The Rogues Rant #286

September 14 2021

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

By Ron Wood

The fairy tail ending to last Sunday’s test on the Gold Coast was just what the Doctor ordered for Australian Rugby. It was great to watch as Quade Cooper returned to the side showing great maturity and composure to not only kick eight from eight but also provide some much needed direction to the side. The Aussie forwards also stood up and competed well with the world Champion Springbok pack for the most part of the contest. I don’t think this Wallaby side can play much better than they did on Sunday but a closer look at the details of this match only suggests that they can expect a big response from the Boks this week in Brisbane. Credit where credit is due, the Wallabies worked their butts off to stay in the game. When you consider the Boks scored three tries to one and were unlucky not to score at least two more the under-performing Boks can consider themselves unlucky not to get the points. Consider also that their Goal Kickers left 10 points on the kicking tees with the usually reliable Handre Pollard missing three shots at goal. Having said all that Quaid Cooper deserves all the accolades that are coming his way for what was an inspiring performance. It all points to a very interesting return match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday at 5.05PM.

Just where is NSW Rugby heading? NSW Rugby really needs to have a close look at Rugby within NSW with respect to the ever increasing expansion of Sydney to the West and South West. The growth in the Macarthur region and the area around the new Western Sydney airport really needs to be taken more into consideration than is currently happening. Newcastle’s inclusion in the Shute Shield is a move in the right direction although it remains to be seen just what impact the move is going to have on Rugby in the Hunter. We saw this year in the Caldwell Cup that Newcastle could not even field a full squad of 25 players in Tamworth so the impact is already evident. For the sake of Rugby in NSW a full reappraisal of the current competition structures is required before it is too late to save Country Rugby and Illawarra Rugby in particular.  

Interest is growing within the Illawarra for the women’s game. On the back of the inspiring performance of the junior girls rep programs in the 12’s, 14’s and 16’s age groups, IDRU Director Amanda Puckeridge, is working closely with Illawarra clubs in an attempt to promote a Womens senior comp in some form in 2022. There are ladies out there actively seeking an opportunity to get involved. All they need is the opportunity that all IDRU clubs can supply. The interest is definitely there. Give them the chance and they will come. To discuss the opportunities available for your club, contact Amanda Puckeridge on 0408 685 714.

Word is out that IDRU President Darin Croft has filled a casual vacancy on the Board of NSW Country Rugby. Darren joins the Board for the last couple of months of 2021 through to the AGM in November when he will contest the Ballot for a permanent role on the Board going forward. The Board is taking on a bit of a new look with the departure of long time President Barry Rutty who served on the Board for over a decade. Good luck Darin, there is plenty of work to be done there.

I understand that a decision has been made regarding the new position of Director of Coaching for Illawarra Rugby. There still is some i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed but an announcement is imminent. I’ll keep you posted.      

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