Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby
Well the Caronavirus wins round 1. After an edict from Rugby Australia, the IDRU Board has made the only decision they could make with the suspension of all Rugby Activities through till 4th May 2020. Training for all Senior, Junior and Representative Squads has been suspended and can resume at this stage from 4th May. The Senior Comp for 2020 is now set to start on 27th June after which all clubs will play each other once with the final series to be played as originally planned. The IDRU Junior Comp is set to start on the 17th May with a decision still to be made by NSW Country in respect of all Country Championship Tournaments. All this of course is subject to how the Pandemic progresses. I’ve also heard that the CAS Schools competition has also been suspended until May 31st.
Speaking of the Senior Comp both Vincentia and Wollondilly have withdrawn from the IDRU 3rd Grade Premiership for 2020, a decision made by both clubs earlier in the year before all the current drama. Kiama will only be fielding 2 Grades so as a result the Southern Crushers will fill the gap in the 3rd Grade Draw left by Kiama. Both Vincentia and Wollondilly are hopeful that they will be back in the future but given the current conditions that will be a big call for both Clubs.
I read a very interesting article coming out of New Zealand the other day. After a review of the state of the game in NZ, undertaken by New Zealand Rugby, question marks have been raised about the future of the Mitre 10 Cup. It’s been suggested that the Premier Provincial Competition should not be run as a professional tournament in the future. The NZR want the Provincial Unions to take responsibility for the game at that level and at the local Club level. Something like that happened in Australia some years ago when the ARU passed on Community Rugby to the State Unions. It didn’t work and was the beginning of the decline of funding and support for the Grass roots level of the game. If they go ahead with something similar in NZ it will be to the benefit of Australian Rugby as it is sure to have the same effect in NZ as it did here with the decline in the game there all round, bringing the All Blacks back to the field. I’ll be watching this story closely as it develops.
Super Rugby is finished for 2020 due to the virus situation and it’s likely to be the end of Super Rugby as we know it. South African teams are clearly looking elsewhere for next year and without them the competition takes on a much less inviting look. I reckon it is definitely time for the ARU to take a completely different approach and look at a Provincial Competition in Australia feeding into a State tournament with one team from each of NSW, Qld, ACT, VIC, SA and WA. The season should start at club level leading into the Provincial Tournament, then State and Wallabies. Let’s see what happens!
It’s a shame that Super Rugby goes into recess just when the Australian sides are starting to put together some good performances. The Brumbies were really showing signs that they would have been right up there at the business end of the season only having lost one match. The Reds had a strong win over the Bulls in Brisbane and were showing improvement in their consistency which was lacking early. The Rebels form has been sound but inconsistent as well. As for the Waratahs, it’s probably a good thing for them so that everyone can have a really good look at what is going on at the franchise and NSW Rugby in general.
All opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.