Aussie Rugby



  • National Rugby Championship, for those not watching.

    Got to see two games today as one game due to be played in regional centre Orange was washed out. Its a bit wet there.

    NSW Country Eagles vs Perth Spirit was fun - because I had no skin in the game. A few known names out there like Kyle Godwin (ex-Force now Brumbies) and Paddy Ryan (Tahs) and a few others. Some enterprising play, no kicks at goal missed (not even some bullshit fade kicking from Jono Lance who is in fine form) and the Eagles got up 48-24 or 6 tries to 3. Jake Gordon, playing 9 for the Eagles, is a star of the future. Makes everything look easy. Lance and Tapuai for the Spirit were good, too.

    Then the main game: bottom of the table clash between the winless Western Sydney Rams (my team) and winless QLD Country. Both sides have looked great this year but just haven't had the experience or couple of Super players to seal the deal.

    Defence optional for some of it, particularly the Rams' organisation out wide. But despite being down by a couple of tries at the break, they clawed their way back into it with a try in the last couple of minutes to put themselves 42-46 down. Then it was pure scrum porn after the siren as, for 6 minutes, they attempted to push QLD Country over.

    Finally, the ref (Amy Perrett - our leading female ref) had no option but to award the penalty try as the sun sank.

    http://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/follow-all-the-action-as-brad-thorns-queensland-country-v-western-sydney-rams/news-story/25b86ee31c82cec1a86bf1340d564c4e

    Not sure if the videos are geo-locked. If you can get to it, the fat idiot in the Rams hat just above Thorn's shoulder is me 🙂

    But here are some tweets anyway.



  • Hows Thorns humility levels these days?



  • Pretty good. He still obviously didn't like losing as player and coach. But he did the interview and took his lumps, and passed over to his second row partner-in-crime





  • Woot! Western Sydney Rams take the Horan-Little Shield off Melbourne with an absolute thumping.



  • Watched the Rays towel up Canberra on Saturday. Rays were pretty clinical in attack. Canberra were shocking.



  • As I was postulating on GAGR - for a variety of reasons the NRC is a very up-and-down competition. Some teams have the squad to beat one other team, but lose to everyone else.

    The Rams are a good example, and don't have nearly the range or depth of Super players available to some other NRC outfits.

    BUT their main issue was persisting with Asquith (7s player, usually a fullback) at 10. Having watched a couple of games with him there, he's got no feel for it, and is better away from the playmaker role. He moves, suddenly we produce a massive towelling.

    When he moved from 10 against both the Spirit and Queensland Country, the Rams got right into gear. They've threatened in other games as well.

    In any case, hopefully this year, after endorsements from a wider range of the rugby nuff-nuffs, NRC can start to take off and put a bit of pressure on club rugby. NRC needs a longer season and a longer lead-in time.

    The only people that will hurt is Sydney Premier Rugby. And that will be a bunfight.



  • http://aru.rugby.com.au/MediaReleases/Article/tabid/1699/ArticleID/18051/DANCING-FASHION-FOOD-AND-RUGBY-GALORE-DURING-PACIFIC-ISLAND-ROUND-OF-BUILDCORP-NRC.aspx

    The final round of the 2016 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship season (Round 7 on 8-9 October) will pay tribute to the important role that Pacific Islander communities play in the Australian Rugby community, with all four fixtures set to showcase some scintillating Pacific Island rugby and entertainment.

    Already this season, men’s and women’s rugby teams representing ACT Tonga, NSW Tonga, NSW Maori, NSW Fiji and NSW Samoa have played matches alongside Western Sydney Rams NRC fixtures in a Pacific Island tournament which has generated huge grassroots interest.

    The final rounds of the Pacific Island tournament coincide with the Western Sydney Rams v Country Eagles fixture at Concord Oval in Sydney this weekend at 1.00pm, with NSW Fiji and NSW Tonga looming as contenders for the trophy. The day will feature Cook Island drumming, traditional singing, a variety of Pacific Island-themed food stalls and a Pacific Island fashion show.

    Later on Saturday at Viking Park in Canberra before the UC Vikings take on Perth Spirit at 3.00pm AEST, a Pacific Island team will participate in a curtain raiser Sevens competition, with traditional food stalls and dances also planned to entertain fans.

    The final day of the NRC Pacific Island Round will kick off with Frankston Festival of Rugby in Frankston Oval, Victoria, which will include the Melbourne International Sevens tournament followed by the Melbourne Rising v Sydney Rays match at 1.00pm AEST. Gold medal-winning Aussie Sevens star Ellia Green will attend the day, and a huge contingent of Fijians will play in the Sevens tournament headed up by Melbourne Fiji and a number of other Bula Fiji teams from Fiji, Victoria and South Australia, plus Samoan, Tongan and Maori teams from local clubs.

    Finally, before the derby match between Brisbane City and Queensland Country at Ballymore at 2.00pm AEST on Sunday, Queensland Tonga will play the winner of the Willie O Cup (NSW Tongan rugby tournament) and there will also be women's Sevens matches between Brisbane Fiji and Brisbane Tonga.

    ARU CEO Bill Pulver said: “The Australian Pacific Island community is integral to rugby in Australia, both on and off the field. Twelve members of the Wallabies squad have a Pasifika background, and many more players in Super Rugby and the NRC proudly share the same Pacific Island heritage. The work the Pacific Island community does behind the scenes at local clubs around Australia can also not be understated.

    “This year in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship we’ve seen players of Pacific Island descent such as Perth Spirit’s Shambeckler Vui, Queensland Country’s Izzy Perese, and the Western Sydney Rams’ Tupou Sopoaga make their mark on Australia rugby – they’re the young stars showing the world that the Australian Pacific Island community is synonymous with rugby in this country.”

    Throughout the 2016 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship season Western Sydney Rams Head Coach John Muggleton has advocated the importance of reaching out to the Pacific Island community.

    He said: “The Rams objective is to give as many players in the west the opportunity to highlight their abilities on a larger stage.

    “We have a large and very keen Islander population so it was sensible to concentrate this year on giving them a chance to show their wares in games against each other.

    “The skill, speed and passion levels have been high and we are looking forward to being entertained once again in the Pacific Islander Round.”

    This weekend, rugby fans can show their support of the Australia Pasifika rugby community by using the tags #BuildcorpNRC and #PacificPride together.



  • What is the standard like in this comp? I have no inclination to watch it - by this time of the year I struggle to even watch the Mitre 10 Cup - but I am curious.

    How does it compare to Mitre 10 Cup? With only 8 teams compared to our 14 it should be of a similar standard.



  • @Damo I've watched quite a few on TV and been to one live.

    The one thing that appears different on the face of it is that the speed of the game seems a little slower than Mitre 10 Cup.

    There's some good quality there but there have been a few blowout games which isn't too different from Mitre 10. The physicality would be on par, but I would say that in Mitre 10 the majority of teams try to keep the ball alive and play at pace.

    The skill level at Mitre 10 Cup this season has been superb and I've been very impressed. The top 2 NRC teams - Eagles and Rays, have been standouts IMO. But I'd probably take the Cantabs and Naki if there were matches against each other. But the rest of the table less easy to predict.



  • @ACT-Crusader said in Aussie Rugby in general - but NRC:

    @Damo I've watched quite a few on TV and been to one live.

    The one thing that appears different on the face of it is that the speed of the game seems a little slower than Mitre 10 Cup.

    I've not seen any Mitre 10 this year, so will go with this assessment.

    The "why" of the speed difference is probably down to a lot of the players being from club land here. You can tell them at the back end of each half, sucking in the big ones. 🙂



  • @NTA said in Aussie Rugby in general - but NRC:

    @ACT-Crusader said in Aussie Rugby in general - but NRC:

    @Damo I've watched quite a few on TV and been to one live.

    The one thing that appears different on the face of it is that the speed of the game seems a little slower than Mitre 10 Cup.

    I've not seen any Mitre 10 this year, so will go with this assessment.

    The "why" of the speed difference is probably down to a lot of the players being from club land here. You can tell them at the back end of each half, sucking in the big ones. 🙂

    The vast majority of Mitre 10 Cup players are just club players. I think for a recent game Waikato had just 1 Super Rugby player.



  • Apologies for getting on my soap box here but Pacific Island weekend? really?

    They want to celebrate Pacific Islanders in the game when the majority of the people who want to play are generally excluded from playing because their parents cant afford to send them to a private school therefore excluding them from the coveted "Pathway to Gold"?

    Gotta love a bit of tokenism!



  • On that note: its no surprise that these initiatives originate in Western Sydney where a lot of rugby talent starts, but can't continue, due to these issues, and the ever-present shadow of loig.

    As someone who has played, coached, and run a rugby club in Western Sydney, I can assure you its not tokenism. It is about community engagement and showing the ARU what they're missing out on by pandering just to the enclaves east of the M3

    @Damo - would suggest your club comps are a bit faster-paced than ours. And probably more competitive overall. We have a couple of dominant clubs in Sydney, some that can pull off a win, and half the field unable to even get close.



  • @Tanifulla said in Aussie Rugby in general - but NRC:

    Apologies for getting on my soap box here but Pacific Island weekend? really?

    They want to celebrate Pacific Islanders in the game when the majority of the people who want to play are generally excluded from playing because their parents cant afford to send them to a private school therefore excluding them from the coveted "Pathway to Gold"?

    Gotta love a bit of tokenism!

    The good ones when identified are generally provided scholarships



  • you may not see as tokenism but as a Pacific Islander myself, it certainly reeks of it. dont get me wrong it's great that the ARU are acknowledging PI's but how much of these curtain raisers the initiative of the ARU and how much did they invest to get them going? From experience, it's usually the hard work and determination of individuals from these communities that get these things off the ground and running - at which the governing bodies seem to jump in and claim credit for it.

    Also, for the kids that are offered scholarships to these exclusive schools? what happens to the others or the late developers? The issue with aussie rugby is its system is geared to the elite and discounts the contribution of the wider community. Also, have you read the drivel that mums and dads put up on G&GR complaining about these scholarships?



  • @Tanifulla said in Aussie Rugby in general - but NRC:

    you may not see as tokenism but as a Pacific Islander myself, it certainly reeks of it. dont get me wrong it's great that the ARU are acknowledging PI's but how much of these curtain raisers the initiative of the ARU and how much did they invest to get them going? From experience, it's usually the hard work and determination of individuals from these communities that get these things off the ground and running - at which the governing bodies seem to jump in and claim credit for it.

    Also, for the kids that are offered scholarships to these exclusive schools? what happens to the others or the late developers? The issue with aussie rugby is its system is geared to the elite and discounts the contribution of the wider community. Also, have you read the drivel that mums and dads put up on G&GR complaining about these scholarships?

    Is this really the ARU's fault? Surely they don't want to keep the game as private school only? They might not be good at it but I'm sure they want everyone to play rugby.



  • Yesterday was a pretty big success - everyone at the Rams should get a pat on the back for a bit of community engagement. While it was a local derby (the "Country" Eagles are pretty much Uni, Randwick, and Easts) the turnout by the Pacific communities was solid.

    Rams got out of the blocks with huge forward dominance (including a pushover try and a 20m maul) but the Eagles' backline was pretty much Super Rugby standard and got them into the lead. Rams took it back with ten to go, only to concede a late try and go behind 44-40. They got back to halfway after the siren but a ruck broke down and the Eagles took the minor premiership, the Horan-Little Shield, and the Benn Robinson Bell (new initiative from the NSWRU for the top placed NSW team).

    Both of which I had to hand to Paddy Ryan (the fluffybunny) as GAGR's local authority.

    After the game NSW Fiji took on NSW Tonga for the challenge cup that the Rams have been running in the background - couldn't stick around to watch, but here are the war cries:



  • Was really a case of Eagles backs versus Rams forwards



  • Fiji to join Australia's National Rugby Championship in 2017

    Fiji will play in Australia's National Rugby Championship next year in a historic development for the talent-rich Pacific Island nation. 
    
    Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama flew into Sydney on Thursday and will link up with Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver to make the announcement at ARU headquarters on Friday. 
    
    The plan, first reported last month by Fairfax Media, will see World Rugby fund the team to join the NRC from next season. It is a major coup for the ARU who, along with New Zealand, are often criticised for drawing players from the Pacific Islands but not giving much back in return.
    
    The All Blacks played a Test match against Manu Samoa in Apia last year, but inviting a team to join a domestic competition on an ongoing basis has the potential to do much more for a country such as Fiji, which has long been at the mercy of the lucrative rugby markets in Europe and closer to home. 
    
    The announcement has been some months in the making, after Fiji coach John McKee approached the ARU's high performance manager Ben Whitaker, to discuss a way to improve the island nation's development pathway. World Rugby high performance general manager Peter Horne was also closely involved, as the global rugby body is the main source of funding for rugby in the Oceania region. 
    
    In a pre-cursor to the big move, a handful of Fijian players joined the NRC this year, including sevens Olympic gold medallist Vatemo Ravouvou and Fiji Warriors star Cyril Reece. 
    
    It is also likely that Fiji have aspirations to join Super Rugby, although no firm timeline or proposal is in place for such a plan, with the future structure of Super Rugby yet to be determined. Argentina's Pampas played in South Africa's equivalent domestic competition for three seasons before joining the Pacific Rugby Cup, where they played alongside teams from Fjii, Samoa, Tonga, Japan and Australian Super Rugby academies. are firmly established precedents. This season Argentina's Jaguares joined Super Rugby. 
    
    Of all the rugby-playing Pacific Island nations, Fiji is the most natural fit for the NRC, given the large Fijian populations in Sydney and on Brisbane's outskirts. 
    

    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/fiji-to-join-australias-national-rugby-championship-in-2017-20161013-gs231r.html


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