The Rogues Rant

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

The Tech Waratahs club tragically lost their friend and player Matt Simpson last summer to suicide. Following his passing a group of his friends and club-mates have started an initiative to create a mentoring campaign for young men who may be struggling with the pressures of life. The Charity to be known as #talk2mebro will be launched on Sunday 3rd June at the North Gong Hotel from 4PM to 6PM. The purpose of the campaign is to help young men in our community learn to discuss, deal and talk about the struggles of life, with the aim to make suicide an unacceptable option. Tech Tahs round 15 match with Avondale on the 28th July will be a commemorative match for the campaign with the Tech Tahs players wearing special one off jumpers for the match. The jumpers will then be auctioned off at the North Gong after the game with all proceeds going to the cause. Check out Tech Tahs Facebook page for more details and contact LaVon Davey to pledge your assistance for this very worthy campaign.

The Junior Illawarriors Country Championship campaign this year has been outstanding. Of the eight Country Titles up for grabs four have come to the Illawarra in an extraordinary effort from all concerned. On top of winning the four titles we also have had 24 players selected in Country Squads for the year. After the Under 15’s and 16’s tournaments in Bathurst last weekend, seven players made it into the Country Squads. Anthony Moata’ane, Tom Cusack, Jack Neich, Jake Hickey, and Jayden Legaspi made it into the Under 15’s while Blake Gurney and Blake Wellington won a place in the Under 16’s. Other players selected this year include Josh Low, Micah Gibson, Matthew Parkes, Jayden Villamu, Harrison Valevatu, Jackson Ropata, and Metui-sela Fuka in Under 14’s. The girls are not to be outdone by the boys with Maddison Weatherall, Camelia Lotoaatu, Keeley Kopara, Koniseti Tinao, Grace Sullivan, and Viena Tinao making the Under 17 Girls squad and Sailina Heritage, Lili O’Dea, Angie Tau, and Checoby Muttay making the Under 15’s. Well done to all concerned in putting the Junior program together.

Well the Kiwi hoodoo is finally over. The Waratahs big win over the Highlanders ended the run after the Reds narrow loss to the Hurricanes extended the tally to forty straight losses. Things certainly went the Waratahs way early with the dismissal of Highlanders winger Tevita Nabura for dangerous play and then halfback Aaron Smith spent ten in the bin as well. The Waratahs took the appropriate approach to the match taking full advantage of the overlap to run in five tries and take the points. Let’s hope this proves to be the turning point for the Australian sides Super Rugby campaigns. My tips for this week: Crusaders, Rebels, Jaguares, Chiefs, Highlanders, Bulls, and Lions.

We have another new competition leader this week with Avondale taking top spot for the first time this year. They’ll be keen to win this week and break the sequence which has seen the top side beaten over the last couple of weeks. It’s Back to Camden Round this week with the Rams up against their closest rivals Campbelltown. The two sides sit on the bottom of the table and will be keen to get the jump on their opponents. It’s a hard one to pick but I am going to go for the visitors in a close one. Campbelltown to win. Shoalhaven are still reeling from last week’s big loss to Vikings which cost them the competition lead. Bowral have been traveling very smoothly so far coming off a big win over Kiama, and despite the match being at Shoalhaven I’m going for the Blacks. Bowral to win. Vikings host Kiama in the first of the Black and Blue Cup matches for the year. Kiama are struggling a bit while Vikings showed that they are returning to form with the return of several players over the last couple of weeks. Only one winner here. Vikings to win. Shamrocks host competition leaders Avondale and will be determined to keep the trend of top of the table sides losing again this week. Shamrocks have shown good form of late but I think they will be up against it here. Avondale to win. Match of the Round is the battle of the Bridge between Tech Waratahs and University at Saunders Oval. Tech Tahs were impressive in their win last week over Campbelltown, but the Bulls, who will be back to full strength this week with their Country Reps back, will be a different story. The Bulls won’t have things their own way but will get the points here. University 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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