The Rogues Rant 231

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

Thanks to the big Flu virus next Fridays day of Rugby is now even bigger than expected. The Brumbies V Sunwolves match has been transferred to WIN Stadium after a ban was implemented in Japan on all international sporting events. It’s not far for Brumby faithful’s to travel and plenty are sure to make the trip north. Three full games are now set with the Brumbies match kicking off at 2.30, followed by the Illawarriors V Newcastle Hunter Wildfires Steel City Cup game at 4.55PM. The Waratahs organization is putting plenty of effort into promoting their first and hopefully not their last outing in Wollongong. The Waratahs and Chiefs get underway at 7.15PM. The IDRU Season Launch and long Lunch has drawn a big crowd but it’s not too late to get tickets for what should be a very interesting afternoon. You can still source tickets through the Illawarra Website or Facebook page which include discount match tickets.

Local trial matches are in full swing with just three weeks until Round One of the IDRU Builders Club Premiership. I caught the last couple of halves of last Saturday’s trials at Dandaloo Oval where Avondale played Gunghalin Eagles. While I was there Wombats ran in three tries to one against a well-organized, skillful but overpowered Canberra side. Despite being without several of last year’s Grand Final side, Avondale coach Joe Aiono would have been pleased with what he saw from his players. A well composed defensive effort blotted the visitors out of the final forty minutes with the Trademark Avondale attack headed by an outstanding effort from Andre Itula coming to the fore. Camden is hosting Tech Waratahs at home this Saturday, while Tech has a full book of trials over the next couple of weeks. Tech Tahs coach Tim Olsen is confident his side will be more of a force in 2020 and has organized strong opposition over the next two weeks against Woolhara on the 14th March and neighbors University on the 21st at Saunders Oval. Shamrocks have Waverley at Ocean Park on the 14th and Petersham also at Ocean Park on the 21st.

Warringah took out the Kiama 7’s last Saturday with a late try to deny West Harbour the title. In an exciting day of 7’s Rugby, Warringah went through the day unbeaten but left things to the very last play of the day to take the spoils. The recently changed Divisional Format of the tournament is proving to be very popular with competing teams and spectators alike. Gone are the days of seeing the strong Sydney sides running rough shot over their country cousins with much more even contests a feature of this year’s tournament. Australian 7’s Rep Josh Coward was an instrumental part of Warringahs 17 – 14 final victory over the Pirates. There were 4 more Aussie reps playing on the day with the Kiama tournament now very much a vital part of the Rugby 7’s landscape. The Country Cup was taken out by Goulburn who pipped host club Kiama 17 – 10 in the final. Local club Shoalhaven took the Country Bowl with a 24 – 17 win over Central Coast club Lakes. On the Women’s side of things, Southern Districts took the Vase and Jindabyne finished on top of the Country Women’s tournament.  

Super Rugby comes to the Gong on Friday as part of Round Six of this years tournament. The Brumbies should get the better of the Sunwolves in game one of the big day at WIN Stadium. The Waratahs after a good win over the Lions last week will need to be right on their game against the Chiefs. The Chiefs have started the year well with wins over the Blues, Crusaders and Sunwolves before dropping one to the Brumbies last outing. The Chiefs will be ready to go after the Bye, but this one could go either way. The Reds after a disappointing performance against the Sharks will be up against it away to the Crusaders, while The Rebels will start favorites at home to the Lions. My tips for this week after a poor three from six last week are: Brumbies, Crusaders, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Rebels, Sharks and Bulls.  

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