The Rogues Rant

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

Two Campbelltown Women’s players have won selection in the 28 member Wallaroos squad preparing for the two Test Series against New Zealand Black Ferns. Atasi Lafai and Mahalia Murphy are two of eleven NSW players in the squad getting ready for the First Test in Sydney on August 18 as part of the double header with the Wallabies V All Black Bledisloe Cup match. It’s been a big year for the girls with plenty of Rugby behind them and plenty to come. What an opportunity for the Quinnies based girls which is sure to be an inspiration to others in our area showing that there is a pathway available in the women’s game for local girls.

What a performance from the Waratahs in last Saturday’s Quarter-Final against the Highlanders. Down 23 – 6 at the break, and looking like another capitulation was on the cards, the Tahs produced an amazing second half effort to book a Semi spot with the Lions. It was the big three of Folau, Beale and Foley who turned the game on its head when the Highlanders were reduced to fourteen with winger Waisake Naholo sin binned. Foley put on 25 points for the match with two tries and six goals with Folau getting one try, but is was Beale, who had a hand in two of the tries who turned the match the Tahs way. Since his return from overseas Beale has shown that he has learnt how to play for the players around him rather than for himself as he tended to do in the past. So now it’s to Ellis Park this week for what is a big ask at any time let alone for a Semi-Final against arguably the form team of the Season. If the Tahs can win and the Hurricanes knock off the Crusaders the Final will come to Sydney. I just can’t see that happening. My Tips: the Crusaders, and the Lions.

It’s Digger Day at Shoalhaven Rugby Park this Saturday. The very Special Last Post Ceremony will be the highlight of the day which celebrates the Shoalies very special connection with the military in the area. Three Navy Helicopters will fly in several highly decorated Servicemen and Civilians during the afternoon. There will be Victoria Cross recipients, along with George Cross and Cross of Valour medal winners present as well. The day kicks off at 10.30AM with the Second Grade match between Shoalhaven and Kiama. Second Grade will be followed by the special ceremony of the day with First Grade to kick off at 1.30PM, followed by Third Grade at 3.00PM.

Another significant event this week is the Commemorative Match in aid of the very special Talk2MeBro charity. The match at Saunders Oval between Tech Waratahs and Avondale will be followed by a fundraising event at the North Gong Hotel in aid of the charity which is very much close to the heart of the Tech Waratahs club. Tech Tahs will be wearing special jumpers in the match which will all be auctioned off after the game at the North Gong with all proceeds going to the charity.

Dexter Porter Blood Cup 18 3The Dexter Porter Blood Cup is firing along with donations continuing to come in. Shamrocks are hanging onto their overall lead with 85 donations followed by Vikings with 63. Newcomers Tech Waratahs have overtaken Uni into third spot with eleven donations and are determined to lock third spot down before the year is over, while Kiama, Camden, Bowral, and the Southern Crushers have made contributions as well. Not much time left to go so keep them coming as we look forward to setting a new bench mark to aspire to in the years ahead.

Last week’s results have added to the interest in the run into the semi-finals and with just four rounds to go things are getting very interesting with still three teams well in the running for fourth spot. There are plenty of games to come which have a direct impact not only on fourth spot but just how the top three will finish although it would seem that Avondale and Bowral have the Major Semi-Final wrapped up. Camden and University meet this week at Camden Rugby Park and on form the Bulls should have a comfortable win. University to Win. It’s Digger Day at Nowra with Kiama visiting. Shoalies have everything to play for here while Kiama are already considering how things will be in 2019. Shoalhaven to Win. Tech Waratahs and Avondale meet at Saunders Oval in the special charity match for the Talk2MeBro campaign. Tech Tahs will cause plenty of nuisance value from here on in with still an unlikely slim chance of finals football in the offing. After a much improved 2018 campaign the Tahs can look forward to a better 2019, but I think the Wombats will have too much for them here. Avondale to Win. Shamrocks travel to Campbelltown with plenty to play for. Still very much in the race for fourth spot, the Rocks will not be taking this match for granted. The Quinnies have shown at home this year that they are no pushovers. With wins over Bowral and Kiama and single digit losses to Shoalies, Uni, and Tech Tahs there form at home has been sound. The Rocks have plenty to play for here and I can’t see them letting this one slip. Shamrocks to Win. Match of the Round is at Vikings Oval with second placed Bowral visiting. It’s a must win match for the Blueys to get their campaign back on track and they can expect a torrid one here from the Blacks who have won their last three including an impressive eight point win over the competition leaders. A loss for Vikings will probably put huge pressure on their fourth position on the ladder. On form I have to go for a Blacks win. Bowral 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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