Rugby News, Top 3 players from the 3rd Test between Wallabies v England at the Sydney Cricket Ground

Courtney Lawes has definitely frustrated & stopped the Wallabies from slipping past his English side last night as skipper on the Blindside (flanker role). His defensive work was outstanding every time the Wallabies tries to get themselves going under pressure before Lawes stepped in & called in his troops to lock the ball up, so they (Wallabies) can’t continue under the referee’s watch. He can also be an excellent support player with so much physicality going forward while calling for cover to ensure that the ball stays with England, which led to winning penalties/advantages off the back of the Wallabies ill-discipline. It led to a sigh of relief when the Wallabies were unable to capitalise going forward, while celebrating the series win at the same time.

Next up is Jack van Poortvliet – who came on for Danny Care at half-back not long before half-time – and he too made an instant impact ever since in the No.21 England shirt. He has a very good talk up when looking at ways to get past the Wallabies while calling out for some support. They were able to keep themselves ahead thanks to the Wallabies messy discipline/play via the advantages & later winning penalties before keeping a close eye in defense to close out this deciding test match – including his TRY assist to his Leicester team-mate Freddie Steward that saw England lead Australia by one point ahead of half-time at 10-11. And like Freddie, he proved that he can translate these premiership-winning skillsets at International level, as JVP put England in a great position on the run home with the series trophy.

Lastly, Tom Wright never stopped running on the right wing, especially when he opened the Wallabies scoring account with Nic White backing up on his way through the TRY zone. A few fresh faces in the 2nd-half kept his side closer within reach of England’s radar – thanks to Folau Faingaa. Unfortunately, he just wished that he gets supported more often where he was being isolated in both attack & defense. It would’ve helped the Wallabies get ahead of England once more & capitalise towards the win they desperately needed.

Shute Shield returns on free to air next Saturday on 9Gem with three regular rounds left when Manly takes on Warringah

We’re very excited to say that Shute Shield will be back on free-to-air with the Week 16 game between Manly v Warringah next Saturday at 3pm on 9Gem. There should be more to come with another two regular season games to finish off before continuing with one Playoffs round in August. They already showed some women’s rugby earlier this season on 9Gem with the Super W competition, as well as the opening Wallaroos match v Fiji.

It’s been a long time coming since club rugby hasn’t been aired on Free TV here in NSW since Stan Sport & the Nine Network replaced Fox Sports & Network 10 as Rugby Australia’s broadcast partner last year under an initial three-year contract, with the option to extend another two years afterwards.

Although Channel 7 was the previous rights holder for these Shute Shield games through a separate deal prior to 2021, but then Rugby Australia brought that product off Club Rugby TV and bundled them up under the one roof ahead of the next broadcast rights deal at the time two years ago.

We can’t wait to see how the business end of this year’s Shute Shield season pans out for those who don’t have the Stan Sport subscription to look back over the last 10-15 weeks. We’re also aware that there was some free-to-air Hospital Cup Rugby on last year on 9Gem via the QLD market alone, while we didn’t get to see that opportunity at all when lockdown in NSW also at the time effectively cancelled the 2021 Shute Shield season without a champion.

But let’s see if some of Nine/Stan’s regular Super Rugby & Wallabies commentary team will be present for these free-to-air club rugby games at the ground.

Rugby News, Thoughts on Folau Faingaa switching teams from the Brumbies to Western Force beginning next year

We didn’t see that coming when Folau Faingaa just defected teams from the ACT Brumbies to now the Western Force starting next season on a two-year deal, while remaining with Rugby Australia for Wallaby selection at the same time. He also reunites with a couple of ex-Brumbies who now play their trade in Perth – including Reejan Pasitoa, Bayley Kuenzle, Issak Fines, Kyle Godwin, Toni Pulu, Harry Lloyd & Angus Wagner.

It’s a great sign of ambition being shown there from the WA-based Super Rugby side – who wants to make the most of themselves in the long-term at Super Rugby level – and be a competitive front on the pitch. Plus, it will be great to see Faingaa get the chance to show his full 80 spells ahead of Felati Kaitu’u for the leading hooker position after he always start half-games often, before he was replaced by Lachlan Lonergan every time later during the 2nd half in a Brumbies shirt.

They have came from a long way since their shock axing back in 2018 before COVID changed everything three years ago, and Rugby Australia has came to their rescue once more as the 5th full-time Super Rugby Team here alongside the Melbourne Rebels, ACT Brumbies, NSW Waratahs & Queensland Reds.

From the Super Rugby AU Qualifying Final in 3rd last year to a near Top 8 finish in 9th this season in the Super Rugby Pacific; They’ve gone from strength to strength, having replaced Tim Sampson with one of the emerging coaches from New South Wales in none other than – Simon Cron – as the new head coach.

Not only he knows the NSW Rugby system & talent pool very well like current Tahs head coach Darren Coleman, he also most recently worked with Steve Hansen over the last three years as Director of Rugby at Toyota Verblitz in Japan.

There’s also a talented youngster in Jeremy Williams coming over from the Tahs where he will replace the now-retired Jeremy Thrush on the second row, while they convinced experienced Flanker/Number 8 Michael Wells to move back home from the Rebels.

The best is yet to come when Faingaa’s vast 63-cap Super Rugby and 25-cap Wallaby experience will change the way how the Force executes their throw-ins and driving maul come line-out time.

It could be a game changer under his watch that will provide plenty of competition across the Trans-Tasman in the hope of beating some New Zealand teams, as well as an extended shot via the Playoffs as long as they can finish Top 8 in the regular-season ladder every year.

Top 3 players from the Blues v Crusaders Game at Eden Park in the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Final

The last time Pablo Matera played in a Super Rugby Final was three years ago as runner-up in a Jaguares shirt. He now went one better this year this time with a winning team for the Crusaders – where he simply kept the Blues quiet in all fronts tonight on the blindside flanker role at No.6. His tall build, leadership & physicality gave him an outlook of how the Blues play their rugby before the mistakes began to pile up on their end, as he capitalised on it defensively. Matera can also be dangerous in the attack where he made up two 2nd 40 TRY assists off the back of winning penalties/turnovers/intercepts; One for the opening big score to Bryn Hall and another with the cross kick to Sevu Reece that secured them the Super Rugby Pacific title.

Next up is Richie Mo’unga who has to be the best playmaker out of the No.10s tonight for the Crusaders ahead of Beauden Barrett – his opposite dial over at The Blues. We love how he kickstarted the match with two three-point goals while he sets up the attack with a mix of pace, team-work and passing that requires persistence to get past the Blues through the gate. That is one big area his opponents couldn’t match where the Saders took care of his creative work off the back of winning penalties/turnovers being given to them with the ball, and they managed to get the job done with two 2nd-half tries tonight.

And Dalton Papalii made a huge difference for the Blues off the bench throughout the 2nd half on the openside back row. He too gave the Crusaders some nerves having created a line break going forward with some pace, as well as being the main man cheering them up with the scrum and maul feed. He unpacked all of these attributes when being tested both in attack and defense that gave the Blues a lift thanks to Finlay Christie’s TRY with 20 minutes to go. However, the continuous mistakes limited their attacking chances to get the job done that saw them settle as 2nd best, especially at line-out time where inaccurate throws cost the Blues time after time before it’s too late.

#SuperRugby #Rugby #TheBlues #Crusaders #EdenPark #PabloMatera #RichieMounga #DaltonPapalii #RugbyUnion

Rugby News, A series of lost chances going forward from the Blues slip away as the Crusaders take home the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific title at Eden Park

What a way to wrap up the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Season on a high at Eden Park with the Blues v Crusaders Final in Auckland, New Zealand. The Crusaders collected two three-point goals with the early lead going into half-time at 0-6, before they extend their winning margin off the back of Bryn Hall’s opening big score. The Blues may have responded to the Saders’ strong start when they were right back in the mix with 20 minutes left, courtesy of Finlay Christie’s TRY. However, they couldn’t find a way to close the gap where a couple of lost chances with the ball forced the Crusaders hand, as Sevu Reece’s TRY in the 76th minute was enough to secure the visitors with the championship, 7-21.

Commiserations to the Blues at home where they had to settle as 2nd best tonight but a fantastic season nonetheless. They got the build-up base going defensively, as well as a couple of fresh faces off the bench that helped them win a couple of penalties/turnovers along the way. They just couldn’t bridge the other end when it comes to the attack/executions; their throw-ins were poor at line-out time that held back time after time before a messy passage of play and a lack of numbers through the channels saw the ball flying over the place. It’s one huge weakness the Blues couldn’t match the Saders top-notch standard in the end.

Meanwhile, it’s good to see the Crusaders on top once again after they topped the regular-season winners tonight that secured another piece of silverware on their trophy cabinet. They didn’t rush anything whatsoever when the Saders kept a great eye on the Blues’ struggles going forward, especially at line-out time that wasn’t theirs to throw-in, as well as their messy attacking shape going forward. That’s how the Saders capitalised with the ball away from the opposition where they can do whatever they want, having scored two second half tries before they reached the finish line comfortably as these celebrations have already just begun – including those supporters watching back home in Christchurch.

After 18 weeks of action through 91 matches being played throughout the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Season, we now turn our attention to the mid-year International tests – starting with the three-match Wallabies v England tour that begins on Saturday July 2 next month at Optus Stadium in Perth. We also hope to watch a couple of Shute Shield games in a few weeks time via free-to-air on 9Gem, as there’s so much rugby to look forward through the 2nd half of 2022.

Rugby News, Thoughts on the selected free-to-air Shute Shield games on 9Gem later this year as Super Rugby transitions is set to transition into International Tests soon

As Super Rugby transitions into the Mid-Year International Tests soon after the Blues v Crusaders Final this Saturday, it’s awesome to see Nine showcasing some Women’s Rugby earlier this year via 9Gem & 9Go with the Super W and the opening Wallaroos game of the year v Fiji so far in 2022.

The only competition they haven’t aired yet on free-to-air as part of the current multi-year contract between Nine/Stan Sport & Rugby Australia is the Shute Shield, which features grade club rugby teams across NSW.

Although they did show selected Queensland’s Club Rugby games with the Hospital Cup last year on 9Gem & will do so again for the 2022 season in a few weeks time, but that’s because Queensland weren’t in lockdown at the time unlike NSW – while these games were only available for the QLD market for free unless you subscribe to Stan Sport for $20 a month & stream it anywhere nationwide.

We’re about to see that sort of treatment soon when the Shute Shield approaches over the business end of the regular season before finals time. We just don’t know when the first of these four selected games will come on 9Gem, as Shute Shield has just came off a week-long break due to the long Queen’s Birthday weekend with eight regular weeks to go ahead of Round 11 this Saturday.

It will also be interesting to see if Nine/Stan will throw in some of their usual Super Rugby/Wallabies broadcast crew for these free-to-air Shute Shield games including the Finals later this August; Regardless whether some of them are lead-ins going into the Wallabies Tests at night or not.

Blues overcame their lost penalties with a brilliant defensive shift before Ofa Tu’ungafasi saved the day that secured a spot in next Saturday’s Final v Crusaders

What a game that is to close out the semi-finals of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific by a one-point difference at Eden Park in Auckland, NZ. ACT Brumbies didn’t waste any time getting it started in the first few minutes before the Blues responded well with two tries ahead of half-time, 20-7. Now the Brumbies began to hold back the Blues when a couple of ill-discipline from their end helped them close the gap later in the 2nd half, with credit from a couple of new faces off the bench, including, Lachlan Lonergan. The sweet revenge was almost sent to the Blues for payback that would’ve sent the Brumbies to Christchurch for next Saturday’s final v Crusaders via the drop goal. But Ofa’ Tu’ungafasi deflection off Noah Lolesio’s kicking boots, as well as a tougher defensive unit saved the day for the Blues with the win at home, 20-19.

Unlucky from the Brumbies who were just eliminated from the Final 4. They started off well in within the first couple of Montreal from Inside Centre Irae Simone in the No.12 shirt. The usual change of faces in the 2nd half have certainly helped them return in contention, especially with Lachlan Lonergan’s superb two-try performance from sub hooker that almost gave them a chance to overtake the Blues for the win in the dying seconds. Yes, it’s hard to watch if you’re a Brumbies fan when Noah Lolesio’s drop-goal attempt was blocked by Ofa Tu’ungafasi where the ball eventually went into Blues’ hands that confirmed their spot for next Saturday’s final at home v Crusaders. Unfortunately, an inconsistent 1st half spell left them a lot of pressure to get the job done before a robust Blues defense sent them the final message which was too late.

And congratulations to the Blues with the win on home turf at Eden Park in Auckland. They responded really well to the Brumbies’ early headstart where the Blues put in an excellent first-half display; Credit to Hoskins Sotutu & Mark Telea with the tries alongside Stephen Perofeta begins the kicking tee towards the goal posts. Yes, there were a couple of disciplinary issues later in the 2nd half when the Blues couldn’t extend their winning share, as well as leaking a couple of tries – that almost got their ticket stolen by the Brumbies at the last minute for next Saturday’s final v Crusaders. But they hung in there tough right until the final hooter where their robust and desperate defense gave the Blues and its home supporters a sign of relief. As long as the Blues watch their discipline, there’s no doubt they can run the Saders ragged en route towards another Super Rugby championship with a mix of talented and big-name stars in their squad.

90 matches done, one to go with the Final to close out the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season at Eden Park in Auckland next Saturday at 5pm AEST.

Rugby News, Top 3 players from the Blues v Brumbies Semi-Final in the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific

Tom Robinson put in a huge shift on the second row at No.5 tonight for the Blues after he did everything possible to shut down a threatening Brumbies attack defensively. His near two-meter build and being at his prime right now gave the opposition team plenty of nightmares, with credit from his own numbers that helped stop the Brumbies from overtaking in their tracks. That same two-way communication applies in order to keep the Blues up front every time Robinson was being tested with his attacking contribution. As long as he keeps playing like this tonight, then he will make sure that the Blues robust and desperate defense will shut down the Crusaders at home once again next Saturday.

Next up is Stephen Perofeta in the No.15 Blues shirt at full-back. He displayed an all-round presence both in attack and defense that kept the Blues team’s hopes up right until the very end. Perofeta has no problem kicking into goal to share the workload with skipper Beauden Barrett, while running back and forth where he unpacked every bit of his natural game with the slam & tackle through each each end of the pitch. The physicality that allows him to be flexible as well as the team-work offered to support & protect his Blues team; these traits will be a series of Perofeta’s main weapons going into next Saturday’s final v Crusaders in a bid to take home the Championship.

And we’ve gotta say that the Brumbies are very good with substitutes, especially in the 2nd half when it comes to hooker Lachlan Lonergan – who came on for Folau Faingaa with 27 minutes to go. He was very dangerous to the Blues when the Brumbies made up lost time from 20-7 down after the break that almost cost them a Top 2 berth v Crusaders next Saturday. The patience was there with the help of his team-mates & winning penalties via the maul before Lachlan sorted his finishing touches from the usual throw-ins twice past the TRY line. But an inconsistent first-half run threw a lot of pressure to get the job done past a robust Blues defense before it was too late that ultimately cost them the final.

#BLUvBRU #SuperRugby #Brumbies #Blues #Rugby #TomRobinson #StephenPerofeta #LachlanLonergan #EdenPark #RugbyUnion

2022 Super Rugby Pacific Quarter-Final 4: Top 3 players from the ACT Brumbies v Hurricanes Game

Irae Simone was one of the outstanding players for the Brumbies tonight in the No.12 shirt at Inside Centre. He created so many headaches to the other opposition end off the back of the Canes’ lost penalties and poor defense. That way, his work can be easy done where not only he collected a TRY in the 1st half but he also backed up as a support/cover player every time Simone checks in going forward to make sure the Brumbies are in the right track, as well unpack his finishing touches. And he too also limit the Canes’ opportunities with the ball in his tracks defensively. All in all, he’s the complete package in the midfield where Simone never stops running back and forth all night long.

Next up is fellow Brumby Lachlan Lonergan who replaced Folau Faingaa in the 56th minute, where he played a really big role of his team’s 2nd-half comeback in front of their home supporters at GIO Stadium. His throw-ins looked excellent as always, as well as a brilliant read on defense that derailed the Canes’ 2nd-half performance. It gave his side a chance to take advantage of the opposition team’s errors when Longergan was tested in attack, before he handed over the keys to over his support men & they made his life easier as the Brumbies were well and truly safe within the winner’s’ circle.

And Joshua Moorby rounds off the Top 3 when he was excellent at full-back in the first-half for the Hurricanes. He credits the team’s excellent start with the talk-up there, especially when the ball came to him before he unleashed himself past the TRY line twice that gave the Canes’ a small lead at the half-time break. But they just couldn’t keep the momentum when a few mistakes and lost penalties via ill-discipline let him down with limited attacking opportunities that preclude them from staying ahead; the pressure then spread to his forwards where it was too hard to stop a threatening Brumbies attack while the clock ticked against them before it’s too late later in the 2nd-half.

Rugby News, Brumbies 2nd-half resurgence kicked the Hurricanes out of the Final 8 as they battle the Blues in the semis at Eden Park next Saturday

We wrap the first week of the 2022 Super Rugby Playoffs with the fourth and last Quarter-Final tie between the ACT Brumbies and Hurricanes here at GIO Stadium in Canberra.

It was a crash and bash Opening 40 where both teams experienced a mix of infringements with Len Ikitau being sent off under a red card that gave a huge blow for the Brumbies, while Owen Franks had to sit ten minutes in the naughty chair when it comes to the Hurricanes camp.

Nonetheless, it’s the Hurricanes who has the lead at half-time, 15-22 – Having made an excellent start courtesy of Joshua Moorby’s double TRY before the Brumbies began to make up some lost time & fought back with also both tries of their own.

But the winning team that came on top is the Brumbies as they took their semi-final spot next Saturday v Blues for a shot towards a Chiefs or Crusaders Final at Eden Park in Auckland, NZ. They were eight points down at one point with 30 minutes to go before they took advantage of the Canes’ poor throw-ins and lost penalties that came back to bite them in return, courtesy of two Toms in Tom Banks & Tom Wright.

The final score here at GIO Stadium is Brumbies 35-25 Hurricanes.

Hurricanes was be gutted to be thrown out of the Final 8 by the best Australian Super Rugby team right now and not complete an all New Zealand Final 4 showdown. They got the ball rolling with two early tries & a couple of three-point penalty goals that gave them the advantage to build a lead and try to stay ahead. However, mistakes have been plugging through square pegs in a round hole where poor line-outs & continued lost penalties not only robbed their finishing opportunities with the ball, but it also spread to their defense where the Canes’ just let that slip away against a resurgent Brumbies attack.

And the only Australian Super Rugby team standing into the Final 4 belongs to the ACT Brumbies. They had to play 14 men for a while without Len Ikitau after his unfortunate red card earlier in the 1st half over a dangerous tackle on Aiden Morgan’s jaw. But not hope is all lost when the Canes also experienced some disciplinary issues that helped the Brumbies fought back with a seven-point trail at the break. Then a couple of fresh faces off the bench benefitted one way while they took advantage of the Canes’ missed opportunities going forward, as the Brumbies ultimately came out on top as the winning team.

Now the Brumbies on the cusp towards another Super Rugby Final where these supporters will be right behind them through every step of the way, whether they’re tuning in from home on Stan Sport/9Gem or travelling to Eden Park in Auckland by their side.