The Rogues Rant 230

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

A sad start to the 2020 season with the news of the passing of Betty Hayne, the wife of former IDRU President John Hayne. John served Illawarra Rugby for many years and all through those years Betty was right there by his side. John and Betty were a familiar sight on the side of many Rugby fields throughout the state over the years as they supported Illawarra sides of all ages in their quest for success. John served as a Referee and President of Illawarra Rugby and NSW Country over his lifetime involvement in Rugby. Betty was never far from her husband’s side, and the old adage that behind every successful man is good women was never more evident than in the case of John and Betty Hayne. Rest in Peace Betty Hayne.

We are going into the fifth week of Super Rugby and things are not looking that good for the Aussie sides early on. With the exception of The Brumbies who have won three from four, only going down by a point to the Highlanders, the Aussie sides are struggling once again. The three other local sides are all in the bottom half of the table with the Waratahs stone motherless after three outings. The Stormers are unbeaten on top with the Sharks only dropping one not far behind. The Crusaders, Chiefs and Hurricanes have only lost one and are sitting firmly in the top side of the table. The Brumbies have the Bye this week and the other three Australian teams have matches that they can win on form but all three could go either way. This is the week to get their seasons moving. The Rebels are away to an inconsistent Highlanders side who will be keen to get the points at home in Dunedin. The Reds are coming off a big win over the Sunwolves and will have their hands full against the Sharks at Suncorp. The Waratahs are in with a real chance to get their first win of the year against the Lions at Parramatta on Friday night. My tips for this week: Highlanders, Waratahs, Hurricanes, Reds, Stormers, Jaguares.

Interest is building for the big match at WIN Stadium next week with the Waratahs up against the Chiefs. The IDRU Long Lunch is being well supported and should be a big day incorporating the IDRU Season Launch for 2020, presented by new IDRU President Darin Crofts. Tickets are still available through the IDRU Website and Facebook page and include discounted tickets to the match itself later that night. Bob Dwyer is the Guest Speaker with new Waratahs Coach Rob Penney along with a current Waratahs player also expected to attend. Ex Wallaby Prop Adrian Skeggs will also be speaking outlining the Rugby First Program in particular regarding Rugby’s efforts to support the South Coasts recovery from the recent Bushfires. The event is at the City Beach Function Centre from 12.00 Noon till 3.00PM just in time for everyone to move down to WIN for the curtain Raiser match between the Illawarriors and Newcastle Hunter for the Steel City Challenge Trophy, kicking off at 4.40PM.

It’s not the first time that Waikato Rugby has appeared at WIN Stadium. The Waikato boys have played twice before at Wollongong Showground in 1981 and again ten years later in 1991. In 1981 an Illawarra side played the visitors as representatives of NSW Country. In 1991 a full strength NSW Country team was opposed to the Waikato side of the day which included a young Hooker named Warren Gatland. I recently had the chance to look at an old program from the day which carried plenty of very familiar names. The 91 Country side was coached by Bill Eddy and included Peter Palmer, Spiro Lozankoski, Michael Brial, Anthony Egert, Andrew Walker, Craig Wells, Max Lemme, Michael Prior. The curtain raiser was between Shamrocks and Vikings the team lists of which really is a who’s who of Illawarra Rugby. The Shamrocks side included John Doctor (now a leading coach up the Far North Coast of NSW), Brendan Schoupp (Successful Shamrocks and Illawarriors Coach), Ian Westwood (Shamrocks premiership player and Illawarra Caldwell Cup winning player and Coach), Scott Lunney, Glen Hutton, Richard Aylett, Ray Wylie, Marc Joy, Andrew Cracknell, Scott McKellor (Current NSW Country Manager). The Vikings list included Michael Prior, Mick Hutchison (Premiership winning Captain), Kel Giddey, Max Lemme, Todd Goodwin, the Late Glen Tobin, Phill Green (Premiership winning Coach). Not a bad line of talent there.

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