The Rogues Rant #252

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

Two games down two to go and the Wallabies are still in with a chance to bring back the Bledisloe Cup. It was fantastic to see such a positive effort from the Wallabies in game one at Wellington which brings new hope for long suffering Wallaby supporters. In what was an incredible Test Match for many reasons the Wallabies performance was outstanding as we saw players embrace the philosophies of new Head Coach Dave Rennie. It was great to see the players back themselves, willing to play positively and directly in response to what developed in front of them instead of the regimented approach we have been forced to put up with for far too long. Rennie made changes for the second match in search of a stronger more powerful performance and an improved effort at the lineout which was disappointing in Wellington. The first forty minutes was reasonable but the second term was a disaster for the Wallabies. In the end 40 missed tackles and poor handling saw the All Blacks take full toll running in three tries in an eleven minute period to register their 20th consecutive win over Australia at Eden Park. With the withdrawal of South Africa from the Rugby Championships we now have a somewhat disjointed draw which has the Wallabies and All Blacks playing back to back matches deciding the outcome of the Bledisloe Cup. They play first up at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 31st October and follow up the next week at Suncorp Stadium on 7th November.  The Championship will now run for six weeks with the final match between Australia and Argentina at Bankwest Stadium on the 5th December.

The withdrawal of the Springboks from the Rugby Championships was expected. This situation must now cast great doubt over the future of the SANZAR Alliance as I reckon the South African move to Europe is now a ‘fait accompli’ which will almost certainly see a new approach to Provincial Rugby for Australia and New Zealand. In my view Rugby Australia should now build a more wide spread Provincial competition in Australia feeding into Wallaby selection. Forget about the outdated, convoluted and uneven Super Rugby Tournament.

The IDRU Board will be hosting a Strategic Planning Meeting on Saturday 24th October at Ocean Park, Woonona commencing at 11.30 AM. It’s hoped that all clubs will be represented at the meeting where an extensive range of subjects will be discussed regarding the future direction of Illawarra Rugby. The Board has identified six key areas for consideration with all clubs having had the opportunity to consider the views outlined by the Board in a prepared document which has been circulated to all clubs. The six areas are Finance - Senior Competition – Junior Competition - Womens Rugby - IDRU Home - Representative Football. The Board has done considerable work on these issues and has produced a list of proposals for all clubs to consider and formulate their thoughts on before Saturdays Meeting. In regard to the Senior Competition consideration is to be given to a new structure for 2021 which would see Premierships run at 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, Under 20 Yrs/85Kg, and Women’s levels. There’s no question that consideration needs to be given to a more appropriate competition structure for Illawarra Rugby and this very important meeting is a good start. There is a lot of discussions going on in respect of competition structures all around NSW Rugby.

The Shute Shield is down to the Semi Final stage this weekend with Gordon to play Easts on Saturday and Eastwood and Norths to meet on Sunday for a spot in the Grand Final. University and Randwick were eliminated narrowly last week by Norths and Gordon to set up this week’s semi’s. The Hunter Wildfires finished the year earlier with a big 51-14 win over Penrith finishing three from the bottom of the table with two wins and a draw. Western Sydney two Blues and Penrith finished behind the Newcastle based Wildfires.        

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