Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Round Squads rolling in, Lealiifano backs Alaalatoa and Wigan Warrior announce the date of their new Pride round.




Photo Credit Brendan Hertel / QRU

Photo Credit Brendan Hertel / QRU

“They’re ready to go.” 

In his first outing as the Head Coach of the Waratahs, Rob Penney has backed some of his younger players to take the next step as the Waratahs take on the Crusaders.

Will Harrison will make his Super Rugby debut in the 10 jersey after two preseason matches there. Despite his lack of exposure, Penney believes that the former Wallabies U20s star is ready to step up.

“First of all, he’s got a great skill set. He’s also very tough individual,” he said.

“He’s got good resilience but physically he’s a robust character, puts himself in tough positions.

“He’ll put his head in dark places and he’s prepared to do that for the team which is a fantastic attribute for someone defending in the inside channels and maybe having to do the odd hard carry on the inside channels.”

Fellow U20s sensation Mark Nawaqanitawase will start on the wing for his Super Rugby debut, while Angus Bell and Carlo Tizzano will get a chance off the bench. 

Penney stands behind these selections based on the form the boys have shown.

“They’re ready to go,” he said.

“We wouldn’t have compromised their development.

“If we didn’t believe they were of stern enough stuff mentally or physically then we wouldn’t put them into that position, we wouldn’t compromise them.

“There’s still two or three young men that haven’t been given access. They’re chewing at the bit to get a chance but they’re deemed to be not in that same situation as being able to handle the next level up yet.

“This young group have got the opportunity to step across the threshold and give it a go and see what happens.”

1. Tom Robertson 2. Robbie Abel 3. Tetera Faulkner 4. Tom Staniforth 5. Rob Simmons © 6. Lachlan Swinton 7. Michael Hooper 8. Jed Holloway 9. Jake Gordon 10. Will Harrison 11. Alex Newsome 12. Karmichael Hunt 13. Lalakai Foketi 14. Mark Nawaqanitawase 15. Kurtley Beale


16. Damien Fitzpatrick 17. Angus Bell 18. Chris Talakai 19. Ryan Mccauley 20. Jack Dempsey 21. Carlo Tizzano 22. Mitch Short 23. Jack Maddocks


Photo Credit Brendan Hertel / QRU

Photo Credit Brendan Hertel / QRU

When the Brumbies and Reds square off on Friday’s Australian Super Rugby season opener, they will have two rookie fly halves to steer their ships. Rising stars Noah Lolesio and Isaac Lucas have been given the starting five eighth positions for the Brumbies and Reds respectively.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar is full of confidence in the young fly halves abilities.

“He came down here full of confidence, from day one he’s been very vocal and comfortable in directing and pushing much older players around the park,” McKellar said of Lolesio.

“I said to Noah last year — ‘I’d like you to do some goalkicking in a game so that you’re under pressure’ and he said to me: ‘What’s pressure?’

“That’s just sort of the attitude he has — he’s not arrogant and doesn’t get ahead of himself but he has that self confidence and belief in his own ability and is very calm and composed.

“He’ll make a mistake or two along the way as we all do.

“It’s about how we respond and how we react to that.”

When asked what he expects from Lucas, Reds coach Brad Thorn said he wants him to play his game.

“Just to do his job, just to be Zaccy really,” Thorn said

“He’s a real talent, he showed that last year. He played eight games for us and he would have played another eight (if available).

“He did well with the 20s and enjoyed the NRC at 10 and he’s been working hard so it’ll be good to see him out there and expressing himself.”

James O’Connor and Jordan Petaia will pair up in the centres for the first time in Reds colours, whilst Henry Speight will make an emotional Queensland debut as he takes on his old team in front of a Canberra crowd.

Interesting moves by Thorn see Wallabies back rower Lukhan Salakaia-Loto move into the second row with Angus Blyth and Wallabies lock Izack Rodda pushed to the bench. Harry Wilson will make his debut at No.8

Dane Zander, Seru Uru and Hunter Paisami are also in line for Reds debuts off the bench.

Brumbies to take on Reds

1. Scott Sio 2. Folau Fainga’a 3. Allan Alaalatoa © 4. Darcy Swain 5. Murray Douglas 6. Rob Valetini 7. Tom Cusack 8. Pete Samu 9. Joe Powell 10. Noah Lolesio* 11. Tom Wright 12. Irae Simone 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Solomone Kata* 15. Tom Banks


16. Connal McInerney 17. Harry Lloyd* 18. James Slipper 19. Caderyn Neville^ 20. Will Miller^ 21. Ryan Lonergan 22. Bayley Kuenzle* 23. Andy Muirhead

Reds to play Brumbies

1.    JP Smith 2.    Brandon Paenga-Amosa 3.    Taniela Tupou 4.    Angus Blyth 5.    Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 6.    Angus Scott-Young 7.    Liam Wright © 8.    Harry Wilson* 9.    Tate McDermott 10.    Isaac Lucas 11.    Henry Speight* 12.    James O’Connor 13.    Jordan Petaia 14.    Jock Campbell 15.    Bryce Hegarty


16.    Alex Mafi 17.    Dane Zander** 18.    Feao Fotuaika 19.    Izack Rodda 20.    Seru Uru** 21.    Moses Sorovi 22.    Hamish Stewart 23.    Hunter Paisami**



Christian Lealiifano

Christian Lealiifano

Though he left the Brumbies at the end of last season, the legacy and influence of former captain Christian Lealiifano is still very present for new captain Alan Alaalatoa.

When approached to step as the new leader of the Brumbies, Alaalatoa reached out to Lealiifano in Japan, and the former skipper gave the young prop the confidence boost about his new role.

“Definitely. He’s someone that I spoke to first about it, when Dan brought up the opportunity about being captain and he was, obviously being the last captain that we’ve had, he was definitely someone I wanted to go back to and ask,” he said.

“It wasn’t a decision taken lightly and he gave me some great advice if I was to take the captaincy and he’s definitely someone that if I need to message him or if I need some pointers I know he’s going to be around the corner or on the other side of the phone.

“He’s told me that even though he’s on the other side of the world, he’s always there for me to provide that advice.”

Lealiifano was proud to have watched Alaalatoa grow from the young buck at the club to being a leader that would help the group strive for excellence. Speaking to from Japan, Christian threw his full support behind Alan.

“You see him laughing a lot, he’s always smiling and things and in and around the place he’s always pretty jovial and happy and I think most of the time he is and people just love being around him,” he said.

“He gets it. He gets both worlds – being a Polynesian boy and understanding that and then understanding dynamics of groups and how people function so that’s something that’s impressed me.

“As humble as he is, he would never say that he gets it but he does and that was why I was like, “he’s the perfect fit’ because he understands the group dynamic, drives standards and values that he believes in and people follow and that’s an infectious trait to have and that’s what i think he uses as well.”



Embed from Getty Images

English Rugby League team the Wigan Warriors yesterday confirmed that their round 8 match against French team Catalans Dragons will be Pride Day, as the club look to support the LGBTQ+ community.

The Pride Round announcement came after the Dragons had signed a controversial former Australian Full Back, a signing that caused a stir in the RFL community.

The match will take place on Sunday March 22nd and all Wigan players will wear Rainbow socks and laces as a sign of inclusion, as the club invites LGBTQ+ groups to join them on the day.

Kris Radlinski, the executive director had this to say on the announcement. 

“Here at Wigan Warriors we are committed to the core values of Inclusion and Respect. Our community foundation have a long history of supporting local LGBTQ+ groups and initiatives, and we want everyone who engages with our game to feel welcome, valued and most of all, respected.”

“Rugby League has a strong history of inclusion, of breaking down barriers and of being an forward-thinking sport. I think that today more than any day that it is vitally important we reiterate that message. We’re looking forward to working with charities, local and hopefully national groups, to make this day a success.”



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

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