Welcome Comrades week two for me I will touch on the same subject that I looked at last week with the To Play or Not to Play. I will also touch on some generally good news with the Challenger series which was a great investment by the Reds last year and the LIONS.
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To Play or Not to Play – Opinion
The word on the street is that the returning under 20 players are being forced to stand down form Club games this weekend after returning from South Africa. Most club competitions have only a few rounds to go before finals and I am sure most clubs would love to have the high level under 20 guys back.
This quote from Phil Waugh the new RA CEO has not aged well already.
“People are now making a choice about whether they go to club games or whether they go to Super Rugby games and when I was playing, you’d go to your club game and then you’d support your club players at the Super Rugby game.
It’s really important that we actually go back to that and we put our best players and Super players into clubs. Then we bring the club supporters into Super Rugby and into Test matches. I know it sounds pretty logical, but I do think there’s been a huge separation over time.”
Most played Club Rugby on the 10th June. Then in SA on the 25th, 29th of June the 4th, 9th and 14thy July which is 5 games in six weeks for a squad of 30, which is not exactly slave labour for a 19 year old.
This just does my head in.
Stuart Hogg secures a new role just nine days into his retirement
Well Stuart Hoog did not stay retired for long.
From Rugbypass here.
Stuart Hogg has secured a new role just nine days after announcing his shock retirement from playing with immediate effect. The Exeter and Scotland full-back had signalled earlier this year in March that he would retire from playing after featuring at the Rugby World Cup in France.
However, that retirement was brought forward with his July 9 revelation that he now won’t be available for Scotland for the 2023 finals. The 31-year-old won’t be idle for long, though, as Tuesday’s rebirth of BT Sport as TNT Sports has coincided with the confirmation that Hogg will be one of the broadcaster’s new rugby pundits for the 2023/24 season.
It is a smart player who knows when it is time. He could have taken a another contract knowing he would not have been at his best.
“I will be retiring knowing that I have given my body and heart to rugby. I will be forever grateful to this amazing community and cannot wait to begin my journey as a proud supporter of the team.”
Speaking or Retirements
Luke Jones has retired from rugby. The 32-year-old battled injuries over the past 12 months. The Reds recruit played six Tests for the Wallabies after debuting in 2014. Unfortunately I believe it was nerve damage that has ultimately led to his retirement.
Queensland Rugby Challenger Series
From the Reds Media Team HERE
This was a great initiative from the Reds last year and unearthed two players who went on to make a Reds Debut.
The series has been expanded to three games and will again see a Queensland Reds Development XV take on the Challenger XV, which will be made up of the Store Local Hospital Cup and Queensland Women’s Premier Rugby’s best players.
12 players who featured in last year’s men’s series have gone on to make their Queensland debuts, while Connor Anderson and Phransis Sula-Siaosi were rewarded with full-time contracts following the series and Queensland’s subsequent Tour of Japan.
This year’s series will also culminate in a Queensland-Saitama Shield fixture against the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights, with Ballymore set to host the Japanese powerhouse club in November.
The women’s series will provide further opportunity for aspiring Premier Rugby players ahead of next year’s Super W campaign.
The newly developed Ballymore Stadium will host all three games in September and October.
Reds General Manager – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “The introduction of the Challenger Series has been a huge positive for Queensland Rugby.
“The series provides our contracted players more meaningful playing time together, while also offers an opportunity to see our most talented club Rugby players perform at the next level.
“It has already paid dividends with several players making their Queensland debuts and securing contracts with the Reds after last year. We look forward to seeing this once again in 2023 at Ballymore, especially with our women involved for the first time.”
The Challenger XV teams will be led by Hospital Cup and Premier Rugby coaching staff, with squads to be finalised following the Grand Final in late August.
Last year saw the successful introduction of several law changes which aimed to speed up the game and increase ball-in-play time, a number of which positively impacted on this year’s Super Rugby Pacific competition.
Further innovations will be trialled again in the 2023 series.
Queensland Rugby Challenger Series
Queensland Reds Development XV v Challenger XV (men & women)
- Sunday 17th September – Ballymore Stadium
- Sunday 24th September – Ballymore Stadium
- Sunday 1st October – Ballymore Stadium
British and Irish Lions to play combined New Zealand-Australia XV on 2025 tour
The British and Irish Lions tour of Australia has been released. It looks good there are the three test matches against the Wallabies and a game against the ANZAC’s.
From the BBC HERE
The historic fixture in Adelaide will precede Test matches with the Wallabies in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
A sell-out at the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground would smash records for a Lions Test match.
The series finale will be played in front of more than 80,000 fans in Sydney’s Olympic Park.
“We are delighted to announce the tour schedule as we look ahead to what is to be one of the most eagerly anticipated series in history,” said Lions chief executive Ben Calveley.
The 2025 Lions tour fixtures in full
- Saturday 28 June: v Western Force, Optus Stadium, Perth
- Wednesday 2 July: v Queensland Reds, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Saturday 5 July: v New South Wales Waratahs, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
- Wednesday 9 July: v ACT Brumbies, GIO Stadium, Canberra
- Saturday 12 July: v Invitational Australia & NZ XV, Adelaide Oval
- Saturday 19 July: First Test, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Tuesday 22 July: v Melbourne Rebels, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
- Saturday 26 July: Second Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Saturday 2 August: Third Test, Accor Stadium, Sydney
Meanwhile, an agreement between the Lions, Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship will ensure an unprecedented two-week preparation period before the tour opener in Perth against Western Force on 28 June.
The former Wallaby flanker Phil Waugh, has called a Lions tour “one of the great sporting festivals”.
“Rugby Australia is looking forward to welcoming back the Lions for the first time in 12 years – as well as the tens of thousands of Lions fans from the northern hemisphere,” Waugh said.
“It is an exciting fixture of matches all around the country with the Lions taking on our Super Rugby franchises, three massive Test matches, and a marquee match in Adelaide featuring a combined invitational Australia-New Zealand side.”
Should be a cracker.