Tuesday’s Rugby News has Reds injuries mounting, Scott Wisemantel helps with Lismore flood evacuation, pay & conditions for our women players and international matters.
Reds’ growing injury list not ideal
Pravda reports on the Reds’ injuries woes, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto the latest to join the list.
Salakaia-Loto played just four minutes in his captaincy debut against the Western Force on Friday before limping off with an ankle injury.
It’s the same injury that sidelined Tate McDermott – the man Salakaia-Loto replaced as captain – a week ago. It’s too early to confirm a “captain’s curse”, but James O’Connor has apparently been ignoring Brad Thorn’s calls and text messages since Friday night and has been keeping a low profile via a false moustache.
The Reds are also without backrower Angus Scott-Young (knee), while there is no clear timeline on the return of first-choice hooker Alex Mafi (neck) and flying winger Suliasi Vunivalu (hamstring) is still several weeks away from his latest comeback.
Fellow co-captain Liam Wright (shoulder) will press for a return against Fijian Drua on Saturday, while Taniela Tupou (back) and Hunter Paisami (knee) enjoyed impressive returns in their fine win in Perth.
The next Reds game is Saturday 12 March – Reds v Fijian Drua, Suncorp Stadium (18:45)
Scott Wisemantel helps with Lismore floodsEmbed from Getty Images
Nine reports that Wallabies assistant coach Scott Wisemantel spent his week helping rescue vulnerable people from the devastating floods in Lismore.
Wisemantel lives in Lennox Head and was supposed to be helping the Melbourne Rebels with their preparations to play the Fijian Drua (*ahem* they were probably fine).
But when the floods made that a non-starter Wisemantel and his wife & friends sprung into action for a different cause.
“His house is thankfully on higher ground so he jumped in his tinny and he’s been evacuating people in Lismore from the early part of the week,” Morgan Turinui said on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven.
“They’re OK but they’re chipping in, evacuating people out, including his wife Gab and his mates in Lennox Head.”
“Berrick Barnes is in a flatter part of Lennox Head, his house was under some threat so they’ve been working away trying to help him out. He (Wisemantel) was saying him and his wife Gab were at the Gollan Hotel, the water got up to the third level where some special needs people needed to be evacuated, they had nowhere to go.“
Women players’ pay & conditionsEmbed from Getty Images
Louise Burrows has been playing professional rugby union for the Brumbies for 27 years.
The 44-year-old is the club’s longest active player — she started playing rugby for the ACT in 1995, a year before the Brumbies club was even formed — and she has represented Australia in four Rugby World Cups.
Yet she isn’t paid a cent for this, and the mother-of-two has to work full-time as a PE teacher to pay her own way in the sport, according to Penny Travers’ piece for the ABC.
While Burrows stresses she is “not ungrateful” for the opportunities she has been given, she is well aware of the disparity and the need for change. “I’m not expecting $80,000 a year,” she said.
“But to think that the NRL W girls are on $8,000 minimum wage for their short season — that blows my mind. Even if we got that, it would be amazing, really it would be.”
The Brumbies supply their Super W players with uniforms and pay travel costs to interstate matches, but that is where the reimbursements end.
“I’ll book in for a massage and it’ll cost at least $100, but it’s [essential] to get through the season,” Burrows said. “But some girls can’t afford that so, therefore, some of them are getting injured or getting niggles because they can’t afford those little things that the men just get, it’s just part of their training day.”
The Western Force have announced it would follow the Melbourne Rebels’ lead in paying their Super W players.
The Brumbies say paying their female players is something the club is aiming to do in the future, but that they are not currently in a financial position to do so.
Sports Integrity Research Lead at the University of Canberra, Catherine Ordway, said equality on the playing field was not just about pay, but also respect, support and opportunities. She said sporting clubs could do simple things like having the same induction ceremonies, equal access to gyms and physiotherapists, and sharing prime training times.
Washington backs Seppo 2029 and 2031 Rugby World Cup bidsEmbed from Getty Images
American rugby fans (pictured) got a boost this week when their political leaders, who usually cannot agree on the “color” of orange juice, introduced a bipartisan congressional resolution expressing support for the US bids to host the hosting women’s and men’s Rugby World Cups in 2029 and 2031, according to The Guardian.
The US will compete at the next women’s event, in New Zealand this October, a tournament delayed by the Covid pandemic. England is World Rugby’s preferred host for the women’s tournament in 2025 while the US is in exclusive talks for 2029.
The next men’s Rugby World Cup will be played in France in 2023. The US will face Chile in a two-legged qualifier this year. Australia has preferred candidate status for 2027 while the US is in “exclusive targeted dialogue” for 2031. Russia also launched a bid for 2027, but they can f*ck right off with that now.
Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv Heat take Russia’s place in Rugby Europe Super Cup playoffs according to Rugbypass. The Israeli side will take the place of Russian side Enisei STM in the playoffs next month in Portugal. Tel Aviv Heat has a number of South Africans such as Josh Strauss and Nic Groom, among others, playing for them. The team is also coached by a South African, Kevin Musikanth, who led the Ikeys to Varsity Cup glory in 2014.