Monday’s rugby news has the aftermath of the Tahs loss , suspensions for the Rebels, another high-profile convert on the horizon and Six Nations news.
Cheika shoulders blame
Michel Cheika has taken responsibility for the Waratah’s shock 25-13 home loss to the Western Force. While he conceded that he may have botched the team’s preparation, Cheika dismissed the suggestion he was distracted by Wallabies duties.
“I think I’ve got the leadup wrong obviously because we didn’t have any zip at the ruck,” Cheika said. The Wallaby coach added that his team was not angry enough, with their passivity allowing the Force to dominate the physical contest. NSW will need to make their changes quickly because they have a five-day turnaround to play in Melbourne against the Rebels.
The Melbourne Rebels will be without Nick Stirzaker for their match against the Waratahs, with the team’s starting halfback suspended for one match for stomping on Richie McCaw in Friday night’s match against the Crusaders. While Stirzaker was given a yellow card during the match, a SANZAR judicial review saw that the intentional act warranted further sanction.
Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham may also miss the match, set to appear before a judicial hearing after being cited for the same offence.
Inglis looking at code-switch
It appears that the NRL may lose another star-player to rugby union, with Greg Inglis fielding numerous lucrative offers from clubs in the UK, France and Japan. “There are continual inquiries on a weekly basis,” Inglis’ manager Allan Gainey said. “The money on offer overseas is huge, and it’s something he’ll have to weigh up.”
Inglis does remain contracted with South Sydney Rabbitohs until the end of 2017, which would add a substantial transfer fee to any overseas offer. There is the added factor that NRL chief executive Dave Smith has given himself discretionary powers to recruit or retain marquee players above the salary cap, which may come into play with the recent departures of Sam Burgess, SBW and Jarryd Hayne.
Sexton stars in Ireland win
Jonathan Sexton has returned from a 12 week absence from the Test side to inspire his Irish team-mates to an 18-11 victory over France at Lansdowne Road on Saturday. The 29-year-old- who was stood down for suffering four concussions last year- earned man of the match honours for kicking 15 points in defeating France, who scored the only try of the match in the final 10 minutes.
“We had to dig deep but we came away with the points,” Sexton said, while adding “We have a lot to improve on.” The victory takes Ireland’s current winning streak to nine tests, with a tough match against England in a fortnight in Dublin.