Monday’s Rugby News sees a review of our hot and cold super rugby performances, the Irish squad for the upcoming series, illicit drug policy changes and nipples.
THE COMEBACK CONTINUES (sort of)
After last weekend’s historic victory over the Highlanders, the light has shone through a little more in our Super Rugby results from this round. First up it was the Rebels who dusted up a Sunwolves side (albeit understrength) in a 40-13 win.
In a typical Sunwolves encounter, the points margins were high and they game was free flowing, with the flying Fijian Marika Koroibete dotting down for three tries and Jack Maddocks crossing for two of his own. It was an important win for the boys from Melbourne as they keep in touch with Waratahs while trying to remain in Michael Cheika’s sights for the upcoming June series. In particular, Koroibete and the young Maddocks are starting to put together a nice little case to put forward for Judge Cheika and his juror’s Larkham, Grey, Byrne and recently appointed Raiwalui.
The Waratahs were next for Australian super sides but went down fighting in a 39-27 loss to the Chiefs. After leading the game 14 nil inside 13 minutes, the Tahs lost momentum and struggled to reclaim it despite a Kurtley Beale try midway through the second half.
This really felt like a game the Waratahs could’ve, should’ve and would’ve but ultimately walked away with nothing, conceding a try after the bell taking away a bonus point.
As reported in the SMH, Daryl Gibson revealed both his satisfaction and disappointment at getting so close once again to beating those darn Kiwi’s. “We’re close … we’re competing,” Gibson said. “To come so close and yet still be not where we want to be [is pleasing]. There’s plenty there to work on. We had no problems scoring tries, we’ve got to really work on preventing them.”
The Reds followed suit with a narrow 18-15 loss to the Highlander’s at home on Saturday night. A lack of discipline which has plagued the Queenslander’s in previous years returned, with a 77 minute penalty goal sealing the 3 point loss.
Statistically, Brad Thorn’s men were dominant over his mates across the ditch in all categories except one; penalties.
Courtesy of Rugby Australia stats, the Reds conceded 10 penalties to the Highlanders 6 and against quality opposition you can’t allow them any extra opportunities to tick the scoreboard over.
Finally it was the Brumbies who finished off the fixture list with a hard fought victory over the Bulls, 38-28. Playing at Loftus, the Brumbies didn’t have it all their own way, conceding two tries in the first half as well as a 61st minute red card for Folau Fainga’a.
Yet the Canberrans (surely they don’t call themselves this) found a way to win, something Australian sides have struggled to do in the past.
Kyle Godwin looked like his 2013 self while Tom Banks continued his stunning tour of South Africa with a brilliant solo effort to grab a meat pie. Yum.
IRE (LAND) WE READY?
After many predicted Joe Schmidt to leave Ireland’s big-name players at home for the upcoming June series down under, the selectors have named a full strength squad to face the Wallabies.
According to The Independent, the move has been seen as a sign of intent following the 6 Nations triumph to secure a Southern Hemisphere tour victory for the first time since 1979.
Privately, the squad are quietly confident they can repeat the clean sweep achieved by the Eddie Jones coached England team in 2016 and have brought Sexton and co to make it a reality.
Coupled with England starting to look less and less like the challengers to take on New Zealand in next year’s world cup, if Ireland can beat us on our home soil, they shape up as the main rivals for the Kiwis. (Besides Australia of course)
The side will join up for camp after the end of their club seasons this weekend the make their way to the Gold Coast to acclimatise before the first test in Brisbane on 23rd of June.
The Wallabies squad for the series will be named sometime this week.
The full 32-man Irish squad:
Forwards: Tadhg Beirne, Rory Best (captain), Jack Conan, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Dan Leavy, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, James Ryan, John Ryan, CJ Stander, Devin Toner.
Backs: Bundee Aki, Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery, Andrew Conway, John Cooney, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Kieran Marmion, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.
ILLICIT DRUG POLICY CHANGES
After James Slipper failed his 2nd drug test for cocaine inside 4 months, rugby.com.au reports that the illicit drug policy is coming under review.
Under the current policy, only the national body’s integrity unit and chief medical officer and Queensland’s chief medical officer were told of the first positive test, with the rest of the club completely unaware until a second positive test in May.
QRU chairman Jeff Miller on Thursday asked for a review of the policy, with the Reds left upset after being unaware of Slipper’s drug-related issues on top of some personal issues he has been dealing with.
Rugby AU’s policy is the exact same as the NRL’s and more rigorous than the AFL policy, which allows two tests to be kept private from even the club doctor. (‘Such is life’ hey?)
Raelene Castle made probably the most cliché comment you’ll ever hear from a CEO on whether it needed to be changed, saying “we need to have a good honest conversation about it and make sure it’s really delivering to what we need it to with the facts and figures in front of us.”
Wow. Thanks for that.
It’s an interesting issue with a few differing opinions as to whether the use of illicit drugs should be examined at all. Former wallaby and journalist Peter FitzSimons, who never has an opinion on anything, offered up his opinion to the WWOS.
“I don’t do drugs, I don’t like drugs, any kids watching, don’t do them.”
“But if James Slipper chooses to take cocaine on a Saturday night it is none of my damn business.”
“I wish he wouldn’t do it but it’s none of my damn business.”
The WWOS also reported that Slipper himself will come under some serious scrutiny and may lose his job due to Brad Thorn’s hard lined (not white may I add) approach. Thorn himself had this to say.
“It’s a tough one because obviously Slips has been struggling and there’s some compassion around that and caring for that and supporting that,”
“The other side is, cocaine – you can’t have that.”
“As a head coach of the club, I’ve got all my young guys in here, Queensland Rugby, watching my sons play rugby at school.”
NIPPLES IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Yep. Nipples I said.
According to Radio Sport in NZ, World Rugby is trialing a change to Law 9.13, which focuses on the acceptable tackling contact height. Basically the big change is that now contact must be below the nipples (still funny to mention) instead of the armpits and has introduced a new directive for the tackler to make a greater emphasis on the tackler to bend at the waist instead of being in an upright position.
Dr Martin Raftery, World Rugby’s chief medical officer said that “This trial is designed to remove the tackler’s head from a high-risk situation through a deterrent based on a combination of law amendment, sanction and technique change,”
The change is causing plenty of talk amongst all rugby lovers with former player Drew Mitchell twittering away his displeasure along with a funny little one from James ‘Chibba’ Hanson.
Let’s call it how it is, soon rugby as we once knew it won’t exist & we will be watching touch rugby!!
@WorldRugby with this interpretation you are opening yourselves up for so much negativity.
You have just increased the ‘grey area’.. Well done!! pic.twitter.com/ptKZpbIcUP
— Drew Mitchell (@drew_mitchell) May 25, 2018
New Jersey regulation standard for the introduction of Law 9.13. Must be clearly visible.