” Cavenagh explained.
Cheika unsure of Pocock role
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has admitted that although he trusts that David Pocock will return to his full playing potential, he is not quite sure where the Brumbies flanker fits into World Cup plans. “Once he gets a run of games, he’s a world-class performer and I’m sure he will deliver, there’s no issue there,” Cheika said.
The issue was instead with the emergence of Michael Hooper as Australia’s first choice openside flanker. While Cheika believes that both players will be important to the Australian World Cup effort, he said that there would likely only be room for one in the starting side. Cheika will also delay naming his Wallabies captain until the end of the Super Rugby season.
Bonus points argued for Six Nations
Clive Woodward believes the Six Nations would benefit from adopting a bonus-point system. The former England coach commented that administrators should try to encourage the spectacle seen on the final day of this year’s competition on a more regular basis. A remarkable 221 points were scored over the three matches on the last day, as team’s fought for a points differential advantage.
“Rugby’s a great game when it’s played properly, but when you’re not going out there to score tries and you’re going out there to defend and play field position, sometimes rugby isn’t a great spectacle for general sports fans,” Woodward said.