The Rogues Rant

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

Courtesy once again of the Old Illawarrior I read a very quirky and charming article this week from across the Ditch. At a time when there is plenty being said about Grass Roots Rugby in this country it’s interesting to see that they are having similar problems in this regard in New Zealand as well. Perhaps not however on the same scale as here in Australia, these changing social times are impacting on the traditional game in New Zealand as well. This article looks at the Dean Cup in the Taranaki region of the North Island, a cup with over 100 years of local Rugby history. The article comes from the New Zealand Herald and is well worth a read! Check it out; it’s a feel good story. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/indepth/sport/dean-cup-rugby/

The attacking flair of the Brandon brothers down Shoalhaven way came to the fore again last week. In an amazing performance the Brothers between them scored all the Shoalies points in their vital 44 – 36 win over Vikings. Mark crossed for 4 tries, while Steven could only manage one for the day, a quiet one for him. Kieran came up with 2 tries and added 4 goals from the boot. All season the boys have been exciting fans from all clubs as they continually express themselves, showing amazing speed, agility and strength as they play a pivotal role in the Shoalies charge to the finals. Let’s hope they can stay healthy, not only for the sake of the Shoalies run to the finals but for the sheer pleasure that they bring to Rugby fans allover.

Well it’s Finals time for Super Rugby this week. It’s really hard to get excited given the whole atmosphere surrounding Super Rugby. The form of several teams over the last few weeks following the International hiatus has left a bit to be desired leading into the Finals Series, The Waratahs included. The Waratahs form against the Brumbies would not have filled the most ardent NSW supporter with any great amount of confidence going into this week’s match up with the Highlanders. I think we will still have three Kiwi sides alive going into the next week. My tips for the first week of Finals: Hurricanes, Crusaders, Highlanders and Lions.

 

Locally there are another two key games this weekend, which will have a major bearing on the top of the table. Avondale are home to Vikings while a battle for survival between Shoalhaven and Shamrocks is on in Nowra. A loss for Vikings and a win for Shoalhaven will once again tighten up the top four race and probably bring an end to Shamrocks Finals aspirations with just four matches to follow. Bowral have Campbelltown at Eridge Park and should win well and continue to keep the pressure on Avondale at the top of the table. Bowral to Win. Tech Waratahs and Camden meet at Saunders Oval in what could be a closer match than many would think. Tech have found some good form of late winning their last two, while Camden have had a couple of big losses on the trot. From what The Rogue hears though the Rams should be able to put up a solid performance in this one. Expect a narrow score-line here but I can only see a Tech Tahs win. Tech Waratahs to Win. University host Kiama and will have no trouble getting the points here despite their crippling injury toll. University to Win. It’s crunch time at Shoalhaven Rugby Park for Shoalies and their visitors Shamrocks. A loss for the Rocks will all but end their Finals chances while a loss for Shoalhaven will open up the gap again between fourth and fifth again making life hard for both clubs. It’s a crucial match in more ways than one and could go either way. Shamrocks defensive efforts have been outstanding of late and will get tested to the full by the amazing Brandon brothers. On their home ground I think the Shoalies will just have a bit too much attacking flair for the tenacious Rocks. Shoalhaven to Win. Last year’s Grand Final sides are up at Gerry Cappetta Oval in the final match of the weekend. The pressure is really on at the top of the table with the all- important top two spots very much up for grabs. Vikings loss last week to Shoalhaven dropped them back to third and another loss here will see them drop further down the ladder. A loss for Avondale may well see them drop off the top rung with Bowral four behind and likely to register maximum points this week. This is a vital match for both clubs with some very interesting matches to come over the last four rounds. It’s Avondale’s attacking flair up against the disciplined structured approach of the Blueys. Avondale had a 26 point win over Vikings earlier in the year but this match will be very different. The stats suggest a Wombat win at home but I’m tipping a big effort from Vikings this week as the pressure really builds toward the finals. Vikings to Win. The only problem for me now is to decide which game 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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