The Rogues Rant

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

Vikings dreadlocked halfback Tommy Sawden has been called into the Country Cockatoos Squad. The Cockatoos will be going into camp on Saturday the 3rd June to prepare for their match against Sydney Suburban the next day Sunday June 4th at Camden Rugby Park. Sawden got the late call up this week to replace an injured player following his impressive performance at the recent Country Championships in Port Macquarie. With now eight Illawarriors in the squad it will be worth the trip up to Camden next week to check out what should be a good match.

The Dexter Porter Blood Cup is on again in 2017. Can you believe that the Cup has been running now for ten years? Two IDRU Clubs, Cup holders Vikings and Shamrocks are ranked in the top ten of the top 100 organizations in the region who donate blood. It’s easy to get involved and give your club the chance to take home the Dexter Porter Cup at the IDRU Annual Awards night in Grand Final week. Make an appointment with any local branch of the Red Cross Blood Service between the 1st June and the 31st August to make a donation. Fill in the Red 25 Form at the donor center and nominate the club you represent and your donation will be registered to your club and be counted toward the total for the Cup. So come on roll your sleeve up and get involved, you never know when someone special to you may need help. For further details contact the Red Cross Blood Service on 131495 or IDRU Cup co-ordinater Kieran Smith on 0429 728879.

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Wombats Home In Scrappy Affair

MatchReportDespite putting in a performance well below the standard they have set themselves so far in 2017, Avondale still managed a bonus point victory over a disappointing Shamrocks outfit at Ocean Park. Running in four tries to three the Wombats held on for a 26 – 17 win in the IDRU Builders Club Round 7 match to maintain their unbeaten competition lead.

With the predicted rain staying away the field was perfect for open football but both sides struggled to find their best form with poor handling being an unwanted feature of the game. At different stages throughout the match the usually slick Avondale backline managed to show their potential putting on several outstanding plays resulting in four five pointers. However both sides managed to fumble their way through the entire eighty minutes in a display which both coaches will be keen to put behind their sides.

After two early penalties shortly after the start of the match, Shamrocks camped themselves in the Avondale half and on the back of several strong raids on the Wombat line Hooker Chris Smith burrowed his way into the Avondale in goal to open the scoring. In the first play after the restart Shamrocks turned the ball over and the Wombat attacking unit sprang into action sweeping toward the Rocks line. Big Lock Gus Faleauto powered his way across for a try leaving several would be defenders in his wake. Silipa Tuigamala converted the try for the Wombats to take the lead 7 – 5 after seven minutes.

Both sides lost key players in the opening minutes with Avondale rep fullback Jacob Kara replaced with a shoulder injury early, followed minutes later by Chris Smith for the Rocks with an eye injury after a heavy tackle.

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The Rogues Rant

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

If you have been missing Jim Scardanas of late, I can tell you that the esteemed gentleman is currently in the West Indies. He is participating in a Golden Oldies Cricket Tournament with a bunch of colleagues from Wollongong University. It’s a hard life for some people. Just watch out for the short ones Jimmy!

It was certainly an entertaining afternoon at University Oval with the Bulls and their visitors Vikings serving up one of the most enthralling games of the season so far. The entertainment was not restricted to the field however as the healthy crowd in the grandstand also enjoyed the excitement of the University Rugby Clubs Ladies Day activities. With scores of somewhat scantily clad young ladies being waited upon by bare foot waiters whose attire consisted of Bungie Smugglers and some of Calvin Klines best product the thrills came thick and fast. The bubbly was plentiful with the expected ramifications making for some hilariously funny exits from the ground by patrons throughout the afternoon. It was clearly obvious however that the girls had a great day out at the rugby.

Vikings Rugby Club is approaching a big celebration weekend over the June long weekend to mark the club’s 60th Anniversary. There will be several special functions on over the weekend based around their home game against arch rivals Shamrocks on the Saturday. The main function for the celebrations will be a Ball on the Sunday night at the Novatel North Beach. There are plenty of old Blueys making the trip back to Wollongong for the weekend so there is sure to be a lot of reminiscing about the Illawarra’a oldest and most successful Rugby Club. The club boasts thirteen Premierships, two ahead of Kiama with Shamrocks next with seven titles. You can get more details about the celebrations from the Vikings Club website.

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Vikings Edge Out Premiers To Secure Second On Ladder

MatchReportIn a pulsating entertaining match at University Oval, Vikings have boosted their premiership credentials with a thrilling 26 – 21 victory over the University Bulls. In the round six IDRU Builders Club Premiership match a large crowd enjoyed a closely contested eighty minutes in which the lead changed seven times before the Blueys lifted late to pinch the result from the defending premiers.

Coming off a disappointing effort against Shamrocks last week, the students started the match with high intensity out enthusing the Blueys at the breakdown throughout the first half. In a sign that there was not much between the sides in the opening half each side scored two tries before the Bulls went to the break with a one point lead. Vikings crossed for two second half tries to secure the bonus point win, confirming second spot on the table and leaving Uni seventh after six rounds.

The Bulls welcomed back skipper Paul Tuala and veteran Donovan Nepia who were instrumental in the early stages of the match. With Nepia showing his outstanding kicking game getting Uni out of early trouble, it was a Uni trademark rolling maul that produced the first points after four minutes. Hard working flanker Damien Mei got the five pointer for Uni to take an early lead of 7 – 0 after Nepia’s conversion.

Both sides contributed to what was a very high paced game, keeping the large Ladies Day crowd enthralled. On the back of four phases of play close to the Uni line, diminutive Vikings No.8 Simon Watts stole a try for his side sneaking down the side of a maul from close range. Illawarrior halfback Tommy Sawden converted for the scores to be equal after twenty minutes.

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The Rogues Rant

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

A big get together of some of Australia’s big names in the Rugby Coaching business will take place at Australia Rugby HQ next week. Incumbent Wallaby Coach Michael Cheika and his skills coach Mick Byrne will be meeting with past coaching luminaries Bob Dwyer and Dick Marks among others to have a look at the current parlous state of Australian Rugby. Anyone who thinks these guys can come up with a quick fix to Rugby’s current woes needs serious help. As many rugby commentators have been saying for quite some time the current state of Aussie rugby has been developing for something like ten years, and we can expect that it will probably take just as long to turn things around. The whole Australian Coaching and Development structure is just not working. We don’t have the competition structure in Australia to allow players to grow and develop through to international standard as that which exists across the ditch. Until a progressive competition and coaching structure is developed in Australia which will allow talented young footballers to be identified and then developed, nothing will change. The ARU should get someone across the Tasman and check out how it’s done over there, it’s obviously working for the Kiwis.

Super Rugby is looking even sicker as each round goes by. The uneven convoluted draw is really going to be shown up for what it is by the time the finals come around. “A Mess”. Surely it must be changed from the conference system in 2018 when the team numbers are reduced or the chance of a similar debacle will still exist. It must get back to every team playing each other once, finishing with a four or six team final series. Have a look at this year’s points table at this stage based on overall competition points. The five Kiwi sides are inside the top seven positions. The Australian sides are all in the bottom half of the table. It’s likely on current form that this situation will only get worse by seasons end. Despite the obvious anomalies, under the current competition structure, an Australian side will make the finals, at least three teams from the African pools are guaranteed a finals spot, but one or more of the Kiwi sides will miss out on the finals. TV money has too much influence on the competition but for the sake of Rugby as a whole the integrity of the competition must take precedence over the TV content.

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The Rogue Rebuked

In the most recent Rogues Rant dated May 4, I related a tale about some self- soaping sponges. I have received correspondence from IDRU Life Member John Martin in which John was able to throw some more light on the said incident way back in the 1970’s. I unreservedly apologise to the Manager mentioned in the story for suggesting that this was something less than a particularly brilliant form of subterfuge perpetrated by the young Man. I present John’s Rebuttal.

A Rebuttal.

I refer to a recent Rogue’s Rant, in which he described an incident from a Country Carnival in the Seventies which involved a Team Manager providing a self-soaping sponge for the players to use during the half-time break.

The Rogue preserved the Manager’s anonymity by using a cryptic sobriquet, but from the clues provided, his identity was clear to me and I would like to elaborate further on the incident.

This particular match was against a strong Newcastle side and a soapy sponge was in fact provided at half-time. This was not an oversight by a novice manager however, but a brilliantly conceived strategy designed by the Manager to play mind-games with the opposition. I distinctly heard him explaining to the Team Captain, one Geoffrey (Bunter) Shaw that the sight of the Illawarra players, feigning anger and frothing at the mouth, would be extremely unsettling to the Newcastle players and would be worth at least ten points in the second half. This indeed did prove to be the case and Illawarra went on to record a memorable win.

This was no “novice manager,” as the Rogue describes him, but a rugby psychologist, years ahead of his time. The Rogue should wash his mouth out for suggesting otherwise.


Editors Comment – Shame on you Rogue, You should have realised this to be what it was, a brilliant piece of Rugby Genius.


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