The Rogues Rant

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

Illawarra Rugby’s very successful year in Country Rugby continues with the awarding of the Will Tanner Award for Country Player of the Year going to Avondale No. 8 Tuumuliilevao Taiti-Taanoa. Tuu’s award was presented after the Cockatoos narrow loss to Qld Country in Gooniwindi last weekend. His form for the Wombats, the Illawarriors and now the Cockatoos has been outstanding with the big fella thoroughly deserving this prestigious honor. Tuu joins fellow Illawarriors Paul Tuala and Gavin Holder as recent recipients of the highest honor in NSW Country Rugby. Well done big fella!2018 25 Will Tanner Award Tuu uliilevao Taiti Taanoa

The IDRU Judiciary was required to deal with the aftermath of a very nasty incident from a couple of weeks ago at Campbelltown Showground. A player was suspended this week for 15 years after a Touch Judge was struck during the second grade match between Campbelltown and Vikings. To their credit the Quinnies acted swiftly expelling the troublemakers from the club and it’s hoped that the ARU Administrative systems are such that these people never find their way onto a Rugby Ground ever again.

University coach Dion Miller was very happy with his young players after last week’s win over Shoalhaven. Playing with five players away at Cockatoos duties, the club had to depend on many young inexperienced players for this big assignment against an in form Shoalhaven side. Coach Miller commented after the match, “It was a great game from our team of young guys who have been working hard to get into first grade and they got their chance here. Just awesome to see young fellas step up and be proud of their achievements and to know that if they work hard their chance will come.”  Did I detect a little tear in the eye of the coach there?

Two weeks left before the Super Rugby finals with the final makeup of the play offs still to be finalized. As things stand at the moment the Kiwis will dominate the standings with four New Zealand sides sitting in the mix but the last two rounds will very much impact on who will make the final places for 2018. The Waratahs sit on top of the Aussie pool and should stay there and qualify with a home game in Round 1 of the play offs. Depending on this week’s matches however it could come down to their last round match against the Brumbies before the spot is decided. The Rebels are currently clinging to the last spot in the play offs. It all makes for an Interesting couple of weeks to come. My tips for this week: Crusaders, Rebels, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Waratahs, Bulls and Stormers.

There are a couple of big games this week locally with first up against third and second up against fourth. Shoalhaven and Shamrocks are clinging on desperately to their chances of making the four and will probably close the gap this weekend to stay in the race. Things are in good shape for the IDRU with six sides still in the running for the 2018 finals. Campbelltown and Kiama meet at Campbelltown in a very difficult match to predict. Both sides have had some big losses recently but Kiama are coming off a good win over Tech Tahs last week. However with the match being played at the Quinnies home ground I’m leaning towards them. Campbelltown to win. Tech Waratahs have some injury woes at the moment and come up against a very hungry Shoalhaven side keen to make the most of the run down to the finals. Despite the match being at Saunders Oval, I can only see a Shoalies win here. Shoalhaven to win. Shamrocks host Camden and with a couple of big assignments coming up they can’t afford any slip ups here. There won’t be any. Shamrocks to win. Bowral have Avondale at Eridge Park and will be smarting after last week’s disappointing loss to Shamrocks which denied them the chance to stay clear of Vikings and Uni in second spot. This will be a close one but I think the Wombats can just prevail. Avondale to win. Vikings and University meet at Vikings Oval in another difficult one to get a line on. Uni will be back to full strength with the Cockatoos program now concluded. Vikings have been in good form and are on a six game winning streak going into this one. On their home ground I’m going to go for a narrow Vikings victory. Vikings 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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