Well here goes in the nothing welcome to my first Thursday Rugby News. Special thanks to Sully for the seeing me through the gruelling interview process and letting me have a go anyway.
What a week it has been in Aus Rugby a great game on the weekend and hope springing eternal as we look to storm the gates of Mordor once more.
My discussion points in no particular order.
Want to contribute reach out to Sully firstname.lastname@example.org
July Schedule confirmed for Pacific Rugby Nations
With Ireland and Italy not touring Fiji and New Zealand respectively travelling due to COVID-19
Fiji will play New Zealand on July 10 and 17. These team have played nine times with the Fijians still waiting for the first win against the men in black. The last meeting was in a 60 to 14 victory in Dunedin. I would have serious doubt whether the Flying Fijians will be able to use the European based players due to COVID-19 and Club restrictions which will leave them struggling to be competitive. It would be great to see a full strength Fijian team with a proper preparation take on the boys from across the ditch.
Tonga and Samoa will also play in a two leg series to be played in neutral New Zealand. Originally these games were to be played home and away but to be honest with the islander diaspora in New Zealand both games will be feisty affairs with big hits only. The winner will progress directly to the RWC to join the group of England, Japan, Argentina and an Americas qualifier in what will be a tough pool. The loser plays off against the Cook Islands to progress to an Asia Pacific playoff.
Classic Wallabies Play in Rockhampton for Beef Week 2021
How good is it to see some former Wallabies giving back to the game and taking it to the bush. The Classics played the Beef Barbarians in Rockhampton and TBH is a pretty handy team featuring the following players.
Tatafu POLOTA-NAU, Stephen MOORE, Guy SHEPHERDSON, Nathan SHARPE, Radike SAMO, Beau ROBINSON, Ben MOWEN, George SMITH, Nick FRISBY, Digby IOANE and Plenty more.
This is the type of good news Rugby story that often goes unnoticed. From all accounts the locals and the Classics had a great time.
Tough Week ahead for the finalists from last week except the Crusaders.
For the first week of the Trans Tasman Comp the 3 of the 4 finalists have it pretty tough. For the Reds they have a game against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday night. Given the brutal nature of the Australian final and the Grand Final celebrations, the Reds will only have six days to shake off the effects of the game and a solid Sunday session.
The Crusaders win again and will get to spend a leisurely Sunday shaking off the effects of last week’s final against the Chiefs at home and will be awaiting the battered and bruised Brumbies at their Christchurch fortress. I would expect a few of the Brumbies may struggle to shake off some niggling injuries from that game, they looked pretty busted.
The Chiefs will have the pleasure of picking themselves up after going down to the Crusaders and heading over to Perth to take on the in form Western Force. In what is now the longest road trip in the Trans Tasman comp. I like the Force in this one as they were coming into good form prior to the end of Super Rugby AU.
Highlanders have plan for Reds prop Taniela Tupou
Interesting article in Pravda (Stuff.co.nz) indicating that the Highlanders have a plan for Taniela Tupou with the state media stating that Australian Referees have been giving the Reds more leeway than he expects a NZ Ref would. It is nice to see our New Zealand brethren reverting to type and coming up with the line of he is being mean to me.
Highlanders loosehead prop Ethan de Groot says the dominant Reds scrum powered by Taniela Tupou has been given more leeway by Australian whistleblowers than referees would allow in New Zealand, setting the scene for a fiery set-piece tussle on Friday.
De Groot, the 126 kg, 22-year-old Southlander, said on Monday they had been keeping an eye on the Reds but said they had a plan “to deal to” Tupou at Forsyth Barr Stadium.