The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWallaby Coach Michael Cheika has chosen a very interesting side for the opening Bledisloe Cup match on Saturday night. Cheika has put a lot of faith in the young back row of new skipper Michael Hooper, Ned Hanigan and Japan bound Sean McMahon to really get amongst the All Blacks and upset the rhythm of the World Champs. Kurtley Beale is back in the centers with Samu Kerevi, but Beale has not played a lot of football of late after returning from a long stint on the sidelines through injury. Curtis Rona gets a start and should provide plenty of coverage at the back with Israel Folau and Henry Speight. There is plenty of experience on the bench to call on late in the game but if the starting pack don’t make an early impact and get the Kiwis off their game it could be a long night for all. Given the record of the Kiwis over the Aussie sides in Super Rugby this year and last year’s shut out how could anyone confidently predict a Wallaby win? All Blacks to win.

The junior matches between Sydney and Country out at Bathurst a couple of weeks ago went pretty well for the boys from the bush. The younger age groups saw big wins for Sydney in the Under 14’s and 15’s with Sydney winning big 36 – 10 in the 14’s and 40 – 7 in the 15’s. Things went a bit better in the older age groups. The 16’s was a narrow win to the city boys with a one point margin at 13 – 12. The Under 17’s was all country with the girls winning the first contest between the two with a strong 27 – 15 performance and then the boys upset their more fancied rivals in a cliff hanger 36 – 31. It was a good shot in the arm for Country Junior Rugby and from all reports the whole day was superbly presented by the Bathurst Bulldogs Club. Well done to all concerned.

Well done to the new boys on the block this year in Illawarra Rugby. Wollondilly in their return to the comp finished sixth on the ladder with six wins and two draws in third grade. The Southern Crushers from Albion Park have shown plenty of promise racking up three wins and two draws but finished with the wooden spoon in their first season of third grade. After showing that they can be competitive with the bigger clubs I reckon things will only get bigger and better down south in the years to come.

Congratulations to Avondale on completing an almost perfect score on the points table with eighteen straight wins for the year to finish on 88 points. Only Vikings spoiled the party by holding the Wombats to narrow margins in their two encounters depriving them of the perfect score of 90 competition points. This Saturday’s Major Semi-Final at Ocean Park will be a very interesting match. The two matches between the sides during the year went down to the wire with Avondale getting home by five points on both occasions. There really is not a lot between the two sides and I am expecting another close match this week which could go either way. Avondale had bonus point wins in every match except their two matches against Vikings. Vikings season stats are not that far behind Avondale as far as wins and bonus points are concerned. The Blueys had 15 wins, fourteen with bonus points, and a draw from which they also earned a bonus point, losing only the two games to Avondale. Avondale got out of gaol with a last minute try in their Round 11 match at Gerry Cappetta Oval after Vikings appeared to have done enough to win the match. So I reckon there will only be a matter of points in it again this week with the winner getting the march straight through to the decider at WIN Stadium on September 2nd. I’ll go for an Avondale win but as I said the match could go either way. Avondale to win.

Sunday’s sudden death game between Bowral and University will be the second cutthroat match between the sides in two years after University ended Bowral’s courageous run in last year’s Final, with the Bulls going on to win the title a week later against Shamrocks. Bowral will be smarting after letting Uni off the hook a couple of weeks ago when The Bulls playing a man down, scored two late tries to pinch the game in the last minutes of the match. It’s one match each this year with Bowral getting the points in the Round 7 match between the sides winning 27 – 15. University have some injury concerns and may not be able to get their top side on the field for this one so I am predicting that the Blacks will go forward into the Final at Vikings Oval on Saturday week. 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.

You are here: Home The Rogues Rant