The Rogues Rant

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

There is going to have to be some very serious consideration given to the future of Super Rugby in the very near future. The tournament really is starting to look very tired and interest is waning with the disjointed draw and the ongoing dominance of the New Zealand sides. There are strong comments coming out of South Africa in various publications regarding just where the South African sides should be playing their Rugby. With two sides, The Cheetahs and Kings already doing their thing in Europe, plenty of pundits are suggesting that the future for all the Republican sides lies in Europe. Similar time zone to the Republic and less traveling involved than the Southern comp. The Kiwis are making noises about whether the whole thing is worthwhile given their current ongoing superiority. As for Australia one must consider if the whole process is money well spent or if there is a better way to develop the game in this country. In 2017 Rugby Australia poured $39Mil into the four current Super Rugby franchises (Not including Western Force) and a further $25Mil in further player payments plus some extra Wallaby top ups. All we have to show for all that money is forty odd straight losses to New Zealand sides and only a marginally better performance against the rest of the Super sides. The performance of the Wallabies over the last couple of years can also only be described as unimpressive. As I have said a few times before there is something very wrong with player development in this country and it is clear the current structure including Super Rugby is not producing the quality of player required for Australian Rugby to be competitive at an international level. It has to change and it has to change now!

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Lady Illawarriors Take Country Title

NSW Country LogoAfter seventeen years of dominance by Newcastle Hunter of NSW Country Women’s Rugby the baton has been passed to the Lady Illawarriors. The 2018 NSW Country Championships were played at Campbelltown Showground on Saturday with four Zones competing. The Lady Illawarriors finished the Tournament on top of the Table with twelve points from two wins and a draw from their three matches. 

Newcastle Hunter and Illawarra got the day started bright and early at 10.00AM with the rain pouring down. The conditions prevented the match from being an open free flowing game with many stoppages giving the girls plenty of scrum practice. As the weather improved into the second half both sides tried to open up play but with time running out the first match ended in a scoreless draw with each side registering two competition points. 

Mid North Coast and Central West met in the second match with conditions only slightly improving, allowing for a bit more of a free flowing match. Central West scored first but were pegged back just prior to the break with the scores level at 5 – 5. The second half was a repeat of the first with Central West first to score and Mid North Coast crossing just short of full-time. The conversion just shaved the posts and the match also ended in a draw at 10 – 10.

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It's Raining Country Titles

junior illawarriors logoAfter the Senior Illawarriors Caldwell Cup success in Warren a couple of weeks back, the NSW Country Titles keep coming. Last Week the Illawarra Under 17 Girls took out their Country title as well and this week the success for Illawarra sides continues.

On Saturday the Illawarra Senior Women’s Team came away with the NSW Country Women’s Champions Title at Campbelltown Showground breaking Newcastle Hunter’s dominance of the title stretching back eighteen years.

Now news is coming through that the Junior Illawarriors are getting in on the act as well. The NSW Country Junior Championships are on this week for Under 12’s, Under 13’s and Under 14’s at a chilly Armidale in the New England district of NSW. In an incredible performance Illawarra have won all three titles, winning all three Finals played this afternoon.

What a fantastic run for Illawarra Rugby. Keep checking the Website, we will have all the details over the coming days.

Well done to everyone involved in all campaigns.

Workaholic Lunney Inspires Shamrock Victory

MatchReportShamrocks have revived memories of their 2016 season form with an energetic 37 – 24 win over Campbelltown at Ocean Park. With fifteen minutes left on the clock the Rocks held a commanding 37 – 10 lead before the Quinnies found some intensity which was missing earlier in the match to cross for two converted tries adding some respectability to the score-line.

The much bigger Campbelltown forward pack took command early as it appeared as though it was only a matter of time before they rolled over their smaller opponents. At the set piece the Rocks could make little if any impact on a very solid Campbelltown scrum. However as they often did in 2016 on their march to the Grand Final, the Rocks produced a tenacious defensive effort to close the Quinnies attack down. Inspired by a tireless effort from No.8 Iszac Lunney, the Shamrocks forward pack showed more composure and efficiency at the breakdown to dominate all but the final minutes of each half.

Played in blustery conditions the match started slowly as both sides struggled to find early momentum in the conditions. Campbelltown had first use of a strong southerly wind but made little use of the advantage.

The goal kickers produced a penalty goal each before after twenty minutes Shamrocks star Half-Back Rory Davis took up from where he left off last week. Davis scored four times last week and produced another remarkable effort to score the first try of the match. The Rocks were attacking the Quinnies line with a penalty pending when Davis producing a jinking effort from fifteen meters out leaving three defenders in his wake to score the Rocks first try. Fullback Ryan Shoupp converted the try and added another penalty goal for the Rocks to lead 13 – 3 closing in on the break.

A succession of penalties allowed Campbelltown to advance on the Rocks line as Halfback Mitchell Gordon took full advantage of an overpowering scrum drive from the Quinnies to score on the stroke of half time to get his side back in contention. Converting his own try Gorden had taken his side to within three of the lead with the score at 10 – 13 at the break.

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The Rogues Rant

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

Where is Super Rugby heading from here? There were plenty of people, the Rogue included, calling for changes to the Super Rugby format for this year, but the powers that be went with pretty much the same format again. The continuation of the Conference format is destined to bring up the same ridiculous situation come semi-final time as we saw last year. The Blues racked up 38 straight wins for Kiwi sides over Australian sides in Super Rugby last week. It was the lowest rated Kiwi side over the highest rated Aussie side. We are sure to see more Kiwi wins before the year is out. We will see an Australian side in the semi’s at the expense of one maybe even two decidedly better performed New Zealand teams. The credibility of the tournament will once again be in tatters. The Kiwis are already questioning the worth of the Competition given the ever expanding disparity between the performances of sides from either side of the ditch. Super Rugby can’t survive another season like this! Where to in 2019?

The NSW Country Women’s Tournament is on this week at Campbelltown Showground. There will be four zones competing including Illawarra, Mid North Coast, Central West and Newcastle Hunter. The Newcastle girls will go into the day as favorites but just as in the Caldwell Cup, the Illawarra girls would love nothing more than to steal the show from our traditional rivals. Come on girls, bring it home. It would be an incredible double to have both Country titles in the bag. Illawarra are up against the Newcastle Hunter side first up at 10.00AM. It will be a round robin tournament with each side playing three matches. The team that finishes on top of the bonus point competition table will take the trophy home. The last match is at 2.45PM.

The Waratahs fumbled their way to another loss last week to the Blues, while the Rebels took a hiding from the Crusaders. The Crusaders sit on top of the Kiwi Conference and host the Waratahs this Saturday in Christchurch. This could get ugly. The Reds take on the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday as well, while the Brumbies play the Rebels at home on Saturday night. The Waratahs should just hold onto the top spot on the Aussie Table. The Highlanders fell to the Sharks in the Republic last week in an upset and now face the in form Lions in Dunedin on Saturday night. This one should be a cracker. The Rogues hasn’t gone too well over the last couple of weeks with only three winners each week. My tips for this week: Hurricanes, Reds, Crusaders, Highlanders, Brumbies, Stormers, Bulls.

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NSW Country Womens Championships Come To Campbelltown

NSW Country LogoThe Campbelltown Harlequin Rugby Union Club will host the 2018 NSW Country Women’s Rugby Championships on behalf of the Illawarra District Rugby Union on Saturday 12 May 2018.

The Tournament will be held at the Campbelltown Showground, King Street, Campbelltown. Gates open at 8.30am. Entry is Free.

Teams from four districts will descend on Campbelltown to compete in the championships. Newcastle Hunter, Mid North Coast, Central West and Illawarra.

The teams will play two twenty minute halves in each game and will play each other once. Each team will play 3 games on the day.

Each team will earn 4 points for a win, no points for a loss and 2 points for a draw. There is a bonus point for a team who scores 4 or more tries; and a bonus point for a team which is defeated by 7 points or less. The tournament winner will be the team earning the most points on the day.

The Illawarra team will feature a number of players from the Campbelltown Harlequins and Wollongong University clubs along with others from the Illawarra district. The Squad is coached by the experienced Paul Verrell and is made up of the following players: Adi Kelera Turaganivolo (Campb), Ana Mahina (Campb), Belinda Vakawera (Campb), Bess Platt (Uni), Brooke Harper (Uni), Candice Pisu (Campb), Chelsea Leau Campb), Danielle Pesu (Campb), Elizabeth Maraeara (Campb), Everlasting ‘Praise’ Varu (Campb), J. V. Visesio (Campb), Jemima Henry (Campb), Kato Mahina Campb), Katrina Sager (Campb), Letti Inu Kepu (Campb), Lisa King (Campb), Matertata Hona (Campb), Natalie August (Campb), Rima Butler (Campb), Ruari Von Prott (Uni), Sandra Laughlin (Campb), Stephanie Ball (Uni), Talesia Faiva (Campb), Thea Purukamu (Campb), Yalanieta Vakarewa (Campb).

The draw for the tournament is listed below;

        10.00 am  Hunter       v     Illawarra 

          10.45 am  Mid North Coast  v Central West  

          12.00 noon Central West   v  Illawarra

          12.45 pm  Mid North Coast  v Hunter

            2.00 pm  Mid North Coast  v  Illawarra

            2.45 pm  Central West   v Hunter

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