Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.
Rugby is a simple game. Last week’s Test Match between the Wallabies and Pumas was a case in point. In the first half of the match the Wallabies did not go forward. In attack their backs ran sideways and failed to make an impact on the Argentine defense. In defense the one on one effort across the field was woeful. There execution of the basic skills of the game was appalling. By halftime the Pumas led 31 – 7 scoring four tries to one. During the break Coach Cheika delivered an old fashion bollocking to the players. He changed the whole front row. In the second half the Wallabies went forward. In attack the backs ran straight and played direct. In defense the players made their one on one tackles and blotted out the Pumas attack. Five second half tries followed and the win came Australia’s way. It’s not rocket science.
It’s the last round this week of the National Rugby Championships. It’s been a very disappointing year for the NSW sides who are anchored to the bottom of the table with the Eagles only win of the year coming against the Rays who are last on the table without a win. The most disturbing thing about this year is that the general rugby public has pretty much not engaged at all with the NSW sides. There needs to be a total rethink on how these sides are constructed. There needs to be a clear and distinguishable path for players to move through from club rugby to these entities to create some form of tribalism that the general public can identify with. The Shute Shield and district competitions around the state are being well supported but there is no direct line for fans to follow through to the NRC. The last round this week will have a huge bearing on the finishing order for the finals with the top four still to be decided. The Force host the Fijian Drua in Perth with top spot on the ladder up for grabs. No matter the result both sides will be in the finals, but their opponents in the upcoming semis will go down to the wire. Qld Country should beat the NSW Eagles in Tamworth to secure their spot in the finals but it’s possible a loss could see them miss out. The match with the most bearing on fourth spot though will be Brisbane City and Canberra Vikings in Brisbane. The loser will finish fifth and won’t be needed for the finals. The final match has no bearing at all on the finals with Melbourne at home to the Sydney Rays. My tips for the last round – Fiji to just beat the Force, Qld Country to beat the Eagles and take second spot, Canberra Vikings to win over Brisbane City and deny them a finals berth, and Melbourne Rising to win over Rays leaving the Sydney side on the bottom of the Table.
All opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.