ACT Brumbies

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Fridays Rugby News sees go time for Super Rugby, Sydney 7’s preview, Six Nations kick-off, and Dave Wessels reflection.



Crusaders' fans 2017

A new season of Super Rugby is upon us, and as is usually the case after a World Cup, there are more questions than there are answers.

The Crusaders are back to defend yet another title, but just how will they and the other Kiwi teams fare in the transition year? Will the Australian teams get closer to becoming more consistently competitive? Can South Africa capitalise on their World Cup success?

Round One won’t solve all these riddles but by the end of the weekend we should have some clues.

Importantly from an Australian perspective, the Tahs get the ultimate challenge in facing the reigning champs in Nelson (Saturday 5:05pm East Coast Elite Time). As discussed in yesterday’s news there are changes aplenty for NSW, and perhaps the sternest test off the bat.

Friday night sees the Brumbies and the Reds do battle in what shapes to be a sweltering Canberra evening. Steve Lenthall previews the game here

The Rebels travel off to Japan to take on the soon-to-be-no-more Sunwolves, (Saturday 2:45pm EDT), with a strong Rebels backline taking on cobbled together Sunwolves outfit.

Add in a NZ derby and it has the potential to be a great opening weekend.

Teamlists for the weekend here

Tips: Blues v Chiefs- Blues by 12, Brumbies v Reds- Reds by 6, Sharks v Bulls- Sharks by 9, Sunwolves v Rebels- Rebels by 27, Crusaders v Waratahs- Saders by 21, Stormers v Hurricanes- Stormers by 8, Jaguares v Lions- Jags by 13


Charlotte Caslick and Georgie Friedrichs

Charlotte Caslick and Georgie Friedrichs

With Western Sydney set to swelter with temperatures in the 40’s, the World Sevens Series makes it’s debut in the new Bankwest Stadium. After last weekends leg in Hamilton both Aussie sides have rung the changes with the Womens team in particular welcoming Charlotte Caslick and Shannon Parry back from injury ans suspension respectively. Faith Nathan also comes into the team for Sariah Paki

Coach John Manenti is thrilled to have them back, telling, “Charlotte runs our attack and ‘Shanno’ is our barometer of mongrel, if you like, She is the tough hombre up front, setting standards and getting physical and the girls love following her.”

Australia play their first game at 0958 EDT on Saturday against Spain, followed by Ireland (3:36pm) and France (9:35am Sunday).

On the Mens side, Tim Walsh has resisted the urge to name the returning Luke Morahan in the 12, instead naming him as the 13th player. Speedster Trae Williams comes in for Rod Davies and Morahan steps in for injured Ben O’Donnell in the squad.

Having one of the quickest players in the world is great but as Walsh explained they haven’t quite exploited it yet, saying they had to, “Work out a way we can put him in that space, and allow him to use his point of difference.”

The Men face Japan (11:19 EDT), then Scotland (4:46 EDT) and the final game against the USA (Sunday 1029 EDT) in the game which will probably determine who progresses to the semi finals in the new cut-throat format.

Overall, New Zealand will be looking to maintain their lead in both competitions as sides start to look ahead to the Olympics later in the year.




Slipping under the radar of most is the start of the Six Nations, which also commences this weekend. As with Super Rugby, there has been a large shakeup of players and coaches in the period after the World Cup. One coach who hasn’t gone anywhere is Eddie Jones, who after falling at the last hurdle, has defied expectations and remained in charge of the English.

Jones is concerned that the game has become too much for one referee to handle, saying “The possibility is that we are going to have to look at how many officials are on the field because we need the game to get quicker. The game is too slow at the moment.”

Despite losing a good chunk of his staff, England are short priced favourites to win the trophy, and will be looking to start strongly against the unpredictable French early Monday Australian time. Other games see Wales take on Italy and Ireland facing Scotland.

It will be fascinating to see how Ireland bounce back from the disappointing World Cup, with Andy Farrell slotting into Joe Schmidt’s shoes.

BBC Sport compiled a list of some the best young players to watch in the Six Nations,

Tips: Wales v Italy- Wales by 37, Ireland v Scotland- Ireland by 15, England v France- England by 11.



Brad Thorn and Dave Wessels  Reds v Rebels 2019

Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels has opened up in a frank interview about the pressures of an elite coach, and has surprisingly mentioned that he even considered giving it away at the end of 2019.

Wessels has told how he struggled with the pressure he felt from the public and the glare of social media from armchair critics.

“I wasn’t enjoying myself at the end of last season and I really had a couple of moments where I wondered whether this was what I wanted to be doing,” he said. This came after the Wessels-led Rebels failed to make the finals after a strong start, and it appeared the weight of those expectations was starting to tell.

Once an active user of social media, (and podcast guest), Wessels has removed himself from the distractions of the interwebs and worked to setup more consistent processes across the Rebels structure.

Interestingly, Wessels described himself as “inexperienced”, saying this inexperience caused him to get too pressured to deliver a finals appearance, as opposed to sticking to a regular preparation. I find this quite an odd reflection, given his time at the Force and now Rebels. However the positive is that he has remained at the helm and in charge of team that has perhaps the most potent backline in the country, along with a rebuilding forward pack.

Looking ahead to this season, Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty is confident the playing group have bought in and this will help the team in times of adversity. “The biggest thing culturally we’re trying to invest quite heavily in relationships and just spending a lot more time together,” he said.

The Rebels kick off their Super Rugby campaign after some ordinary trial form against the Sunwolves in Fukuoka on Saturday, with a Wallaby studded backline that should be hard to stop.


ACT Brumbies

Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

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