Rugby

Hump Day News

Hump Day News

Welcome to another edition of the GAGR. It’s been a quiet weekend allowing time for reflection as we build up to the 1st Internationals of the year. Like all of you I’m hanging out for this one and hoping that DR has got the boys ready to give the Soap Dodgers a good smashing.

Injuries in the Wallaby Camp

It is more than 8 English straight wins since Jones took over in 2016 and this is not something that sits well with Australian supporters. Soon enough all the amateur selecting that’s happened so far this year will give way to the real thing, with Dave Rennie set to name his first side of 2022 on Thursday. But already he’s having to deal with the variables of injuries that don’t emerge in future crystal-ball selections and these will force his hands.

The injured players so far include: Taniela Tupou, Pone Fa’amausili, Harry Johnson-Holmes and Jed Holloway. All forwards and all likely to have been part of the first 23 selected this year. while this hasn’t been the same as the running up and down sand dunes type training it does show that the training has been pretty intense and that’s a good sign.

As Brett McKay from the Roar says “‘Work ethic’, ‘aggression’ and ‘physicality’ have long been key phrases and messaging of Rennie the coach, and there’s just no doubt his coaching philosophy is built around this. But we know England are trying to play more rugby this year – as mixed as those results have been thus far – so I just wonder if there’s going to be room for the Wallabies to play away from the strong arm song sheet?”

The injuries will certainly impact the selections and it’ll be interesting to see how Rennie copes with these setbacks.

Is Australian rugby setting itself up to sink or swim?

Geoff Parkes from the Roar has written an interesting article on the current issue around where RA is taking Australia Rugby. The link to the article is here:

link.https://www.theroar.com.au/2022/06/27/the-wrap-is-australian-rugby-setting-itself-up-to-sink-or-swim/

I found it to be a well balanced article. Scathing the NZRFU for their stupid approach to try and cut Australian teams, comparing the idea to the disaster that has been netball going down the same path and linking it to the poor decisions that led to the failure of the 1995 Australian America Cup campaign. While admitting that the issue seems to be an orchestrated attempt to get better funding he does ask the questions “But what if is McLennan is serious? What if Australia pushes the boat out so far that Super Rugby is cast adrift? Or they damage the competition and brand so much that it isn’t worth salvaging?” He brings out the usual “Look at the SR AU and how good that final was and how much it was supported” but again questions this and hits the nail squarely on the head with “Australian rugby’s conundrum is the same as it has ever been: Super Rugby or no Super Rugby, Australia hasn’t figured out how to construct a high-performance domestic rugby competition that works for everyone. Until this piece is solved, the matter of choosing between Super Rugby or a domestic alternative is akin to mounting an America’s Cup challenge choosing between using a dinghy or a canoe. It makes no difference.”

Personally I think he nails it. Now I don’t know why McLennan went public, or if he actually di and it was just another Fox Sport kick in the guts because they are still shitty from losing the rights. I think both NZ and Australia will be worse if they go alone. Both countries will suffer and both will need to find a way of creating the intensity that comes with International matches. I just hope both countries put their ego’s away and work something out.

Covid Strikes the All Blacks

New Zealand preparations for the test against Ireland have been hit hard with covid striking down coaches and players alike. Outside backs Will Jordan, David Havilli and Jack Goodhue have all been confirmed as positive along with Head Coach Ian Foster and assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod. Richie Mo’unga also missed training with a stomach bug but has not yet tested positive to Covid and is expected to join the team.

The ABs have called in Schmidt to assist Greg feel and Brad Mooar in preparing the team for Saturday’s first test. Foster said he was confident in the team’s ability to continue preparation. “It’s a great opportunity for the wider coaching group and senior players, who will be highly motivated, to step up” He said.

New Zealand will name their test team on Thursday and it will be interesting to see what changes are made due to the unavailability of some first choice players. My main concern is that no one gets all carried away and puts RTS on the paddock. He demonstrated in the final how he is nowhere near ready for test rugby yet and I just hope they don’t consider him.

World Cup key target as Fainga’a opens up on Force shift.

Wallabies hooker Folau Fainga’a is looking to cement his spot ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup after re-committing to Rugby Australia. He penned a one-year extension on Tuesday, however, will not return to the Brumbies as he makes the move west to the Force.

With a logjam of hookers at the Brumbies, Fainga’a believes the decision was a simple one as he looks to compete with Force captain Feleti Kaitu’u. “(2023 World Cup) is the goal but I’m quite excited to head over to WA and add to what they’ve got over there,” Fainga’a said.

“You have four world-class hookers at Brumbies, you have young Billy Pollard coming up soon and I guess it was time for someone to move on.”

Canberra seem to be going through a rebuild with players moving off shore and to other clubs. Should make for an interesting year with Larkin back in charge next year and a host of new starters.

Rugby

Emigrated to Australia a few years ago. I have spent 41 years in the NZ Army and worked with the Australian Defence Force almost every year. I am a huge believer in ANZAC and support the Wallabies against everyone except the All Blacks. Still refereeing today and love the game

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