Greetings and welcome to GAGR’s Rugby News for Monday. Last week I had a gift horse story with the ‘Giteau Law’ changes being abruptly announced. This week, I seem to have gotten somewhat lucky again! The feuding between Rugby AU, Rugby NZ and the shitfuckery flying about is the story that seems to keep on giving…!
Looking ahead, on behalf of us all, I wish the Aussie Paralympians the very best, particularly our wheelchair rugger side. Go get ‘em!
Argentina v South Africa
This pretty much sums up the game. I attempted to watch the first half whilst on night shift; alas, after about 15 minutes (and 10 or so penalties which meant even more kicking…), I decided that I had to stay awake to actually do my job. And I switched off Stan Sports.
Sure, South African “fans” i.e. the trolls on social media, will send their laughable attempts of abuse and cries of “32-12”, and, “2-1 win against the BIL!” to try and prove their point, but the fact remains that this style of rugby (yes, it is a style) is a dreadful advertisement for the game. True South African fans will appreciate that, once this generation of players (aka the Stormers side of a few seasons ago) disbands, there isn’t exactly much left to hope for. In all fairness, Los Pumas weren’t exactly setting the world on fire, either. One try scored in the course of two weekends is, in itself, a very poor return for the Argentine national side. Either side could well find themselves in some trouble against the Darkness, and, dare I say it, even a switched-on Wallabies side (if that is a thing…). The final score: 29 – 10 to the Boks.
In the first half of the Pumas v Boks game, at approx. 13:40, Reinach passed deep to Pollard, who hoisted a Garryowen into the Pumas’ half. Chasing on the right wing was Cheslin Kolbe. In position to catch was the Pumas fullback, whilst chasing with Kolbe was another Pumas player. The player level with Kolbe ‘escorted’ him, and ended up preventing any possible contest in the air (I digress, a long shot, but still). What made it worse was that Kolbe pushed the player in front of him into the Puma’s player in the air. Whilst nothing came of it this time, there have been previous incidents of this ‘escorting’ business leading to the jumping player being compromised, as well as the genuine contest being eliminated. I, for one, would love to see this tactic eliminated, both for player safety and that it simply pisses me off. It’s a grubby, gamesmanship sort of tactic, and causes nothing but bother. I appreciate that there are myriad other little things to nit-pick; however, this one has been a bugbear of mine for quite some time.
Options for The Rugby Championship, 2021
After the Kiwis thought better of a trip to Perth (can’t really blame them… then again, I’m from Canberra so what do I know!), we now have absolutely no clear and fixed idea (YET!) if/when/where any of the remaining games will be played. Whilst the alleged communication problems with NZ Rugby’s CEO (a repeat offender, it seems) have caused both frustration on this side of the ditch, RA will be cursing the financial implication of missing a 60,000-spectator event where the dosh would have been most welcome. Apparently, all is to be revealed over the coming 24-48 hours.
Recent reports from Fox’s Christy Doran (so read into this with a pinch of salt… shit-stirring flog) suggest that the real reason behind the failure to board the plane to WA is the private equity stake that Rugby NZ are looking to secure with the Europe-based businesses associated with PE firm, Silver Lake. Mark Robinson, CEO of Rugby NZ, remains adamant that the decision is based on player welfare grounds. As always, the true story will probably lie somewhere in the middle.
At present, the options are:
- Play in Australia.
- Play in South Africa
- Play in Europe
Option One would be my first choice, if at all possible. There is still a chance of some fan participation and, from a domestic point of view, it is ideal to keep the games where it is likely there will be some engagement and interest, especially on Stan. It’s a catch-22 with travel as at least two teams will have to relocate over a significant distance; however, it was the travel that had been planned. It would be interesting to see if somewhere like Adelaide Oval might be available, too (granted, I haven’t looked into this option in-depth). There is still an outside hope of the match to happen on September 4th in WA prior to any other departure.
As of 2200 on Sunday night, RA seem to be indicating that the Queensland option remains the best and most probable location to host the remainder of TRC, with the SMH indicating that venues have been secured that don’t compromise on the thugby league and AFL matches, and is able to include the ‘managed isolation’ protocols for the Boks and Pumas. According to SMH, this proposal will be tied up by Monday afternoon, so we ought to know by then.
Option Two is my last choice. Not only is South Africa Covid-stricken, but there is absolutely zero chance of any spectators, which means the financial windfall will not eventuate. Whilst the facilities are available and are good, the time zone is not favourable for Australian and Kiwi domestic audiences.
Option Three is my second choice. There are two benefits for this proposal: the financial benefits of having sold out Stadia, and that teams will be in place for the Northern Hemisphere tour in October/November/December. Otherwise, we are relocating all teams a distant way and out of sight and mind for domestic audiences.
Turning the Tables
GAGRs, I would love to hear from you all in the comments about some positive rugby stories that you have experienced this year. For many of us, stuck in a Covid Lockdown without any community rugby is not ideal, there isn’t exactly much to go on. So, regale your fellow rugger lovers with some tales of either a bygone era, some amazing event or a cracking laugh…
For me: it will be the future referee fines evening in Melbourne. After being appointed to a Premier 1st Grade (Dewar Shield) debut twice this season, each time said debut was canned due to lockdown. Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s case will be that I caused the lockdown and, as we all know, in a kangaroo court, the more you argue, the heftier the penalty! Bugger.
NB: I did get the elusive debut in the end…. Third time lucky!