Happy Monday, G&GRs! Welcome to another round of Monday News. Well, there has been plenty of action this weekend, with the Men’s and Women’s Autumn Internationals having their first major weekend. I’m sure there will be a number of you staying up like I am in order to see the Wallabies game (RIP us… It’s gonna be a loooong Monday) as well as trying to catch up on all the action from the weekend. I know I’m struggling to make sure I’ve seen everything. To be honest, the Stan 20 minute mini-matches have been a bloody godsend! Apart from the results from this weekend, we’ll preview next weekend’s matches, take a gander at a proposed law change for eligibility and some random titbits from the week.
Apologies for the slightly delayed publication… I waited for the games to finish and for me to be conscious!
Addendum: bollocks. We lost.
AUTUMN INTERNATIONALS – WEEK TWO
A brief rundown of the results:
NZ 47 – Italy 9 – not really a surprise here. The Italians were competitive for the first 20-30 or so; however, the gulf between the two countries was apparent in the second half. Even more frustrating for the Ities was failing to capitalise on poor AB skills and failing to work their lineout in good position from PKs. Ominously, the ABs broke the world record for most test points AND most tries in a calendar year. Even with a second-string side than many countries would be delighted to call their first-string side, the Nearlies put seven tries on the Ities.
DDFs 23 – Wales 18 – Probably the match of the weekend as I write this on Sunday evening (so ready to eat my words on Monday morning… hopefully…). The northern sheep rooters really put in a good effort to be leading with about 15 or so to go. Arguably it may have been more until one of their ‘supporters’ (or a Rassie plant in a Welsh jersey… was it Jaco Johan in the flesh??) buggered up a slick backline move. Either way, the moment was snuffed out for the Welsh and the DDFs took the moment.
Poms 69 – Tonga 3 – again, not really a surprise. Difficult to see how this test may influence the next few weekends, with Smith not sighted until the 53rd min and Faz with the spicy cough. The Poms were pretty much dominant throughout, and a red card to Fine in the 68th minute for an elbow to the face (pretty stupid as the AR/TMO had him for a high tackle in the same ruck) capped off a horror night for Tonga.
Frogs 29 – FISMs 20 – Again, not a bad game of rugger to watch. Plenty of action in there. Not unhappy to see some cheese dished out for off-the-ball/after the whistle play… and, let’s be honest, the teams can hardly say they weren’t warned *facepalm*. Must say I haven’t seen a try off a drop-out try before, so there’s always something new to see!
Irish 60 – Japs 5 – some slick handling in the first quarter from the
Plums Irish really caught my attention as they put together a bloody good performance against a disappointing Japanese side. In Jonny Sexton’s 100th match, the Irish played with intensity and accuracy. In particular, their opening 10-15 minutes was seriously impressive. I couldn’t help but cheer along after their try from the scrum in the 9th minute.
On a side note, I was really impressed with the Georgian referee, Nika Amashukeli (one of my referees to watch prior to France 2023), who recently became the first referee from Georgia to referee a tier 1 match. I thought he has a very decent game – well done!
GAGs 13 v Jocks 15 – Well, I stayed up to watch the first half, so I’m somewhat wrecked. Unfortunately, I have woken up to the bad news. Bugger. It sounds like the second half may have been very interesting! What I did see in the first half was back and forth action, with neither side able to truly capitalise on their possession. The Wallabies were guilty of throwing possession away all too often. Our curse of simple errors costs us again!
On 7As yellow card, Morgan Turinui (or was it Goog… I was barely conscious) made the excellent point that he wasn’t shown the cheese so much for the result of the cleanout (admittedly bugger all) but for the fact that players cannot enter the rucks without control of their body. A red would have been a travesty and a yellow, while appearing harsh, is still the right call.
Canucks 26 – Yanks 13 (15-9 earlier in the week to the Canucks – this is apart of the Pacific Four Series)
France 46 – DDFs 3 – I tell you what, do yourself a favour and watch a bit of this match. I was only able to catch the first 20 or so but gee whiz it was some entertaining rugger. Well done, both teams!
Wales 23 v Japan 5
Poms 56 v NZ 15
AUTUMN INTERNATIONALS – WEEK THREE
Here is the list of matches coming up next weekend. My tips are in the brackets. I’ve gone for some upsets… partially to cause some shit-stirring, partially as some NH sides are looking handy as).
G&Gs v Poms (G&Gs)
Jocks v DDFs (Jocks)
Ireland v NZ (Ireland)
Italy v FISMs (FISMs to break their losing streak!)
Portugal v Japan (Japan)
Tonga v French BaaBaas (FB)
Belgium v Canada (no clue)
Italy A v Uruguay (Uruguay)
France v Georgia (France)
Wales v Fiji (Wales)
Ireland v Yanks
Wales v DDFs
France v Kiwis
Scotland v Japan
England v Canada
Potential Change of Eligibility Laws
I wrote recently about how much I fucking hate WR’s eligibility laws. In particular, I hate how the smaller nations (especially those in the Pacific) are raped of their best talent with a mere three (soon to be five) year eligibility period. The larger nations will still find their ways around this, irrespective of however many years it is. That said, I don’t actually mind the proposed law change for players who are now surplus to requirements for the ‘bigger’ nation. The theory of the law is that, after a stand-down period of three years and being involved in a sevens loophole, a player may return to play for the country of their birth (or parents/grandparents). In particular, this could well restore the pool of talent for some of the PI sides, Samoa and Tonga particularly. Using Tonga as an example, of a nation of 100,000 people (and a shitload more living in Aus and NZ), they could utilise the talents of players like Malakai Fekitoa or Lopeti Timani would be incredible for them (Rugby’s biggest homophobe could well be involved, too….). Other players than could benefit are Charles Piatau, Steven Luatua and Nathan Hughes. Until Super Rugby Pacific really starts to help the Islander sides, I believe this is a positive way forward… and a way to pay back the Islander sides for all they’ve given to rugby for many nations. For this law to pass, 75% of the unions (i.e. 39 out of 52) must agree to the proposed changes. I, for one, hope it happens.
Tidbits for the Week
- Jarvo strikes again. Seriously have no clue how he keeps not only getting into venues, but is successful every week! It’ll be interesting to see if he pops up again next weekend…
- Dane Haylett-Petty retired from rugby today due to concussion. For those “back in my day, rugby was tougher” folk… STFU. Good luck to him.
- Aussie SR-Pacific sides (and presumably other sides across the ditch) have begun their pre-seasons. RIP, lads. Lord Laurie Fisher is overseeing the Brumbies pre-season and the Reds have been slogging it out in a boot camp as well as being attacked by police dogs. Yikes!
- The Ponies have started searching for their 2023 coach ahead of the departure of D.Mac. Options that are floating around are Bernie Larkham, Simon Cron, Peter Hewat and (OH GOD… OH GOD, NO!) Nathan Grey *shudders*. Personally, while Larkham is the Canberra love child, I’d actually like to see Cron have a crack if he is interested. Larkham’s record was shite when he was here and probably still has significant Cheika scars after being stabbed in the back and thrown under the bus.
- Moana Pasifika are continuing their signing spree. As predicted, Kata signs on.
- The Drua have confirmed that their home base (not ground… that’s still TBC) as Lennox Head. They will arrive for pre-season in the coming weeks. That said, given the proximity to the Goldie, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is where their home ground is.
That’s all for today, folks.