Monday’s Rugby news sees the Brumbies get their first win in the Super Rugby trans-Tasman, while the Springboks announce the squad to take on the British & Irish Lions, and in clubland, we cover off some major upsets in the Shute Shield and Hospital Challenge Cup.
Brumbies on the board
Another week, another win for an Australian side in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman. On a frosty night in Canberra, the Brumbies held on for a 12-10 victory over the Hurricanes. Two missed penalty kicks in the final two minutes by Jordie Barrett allowed the ACT side to hang on for their first win against a Kiwi side this year.
The night wasn’t without controversy, as a potential try from Alex Fidow in the 73rd minute was pulled back after a review in the lead up deemed Hurricanes skipper Ardie Savea to have knocked the ball on. Gun centre Len Ikitau continues to impress, scoring the Brumbies solitary try.
In the weekend’s other games, the Western Force held tough against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday, putting in a valiant performance to deny them a bonus point with a late try. Later that night, the Queensland Reds were beaten by the Blues after struggling with late injuries to James O’Connor (neck) and fullback Bryce Hegarty (hamstring) just before the match. Teenage sensation Mac Grealey stood up as the replacement fullback, with Hamish Stewart performing admirably at flyhalf.
The NSW Waratahs continued their winless season, going down to the Highlanders 59-23 in a record-breaking match (in all the wrong ways). The Waratahs are in real danger of going the whole season without a win for the first time in their history.
On Sunday, the Rebels put in perhaps their best performance of the season, playing out an entertaining match against the Cheifs at leichhardt Oval, but eventually went down 36-26.
The Springboks have revealed their squad for the upcoming Test matches against the British and Irish Lions series. It appears Boks coach Jacques Nienaber is going for continuity, with the entire 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning squad named, with the exception of retired trio Tendai Mtawarira, Francois Louw and Schalk Brits, and injured Warrick Gelant.
The squad includes a host of European-based players, along with some uncapped players like Wandisile Simelane, Rosko Specman and Aphelele Fassi.
This will be the first time Nienaber will take the reins of the Springboks since being named coach, after taking over from Rassie Erasmus.
“It is a surreal feeling to name a Springbok squad after such a long absence from international rugby, and the fact that these players will have a chance to measure themselves in such a special tour makes it even more remarkable,” said Nienaber.
“Players such as Frans and Morné have been here before and they can attest to the huge privilege it is to be part of a British & Irish Lions tour, so I am very excited for this squad.
“The squad feature a bunch of Rugby World Cup-winners who know what it takes to perform and be successful at the highest level, as well as a handful of very talented young players who all proved that they deserve an opportunity at this level.”
It will be the Boks first hit-out since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
In Shute Shield news, the match of the round saw the Warringah Rats notch up a comprehensive 40-14 win against their arch-rivals the Manly Marlins in the Battle of the Beaches. The game was played out in fantastic scenes in front of a packed crowd at Pittwater Rugby Park. Warringah used their pack dominance to full-effect, piling on six unanswered tries to Manly’s two.
In other results, Eastwood secured a 20-12 win over Gordon in Grand Final rematch, Sydney Uni continued their unbeaten season with a 57-17 win over Randwick and Souths found some form smashing Penrith 80-3, while Hunter handled the Two Blues comfortably with a 43-11 win and Easts ended Norths winning streak with a 31-29 victory.
Teams get the weekend off for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
In Queensland, it was Indigenous Round in the Hospital Challenge Cup. Historical rivals GPS and Brothers battled it out at Yoku Road, with the Gallopers getting the win. UQ continued their unbeaten run over finals contenders Wests Bulldogs. Souths got an important win over Bond, who were down on playing stocks. It was a high-scoring affair, with Souths prevailing 51-43. Sunnybank surged to a big win over Norths.