Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Matera a Waratah?, Dad Bod Marika, Randwick to host the Pumas, and the All Blacks and South African squads named.




Embed from Getty Images

Once again not a Betoota Advocate article.

Someone with no chance of playing with the Wallabies has said they want to play for the NSW Waratahs. Or so his coach believes.

Former Wallabies scrum doctor and current maestro of Argentina rugby Super Mario Ledesma has come out saying Pablo Matera would love to play for the Waratahs due to his love of Sydney and even believes he would be pushing for Michael Hoopers spot. Once again, not satire.

“He loves being here, he loves surfing, he would love to play over here for the Waratahs,” Ledesma told

“He is going to Paris after the World Cup but I think he would love to play here.

“The dream is to play for Argentina, obviously, but if he had to choose a franchise it would be this one.

“He would be challenging Hoops for the no.7!”

Before you get excited Waratahs fans (and anyone who wants to see someone replace Hooper), Matera has signed a monster deal with Stade Francais through to the end of the 2021-22 season that would make him one of the highest paid players at the club. 

Matera had a stand out 2019 season with the back rower winning Man of the Match in the Super Rugby final despite being on the losing side. His growth as a player and a leader has seen him become the captain of the Jaguares and the Pumas.

“He got the man of the match in that final and everybody was talking about him after the game but he doesn’t pay much attention about that,” Ledesma said.

“Obviously his consistency (is good), he never really has really bad games,” Ledesma said.

“He had very good games on both sides of the ball because he’s really hard defensively and he’s really hard with the ball, a little it of rugby league in him and he’s been kicking and offloading. He’s a really balanced player, really all-round good player and good bloke too.”

Ledesma said Matera’s no-nonsense personality makes him a very good leader.

“He’s great. he’s authentic,” he said.

“You don’t find that running around the streets, he’s really, really authentic, he can talk to you in the eye and tell you how it is but in a good way. He’s really good with the boys and he challenges the boys, he challenges the staff and he’s just a guy that wants the best for the team and for Argentinian rugby.

“If we’re not challenging each other … there’s only one way  to go and it’s down.”


Marika Koroibete gets a pass away

Marika Koroibete gets a pass away

New Dad Marika Koroibete is back in Wallaby camp in Brisbane and he might be more sleep deprived than he jet lagged team mates.

The winger was late at joining the squad in South Africa due to the birth of his son, Isaiah, and when he missed selection for the Springboks match, he came back earlier to support his wife.

“(I’ve got) two boys (now), I’m very happy. When I wasn’t selected in the team I asked if I could come home and give my wife a hand back at home,” he said.

“It’s good now to be back in camp.”

Now back in camp, Koroibete is pushing hard to get his starting spot back. The Wallabies were without a specialist winger against the Springboks, with coach Michael Cheika opting to play three full backs, with Reece Hodge and Dane Haylett-Petty on the wings and Tom Banks at fullback. They all had solid games but they lacked the awareness and pace that an outright winger would bring.

Converting from Rugby League two year ago, the winger has seen a massive change in is game, learning the intricacies of Rugby to make him a better player.

“I’ve learnt a lot. When I came on in 2017, I was more ‘just play the game’. Now, I understand the game more than the last couple of years, knowing how to work smart instead and extend my energy in a game,” he said.

“All players want to work hard but to work smart you are picking the right time to be effective not just running around for the sake of it, for the GPS.

“Since I switched to rugby and I’ve been learning week in, week out. I’m always trying to pick up my game and I’ve been working with Dean Benton on my speed, power and pace and hopefully I get a chance with the Wallabies to show the potential that I’ve got.”

In a World Cup year, everyone wants a spot on the plane to Japan, so Koroibete is looking to use his strength to make the most of his chances.

“It’s a big year with a lot of competition and I just want to get a chance I’ll definitely give all I’ve got,” he said.

He is also reaping the benefit of having Will Genia and Quade Cooper at the Rebels this year, helping work on his position and playing his role, and with the inclusion of Rebels attack coach Shaun Berne into the Wallabies set up, Koroibete is looking to continue to improve.

“I understand the game a bit more, I know what I need to do in my position more,” he said.

“Shaun (Berne) is a former player, he’s genuine, honest, straight forward, he’s specific on your roles and will get into you as well. That’s good for me.”


A show of handbags

A show of handbags

For the first time since they hosted the All Blacks 31 years ago, the Shute Shield club Randwick will host an international opponent when they play the Pumas in a World Cup warm up match. The date will likely be early September 

Sydneys east was home for Pumas coach Mario Ledesma when he coached the Waratahs and Wallabies, and thought it would be the perfect spot for a pit stop before the World Cup.

“I like the place and we wanted a hard game but not that hard so we’re playing Randwick, that’s we’re talking about that,” he said.

“That’ll be two weeks away from the first game.

“We’re trying an opposed training after that, in the week in Japan before the World Cup, might try get something over there but we’re far away from everybody, so maybe we’re training against each other, just going a little bit harder.”

Super Mario was looking for a spot his team could adjust to the time difference to hit the ground running in Japan, even considering time in Perth with a match against the Force, before settling on the idea of a match in Sydney.

“We were looking for a game to play before the World Cup and…we were trying to play against Perth but obviously we had to go to Perth and it was quite tricky to go over there and then there was another option coming through Europe but you still have jet lag coming through Europe,” he said.

“I thought it was ideal and I feel good coming over here and the boys do too, so they like it.”

Whilst it won’t be international standard Ledesma believes it would be a good hit out for the Argies before their first World Cup match.

“We were talking about if we wanted to do 80 or do maybe 3×30, we’ll see but i think we’ll do just a normal game,” he said.

“That’ll be our last game before the World Cup but it won’t be like we haven’t been playing footy because the boys have been playing for a while now.”



Photo by Tom Offer

Photo by Tom Offer

The All Blacks and South Africans have named their squads for Saturdays match and they look quite different from the teams that picked up wins the previous weekend.

Only three of the starting team from last weekend remain in Springboks squad, after linking up with the advance party sent to New Zealand for a seperate training camp.

Winger Makazole Mapimpi, flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit and lock Eben Etzebeth were able to keep their spots.

Duane Vermeulen has replaced Eben Etzebeth as captain, with the weekend being the first Rugby Championship for the No.8 in five years.

 “It is important that we continue to build on our leadership for this important year, especially while our regular skipper, Siya Kolisi, is out of action because of injury rehabilitation,” Boks coach Rassie Erasmus said.

“Duane is an experienced captain and we have a strong group of leaders in the team, which includes Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit, who have both captained the Springboks before, as well as a number of other franchise captains.”

The squad welcomes back 4 over seas based players into the starting line up with fullback Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), winger Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse), halfback Faf de Klerke (Sale) and lock Franco Mostert (Gloucester).

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was just as ruthless, retaining just three starting players, with Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith and Brodie Retallick keeping their starting spots but not positions. 

FOr the 3rd time in his All Blacks career Beauden Barrett will start at 15, making way for Super Rugby champion Richie Mo’unga to start at 10. Ben Smith will move from fullback to the wing.

“He’s (Mo’unga) just had more experiences out in the middle,” All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said.

“I love the way he’s dealt with leading a Super team that were the defending champions. He dealt with the pressures of that and help guide them significantly to another one.”

New Zealand to face South Africa

1. Joe Moody (37) 2. Codie Taylor (41) 3. Owen Franks (106) 4. Brodie Retallick (76) 5. Samuel Whitelock (108) 6. Shannon Frizell (4) 7. Matt Todd (17) 8. Kieran Read – captain (118) 9. TJ Perenara (55) 10. Richie Mo’unga (9) 11. Rieko Ioane (24) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (51) 13. Jack Goodhue (7) 14. Ben Smith (77) 15. Beauden Barrett (74)


16. Dane Coles (61)17. Ofa Tuungafasi (27) 18. Angus Ta’avao (4) 19. Vaea Fifita (10)

20. Dalton Papalii (2) 21. Aaron Smith (83) 22. Anton Lienert-Brown (34) 23. George Bridge (1)

South Africa to face New Zealand

1. Steven Kitshoff 2. Malcolm Marx 3. Frans Malherbe 4. Eben Etzebeth 5. Franco Mostert 6. Kwagga Smith 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit 8. Duane Vermeulen (capt) 9. Faf de Klerk 10. Handre Pollard 11. Makazole Mapimpi 12. Damian de Allende 13. Lukhanyo Am 14. Cheslin Kolbe 15. Willie le Roux


16. Bongi Mbonambi 17. Tendai Mtawarira 18. Trevor Nyakane 19. RG Snyman 20. Francois Louw 21. Herschel Jantjes 22. Frans Steyn, 23. Jesse Kriel.



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

More in Rugby