The Rogues Rant #205

Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

Rugby Australia Director of Rugby Scott Johnson doesn’t have to look too far for the successor to Michael Cheika. He is right under his nose down in Melbourne. South African born Dave Wessels has the Rebels sitting at the top of Aussie conference, playing just the sort of Rugby, Aussie rugby fans like to see. Wessels results since moving to Australia as defensive coach at the Brumbies under Head Coach Jake White in 2012 has been all positive. He did a great job with the Western Force building them into a very competitive side until Rugby Australia pulled the rug from under them. He now has the Rebels firing right across the park playing the type of Rugby most Rugby fans would love to see the Wallabies playing.

The Lady Waratahs went back to back Premiers in the Super W Grand Final last weekend. A very tight 8 – 5 win over Queensland completes a two year unbeaten run for the Waratahs women. The women’s game across the country is going from strength to strength and judging by the amount of interest generated in last week’s GF, it’s only going to get bigger. The IDRU is still working toward a Women’s Comp in 2019, but we still need more clubs to field teams to have a competitive tournament. Three clubs have indicated they will field a side this year but we must have more to make it work. For more information and help to get things happening at your club, contact IDRU Director Darin Crofts on 0404 829356.

The Rebels are now seven points clear at the top of the Aussie Super Rugby Conference and looking good to finish on top at the end of the Rounds. We are not quite at the halfway point though yet, so there is still a long way to go. A couple of injuries in key positions could test their depth but I somehow think they will not be denied a place in the end of season play offs, and good on them. They are playing strong positive rugby and deserve the success that has come their way so far in 2019. Looks like some pretty straight forward matches this weekend with the home sides looking good across the board. My tips this week: Crusaders, Rebels, Chiefs, Brumbies, Sharks, Bulls.

Local Rugby got underway last week with results suggesting it will be more of the same this season with results consistent with last year’s form line. This week’s matches will go a long way to confirm the form line or indicate something different. The new Rugby Link system didn’t come up too well last week for one reason or another. Let’s hope things work better this week because if operating properly this system can deliver great information allround. It needs everyone to do their bit to get it to happen as designed. Bowral have their first home match this week, hosting Kiama. On first round form I think we can expect a big Blacks victory. Bowral to win. Campbelltown and Vikings meet at Campbelltown Showground with the Harlequins keen to improve on last week’s effort in Nowra. I can’t see a home win here however. Vikings to win. University have Tech Waratahs at home for the battle of the bridge. Tech Tahs struggled at home against Bowral last week while the students had a good win over Avondale at Dapto. I’ll go for a second win for the year to the Bulls. University to win. Ocean Park Woonona hosts the Shamrocks V Avondale match. Avondale are smarting following their frustrating loss to Uni last week and will be keen to get their attacking game in full swing. They can expect a committed effort from the Rocks especially in defense but the Wombats should get the points. Avondale to win. The Match of the Round is at Camden Rugby Park with the only match involving two Round 1 winners. Camden had a strong win over Kiama at home while the Shoalies kept Campbelltown scoreless in a big win in Nowra. Shoalhaven fell just short of the finals last year in what was a very improved season for the southerners. Camden may well be the big improvers in 2019 after showing good form in Round 1 with a fifteen point win over Kiama. Despite the home advantage I’m going for Shoalhaven in a close one. Shoalhaven to win.

Don’t forget, for your chance to Beat The Rogue, get your tips into by 7.00PM Friday.

All opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.