The Rogues Rant

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

Digger Day 2017 is on Saturday 22nd July at Rugby Park South Nowra. Digger Day is proving to be one of the highlights of the Illawarra Rugby Year and all for a worthy cause supporting our returned servicemen and women. The day will get underway with pre game entertainment from 11.00 AM with the 1st Grade match between Shoalhaven and Kiama to be played at 1.00PM. Part of the festivities will include a display by the Army Red Berets Parachute team and also several Navy Helicopters will go through their paces for the crowd. There will be Australian VC recipients and also New Zealand Cross of Valour hero’s present as well. An RSL Last Post ceremony will be conducted and there will be an auction of the special commemorative Digger Day jerseys to be worn on the day to add to the days fundraising. Should be a great day out so get along and support a very worthy cause and see some great rugby as well.

Former IDRU Rugby Chairman Peter Leiner has been keeping himself busy since stepping down from the IDRU Board last year after some eight seasons in the role. As President of the Rotary Club of Corrimal for the last two years, Peter has been very active leading a very hardworking group of members of the club raising money for many worthy causes. The local club has performed so well this year that they were recently awarded the Best Club in Rotary District 9675. The district covers an area ranging from Sydney Heads south to Kiama, west to Parramatta, the lower Blue Mountains and Picton comprising a total of 64 clubs. Rotary is a wonderful community organization raising funds for many local and overseas programs to help improve the lives of needy people and communities. Well done Peter and all your team.

The Dexter Porter Blood Cup is in full swing for 2107 with Shamrocks and Vikings once again leading the charge in the early stages of the program. Camden, University, Kiama, Bowral and Tech Waratahs have also made contributions so far with the Blood Bank very happy with the response so far from the Illawarra Clubs. There is still plenty of time to get your club involved with the drive continuing through to the end of August again this year. For further details and to find out how your club can be more involved contact your local Blood Bank or co-ordinater Kieran Smith on 0429 728879.Dexter Porter Cup Tally July 17

Former Vikings junior Reece Hewat has won a spot on the plane with the Reds for their final round Super Rugby match against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday night. The Australian Under 20’s Captain will be making his first Super Rugby appearance if he gets on the field on Friday after playing several matches for Brisbane North since returning from the World Under 20 Tournament in Georgia. Reece is under contract with the Reds for next year and is likely to get more opportunities with the franchise in the new season. Good luck Reece there will be plenty of interested Illawarra viewers watching on Friday.

With the last round Super Rugby matches being played this weekend we will soon know just how the finals will fall. The Brumbies are at home next week but it is still to be confirmed just who will be their opposition. Coach Steven Larkham has rested eight players for their last match against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday with a view to being able to put together the best possible performance in next week’s home qualifying final. Christian Lealiifano didn’t make it into last week’s game because of a hamstring injury and is still out this week. Hopefully he will be able to make his return next week in the finals and provide inspiration for all his team mates. I can’t bring myself to talk about the disappointing season finale from the Waratrahs. There’s a lot of work to be done there to bring the Waratahs up to the required standard going forward. My tips for the final round this week: Highlanders, Jaguares, Kings, Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Waratahs, Lions and Stormers.

Over the next couple of weeks all the catch up matches will be finalized with four rounds to play on the run down to the semi-finals. We have a clear top four now and I don’t think there will be any change to the four but their positions may change a bit in the last three weeks. There will be only four games this weekend due to the required disruptions to get all the washed out matches completed. As well as this week’s four matches which I will cover later, Bowral will be playing Shoalhaven on Tuesday night at Eridge Park. Third grade between Wollondilly and Shoalies will be played at 6.30PM on the main field with 1st grade to follow at 7.30PM. Second grade will be on the second field with a 7.00PM kick off. Next Saturday 22nd July will see Shamrocks play Vikings, Campbelltown against Tech Waratahs, University opposed to Camden and Shoalhaven at home for Digger Day against Kiama. That will bring everything back up to date for the last three rounds to come to complete the season. This week Bowral is up against Camden at Camden Rugby Park and should have no trouble maintaining their third spot on the table. Bowral to win and win well. Campbelltown will be hosting competition leaders Avondale and will have their hands full with the Wombats playing a very solid structured game at the moment. Avondale to win well. Shamrocks have Tech Waratahs at home with the Tahs feeling pretty good after their big win last week over Kiama. Shamrocks need the win to keep their faint final hopes alive but can expect plenty of resistance from the improving Tech Tahs. I’m going to back the Tech Tahs to make it two in a row for the first time in a long time. Tech Waratahs to win. Match of the round is Vikings at home to University. From all reports both sides put in below par performances last week and will be keen to get back on track for the run down to the finals. University will be without captain Paul Tuala who has a knee injury which will probably give him some grief for the remainder of the season. With Tuala absent and with Vikings coach Sean Barrett reading the riot act to his charges earlier in the week, I’ll go for a Vikings win to give them a very strong grip on their current all-important Major Semi position on the ladder. I’ll also tip Bowral to win over Shoalhaven in the catch up match on Tuesday night.

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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