The Rogues Rant

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

With the local Illawarra Rugby scene showing signs of a period of regeneration with several of our Traditional clubs now being able to enter a full complement of teams this year, it’s interesting to see what’s going on in other Country zones. For a couple of years now there has been ongoing discussions between the New England zone and neighboring Central North zone with consideration being given to amalgamating their competitions. Negotiations stalled again this year and they will run separately for the 2018 season as usual. Unfortunately though due to the uncertainty, neither zone has been able to put together a squad for this year’s Country Championships in Warren. With the assistance of Country Rugby officials a solution has been found to get the best of the areas players to the Championships to push for Cockatoo selection. A combined squad to be known as The Northern Bushrangers will participate in the Richardson Shield tournament. Meanwhile in Newcastle the Waratahs club has withdrawn from the Newcastle Hunter Premier Competition for 2018. In recent years the 77 year old club has struggled for player numbers, resulting in only being able to field two sides in 2017. The very difficult but inevitable decision has been made for the club to drop back down the grades in an effort to rebuild the club to its former status. The club has produced something like eight Wallabies with the list headed by Cyril Bourke and the great John Hipwell. Let’s hope that with the efforts of Rugby tragics up that way, this great club can once again be returned to its former glory.

The IDRU 2018 Season Launch will now take place at Shamrocks headquarters at Ocean Park, Woonona from 3.00PM this Sunday 25th March.

The on again off again Australian Schoolboys Tour of Great Britain seems to be back on the agenda again. Rugby Australia has apparently made $100,000.00 available for the tour with the participants to be given the task to fund raise the remaining costs. However it comes together it would be a shame to see this tour go be the wayside. It’s a must though that the tour squad should be made up of the most talented players and not just those who can afford to pay their way.

Another raft of trial matches around the district this weekend. Bowral will be playing matches against Balmain at Eridge Park from 12.30PM. University is hosting Orange City at Wollongong University from Noon, after the Uni Girls play Gunghalin Eagles at 11.00AM. Up at Campbelltown the Harlequins are playing Oatley in three grades from 12.00 Noon, while Vincentia and the Southern Crushers clash at Vincentia from 2.00PM. The Illawarriors are having a weekend off this week after going down by 7 tries to 3 in a more than solid afternoon out against Southern Districts.

An eventful weekend for Aussie Super 15 sides last week. The Brumbies got home for their second win of the year thanks to four penalty goals to Wharenui Hawera, despite playing twenty minutes of the match with players in the Bin. The Sharks scored two late tries to match the Brumbies two and cause some heartache for the locals in the closing stages. The Reds put in a wonderful defensive display against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, and put on a try that will definitely be a contender for the try of the year. Winger Filipo Daugunu finished the try off with a brilliant goose stepping run to the line after No.8 Caleb Timu raced forty meters up field in a set move after a line out in their own half. But it was the Waratahs who iced the weekend with an amazing turn-around of form in the second half against the Rebels. The Waratahs scored five second half tries after it looked like the Rebels by how many at the break, with the Tahs looking anything but winners. The Rebels went home with their tails between their legs in what was their first loss of the year. Only three winners for the Rogue last week. My tips for this week: Crusaders, Rebels, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Stormers, Lions. The Brumbies and Waratahs have a Bye this week.

All opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.

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