The Rogues Rant

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

Well the Lions did a good job on the All Blacks last week restricting them to penalty goals only with a strong defensive effort now setting up a mouth-watering final test at Eden Park, Aukland. The Lions showed a lot of composure throughout the match which Sunny Bill Williams made a little easier for them with his dumb tackle, say no more. He certainly got what he deserved given the recent edicts regarding high tackles let alone no arm tackles. The Lions will need to work on their discipline though, so they won’t give Beauden Barrett the chance to kick them out of the game again. Leading 18 – 9 with twenty three to go it looked like the All Blacks would get away with the match after playing a man down for the most part. Two late tries and the ice man Owen Farrell kicking that goal in the 77th minute to snatch the match away for the Lions, they now have the chance to go home with a series win. On the tele at 5.30PM on Saturday from Eden Park.

It’s a commendable action from the IDRU Board to declare amateur status for Illawarra Rugby. Starting in 2018 clubs will not be allowed to pay players to play in any IDRU competition. There have been plenty of issues in Sydney Suburban Rugby over the years as a result of clubs getting out of control with player payments to the detriment of the Subbies competition. Subbies has had amateur status now for several seasons with at least one club being rubbed out for paying players with club officials and coaches also suspended from any involvement in Rugby. It’s a big call to make but the IDRU Board is to be congratulated for having the strength of their convictions. They are adamant that this is the way to go for the future sake of Illawarra Rugby. Everyone needs to remember though that in this day and age it is very hard for a young bloke to be able to make the sought of commitment to sport of any kind and maintain a job and income at the same time. It’s certainly not as easy as it was in the 1970’s and 80’s. Getting paid to play rugby makes the difference for a lot players to be able to participate given the state of the job opportunities these days. I reckon we will see a reduction in player numbers initially with this policy but hopefully we will be able to maintain the current club numbers across the district.

Isn’t it great to see the imminent return of Christian Lealiifano to the Brumbies? Lealiifano is likely to be on the Brumbies bench this week for their match with the Reds in Brisbane. Lealiifano has been out of action for almost a year after being diagnosed with Leukaemia, when feeling poorly at training. In a very stressful time for the affable Brumby, he has gone through all the heavy treatment including a bone marrow transplant and is now back in full training and ready to join in the Brumbies program. He played in a Brumbies friendly in Singapore recently and played club rugby last week in Canberra. His inclusion will be a big boost to the club’s run into the finals.

Super Rugby is almost back in full swing with all the Aussie sides back up this week. The Brumbies are safe in top spot and will be the Australian Pool winner taking their spot in the upcoming finals. My tips for this week: Brumbies to beat the Reds, Force to beat the Rebels, Waratahs to beat the Jaguares, Bulls to beat the Kings, Stormers to beat the Sunwolves.

If things go the way I’m expecting locally this week we will have a clearly defined top four after Round 14 matches in the IDRU Builders Club Premiership. Camden has a home game against Shoalhaven and will need to be at their best to get a win here. Shoalhaven have shown good form of late both at home and away with a couple of good wins and commendable efforts against the top three sides as well. I’m going to go for the visitors to continue with the good form. Shoalhaven to win. Campbelltown host Vikings and will be no match for the Blueys. Vikings to win. University will have all their players back on deck for their home match with Shamrocks this week with the Cockatoos program now over. I’m expecting the students to settle in now for the run home to the finals and put in some strong performances. University to win. Tech Waratahs are hosting Kiama at Saunders Oval in what should be a very interesting match. Kiama had their first win in a long time last week at home over Campbelltown and will fancy their chances here against the bottom placed Tech Tahs. Tech have been big improvers although they’ve only got the points once all year. I’m going for what most will probably consider an upset here. Tech Waratahs to win. Match of the Round will again be at Gerry Cappetta Oval with Avondale hosting third placed Bowral. The Blacks had a shocker against the Wombats in Round 5 going down by thirty odd points, and will be keen to put up a better showing this time around. Avondale really flexed their muscles last week in thrashing Uni and are really putting things together well at the moment. I think Wombats will continue on their winning way against a gallant Bowral side who will struggle to contain their bigger opponents. 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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