Wednesday’s Rugby News, compiled by a bloody champion three beers and one whiskey in on the night of a Wallabies test, sees the soufflé rise, Lions tour dramas, the Reds firm-up their 2022 squad and Quade Cooper’s passport problems.
Pressure on non-Queensland stadia to justify hosting rugby tests
Barely more 20,000 fans at AAMI Park (Melbourne) last night witnessed the French win 28-26 as another chapter in the ground’s reputation as a graveyard for the Wallabies.
Australia has lost the three inbound Tests played there against Tier One nations (England, Ireland and France) since 2016.
Newcastle also has much for which to answer, having hosted the Wallabies’ loss to Scotland in hypothermic conditions on 5 June 2012 and the 15-all draw to Argentina on 21 November 2020.
Rugby connoisseurs and academics are rapidly reaching the conclusions that:
(a) Suncorp Stadium is the place to host winning Wallabies tests, as will be demonstrated again on Saturday 17 July 2021 8:00pm East Coast Elite time;
(b) selecting the three-pointer when right in front of the posts has merit; and
(c) Australian box kicks are really paying off – for the opposition; and
See the game report link on the GAGR main page.
Lions Tour limps on
World Cup-winning South African captain, Siya Kolisi, is among a fresh clutch of players to have tested positive to Wuhan Spicy Lung according to The Guardian. Springboks’ head coach, Jacques Nienaber, is still in isolation, Rassie Erasmus is back in temporary charge of the day-to-day running of a squad that has recorded another nine positive coronavirus cases, six players and three staff members.
Further disruption cannot be ruled out but a sizeable chunk of the squad have at least been cleared to resume training after being confined to their rooms since last Monday.
The first Test is taking place on Saturday 24 July, there is precious little leeway available to either hard-pressed coaching team. Warren Gatland’s job is being further complicated by the dispiritingly one-sided nature of the warm-up fixtures.
Bryan Habana commented to Sky Sports about the South African ‘A’ vs Lions to be played today.
“I think the Springboks players will be going into this very rusty, unfortunately. Given we don’t really know practice-wise what they’ve been doing over the last 10 days.”
“They have all been self-isolating. Does that mean they may have had Watt bikes in their room? There hasn’t been a collision potential for sure, so they’ve got a day and a half to prepare for a physically tough engagement.”
The Reds have locked-in the front row trio of Dane Zander, Feao Fotuaika and Richie Asiata according to GAGR’s own Nathan Williamson.
Zander has signed until the end of 2023, looking to build on his 18 Super Rugby matches, including 10 games this year.
“I’m a Queenslander. I was born-and-bred here and I’m super excited to have the opportunity to play for Queensland for the next two years,” said Zander.
“It’s also exciting to be a part of this group of players under Thorny because I think we’re on the verge of doing something pretty special in the future.”
Meanwhile, Fotuaika and Asiata re-signed for next season. Fotuaika was recently called into the Wallabies set-up as an additional training member whilst Asiata made his Queensland debut.
“I’m really excited to stay at Ballymore with this group of men,” Fotuaika said.
“I am proud to wear the maroon jersey. It’s very special and I’m looking forward to another great year with the Reds.”
“I’m excited to keep on improving my skillset and hopefully put that maroon jersey on again in 2022,” Asiata added.
After securing Mac Grealy, Kalani Thomas and Isaac Henry last week, Reds GM of Rugby Sam Cordingley was delighted to have the front-rowers locked in for 2022 and see them further represent their home state.
“Our front rower’s efforts are a real cornerstone of our game. The depth we have is a credit to the work that Cameron (Lillicrap) and Brad have put into this part of the program,” he said.
“Fe, Dane and Richie are all proud Queenslanders who have come through our club and pathway programs – it’s great to have them committed to the Reds.”
Quade Cooper “Am I not Aussie Enough?”
Am I not Aussie enough?
Is my ACL too broken?
Do I set-up tries too much?
Am I too outspoken (about the ‘yellow’ jersey)?
Don’t I make tackles?
Should I try it harder?
Why do you run right through me?
The ex-Wallaby and Super Rugby Champion Red took to Twitter on Tuesday to bemoan his latest attempt to become an Australian citizen, as reported by Fox and the Betoota Advocate (at least one of which is a parody of a news organisation).
Part of the explanation of his rejection was that he had provided no evidence to satisfy the special residency requirements, which is “person engaging in activities of benefit to Australia” and “persons engaged in particular kinds of work requiring regular travel outside of Australia”.
Cooper was born in New Zealand and uses his Sweet-As-Bro passport (despite leaving the NZ when he was 13) and has 70 caps for Australia over a nine-year period, including two World Cups.
Cooper is also the victim of a vicious head-butt to the knee by Richie McCaw.
With the screenshot of his rejection, Cooper wrote: “Awkward moment @ausgov refuse your citizenship application (again). Wearing the green and gold 70 times apparently is not enough these days…”
It is not the first time Cooper has had a problem with his Australian passport and he was dumped from the Aussie Olympic sevens team in 2016 for Rio because he wasn’t a citizen.
It turns out that the Australian immigration system can be a bit ***ty to people. You heard it at GAGR first.