The Rogues Rant

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

What a wonderful performance from the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Final last week. Their 37 – 18 victory over a gallant Lions outfit was their ninth Super Rugby title as they are now back to back champions. The Lions were never really in the match as the Kiwi side started strong and even playing a man short with Ryan Crotty in the bin in the second half, they finished strong. The Crusaders deservedly lifted the trophy after a season that had them scoring more tries than any other side, conceding less tries than any other side and had less points scored against them than any other side. The poor old Lions have now lost three Finals in a row going down to the Crusaders as well last year and losing to Wellington in 2016. Now just what does the future hold for Super Rugby?

There is one match on this weekend with the Southern Crushers at home to Campbelltown at Albion Park Showground kicking off at 2.00PM. The Crushers have taken this opportunity to promote Rugby in their district and are also making the day a fundraiser in support of Drought Relief for our farmers. They will be conducting Raffles on the day with heaps of great prizes including signed Wallaby and Waratahs jumpers. There will be jumping castles for the kids and a huge BBQ. The club has also enlisted the support of the local Albion Park Woolworths and is setting up a donations bin for non-perishable food items, hygiene products, pet foods, vouchers etc. There will be a bin at the ground and also at the local Woolworths store. So if you are stuck on something to do without your side playing this week, get down to Albion Park and help our newest club promote our game and raise some much needed funds as well. Things get underway from about 1.00PM.

An eventful day at Gerry Cappetta Oval last Saturday will have its sequel next Wednesday at the IDRU Judiciary when Avondale Fullback Silipa Tuigamala will face a Contrary Conduct charge after being sent off by Referee Andrew Strode. If found guilty of the charge, Tuigamala could well miss the upcoming final series, which would be a real blow to the defending Premiers chances of going back to back. A guilty verdict and a suspension would also rule Tuigamala out of the running in the IDRU Player of the Year award, an award he won in 2017. One positive thing that came out of last Saturdays match was the manner in which the match officials on the day handled things. There has been much discussion here and elsewhere over the years regarding the times when 1st Grade matches are sometimes left without official experienced and qualified Touch Judges. Saturdays match was a perfect example as to why this should never be allowed to occur. Referee Strode had two very experienced Referees assisting at the game in John Salisbury and Neill Greaves. If he had two less experienced club appointed Touch Judges things could have been much different.

 With no top grade matches this week let’s have a look at what is likely to happen over the last two rounds and what this means for the upcoming IDRU finals. There are still five sides in with a chance to make the finals. I think that with two matches left to play its pretty safe to say that Avondale and Bowral will finish first and second barring any major catastrophes and meet in the Major Semi-Final. Third and fourth still lies between Vikings, University and Shamrocks. In an interesting twist it could come down to how Tech Waratahs go over their last games to decide who finishes fourth and get to play finals football. Tech, who can’t make the finals, plays Vikings in Round 17 and Shamrocks in Round 18 and I’m sure would like nothing more than to finish with a bang for the year and cause some grief for their local rivals one way or the other. A Vikings win over Tech and a Uni win over Campbelltown in Round 17 will probably decide the outcome, but if results go a different way it will come down to the final round to decide who will be playing the Minor Semi. For mine I think it will be University and Vikings in the Minor Semi.

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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