The Rogues Rant

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

There is going to have to be some very serious consideration given to the future of Super Rugby in the very near future. The tournament really is starting to look very tired and interest is waning with the disjointed draw and the ongoing dominance of the New Zealand sides. There are strong comments coming out of South Africa in various publications regarding just where the South African sides should be playing their Rugby. With two sides, The Cheetahs and Kings already doing their thing in Europe, plenty of pundits are suggesting that the future for all the Republican sides lies in Europe. Similar time zone to the Republic and less traveling involved than the Southern comp. The Kiwis are making noises about whether the whole thing is worthwhile given their current ongoing superiority. As for Australia one must consider if the whole process is money well spent or if there is a better way to develop the game in this country. In 2017 Rugby Australia poured $39Mil into the four current Super Rugby franchises (Not including Western Force) and a further $25Mil in further player payments plus some extra Wallaby top ups. All we have to show for all that money is forty odd straight losses to New Zealand sides and only a marginally better performance against the rest of the Super sides. The performance of the Wallabies over the last couple of years can also only be described as unimpressive. As I have said a few times before there is something very wrong with player development in this country and it is clear the current structure including Super Rugby is not producing the quality of player required for Australian Rugby to be competitive at an international level. It has to change and it has to change now!

What a fabulous weekend just past for Illawarra Rugby! On Saturday the Lady Illawarriors matched the Caldwell Cup winning Illawarriors taking out the NSW Country Championships at Campbelltown. On Sunday the Junior Illawarriors added three more Country Titles to the ledger in Armidale where the Under 12’s, 13’s and 14’s all went through their tournaments undefeated. This on top of the Illawarra Girls Under 17’s Country title win a couple of weeks back. Not wanting to put any pressure on anyone, let’s give good luck wishes to our Under 15’s and 16’s sides who are off to Bathurst this weekend for their Country Tournaments. The Old Illawarrior will be in attendance over the weekend and will be reporting for us. Good Luck guys!

They are both members of the Front Rowers Club. They are both proud Kiwis. They have both been involved with three separate Illawarra Clubs over the years. They both have Illawarra First Grade Titles to their credit. They have both been involved with Illawarrior Senior rep programs over the years. They are both current Illawarra Club first grade coaches. They were both involved in the biggest upset of the year so far last weekend when last placed Camden knocked over competition leaders University. One was quite happy with the result while the other was somewhat disappointed. This weekend they will be brothers in arms as co-coaches of the Junior Illawarrior Under 15 side in Bathurst. That’s a bit of a contrast over such a short period of time. They are James Patrick and Dion Miller. The Rogue wishes you both Good Look, to you and your young charges.

I’ve said enough already about Super Rugby, so my tips for this week after another poor four winners last week are: Hurricanes, Stormers, Crusaders, Highlanders, Sharks, Lions, Jaguares.

Last week’s local results were full of upsets and near upsets. Camden got their first win of the year by knocking over competition leaders University. Shamrocks bounced back to their best reminding us of 2016 with a strong win over Campbelltown. Premiers Avondale were down 22 – 0 at one stage to Tech Tahs only to get home by two in the dying stages of the match. Bowral and Vikings fought out a high scoring one for the Blacks to get up 32 – 31, while Shoalhaven returned to the top of the table with another high scoring win over Kiama 50 – 31. It appears that there is not a lot between our sides this year and with so many players involved in the Country program in coming weeks, we might just see some more upsets to come. This week sees Avondale at home to Camden and despite the Rams big win last week over Uni, there can only be one result here. Avondale to win. Bowral and Kiama meet at Eridge Park and I expect the Blacks to continue on with another win here. Bowral to win. Tech Waratahs and Campbelltown at Saunders Oval will be an interesting one with both sides on the improve. I’ll go for the home side here, Tech Waratahs to win. Vikings are at home to competition leaders Shoalhaven and have Tom Sawden in doubt for this one through injury. Shoalhaven are four from five so far but have some injury concerns of their own. I have to go for the visitors here, Shoalhaven to win. University will be missing a few key players this week and Shamrocks have welcomed back all their boat rowers and were impressive winners last week. It will be an interesting one. A Shamrocks win could put them over the top of the Students on the table and into the top four. Shamrocks to win. All I have to do now is decide which match to go to!

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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