The Rogues Rant

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

A tragic few weeks have passed in Rugby with the untimely deaths of three rugby greats, passing much too early in life. Springbok Joost van der Westhuizen succumbed to Motor Nuerone Disease at the age of 45. All Black Sione Lauaki died at just 35 years old after Kidney and heart problems. Then came the death of 63 Test Wallaby veteran Dan Vickerman which rocked the Rugby Community to its core. Vickerman’s death at just 37 years of age has shaken all who knew him, with tributes coming from all parts of the Rugby world. An unpromising force on the Rugby field, Vickerman was regarded by many as one of the greatest second rowers ever to represent Australia after migrating to Australia from his native South Africa. All our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife and two young children.

The second installment of the Camden Tens was played last week, and proved to be a very entertaining tournament for the strong crowd that turned up to watch at Camden Rugby Park. The Deadwood Timberwolves returned to defend their title from last year’s inaugural tournament, and managed to repeat their success with a good win in the final over the Cornwallace Crusaders. Following last year’s example the Timberwolves once again donated their prizemoney to charity. The $2,500.00 cheque was passed onto the Westmead Children’s Hospital and Heart Kids. Well done to the Timberwolves. Vikings were the best performed local side making it through to the Semi-Finals, with Camden taking out the Plate final by beating the Camden Baa Baas, made up of recently retired Ram veterans. I’m assured that the Camden Tens will return in 2018.

The Kiama 7’s are on this Saturday with matches getting started bright and early at 8.30AM. I’m told that the Tournament is fully booked with a full house of participants across all competitions. There will be $25,000.00 in trophies and prize money up for grabs. The finals will get underway at 4.15 with the Cup Final set down for 6.20PM.

Super Rugby kicks off the 15 a side season this Thursday night. Once again there has been plenty of player movements and squad changes right across the competition. You can’t take any notice of some of the one sided trial match results over the last few weeks with all franchises having a very close look at their rosters throughout. It will take a couple of weeks once again to get a gauge on just who the teams are to watch. My tips for Round 1 are: Blues, Highlanders, Reds, Hurricanes, Crusaders, Waratahs, Lions, Jaguars and Stormers.

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


Strong Illawarriors Squad out to Seek Three Peat

illawarriors logoDefending Caldwell Cup winning Coach Shaun McCreedy has announced a strong squad to prepare for the Illawarriors attempt at the elusive three peat of NSW Country Championships in late April. After taking the title over the last two years at Bowral and Armidale, McCreedy will be hoping for a strong performance from the squad in Port Macquarie on April 29 and 30 in the hope of bringing the prestigious Caldwell Cup home to the Illawarra for a third year running.

A group of 35 players will be training this weekend at Camden at the start of what will be a busy five weeks for the boys. With trial matches arranged for both the Senior and Colts squads over the first three weeks of March, McCreedy will be leaving nothing to chance in the squad’s preparations for April. Both sides will be up against ACT Uni-Norths at Bowral on Saturday March 4. As part of big day at Vikings Oval on March 11th they will back up against ACT Queanbeyan Whites in curtain raisers to the NSW Under 20’s match against the Brumbies Under 20’s squad. A final trial will be played at Saunders Oval against Southern Districts on Saturday March 18, just one week out from Round 1 of the IDRU Premiership.

Premiers University have supplied 11 players to the squad with last years’ runners up Shamrocks adding 6 players to the list. Bowral supplies 7, Kiama, Vikings and Avondale 3 each, with Camden and Campbelltown adding 1 apiece.

The Senior Squad is: Anthony Amone, Jacob Kara, and Andre Itula from Avondale. Mark Minter, Luke De Bono, Tim Lewis, George Harrison, Tim Small, Feterika Sage and Henry Yuill from Bowral. Daniel Grehan, Leighton Cowley and Eloni Raisele from Kiama. Andy Papworth, Casey Rameka, Wayne Ngatai, Andy Rae, Ben Cheetham, Paul Tuala, Tom Baker, Sam Latu, Tyler Aitkin, Rueben Thompson and Simon Douch from University. Jesse Roach, Anthony Allport, Isaac Lunney, Scott Tarasenko, Tristram Storm and Rhys Peters from Shamrocks. Jack Hobbs, Matt Jones and Tom Sawden from Vikings. Elijah Leamalu-Leota from Camden and Greg Dunn from Campbelltown.


The Rogues Rant

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

Season 2017 is well and truly upon us. The Sydney 7’s have gone and the inaugural Brisbane tens last week was very entertaining with the New Zealand sides once again dominating proceedings. The Camden 10’s are on this week at Camden Rugby Park with the 45th Kiama 7’s tournament the following Saturday at Kiama Showgrounds. The fifteen a side game is not far away either with this years’ Super Rugby kicking off on February 23rd with the Rebels up against the Blues at AAMI Park, Melbourne. The Waratahs have the Force first up at Allianz Stadium on Saturday February 25. The local comp is just five weeks away with Round 1 set for March 25, and that won’t take long to come around. Here we go!

Speaking of the local comp, there is plenty of news on the coaching front with lots of changes for 2017. No fewer than five clubs will have new 1st Grade coaches this year. Club Stalwart Murray MacDonald takes the reigns at Avondale, following James Patrick’s move to the Camden Rams for 2017. Graham Tresidder takes the top job at Shamrocks, but maybe he is only keeping the seat warm for Ronnie Davis to return later in the year. Paul Connor is the new boss at Shoalhaven, and there has been a change at Tech Waratahs before the training has even got underway in earnest. New Coach Neville Austin has moved on and the side will now be coached by former Kiama Cows player Elliot O’Donnell. Shaun McCreedy is still in charge at Uni, with Gene Fairbanks back and keen to build on the Bowral Blacks breakout year from 2016. Jayson Jordens continues with Campbelltown, Brent Kelly returns for Kiama, and Sean Barrett will once again lead Vikings who will be celebrating their 60th season in Illawarra Rugby.

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A Poem for Old Rugby Players

When the battle scars have faded, and the truth becomes a lie

And the weekend smell of liniment could almost make you cry.

When the last ruck’s well behind you, and the man that ran now walks

It doesn’t matter who you are, the mirror sometimes talks.

Have a good hard look old son! The melons not that great

The snoz that takes a sharp turn sideways, used to be dead straight.

You’re an advert for arthritis, you’re a thoroughbred gone lame

Then you ask yourself the question, why the hell you played the game?

Was there logic in the head knocks? In the corks and in the cuts?

Did common sense get pushed aside? By manliness and guts?

Do you sometimes sit and wonder, why your time would often pass

In a tangled mess of bodies, with your head up someone’s arse?

With a thumb hooked up your nostril, scratching gently on your brain

And an overgrown Neanderthal, rejoicing in your pain!

Read more: A Poem for Old Rugby Players

Radical Changes to Tackle Laws for 2017


The ARU has fully endorsed the actions of World Rugby with the introduction of radical new Laws governing the tackle for season 2017. With growing concern regarding the effects of concussion on players from contact sports across the world, Rugby governing bodies have reacted by implementing new laws from January 3. The new laws have been fully endorsed by the ARU and will be in effect at all levels of Australian Rugby this season, including Illawarra Rugby.

Club Officials, particularly Coaches, and players will need to become very aware of the changes as all Referees will be operating under the new Laws from game one this year. The Law changes amount to a concerted crack down on head high tackles. Two new categories for high tackles have been created for 2017, being Reckless and Accidental head contact, which will carry differing punishments.

A reckless tackle is one in which it is deemed a player should have known the risk of making head-high contact but continued with their action regardless, with tackles that begin below the shoulders included in this. The definition of a reckless tackle can also include “grabbing and rolling or twisting around the head/neck area”. Reckless tackles will be an automatic yellow card, with the potential for a red card depending on the severity.

Read more: Radical Changes to Tackle Laws for 2017

Vale Garry Gates

It is with great sadness that I advise of the sudden death of former Illawarra Rugby Junior Chairman, Garry Gates. Garry was a humble man who gave wonderful service to the game of Rugby in the region and indeed across New South Wales.

As a stalwart of Bowral Rugby Club, Garry served as President of the Junior Blacks, before taking the role of IDRU Junior Chairman during the 2000’s. Throughout these years he coached at club and Illawarra representative level before moving up to NSW Country Juniors. He served as NSW Country Juniors Director of Coaching and rose to the position of President of NSW Country Junior Rugby Union.

There are many young men from all over NSW Country who have been touched by this dedicated and forthright servant of Rugby. Garry’s death has come as a shock to his many friends and colleagues throughout the Illawarra Rugby Family.

Our sincere condolences go to Garry’s wife Jo and sons Daniel, Jack and all the Gates family at this very sad time.

Garry’s Funeral service will be held at Southern Highlands Wines, Oldbury Road, Sutton Forest, commencing at 11.00 AM on Thursday 15th December.

Rest in Peace Garry Gates


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