The Rogues Rant

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

Some good news to start this week. The decision to go back to Rolling Substitutions in this year’s 1st Grade comp matches has been reversed. In a win for common sense the full International Replacement Rules will once again be in place for the start of the comp next week. Thank goodness for that.

The NSW Rugby Illawarra Development Managers role is up for grabs. Chris Sellar, who has held the role for the past two years has resigned and left the district. Two very well-known IDRU identities have thrown their hats in the ring along with a couple of other candidates from outside the region. It will be interesting to see who gets this very important job which is pivotal to the future of Illawarra Rugby. I’ll keep you posted.

There are more changes being made to the NSW Rugby Administration involving long term Country Rugby Executive Officer Terry Woodward. After many years looking after the interests of Country Rugby, Terry’s role as NSW Rugby Services Manager has been expanded and he will now have responsibility for all aspects of NSW representative match arrangements. He has long been the Match Day co-ordinater for Waratahs home matches, and now his brief will also cover NSW Gen Blues U/20’s, Junior Waratahs, NSW 7’s, Junior Gold Cup and the NRC. That ought to keep him busy for most of the year. His duties as Executive Officer of Country Rugby will be taken over by Steve O’Brien, who will also be working closely with the country based NSW Rugby Development Managers.

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NSW Gen Blues Pinch Match from Young Brumbies

The NSW Gen Blues Under 20’s overcame a spirited start from their ACT Brumbies opponents to record a 36 - 25 victory in their third round Super Rugby Under 20’s tournament match at Vikings Rugby Field on Saturday. The Brumbies settled into their work early and looked to be in control for much of the first half, but only managed to take a one point 18 – 17 lead into the break.

The Brumbies had the better of the first twenty minutes of the match opening the scoring with a try to fly half Liam Moseley after just two minutes. The Blues responded with a penalty goal to halfback Theo Strang before ACT’s lightning fast wingman Kuti Tahau finished off a slick backline play to score after fifteen minutes for a 10 – 3 lead. A penalty goal to halfback Ryan Lonergan stretched the lead to 13 – 3 as the Brumbies looked to be taking control of proceedings.

With the Blues starting to build into their work, they managed to put some sustained pressure on the visitors allowing them to work themselves back into the match. A well placed kick from fly half Nick Wilkinson was retrieved by centre Esera Chee Kam who worked an exchange of passes with fullback Harry McLennan which saw the custodian score the Blues first try.

Minutes later the Blues best on the day, No.8 Max Girdler capped off a period of forward dominance close to the Brumbies line when he barged over for try number two, and with both tries converted by Strang the Blues took the lead 17 – 13 with just three minutes to the break. The Brumbies had the last say in the half when powerful centre Trai Henderson carried two defenders over the line in a sweeping backline play which gave the Brumbies a deserved halftime lead of 18 – 17.

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The Rogues Rant

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

There’s a big day coming up at Vikings Oval on Saturday to get season 2017 underway. Vikings will be hosting the Round 3 National Under 20’s match between NSW Waratahs and the ACT Brumbies. Both sides have only played one match in the six week tournament between the five Super Rugby Franchises junior squads. The Waratahs are showing slightly better form going into this third Round match. The Waratahs had a high scoring 41 – 36 victory over the Western Force in Round 1, before having the Bye in Round 2. Last week the Brumbies went down to the Melbourne Rebels 14 – 17 after having the Bye in Round 1. There will be just as much seething rivalry as we see at senior level in this match and should prove to be a very entertaining fixture to get things started for 2017. The match kicks off at 5.00PM. Hopefully after all the rain we’ve had recently leaving Vikings Oval quite moist, the next couple of days will see the sun shining as predicted and the full program of matches will go ahead, with the Illawarrior Senior and Colts squads playing the curtain raisers.

Illawarriors Head Coach Shaun McCreedy will be anxiously keeping an eye on the heavens on Friday in the hope for sunny skies. After last week’s trials against ACT Uni Norths were washed out at Bowral, McCreedy will be very keen to get his charges on the field for a good hit-out against ACT club side Queanbeyan Whites. The matches for both seniors and colts will be played at Vikings as curtain raisers to the Under 20 match between the Waratahs and Brumbies. The Squads preparations can ill afford another washout as the opportunity to get some game time under their belts will be limited between the end of March and the Country tournament in April. More trials are planned for next Saturday against Southern Districts at Saunders Oval. This week’s Colts match will kick off at 1.15PM with the Senior Illawarriors on from 2.45PM.

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The Rogues Rant

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

An interesting report out of Sydney last week tells us that T G Milner Field, the home of Eastwood Rugby Club since 1963 is up for sale. The last few years has seen the Woodies go into an alliance with North Ryde RSL to keep their licensed premises at the ground in business. On my last visit to the ground last year for a Gold Cup match, it was clear that the ground was in great need of maintenance and re development as a Rugby venue. Not much has changed in regard to the amenity of the ground over many years. The club bought the land in the 1950’s and with the assistance of benefactor Colonel Tom Milner, the complex was developed and Eastwood starting playing there in 1963. Now the decision has been made to sell the complex after quite a few difficult years and the Woodies are now in search of a new home ground. They will be playing at T G Milner for the immediate future as the search goes on. The word is that the club will probably head further north/west for a new venue and with an expected $30 Million dollars to come from the sale should be able to re-establish themselves pretty well in their new home.

The Kiama 7’s was once again played in great spirits at the weekend with Warringah Rats being the big winners on the day. Warringah took home the main trophy with a 17 – 0 win in the final over arch rivals Manly. The Rats had a big day after strong pool wins over Kiama Barbarians 47 – 0, West Harbor 19 – 0, and Engadine 15 – 12. After a convincing 33 – 0 win in the semi over Canterbury, the Warringah lads were very happy to finish the better of their neighbors Manly in the final. Warringah also won the Womens trophy with a 12 – 10 win in the final over Queensland Uni. In the Country Finals, host club Kiama won the Men’s with a 17 – 7 win against Jindabyne, with Jindabyne winning the Womens Country Cup, beating Wollongong Uni 32 – 5 in the final. It will all be on again in 2018.

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The Rogues Rant

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

A tragic few weeks have passed in Rugby with the untimely deaths of three rugby greats, passing much too early in life. Springbok Joost van der Westhuizen succumbed to Motor Nuerone Disease at the age of 45. All Black Sione Lauaki died at just 35 years old after Kidney and heart problems. Then came the death of 63 Test Wallaby veteran Dan Vickerman which rocked the Rugby Community to its core. Vickerman’s death at just 37 years of age has shaken all who knew him, with tributes coming from all parts of the Rugby world. An unpromising force on the Rugby field, Vickerman was regarded by many as one of the greatest second rowers ever to represent Australia after migrating to Australia from his native South Africa. All our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife and two young children.

The second installment of the Camden Tens was played last week, and proved to be a very entertaining tournament for the strong crowd that turned up to watch at Camden Rugby Park. The Deadwood Timberwolves returned to defend their title from last year’s inaugural tournament, and managed to repeat their success with a good win in the final over the Cornwallace Crusaders. Following last year’s example the Timberwolves once again donated their prizemoney to charity. The $2,500.00 cheque was passed onto the Westmead Children’s Hospital and Heart Kids. Well done to the Timberwolves. Vikings were the best performed local side making it through to the Semi-Finals, with Camden taking out the Plate final by beating the Camden Baa Baas, made up of recently retired Ram veterans. I’m assured that the Camden Tens will return in 2018.

The Kiama 7’s are on this Saturday with matches getting started bright and early at 8.30AM. I’m told that the Tournament is fully booked with a full house of participants across all competitions. There will be $25,000.00 in trophies and prize money up for grabs. The finals will get underway at 4.15 with the Cup Final set down for 6.20PM.

Super Rugby kicks off the 15 a side season this Thursday night. Once again there has been plenty of player movements and squad changes right across the competition. You can’t take any notice of some of the one sided trial match results over the last few weeks with all franchises having a very close look at their rosters throughout. It will take a couple of weeks once again to get a gauge on just who the teams are to watch. My tips for Round 1 are: Blues, Highlanders, Reds, Hurricanes, Crusaders, Waratahs, Lions, Jaguars and Stormers.

All opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.

 

Strong Illawarriors Squad out to Seek Three Peat

illawarriors logoDefending Caldwell Cup winning Coach Shaun McCreedy has announced a strong squad to prepare for the Illawarriors attempt at the elusive three peat of NSW Country Championships in late April. After taking the title over the last two years at Bowral and Armidale, McCreedy will be hoping for a strong performance from the squad in Port Macquarie on April 29 and 30 in the hope of bringing the prestigious Caldwell Cup home to the Illawarra for a third year running.

A group of 35 players will be training this weekend at Camden at the start of what will be a busy five weeks for the boys. With trial matches arranged for both the Senior and Colts squads over the first three weeks of March, McCreedy will be leaving nothing to chance in the squad’s preparations for April. Both sides will be up against ACT Uni-Norths at Bowral on Saturday March 4. As part of big day at Vikings Oval on March 11th they will back up against ACT Queanbeyan Whites in curtain raisers to the NSW Under 20’s match against the Brumbies Under 20’s squad. A final trial will be played at Saunders Oval against Southern Districts on Saturday March 18, just one week out from Round 1 of the IDRU Premiership.

Premiers University have supplied 11 players to the squad with last years’ runners up Shamrocks adding 6 players to the list. Bowral supplies 7, Kiama, Vikings and Avondale 3 each, with Camden and Campbelltown adding 1 apiece.

The Senior Squad is: Anthony Amone, Jacob Kara, and Andre Itula from Avondale. Mark Minter, Luke De Bono, Tim Lewis, George Harrison, Tim Small, Feterika Sage and Henry Yuill from Bowral. Daniel Grehan, Leighton Cowley and Eloni Raisele from Kiama. Andy Papworth, Casey Rameka, Wayne Ngatai, Andy Rae, Ben Cheetham, Paul Tuala, Tom Baker, Sam Latu, Tyler Aitkin, Rueben Thompson and Simon Douch from University. Jesse Roach, Anthony Allport, Isaac Lunney, Scott Tarasenko, Tristram Storm and Rhys Peters from Shamrocks. Jack Hobbs, Matt Jones and Tom Sawden from Vikings. Elijah Leamalu-Leota from Camden and Greg Dunn from Campbelltown.

 

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