The Rogues Rant #251

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

I’m sad to report the death of Central West Rugby’s Peter Veenstra. Peter was Rugby through and through, having served for many years on the Board of NSW Country both as a Director and also as a long term Vice President. Peter spent quite a few years working in the Wollongong district during his career with the NSW Education Department and is very well known by many in our district. Peter was the Administrator of Central West Rugby for a long period after his retirement from the Education Department and could always be found when-ever his beloved Blue Bull sides were going around. Peter was also involved in many aspects of community life in and around the Central West of NSW serving on several Boards of Community organizations. An absolute gentleman of immense integrity, he will be missed by his many friends and colleagues around NSW. Rest in Peace PV.    

We still won’t know for another week or so just how the Rugby Championships will come together. There is still a lot of doubt whether the South Africans will be able to make the trip across the Indian Ocean to participate in the tournament. There has been nothing happening in South African Rugby since March with all players locked down indoors unable to get any sought of physical activity happening. As a result it is a very big call to expect that their players can be anywhere near appropriately prepared to play in this tournament against the Australians and New Zealanders who have played plenty of Rugby over the last few months, South African Rugby will make the final call on whether they will be here or not hopefully by the 11th October.

The South African Rugby Union has also made a big call on the future of their Super Rugby sides. As has been rumored for some time, they have made the call to go ahead with plans to enter the Europe Pro14 Pro set up in preference to Super Rugby. The Republics top four Provincial sides will be seeking admission to the Europe Tournament as soon as possible which should happen for sure by 2022. This could even take effect in 2021 if things can come together that quickly but it certainly sounds the end of Super Rugby as we know it.

The Wallabies are finally in New Zealand preparing for the opening International of the season against the All Blacks. The first of the Bledisloe Cup matches is in Wellington on Sunday 11th October with the second match a week later in Auckland before the sides meet again in Round 1 of the Rugby Championships in Brisbane on 7th November. I think we can expect plenty of feeling in the matches between the old rivals for a couple of reasons. There has been plenty of controversy surrounding the planning of these matches with both Unions Administrators firing cheap shots at each other throughout the process. Some of that feeling is sure to carry over to the players and the Coaching Staff in the lead up to the first match. New players and new Coaches abound in both squads and all will be keen to draw first blood in a new era for both National Teams. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how the new Wallaby side takes form for this one. Bring it on.

Season 2020 has come to an end locally with the final round of the Peter Woods Challenge Shield Tournament completed last weekend. Avondale claimed the Silverware with a perfect season of 9 Bonus Point wins, finishing on 45 points, fifteen points clear of second placed Campbelltown. Campbelltown were the big improvers of the short season but went down heavily to Shamrocks in a 43 – 7 result last Saturday. The big win to the Rocks improved their position on the table to fourth one point behind Shoalhaven who finished third on 26 with a narrow 27 – 24 win over Kiama.  Vikings were pipped 30 – 29 by Tech Waratahs which saw the Blueys slip to fifth on 23 and took Tech Tahs to 22 in sixth. Kiama finished seventh on 10 with Camden last on 4. The Wombats were very consistent week in week out and deserved top billing to back up on last Year’s full Premiership. The Quinnies showed that the future looks good up Campbelltown way with many younger players making their way into the senior side this year creating a big impression under their new Coach Sene Auelua. Four points divided the next four clubs on the table with all sides just starting to find their form when the season came to an end. Vikings took out the Talk to MeBro Challenge Shield in second Grade. Let’s hope that we can get a full season in for 2021.  

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