The Rogues Rant

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

This Saturday April 7, marks the start of the 2018 IDRU Builders Club Premiership. After a couple of quiet months to start the year things are really starting to get into full swing. April and May are going to very busy with various events on the way to keep all parts of Illawarra Rugby active. The Dexter Porter Blood Cup gets away this weekend as well running right throughout the season proper. Check out the Information Poster next to this column. The Senior Illawarriors and Colts are off to the NSW Country Championships in Warren on the 28/29th April, whilst on the same weekend our Junior Illawarriors will be heading to the Central Coast for Trials against the Coasties in 12’s, 14’s, 15’s, 16’s and Opens at Wanervale on Sunday April 29. The Illawarrior Womens team will be the hosts for this year’s NSW Country Womens Championships to be played at Campbelltown Showground on May 12. Don’t forget this year’s Digger Day set for Shoalhaven Rugby Park on Saturday July 28.

We’ve witnessed several eye catching performances by Shoalhaven junior Will Miller off the bench for the Waratahs this year. Will has finally been rewarded with a starting berth for this week’s Super 15 match up with The Sunwolves in Tokyo. Will has had a couple of big years staring with Norths in the Shute Shield and also getting a run with the Rebels and in the NRC over the last couple of years. He has well and truly earnt his spot in this weeks starting lineup for the Waratahs and I’m sure there will be plenty of people south of the Royal National Park tuning in on Saturday. Well done to Will, our latest Illawarra Junior to make his mark in Super Rugby.

The first of this year’s Super Rugby matches between an Aussie and a Kiwi side was not nice to watch last week. The Hurricanes demoralized the Rebels by thirty points and there is a long way to go yet. The next Trans Tasman match will be the Brumbies against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday week. Only six games again this week, spread far and wide. My selections for this round: Hurricanes, Waratahs, Chiefs, Brumbies, Lions, Crusaders.

Well it’s kick off time for the 2018 IDRU Builders Club Premiership. Tipping winners this weekend will be a real hit and miss exercise for me at least. Everyone is playing their cards close to their chests in the lead-up to the new season. It will be interesting to see just who is backing up from last season and word is that several key players will be returning to their clubs after some time away. I’ll just have to wait and see what the sides look like over the early rounds before tipping with any confidence. I think we will see some change in the pecking order this year especially coming from the bottom half of last year’s table. Campbelltown open their campaign at home to Shoalhaven. With new First Grade Coach Owen Gregory preparing the Quinnies they will be very keen to get their new season off to a flying start. My word is however that the Shoalies will be welcoming back some big guns from the past and will be hard to beat here despite the big trip north. I’ll go for a win for last year’s big improvers Shoalhaven. Kiama and Camden meet at Kiama Showground, with both sides looking for a big improvement on 2017. I really don’t know who to go for here but the word around suggests that Kiama have recruited quite judiciously over summer and may be on the improve. Kiama to win first up. Another of last year’s improvers Tech Waratahs hosts Bowral at Saunders Oval. It’s been a hard couple of seasons for the Tech Tahs with some good signs coming through for them last year. Bowral have been one of the form teams over the last couple of years and I expect that they will start well again this year. Bowral to win a close one. Shamrocks and Vikings meet at Ocean Park for what will a tough one as matches between these two always are. As usual both sides will be ready to rumble for this one, but the Rogue can’t get much feedback from anyone involved here. Word is Shamrocks will be welcoming back some big guns and Vikings will have pretty much all of last year’s roster available. I’ll tip Vikings to carry on last season’s good form and get the win first up. Match of the Round will be at Wollongong University with Premiers Avondale visiting. It will be interesting to see just who takes the field this week with both sides likely to have lost some players from last year but both should still be able to field very competitive teams. These two have been the two big guns for a couple of seasons now and I expect more of the same this year along with Vikings. With-out any real confidence I’ll go for a win from the Premiers. Avondale to win another close one.

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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