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Monday’s Rugby News – 18/11/21

Monday’s Rugby News – 18/11/21
Two thumbs up from Michael Hooper 
During the Rugby Championship Test between Australia and Argentina at CBus Super Stadium on October 2nd 2021 in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. (Photo by Stephen Tremain)

Welcome to the GAGR News for Monday, folks! Another quiet weekend; however, my own anticipation of the Autumn Internationals is building. With any luck, there will be plenty to celebrate starting next weekend. The best part? Premier Dan is (at present) letting us loose! Phwoarrr! Let’s dance!

Wallabies v Japan

A conundrum of sorts for Dave Rennie and his coaching staff: does he stick with the side that has been successful over the past four tests, or is there an opportunity for some talent to come in (injuries/withdrawals aside)? My feeling is that we will see an almost full-strength side play. This is down to a number of reasons, including: having had a three week hiatus, wanting players to earn their jersey and a lead-up to some BIG matches after Japan. Indeed, Japan are hardly an easy beat in the current day and age… Ireland and Scotland will hastily remind you of this! This match, kind of like playing Scotland in the rain, could easily be a banana skin game that the gang from Mario Karts would be proud of. Either way, I’m hoping for a decent start from our lads. Thank goodness that Stan is showing the game (and the NZ game on Sunday morning) 😍 😍 😍

I would suggest we see something similar to the following side:

  1. Slipper
  2. FF (*sigh*)
  3. Nela
  4. Philip
  5. Rodda
  6. McMahon
  7. Hooper (c)
  8. Valetini
  9. White
  10. Cooper
  11. Marika Wright/Petaia
  12. Perese/Paisami
  13. Ikitau
  14. Ginger Ninja
  15. Hodge
  16. Kaitu’u
  17. 7As
  18. Bell
  19. Swain
  20. Leota
  21. Tate
  22. Paisami/Perese
  23. Wright/Petaia

National Squads

Seeing some of the names popping up in the named squads, it’s hard not to get a little bit frustrated. Why am I frustrated? It’s because I see so many names not of the country of origin. Now, before I get myself into a hole of cynicism because of the cultural make-up of the Australian side, I have absolutely no objection to players who, by any circumstance, ended up in another country prior to the age of 18 with their parents. Nor do I hold any annoyance to players who have a parent of overseas origin.

What I would like to see is an ending of the ‘Grandparents’ law whereby a player qualifies through the origin of their grandparent/s. Often (though I digress there are some cases) there is barely any personal attachment to the land of the forebears other than by virtue of name/accent/stories from afar. Furthermore, any form of qualification through residency is ridiculous. Spending three years (now going to be five years I believe at the end of this season with the ‘Pichot Law’) in a country hardly makes you, in my eyes, a person of that country. Simply because a player has made the decision to seek the bigger dollari-doos doth not a resident make. By all means play in the ‘new country’ for the cash/experience/lifestyle. Some young Aussies, including the son of a former Wallaby Greg Cornelsen, Jack Cornelsen, are now turning out for the Blossoms against the country of his birth and of his ancestors! I find this absolutely absurd.

What makes it more frustrating is the poaching of a country’s players at a young age. The majority of targeted players are from the Pacific Islands and South Africa. It’s an open secret that countries are offering educational scholarships to young DDFs and young PIs in order to ensure they’re qualified at a far younger age than what they would be on residential grounds.

The questions must be asked around the (lack of) opportunities provided within the set-up of the country of birth, too. Why are these players, who are obviously decent footy players, heading off-shore prior to their prime? Clearly there are systematic failures of both identifying and retaining talent. Furthermore, this demonstrates a deeper need for a proper third tier to keep these players at least somewhat involved in Australian (or their home country’s) rugby programme.

Referee Appointments for the Autumn Internationals

The list of referees for the Autumn International series for the Men’s games can be found here.

The list of referees for the Autumn International series for the Women’s games can be found here.

From an Australian perspective, it is pleasing to see four of our referees being appointed to games. The referees are: Gus Gardner, Nic Berry, Damon Murphy and Brett Cronan. I tell you what… looking at the list of locations for these referees gives me travel envy!

On the negative side, it’s VERY disappointing not to see any Australian or even Kiwi female referees provided the opportunity to referee the international matches. Excuses about travel restrictions are redundant as there are both Aussie and Kiwi referees heading overseas so I can only assume that there is a bit of a protection racquet occurring up north. Whilst there is always the ‘be grateful for the opportunities presented rather than complain when not’ argument, I fail to see how not appointing either Kiwi or Aussie referees to the matches immediately prior to the Women’s RWC in 2022 as anything less than a snub (I fucking hate this word… but it’s apt!).

  • USA v New Zealand 23/10/21 – Gus Gardner (ref), Brett Cronan (TMO)
  • Scotland v Tonga 30/10/21 – Nic Berry (ref), Gus Garnder and Damon Murphy (TMO), Brett Cronan (TMO)
  • Ireland v Japan 06/11/21 – Damon Murphy (AR)
  • Romania v Uruguay 06/11/21 – Gus Gardner (ref), Nic Berry (AR), Brett Cronan (TMO)
  • Scotland v South Africa 13/11/21 – Gus Gardner (ref), Brett Cronan (TMO)
  • France v Georgia 13/11/21 – Damon Murphy (ref)
  • Wales v Fiji 14/11/21 – Nic Berry (ref)
  • England v South Africa 20/11/21 – Gus Gardner (AR)

As anticipated from last week, there are some referees being given the opportunity to take on some big matches (Andy Brace as an example) as well as others having an opportunity in Tier 1 test matches (Nika Amushkeli as an example) . Although I joked about it last week, it’s good to see Wayne Barnes taking on potentially the match of the tournament in France v New Zealand… hopefully all forward passes will be duly noted for those Kiwis who are still a bit salty 😉

The referees for the Australian matches are:

  • v Japan – Paul Williams (NZ)
  • v Scotland – Romain Poite (FFR)
  • v England – Jaco Peyper
  • v Wales – Mike Adamson (SRU)

Barnsey Taking Charge

Speaking about Wayne Barnes, I was delighted to see this teamwork from the match officials in this weekend’s match between Wasps and Exeter. KB will be stoked that Barnsey has two solid mentions in a row…! As a referee, and then as a spectator, nothing shits me more than people acting like douchebags and causing shitfuckery to occur. It is completely unnecessary and is against the spirit of the game.

As an aside… Rassie has secured this gentleman’s services for the DDFs whilst in Europe! Ha!

That’s all, folks. Happy Monday again!

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