The Rogues Rant #289

October 9 2021

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

By Ron Wood

Despite their 32 – 17 win Wallaby Coach Dave Rennie appeared to be far from happy with his teams performance against the Pumas last week. I have to agree with him. I thought the Aussies were by far the better team on the field on the night and should have won by forty points or more. I reckon he would have ripped into the side in the sheds after the game. The upcoming Northern tour is just what the Doctor ordered. The coach will be keen to build on the squad culture and make the most of the recent run of good form. Should be an interesting few weeks!

Speaking of the Northern Tour, Coach Rennie has selected a squad of 37 players for the trip and has left several players behind to work on their game for the future. He has added three overseas based players to the touring group creating what looks a stronger squad. Clearly the decision has been made that if Australia is to be competitive in International Rugby then the selection of such players must be allowed. Get rid of the Giteau law altogether and allow any Aussie to be chosen no matter where he is playing. It is going to be very interesting to see Rory Arnold, Will Skelton and Tolu Latu added to the team and what impact they can have on the improving performances of the last few weeks. Clearly these changes only highlight that the current Rugby Australia Development programs are not up to scratch. The Wallaby success is now very much riding on the back of players who have extensive experience overseas and has showed that a reliance on locally based younger players will not get the required results on the field.

Interestingly this week an article appeared on the Fox Sports Website in regard to Rugby Australia moving towards a centralized administration and Rugby program model. RA Chairman Hamish McLennan is quoted by Fox as saying “For the good of the game we’re absolutely committed to doing it”. It’s been suggested that all the Super Rugby Franchises are on board with McLennan’s plans to work towards a more co-operative approach across the board. The plan is to cut out expensive duplication of processes with RA also becoming involved in all appointments of Head Coaches, Strength and Conditioning Coaches and Player signings across all the franchises. I would suggest at this stage that the main motivation behind this move is a financial one but let’s hope it proves to be the first long overdue step towards a more efficient and all-encompassing approach to the Coaching and Development programs right across the country.            

The IDRU season program for 2022 is out there with Round 1 of the 2022 Premiership set for 26th March, with the Grand Final on Saturday 10th September. Spare Rounds are on 16th April (Easter), 14th May, 11th June (Country Week, Tamworth), and 23rd July.

On a lighter note if you are looking for something to watch on the TV on Monday night tune into Channel 9 for the somewhat cringe worthy Love Island Australia program. University Bulls, Illawarrior and Country Cockatoo Flanker Takunda Chimwaza will be appearing as one of the new cast members on the show in search of love and money! Not a show that I would normally watch but I will this week just so I can report to you all on Taku’s progress!  Could he become the new Honey Badger?

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