Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at suspensions for a pair of forwards, Izack Rodda’s return, the motivation guiding the Reds and the return of Matt Giteau
Allan, Andrew get three
Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa and Force hooker Andrew Ready will both miss three weeks after they were red-carded during last week wins.
Alaalatoa was sent off just before halftime in the Brumbies’ nail-biting win over the Rebels on Saturday night, collecting with the head of Pone Fa’amausili.
He will miss their GF rematch against the Reds, with Alaalatoa pleaded guilty to the dangerous-tackle charge.
“The Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks due to the World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level,” committee chairman Adam Casselden SC ruled.
“However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s clean judicial record and pleading guilty at his first available opportunity the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to three weeks.”
Ready was handed a similar ban after he decided to replicate the works of Tim Tszyu at Bankwest Stadium, punching Hugh Sinclair in the face during their breakthrough victory.
“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Michael Tudori, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.12,” Casselden added.
“With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to the World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level.
“However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player’s clean judicial record and pleading guilty at his first available opportunity the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks.”
That’s probably the words that Rugby Australia are saying as Izack Rodda prepares for a return to Australian rugby.
Rodda’s falling out with the Reds saw the young lock sign a deal with French club Lyon, with the deal set to run out at the end of the year.
However, Rodda still harbours a desire to represent the Wallabies, with the towering lock preparing to come home in 2022.
This was been confirmed by The Herald, who revealed that he is set to take a major pay cut to return home, with deals of $300-400k on offer for the 24-year-old.
Despite being from Lismore, Rodda is expected to reject a homecoming with the desperate Waratahs, preparing to sign with the Force.
It has been suggested that Rodda was impressed with their constant pursuit of his services, with the club offering their services to the lock after his Reds departure.
If he signs the deal in time, Rodda could potentially be available for selection as soon as the three-Test series against France in July.
However, the Herald believes that he will more likely be in the mix for a Rugby Championship return later in the winter.
He would join a fellow former Wallaby in the West, with Sitaleki Timani returning to the club as an injury replacement for the remainder of the season.
The Queensland Reds have taken inspiration from Michael Jordan ahead of their GF rematch with the Brumbies, taking the lose personally.
The Reds smell metaphoric blood in the water with Test props James Slipper (knee), Allan Alaalatoa (suspension) and hooker Connal McInerney (broken fibula) set to spend an extended period on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, the Reds are set to welcome back a pair of Wallabies off the back of their bye, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto serving his suspension whilst Brandon Paenga-Amosa has overcome a neck issue.
This has the Reds ready for revenge according to skipper James O’Connor, who echoed the famous words of Michael Jordan whilst speaking to reporters ahead of the game.
“The Brumbies have been the best team in Australia for the last four, five years … but as the GOAT (Michael Jordan) would say ‘we took that personally’ so we’re coming for them,” he said.
“They play a really structured game and they’ve mastered it so that if they lose one cog in the wheel it doesn’t disrupt them too much.
“But they do rely on Allan, on his emotional plays and hits … and for us, that’s probably Lukhan.
“He’s a big leader in our squad and I get a lot of energy from him.”
The battle will likely centre around the two flyhalves, with O’Connor eager for the match-up with his so-called heir-apparent Noah Lolesio.
“I’ll be testing him out and I’m sure he’ll be testing me out with his young legs, but at the end of the day (it’s about) which team won,” O’Connor added.
Australian legend Matt Giteau has announced that he will line up for LA Giltinis in Major League Rugby.
He joins after glamorous stints in Japan and Canberra, where he guided Gungahlin to their first GF in 13 years.
“Starting a franchise afresh, the history I have with certain players and staff at the Giltinis and the family feel to this adventure were all big things that persuaded me,” Giteau said.
“And I get to live in one of the coolest cities in the world and experience this with my kids at an age when they’ll remember it.
“To be honest, I felt a bit unfulfilled with the way things ended in Japan and it made me think that just retiring because of ‘age’ was selling myself a bit short.
“Like everyone, I felt that moment this year when sport was taken away (because of the pandemic) so I got excited with the LA offer and realised you are a long time retired.”
Giteau joins a strong Australian contingency, with good mate Adam Ashley-Cooper as well as Dave Dennis, Harrison Goddard, Luke Burton, Angus Cottrell and Billy Meakes joining the Darren Coleman-coached squad.
Admitting that this will be his final challenge, Giteau is looking to make a mark in Hollywood and leave a lasting impression on the young club.
“I still love to play and compete. What will give me just as much satisfaction is helping to create the identity of the Giltinis and developing the potential in some excellent American and international youngsters for the club’s future,” he added.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to speak to (head coach) Darren Coleman about the values he holds dear and how important it is to nurture local American and Canadian players and get them into national teams.
“I’m excited. I know how big sport is in the United States in general and I see Major League Rugby having a real crack to turn the USA into a dominant rugby nation.
“The Giltinis will be out in the LA rugby community to get our fans fully involved.”