Today’s rugby news the stuff indicated above and detailed below. Also, Karl will have no choice but to agree that today’s edition is literally the ultimate RDU Wednesday news.
World Cup squads and viewing times/channels
Nathan Williamson has published the full lists of World Cup team squads.
See the link. It’s too long to paste here and we don’t want to set off an international diplomatic incident by leaving out the teams we don’t care about. We can do without their famous South American fiery temperaments.
Rugby World Cup 2023 will be hosted on Stan Sport and the Channel 9 network.
All matches will stream ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport, beginning with hosts France taking on New Zealand at 5:15 AM on Saturday 9 September. See the link for all game times.
(1) Every Wallabies match and (2) the 2023 final (draw a Venn diagram of those two events for homework kids) will be simulcast live on Nine and streamed on 9Now.
Players transitioning for World Cup
PlanetRugby has listed the players & nations making use of the eligibility law changes.
Traditionally rugby limited players to representing Pauline Hanson’s party, however, late in 2021 World Rugby changed the eligibility laws allowing players to change nationalities provided specific criteria has been met which include 1)
less fewer than 100 Tests played, 2) a three-year stand down from Test rugby and 3) a parent or grandparent must have been born in the country the player wishes to represent.
Tonga are the team with the most converted players with five of them making their second Test debut since the law change. Brimstone-merchant Israel Folau missed out on the World Cup squad whilst former Wallabies team-mate Adam Coleman earned a call-up in the second-row. A trio of quality former All Blacks Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa (a 2015 World Cup winner) and George Moala are all heading to France to represent their home nation.
South Africa has made use of it through second-row Jean Kleyn who was born in the country. After some time with the Stormers, he headed to Munster where he became eligible through naturalisation and played on five occasions for Ireland in 2019 including two appearances at the World Cup. After a United Rugby Championship winning season the defending world champions recruited the lock.
Scotland have recruited loose forward Jack Dempsey who is a former Wallaby. Dempsey looks completely transformed and is playing out of his socks in the bright, flashy colours of Scotland. Since his move to Glasgow Warriors Dempsey has found impressive form earning him a World Cup spot in an emerging side.
Samoa are second in terms of how many converted players they have in their squad with a total of four which includes three former All Blacks and a former Wallaby. Lima Sopoaga, Steven Luatua and Charlie Faumuina are the three ex-New Zealanders. Luatua has been outstanding for Bristol Bears whilst Sopoaga will add some class at 15 because Christian Leali’ifano will be running the side from 10. The great fly-half has a senior role in Moana Pasifika’s Super Rugby Pacific journey.
Pool A & Pool C
RA welcomes rower Jaime Fernandez as Women’s High-Performance Manager
Rugby Australia reports that, three-time Olympic Rower and Olympic Silver medalist at the Sydney 2000 Games, Jaime Fernandez has been appointed to the newly-created position of Women’s High-Performance Manager.
Fernandez was most recently the Deputy Performance Director at Rowing Australia.
Fernandez will work across the Wallaroos, Super W and women’s pathways programs to “develop high-performance environments and implement clear standards on the path to professionalism.”
Rugby Australia CEO and second-best flanker of his era Phil Waugh said “Jaime has a proven track record over more than a decade at Rowing Australia, and we look forward to drawing on his exceptional experience to further improve our national women’s programs.”
“Community pathways are integral to the development of the next generation of female athletes, and I have every confidence that Jaime will advance Rugby Australia’s growth of the women’s game.”
Jaime Fernandez will commence his new role as Rugby Australia’s Women’s High-Performance Manager on 11 September (never forget).
If the women’s rugby program suffers any setbacks at all, this fine publication puts first dibs on any “going backwards” rowing jokes. Back off Rupert!
According to the same press release, RA is committed to recruiting a full-time Wallaroos Head Coach for the 2024 season. This is sure to be on the agenda as members of the Wallaroos leadership group are due to meet Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh today (23 August). There, they’ll detail the frustrations that led to the national squad slamming Rugby Australia in a co-ordinated social media protest on Sunday, according to the SMH.
Word has it that Wallaroo and Super W players have still not been offered contracts for next year. While players are in line for multi-season increases to the part-contracts that began this year, players are also receiving offers from overseas clubs and the NRL’s women’s competition. Inaction may see Super W lose more stars next year.
Bidwell serves up Hansen perspective with a ladle.
As widely reported, former NZ coach Steve Hansen is helping out Eddie Jones for a few days, to the dusbelief of many a scaffolder.
In an opinion piece for RugbyPass, New Zealand journalist Hamish Bidwell has fired a shot across some heaving bows from HMNZS Settlethefukdown, writing:
“I don’t care who Hansen works for. I don’t care what he tells them and I especially don’t mind if he’s paid for it.
Reports are that Hansen informed All Blacks coach Ian Foster before accepting the role, that he isn’t being paid and nor is he giving away trade secrets.
No, he’s merely running his eye over Australia’s Rugby World Cup squad for a couple of days, as a favour to old mate Eddie Jones.
But what if he wasn’t? What if he was actually joining the Wallaby staff full-time? What if he was giving Jones chapter and verse on the All Blacks?
Would or more importantly – should – anyone care? …
We shouldn’t have any team on such a pedestal that we immediately cry foul when a coach or player takes a job somewhere else.
Hansen owes no debt to New Zealand rugby and nor does any coach or player for that matter.
After all, we can be pretty cut throat with the ones we don’t want anymore.“
Hear hear. You don’t see Aussies getting all wound-up about whether Michael Cheika is sharing sophisticated Wallaby on-field strategies with Argentina.