The Rogues Rant

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

Where is Super Rugby heading from here? There were plenty of people, the Rogue included, calling for changes to the Super Rugby format for this year, but the powers that be went with pretty much the same format again. The continuation of the Conference format is destined to bring up the same ridiculous situation come semi-final time as we saw last year. The Blues racked up 38 straight wins for Kiwi sides over Australian sides in Super Rugby last week. It was the lowest rated Kiwi side over the highest rated Aussie side. We are sure to see more Kiwi wins before the year is out. We will see an Australian side in the semi’s at the expense of one maybe even two decidedly better performed New Zealand teams. The credibility of the tournament will once again be in tatters. The Kiwis are already questioning the worth of the Competition given the ever expanding disparity between the performances of sides from either side of the ditch. Super Rugby can’t survive another season like this! Where to in 2019?

The NSW Country Women’s Tournament is on this week at Campbelltown Showground. There will be four zones competing including Illawarra, Mid North Coast, Central West and Newcastle Hunter. The Newcastle girls will go into the day as favorites but just as in the Caldwell Cup, the Illawarra girls would love nothing more than to steal the show from our traditional rivals. Come on girls, bring it home. It would be an incredible double to have both Country titles in the bag. Illawarra are up against the Newcastle Hunter side first up at 10.00AM. It will be a round robin tournament with each side playing three matches. The team that finishes on top of the bonus point competition table will take the trophy home. The last match is at 2.45PM.

The Waratahs fumbled their way to another loss last week to the Blues, while the Rebels took a hiding from the Crusaders. The Crusaders sit on top of the Kiwi Conference and host the Waratahs this Saturday in Christchurch. This could get ugly. The Reds take on the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday as well, while the Brumbies play the Rebels at home on Saturday night. The Waratahs should just hold onto the top spot on the Aussie Table. The Highlanders fell to the Sharks in the Republic last week in an upset and now face the in form Lions in Dunedin on Saturday night. This one should be a cracker. The Rogues hasn’t gone too well over the last couple of weeks with only three winners each week. My tips for this week: Hurricanes, Reds, Crusaders, Highlanders, Brumbies, Stormers, Bulls.

There were some tasty results last week locally with Shamrocks ending Shoalhaven’s unbeaten run in a high scoring affair at Woonona. Geoff Shaw Medal winner from a couple of years ago Rory Davis ran in four tries for the Rocks and there were a few send offs in an eventful match. The other upset was Campbelltown’s win over Bowral. Bowral had a commanding 35 – 7 lead at half-time before going down 45 – 42 in a huge second half turnaround by the Quinnies. As a result we now have just eight points separating nine teams on the table after four rounds with Uni taking over top spot on points differentials. So to this week, Bowral are at home to Vikings with both sides having some injury woes at the moment and both are a bit off their best. Very difficult to gauge on this one but I think the Blacks will be in a bit better shape for this week. Bowral to win. Avondale host Tech Waratahs at Gerry Capetta Oval and after showing some signs of their best form last week, I think they will get the points over an improving Tech Waratahs. Avondale to win. Shoalhaven travel again this week but only just up the road to Kiama. Kiama have two wins under their belt but even at home they will struggle to stay with the equal competition leaders. Shoalhaven to win. University play Camden at home in what is first against last on the table. The Bulls could run up a big score. University to win. The Match of the Round this week is at Ocean Park for Shamrocks and Campbelltown. Both sides ran up big scores last week and this should be an interesting match for two teams keen to get away from the bottom of the table and stay in touch with the front runners. Some people suggest that I am some sort of jinx for Campbelltown in that since their return to Illawarra I have attended about eight of their games and they have only won once with me there. Well let’s keep things consistent, I’ll be there on Saturday and I think the Rocks can get the job done here as well. Shamrocks to win.

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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