Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees Wallabies Back In Action,  Argentinian Double? , Europe Wrap, and A Trans-Tasman Draft?


Nic White during warm-up

Following on from last week’s mega upset of the All Blacks, it is Australia’s turn to face the Pumas in this weeks round of the Tri-Nations.

The game is being played in the not so happy hunting ground of Newcastle but with both teams in the unusual position of having the wind in their sails following wins over the All Blacks each side will be looking to stamp their claims to the Tri Nations trophy.

With that in mind coach Dave Rennie has named a relatively settled side for the match, rewarding players who won the game against New Zealand, while having to juggle to cover for the loss of suspended Lachie Swinton and the injury to centurion James Slipper.

Up front, Scott Sio comes in for Slipper and Ned Hanigan comes in for Swinton, and Taniela Tupou earns the start at tighthead. Reece Hodge remains at flyhalf, a decision made easier by he continued injury woes of James O’Connor.

On the bench, Jake Gordon comes in for Tate McDermott and Rob Valentini is added, meaning there is no specialist reserve lock in the 23.

Coach Rennie has not left anything to chance and has rewarded the previous games effort with close to his most settled squad of the season. When asked by about the makeup of the team, Rennie paid respect to the Pumas, saying, “As a group, we know respect is earned daily and understand the importance of backing up our last performance with another quality effort on Saturday night,” Rennie said. “The tournament is evenly poised and our fate is in our own hands. We saw how much passion Argentina play with in their performance last weekend and we’re excited by the challenge in Newcastle.”

Many people will recall the dreadful weather (and performance) in 2012 at this ground against Scotland and Newcastle has not been a very happy hunting ground for the Waratahs either so it is time for the Wallabies to turn that around if they are to go another step towards claiming the Tri-Nations titile

WALLABIES (1-15): Scott Sio, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Matt Philip, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (c), Harry Wilson, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Tom Wright, Tom Banks

RESERVES: Folau Fainga’a, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Valetini, Liam Wright, Jake Gordon, Noah Lolesio, Filipo Daugunu


Michael Cheika, Mario Ledesma

After their monster effort and win over New Zealand last week, Argentina will be looking to make it back to back wins in Newcastle on Saturday.

In a similar vein to the Wallabies, coach Mario Ledesma has rewarded the players that did the job last week and named an unchanged starting side for the encounter. With only two changes to the bench, Ledesma clearly believes he has got the winning formula to take down Australia to lay claim to the Tri Nations.

To aid him in that, the bench sees the inclusion of backroweer Facundo Isa and the relatively familiar name of Emiliano Boffelli.

From the Argentine perspective this game is all about keeping up the momentum of last week and keeping the team fit and fresh given it was their first Test in over a year and for most their first proper match in some nine months. Coach Ledesma is also wary of the threat posed by the Wallabies across the park, saying he noticed the, “improving set-piece – lineout, driving maul, scrum – and obviously offensive threats in the likes of (Hunter) Paisami or (Jordan) Petaia or Marika Koroibete. The treats are coming from many different places and we’ve got to be spot on with our game plan and our kicking game and control the tempo of the game.”

From the Australian side the narrative this week has all been about the return of Michael Cheika to face his old team but coach Dave Rennie has been keen to try and play down he role that inside knowledge has might play, telling the media pack, “I know he’s come in as some form of specialist. Certainly, there was a really impressive defensive effort so if he’s had anything to do with that he’s done a good job. They kicked the leather off the ball – I would assume he didn’t have a lot of influence with that.”

PUMAS (1-15): Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Guido Petti, Matias Alemanni, Pablo Matera (c), Marcos Kremer, Rodrigo Bruni, Tomas Cubelli, Nicolas Sanchez, Juan Imhoff, Santiago Chocobares, Matias Orlando, Bautista Delguy, Santiago Carreras

RESERVES: Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Santiago Grondona, Facundo Isa, Gonzalo Bertranou, Emiliano Boffelli, Santiago Cordero




With last weeks first round of games being let down by the COVID cancellation of Fiji’s game, we head into this weeks round in a similar situation with 29 positive tests ruling out the island nation once again. This leaves us with three games in the Autumn Nations Cup. the pick of which is the England and Ireland clash on Saturday night Australian time.

Fresh of their 40-0 win over Georgia, the English have made five changes for this game including Mario Itoje, Tom Curry and Sam Underhill as well as props Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler as the English clearly expect a more rugged performance against the Irish this week.

On the Irish side of the equation, they have made four changes to the team that took Wales apart 32-9 last week, with experienced players Bundee Aki, CJ Stander, Robbie Hensahaw and Keith Earls all part of the incoming group. Players to drop out include the injured Johnny Sexton.

Other games this weekend sees Wales take on Georgia and France playing Scotland. The Welsh game should be interesting given the results last week and for one other reason. Making his debut for Wales this week is flanker James Botham, the grandson of the great cricket tormentor (to Australian fans) Ian Botham. Botham comes straight into the starting side depsite only being called into the squad this week. This is among 13 changes made by coach Wayne Pivac as he seeks to arrest a worrying slide in form that has seen significant criticism from some sections of the peanut gallery.

In other European news, the English Premiership gets underway this week after only finishing a month ago. The Premiership opens with defending champions Exeter taking on Harelquins in what should be a great game. Other games this weekend see Sale play Northampton, Bath host Newcastle, Leicester home to Gloucester, Worcester and London Irish, and Bristol travelling to Wasps.




With a trans-Tasman competition locked in for 2021 and some sort of equivalent likely beyond that, some elements of the media have been pondering ways to make it more appealing to certain sections of the public.

In that vein, I present to you the reader, this piece from ESPN’s Sam Bruce for discussion. To distill it down to it’s most central idea, it proposes a draft based system not unlike the AFL or some of the European sports, wheereby the teams select their squads from a pool of players that make up the team for that period, primarily for the new talent coming through but also to set up the purported extra teams for 2022, whomever they end up being.

I would really like to hear the view of the reader on this and suspect it will be quite divisive depending on your region. Those more ‘traditional” union areas will be aghast at the thought, thinking that a draft will lessen the tribal nature of the game and water down concepts like trans-Tasman rivalries and the like. Would a Reds v Crusaders game really be the same if there were two or three Aussies pulling on the red and black?

Other teams that lack a real domestic talent pool to make up the bulk of their teams like the Force and the Rebels might view it differently. It might be that knowing they can bring in young players without having to pay over the odds to entice them would be a good thing, helping to boost their stocks and rely less on those players traditionally overlooked that often make up their squads, especially on the fringes where depth can be the issue.

My personal view is one of horror, but maybe I am too blinkered. I still shake my head when a young Qld kids signs elsewhere, especially when they excel. On the other hand I also realise there are only so many squad spots to go around so if they want to make a go of it then a move has to happen, and this is magnified if the NRC is as dead as it appears to be.






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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