The Rogues Rant #315

June 22nd 2022

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

By Ron Wood

Illawarra Rugby finished with three junior Country Titles after the Long Weekend Rep program and with in excess of fifty players gaining Country Squad selection this week the program can be considered quite a success. Six senior players made the Cockatoos Training Squad to prepare for the National Rugby Championships in Adelaide from September 28 to October 4th. Five Under 19 Colts players will be vying for the final squad for a series of matches against Queensland Country on the Gold Coast in July. The Junior squads are preparing for the annual City V Country matches to be played in Bathurst on Sunday 31st July. Congratulations to all players who have been included and good luck in your efforts to make the final squads.

It was disturbing to see Vikings forfeit their match last week with Tech Waratahs. I’m told the club only has 22 registered players on their books at the moment. There is an old rule of thumb that you need 25 registered players per team in your club to have any chance of meeting your commitments for a season. Vikings have gone from three teams and a dozen reserves three years ago to the shaky situation they now find themselves in. Let’s hope that the club can attract some more players to get through their commitments for this year. Vikings are certainly not the only club who’s numbers have been impacted by the uncertain times of the last couple of seasons.

The Crusaders have added another Super Rugby title to their already overloaded Trophy Cabinet. They never looked in danger of losing the final last week in Auckland, thoroughly deserving the victory. The format of the Tournament this year has proved to be a success and will be continued in 2023, but what happens from 2024 onwards is still to be negotiated. Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan caused a stir during the week suggesting that Rugby Australia may go it alone in 2024 with our own domestic tournament instead of Super Rugby. I was one suggesting that Australian Rugby would be better off going it alone, but after the way the Super Rugby Tournament went this year and the improved showing of the Australian sides, I’m coming around to staying with Super Rugby. The real issue in Australia still remains what is going on at grass roots level and the career paths available for talented players.

There is an even clearer top four locally after last week’s matches. Shoalhaven have a three point lead over Tech Waratahs at the top of the table with Avondale and Shamrocks equal third one point away. University sits fifth, nine points away and if things go the way I think this week it will be much the same after Saturday. Campbelltown and Camden meet in Campbelltown for the battle of Macarthur. Camden are anchored at the bottom of the table and will still be there after this one. Campbelltown to Win. Bowral are drawn to play Vikings at Eridge Park. Bowral copped a bit of a hiding from Shoalhaven last week while Vikings didn’t make the field at all. Let’s hope the Blueys can rally back this week and get their season back on track. This is a hard one to pick but given the current circumstances I have to go for the homeside. Bowral to Win. Kiama hosts Tech Waratahs in Kiama. Kiama had a big win over Uni last week while Tech Tahs ended up having a week off. Tech Tahs have a few injury problems to deal with but I think they can still get the job done against the cows. Tech Waratahs to Win. Shamrocks and University are on at Ocean Park, Woonona. Shamrocks are missing a few of their top side at the moment and Uni are coming off a thrashing at the hands of Kiama. Hard to get a line on this one but I’ll go for the homeside again. Shamrocks to Win. Match of the Round is another top of the Table clash between Shoalhaven and Avondale at South Nowra. Shoalies unbeaten run continues and Avondale have attacking ace Andre Itula back on deck. This should be one very interesting match with both sides capable of putting on tries from anywhere on the field. I think though the best disciplined side will get the points here. Shoalhaven to Win.        

Rugby Diary

2nd July                     IDRU Round 12

                                   University V Campbelltown

                                   Tech Waratahs V Shamrocks

                                   Bowral V Kiama

                                   Shoalhaven V Camden

                                   Vikings V Avondale

2nd July                     IDRU Women’s Competition Round 1

                                   University V Campbelltown

                                   Tech Waratahs V Avondale

4th July                      IDRU Coaching Series – Andy Gibson: Team Defence, Structure &                  Skillset

6th July                      IDRU Coaching Series – Sam Needs: Scrum    

10th September        IDRU Grand Final

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