Good morning from the Ponderosa & welcome all to another Friday’s Rugby News!
This week let’s look at the abomination that is Queensland Rugby and their dastardly tactics and slimy tentacles that saw Taniela ‘Teflon’ Tupou ‘cleared’ by the farce known as SANZAR. Preview Round #6 SRP actions. The results are also in for the Official G&GR Wallaby Squad and check out the bank balances of our leading Women in Rugby and bring it home with Friday’s ‘Goss with Hoss’ currently in talks with Netflix to become 3 part doco starring Brad Pitt.
Well, I never.
Late, forceful, clear and dangerous contact with the head and without mitigating circumstances AND if you slow down the footage, I believe you will see Taniela ‘Teflon’ Tupou is carrying a switch blade into contact as well and……………..well, you know the rest.
Imagine if you will, the jersey colours were different. What if the 140kg of gum-chewing Tongan rhino was in the hallowed, nay, sacred, sky blue of Australia’s Premier state?
The GA&R pages would be alight with acrimony, allegation, conspiracy, axe-grinding and hubris from those who were dealt a cruel hand in the great poker game of life and live up north, or who’s family punished them by moving to the Queensland People’s Republic of Queensland (QPQR)
Riddle me this, imagine if Tupou were in blue, would he have:
a. Stayed on the field after the obligatory 213 super slow-mo replays of the heinous ‘clean out’?
b. Been further cited for an incident meeting the ‘red card threshold’, only to be found innocent using that exact same footage?
c. Today be having the finer details of his visa and residency application from years back, forensically scrutinised by a minister, COINCIDENTALLY also from Queensland?
No punters, something is rotten in the state of
Maybe Tupou is simply smart? He got ‘owned’ by Jimmy Slips at scrum time and for 80 minutes TT largely walked around the field chewing gum, occasionally decided to bore in sideways at scrums and, well, did not much else. So perhaps his clean-out was meant to distract the focus from his otherwise average effort & performance against the Ponies. If so, well played that man.
But for me, this whole affair smacks of ‘gerrymander’, of 1980s Queensland police ‘integrity’ of a NZ-born, Danish heritage (what chance did he have!) shyster posing as a premier. The fix is in. This result is the abhorrent progeny, created from an unholy alliance of all things evil that lurk north of civilisation.
Perhaps as a Tahs fan, I should simply take it as a compliment that the Reds fought (bribed, cajoled, threatened, blackmailed) SANZAR so hard, simply so he could be present tomorrow night against the sky blue. It really is a backhanded compliment to the more fancied, growing and possible future best state Rugby team ever, the Tahs and their chances at Suncorp Saturday evening. For the brutal truth is this:
No Tupou = No Reds scrum.
No Reds scrum = no front-foot ball
No front-foot ball = No Reds.
It’s a sad day to be Australian, punters. The very fabric of what it means to be Australian has been torn asunder, urinated on, and then incinerated. And for what, so an under-performing team from QPQR could gain an unfair advantage in an attempt to beat a rugby union team from NSW. A team clearly on the rise and as most on here would agree, on their march to greatness.
For shame Queensland, for shame.
SUPER RUGBY ROUND #6
SPR Round #6 ‘Heritage Round‘ is here. You can find all teams, times & venues here, courtesy rugby.com.au. With Queen Jacinda dictating that crowds be allowed to return to Kiwi fixtures from 11:59pm this Friday night Kiwi time (which I think is August 1974 our time) there is a bit to watch & celebrate this weekend.
With COVID still impacting NZ sides anyone else think we might see a stand alone Oz competition only this year? Stay tuned I reckon.
Moana Pasifika v Hurricanes
Friday 25 March 5:05pm AEDT at Mt Smart Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
TJ Paranoia returns for the Canes this week and while there is much love for MP they have endured a disrupted and fractured campaign to date and while the Canes have also been poor, they will be too good for MP today.
Fearless Prediction: Canes by 25
Melbourne Rebels v Fijian Drua
Friday 25 March 7:45pm AEDT at AAMI Park, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
Surely the Rebels are going to turn a form-corner right, right, RIGHT? The Drua’s hands deserted them a little last week and they paid the price with the Force getting the chocolate belatedly. For me this is simple, the Rebels will not be a threat with Matt T at 10. It’s cold, it’s cruel, it’s reality. He is not a 10 and not the answer for the Rebels. Seems those making gold selections also agree…….what is it that Kevin Foote sees that no one else does?
Fearless Prediction: Drua by 12
Western Force v Brumbies
Friday 25 March 10:00pm AEDT at HBF Park, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
The Friday three-peat rounds out with the Force at home to the Brumbies. It’s fair to say the Force have been ‘underwhelming’ this season, which is a shame as Rodda has been sensational, Anstee is always terrific and I am a fan of their forwards in general. But like the Rebels the Force have issues at #10. The Ponies? Well, while rightly atop the table they have yet to hit their straps either. I would concede though, that good teams still find a way to win, even when off-kilter and the Ponies are a good team. Long story short, it’s the Nutta principle on show here – the ACT forwards get the team home and their Fairies decide by how much.
Fearless Prediction: Brumbies by 17
Highlanders v Blues
Saturday 26 March 2:35pm AEDT at Forsyth Barr Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
The Blues look to be the only side capable of giving the Crusaders a real run so far this season and that includes all Oz sides. The Highlanders are on a 0 & 4 run this season and even at home I can’t see this changing here. 0 & 5 here we come
Fearless Prediction: Blues by 21
Chiefs v Crusaders
Saturday 26 March 5:05pm AEDT at FMG Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
The COVID curse this week hits the Kiwi powerhouse the Crusaders with a number of notable players out in what otherwise would have been a mouth-watering encounter. No doubt the Crusaders depth will be tested and while they do have the best production line in world rugby, with 60% of their squad impacted by COVID I can’t see them getting over the Chiefs this weekend.
Fearless Prediction: Chiefs by 18
Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs
Saturday 26 March 7:45pm AEDT at Suncorp Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport and Channel 9
Heritage Round culminates with traditional rivals The QPQR
Cheats Reds v NSW Waratahs. The Reds are at home and like all Oz sides, they are yet to fully hit their straps for the season, especially in attack. The Reds have well-documented threats all over the paddock. There’re Wallabies a plenty and talent oozing in key positions and they are a hard team not to admire and the cherry on top, Tate McDermott returns from injury.
To add to the spice, NSW Coach Coleman has thrown a few selection surprises of his own by naming Angus Bell & Jed Holloway from the bench (workload or tactics you reckon?) and all this with Tane Edmed in his first start for the Tahs ever at #10, with Ben Donaldson out injured, skipper Jake Gordon still out injured & Izi Perese out with COVID. One intriguing selection though is the dual flankers of Charlie Gambol AND Carlos Tizzano starting in what may be a masterstroke to disrupt Red pill and slow/disrupt the Reds attacking ball and harass JOC and Stewart.
The Tahs chances have also been made just that little bit harder with coach Darren Coleman identified as a COVID ‘close contact’ and self-isolating at home. Like the rest of us, Coleman is performing his role ‘virtually’, According to my employer I have ‘virtually’ been doing my job long before COVID arrived too.
At the very least the Tahs will be competitive, but competitive enough to steal the chocolates from the Reds at home and at near full strength……………………………
Fearless Prediction: Yes they will. Tahs by 2 and an ‘upset’ (not for me it won’t be) to end heritage round.
I AM WOMAN,
HEAR ME ROAR PAY ME MORE
With women’s rugby going from strength to strength in terms of participation, coverage, sponsorship and above all else for sheer entertainment quality, it was heartening to come across this article this week from ruck.co.uk (boy didn’t I have to type that in carefully, got in wrong first time and man didn’t I have to explain my way outta that with IT Gestapo figures).
uc ruck.co.uk article is about the pay deal with the English women’s teams agreement for their autumn internationals of a rumoured £4,000 – £5,000 for those who play all games over that period.
It follows similar news from the Force & Rebels in early March and their respective decisions to pay their SRW players (SMH article here)
The same SMH article also states:
New Zealand Rugby will pay all Super Rugby Aupiki players $1,800 a week for the duration of a pre-season and four-round competition, funded through its broadcast deal with Sky Sports NZ. In the NRLW the top players earn $16,000 a season, while the majority of AFLW players earn $20,239 per season.
Australia’s women’s Test team, the Wallaroos, will this year earn $1,400 a week while they are in camp, with the women’s Rugby World Cup scheduled for October in New Zealand.
My point in all of this?
Oz women’s rugby is a ‘product’ and like any ‘product’ it has a value. But even with today’s ‘commercial realities’ I can’t help but feel this product is being considerably undervalued and those who bring the product to market SUBSTANTIALLY under-remunerated. I mean if you can pay a trained, nay, cadet journo & executive in charge of car parking like Billy Nathanson at rugby.com.au $255k per, then sure as shite you can pay our women’s rugby players MORE than a ‘token’ wage.
OFFICIAL GA&R WALLABY SQUAD
Here it is G&GRs, the Wallaby 30 as voted by 61 wise and true, well, by 61 voters anyway.
No doubt 3 x OS based players will be in the final mix & the return from injury of some players like Vunivalu & Daugunu for example. But our criteria for voting was for eligible players of the 5 Oz squads – so there you have it. Not too many surprises I guess, but I would ask what Hamish Stewart needs to do to make the wider squad?
My thanks to those who gave their time and voted.
Allan Alaalatoa 58
Angus Bell 58
James Slipper 60
Taniella Tupou 61
Harry Johnson Holmes 19
Folau Fainga’a 39
Feleti Kaitu’u 38
Dave Porecki 30
Izaac Rodda 58
Darcy Swain 55
Matt Philip 44
Lukhan Salaikaia -Loto 23
Harry Wilson 55
Rob Valetini 53
Michael Hooper 44
Fraser McReight 42
Pete Samu 27
Nic White 56
Tate McDermott 55
Jake Gordon 34
James O’Connor 55
Noah Lolesio 35
Eight outside backs
Hunter Paisami 61
Len Ikitau 57
Andrew Kellaway 52
Jordan Petaia 50
Tom Banks 46
Izi Perese 44
Jock Campbell 30
Tom Wright 27
THE ‘GOSS’ WITH HOSS
The return of the $6 million dollar man
rugby.com.au reports Wallaby skipper and legend Michael ‘Lee Majors’ Hooper looks set to return next week when the Tahs take on the Drua again.
Welcome back captain, my captain. We’ve missed you.
Jordan of Nazareth re-signs.
While on rugby.com.au news that 22yo Jordan Petaia has inked a two year extension to stay with RA until the end of 2024. I am a fan of this young man. Here’s to a few years free of injury so we may all enjoy the growth in this special young athlete.
Last out please turn off the lights
stuff.co.nz reports ‘rumbles’ out of middle-earth and this time, not due to volcanoes, but to the Nearlies disturbing slide on the world rankings to (snigger) third and only .53 ahead of the fourth placed Oirish.
In doing due diligence for this week’s articles I also stumbled across the rather ominous fact that ‘Ian Foster’ is actually Polynesian for ‘Eddie Jones’ to. With the Saffas and Oirish to play in 2022 it will be fascinating watching and listening to NZR fans ‘if’ those ageing warriors nearly all in black, lose this year……..Pass me the popcorn please, this could be good.
England’s much loved coach and part-time Australian Eddie ‘Dr Evil’ Jones has been given the kiss of death by his employer. No coach ever wants to hear “The RFU continues to fully support Eddie, the coaching team and players“. Everybody knows they are weasel words for ‘we are looking for your replacement now, but having trouble filling it as we are only 18 months away from being bundled out in the quarters in France’
While on SH coaches in charge of NH sides, Kiwi & Welsh coach Wayne Pivac, has won no fans with their 2021 Champions to 2022 fifth place, 6Ns showing. Culminating in a loss to the Azzuri last weekend (who thoroughly deserved the win – love this bit of commentary here too – 13 minutes in – that’s how rugby should be called, Mr Sean Maloney please pay attention) many Welsh ‘legends’ (who won what again?) are queuing up to take a swing. This from Jonathan Davies via stuff.nz.co. Seems to me the Welsh have made a career of rugby mediocrity, it’s just more of the same.
Until next week. Well may the Reds say ‘God save Nella’, for nothing will save them from the Waratahs!
Hoss – out.