Happy Thursday everyone. The northern tour awaits and many of us will be finding ourselves short of sleep over the next few weekends. Personally, I cannot wait.
The Northern Tour Where the Rubber Meets the Road – Discuss
So people, this is where we’re at. The question is what do we expect from the northern tour. The men in orange have five games left in what has been a long season. Realistically, we’re ranked 9th now and while as a fan I can make the argument that we have been unlucky this year there is an axiom in sport that says you are what your record says you are.
We play Scotland, France, Italy, Ireland and Wales.
Here’s my take as a fan: we need to beat Scotland first up as we’re probably going to lose to France. We should beat Italy and then lose to Ireland leaving the Welsh game as the final game in what has been a long season where we have experienced the highs and lows that any proper sports fan experiences.
Realistically three from five is a pass mark for where we are as a team and where we are in our season.
Scotland coach alerted to qualities of Jack Dempsey by shared Waratahs experience
From the Scotsman
It says much about Australian Rugby that we keep Lachlan Swinton and Ned Hanigan and lose Jack Dempsey.
Steve Tandy got an early insight into the capabilities of Jack Dempsey when he worked alongside him in Australia and the Scotland defence coach believes they have pulled off quite a coup by persuading him to switch allegiances.
Dempsey, who was capped 14 times by the Wallabies before taking advantage of changes to World Rugby eligibility regulations and committing to Scotland, is recovering well from a rib injury and could feature against his former Test side at Murrayfield on Saturday. Tandy and Dempsey were at the New South Wales Waratahs together before both men headed north and the Scotland defence coach is well versed in the No 8’s dynamic style which has since flourished at Glasgow Warriors.
“He was just great to work with,” recalled Tandy. “He had a couple of injuries while I was there – a big hamstring injury – so he played a bit but was out for a long period. It was obviously great to work with the Aussie guys and Jack was one of these. Really engaging and just a really good rugby player. He’s been unbelievable for Glasgow and in the way he’s really taken to rugby in this hemisphere. He’s explosive and powerful so we’re really happy to have him part of our group.”
Redundant Wasps boss Blackett has landed temporary role next month
One of the very few good things to come from the demise of Worscester and Wasps is the the Baabaas and playing some more games this year.
Lee Blackett has found himself his first temporary coaching work since Wasps went to the wall on 17 October, agreeing to coach the Barbarians next month with Geordan Murphy and John Mulvihill when they face Northampton on 26 November. When Scott Robertson and Ronan O’Gara were initially appointed as co-coaches for the upcoming tour, the Baabaas only had one match arranged on 13 November against an All Blacks XV at Tottenham.
However, amid the chaos of the Gallagher Premiership where Wasps and Worcester have been suspended, top-flight clubs in England have been eager to secure replacement fixtures. This has resulted in the Barbarians agreeing to play Harlequins on November 17, Bath on November 20 and Northampton on November 26.
That extended schedule left the Barbarians needing a separate coaching team to see out the tour and a triumvirate of Blackett, Murphy and Mulvihill will now oversee the famed invitation club for its closing match at Franklin’s Gardens.
If the Barbarians can field the same teams in all four games it could make the NZ game spicy.
Rebels Japan Tour
The Rebels and Reds have development squads in Japan at the moment and while the Reds tour gets underway this weekend it is great to see the Rebels had three wins from three.
Following back-to-back wins over Victoria’s best state players and the Brumbies in Albury, Melbourne’s off-season training block culminated with a five day trip to Japan, where the Rebels celebrated their market-leading alliance with the Hanazono Kintetsu Liners, by playing out a hard fought but highly entertaining game in Osaka.
On a hot autumn day, the Rebels impressed under fierce pressure from the home side, with Lachie Anderson crashing over to open Melbourne’s account in the 20th minute, before slick passing from Cullin Cooper-Jones and Monty Ioane led to Richard Hardwick running through his first of two tries. After an intense opening forty-minutes, the Rebels surged away in the second half, registering 19-points in just 9 minutes, with Hardwick, Ioane and Josh Kemeny all scoring.
The tourists weren’t done yet, with Victorian Isaac Aedo Kailea scoring his first try of the off-season, before speedster Joe Pincus showed why he was primed for a big second year at The Stockade, with an impressive breakaway try in the 72nd minute. The Rebels wrapped up the thrilling affair, winning 50-17, before coming together with Liners players to celebrate the historic occasion with a jersey exchange and post-game function as players, coaches and staff toasted to the two clubs’ market- eading friendship.
Melbourne Rebels head coach, Kevin Foote, said the tour was a highly beneficial experience for the entire Rebels playing group.
Owen Farrell to Miss English Training Camp
From The Guardian
The irony is that Owen got knocked out making a legal tackle after getting a yellow for tripping a player earlier int the game.