Wednesday’s rugby news sees the proposed new centralised model for Australian Rugby, New Zealand confirmed to be number twos, the Tahs recruiting from Manly and To’omua to miss the spring tour due to concussion.
Straight from Central Casting
As reported in the comments* earlier this week, Fox Sports reports that Rugby Australia is on the cusp of moving to a more centralised model, following the lead of the Oirish and the Hobbit Kingdom.
(*we’ll report the news thank-you-very-much)
Rugby Australia will be involved in all the appointments of head coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, player signings as well as have greater control around sponsorship and finance. Rugby Australia is also intent on making sure member unions don’t warehouse players, starving other sides of talent in key positions.
RA also wants to ensure players move to other Australian franchises instead of taking up contracts overseas if relationships sour with their teams. Noted examples include Quade Cooper’s freezing-out by Brad Thorn in 2017 and Izack Rodda leaving the Reds in 2020 to go overseas before returning to the Force in 2021.
Fox claims that RA he has the support of the Super Rugby franchises, with sources confirming they are principally aligned with the governing body.
Although the intricacies of the centralised model have yet to be drawn out, sources believe an agreement could be reached by year’s end in what one official described as “the biggest change since we went professional”.
“Sources” appear to be optimistic.
Boks re-take Number 1 ranking
As of the 4 October 2021 update to the World Rankings the Sprinkboks have re-taken the number one spot from New Zealand after the dirt farmers’ thrilling 31-29 defeat of the flock-botherers.
Nick Mulvenney of the SMH says that the victory was a reward for the Springboks showing much more adventure but just as much grit and physicality as they had in their previous three matches in Australia.
“We’re obviously bitterly disappointed to lose any game at the end when you’ve got control of it,” said ABs coach Ian Foster. “It’s frustrating but I thought the South Africans played superb(ly). They came with a lot of attitude, they carried hard, they moved us around and challenged us in many ways.”
As a boy in the townships Kolisi endured acute hunger and witnessed terrible violence and even death. He was a gifted rugby player, however, and a scholarship to a white school offered him sudden opportunities and privileges. After years of struggle and hard work, Kolisi became the Springboks’ first black captain.
Kolisi does not shy away from his personal challenges: “Let’s say I’m someone’s role model. The kid will think: ‘I want to be like you one day.’ But he doesn’t know the struggles you face. No one tells him there’s temptation – alcohol, drugs, all these things are available to you.”
“I drank when I was happy or sad, or dealing with something. Drinking was the only way I knew to get through this stuff.”
In his book Kolisi explains it was only at the start of 2019, in World Cup year, that his wife Rachel persuaded him to find a Christian mentor, Ben Schoeman, who spoke in blunt terms: “Siya, you drink a lot, you fool around with women, you go to strip clubs. You post on social media about your faith in Christ, but you’re lying to yourself and everyone else.”
Kolisi met Schoeman when “my sin was exposed”. He says: “I started opening up to him and we spoke deeply. He told me I needed to stop drinking. It was tough at the beginning but now I don’t miss it.”
Tahs just wanna have Funa
Nathan “you need to insult him to get mentioned in a podcast” Williamson reports that the Waratahs have signed former Manly Sea Eagles outside back Tevita Funa on a one-year deal.
23-year-old Funa played 16 NRL games for “fuken” Manly, winning Sea Eagles Rookie of the Year in 2020 after scoring five tries in his 12 outings.
“I’m really excited about the challenge of changing codes and the chance for a fresh start. I played rugby when I was younger so am hoping that will help me with the adjustment,” Funa said in a statement. “I’d love to chance my arm at fullback, but equally am happy to play on the wing or in the centres, I just love to get the ball in hand.”
Tahs coach Darren Coleman said “First and foremost, he ticked all the boxes from the character checks that we did on him. Tevita’s a very dedicated and focused player which is really important. As a player he’s a good all-round package, he’s a big body, tall and good in the air, good speed and great footwork. He’s got a rugby background which should take him less time to adapt and coming out of a good program at Manly we know he’ll fit in as a professional.”
The combined popularity of the Tahs and Manly is likely to have Tah home game attendance surge into double figures.
To’omua to miss spring tour for concussion recovery
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Matt To’omua will not be going on Australia’s spring tour of Japan and Europe in coming weeks after suffering a concussion in a trial game last month.
Later this week Dave Rennie will name his touring party for a Test in Japan on 23 October followed by a three-match block beginning on 7 November against the jockos, soap-dodgers and close-harmony singers, however To’omua has already been ruled-out.
To’omua suffered a head knock during a full-contact, training hit-out between a Wallabies ‘B’ team and the Western Force that took place in Perth on September 4, the day before Bledisloe III.
To’omua was only able to train lightly after suffering his head knock and left Wallabies camp return to Melbourne. His departure coincided with Cooper and Samu Kerevi forging an impressive partnership at No.10 and No.12 to help Australia to four straight wins in the Rugby Championship.
To’omua has had his fair share of concussion issues, which is why there is understandable concern over his latest setback.
In 2014, To’omua suffered back-to-back concussions in Tests against South Africa and Argentina. Two years later, To’omua was knocked out another three times, including during the Sydney Bledisloe Test which was his final international outing before leaving Australian rugby to take up a contract with Leicester.