Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.
Israel Folau! What a mess. The saga continues and it looks like it will be ongoing for some time yet. I think the whole thing is beyond the ridiculous. This is not just a Rugby issue anymore, it is a society issue! Public sentiment seems to be swinging towards Israel. We may see him in a Wallaby Gold jumper yet. Our top players along with their counterparts in Rugby League, Cricket, and AFL need to get their heads around the fact it is just not sport anymore at their level. They are highly paid individuals employed by Multi-Million Dollar Organizations and with that comes a high level of personal responsibility.
IDRU President Peter Woods has announced his intention of standing down from the top job at the end of 2019. Peter has made an incredible, probably unprecedented contribution to Rugby in the Illawarra over many years. He first came to town from the Central West of NSW as a young man to start his legal career and joined Vikings Rugby Club where he played 14 seasons from 1971-1984. With his playing days coming to an end he took up Refereeing in 1983 and has been an active Referee ever since. He served as IDRU District Secretary from 1980 through to 1997. Peter also Refereed at NSW Country level and went on to become President of the NSW Country Referees Association. He became President of IDRU in 2008 and has served 12 consecutive terms in the role. His presidency started at a time when the IDRU needed a strong steadying force at the top and he delivered. His list of Life Memberships includes: Vikings Rugby Club, Illawarra District Rugby Union, and NSW Country Referees Association. Now for a few Reds and the South of France!
Well Super Rugby really is becoming a difficult proposition to pick at the moment. With the exception of the Crusaders there is plenty of inconsistency with many suggesting that the New Zealand dominance may well be over. The Crusaders are sitting high on the NZ table despite a draw last week at home with the Sharks. Both the Aussie and South Africa tables are tight with six points separating all five African sides, and the Aussie sides all within three of each other. Anyone could qualify for the finals and with six rounds to go anyone will. My tips for this week: Hurricanes, Rebels, Crusaders, Highlanders, Chiefs, Lions, Brumbies.
After last week’s upset results Avondale have leapt to the top of the table after four rounds, with four sides now with three wins from four starts. On form things should be straight forward this week, but you never know. Bowral now sitting equal second with Camden and University are up against Campbelltown at Eridge Park. Campbelltown remain the only side without a win at this stage and unfortunately I don’t think there is any chance of that changing this week. Bowral to Win. Kiama host competition leaders Avondale after their first win of the year last week over Campbelltown. Look out there could be a big score in this one. Avondale to Win. Shamrocks and Tech Waratahs meet at Ocean Park on Saturday after both sides had upset wins last week. Wins have been hard to come by for both these sides so far this year with last week’s win over Vikings being the Tahs first for the year. On their home ground I’ll just favor the Rocks. Shamrocks to Win. Vikings make the trip down to Nowra this week for what quite often turns out to be hard day against the Shoalies. Shoalhaven will be keen to bounce back from last week’s shellacking by Uni, but I don’t think there will be anything like that margin between these two sides this week. I’ll lean towards Vikings in a game that will only have a try either way in it. Vikings to Win. Match of the Round this week is at Wollongong University with the Camden Rams visiting. Both sides sit on fifteen competition points, a point behind the Wombats and will be keen to stay in touch with the leaders. University are really putting some performances together despite not having their full squad available as yet and Camden will be keen to get back to their best after last week’s loss. I’m expecting another close one here but I’ll lean towards the Students. University to Win.
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All opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.