Welcome to Monday’s Rugby News, G&GRs.
Well, that was certainly an interesting weekend of rugby. Plenty of results, more pieces of cheese which were accompanied by some vino and enough bone-rattling hits to make me praise the rugby gods that I’m a referee!
In the words of Nutta, I hope you all have a pizza pockets day, folks!
SUPER RUGBY ROUND SEVEN
Moana Pasifika v Blues 1.0 – This was Tuesday last week so fuck it. Moana 19 – Blues 32.
Blues v Moana Pasifkia 2.0 – OK, this was a bit closer to Monday! The Blues pretty much left off from where they were on Tuesday evening, decimating a weakened MP side who will only find the going even tougher over the coming week with another short turnaround against the Canes. Despite the sloppiness from both sides, the passion was definitely evident between the two teams based out of Auckland. Both sides have crucial matches this coming weekend, with the Blues taking on the Chiefs and Moana playing against the Highlanders. Blues 46- Moana Pasifika 16.
Drua v Waratahs – There will be some happy little campers in the comments with the Tarts getting another W in their belts for season 2022. In a relatively comfortable win, the Tahs were aided by an atrocious act of clothes washing… I mean, clothes lining… and (rugby) ball handling shown by the Fijians who appear to be finding the grind of Super Rugby to be a lot tough than anticipated. Any win is a win for most teams, especially the Tahs after their horror 2021. Their all-round game is definitely improving and credit where it’s due to coach Coleman. Even as a Ponies fan, I must take some golden consolation in the Tarts coming gooder (betterer… whatever). Drua 14 – Tahs 38
Crusaders v Highlanders – The Crusaders definitely dodged a
haggis bullet in the Southern Derby match in ChCh. An incredible defensive display crippled the Highlanders who are still searching for their first win of the 2022 season. The Crusaders definitely didn’t look like the same team they have done over the past few season, with a plethora of errors and a referee who was willing to dish them the cheese (and a vino at the end) faster than a French chef. Call me a bastard (well, I am a referee so most of you have anyway), but if teams are going to revert to cynical tactics (irony completely noted as a Ponies fan… but I’m getting to them) then I have absolutely no complaints about seeing teams punished. Crusaders 17 – Highlanders 14
Reds v Brumbies – If this is the gold standard of rugby in Australia, there we are creating more problems than we are solving. I’ll cover this more in a separate piece down below; however, what exactly are our Super sides doing? As a battle for the top two places in the competition, this game owed us a lot more than it really delivered (and I’ll say the same about two weekends ago in Canberra). Both sides seemed unable to catch Covid, let alone a rugby ball. Future Wallabies Assistant Coach, Dan McKellar, summed up the game perfectly: “It was dreadful, as simple as that. It only went for 80 minutes, is probably (the only pleasing aspect).” I have no idea what attitude shat on the Brumbies Weetbix on match morning; however, they were “fooking shite”. A second quote from Dan sums up the mood perfectly: “I don’t think it was a very good game of footy… “I get really frustrated with people who bag the game but I think both teams will review that and understand we need to be whole lot better.” Hear fucking hear… read below for more. I would like to add how good it was to see Gus Garnder back in the middle. I know that referees will trigger some readers; however, I felt he had a really good measure of the game and was in command. It’s a shame that the teams could sort their petty shit out. The reality was the only positive was seeing Nic White get belted back to last week! I think the below video will be some rugby porno for some of you mob…. Reds 21 – Brumbies 7
Hurricanes v Chiefs – It took until Sunday afternoon, but loosely paraphrasing Gordon Ramsay, finally some good fucking
It was a tight affair against the Hurricanes – who held a halftime lead and fought back late – and an entertaining throwdown for the fans in attendance. The Chiefs wanted to throw the ball around from the outset, but they might have shown their hand too early. A second long pass in quick succession from Ioane was easy pickings for veteran halfback TJ Perenara, who picked it off with ease and bolted away to score his 57th Hurricanes try and become the team’s all-time leading try scorer. It certainly didn’t deter the Chiefs from their game plan, however. Instead, they went straight back to moving the ball. Ioane immediately atoned; breaking through the line with some slick footwork and speed before slinging the ball to a supporting player – doing so on two occasions in the same run of play – with the move ultimately seeing Anton Lienert-Brown cross the line. With eight points between the teams inside the final 10 minutes, the game was well and truly on – and Ardie Savea caught the Chiefs napping with a quick tap from a penalty on the Chiefs’ 22. Julian Savea made a good tackle after reserve halfback Jamie Booth put in a difficult kick, and it was Booth who then got over the ball for the penalty. Ardie Savea was quick to take the tap, and was too strong from close range. Within the space of five minutes it had gone from a 15-point game to a one-point game, and the Hurricanes were playing with confidence. However, two big defensive plays followed by a 50/22 from Bryn Gatland relieved the Chiefs of all pressure and they were able to close out the win. Hurricanes 29 – Chiefs 30
SUPER W – ROUND 5
Fijiana v Waratahs – The streak is over! After winning 21 games since in inception of the Super W in 2018, the Fijiana have handed the Waratahs their first loss in the competition. The Drua blew NSW away with three tries in the first 18 minutes at Cbus Super Stadium to outside backs Vitalina Naikore, Kolora Lomani and Timaima Ravisa. That gave the Fijians a 17-0 lead and while the Waratahs rallied they never really looked like completing a miracle comeback. Victory all but confirmed the Drua’s berth in the final and NSW remain likely to be their opponents. Fijiana 29 – Tahs 10
What’s even better is that there’s actually some fucking coverage of the women’s games this weekend. Hallelujah!
Watch this hit below. Oh my days….
Brumbies v Force –
The Brumbies are off the mark for the Super W season, triumphing 27-19 in a back-and-forth clash with the Western Force. Boths sides entered the game winless but the Brumbies’ experience saw them through against an energetic Force line-up, scoring four tries to three at Canberra’s Viking Park on Sunday. Brumbies captain Rebecca Smyth was relieved her side got the breakthrough. “It was such a tough game out there,” said Smyth. “They were physically the toughest team that we have played this whole competition. “Our girls just stuck in there and we managed to finally get away and I’m really proud of them. The Force were their own worst enemy as they were hurt by a yellow card in each half, the first coming when the Brumbies were awarded an early penalty try for a collapsed maul.
Reds v Rebels –
The Queensland Reds side have secured a comprehensive 55-5 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Round 5 of Buildcorp Super W as Queensland Rugby Union celebrated its annual Women in Rugby round. The Reds ran in nine tries to one in what was a historic day for women’s Rugby in Queensland, with the 238 women who have represented Queensland since the first capped match in 1996 presented with their state cap.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 10th minute through Willow Rowland, quickly making the most of their one-woman advantage after Patu was shown a yellow card minutes before. It was all Queensland from there, scoring 55 unanswered points to secure a win. The Queenslanders play against the Waratahs next weekend to continue the intriguing match-ups.
In further women’s rugby news, it appears that RA and Stan have decided to stage the Super W Grand Final during the Super Round at AAMI Park over the ANZAC long weekend. Despite AAMI Park initially turning down the request due to ‘wear and tear’, sanity seems to have prevailed! I refuse to pay for the SMH so someone with access can do the old copy and paste for us in the comments 😉
TIKTOK WOMEN’S 6 NATIONS
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to do much viewing or research on these games. Instead, I present the highlights according to YouTube!
France 40 – Ireland 5 – highlights
Wales 24 – Scotland 19 – highlights
England 74 – Italy 0 – highlights
LATE BREAKING NEWS
Australia is now the preferred host of both the Men’s 2027 RWC AND the Women’s 2029 World Cups. WR announce this news this morning. See here for further information.
WTF IS GOING ON WITH THE SUPER SIDES?
Right, fair warning folks. This is a rant. Feel free to join in either way in the comments!
What the actual fuck was the Reds v Brumbies? This was supposed to the two top teams (settle down, Kiwis… your time will come in two weeks) in the competition, and the two top teams in Australia. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were some positives in this match. But those positives were far outweighed by the negatives. If this is the sort of match that is billed by Sean Maloney, et al. within the Stan commentary as the best we can offer then we’re truly in the shit, especially with Kiwi teams fast approaching.
I’m going to lay the sword into my own team here first. I’m well-known for being a Ponies supporter. Furthermore, I have always acknowledged that the Ponies were serial cynics and were, to the point of ridiculousness, liberal with their interpretation of how the laws of rugby ought to be used. This way of playing shits me, even when we win. Along with this pathetic attitude regarding the laws and how they play ‘within them’, the Ponies are so often guilty of spilling the beans when it really counts. It is this attitude that perpetuates throughout the majority of Australian rugby (i.e. when it’s tough or a big match, we seem to go missing). This attitude, malaise, contempt, whatever you want to call it, is endemic within the attitudes of our so called professional players and coaches. That we can have a soon-to-be full time assistant Wallabies coach state that “… that (the match) was dreadful” is a pathetic indictment on the perilous state of the game of rugby in this country. Further, to criticise both casual and rusted on fans for ‘bagging the game’ but being 50% responsible for the tripe served up… well, kettle meet fucking pot. I’m starting to have serious reservations resurface about McKellar (founded a long time ago when he was coaching the Vikings but returning to my mind recently) as a potential replacement for Rennie post-2023. I’ve said this recently, too, that Larkham returning isn’t where the Brumbies should have gone to. That the Force could secure a coach like Simon Cron, and we go back to the future, may well shape the Brumbies in an even more negative way in the coming half decade. Larkham’s tenure saw the initial decline of the Brumbies’ style of play into the negative. I don’t see this getting any better upon his return.
Now, onto the rest of the Australian sides. Brad Thorn and co were responsible for the other 50% of shite produced in their particular match up. Kudos to them for getting one back over the Brumbies. Impressively, they are making the Suncorp Fortress work for them like the ABs use Eden Park for. Even though there were the more positive (just) team on Saturday, where exactly does this team think they’re going? Their skills and execution were as poor as the Ponies were and, like the Brumbies last week, saw red for a silly piece of play. The Tahs played up against an even worse Drua side who seem to have inherited the crap of the conference. At least with the Tahs, they are improving. The Rebels have to be one of the worst sides I’ve seen in my 15+ years of rugby watching and viewing. They make the Italians look like a decent 6 Nations side. A seriously big broom is required in that organisation. The Force, similarly to the Brumbies, piss their pants when they have to lift. Their ruthlessness in appointing Cron could well be a masterstroke.
For Australian rugby in general, as one who goes to the teams and, essentially, gives all involved the rugby equivalent of a right telling off by nanny. It seems that the sides are out for individual ‘glory’ (which is fine… to an extent) and that the product of rugby is falling right off the wayside. With a 2023 RWC, a 2025 Lions and a 2027 RWC 99.9% likely to be in Australia, we simply don’t have the time to keep fucking around like headless chickens. Where is the strategy for a common national approach? By all means have a unique approach to the game for each side; however, continually playing cynical rugby while lacking the finesse of pretty much every other club side in the world will lead to trouble.
The administrators have to share the blame. This includes the referees. I usually make it a rule to not comment on my colleagues; however, for the sake of this rant, I refer back to the Reds v Brumbies match two weeks ago, as one such example. This match was sorely lacking some more cheese (consequently, to those who care to notice, we see that particular referee having some time on the side line). The teams were so busy trying to fuck up the opposition that they forgot to actually play rugby themselves.
What is needed is similar to the approach in the English Premiership. Horrifyingly, their rugby is actually of a bloody good standard and there seems to have been some sort of agreement between all involved (players, coaches, referees, administrators) that positivity is the way to go. What I wouldn’t give to have a strong rugby figure, like a Rod Macqueen, sit the current crop of Australian ‘professionals’ down and absolutely serve it to them on a platter.
For the love of rugby, the teams simply must be better.
RUGBY HITTING ME IN THE FEELS
The Reds released a video for Filipo Daugunu’s 50th match this weekend. Like many people, Daugunu has been unable to see his family for an extended period of time due to Covid. This video reminds us that our players are human and that, for many, there is still plenty of sacrifice involved in achieving their dreams.
World Rugby released this video recently, too. I’m in a glass case of emotion!
A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF AN INTERNATIONAL REFEREE
Kat Roche, an American referee, took World Rugby behind the scenes of her trip to Europe for her TikTok Women’s 6 Nations appointments.
As much as refereeing is a brilliant hobby, I am so pleased that this video acknowledged that, for a lot of the time, refereeing is quite a solitary job. Most weekends, we don’t have teammates and certainly have few supporters. I wish there were more of these videos produced, even at a local level, to show what referees do to be a part of the game. This definitely isn’t to take away from what the teams do at all; more like to show that, for a game of rugby, there are many parts.
Right, folks. If you’ve made it this far…. I’m sorry! Ha! I’ll reward you with this clip from the MLR over the weekend… OOOUUUCCCHHHH
Happy Monday 🎈