Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees White reaches out to Wessels, Junior Wallabies through to the semis, Rebels back themselves, Tahs rest Wallabies.




jake white square

Melbourne Rebels have received some support by the way of a World Cup winning coach ahead of their do or die clash against the Chiefs.

Jake White, the man who coached South Africa to their World Cup win in 2007 reached out to fellow expat and Rebels head coach Dave Wessels.

White, who also coached the Brumbies and was rumoured for the Wallabies job, called Wessels to offer him support, guidance and advice on how to tailor his message for the team.

“Jake White rang me through the week and said if someone had offered you in January a home game against the Chiefs to make the finals you would have accepted that,” Wessels said on Wednesday.

“I’m obviously a coach who is still learning a lot and there’s a couple of senior coaches like Jake who take a lot of trouble to communicate.

“They’ve been in the washing machine of it before and sometimes when you’re down you haven’t got a lot of people phoning you so I’m very grateful.

“I ask him for technical ideas but he’s helped me focus the messaging down a little bit.

“When we play well we are very hard to stop but the trick is to find the levers to get that performance out consistently.”

The Rebels will be looking to avoid a last round loss like last season, leaving their finals hopes in the hands of someone else, hoping that another team will win, lose or draw, for them to make the top eight. 

Half Back Will Genia laid out the simple equation The Rebels need to win to make finals “You win, you go through.

“I think that what the guys are really ready for is just the fact that we’re in the position that if we win we know we’ll be playing finals football,” he said.

“That’s just exciting in itself.

“For the Rebels who have never played in finals football and for a lot of guys who were in other Super Rugby provinces in years gone by that haven’t played in finals, it’s just such an unreal experience and you can so often say things like at the start of the year, if you’d told us the last round if we had a game to win we’d be playing finals we would take it.

“Certainly that’s the feeling around the group at the moment.

“In that sense, I definitely think we’re prepared and I think in the way that the guys have trained thus far we’re really looking forward to it.”



The Junior Wallabies put up a brave fight despite being down to 14 men for their match against England.

Australian No.8 Pat Tafa was red carded in the second minute of the match, for a high shot on the neck of English backrower Aaron Hinkley.

The English got up to a 14-0 lead in the first 10 minutes, eventually taking their lead out by 37 points. The Junior Wallabies didn’t back down though, scoring 21-7 in the finally 30 minutes to pick up a bonus point.

The bonus point sees them through to the semifinals where they take on the hosts, Argentina.

Captain Fraser McReight was proud of the effort his boys put in, fronting up when being down to 14 men, even though they were already through to the finals, they continued to fight.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling, I suppose, making the semis before this game and then getting a red card two minutes in,” McReight said.

“It wasn’t the start we wanted, we wanted that scalp (of England) to be honest.

“but credit to England, they played really good footy and took advantage of the 14 men they were playing against.

“But I’m super proud of the boys. To play with 14 men for pretty much the whole game – at stages of that match we were (almost) 40 points behind – and to keep England from scoring too many tries in that second half and to put a lot more tries on was really pleasing.”

“We just wanted to go out in the second half and play the footy that we knew we could play and wanted to play and I think we did that,” he said.


England 56

Tries: Hill 2, Dingwall, Sleightholme, De Glanville, Hinkley, Vunipola, Willis

Cons: Hodge 8

Junior Wallabies 33

Tries: Lolesio, Lucas, Harris, McReight,, Tizzano

Cons: Harrison 2, McDonald 2 


DJ Will Genia and MC Quade Cooper  Reds v Rebels 2019

In what could be the Melbourne Rebels biggest match of the season, coach Dave Wessels has gone with his most successful halves and centre combinations from the law firm of Genia, Cooper, Meakes and English.

“From a cohesion perspective, the combinations of Genia and Cooper and Meakes and English are our most tested combinations.”

This combination was the most successful for the Rebels with the bulk of the their strongest performances coming with these four playing together. Genia was rested last week against the Crusaders, Cooper was on the bench, with English on the wing.

With their futures still not locked in, this could be the last time Genia and Cooper play together, with the Rebels looking to lock down the pair, with overseas clubs on the hunt for their services.

The Rebels know the importance of this match, do or die, as they look to put last weeks dismal display behind them, looking towards their maiden finals appearance.

“We were pretty embarrassed about our performance last week,” coach Dave Wessels said.

“It’s showtime now for us.

“We’ve got an opportunity this week to do something pretty special for the club, something that we’ve never had the chance to do before.

“It’s just such a crazy comp. we could finish anywhere from fifth to 12th, so it’s a crazy year, that’s the beauty of Super Rugby.

Anaru Rangi, Jermaine Ainsley, Luke Jones and Marika Koroibete all return to starting positions pushing Jordan Uelese, Sam Talakai, Michael Ruru and Matt To’omua to the bench.

Adam Coleman and Jack Maddocks will miss the match due to injury, with Coleman out with a shoulder issue and Maddocks had a few niggles and needed a mental rest.

“He’s (Maddocks) got a niggle on his knee and his calf tightened up, so we had to get that scanned earlier in the week.

“He’s one of those guys who’s played every game for us, so given those niggles, it was the right time to give Jack his breather.

Rebels Squad

1. Tetera Faulkner 2. Anaru Rangi 3. Jermaine Ainsley 4. Matt Philip 5. Luke Jones 6. Angus Cottrell 7. Richard Hardwick 8. Isi Naisarani 9. Will Genia 10. Quade Cooper 11. Marika Koroibete 12. Billy Meakes 13. Tom English 14. Reece Hodge 15. Dane Haylett-Petty (c)


16. Jordan Uelese 17. Matt Gibbon 18. Sam Talakai 19. Ross Haylett-Petty 20. Rob Leota 21. Michael Ruru 22. Matt To’omua 23. Campbell Magnay



Waratahs v Stormers 2018 2nd Half-4

Five Wallabies have been left in Australia as the Waratahs head to Invercargill to take on the Highlanders. NSW will be without Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale due to the resting policy.

Mack Mason will be given another crack at starting flyhalf this week, but with no Foley or Beale, he will likely play out the full 80 minutes.

Coach Daryl Gibson is confident that the young flyhalf is ready for that challenge, and will make the most of his opportunity.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for all our players coming into the team,” he said.

“They’ve been waiting patiently, I’ve been very consistent with putting out pretty much the same team every week and these guys are really energised and enthusiastic about going and fighting and representing the team.

“Mack’s one of those guys – we need to give him that opportunity so he can find out exactly what the level is and experience that. That’s what I’m really pleased to  be able to offer these guys that opportunity.

“I fully expect him to front up and be on for the game.”

Returning No.6 Jack Dempsey will likely get 30 minutes off the bench as he returns from injury, needing to get some game time in before Wallabies camp.

“Obviously, Jack’s working his way back to full fitness and he’s been excellent in the last two weeks at training and we felt this is a great opportunity to get some game time for us,” Gibson said.

“Obviously going with that 6-2 `bench points to us. We’re fully expecting it to be wet and we’ve loaded up on forwards for that.

“We discussed just how much game time he’s got in him and we felt the best decision was around just capping him at 30 minutes and he’s best coming off the bench.”

Tolu Latu was unavailable for selection this week due to a court date, so he is expected to line up for Sydney Uni in the Shute Shield.

“I can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be available for club rugby but obviously we’ll be awaiting that outcome,” Gibson added.

Waratahs Squad

1. Harry Johnson-Holmes 2. Damien Fitzpatrick 3. Tom Robertson 4. Ned Hanigan 5. Tom Staniforth 6. Hugh Sinclair 7. Will Miller 8. Michael Wells 9. Nick Phipps 10. Mack Mason 11. Curtis Rona 12. Lalakai Foketi 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper 14. Cam Clark 15. Alex Newsome


16. Andrew Tuala 17. Rory O’Connor 18. Shambeckler Vui 19. Ryan McCauley 20. Jed Holloway 21. Jack Dempsey 22. Jake Gordon 23. Tautalatasi Tasi



Once captained the 3rds Rugby team, but then again so did Nick Farr-Jones

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