The Rogues Rant

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

Ellis Park, Johannesburg must be the best home ground advantage in the world, certainly the Rugby World. The altitude of the arena really plays into the hands of the home side as was plain to see last week in the Lions Semi Final against the Waratahs. The Waratahs got off to a perfect start scoring fourteen points in the first ten minutes, but the further the match went into the second half the stronger the Lions played as the Waratahs waned physically. The distress in the faces of the Tahs players late in the match was there for everyone to see. As Bernard Foley was lining up a kick the camera focused on a man struggling to catch his breath. There’s no question that the Lions are a very good Rugby side and with the advantage of Ellis Park very difficult to beat at home as the Waratahs can testify. The Lions have to travel this week to the Crusaders in Christchurch to try and avenge last year’s Final loss to the New Zealanders. The Crusaders are the only side to take the title outside their own country as they did last year at the afore mentioned Ellis Park. I don’t think the Lions can do likewise by winning this week at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Crusaders to Win.

Speaking of the Waratahs, there’s plenty of people saying that we won’t see Israel Folau in a Waratahs jumper in 2019. I reckon he can pretty much name his own price anywhere in the world at the moment which is going to make it very hard for NSW to secure his signature going forward.

There are another couple of very important games locally this week. With three rounds remaining before the finals, Avondale have once again opened up an eight point gap at the top of the Table. Bowral are second just ahead on averages of Uni who both sit on 56 points with ten wins each. Vikings are next on 50 with ten wins as well but with less bonus points. Shamrocks and Shoalhaven are next on 46 and 45 respectively and feature in the this week’s key match ups. There are still plenty of ifs and buts about the last three rounds but losses to the Rocks and Shoalies this week will just about end their runs for this year. Campbelltown and Camden meet at Campbelltown Showground with both sides on 17 just three clear of last placed Kiama. Both sides will be desperate for a win to help keep clear of the dreaded wooden spoon. On their home ground despite a big loss last week, I think the Quinnies can get the points here. Campbelltown to Win. Kiama Host Vikings at Kiama Showground and will still be licking their wounds after last week’s loss to Shoalhaven. Vikings must keep winning if they are any chance of creeping up to a Major Semi-Final berth, and I think they will. Vikings to Win. University are at home to neighbors Tech Waratahs and can expect plenty from the committed improvers of this year. The Bulls will need to be on their game and not be complacent or they could find themselves on the wrong end of the score-line. University to Win. Bowral and Shoalhaven meet at Eridge Park in what should be another close one after these two played out a draw back in Round 7. Bowral have to win to stay in the hunt for second spot while the Shoalies are even more desperate for the win to stay in touch with the top four. Should be a cracker but I’ll go for the home side. Bowral to Win. In what is billed as the Match of the Round, Avondale are home to Shamrocks. A win for the Wombats will just about seal the Minor Premiership, but they won’t get things all their own way with the tenacious Rocks. This will be a close one but I think the hosts can just prevail. 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.

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