The Rogues Rant #227

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

The Rogue has been on holidays, but now we’re back.

It was sad to hear of the death of Mr. Randwick, Jeffrey Sayle. Sayley who has struggled lately with some health problems passed away last week at Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick. The recipient of an Order of Australia Medal in 2001 for services to Rugby and his beloved Coogee Surf club, Sayle lived and breathed Rugby and will be long remembered as a pillar of not only Randwick Rugby but Australian Rugby. RIP Jeffery Sayle.

What a big day Grand Final day was. Congratulations to Avondale, Shamrocks and Vikings on your respective victories in what were three very entertaining games of Rugby. Throw in the very hard fought drawn NRC match between the Country Eagles and the Fiji Drua which provided a very interesting spectacle for local rugby fans. The size and toughness of both sides was an eye opener and showed just how big a gap there is between our local competitions and the next level up. In my opinion the standard of the IDRU competition in recent years has been very good but this match really showed how big a jump it is to the semi-professional level of the game in Australia.

The NSW Waratahs have gone for experienced Kiwi Rob Penney to coach the side for the next three years. Penney at 55 years of age has had extensive coaching appointments around the world having started his coaching career in New Zealand with Canterbury and the NZ Under 20’s before going overseas to Munster and then Japan. He will join the Waratahs in November once completing his commitments in Japan with the Toyota Industries Shuttles. Penney is a straight talker and recently commented on some of the Waratahs shortfalls which he feels he needs to bolster with a quality front rower, a big running back rower and a world class outside back. With Fly half Bernard Foley leaving Penney will be looking toward some of the Waratahs youngsters coming through the ranks to step up for the vital number 10 spot. Should be an interesting year in 2020, but as the man himself said don’t expect the world in the short term.

One round left to play in the NRC and the Finals makeup is wide open with many possibilities. The Force is home and hosed at the top of the table with a home semi in the bag. As for the rest any three of five teams could end up in the finals depending on the next weekends match results. The Country Eagles are traveling to Canberra to take on the Vikings with a home final the prize for the winner. The Eagles went down to Queensland Country last Sunday after inflicting the only loss of the year on the Force a week earlier. A loss for the Eagles and wins to the two Queensland teams could see the Eagles miss the finals altogether which would not reflect their season to this point. So a win over the Vikings is crucial which would also give the Eagles a home semi. It will be an interesting round indeed with six teams still in the running. The Eagles V Vikings match is on at 6.00PM Friday night.    

With the form shown by the Wallabies so far in Japan it’s hard to see the side getting past the quarter final stages, should they qualify after their final match against Georgia next Friday. Put simply the side have just been too sloppy in their play to suggest that they will be able to apply the required pressure on anyone come the knock out stage of the tournament. For me the All Blacks are still looking good for the title.

The call has gone out for volunteers to get involved in the administration of Junior Rugby in the Illawarra. It is a huge task to keep junior rugby happening in the local area and more people are required to get all the jobs done. It came down to just three people this year who worked tirelessly to get the season completed, but it has taken its toll on those involved. There is enough work to keep at least six people busy for the season with the call now going out for your assistance to help to keep Junior Rugby in the Illawarra growing. If you can make a contribution, go to the IDJRU Facebook page for details.    

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