Wednesday’s Rugby News sees the Argies shift the Wallabies to 7th in the world, Referee treatment chat, Tim Walsh sticking up for the Sevens program, former Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor’s response and some recruitment gap-filler.
Wallabies slip to 7th in meaningless arbitrary rankings
Australia have slipped below Argentina in World Rugby’s global rankings (shut up rankings you’re not my real dad!) following nothing in particular on the last two Saturday nights.
Rugbypass reports that this is the joint lowest position the Wallabies have occupied since the rankings system began in 2003. The Wallabies have never being out of the top six prior to 2018 when you-know-who was coaching.
Argentina also lost 12-32 to South Africa on the weekend, but despite this now lead Australia by a tiny margin. In brighter news, New Zealand are only second best.
Ranking Country Points
1 South Africa 94.20
2 New Zealand 89.29
3 England 85.44
4 Ireland 84.85
5 France 83.87
6 Argentina 83.15
7 Australia 83.14
8 Scotland 82.02
9 Wales 80.59
10 Japan 79.13
11 Fiji 76.87
12 Georgia 73.73
13 Samoa 73.59
14 Italy 70.65
15 Tonga 68.57
16 USA 68.10
Solomone Kata re-signs with Brumbies
GAGR’s own Nathan Williamson reports that outside back Solomone Kata has re-signed with the Brumbies for the 2022 season.
Kata made the switch to rugby union in 2020 after a stint with the New Zealand Warriors. The 25-year-old, who is currently playing for Auckland in the Bunnings NPC, was excited to return to the nation’s capital after an injury-interrupted 2021.
“Me and my family have settled into Canberra, and the club have supported me really well since making the switch back to rugby.”
Lions tour could be watershed officiating moment
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Former Premiership and European Cup referee (and current TMO) David Rose believes the Lions series could represent a watershed moment in the scrutiny and criticism of match officials according to Rugbypass.
“There now seems to be an expectation level that match officials in all sports can get everything right. But every so often something happens that is so extreme that you get a pull-back against it – and I sense this is happening following the Lions series.”
“Sometimes it takes things going to an extreme for the voice of reason to kick in and for us to all remember that in reality mistakes do happen for genuine reasons.”
“There has been an erosion in the acceptance that mistakes will happen; if you have human beings involved, you’re going to have human error and being professional in any walk of life doesn’t mean you make no mistakes.”
“If you look at the speed things happen at and the number of factors officials are required to process in really quick time, then allow for fatigue levels later in a game plus other external pressures, it is no surprise that mistakes occur. No-one sets out to make an error but it happens.”
South African waterboy Rassie Erasmus will face World Rugby misconduct charges over the video which highlighted a host of officiating discrepancies in detail, including instances where he suggested officials showed the South Africans a lack of respect.
And according to Rose, depending on the outcome of the hearing, a behind-closed-doors private rapprochement may well then take place.
“This kind of thing has happened several times over the years,” he recalled.
“I remember one well-known former Premiership director of rugby having a massive rant about me then being forced to backtrack after he ended up in a disciplinary.”
“That was nothing compared to the level we’re at now, and also it was done on a more personal level between the referee and the coach, away from the public eye.
“Things have often got smoothed out this way even if this hasn’t then hit the press.”
Tim Walsh backs Sevens program
Australian men’s sevens coach Tim Walsh has outlined why the program should survive a Rugby Australia review according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Rugby Australia’s so-called high-performance unit, along with board members Phil Waugh and Daniel Herbert, are undertaking a review of the Australian sevens program in the wake of a disappointing Olympic campaign, where the 2016 Olympic champion women’s team and the men’s side were knocked out of the quarter-finals.
“Rugby World Cups or Olympic Games or anything to do with benchmark events, there is a certain formula that goes into that. There is experience, self awareness, combinations, leadership, from a coaching point of view and a player point of view,” Walsh said.
“You can look at decades of data and teams and that’s the formula. If that’s the strategic goal of the organisation, that’s where you have to begin. Put those pieces together.”
“It’s too specialised. Obviously COVID put a lot of doubt and stress on everybody, not just sport. When you look at an international sport like sevens, it’s not like you’re a club and you compete and then go play for Australia.”
“It’s like Formula One. You travel around the world eight months of the year.”
Damian McKenzie to be big in Japan
Channel 9 reports that AB fullback Damian McKenzie will miss Super Rugby next year as he takes up a deal in Japan with Suntory, where Eddie Jones is director of rugby.
The 26-year-old has won 95 caps for the Chiefs and is young enough to come back and reach the 100-game milestone, but his exit is a major blow to the Chiefs’ hopes of going one better than their loss to the Crusaders in the final of Super Rugby Aotearoa this year.
Highlanders co-captain Ash Dixon has recently confirmed he was leaving for a two-year deal with NEC Green Rockets in Japan.
Former Wallaroos coach puts head above trench
Former Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor has spoken to the Sydney Morning Herald and accused Rugby Australia of double standards following his sudden removal as head coach of the women’s national side after unsavoury comments he made about referees and players were accidentally uploaded during the Super W competition.
Nestor contrasted his treatment with that of the Men’s Sevens team:
“Those players got a formal warning; I got told I was going to have my contract terminated,” Nestor said. “My comments were said in a private box in a private conversation where those comments were not to be heard by anybody else. Theirs was in a public plane. I think there is a bit of inconsistency in how they’re applying their standards.”
Nestor acknowledged his remarks about the referee were “totally unacceptable” but says he stands by his comments about the players, which were supposed to remain confidential.
Nestor has apologised but insists the comments were not made about players’ mental health, as has been reported.
“I’m not going to repeat it or put it out there. It wasn’t called for. I’ll own that.”
“I didn’t say anything about any players’ mental health. There was no gender comments. There were two swear words on three occasions I used. There was a comment about the referee – it was one word and it was wrong.
“My comments [about performance] … I stand by them. I was verbalising thoughts. I wasn’t degrading any of the girls. I was just frustrated with some of the quality of the play, some of the decisions that were made. It’s not like the entire 80 minutes was entirely expletives and me sledging the girls. That’s completely incorrect.
“I said I was willing to face a hearing – a breach of the code of conduct – about the word I said about the referee and I wasn’t given that opportunity.
“I do not believe my actions warranted such a disproportionate response.”