The Rogues Rant

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

Season 2018 is upon us, Round 1 is next Saturday April 7th. IDRU President Peter Woods launched the year at a special function at Shamrocks home ground Ocean Park last Sunday attended by all the District Clubs. Board member Darin Crofts announced that the Illawarra will be hosting the NSW Country Women’s Championship Tournament this year at Campbelltown Showground on the 12th May. Illawarriors Head Coach Richard Thompson reported on the progress of the Illawarriors Squads as they prepare for Country Week in Warren at the end of April.  New Junior Illawarra Chairman Wayne Cusack outlined the year ahead for Illawarra Junior Rugby. It was good to see the roll up of so many familiar faces as we rush toward another Rugby season to enjoy. First Round matches next week are Campbelltown V Shoalhaven, Kiama V Camden, University V Avondale, Tech Waratahs V Bowral, Shamrocks V Vikings.

Illawarriors Head Coach Richard Thompson has assembled a very experienced and talented coaching staff for this year’s Caldwell Cup campaign. With Shaun  McCreedy and Don Nepia involved again this year, former Illawarrior Head Coach Brendon Schoupe has joined the group as Defensive Coach. Ex Illawarrior Captains Gavin Holder and Tim Olsen are also involved preparing both the Colts and Senior squads for the big trip out to Warren in four weeks’ time.

The events of last week in the Cape Town Cricket Test has amazed, saddened and indeed angered sports fans right around Australia. The players have been suspended for their actions as they should have been. However I can’t help but feel that the punishment does not match the crime. The suspensions handed out by Cricket Australia don’t reflect the standards set by the ICC and will undoubtedly be challenged by the Australian Cricketers Association. I reckon six month suspensions are more in keeping with the gravity of the situation.

It should be an interesting evening in Canberra on Saturday night for the Brumbies V Waratahs Super Rugby match. Both sides need the points to stay in touch with the Rebels and Reds at the top of the Aussie table. Both sides had the Bye last week after a somewhat topsy turvey start to 2018. The Brumbies will be welcoming David Pocock back for his first match of the season after a year off. Israel Folau remains on the wing for the Waratahs who are coming off that remarkable victory over the Rebels a fortnight ago. The Brumbies had a close unconvincing win over the Sharks last outing and will be keen to lift the Dan Vickerman Cup and more importantly take the points in this one. Five out of six for The Rogue last week. My tips for this round: Chiefs, Hurricanes, Blues, Waratahs, Stormers, Crusaders.

Word has just come through of the terrible news of the assault on Australian Sevens Skipper James Stannard. A fractured skull sustained in a one-punch attack in the early hours of Friday morning means that Stannard is out of the upcoming Commonwealth Games. Stannard who has been the heart and soul of the Aussie Sevens side would have been competing in his third Games but his future in Rugby must now be in some doubt all together. I’m sure Rugby fans right across the country will join me in sending best wishes to the little champion.

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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