The Rogues Rant

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

For the second year running the Wallabies year has ended in frustration and disappointment. After an appalling start to the rep season against the All Blacks in Sydney the Wallabies slowly got their act together throughout the Rugby Championships, and finished the local matches with a great win over the Kiwi’s in Brisbane. A romp against Japan and a dominate performance against Wales in Cardiff lifted everyone’s spirits for the remainder of the Northern Tour. But just as we saw last year the Wallabies fell away badly against the Poms and Scotsmen, looking jaded and way off the pace as their opponents registered their biggest wins in history on the Wallabies. So once again we are asking the question, just where is Australian Rugby heading.

IDRU Rugby Chairman Steve Tresidder has won a spot on the NSW Country Board for the next two years. Steve’s new job was confirmed at the Country AGM two weeks ago at which the well-respected Peter Veenstra was bestowed with Life Membership of NSW Country Rugby. Peter has recently retired as General Manager of Central West Rugby and after many years of service with Country Rugby is looking forward to a well -deserved rest. I’m sure his many friends in Country Rugby will get plenty of opportunity to say G’Day as it will be impossible to keep him away from the Rugby.

On the local front long time Shamrocks clubman Tom Ellicott has joined the IDRU Board for 2018. Also at the AGM last week at the Builders Club former IDRU Rugby Chairman and longtime Referee Peter Leiner was confirmed as the latest Life Member of the IDRU. Peter has spent a lifetime in Illawarra Rugby, firstly as a player with the original Waratahs Club, before taking up Refereeing and the last ten years as Rugby Chairman. A much deserved reward for a true servant of local Rugby. Well done Peter.

It would appear that the message has not got all the way through to everyone in Illawarra Rugby that the local comp will be Amateur in 2018. I’m hearing that players are still being encouraged to change clubs with the promise of cash payments being spoken of for next season. I’m also hearing that some consideration is being given to allowing for a number of paid marque players at each club. I reckon that such a move is in the best interest of local Rugby. I think that the standard of Rugby in our zone over the last couple of years has been the best it has been for quite some time. Being able to attract quality players to our competition can only help to lift the standard of play as clubs realize that they must improve their standard to stay in touch. Looking at the performance of some totally amateur clubs over the last couple of years to compete with clubs openly paying players would indicate that the payment of players is not the evil that some would suggest.

The recent NRC Final between Queensland Country and Canberra Vikings was a very entertaining match. The Vikings raced to a 21 – 7 half-time lead only to see the Queenslanders storm home in the second term scoring five tries to one in the half to win the final 42 – 28. The tournament really came of age this year with not a lot between the competing sides as we saw some very entertaining football played throughout. The fact that the tournament was played in accordance with International Laws this year, without any of the previous year’s experimental Laws in place, made a difference in my view as players just got on with Rugby the way they knew it.

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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