Greetings G&GRs & welcome to a very sodden Friday’s Rugby News.
First and foremost. From The Hoss Family to all those who have suffered loss and severe impacts to their lives with recent weather events, our most heartfelt condolences. Our family is doing what we can in our own small way to help bring some comfort to those impacted and we wish you all safety, the comfort and support of your community and loved ones and a speedy recovery in these never-ending times of hit after hit after hit after………
Now onto Rugby.
Yes, I have learnt my lessons of blind optimism from last week’s Tahs performance, which was the equivalent of french-kissing your grandmother. It might feel good for a while, but ultimately it don’t (or shouldn’t outside of South Australia anyway) get you anywhere. So this week I am much more chastened, grounded and realistic with my fearless predictions. I apologise to the G&GR community and those Kiwis who have Aussie neighbours read them Friday’s Rugby News for my error last week. We’ll dive into growing murmurs again calling out for a ‘third tier’ competition and round it all out with Friday’s Fast 5 Bonus. This week declared by the Kremlin as ‘an enemy of the state‘, so that’s nice.
SRP Round #3 – Tahs to smash The Brumbies.
All teams, times & venues here courtesy rugby.com.au
- Moana Pasifika v Crusaders
- 4 March 5:05 pm AEDT – Forsyth Barr Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
- At last Moana Pasifika get to make their looooonnnnnnggggg awaited SRP debut. If COVID and reduced preparation times weren’t bad enough, of course they will face the Crusaders first up in a true test of their mettle. No doubt passion and enthusiasm from team Moana Pasifika will be on display, but can it be sustained for 80 minutes against a well-oiled, drilled and ruthless Saders outfit? Unfortunately no.
- Fearless Prediction – Saders by 22 but MP to give a very good account of themselves and it might even be close until the last 15 where the South Island lords will ‘gas ’em’
- Fijian Drua v Melbourne Rebels
- Friday 4 March 7:45 pm AEDT – Sunshine Coast Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
- Genuinely hard to pick. I give the Rebels a bit of stick on here as they are perennial underachievers and have been for the last 4-5 years when they
stole, sorry, ‘recruited’ so many of WA’s finest. Let me be frank, the Rebels have talented players, some grunt in the forwards, experience in the backs and are not short of talent and I am a big fan of their skipper Michael Wells who gives his best every week and leads from way out front. Yes, they face current injuries, but let’s be honest – so what! Getting more cattle back will not make a difference anyway. For all the hard work of the forwards, once the ball hits those in the jerseys with double digits on their backs it all falls apart, regardless of who plays. I heard Elyse Perry’s ex say last week pre-game something like ’10 is my preferred position’. Well that’s great Matty T, my preferred position is next to Elvis on the back of the bus swapping tales and eating deep-fried peanut butter & jelly sangas and let me tell you, based on your showing at 10 last week (and previously) I am more chance than you are of securing a ‘preferred position’. How must Carter Gordon be feeling now? Coach Foote-in-mouth has found himself between a rock and a hard place of his own making. Thank Christ The Clydesdale is out suspended for a week, it gives the coach another week to hide his selection mess under the team duvet, for now…..
- Fearless Prediction: No Wells (injured) no Hodge (suspended) some high profile cavalry still on the injured list and a Fijian side growing in SR understanding, fitness and belief? Fijian Drua by 9 and a maiden SRP win
- Western Force v Queensland Reds
- Friday 4 March 10:00 pm AEDT – HBF Park, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
- What a ding-dong battle this shapes up as being. The Force FINALLY at home, own beds, own routines, own timetable and own fans, lie in wait for the slightly-spluttering Reds of the Queensland People’s Republic of Queensland (The QPQR). There is so much to like about this contest. I am looking forward in particular to the tight 5 contest between these two packs. The Reds are a celebrated, young and skilful bunch against the vastly underrated workhorses of The Force. Dirty Harry Wilson v Tim Anstee. FLW & ‘The Lawyer’ v FKA and Seru Uru (who IMO sealed the win for the Reds last week – he was fantastic off the pine). The Commies are missing one of their two ‘captains’ this week (how many captains does a team need?) in Tate ‘Billy the Kid’ McDermott and with the other co-captain Liam Wright still out injured means that whoever ‘captains’ the team this week will be co-co-co captain and if that ain’t bad enough, their ONLY scrum weapon Taniella ‘The Abattoir’ Tupou returns via the pine, so the Reds scrum would appear right for the plucking early. Having said all that, the match certainly is mouth-watering for any number of reasons.
- Fearless Prediction – At home, well coached, a seemingly close knit side, in front of home fans I predict more rain for Queensland I’m afraid, as the Force rain on their parade. Force by 13
- Blues v Chiefs at Eden Park
- Saturday 5 March 2:35 pm AEDT – Eden Park, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
- Watched the Blues v Canes last week and what a cracking finish. The Blues will be filthy about letting that one slip. At home, second run against a Chiefs side coming off a postponed game v MP I gotta go with the Blues for this one
- Fearless Prediction – Blues by 17
- Hurricanes v Highlanders
- Saturday 5 March 5:05 pm AEDT – Sky Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport
- The Canes used their ‘get out of jail free’ card last week (not valid in Australia) when they snatched victory away from the Blues, while the Landers are 0 from 2 for SRP so far. With the Canes at home and buoyant from last week they should have a spring to their step. But I can’t see the Landers letting them recover from a third slow start in a row either. Hard one to pick I reckon.
- Fearless Prediction. Canes at home and Landers without Aaron Smith – Canes, just, by 5.
- Brumbies v Waratahs
- Saturday 5 March 7:45 pm AEDT – GIO Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport and Channel Nine
- SRP Round 3 finishes off with a local serving, laced with hints of spite, traces of bitterness and with an extra lashing of ‘little brother syndrome’ thrown in for good measure. The Ponies at home, much improved last week and being gee’d up with anti-Tahs sentiment by Laurie ‘Uncle Fester’ Fisher and future Wallabies Coach Dan ‘Chuckles’ McKellar – what’s not to like! Match-ups all over the field, it’s hard to know where to look. Wallaby props v Wallaby props and those on the fringes pushing for higher honours. In The Brumbies & Orange #8 ‘Sideshow’ Bob Valetini a hugely improved and growing in stature as a truly international standard player v the vastly improving and equally large human, Tahs Will Harris. The #9s of Jake ‘Commissioner’ Gordon v Nic ‘The Lip’ White. Young 10s eyeing off long term gold opportunities, centres of size and skill on both sides, pace out wide, big boots at the back and benches that nearly cancel each other out. This game folks, has all the ingredients to be an absolute belter and a great spectacle for
winning fansrugby lovers everywhere. I like the humility and quiet determination out of Team Tah this week on the back of one that truly got away last week against The Communists. Equally there is steel and resolve from those rugby-type people in the barren wasteland that is our nation’s capital.
- Fearless Prediction. Any objective and reasoned fan would certainly pick the Ponies based on pedigree and seasons past. I do NOT pretend to be that person. Tahs by 15. Nutta, get the cheque book ready. ‘The Gospel’ Australian Whisky. Dan Murphy’s online $85.00, no need for gift wrapping please. It’s the thought that truly counts and the thought of you spending money on the Tahs makes me warm and gooey all over.
Regular readers on here will by now know I am a stickler for facts. With news last week out of NZR that the Bledisloe Series from this year on, with the conclusion of a ten year – three test per year contract – would revert to a two test series only, I raged against the NZR, The Nearlies & Kiwis in general (who needs a reason right). At first I smelt a Kiwi ambush, like those from across the dutch sneaking up on an unsuspecting ewe in rolling fog, wearing velcro gloves, I thought Oz rugby had yet again taken it up the clacker from those nearly in All Black.
But no readers, no. I was absolutely wrong and I am not afraid to say so here, in writing, on these hallowed pages. I completely ballsed it up and can now state, with absolute alacrity, that RA were not only happy to forego the third annual test, but also acquiesced to the whole thing.
BUT, in a ratings scoop, I can now reveal a G&GR EXCLUSIVE on these very pages as to ‘why’ RA seemingly rolled over (take that Nathan Williamson). With Australian teams holding FOUR (yes 4 – check it out here) of the top 5 places on the SRP table, RA and their visionary leadership can see the writing on the wall for Rugby in NZ and sensing its ultimate demise, unshackled our financial wagon from their weary & fast fading rugby horses (I mean, last year we beat France – twice – what did the Kiwis do again?)
So, I apologise unreservedly to the NZR, its fans, residents and supporters alike that your teams, as evidenced by facts tendered above, are shit at Super Rugby. Furthermore I am sorry for any inference I may have given that the reduction in annual Bledisloe Tests match numbers was a Kiwi plot. All facts point to the piss-weakedness of 80% of your sides outside the top 5, thus demanding ‘we’ (RA) find sterner competition and better financial options into the future for our dominant SRP sides.
So in conclusion, I’m sorry we are so much better at rugby then you.
It’s true what they say, saying ‘sorry’ is just so liberating, even if nothing meaningful ever changes from that apology……….why is that sounding so familiar?
Need for Third Tier Comp
Good read from The Yoda of Oz Rugby journalism, Wayne Smith of SMH fame and the growing desire for a ‘third tier competition’ among well-placed, senior-type Rugby people. It seems this subject is always ‘Groundhog Day’ for various administrations of RA. It appears an absolute ‘no brainer’ as even coach Dave ‘Moses’ Rennie points out in the article.
My tip, stop bloody talking and start bloody doing. You can find the article on SMH here
Friday’s Fast 5 Bonus
‘Bad blood’, what on earth for…….
Ok, so bygones should be bygones. And his form so far has been stellar. Finally the potential he always had, has morphed into rugby reality, so all Oz fans win – right? But to be a fly on the wall when Izaac ‘The Lawyer’ Rodda meets his former coach at The Communists, Brad ‘The Padre’ Thorn this week and witness the testing of his claim of no ‘bad blood’ would be fascinating. But as Neil Sedaka himself said ‘the only good thing about bad blood, is lettin it slide’……..
Failed commentator calls ScoMo a ‘tight wad’
Ok, so that’s not exactly what 2027 OZ RWC Bid Chief and failed FUX Sports commentator Phil Kearns said, but it is the vibe though. SMH prolific rugby wordsmith Georgina Robinson reports that RA has secured $120m in NSW (‘THE Premier State’ mind you) Gov’t funds and were promised a Federal contribution on a $4$ basis to match. How convenient then that ScoMo now (allegedly) has COVID. Just as he had to reach into his pockets. Where’s Gladys when you need some coin for any reason at all? Maybe RA boss Hamish ‘The Hammer’ McClennan could start ‘sexting’ the former ‘Queen of NSW’ and see if the coffers loosen a bit, it’s worked before…………alledgedly.
Princess Mo’unga sets the record straight
stuff.co.nz reports that half-decent NZ #10, Richie Mo’unga has set the ‘record straight’ regarding his end of last season/early this season break from the game (didn’t even know he was missing) ahead of his return this weekend. The other Ruchie says he took a breather for ‘fimlee and stiff’ and is ‘risted ind rilly kin to git stick in’. Look Princess, it’s ok, take the rest of the year, or at least the Bledisloe series off and we’ll be ok until then, promise.
Keep your powder dry
It shits me when after ONE good game the ‘next big thing’ is anointed by the media. So it seems with returning Force recruit Reesjan Pasitoa, anointed by FUX Sports Christy Doran, whose parents surely took Johnny Cash’s ‘A boy called Sue’ to the next level, as a ‘Wallaby in waiting’. Let the young man learn his craft, hone his experience, rugby IQ and life’s journey and leave the titles of ‘next superstar‘ to those whom the title more naturally rests. Like Angus Bell, Ben Donaldson & Will Harris, you know, generally any NSW Players.
Super W is back!
Season 5 of the Super W, which this year welcomes a Fijian Drua Super W side, kicks of this weekend in the wild west. With 5 teams and a season consisting of 12, yes 12 double headers with the SRP comp the exposure and coverage can only help our Super W athletes and the code overall. All games, venues & fixtures courtesy of rugby.com.au
Dare I dream of Tahs dominance and ‘dual’ crowns for 2022? Yes I do. Go Super W Tahs & go well.
Until next week – if you’ve got a spare $20, put it on the Tahs – you heard it here first
Hoss – north bound & down, loaded up and truckin’……