Wednesday’s Rugby News sees Hooper’s fighting words, Marler charged, Tim Walsh stresses no need for new players, and more Six Nations games affected by Coronavirus.
Hooper’s fighting words
Former Waratahs captain Michael Hooper says the Tahs season is not over and they will take inspiration for the Chiefs resurgence last year.
Despite losing the first five matches of the season, the Chiefs still managed to make finals footy. However, many are putting a line through the Tahs after their 51-14 humiliation in Wollongong on Friday.
But Hooper has come out swinging.
“It’s not dead in the water,” Hooper said.
“Five games into an 18-round season The Chiefs went 0-5 last year and made finals.
“So while we’ve made it very hard for ourselves, or harder, after dropping particularly the first three games, we’ve still got a lot to play for,” Hooper said.
This weekend doesn’t get any easier for the Tahs as they travel to Canberra to face the Aussie conference leaders, the Brumbies, on Sunday afternoon.
English prop Joe Marler charged
English prop Joe Marler is facing up to 24 weeks on the sideline, after being charged for grabbing Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones by the testicles in England’s 33-30 victory over the weekend.
A Six Nations statement confirming Marler’s citing read: “The England number one Joe Marler has been cited for an alleged infringement of law 9.27 (a player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship – hair pulling or grabbing; spitting at anyone; grabbing, twisting or squeezing the genitals.”
Alun Wyn Jones said after the match he hopes rugby chiefs take action.
“Joe is a good bloke and lots happens on a rugby field. After 138 Tests, I know if I react it’s a red card,” Jones said.
Marler’s hearing will occur on Thursday, along with fellow Englishmen Courtney Laws who was cited for a dangerous tackle, and Manu Tuilangi who was red-carded in the game against Wales.
Tim Walsh stresses no need for new players
Aussie men’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh doesn’t expect to see any new faces come into the mix for the Tokyo Olympics, with just two tournaments left before the major event.
Initially, Sean McMahon, Luke Morahan, and Jack Maddocks were in line to feature in the Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments, however, both events have been postponed.
Walsh praised McMahon but the side will plan without him.
“Sean would be very good, he’s got a ruthlessness and a power running competitiveness that is valued and the experience he has,” Walsh said.
“There’s all different stuff going on with the coronavirus in Japan and all that so not sure what’s going to happen there.
“we’ll plan without him and then if it eventuates then we’ll get him in, see how he can go, push forward for his selection,” Walsh said.
The coming London and Paris legs are now the final competitive chance for XVs players to push their cases.
Walsh said it isn’t a deal breaker if the ex-Sevens pair did not play due to a nine-week Olympic preparation block.
“It’d be nice to (have them in London and Paris),” he said.
“I’d still probably leave the door open and see how we go because there is a nine-week campaign to the Olympics post-London and both of them have a vast experience in Sevens but it’d make it a lot tougher for them to actually push and take anyone’s spot that’s on a squad now,” Walsh said.
Six Nations games affected by Coronavirus
The France vs Ireland game has been postponed due to the threat of coronavirus, leaving Wales vs Scotland as the only match in the final round of the SIx nations to go ahead as scheduled.
The match was to be played in Paris on Saturday but it will now not go ahead on advice from the French Government. There is no indication for a new date for the game.
The postponement of the French vs Ireland and England vs Italy games means no SIx Nations champion will be crowned this weekend.
Typically the final weekend of the Six Nations is one of the great spectacles in rugby with all three matches going back-to-back to find a winner, however, we won’t get that excitement this weekend.
There have been suggestions that the final two matches will be postponed until October.