Wednesday’s Rugby News sees Eddie Jones mischief, reactions to McLennan’s sabre rattling and a concussion protocol rejig.
The SMH reports that Sydney University centre Guy Porter is on the cusp of an England debut after being named in Eddie Jones’ 36-player squad to tour Australia next month. Porter was a fringe Brumbies player when the COVID-19 pandemic hit two years ago, but took a chance in the English Premiership to kick-start his career abroad. Porter graduated from The Scots College alongside Angus Crichton and Jack Maddocks.
Eddie Jones also celebrated the 45 years since the release of “Never Mind the Bollocks” by the Sex Pistols by talking some of his own bollocks. Specifically (according to the SMH), warning that the visitors can expect to be confronted by “abusive” Australian crowds in an “aggressive environment”. Yawn.
“For the squad to go to Australia, it is completely different conditions,” Jones said. “Really hard, flat tracks and abusive crowds. They are in-the-face, the Australians. The media are going to be in our face. They are aggressive. It is a really aggressive environment. You can learn so much about your players and your squad on those tours.” Don’t forget to wind everyone up about drop-bears and hoopsnakes too, Eddie.
It comes as the former Wallabies coach suggested (spoiler alert) he deliberately made up a story during the last tour of 2016 about being inconvenienced by customs on arrival in Australia. The tour begins 2 July 2022 in Perth before moving to the proper side of Australia for the 9 July 2022 Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane) game then 16 July 2022 at Sydney Cricket Ground.
“It’s probably, arguably, one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard,”Embed from Getty Images
Former Wallaby hooker Jeremy Paul has added his 2c worth to the idea of Australia playing a domestic-only competition without NZ, according to Rugbypass. Paul, who played 72 tests for the Wallabies and over 100 caps for the Brumbies, was talking to SENZ Radio when he called the suggestion ‘one of the stupidest’ ideas that he has heard. Clearly Paul doesn’t hang around on the G&GR comments section much.
“The worst thing that we could ever do for our Australian (game) … not only from a competition point of view but also a development point of view … (would be to leave).”
Paul highlighted the Waratahs win over the Crusaders at Leichhardt Oval as a meaningful fixture that showed how important is was to Australia to earn that result. “When we beat New Zealand sides, the level of rugby is phenomenal, and you’ve got kids that were crying. Did you see that young Edmed kid from NSW this year after the Waratahs beat the Crusaders? He started crying,” he said.
Dave Rennie also backs staying according to Stuff.co.nz.
“I think it’s good for both countries that we play Trans-Tasman footy,” Rennie said. “I think the competition has been excellent this year, and our sides have been more competitive. I think it’s good for them, it’s good for us. I’d like to see that continue. They’ve got some of the best players In the world. You want to be playing the best players. That’s how we will get better and be challenged, so it’s important. I understand Hamish is an innovative thinker. From a commercial point of view, (Rugby Australia) want a bigger slice of the pie. So I understand his thinking,” Rennie said. “But I think what a lot of New Zealand clubs will think, too, is that us playing Trans-Tasman games are good for us. We’ve just got to make sure financially it’s beneficial as well.”
This article from Stuff is a pretty good summary of the context and various options of the Super Rugby comp.
Concussion Protocol rejig
Rugby.com.au reports that the vast majority of elite-level rugby union players diagnosed with a concussion will not be able to return to play for 12 days as a result of changes being introduced by the sport’s world governing body from July 1.
The current regulations allow players who fail a head injury assessment during a game to be back on the field seven days later if they follow return-to-play protocols. While that could still be the case for some, provided they get the approval of an independent concussion consultant, the majority will be out of the game for five more days.
The updated criteria being used to judge how quickly players can return after showing obvious concussion symptoms now includes their history of concussions. The new criteria will be in place for next month’s Test series that feature match ups including England v the Wallabies in Australia and Ireland v the All Blacks in New Zealand.
World Rugby’s chief medical officer Dr Eanna Falvey said: “It is going to be a new mindset for coaches and players. Our approach means it is now overwhelmingly likely a player diagnosed with a concussion won’t play in their team’s next match. World Rugby firmly believes that scientific evidence supports our protocols, but we are continually monitoring and testing them to ensure that they are fit for the modern game.”
Rugbypass reports that World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin has acknowledged that concussion is a battle that rugby will never ultimately win but he believes that his organisation is going the right way about convincing people that they have got a game that is still safe to play at all levels.
Gilpin conceded that concussion was a battle that rugby had to win substantively otherwise things would be a bit tricky. “In collision-based sports, there are always going to be head impacts,” he said. “What we are trying to do is reduce it by teaching better tackle technique and ultimately that is a huge part of this whole (initiative) from every part of the game, from mini rugby through to the international game.“
“Improving tackle technique is what will help us improve in this space but there are always going to be head impacts and there are always going to be concussions in rugby. We are never going to eradicate that with the nature of the sport we have. I guess it is what I mean by a battle we will never ultimately win but we want to win it enough so that people are comfortable that we have got a game that is safe to play at all levels of the game and that the sport is doing its best to protect and look after players’ safety and welfare. We are making what we think are advancements in that all the time.”
Meanwhile The Guardian has reported on Former All Black Geoff Old and his struggles with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and dementia. “They’ve pretty much ignored any issues we’ve raised,” he says of New Zealand Rugby. “From my 20 years in the States, it’s no different than the NFL. They sweep it under the carpet, ignore it. It’s just deny, deny, deny until you die. I can’t wait till they find CTE in the brain of an All Black. Then the shit will hit the fan.”