The Rogues Rant 232

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

After last week’s round of Super Rugby it looks like it is going to be a long season indeed for the Waratahs. After going in with the lead at the break the side capitulated embarrassingly in the second term. Whilst the Chiefs turned on a superb attacking display of Rugby to run in six second half tries the Waratahs returned to their inept form that is becoming all too familiar. Once again basic skills deserted the side in the second half with a raft of schoolboy errors taking away any chance of a win for the home side. Poor catch and pass, sloppy play at the breakdown and an alarming lack of organization in defense was evident throughout. The Chiefs last try came from a Waratah howler which summed up the Waratahs night. Kurtley Beale spilled the ball after having a look as he tried to catch a pass to put in a clearing kick and clear his own line. Beale and a couple of other Tahs players failed to secure the ball after the error giving a turnover to the chiefs who made them pay with a five pointer. In contrast the Chiefs showed everyone just how the game should be played with skill and enterprise. After six rounds of the tournament the Waratahs sit second last to the Sunwolves and have the second worst attacking and defensive records as well.

One of the highlights at WIN Stadium last Friday was the form of Shoalhaven junior Will Miller. Miller took Player of the Match honors in the Brumbies big 47 – 14 win over the Sunwolves. He scored a first half try and was busy all night in both attack and defense. Miller is the latest in a long list of NSW players to make the move to Canberra and enjoy a new lease on life. The Brumbies are once again leading the Aussie charge sitting equal second on the full table and five points clear at the top of the Aussie pool.

What a great day was had by the rugby diehards who started the day last Friday at the IDRU Season Launch and long lunch. A very healthy crowd enjoyed a few drinks and a great meal and heard some wise words from the guest speakers in particular former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer and Waratahs coach Rob Penney. Both coaches made similar comments in regard to the way Australian teams have played the game of late. They made it clear that players should be encouraged to play with their eyes up looking for space and to back their own ability to take advantage of that space. In other words, to play what is in front of them instead of taking the pre-determined structured approach. Dwyer was scathing in his comments on the fact that the ARU had done away with their Coach Development program some twenty years ago. In his opinion this move is directly responsible for the dearth of quality Australian coaches in modern Rugby. We also heard from Waratahs player Jed Holloway who reminisced on his early days in a Shamrocks jumper as an eight year old before his family moved up to the Yamba district where he honed his rugby game. A couple of interesting fundraising auctions were held including a side of beef still on the hoof courtesy of new IDRU Director Mark Freund. Let’s do it all again next year!  

One disappointment last week was the Illawarriors loss to arch rivals the Newcastle Hunter Wildfires. The Illawarriors started strongly scoring three tries, going to the break leading 15 – 5. They were very sound defensively and had Newcastle looking shellshocked. With the game being basically a trial match for both sides a raft of changes were made at the break and the second term took on a different look. This time it was Newcastle who took the upper hand scoring three tries to nil to take the match 22 – 15. According to new IDRU President Darin Croft, a Trophy will be struck and it is hoped that this match will become more regular as it was in the past. There’s no need to strike a new trophy. One already exists, hidden in a cupboard somewhere in the Hunter region. The original plan was that the trophy would be up for grabs whenever the two zones clashed in the run into the Caldwell Cup. The Illawarriors went down to Newcastle several times during their six year run of dominance in the Caldwell Cup and eventually the Cup stopped appearing at Matches. Let’s find the original trophy and restore the tradition properly.        

Do you think you can Beat the Rogue this year? Well the IDRU Tipping Competition is on again this year with the comp getting underway in two weeks’ time. More details next week.

Some positive signs from the Aussie sides in Super Rugby last week with the exception of the Waratahs that is. The Reds went down to the Crusaders even though they scored four tries to three. The Brumbies had a big win over the Sunwolves and the Rebels got the points off the Lions. The Brumbies are sitting sweet in equal second but all the others are still in the bottom half of the table but showed signs of being able to improve their position over the next few rounds. Let’s hope they all can build on last week’s form. Six out of seven for me last week in what was a pretty predictable round. My tips for this week: Chiefs, Crusaders, Blues, Reds, Sharks, Jaguares and Brumbies.

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