University's Great Escape

MatchReportIn an incredible game of Rugby played at Eridge Park, University have escaped with an unlikely 31 – 22 victory over Bowral all but securing the vital fourth spot on the IDRU Builders Club Premiership table. The Bulls led the match at half-time by 17 – 7 but it was all Bowral in the second term as the Blacks fought back to take the lead 22 – 17 going into the final ten minutes of the match. Playing the last twenty five minutes with fourteen players after skipper Paul Tuala was sent off, the Bulls put on two converted tries in the last five minutes to deny the Blacks the four competition points.

In the first forty minutes Bowral lacked intensity and were guilty of too many handling indiscretions as the Bulls ran in three tries to one and looked to be cruising to victory. With Blacks coach Gene Fairbanks giving his side a real rev up during the break Bowral came out for the second half and showed all the intensity that was lacking in the first half running in three unanswered tries to take the lead. The Bowral forward pack completely destroyed the Uni scrum and with big Lock Andy Rae missing from the Bulls side, the Blacks experienced Mitchell Hardy was dominant at the Lineout as Bowral camped deep in the Uni half. An inspired defensive effort from the students proved the difference in the end as Bowral failed to capitalize on the wealth of possession that came their way in the second term.

University also had to contend with the fact that they had Number Eight Damien Mei, and winger Rueben Thompson both spend ten in the Bin prior to losing Tuala for a dangerous tackle, meaning that the Bulls played for forty five minutes of the match one player down. With a huge crowd attending the Back to Bowral day the Bowral supporters were left stunned as the Bulls pulled off the most remarkable of victories to reignite the defence of their 2016 IDRU Premiership title.

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The Rogues Rant

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

If you don’t already agree with me that the Super Rugby Draw is somewhat of a farce consider this week’s Semi-Finals. The Lions from South Africa go into their semi-final at home against the Hurricanes having not played any other New Zealand side at any stage throughout the competition rounds. With three Kiwi sides left in the tournament the New Zealanders have been far and away the best performed sides and it would be an injustice if the title was to go elsewhere. Consider also last week’s match in Canberra, where the Brumbies hosted a quarter final after just six wins for the year against a Hurricanes side that had twelve wins under the belt for the tournament. Is it any wonder that the crowds were so poor last weekend, with a lot of people, myself included finding it hard to retain interest in such an unfair and lopsided competition structure. I agree that there are too many teams in the tournament and the numbers need to be reduced but I’m not in agreement with the way it is being done. I reckon it’s a must that the tournament should return to a three way exercise between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with an even draw with all teams playing each other each season or interest in the competition will continue to decline. My tips for this week: Crusaders to beat the Chiefs and the Hurricanes to win over the Lions.

I hear some interesting scuttlebutt coming out of Sydney relating to the future of the Waratahs at Moore Park. Word is that the ARU are going to become new tenants in a redevelopment at the SFS and the Waratahs will be moving out on masse to Daceyville in southern Sydney. The word is that The David Phillips Sports Fields will soon become the new headquarters and training venue for the Waratahs. They say the NSW Rugby Staff will be housed in demountable accommodation at the complex which is a bit of a come down from what they have enjoyed over the years in the Moore Park area.

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Vikings Continue March To Finals

MatchReportVikings continued their strong march toward a Major Semi Final meeting with Avondale with a 38 – 18 win over a hard working Shamrocks side at Ocean Park. Scoring six tries to two the Blueys had to overcome a committed Shamrocks forward pack who took the match right up to their more favoured opponents. With No.8 Iszak Lunney leading from the front, the Shamrocks forwards made the Blueys dig deep to find the effort required to take control of the match.

In the end a six tries to two performance ensured Vikings left with maximum points from the Round 1 washed out match deferred from way back at the start of the season. Shamrocks loss puts them in a much more precarious position in terms of the race to the semi-finals, now finding themselves in a real fight for fourth spot with University and Shoalhaven with three rounds remaining.

In an evenly contested first half the Rocks forwards absorbed everything the Blueys pack were able to throw at them and remained well and truly in the match at 15 – 17 down at the break. As the second period progressed the Blueys increased their effort to run away with the match scoring three unanswered second half tries.

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The Rogues Rant

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

It was interesting to see the appointment this week of Rod Kafer to a new role with the ARU. The very well respected former Brumby and Wallaby now TV Presenter has been appointed to a Coaching Development role with the ARU. He will oversee the National Coaching Advisory Panel with a view to improve and develop coaching programs around the country. Kafer was quoted this week as saying that his starting point will be to try and discover and develop an Australian style of play. His biggest job will be getting all factions of the Rugby community working together towards one single goal to create such a style. I reckon he is just the man for the job. It’s a huge job but at least it would seem that the powers that be have finally accepted that the current coaching model is broken and is in urgent need of repair. Good luck Kafe!

Wallaby coach Michael Cheika has selected eleven new players in his initial Wallaby squad for the upcoming internationals. That suggests that the coach is not happy with some of the players he has put his faith in of recent times. Clearly there is a need to have a serious look around with a lot of current players nearing the end of their time and others seeking a more secure financial future elsewhere. With what we have seen so far this year, the next few months are not looking too healthy in terms of our national team’s competitiveness. It all starts with the All Blacks in mid-August.

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Vikings Structured Game Confirms Second Spot

MatchReportA revving up from coach Sean Barrett during the week has sparked Vikings to re enforce their second spot on the IDRU table with a four try 31 – 10 victory over defending premiers University. In contrast to an out of sorts performance last week Vikings took control of the match at Vikings Oval and never allowed the Bulls any opportunity to challenge for the points.

A well-structured powerful performance from their forwards and an outstanding contribution from veteran backs Michael Ashby and Andrew Barrett saw the Blueys cement second spot on the ladder remaining nine points clear of third placed Bowral. Bowral will have a chance to close the gap when they play Shoalhaven on Tuesday night in their deferred round one match.

“We needed to lift our intensity compared to last weeks speed bump performance and today it was right up there where it needs to be” said coach Barrett at the end of the game. “Our captain Joel Diggins led from the front as he has done all year and Andrew Barrett and Jack Hobbs really had a strong impact today”.

With halfback Tommy Sawden scoring a try and kicking a conversion and a penalty goal in the first half Vikings held a 10 – 0 lead at the break. The Bulls competed throughout the first half but a lack of intensity and some poor option taking gave the small crowd a sense of the inevitable about the result. The Blueys went right on with the job in the second term scoring two tries within seven minutes of the restart.

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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

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