The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

It looks like we are heading for a record year in the Dexter Porter Cup this year. No less than eight IDRU clubs have had blood donations registered so far in this year’s Blood Cup. Once again two clubs Shamrocks and Vikings are leading the way with in excess of 100 donations between them at the halfway point of the season. Well done everyone, let’s keep it going.Dexter Porter Blood Cup 18 2 

Thanks to the Old Illawarrior, I had a look at a clip on You Tube the other day which helps you to better understand why New Zealand Rugby is in such a good state. They start instilling the All Black spirit and culture into their people very early as can be seen at the annual Rugby Match between Kings College and Aukland Grammar. The pre-game Haka is sensational. Check it out on You Tube. Google Aukland Grammar Haka 2018.

The Irish showed last week in Melbourne just why they are the Six Nations Champions. They are a very good Rugby side led by Fly-Half Johnny Sexton, who is right up there amongst the games very best. The Irish have made five changes for the third Test this week in Sydney including changing both Prop Forwards. Most of the changes have been brought on by injury, but the biggest injury news is with the Wallabies. The loss of Will Genia with a broken arm is impossible to overcome. The Wallabies are a different side whenever Genia wears the number 9. His ability to push the side around the park takes the Wallabies performance to a level that no other halfback can achieve. I think it will be a hard day at the office for the Wallabies this week with the Irish very keen to finish their season on a high. I hope I’m wrong but I’m tipping an Irish win.

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Cockatoos Dominate ACT Provincial

NSW Country LogoCamden Rugby club hosted the NSW Country Cockatoos and Cockatoos Colts on a very cold and windy day. The day commenced with our Cockatoos Colts playing three games against identified Shute Shield U19 players from all across Sydney. The Gen Blue trial games were in their second year of this format and the players from Sydney which included players of country origin were split into five teams to have an opportunity to be identified for the newly formed URC competition (Under 19’s Rugby Championship) which will run in September and October later this year. NSW will have two teams in this competition, a Sydney origin team and our very own NSW Country Eagles U19’s team in which country origin players who are playing in Sydney will be eligible as well as our Cockatoos Colts player.

Whilst the results didn’t go the way of the Cockatoos Colts the players performed very well across all three fixtures and certainly put their best foot forward for further representative honors later this year.   

The Cockatoos Colts players typified our Country Rugby values and these young men are a credit to their families, clubs and zones and should be commended on their behavior throughout the camp and match day activities. 

The NSW Country Cockatoos had a more traditional fixture against Brumbies Provincial, which are the best players from their ACT Country competitions. The opening 20 minutes was absolutely brutal with both teams exchanging massive hits. The opening exchanges would lead to some very tired defense after both teams had lengthy times in possession. The Country Cockatoos were first to score and that seemed to lead to some dominance for the remainder of the half with the Country Cockatoos taking a solid lead into the half. A very strong set piece game allowed the slick Country Cockatoos backs to launch some exciting attack which lead to a couple of long range tries. Brumbies Provincial to their credit never gave up and scored the final two tries leaving with that second try ending the game 34 – 24. 

A true team performance with Cockatoos getting the job done up front to allow a very capable and skillful backline to create a lot of opportunities. 

Avondale Hold Out Tenacious University

MatchReportIn a remarkable eighty minutes of Rugby at Gerry Capetta Oval, Avondale have maintained their IDRU Builders Club Premiership lead but not without a scare from a tenacious University side. The Wombats put on what must have been close to their best forty minutes of attacking Rugby so far this year to take a bonus point 24 – 0 lead into the break. Showing all the attacking potency that they possess the reigning Premiers ran in four tries in what at times was a powder keg of a first half which threatened to explode on a couple of occasions.

With both sides willing to get involved in the heavy work the match pulsated from one end of the field to the other. Unfortunately both sides lost a player to head knocks in the first half one of which caused a twenty two minute delay to play. Avondale lost No.8 Gus Faleauto in the tenth minute after he collided heavily with Uni center Jade Gardiner and was knocked unconscious. As a precaution after Faleauto lay motionless for several minutes an Ambulance was called, but thankfully by the time it arrived he had recovered enough for the Paramedics to walk him off the field.

Uni Lock Carl Lanigan was Blue Carded by Referee John Maughan after an accidental head clash left him dazed on the ground. The incident which also sparked a nasty exchange between several players caused another delay to the match as the match officials took several minutes to calm the situation as half time approached.

Maximum points in the IDRU Player of the Year award went to Wombat Fly-Half Silipa Tuagamala whose impact on the match was almost immediate. Tuagamala scored in the first minute of the match with a jinking run from twenty out leaving three defenders in his wake. He converted his try from in front for a 7 – 0 lead to the hosts.

With veteran Donovan Nepia showing the Students hand early with his prodigious kicking game giving Uni field position, the visitors were able to put the Wombat defense to the test for an extended period. The incident involving Faleauto put a stop to the student’s momentum as they peppered the Wombat line.

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The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

Our Junior Illawarrior sides had a busy time over the long weekend. Competing in the NSW Junior State Championships, which is the toughest tournament of the year for our youngsters, it was a mixed bag of results. The Under 17 girls completed what has been a very successful program for the year, including winning the NSW Country title, by making the final only to go down 29 – 5 to a very strong West Harbor side. The girls won three of their four pool games, only going down to the West Harbor girls by a similar margin during the round matches. The Under 15 girls won two of their five matches over the weekend. After winning three Country Titles earlier this year our boy’s sides went through an even tougher weekend. The Under 14’s were unbeaten going into the quarter finals but went down heavily to Penrith 67 – 0. In The Under 13’s the boys had wins over Warringah and Hunter after going down to West Harbor and Manly. The Under 12’s had two wins while the Under 15’s went winless over the tournament. The Under 16’s were involved in a rigorous series of matches resulting in two good wins over Penrith and Southern Inland but fell to strong sides from Melbourne, Hunter and Sydney University. Congratulations to everyone involved in what has been a long and very successful Junior Illawarrior Program for 2018.

What a great win by the Wallabies in the First Test against the Irish in Brisbane last week. I reckon it was the best defensive performance we have seen from a Wallaby side for quite some time. It was the first time in fourteen years that the Wallabies have held their opponent try-less in a home Test Match. Coach Cheika has named the same twenty three players for the second Test this week in Melbourne. The Irish on the other hand have made eight changes including having champion Fly-Half Johnny Sexton to start the match. Their side showed considerable improvement when Sexton joined the game last week and are sure to be more of handful with the star No. 10 on deck from the start this time around. As well as Sexton starting the Irish will also have their number one front row this week with front rowers Cian Healy and Tadgh Furlong also starting. The Wallaby scrum was very good in the first match but they can expect a more committed Irish scrum this time around. My tip, an Irish win to set up a big decider in Sydney on June 23.

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Shoalies Celebrate Anniversary Weekend With Solid Win

MatchReportShoalhaven have added to their 50th Anniversary Celebrations with a strong 33 – 14 win over Campbelltown at Shoalhaven Rugby Park. A strong vocal crowd witnessed a committed Shoalies side run in five entertaining tries in their IDRU Builders Club Premiership Round 9 match on Saturday.  With the electrifying Brandon brothers contributing more than half their side’s points, the win will keep Shoalies in touch with the top four sides in the race to the finals.

The first fifteen minutes of the match was a real arm wrestle with both sides feeling out the opposition as they took their time to settle into their work. Livewire Shoalhaven halfback Sam Watts led the way for his side directing some concentrated play in the Quinnies quarter resulting in the first try of the match to Fullback Steve Brandon. Brandon’s converted try came in the sixteenth minute and marked a turning point in proceedings.

The Quinnies lifted following the opening try and on the back of some powerful running from their forwards dominated field position and possession for an extended period. Campbelltown pounded away at the Shoals line without success in the face of some outstanding defense from the home side. After three penalties in the Shoalies quarter, after all of which the Quinnies went to their dominant scrum, debutant Referee Neil Greaves binned Shoalhaven center Graham Porter for repeated infringements following a general team warning.

Shoalhaven weathered all the Quinnies could throw at them while short-handed eventually clearing their line after an all too common Campbelltown handling error. While still one short, Shoalies put on two scintillating tries with the Brandon brothers displaying some of their lightning speed. The first came when Steve Brandon broke clear twenty meters inside his own half, and sprinted away down the eastern side line. He passed to his brother Mark who took play further into the Quinnies half before passing back to Steve. The Shoalies captain came to within meters of the Campbelltown line where he positioned Flanker Mathew Spresser to complete the try in the corner.

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The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

Congratulations to Shoalhaven Rugby Club, celebrating their 50th Anniversary over this June long weekend. A very busy weekend coming up for the Shoalies faithful starting with an informal get together at the Rugby Club from 6.00PM on Friday night. Beer, Wine and Woodfired Pizza are on the menu and there is sure to be plenty of tall tales of the legendary past shared by all. The Shoalies Round 9 match up with Campbelltown has been brought forward a week to form part of the celebrations with all matches to be played half an hour earlier than usual on Saturday with 1st Grade kicking off at 2.30PM. Shoalies dropped out of the top four last week after losing to competition leaders Avondale, while the Quinnies found some form going down narrowly to University. I’ll tip Shoalies to get a win this week and stay in touch with the top four. A sold out formal dinner will be held on Saturday night with over 300 people to attend at Bomaderry Bowling Club including some very special guests. Favorite sons Al Kanaar and Will Miller will be there along with the legendary Andrew Walker. Unfortunately Australian Sevens star Tom Connor will be an apology. A recovery Brunch will be held from 11.00AM Sunday at the ground with some physical on ground activities planned for anyone who may still be fit enough to participate after such a hectic few days. Congratulations to all our friends at Shoalhaven Rugby Club, have a good weekend.

Once again I have to ask the question, just where Australian Rugby is heading? This week it was announced that NSW will only have two teams participating in this year’s NRC tournament. The Sydney Rays and the Country Eagles are the only two teams left from the original four sides that first competed in the competitions inaugural year in 2014. This is a national tournament aimed at giving players the opportunity to take a step up into a higher level of competition designed to fill the gap between club and Super Rugby. To only have two teams coming out of an area of over six million people is ridiculous. This decision is a perfect example as to why Australia is not producing the standard of player required for International Rugby. Instead of creating more opportunity for more players to grow and develop the powers that be are more interested in creating stronger individual teams to chase short term success and bring trophies back to Sydney.

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