From the desk of The Masked Avenger.
Here are a few things to choo on as we wait for the whistle this evening.
- The Wallaroos have taken a 45-7 beating from Canada in their last match of Pacific Four series. Their third-place finish qualifies them for the WXV 1 tournament in New Zealand in October–November, joining France, Wales, England, Canada and the host nation.
- The Junior Wallabies defeated Wales 57–33 in Cape Town and have finished fifth in the World Rugby Under 20s Championship. France beat Ireland 50–15 in the final and South Africa took bronze with a 22–15 win over England.
- Speaking of Junior Wallabies, nine graduates from years past are in the Wallabies 23 for tonight’s Test match against Argentina: Len Ikitau, Josh Kemeny, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight and Rob Valetini from 2018; Nick Frost, McReight and Mark Nawaqanitawase from 2019; Zane Nonggorr from 2019 and 2020; and Carter Gordon from 2020. Many more alumni are in the wider Wallabies squad and/or the injured list.
- The top order of the World Rugby rankings could get a shake-up today, subject to the result of the South Africa–New Zealand Test match. Ireland’s top spot is safe but New Zealand (currently third) could overtake France for second with a win of more than 15 points. The Springboks (currently fourth) would overtake New Zealand with a win of 15 points or less, and would jump to second with a greater margin.
- In the Downing Centre District Court in Sydney yesterday, Kurtley Beale entered ‘not guilty’ pleas to three sex offence charges. Another appearance in court is scheduled for 1 December and the trial will start on 15 January 2024.
- Also up before the magistrate, or rather an independent disicplinary panel commissioned by European Professional Club Rugby, was Ireland’s captain Johnny Sexton. This relates to his on-field, post-whistle negotiations with the referees after the Champions Cup final on 20 May, which he missed through injury. The panel retired after a six-hour hearing on 13 July and is apparently in no hurry to announce its findings. Sexton’s (and Ireland’s) World Cup planning remains on hold.
- Waratahs half-back Jake Gordon is joining Noah Lolesio at Toulon as a World Cup joker recruit. Was the contract signed before yesterday’s match in Nuku’alofa?
- Speaking of Lolesio, there was an interesting quote from former Wallabies attack coach Scott Wisemantel in that article on The Other Site that broke the news of his Toulon about 10 days ago: “The one thing that we [the previous Wallabies coaching team] wanted from Noah was to be a bit more aggressive because he’s such a nice bloke. I want him to be filthy if he’s not selected. I want him to come to me and go ‘why’? And ‘how are we going to do this and what are you going to do for me?’” This puts a different light on the “Carter Gordon?” incident that prompted much pearl-clutching and hanky-flapping amongst the former GAGR commentariat, who immediately condemned the young man’s character and immaturity. We all need to bear in mind that a lot of what we see players doing is directly related to instructions from their coaches. Let’s not be too quick to condemn a player for an action, a tactic or an attitude that we disapprove of. Because maybe it went against his instinct and better judgement, and he was just following orders.
That’s enough from me. Enjoy the majestic treat of Test rugby that awaits us this evening.