Friday’s Rugby News sees Squads, Squads and more Squads, Twiggy Ball pushed back and Quade lines up against the Reds.
REBELS VS REDS TRIAL AKA QUADES RED DEAD REDEMPTION
Quade Cooper will finally don the navy blue Melbourne Rebels jersey as he takes on his former team, the Reds, in a trial match in Ballarat tonight.
Cooper was a late withdrawal with knee issues, last Saturday in the trial match against the Brumbies. It looks like he has over come them just in time for the start of the Super Rugby season.
Though he will have to wait another week to pair up with his old mate Will Genia who wasn’t named.
Dave Wessels has made a few changes to his 35-man squad including bringing in new recruits Isi Naisarani and Brad Wilkin, bringing back club captain Tom English at 13 and Anaru Rangi into the starting squad.
Lukhan Salakai-Loto FKA Tui will play rugby for Queensland tonight for the first time since he stepped away after the Wallabies loss to Argentina on the Gold Coast last year.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Caleb Timu are the only capped Wallabies from last season listed for Queensland, with the rest of the Spring Tour squad resting after Cheika’s boot camp.
Bryce Hegarty will have his first go around in a Reds jersey, after making the move north in a trade deal for Karmichael Hunt between the Reds and NSW.
Kick off is at 6:30pm Feb 1st and will be live streamed from the Rebels Facebook page for those who can’t get to Ballarat.
1. Ben Daley 2. Anaru Rangi 3. Sam Talakai 4. Luke Jones 5. Matt Philip 6. Rob Leota 7. Brad Wilkin 8. Isi Naisarani 9. Michael Ruru 10. Quade Cooper 11. Semisi Tupou 12. Billy Meakes 13. Tom English 14. Tazi Tautalatasi 15. Beaudine Waaka
Fereti Saaga, Mees Erasmus, Matt Gibbon, Robbie Abel, Hugh Roach, Pone Faamausili, Rhys Brodie, Sam Jeffries, Trevor Hosea, Esei Haangana, Ikapote Tupai, John Mokofosi, Richard Hardwick, Michael Koko
Harrison Goddard, Stu Dunabr, Nav Hailsila, Sione Tui, Justin Masters, Archie King
Harry Hoopert, Feao Fotuaika, Ruan Smith, Gavin Luka, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Efi Ma’afu, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Harry Hockings, Angus Blyth, Angus Scott-Young Liam Wright, Caleb Timu, Adam Korczyk, Fraser McReight, Scott Higginbotham
Moses Sorovi, Tate McDermott, Scott Malolua, Hamish Stewart, Teti Tela, Duncan Paia’aua, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Filipo Daugunu, Jock Campbell, Bryce Hegarty, Jack Hardy, Will Eadie, Isaac Lucas
TWIGGY BALL DELAYED
Fyre Festival creator Billy McFarland could learn a thing or two from Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest when it comes to building an organisation, if it’s not ready to run sometimes you have to delay it.
Thats what Forrest has been forced to do with Global Rapid Rugby akaTwiggy Ball.
Time ran out on the competition organisers who failed to finalise the arrangements with two of the teams slated to be apart of the six team Asia Pacific competition, expect to start in March.
Forrest released a statement, claiming to be confident the competition will still go a head in 2020.
“In 2019, fans are going to get a real feel for how the entertainment experience we pioneered in Australia last year will evolve throughout the Asia Pacific. It will form a runway for the launch of an even bigger investment in 2020, once strong broadcasting arrangements are in place,” he said.
“Making Rapid Rugby a reality has required a considerable amount of courage and determination. That determination, and our vision, has not changed. The strategy required to realise it requires a strong foundation.”
Forrest admitted that expecting organisers to have a 60 game series in eight international territories was going to be a tough ask, especially when they only have 15 week. At least he saved himself the embarrassment of a Netflix doco.
Former Wallaby and Global Rapid Rugby head of Rugby Matt Hodgson believes an extra year will help turn the competition into something long-term.
“We don’t want it to be a one year thing, we want it to be a long term project and success. This means you’ll see Global Rapid Rugby around for the long term, which is exciting.
“And there is a lot of upside in what we can deliver in 2020 now, to make the greatest spectacle we can in the time frame we are now presented with.”
The upside for Twiggy is this gives him the chance to try and secure more teams for the competition, mainly a team from Japan and a second team from Australia.
The delay will hit the Western Force hard, with the team still playing NRC and being involved in another Showcase Series later in the year, with all player contracts honoured.
The delay might also work in favour of Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby, both of whom have come round to the idea of another competition in the region, especially if it can do the work growing the game in a way neither body can afford right now.
WALSH BRINGS OUT THE BIG GUNS
Aussie Men’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh had called in the big guns a head of the Sydney Sevens this weekend, bring in Jesse Parahi and Michael Wells to bring some grunt to the team.
Walsh also named Ben O’Donnell who has been under the injury cloud all week and wasn’t expect to play.
Parahi and Wells have been brought in to add some strength to the breakdown, allowing the playmakers time and space to work some magic.
“That’s generally being a bit of a prick at the breakdown and annoying blokes there and then also just running hard and making my tackles so I’ll be aiming to do that this weekend.”
Coach Tim Walsh believes that Parahi would be a welcome addition with all of his experience.
“He’s an experienced player, adds a real point of difference in so many different areas but particularly that ball-carrying and ruck areas,” he said.
“He was bouncing around there today so he’s really looking forward to getting out there and playing.”
The Sydney Sevens could prove to me make or break for the Mens team, with it important for them to perform better than they did in Hamilton if they want to finish top four in the world rankings, thus automatically qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.
Australia’s men’s team for Sydney Sevens: Henry Hutchison, Simon Kennewell, Michael Wells, Lewis Holland (c), Ben O’Donnell, John Porch, Jeral Skelton, Jesse Parahi, Josh Coward, Nick Malouf, Maurice Longbottom, Lachie Anderson.
Men’s pool draw for Sydney Sevens Day Two (Sat Feb 2):
10.28am Australia vs Argentina
3.56pm Australia vs Tonga
8.23pm South Africa vs Australia
(all times AEDT)
LET THE SIX NATIONS BEGIN
The Six Nations kicks off this weekend, with what would surely be an extremely competitive season with five of the top 10 teams in the world playing off. For a full break down and what to expect check out Mark McCarthy’s write up on the Six Nations.
This article will look mostly at the match up between Joe Schmidt’s men and the men of Eddie Jones but this will be an entertaining weekend of rugby.
The showdown between England and Ireland promises to be a massive match, with the Irish looking to continue their northern hemisphere dominance.
Robbie Henshaw will start at full back for the second time in his 36 test career, beating out hard man Rob Kearney for the spot. The Dynamic Duo of Murray and Sexton are back to lead the match from 9 and 10 with captain Rory Best in the 2 jersey.
Eddie Jones has gone with Elliot Day at fullback leaving no place in the 23 for Mike Brown. Jones has looked for a mixture of youth and experience with Wasp scrum half Dan Robson a chance to earn and England cap. Owen Farrell will lead the English squad.
15. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 36, 14. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 72, 13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 17, 12. Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 12, 11. Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 14, 10. Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 78, 9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 67, 1. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 84, 2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt) 112, 3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 28, 4. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 63, 5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 13, 6. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 52, 7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 13, 8. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 28
16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 65, 17. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 24, 18. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 11, 19. Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 8, 20. Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) 52, 21. John Cooney (Terenure College/Ulster) 4, 22. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster) 16, 23. Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) 9
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 25 caps), 14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps), 13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps), 12 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 27 caps), 11 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps), 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 65 caps), 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 80 caps); 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 51 caps), 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 32 caps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 17 caps), 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 26 caps), 5 George Kruis (Saracens, 27 caps), 6 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 8 caps), 7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 5 caps), 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 36 caps).
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps), 17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps), 18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 15 caps), 19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 68 caps), 20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 18 caps), 21 Dan Robson (Wasps, uncapped), 22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps), 23 Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks, 42 caps).