The Rogues Rant

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

Our Junior Illawarrior sides had a busy time over the long weekend. Competing in the NSW Junior State Championships, which is the toughest tournament of the year for our youngsters, it was a mixed bag of results. The Under 17 girls completed what has been a very successful program for the year, including winning the NSW Country title, by making the final only to go down 29 – 5 to a very strong West Harbor side. The girls won three of their four pool games, only going down to the West Harbor girls by a similar margin during the round matches. The Under 15 girls won two of their five matches over the weekend. After winning three Country Titles earlier this year our boy’s sides went through an even tougher weekend. The Under 14’s were unbeaten going into the quarter finals but went down heavily to Penrith 67 – 0. In The Under 13’s the boys had wins over Warringah and Hunter after going down to West Harbor and Manly. The Under 12’s had two wins while the Under 15’s went winless over the tournament. The Under 16’s were involved in a rigorous series of matches resulting in two good wins over Penrith and Southern Inland but fell to strong sides from Melbourne, Hunter and Sydney University. Congratulations to everyone involved in what has been a long and very successful Junior Illawarrior Program for 2018.

What a great win by the Wallabies in the First Test against the Irish in Brisbane last week. I reckon it was the best defensive performance we have seen from a Wallaby side for quite some time. It was the first time in fourteen years that the Wallabies have held their opponent try-less in a home Test Match. Coach Cheika has named the same twenty three players for the second Test this week in Melbourne. The Irish on the other hand have made eight changes including having champion Fly-Half Johnny Sexton to start the match. Their side showed considerable improvement when Sexton joined the game last week and are sure to be more of handful with the star No. 10 on deck from the start this time around. As well as Sexton starting the Irish will also have their number one front row this week with front rowers Cian Healy and Tadgh Furlong also starting. The Wallaby scrum was very good in the first match but they can expect a more committed Irish scrum this time around. My tip, an Irish win to set up a big decider in Sydney on June 23.

The Country Cockatoos come to town this week for their opening match of the year against the Brumbies Provincial side at Camden Rugby Park on Sunday. The main game is to kick off at 1.20PM and will be preceded with a series of Gen Blue selection trials from 10.00AM featuring combined sides made up of players from Shute Shield clubs and the Country Cockatoo Colts. Illawarra will be well represented in both squads with a total of eight Illawarrior senior players and three Colts players involved. Reece Apolo and Opeti Taufahema from Uni and Nick Cracknell from Shamrocks are in the Colts team. In the seniors are Uni players Tom Baker, Takunda Chimwaza, Sam Tatu and Amos Leef, along with Leighton Cowley (Kiama), Jay Spencer (Camden), Tuumuliilevao Taiti-Taanoa from Avondale and Aisake Tuevu from Tech Waratahs also lining up. Should be a good days Rugby, get there early if you want a seat on the balcony.

Round nine of the IDRU Builders Club Premiership will be completed on Saturday after Shoalhaven had a good 33 – 14 win over Campbelltown last Saturday as part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations. After three straight home games Tech Waratahs are on the road this week, up to Eridge Park to take on Bowral. The Blacks will have to be on their toes for this one as Tech Tahs are making a good mark on the competition this year, but I can only see a Bowral here. Bowral to win. Camden host Kiama with both sides having a somewhat disappointing season so far. The winner here will improve their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon for 2018. I’ll go for a home side win. Camden to win. Vikings and Shamrocks meet at Vikings Oval for what will be the usual physical encounter that always occurs when these two old rivals meet. Vikings have been building over the last few rounds as some of their more senior players return to the field after a run of injuries. On recent form I have to go for a Vikings win here as they find some of the form that took them to last year’s GF. Vikings to win. The Cockatoos match on Sunday has robbed the Match of the Round between high flyers Avondale and University of some of its luster. Avondale lose one to the rep game while Uni will be without four of their top side. With the Uni coaching staff doing a good job of blooding young players over the last couple of years, the Bulls now boast quite a bit of depth at the club and will have ready replacement available for this match. On the other hand the Wombats haven’t lost a match since the round one loss to the students and will be eager to get the result here. On their home ground and coming up against a depleted Uni side, I can only go one way. Avondale 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.

You are here: Home The Rogues Rant