The Rogues Rant #248

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

SANZAAR has this week come out with its final call on this years Rugby Championships Tournament. Amidst all the ongoing Coronavirus confusion the final decision has been announced late this week that the four way Tournament will go ahead over November and December. SANZAAR has decided to base the Tournament in Australia after it was felt that New Zealand would struggle to provide the required training and preparation environments for all the participants under New Zealands current border restrictions and quarantine protocols. Instead now the matches will be played in a Covid safe bubble within New South Wales and Queensland. The Tournament will be conducted on a six week, 12 match home and away basis involving Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The participation of South Africa is still to be confirmed, depending on the lifting of international sporting and travel bans currently in place in that part of the world. The first two Bledisloe Cup encounters between the All Blacks and Wallabies will now be played in New Zealand prior to the Rugby Championships.

Rugby Australia has relaxed the controversial Giteau Law which will allow new Wallaby Coach Dave Rennie to select a maximum of two extra players who fall outside the 60 cap seven year service threshold. This means he will be able to consider players like Rory Arnold, Will Skelton and Samu Kerevi and others who don’t qualify under the old selection criteria. It’s a good move as the stock of players with genuine international experience is pretty thin on the ground at the moment.

Super Rugby interest this week is centered on Brisbane with the Reds and Rebels playing off for the right to meet the Brumbies in the final next week in Canberra. The Reds are coming off a good win over the Brumbies last week having shown strong consistent form in the run home and will start this match as firm favorites to get the win. I think they can do just that and set up what should be a cracker of a final at Bruce Stadium next week.  

On the local front Avondale and Campbelltown are sitting well clear of third place Vikings on the Peter Woods Challenge Shield points table with this week’s Round 7 matches likely to see the gap widen with just three matches to go. The title may well be decided when the Wombats and the Quinnies clash in Round 8 at Campbelltown. But first both sides have some work to do this weekend to maintain their lofty positions. Avondale are at home to Vikings and after claiming the points against Vikings in town in Round 5 are likely to do likewise again here. Avondale to win. Campbelltown travel to Kiama and after getting a bit of a scare last week from Shoalhaven, won’t get things easy here either. However with Kiama sitting three from the bottom, the Quinnies should win this one. Campbelltown to Win. In the battle of the bottom of the table Tech Waratahs host Camden at Saunders Oval and are keen to repeat their only win of the year against Camden in Round 1 to ensure they don’t finish with the dreaded wooden spoon. Camden who remains winless at this stage will be keen to get the points as well but will struggle. Tech Waratahs to Win. In the Match of the Round Shamrocks make the long trek to Nowra to confront Shoalhaven. Shamrocks lowly place on the table belies the form they have shown thus far with strong wins over Vikings and twice against Tech Waratahs in their last three outings. Shoalhaven have been a bit inconsistent again this year but will put up strong opposition to the Rocks here. The winner will probably move to third on the table which would be a more worthy ranking for the Woonona club. Shamrocks to Win.        

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