Age Country Championships

junior illawarriors logoLast weekend two young Illawarriors teams, the under 15’s & 16’s and their supporters traversed the Great Dividing Range to Bathurst for the Annual NSW Junior Rugby Country Championship and the selection trails for NSW Country Junior teams.

Day 1 of the Country Championships saw both sides with two games to play each. The teams experienced challenging conditions with a very thick fog rolling in at the Bathurst Bulldogs Anne Ashwood grounds and visibility down to less than 20 meter in some stages of the early games. First up both teams played against Newcastle / Hunter region and recorded a loss each. The next games were against Mid North coast and Far North Coast, unfortunately and not for lack of trying both teams recorded another loss.

After regrouping on Saturday evening the under 16’s had a win against hosts, Central West. A spirited performance by the under 15’s against Central North resulted in a narrow loss.

Best player voted for the Under 15’s was Jake Hickey and for the Under 16’s Best Back went to Blake Wellington and Best Forward to Reuben Thomas.  Congratulations go to the following players who have been selected for Country 40 player squads. Under 15s; A. Moata’ane, J. Legaspi, J. Hickey, T. Cusack & J. Neich all hailing from the Camden Club. Under 16s Country; B. Wellington (Uni) & B. Gurney (Shoalhaven).

As a note of interest, spotted 5 former Illawarra Caldwell cup winners  having a mini reunion in the Bathurst Bulldogs Club house;  John Maynard, now Central West President , Ian Westwood Wayne Cusack IRDU Under 15s Manager  and Far North Coast under 16’s  co-coaches John Dokter and Mark Flynn.

Tech Waratahs Are Back

MatchReportTech Waratahs continued their resurgence in the 2018 IDRU Builders Club Premiership prevailing 36 – 12 over a disappointing Campbelltown to remain in touch with the top four sides. Moving to equal fifth on the table just one win out of the top four, Tech Tahs ran in four tries in the first half to take a strangle hold on the contest with a 24 – 5 lead at the break. 

Although once again showing a clear dominance at the scrum over their opponents for the second week running, the Quinnies lacked the drive and enterprise to go with the home side in the first forty minutes. Tech Tahs were much busier than their opponents in the first fifteen minutes of the match with centers Vincent Wise and Nevan Bergan taking full advantage of their forwards hard work continually opening up the Quinnies defensive line.

Bergen crossed for the first try after veteran Lock Tim Olsen produced a well-directed long pass to create space for his center to race away and score after four minutes. Big No. 8 Paula Vakaruru scored a powerful try on the back of some more enterprising play from Vincent Wise who took play thirty meters down field with a blistering run only to be pulled down just short of the line. Vakaruru forced his way over from the ensuing ruck to give Tech Tahs the lead 10 – 0 after fourteen minutes.

Campbelltown got one back through center Travis Dombroski after being able to maintain their attack in the Tahs quarter for a period. The try came as they controlled possession for a long period asking plenty of questions of a well-organized Tech Tahs defensive line. Eventually Dombroski found himself on the end of an overlap wide on the left to score for a 10 – 5 score-line to Tech at the twenty second minute mark.

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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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