Thursday, 18 December 2014

Harlequin's questfor third title in a row will start March 21st

The highlight of the Dewar Shield's season will be the Grand Final rematch between Harlequin and Box Hill to be played as a curtain raiser to the Rebels Bulls game at AAMI Park Saturday 6th June, Queen's Birthday week-end.
The season will kick off on March 21st with double defending champions Harlequin hosting Melbourne Uni and Box Hill travelling to last season semi-finalists Moorabbin. Tricky first game for the other semi-finalist of 2014, Melbourne, who will play away at Footscray. The clash between Endeavour Hill s and Power House will round up the first day of play. Southern Districts will have the first bye and kick off their season on Round 2 when they’ll visit Endeavour Hills.
The Victorian competition will stop on Easter week end, April 4th, and will end on August 15th with the Grand Final, first 4 teams will participate to the play offs with the same format as 2014, i.e. first will play second in the major semi-final and 3 will play 4 in the minor SF. Looser of major SF and winner of minor SF will square off to decide who will meet the major SF winners in the Grand Final. Venues for the play offs will be announced at a later stage.
The full draft available here
By Unknown on 13:44 No comments so far More

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The tighthead prop extends his contract with the Super Rugby franchise

In a press conference in front of iconic Sir Weary Dunlop statue, the player greets the journos with a huge smile and a spanish "bueno!" that summarises his sentiment toward the announcement of his contract's extension.
At 28, Weeks does not see this move as his last grasp of Super Rugby, but is more than happy to stay: "I think I have still some more years left in me, but I can see myself finishing (my career) at the club, we got an amazing foundation already laid in the past years, but now there is stability, and that was one of the biggest things that kept me onboard".

Weeks is realistic about the Rebels' position in the competition, but also optimistic about the future: "there has been a fair bit disappointment in the past 4 years, but I'm very excited (about the future), there are young guys like Jones and McMahon that have just shone on the international scene, and a lot of youngsters coming back of the NRC, where they have had a taste of success, the excitement is around the club", he continued.
Weeks has tasted international rugby this year and is looking forward to continue his adventure in the green and gold "with the upcoming world cup, I just want more, and this is a huge driving motivation and the next step up in my career."
As a forward he has touched first hand the troubles of the Wallabies' scrum : "I think in Australian rugby we don't value the scrum enough," Weeks said "spectators don't see it as an exciting part of the game, but in reality it is one of the biggest parts in international rugby, so we have to pay much more attention on it," he added, "every front rower in Australia want to improve our reputation in this fundamental, we have worked very hard to do so, but if anyone is going to criticise Australia, they are going for the scrum".

Laurie Weeks share Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's opinion that the Australian front rowers are too honest at scrum time: "Absolutely, we are very honest were it comes to sport, but when it comes to scrummaging, everyone who played in Europe will say that it is all about who cheat the best".

Arrived from the Queensland Reds in 2011 for the inaugural Rebels season, the Sydney born prop is on of the two left foundation members of the club, the most capped Rebels at the club and one of the most loved players from the fan, to the point that he is nicknamed "the people champ".
By Unknown on 20:06 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Super-Sefa back for the Rising, Wykes  to lead the Spirit

Both semi-finals will be a replay of round 4 encounters. On Friday September 11th the Perth Spirit flew east to Melbourne to be heavily defeated by the Rising by 20 points. Not to mention, the Rising got a bonus point in that game, they got a bonus point in every match they played in the regular season.
Compared to the XV that played the Spirit on Round 4 Sean Hedger’s Rising have made only 3 changes, whyle David Wessels has made a wholesale of changes for the Spirit.

Melbourne Rising

Sefanaia Naivalu
One of the Rising's changes is forced by injuries: Telusa Veainu’s season ended with an hand injury, two by international duties, with Luke Jones and Sean McMahon called by the Wallabies for the End of the Year Tour. To replace the two internationals the Rising will call up on local talent with Harlequin’s duo Sione Taufa and OJ Noa in the third row along with Lopeti Timani.
On the bench another local talent form the dual Dewar Shield champions Harlequin, Angus Hamilton, will hope for a Buildcorp NRC debut.
Also on tour Tom English, who started on the bench on round 4 as well as in the last regular season match played by the Rising.
Stability is one of the keys of Rising's success, with very few changes done every week by Hedger to his starting XV; the careful introduction of new players in a well oiled line-up has provided fresh blod when needed.

Perth Spirit

Sam Wykes
On the contrary Perth have named a team completely changed from the XV that took the pitch at AAMI back in September and also from the team that travelled to Dubbo to face the NSW Coutry Eagles.
Wessels has injected experience in his team with Western Force regulars Pek Cowan and Sam Wykes in the scrum and will have a formidable 9-10 combination in Prior  and Holmes.
Force's Stander will start at blindside flanker and he will definitely use his experience to try to pressure his less navigated opponent.

The teams

Both teams named for Saturday's semifinal looks strong and powerful, one of the winning points of the Rising has been the strenght of the scrum and the speed of locks and flankers to re-gain the ball launch the attacks from the incredibly fast backs. The new backrowers, Taufa and Noa know each other very well and have played a key role in Harlequin's success, will they be up for the challenge at National level?
I think so. But the expectations are for a much tougher game, it's finals time.

Melbourne Rising:

15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
14 Rennie Lautolo-Molimau (Endeavour Hills)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
11 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels) (Captain)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sione Taufa (Harlequin)
6 OJ Noa (Harlequin)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)

Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels), 17 Fereti Sa’aga (Melbourne Uni), 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels), 19 Pom Simona (Harlequin) (Vice Captain), 20 Angus Hamilton (Harlequin), 21 Luke Burgess (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels), 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin), 23 Martin Naufahu (Foostcray)

Perth Spirit:

15 Dane Haylett-Petty (Cottesloe)
14 Luke Morahan (Kalamunda)
13 Ammon Matuauto (Associates)
12 Solomoni Rasolea (Cottesloe)
11 Marcel Brache (Perth Bayswater)
10 Zack Holmes (Associates)
9 Ian Prior (Nedlands)
8 Alex Rovira (Associates)
7 Kane Koteka (Wests Scarborough)
6 Brynard Stander (Nedlands)
5 Brent Murphy (Perth Bayswater)
4 Sam Wykes (captain) (Wests Scarborough)
3 Oliver Hoskins (Cottesloe)
2 Robbie Abel (Cottesloe)
1 Pek Cowan (West Scarborough)

Reserves: 16 Harry Scoble (UWA), 17 Joe Savage (Palmyra), 18 Chris Heiberg (Perth Bayswater), 19 Kieran Stringer (Cottesloe), 20 Richard Hardwick (UWA), 21 Justin Turner (Associates), 22 Davis Tavita (Nedlands), 23 Christian Joubert (UWA)
By Unknown on 18:08 No comments so far More

Sunday, 19 October 2014

With the last round of the first stage played over the week end the Top League team have been devided in two groups for the second stage of the tournament.
The first 4 classified in the first stage from each of the two groups have been assigned to the group that will contest the final win, the second four will compete to avoid relegation.
Each team will start the second phase with 1 to 4 bonus points corresponding to its final position in the first stage.

Group A:
With the first four position already fixed Panasonic Wild Knights topped the group thanks to a large win against NTT Communications Shining Arcs and overtake Toshiba Brave Lupus, who lost at home against eventual third ranked Yamaha Júbilo.

Group B:
More drama in the group B, where Kinetsu Liners missed the cut despite a comfortable win against Coca-Cola Red Sparks, Toyota Verblitz went through in fourth position thanks to a 13- 12 win away against Ricoh Black Rams.
Both team ended with 22 points, but Toyota had a better points difference (+12) than Kinetsu (+4)

Championship Group:

NTT Shining Arcs (A4)
Canon Eagles (B3)
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers (B1)
Suntory Sungoliath (B2)
Toshiba Brave Lupus (A2)
Toyota Verblitz (B4)
Panasonic Wild Knights (A1)
Yamaha Jubilo (A3)

Relegation Group:

NEC Green Rockets (A6)
NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes (B8)
Kintetsu Liners (B5)
Kubota Spears (A5)
Coca-Cola Red Sparks (B7)
Toyota Industries Shuttles (A7)
Munakata SANIX Blues (A8)
Ricoh Black Rams (B6)
By Unknown on 18:43 No comments so far More

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The resignation of Ewen McKenzie at the lowest point of the recent Wallabies' story.

After a tumultuous week culminated in a last minute loss at home against the All Blacks Link has had enough and left. His tenure will not go down in history as legacy a remarkable one: 22 games, 11 wins, the worst loss against New Zealand, the first win of Los Pumas in the Rugby Championship.

It is difficult to single out a cause of Link's personal failure, a mix of errors, misfortune and circumstances has brought him down.

Well before the Beale-Patston affair emerged, McKenzie had his faults in the way he managed the player. After the lows of the Lions' series the player had a resurrection season at the Waratahs playing at 12, but the Wallabies Head Coach saw him as a flyhalf, played him has such and Beale failed. This has triggered the nervousness around the fragile player. Can the despicable circumstances that will most likely put to an end his Australian union's career be seen as the symptoms of a this? It may be a stretch, but it is likely that a more calm and relaxed Beale would have acted differently.

Beale at first receiver was not the only tactical error of McKenzie, but certainly the more evident. His Wallabies have often played out of position in the midfield and a general lack of pecking order has caused several players to doubt about their stand in the starting XV.
Most of all the Wallabies have lost their last three games in the second halves, when the lack of depth of the Australian bench has allowed their opponents to come back and win. A unprecedented series of injuries are the main reason of the lack of front rowers, the self imposed ban on foreign based players has contributed dramatically to the cause.

With the World Cup starting in 11 months where Wallabies have been drafted in the group of death, whoever will succeed him has a tough job in front. Without mentioning the End of Year series in Europe starting with a warm up game against the Barbarians in due term.
The punters have two names for McKenzie's succession, Jack White and Michael Cheika.
The first one will bring tactically the Wallabies back in time at least 10 years, and the players will have limited time to adapt to his way of playing; the second one will require less time to lead a team morphed on his winning 2014 Waratahs, and may save Beale from being sacked.

Regardless of who will be the new coach, ARU has only one way to save the Wallabies from disaster. Allow foreign based players to wear the green and gold.
By Unknown on 13:52 No comments so far More

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The solution is not in the coach, it is in the players

According to recent media speculations Jack White may be the next Wallabies head coach.

Without any doubt White has made an excellent work with the Brumbies and his past cannot be denied, but do Australian rugby really needs a win at all costs mentality?

White won a World Cup in 2007 with the Springboks and took the Brumbies from a very critical situation to Super Rugby final.
Last year White's resignation from the ACT team come as a shock: after he unsuccessfully applied for the Wallabies job after Dean’s dismissal, he decided to go back home and coach the Sharks with the clear goal to win the Super Rugby title. After only one year at the lead of the Durban based franchise White left the club to pursue an international career. Looking at the international field, open positions at his level are rare, and none is vacant.

Honesty I don’t think that White could get blood out of a stone, the player he will have will be the same as Link has, you can turn Izzy Folau in a up&under fullback, nor get one of Australia’s back to drop goals from the midfield, and Australia’s front row isn’t as powerful as the Springbok one.

Scores of fans have cheered the running game of the Super Rugby winners Waratahs, thousands are celebrating the fast paced style of rugby on show in the Buildcorp NRC, the South African way of playing rugby can be incredibly effective, but, let’s say it plainly, it is boring.

Link has come under scrutiny after the worst loss in a Bledisloe Cup match in Auckland and two consecutive losses in the Rugby Championship. The Beale-Pastson saga has exposed behavioural issues in the lockers room and the series of injuries, especially in the front row the lack of depth of Australian Rugby.

If ARU really wants to see success at short term, then it has to review its own inflicted pain and allow overseas players to wear the green and gold. Matt Giteau has been named best Top14 player, Nick Cummins is still one of the best winger in the world, even if he is struggling in Japan, Ben Mowen is a great player that may lift again the backrow.

Get these players in the end of the year tour and you will see better results.
By Unknown on 16:42 No comments so far More

Friday, 10 October 2014

In an highly entertaining game at Pirtek Stadium the Rising win 58 - 40 after trailing at half time 21 - 24.

The Rams prove to be a hard opponent, but at the end the Melbournians take another BP win to send another clear message to the competition. The loss may be the last time the Rams have taken to the field in 2014.
Both teams played an open game with ball ran from all over the pitch, the scrum for the Rising was yet again a good platform for the backs despite the good opposition offered by the Rams front row, thanks to Wallaby Benn Robinson who played the first half.
A match in the match was played between exciting stand-offs Ben Volavola and Jack Debreczeni, with the latter becoming the first Buildcorp NRC player to score more than 100 points.
With both team tiring in the heat, the Rising were able to seal the game in the dying minutes, thanks also to fresher legs - the Rising were coming off their week bye. Ben Meehan has proved to be an excellent replacement, scoring a wonderful try after a break from prop Cruze Ah Nau, just two minutes after his involvement in the game.
Rising's players celebrating after the final whistle
Melbourne Rising 58 (21):
Tries: Debreczeni, Stirzaker, Kamana, Inman, Meehan, Jones, Placid (2)
Conv.: Debreczeni 6/8

Greater Sydney Rams 40 (24):
Tries: Holloway, Seavula, Taefu, Sigg, Batger
Conv.: Volavola 5/5

By Unknown on 23:09 No comments so far More

Verblitz and Green Rockets in hard games for the race for the top 4 spots.

The top tear Japanese tournament comes back after 2 weeks pause for the last two rounds of the first phase.

Group A:
Top 3 Brave Lupus, Wild Knights and Júbilo are all playing away, with the Panasonic team facing the trickiest opponent, Nemani Nadolo's Green Rockets.
A win for the Green Rockets may keep alive their hopes to qualify in the play off group for the second phase.
Similarly Elton Jantjies' NTT Shining Arcs will put to the sword Yamaha Júbilo.

Group B:
Front runners Kobelco Steelers host Toyota Verblitz in a very important game for the visitors as well as second placed Sungoliath visiting Kinetsu Liners. Both Verblitz and Liners are in the fight for the top 4 spots and Canon Eagles may profit in an easier game against second from bottom placed Coca Cola Red Sparks.

11 October
12:00BRicoh Black RamsNTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes
14:05AKubota SpearsToyota Shuttles
12:00BKobe Steel Kobelco SteelersToyota Verblitz
14:05BKinetsu LinersSuntory Sungoliath
13:00ANEC Green RocketsPanasonic Wild Knights
12 October
13:00BCanon EaglesCoca-Cola Red Sparks
14:05AFukuoka Sanix BluesToshiba Brave Lupus
13:00ANTT Communications Shining ArcsYamaha Júbilo
kick off in local time
By Unknown on 16:57 No comments so far More

An almost unchanged Rams' team will face competition benchmark in a do or die match

The GSR will welcome back Wallaby Benn Robinson in their starting line-up after his international duties. Robinson has played the first four NRC games for the Rams before getting the call from Link to beef up the national team's front row.

Along Robinson the other changes for the GSR are the return from injury of lock Jed Holloway and the inclusion of scrumhalf Mark Swanepoel.

As reported by the Rams' internet site, Director of Rugby John Manenti was very happy to see Robinson and Holloway back in the starting XV: “Benn Robinson was outstanding for us in his pre-Wallabies Tour games, and though we’ve been delighted with the form of Jed Gillespie and being able to bring in a guy with his experience and scrum knowledge, and he’s contributed really well, we’re obviously excited to have Robbo back."

The inclusion of Robinson will be a key to the front line battle, with Rising's scrum often being the foundation of their attacks. Robinson will combine with hooker Peni Ravai and tighthead prop Guy Millar, both have played all Rams' games so far.

The Melbourne Rising have enjoyed a week bye and used the time to recharge and prepare for the finals. The pause gave them the opportunity to regain some of their injuried players, with fullback Jonah Placid, prop Toby Smith and outside flanker Sean McMahon all fit and ready to start.
Tom English and Luke Jones, chosen for the Wallabies 32-men squad for Bledisloe #3 will try to impress the selectors even more in today's game.

Rising's head coach Sean Hedger has chosen two local players on the wing, with Endeavour Hills' Rennie Lautolo-Molimau on the right and Moorabbin's Joe Kamana on the left, as reported by Rising's internet site: “Rennie and Joe are highly capable footballers who have demonstrated their ability to play at this level,” Hedger said. “Joe has featured in every game this season and has been a real stand-out for the Rising, while Rennie’s debut against NSW Country was impressive; he needs to reach that level again, and push himself even further, and I am confident he will.”

With a bye scheduled for next week the Rams have to win this game to hope for a play off appearance, the Rising are already sure of hosting the semifinal at AAMI Park, but don't expect a complacent team.

The teams:

Great Sydney Rams

1 Benn Robinson
2 Peni Ravai
3 Guy Millar
4 Jed Holloway
5 Dylan Sigg
6 Hugh Perrett (C)
7 Chris Alcock
8 Pat Sio
9 Mark Swanepoel
10 Ben Volavola
11 Tom Hill
12 Henry Taefu
13 Henry Seavula
14 Jarome MacKenzie
15 Ben Batger

Reserves: 16 Hugh Roach: 17  Jed Gillespie; 18  Dave Lolohea ; 19  Steve Mafi; 20  Michael Kovacic; 21  Jai Ayoub; 22  Apolisi Latunipulu; 23  Dane Chisholm

Melbourne Rising 

1 Toby Smith
2 Pat Leafa
3 Paul Alo-Emile
4 Sam Jeffries
5 Cadeyrn Neville
6 Luke Jones
7 Sean McMahon
8 Lopeti Timani
9 Nic Stirzaker (C)
10 Jack Debreczeni
11 Joe Kamana
12 Mitch Inman
13 Tom English
14 Rennie Lautolo-Molimau
15 Jonah Placid

Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton; 17 Tuiatua Tuia; 18 Cruze Ah-Nau; 19 Pom Simona; 20 Reuben Rolleston; 21 Ben Meehan; 22 Lloyd Johansson; 23 Martin Naufahu

The Greater Sydney Rams-Melbourne Rising match at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta kicks off at 3:00pm
If you are not in Sydney, you can catch the game on-line courtesy of the Rams at
By Unknown on 16:04 No comments so far More

Sunday, 5 October 2014

SANZAR should act on spectators using lasers to distract kickers

The remarkable, historic and deserved first Pumas’ win in the Rugby Championship has once again showed the ugly side of some spectators, or shall we say idiots, using a laser pen to distract the kickers. Bernard Foley missed an east kick in the 70th minute which could have changed the final score. The Wallabies kicker was also disturbed in his two successful conversion’s attempts in the first half.

Last year Jaco Peyper allowed Aaron Cruden a second attempt in last year's win for New Zealand when the All Black stand-off was similarly distracted. This year Nigel Owen didn’t acted.

He should have gone under the posts and awarded a penalty try. Harsh? One-eyed? No, I’ll say this under any circumstances. The act was a disgrace by one or two singles, but has shamed a nation of rugby supporters and shall never happen again. A penalty try would have set the bar to clear the waters from any doubt, this dirty tricks do not belong to the sport.

This should not being seen as an excuse for Wallabies loss, but the play field should be level. We are already used to the typical boos of disrespect during kicks, but a limit shuld be set and the Mendoza's affair has to have consequences.
By Unknown on 16:07 No comments so far More

Sunday, 21 September 2014

With the fifth win out of five games the Rising are 10 points abreast of the second placed NSW Country Eagles and there is no sign of slowing down.

Joe Kamana, emerging Rising star - photo Jude Keog for Fairfax
Joe Kamana, emerging Rising star - photo Jude Keogh for Fairfax
On Saturday the Rising travelled to Orange to play the Eagles, in what should have been an even contest, but the game was a no contest. Even suffering two yellow cards in the 80 minutes of play, the Melbourne outfit went back home with 37 - 16 a bonus point win.
Behind the Rising all other teams have had ups and downs, but none has shown anything near the same level of consistency. Out of the other three teams which looked like contender, the Vikings, the Rays and the Stars, have all disappointed the fans.The Canberra Vikings managed only a 37 all  raw against the winless Stars on Saturday, the Rays have won their two last games but they started the season too slow.

The Rising will host the Vikings on Thursday in their second televised match of the season, the short turn around could be the only hope for the visitors, given that Sean Hedger stuck pretty much with the same team for the first five games, maybe a little of fatigue may help the Vikings in what look like an impossible game to win.

Anyhow, results aside the NRC has so far shown to be what every rugby fan was expecting, the right platform to inject new talent and the opportunity for less exposed Super Rugby players to prove their case for a position in the starting XV. Many young players have had the chance to emerge and show their skills at national level and there is no doubt that in four or five years time we will look back at the NRC and we will remember the first time we saw the face of that wallaby.
By Unknown on 06:02 No comments so far More

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Tonight the only two undefeated teams will clash in Tokyo.

Schalk Burger
After 4 games in the Japanese Top League only two teams have won all their matches, this will come to an end tonight in the first match of the fifth round when the pool B top of the table Kobelco Steelers will be hosted by the Suntory Sungoliath, kick off at 7:30 p.m. Japanese time

Before heading back to South Africa to be part of the Springboks for the last two matches of the Rugby Championship impressive back rower Schalk Burger has been named in the starting lineup for the hosts. Along him the second foreign player chosen by Aussie coach Andy Friend to start is Samoan Tusi Pisi. An understandable choice, given that between the two of them they have collected 3 out of 4 Man of the Match awards so far.

Burger will face fellow South African 6 ft 11’ giant Andries Bekker who has been named again in the starting XV by coach Gary Gold, also from the Republic.
Also in the starting team New Zealander Fraser Anderson, who has scored his first try of the season last week against the Red Hurricanes.

Toyota Verblitz, currently third on the ladder will host Kinetsu Liners tomorrow in a bid to close the gap to the leaders.

Aussie favourite Nick Cummins has been named in the staring team for Coca Cola Red Sparks away game versus the Ricoh Black Rams.

In the pool A leaders Yamaha Júbilo will have a tricky match on Sunday against Kubota Spears, from which Toshiba Brave Lupus and Panasonic Wild Knights, sitting in second and third position one and two points adrift respectively can profitate. Both team will have relatively easy games: Brave Lupus will visit bottom of the ladder Toyota Shuttles tomorrow and the Wild Knights will host new comers Sanix Blues on Sunday.

By Unknown on 19:13 No comments so far More

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Kobelco Steelers and Suntory Sungoliath remain undefeated after 4ht round.

Pool B

Similar pattern in the games for the two leaders of Top League’s Poole B: Steelers and Sungoliath started on an high and cumulated a sound margin before letting their opponents to attempt an unsuccessful comeback.

NTT Red Hurricanes - Kobelco Steelers 26 – 36:

South African giant Andries Bekker was the first on the scoreboard with a try in the 13th minute for the visitors. The Steelers went up 29 -0 thanks to tries from wingers Rakuhei Yamashita and Kanzo Nakahama and a penalty try.
Japanese wingers Koki Shigeno and Yoshimi Watanabe scored a brace each for the hosts in the second half, but it was too late for Red Hurricanes.

Suntory Sungoliath – Ricoh Black Rams 38 – 25:

Schalk Burger’s Sungoliath remain undefeated with a win against the Rams. After a convincing start that gave them a 24 – 0 lead at half time, the Sungoliath slowed down in the second part of the second half and allowed the vistitors to attempt a comeback that saw them score 21 unanswered points. Samoan international Tusi Pisi was awarded man of the match denying the South African his third MOM in a row.

Coca Cola Red Sparks – Toyota Verblitz 23 – 25:

Still no tries and no joy for the Honey Badger, his Red Sparks lost a close encounter against Toyota. Despite trailing by only 2 points the host weren’t capable to overcome the visitor’s defence in the last 20 minutes.

Canon Eagles – Kinetsu Liners 36 – 31:

A brace from Gene Fairbanks and a major from Radike Samo weren't enough for Kinetsu Liners to overpower Canon Eagles, who put the game behind the visitor’s reach thanks also to a try from former league player Michael Bond, however local player Ryohei Mitomo with one try and 5 kicks was the most prolific scorer for the hosts.
Radike Samo, an Aussie favorite

Pool A

Júbilo remains on top of the ladder with an easy win over the Blues, Brave Lupus had to fight more to past NEC Green Rockets and stay in contact, and the Wild Knights smashed the Shuttles.

Sanix Blues – Yamaha Júbilo 12 – 52:

The Júbilo roll over the newcomers of Top League thanks to a dominant display. Two braces apiece for kiwi Mose Tuiali'I, Japan’s Kyosuke Horie and Tongan international Rocky Havili for a total of eight tries were too much for the Blues, who scored with New Zealand imports Siliva Ahio and Karne Hesketh.

Toyota Shuttles – Panasonic Wild Knights 5 – 54:

Withouth injuried aussie Berrick Barnes the team captained by Melbourne Rebel’s hooker Shot Horie pass with ease against the Shuttles. A total of 6 tries for the visitors started with aussie Daniel Heenan at the 2nd minute and continued till after the siren. Winger Akihito Yamada scored a brace for Panasonic and was awarded man of the match

Kibota Spears – NTT Shining Arcs 29 – 27:

A penalty well after full time by Harumichi Tatekawa gave the host a narrow win against the never giving up visitors. South African flyhalf Elton Jantjies was perfect form the tee with 5 out of 5 and British born Filipino international Matt Saunders scored a try for the Shining Arcs, but this wasn’t enough for the visitors to take home the 4 points.

By Unknown on 19:06 No comments so far More

Friday, 12 September 2014

The fijian scored - and converted - a try with 5 minutes to spare but his team went down 30 - 26.

Nemani Nadolo started on the bench for the Green Rockets in their away game against Toshiba Brave Lupus at Tokyo's Prince Chichibu, and come into the game for Newzealander Neil Brew in the second half when his team was trailing 25 - 10. Brew also scored a try in the first half.
Despite the good effort from the white and green players Toshiba was much better and thank to a brace from Japan's Shohei Toyoshima they took the win. The winger was also named man of the match for his effort.
Brave Lupus are momentarily on top of Group A waiting for the rest of the round to be played between today and tomorrow.

By Unknown on 16:40 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Tonight’s game risk to be another easy win for the Rising

The unbeaten Melbourne team will face a so far not impressive Perth team coming from a “home” defeat aginst the Rams in Adelaide.

The reason the Rising are hot favourite for tonight’s game lie not only in the difference of morale between the two teams but mainly in the squads announced.

With Pek Conwan and Matt Hodgson away on Wallabies duties Spirit’s coach, David Wessels had to choose a brand new front row made out of three debutant WA local players: Joe Savage (Palmyra), Harry Scoble (UWA) and Chris Heiberg (Bayswater). They will face an all Super Rugby front row with Toby Smith, Pat Leafa and Paul Alo-Emile that has already manhandled many opponents and served as a perfect base to launch Rising’s quick backs. With the prospect of another strong hooker coming fresh in the second half, Melbourne born Irish Tom Sexton, and Rebel’s prop Cruze Ah-Nau, when the Spirit will be calling on another bunch of local players from Cottesloe.

In the second and third row the visitors will have to make the most of Force’s Brynard Stander at blindside, who will need to balance the relative inexperience of the rest of the pack, mainly of openside debutant Richard Hardwick. The Rising will display again their ball stealing turn over factory starred by Commonwealth Games 7’s bronze medallist Sean McMahon and Wallabies U20 captain Luke Jones.

Under these premises the scrum and the breakdown risk to be one side traffic events for the whole game.

Similarly critical will be the run on debut of Associates’ scrumhalf Justin Turner who will have in Nic Stirzaker a very tough direct opponent.

In the backs the match look slightly fairer, but if the forwards will be able to feed speedsters SuperSefa and run on debutant Joe Kamana, the night in Melbourne will be a long one for the black and gold visitors

Prediction: Melbourne by 21

The teams:

Melbourne Rising

15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
14 Telusa Veainu (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
11 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels) (Captain)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sean McMahon (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
6 Luke Jones (Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)

Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels), 17 Tuiatua Tuia (Moorabbin), 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels), 19 Pom Simona (Harlequin) (Vice Captain), 20 Sione Taufa (Harlequin), 21 Luke Burgess (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels), 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin), 23 Tom English (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)

Perth Spirit

15 Zack Holmes (Associates)
14 Brad Lacey (Wests Scarborough)
13 Ammon Matuauto (Associates)
12 Luke Burton (UWA)
11 Nili Fielea (Cottesloe)
10 Dillyn Leyds (Palmyra)
9 Justin Turner (Associates)
8 Alex Rovira (Associates)
7 Richard Hardwick (UWA)
6 Brynard Stander (Nedlands)
5 Brent Murphy (Perth Bayswater)
4 Rory Walton (Wests Scarborough)
3 Chris Heiberg (Perth Bayswater)
2 Harry Scoble (UWA)
1 Joe Savage (Palmyra)

Reserves: 16 Robbie Abel (Cottesloe), 17 Alec Hepburn (Cottesloe), 18 Oliver Hoskins (Cottesloe), 19 Corey Thomas (UWA), 20 Kane Koteka (Wests Scarborough), 21 Michael Ruru (Nedlands), 22 Davis Tavita (Nedlands), 23 Va’a Mailei (Palmyra)
By Unknown on 18:05 No comments so far More

Saturday, 6 September 2014

A dominant second half display form the Melbourne outfit.

Tom English in a Rebels' match
With 50 unanswered points in the second half the Rising gain their third bonus point win to settle on top of NRC ladder, the final score of 18 - 79 punishes the home side, who suffered down a man in two occasions during the match, both scrumhalves Nick Frisby and Will Genia the culprits.
Tom English scored four tries for the Rising but for the man of the match award he had good challenges from Sean McMahon and Sam Jeffries, both dominant at the breakdown and from local competition hero Sefanaia Naivalu, already nicknamed SuperSefa, again at ease in the NRC.
The Rising went first up on the scoreboard with a try from Jonah Placid after four minutes, and scored a second with Naivalu straight away. But the home side was quick to react and tries flew in the first half with both teams crossing the whitewash in several occasion and seven tries between the two in the first stanza.
In the second half only one team was seen on the pitch with multiple majors coming at ease.
Former Wallaby Lloyd Johansson ended the game at flyhalf and scored his first points in the competition with a try and two conversions.

Good to see star scrumhalf Will Genia back in action, although his game hasn't been one to remember. He conceded first Rising's try of the second half with a stray pass, then was sinbinned by Steve Walsh for a cynic foul on City's try line.

Melbourne Rising

Tries: Jonah Placid, Sefanaia Naivalu, Tom English (4), Lopeti Timani (2), Telusa Veainu, Pat Leafa, Lloyd Johansson
Conversions: Jack Debreczeni (6), Lloyd Johansson (2)

Brisbane City

Tries: Chris Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Liam Gill
Conversions: Jake McIntyre (1)

Melbourne Rising (1-15): Toby Smith, Tom Sexton, Paul Alo-Emile, Sam Jeffries, Cadeyrn Neville, Luke Jones, Sean McMahon, Lopeti Timani, Nic Stirzaker (C), Jack Debreczeni, Tom English, Mitch Inman (VC), Sefanaia Naivalu, Telusa Veainu, Jonah Placid. RES: Pat Leafa (VC), Tuiatua Tuia, Cruze Ah-Nau, Pom Simona (VC), Sione Taufa, Luke Burgess, Lloyd Johansson, Joe Kamana

Brisbane City (1-15): Pettowa Paraka, Andrew Ready, Sam Talakai, Marco Kotze, David McDuling (C), Michael Gunn, Liam Gill, Jake Schatz, Nick Frisby, Jake McIntyre, Harry Parker, Samu Kerevi, Toby White, Chris Kuridrani, Matthew Feaunati. RES: Matthew Mafi, Sef Faagase, Phillip Kite, Adam Korczyk, Brad Wilkin, Will Genia, James Dalgleish, Rex Tapuai
By Unknown on 00:00 No comments so far More

Friday, 5 September 2014

The South African back rower was awarded for the second time in a row MOM.

Burger receiving the MOM prize (last week) - photo RJP
Playing at Number 8 Schalk Burger has scored the deciding try in an hard fought match between Suntory Sungoliath and Canon Eagles.
With the home side trailing 13 - 17 with less than 10 minus to play, the impressive South African crossed the line for a five pointer which Samoan international Tusi Pisi converted for the eventual final score of 20 - 17.
The adaptation to Japanese rugby of 71 times capped springbok seams to be one of the easiest witnessed in the past years.
Canon Eagles may have deserved a better score, given that they sustained a period of play with 2 players on the sin bin, in which they even managed to score a try with scrum half Takeru Fukui. But Sungoliath were more able to transform each opportunity into point.


Suntory Sungoliath 20 (13)
Tries: Hatakeyama 31', Burger 72'
Conv.: Pisi 2/2
Pen: Pisi 2/2

Canon Eagles 17 (10)
Tries: Fukui 34', Thomson 44'
Conv.: Mitomo 2/2
Pen: Mitomo 1/1
By Unknown on 16:36 No comments so far More

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Nick Cummins has been named in the starting XV for the first time.

 Cummins in Japan - photo @Japonrugbynet 
After entering mid way through the first half last week the Australian winger will have his run on debut for Japanese side Coca Cola West Red Sparks in tomorrow’s home game against Kobelco Steelers. The other non-Japanese player in the squad is New Zealander Tim Bateman at outside centre, with fellow kiwi Solomon King named on the bench.
For the visitors two other quality players from the land of the long white cloud: former Chiefs number 8 Matt Vant Leven and former Crusaders scrumhalf Andy Ellis.

The Steelers sit first on the ladder of Pool B with two wins out of two games, the Red Sparks made up for their narrow loss in their first game against Suntory Sungoliath with a win over NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes last week.

Former Wallaby Berrick Barnes has recovered form the injury that forced him out last week and will start for Panasonic Wild Knights at Yamaha in the most awaited game of group A. Júbilo sits on top of the table after two bonus points win, the Wild Knights were surprised in their first game have comprehensively beaten Kubota Spears last week.

Panasonic are captained by Melbourne Rebels hooker Shota Horie and will also have Aussie Daniel Heenan in their staring line up.
By Unknown on 18:28 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Rising keep to winning formula for the top of the ladder encounter

Melbourne Rising are top of the ladder on better points difference from NSW Country Eagles after two bonus point wins and will face third placed and undefeated Brisbane City at Ballymore on Saturday at 3:00 pm
Luke Burgess, quality sub - photo Melbourne Rebels
Luke Burgess, quality sub - photo Melbourne Rebels
Plenty of experience on display again from the Melbourne team with Head Coach Sean Hedger operating only one changes in the well oiled team to face another unbeaten team in round three of the NRC.
The inclusion in the starting XV is hooker Tom Sexton, the Melbourne born former Leinster Irish player will have his long awaited run on debut in Australia after skipping the entire Super Rugby season with a knee reconstruction and brings his high work rate and skills to an already dominant scrum. The Rising have profited largely in both first two games from a very solid scrum platform and Sexton inclusion will bring a fresh body for Pat Leafa, who will sit on the bench.
Again only non-Rebels contracted player in the starting team will be impressive outside centre Sefanaia Naivalu, who will again combine with Mitch Inman in the midfield.
Wallaby scrumhalf Luke Burgess, released from international duties for this Saturday’s clash against South Africa, will join the team on the bench and would be a quality replacement for captain Nick Stirzaker in the second half.
Vice Captain and leadership group local player Pom Simona will sit on the bench along with his Harlequin’s team mate Lloyd Johansson.

Melbourne Rising:

15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
14 Telusa Veainu (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
11 Tom English (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels) (Captain)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sean McMahon (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
6 Luke Jones (Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)

Reserves: 16 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain); 17 Tuiatua Tuia (Moorabbin); 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels); 19 Pom Simona (Harlequin) (Vice Captain); 20 Sione Taufa (Harlequin); 21 Luke Burgess (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels); 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin); 23 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)
By Unknown on 16:00 No comments so far More

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Honey Badger celebrates his first 30 minutes of Japanese rugby with a win.

Nick Cummins came as a substitute in the 10th minute of the second half when his team, Coca-Cola Red Sparks was trailing visitors NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes by one point. Just three minutes after Cummins taking his first steps in the Top League his team mate Toyota Masakazu scored Red Sparks’ second try which resulted decisive with South African Riaan Viljoen missing two penalty kicks that could have drawn the game.
Kawaguchi Kohei scored Red Sparks’ first try just five minutes into the match.
Nick Cummins - photo Getty

Berrick Barns enjoyed a large 47-22 victory with his Panasonic Wild Knights but was forced out of the game for a blood substitution midway through the first half and didn’t revert back to the field after that. Before leaving the pitch the aussie flyhalf scored 3/3 from the tee with two penalties and one conversion.
Fellow australian Daniel Heenan scored a try at the 36th minute of a largely Panasonic dominated first half.
Barnes from the tee - Photo Getty

New Zealand born Tongan international Siale Piutau scored and four tries in NEC Green Rocket’s 55 – 7 demolition by Yamaha Júbilo at their home. The centre exploded in the second half when he crossed the whitewash for the first time in the second minute to repeat himself at the ninth, twenty-sixth and thirty-third minute. The visiting Júbilo finished with eight tries overall with a brace from hooker Takeshi Hino and singles for outside centre Masatoshi Miyazawa and experienced kiwi number eight Mose Tuiali’i. Yamaha is the only team with two bonus tries in two matches and leads pool A in front of Brave Lupus.

Suntory Sungoliath wins over Toyota Verblitz in an hard fought match at Toyota in Aichi.
South African Suntory's openside flanker Shalk Burger was named Man of the Match wich saw only two tries scored. First over the line for the hosts was kiwi blindside Thomas Deryck and in the second half winger Takaaki Nakaduru sealed the win for the hosts with a try at the 16th minute.
Burger awarded Man of Match at the end of the game - Photo RJP
New Zealanders Adam Thomson starred in Canon Eagles’ 33 – 21 win over the Ricoh Black Rams. The openside flanker scored three tries in the first half but fellow New Zealander Daniel Peters kept the visitors in touch with an excellent display from the tee. Eventually the host got over the line thanks to eventual Man of the Match Miyayanagi Hashino and aussie Tim Bennets tries

In the other matches:

South African Elton Jantjies lost his battle from the tee against Toshiba Brave Lupus’ Takahiro Ogawa in his new team, the NTT Shining Arcs, 23 – 16 defeat.

A brace from Man of the Match Katsuyuki Sakai was fundamental in Mark Gerrard’s Toyota Shuttles’ win against newcomers Munakata Blues.

Kobelco Steelers comfortably beat Kinetsu Liners 26 – 3

All the results

Pool A
Toshiba Brave Lupus NTT - Communications Shining Arcs 23 – 16
Panasonic Wild Knights - Kubota Spears 47 - 22
Toyota Shuttles - Fukuoka Sanix Blues 31 - 14
NEC Green Rockets - Yamaha Júbilo 7 - 55

Pool B
Canon Eagles - Ricoh Black Rams 33 - 21
Toyota Verblitz - Suntory Sungoliath 10 - 13
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers - Kinetsu Liners 26 - 3
Coca-Cola Red Sparks - NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes 15 - 9
By Unknown on 18:39 No comments so far More

Dominant display form the Melbourne team at Leichhardt Oval

The visitors left only 5 minutes of glory to the hosts in the whole game. Despite the addition of Super Rugby champion and Wallaby Will Skelton the Stars only scored two tries midway in the first half to briefly tie the game before the Rising ran over them with four unanswered tries.
Joe Kamana scored last try of the match
Joe Kamana scored the last try of the match
Again the Rising impressed with composure and organisation at the set pieces: "I'm pleased with some aspects (of the game)" told Rising head coach Sean Hedger to the media at the end of the game. "obviously there is still a few things to work on". "The scrum was again a weapon for us, towards the end of the game was very dominant for us, it is nice to have that really stable scrum platform to work from".
The visitors started strong with scrum half and captain Nic Stirzaker first over the whitewash, and then crossed again with experienced centre Mitch Inman, before conceding two tries in rapid succession to exciting wing James Dargaville and centre Jim Stewart. But the Stars rally was short lived and the visitors scored before half time again with Veainu.
In the second half ex Sydney Uni player Sam Jeffries scored before local Victorian talents Sefa Naivalu and Joe Kamana closed off the game and ensured the bonus point.

Sydney 13 (13):
Tries: Dargaville 26', Stewart 29'
Conv: Dunbar 1/2
Melbourne 45 (21):
Tries: Stirzaker 11', Inman 20', Veainu 39', Jeffries 46', Naivalu 54', Kamana 74'
Conv: Debrecezni 5/6
By Unknown on 04:54 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Only one change for the Rising facing Sydney Stars on Sunday.

Another Melbourne Rebels filled squad announced by coach Sean Hedger for the second game of the NRC: in the starting XV only outside centre Sefanaia Naivalu is not (yet) part of the Super Rugby franchise.
Despite an impressive display in his first game at national level Harlequin's Sione Taufa loses his place in the starting squad to Australia’s U20 captain and 7’s Commonwealth bronze medallist flanker Sean McMahon.
Sean McMahon playing 7s for Australia - photo Getty
Sean McMahon playing 7s for Australia - photo Getty
McMahon was rested for the first game due to his recent involvement in the Commonwealth games and will bring to an already Super Rugby filled team extra experience and class.
His introduction will cost a place on the bench to Endeavour Hills’ Reuben Rolleston, another local Dewar Shield player who made a good impression on his national debut last week.
The conservative choices of coach Hedger  demonstrate his will to seek consistency week in week out and use at his best the biggest competitive advantage of his team: homogeneity.
Sydney Stars, despite losing the first game in the NRC opener on Thursday have a similar set up to the Rising, with the bulk of their players coming from the same team, Sydney University. Automatisms and chemistry should not be a problem for them as they were for Rising’s opponents last week, the North Harbour Rays, as confirmed by Hedger: "they are probably the most organised opposition we come up against in the early rounds. 95% of squad is from one club and we expect them to be organised right from the start". Asked which players was he more worried about, the head coach mentioned the possibility that Will Skelton will play: "we heard that he has been released to play for them, besides that the have really good speed out wide both theri two wingers have named in the Shute Shield team of the year, we need to be carefull. They are going to be hard to stop".

Additionally the Stars have had an additional three days of rest and training compared to the Rising, another factor to be taken into consideration.

Melbourne Rising Team:

1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
6 Luke Jones (Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sean McMahon (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels) (Captain)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
11 Tom English (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
14 Telusa Veainu (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels)
15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels), 17 Tuiatua Tuia (Moorabbin), 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels), 19 OJ Noa (Harlequin), 20 Sione Taufa (Harlequin), 21 Ben Meehan (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels), 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin), 23 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)

Kick off at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney will be on Sunday August 31st at 3:00 pm
By Unknown on 20:40 No comments so far More

Sunday, 24 August 2014

ARU’s move to reduce the number of points for a penalty goal has had a massive impact on tactics of the newly created competition: in the two games I watched there wasn’t a single penalty kicked for the sticks, all penalties were either sent for touch or quickly taken. The effect was a free flowing game with pace and continuous ball movement.
But if you think that this massive change in tactics has made the goal kicking skills redundant, think again.

At least until the players will learn to run every time as close to the posts as possible, with 3 points for a conversion, kicking can still be decisive: two converted tries under the old rules were less than three converted ones, now it is not. With two converted tries a team will be awarded 16 points, instead of 14 with the old rules, but three unconverted tries are still worth 15 points. A massive difference if your major scores come from the sidelines and your kicker is just a quick paced back with no refined skills.
Furthermore the new rules allows only 60 seconds to the kicker, so precision have to be matched with the capacity of quickly concentrate and regain breath.

So, if this experiment with the scoring system will continue, or be extended to other tournaments or even became the new worldwide norm, keep teaching your kids how to approach the tee. Maybe the long distance kicking will fall from grace, but a good conversion from the sideline will still be something to look for:

By Unknown on 20:53 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

For their first game on Sunday the Melbourne Rising have name a team full of Super Rugby experience along with some Dewar Shield talent.

Coach Sean Hedger has chosen a conservative approach for his first game as NRC head coach, introducing only two players with no national experience in the starting XV: Sefanaia Naivalu and Sione Taufa. Box Hill centre Naivalu is the top scorer of the Dewar Shield, a quick decision maker with an excellent boot, and Harlequin flanker Taufa is a solid player newlty crowned Dewar Shield champion on Sunday.
Rising's head coach Hedger with Stirzaker and Kamana
Rising's head coach Hedger with Stirzaker and Kamana - photo Getty

All nine Dewar Shield clubs are represented in the squad through the allocation of Melbourne Rebels’ players to the local teams. An indication of how much the Rising franchise aspires to unite the Melbourne rugby fans under one banner.
The team will be captained by Rebels scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker, who spent last year’s post season in New Zealand playing for Manawatu Turbos in the ITM Cup. Along Stirzaker in the midfield Jack Debreczeni will start at flyhalf and Mitch Inman will be second receiver providing guidance to the debutant Naivalu.

The first row is a very powerful display with Toby Smith and Paul Alo-Emile on each side of hooker and vice-captain Pat Leafa.
In the second and third row Sam Jeffries and Cadeyrn Neville will bring their Super Rugby experience as well as  Luke Jones at inside flanker and Lopeti Timani at number eight.
In the back line new recruit Jonah Placid will play at full back, Telusa Veainu and Tom English will be the wingers.

The bench will display three more Rebles: Irish hooker Tom Sexton who was out all of Super Rugby season with a knee ligament reconstruction after an injury in the pre-season, prop Cruze Ah-Nau and scrumhalf Ben Meehan, who played last week Dewar Shield final with Box Hill. The rest of replacements is made up with local talent: Moorabbin prop Tuiatua Tuia, Harlequin’s Dewar Shield’s season MVP OJ Noa and Endeavour Hills’ backrower Reuben Rolleston, Harlequin’s centre and former Wallaby Lloyd Johansson and Moorabbin’s outside back Joe Kamana.

Rising's first NRC match on Sunday 24th August at 2 PM at AAMI Parkwill be against Sydney powerhouseNorth Harbour Rays, reincarnation of sole ARC winners  Central Coast Rays, a team formed by Manly, Warringah, Northern Suburbs and Gordon players.

Melbourne Rising squad:
15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
14 Telusa Veainu (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
11 Tom English (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels - Captain)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sione Taufa (Harlequin)
6 Luke Jones (Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels - Vice Captain)
1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)

Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels); 17 Tuiatua Tuia (Moorabbin); 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels); 19 OJ Noa (Harlequin); 20 Reuben Rolleston (Endeavour Hills); 21 Ben Meehan (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels); 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin); 23 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)
By Unknown on 18:06 No comments so far More
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