Thursday’s Rugby News – 24/8/2023 – Green and Gold Rugby

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My brother (Queenslander) introduced me to G&GR years ago and I’ve been an entertained listener, reader and very occasional commenter since. Matt Rowley created a great institution that filled a void in the rugby landscape providing diversion, education and the psychological support that any Tahs and Wallabies fan has needed over this decade and longer. Thanks a lot Matt for allowing a community to build around your idea and remember, you did promise to appear on a podcast again if we won the Bill.

This recent stint, as probably the nation’s oldest cub reporter, together with the other newbie writers (Newtta, Goldylocks, The Masked Avenger and GeorgiaSattelite) was just to keep the ship afloat and now we’ve made it to the shore. It’s been a pleasure to work with them and most especially Charlie Mackay, for whom I have the utmost respect and gratitude for his contributions to G&GR and rugby generally.

On to the real news…

Photo courtesy of Tim Anger
Billy Vunipola with a good tackle (ancient archive footage)

Vunipola Verdict

ESPN has a Reuters report that Billy Vunipola joins Owen Farrell in being banned for a dangerous tackle. Vunipola’s ban of three weeks will be reduced to two if he does a course. Really amazing that these courses cover things the coaches can’t. He’ll miss England’s RWC match against Argentina but potentially be available for Japan.

Historic Strategy

Rugby Australia have reported that Rugby Australia (RA), the Australian Super Rugby clubs, member unions and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) have agreed to pursue a historic strategic reset of rugby in Australia. The key changes are:

Member Unions will continue to oversee and deliver the Community game;

Super Rugby Clubs will be responsible for local talent development and pathways, as well as the operational delivery of Super Rugby Pacific and Super W programs, aligned with the National High-Performance Plan;

RA will lead the National High-Performance Plan and system, which includes national pathways and development programs, National Teams across XVs and Sevens and contracting players and key high-performance staff within Super Rugby Pacific, Super W and national programs.

There’s a lot of commentary about the benefits it’s intended to achieve.

I’ve read it and can’t say I’m much the wiser on this “historic reset.” It sounds like an ongoing commitment to the existing Super Rugby clubs, which is good. Otherwise, it seems to be left to each of the Super clubs to work out their pathways. How is a national third tier going to evolve from this? Where’s the linkage between grassroots and the national team? Is private equity still on the table? Maybe it’s too early for this detail so I’ll be interested to see when there’s a bit more meat on the bones.

World Cup 2023 Law Application

The recent World Rugby Media Release about bunker and shot clock changes were well covered yesterday by Goldylocks. The Rugby World Cup will feature all the 2023 Law Application Guidelines, including asking referees to be strong on negative player actions (eg trapping players into ruck, first arriving players (the jackler) not aiming to play the ball, hands on the ground). It will be great if this is picked up in practice.

Queensland Premier Rugby Awards

Queensland Rugby Media Unit have announced that Bond University outside back Rhian Stowers has been named the 2023 Alec Evans Medallist while Sunnybank scrumhalf Ana Afuie has won the 2023 Selena Worsley Medal at the annual Queensland Premier Rugby grand final breakfast yesterday at the Queensland University of Technology’s Room Three Sixty.

Voted by the Queensland Rugby Referee Association (QRRA) throughout the season on a 3-2-1 basis, Stowers topped the tally with 19 votes, followed by Easts scrumhalf Eli Pilz (18 votes) and Souths flanker and captain Kohan Herbert (16), who rounded out the podium.

Brothers in Arms

One of the few positives for Harry Wilson in not making the RWC squad is that he can play with his brother Matt in the Hospital Cup final.

“It’s going to be something very special. We never dreamed of it because it seemed so unlikely to ever happen,” said Harry, the Queensland Reds regular.”

Jim Tucker has a nice article in rugby.com.au.

15 days to go to RWC2023

World Cup Preparation

Not many sleeps to put in the bank. Even with these games been treated as ‘’practice games” (gee I hate the way the RWC has devalued tests) are enticing matchups. I’m particularly interested in what the Wallabies and Georgia put on the table in their games.

None of the teams will want to lose these games:

Spring Series

As an aperitif to the feast above Stan also has Force v Cheetahs game from their Spring Series streaming on Saturday 26 August at 10:55 pm from South Africa.

The Force squad for this series is:

Max Burey, Lopeti Faifua, Donny Freeman, Tom Horton, Bayley Kuenzle, Reesian Pasitoa, George Poolman, Harry Potter, Ian Prior, Jackson Pugh, Henry Robertson, Sam Spink, Josh Thompson, Carlo Tizzano, Angus Wagner, Jeremy Williams, Albert Alcock, Justin Landman, Ronan Leahy, Marley Pearce, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Regi Churchward, Jack Grooby, Ford Hemi, Fa’amanu Kalolo, Giovanni Leituala.

Team for France

The Wallabies team should be out today and can’t be more surprising than the squad. I’m hoping the starters are much the same as the last game for continuity’s sake. That suggests Donaldson starts from the bench, although I wouldn’t’ve picked him in the squad, Vunivalu might be worth a run. From his interview, he knows he’s fortunate and needs to repay the faith. If there’s going to be any return now’s the last chance. I wouldn’t push Tupou in too early and White is a known quantity. That would suggest my latest incorrect guess at a team is:

1. Angus Bell    (23 tests)
2. David Porecki    (14 tests)
3. Pone Fa’amausili    (5 tests)
4. Will Skelton (c)   (28 tests)
5. Richie Arnold    (4 tests)
6. Tom Hooper    (3 tests)
7. Fraser McReight    (12 tests)
8. Rob Valetini    (34 tests)
9. Tate McDermott    (25 tests)
10. Carter Gordon    (4 tests)
11. Marika Koroibete    (55 tests)
12. Lalakai Foketi    (5 tests)
13. Jordan Petaia    (27 tests)
14. Mark Nawaqanitawase    (6 tests)
15. Andrew Kellaway    (23 tests)

Potential Replacements

16. Matt Faessler    (1 Test)
17. James Slipper    (131 Tests)
18. Zane Nonggorr    (2 Test)
19. Nick Frost    (12 Tests)
20. Langi Gleeson    (3)
21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa    (0)
22. Ben Donaldson    (2 Tests)
23. Suliasi Vunivalu    (2 Tests)

What’s in a Name?

Onomatology is the study of names. The word is derived from Greek (onoma) which means “name”. We’ve all got at least one.

The Chinese traditionally have several and complex rules about who can use each. These might include an official name, a milk name (when born), a school name, a courtesy (style) name, a posthumous name and others. Confucius, for example, was actually Kong Fuzi (master Kong) which name was latinised by European missionaries. His clan name was Kong and given name Qiu, but on coming of age his courtesy name (for all but his older family), was Zhongni (the second son).

Surnames (family names) came into use in Europe from the 11th to the 16th century. Some derived from place names (Breton, Wallace – man from Wales), some from occupations (Carpenter, Boucher), some from attributes (eg red hair – Leroux, Rousseau), some from nicknames (Biggs, Little, Cruikshank).

Names have always come with a certain creativity. A number of Alabama newspaper stories ran from the 1930s to 50s about the family Jackson, sparked by the hospitalisation for tonsillitis of Tonsillitis Jackson. It turns out Tonsillitis was the oldest of seven born to Mrs Jackson who had taken to naming her children after whatever ailment she had around the time. Tonsillitis and brother Meningitis, had helped his parents care for his sisters Laryngitis, Appendicitis, and Peritonitis.

The nickname, derived from the Middle English ekename, meaning additional name is where it gets really creative and at its height there are some great rugby nicknames. How many times has a budding relationship withered by a mate calling you by your nickname?

I had a mate Greg, a nice bloke but with an unfortunate metabolism. If you wanted a nervous piss before a game, then you made absolutely certain you got there before A-Bomb.

Willem Alberts

Planet Rugby makes the case that you haven’t made it in rugby unless you have acquired a nickname from your peers. Here are a couple they turned up:

Kwagga Smith – Wrong Turn
Dubbed by the IsiXhosa commentators as his nose, which has surely been broken once or twice, resembles the nose of a character from the horror movie ‘Wrong Turn’. Brutally brilliant.

Willem Alberts – The Bone Collector
Famed for his massive hits, Alberts earned the nickname of Bone Collector years ago.

Ruck came up with these:

David Pocock – Bam Bam
One of the top physical specimens in the game, earning this Flintstones-related nickname.

John Eales – Nobody
Because nobody is perfect.

Sebastien Chabal – Sea Bass (I prefer The Caveman)
French fans dubbed him L’Homme des Cavernes (The Caveman) for his big beard and ferocious approach. But, at Sale, Sebastian Chabal became Sea Bass, a shortening of his christian name.

Brian Lima – The Chiropractor
For his shuddering hits both on and off the pitch.

Billy Twelvetrees – 36
Allocated by the Irish players apparently during the 2013 Lions tour, because twelve trees are thirty six.

Wales Online have some crackers:

Reuben Thorne – Suitcase
The moniker handed to the former All Blacks skipper by critics who felt he was being carried by his team-mates.

Mike Watkins – Spike
Out scrumping apples as a youngster, future Wales hooker and captain Mike Watkins fell and was impaled on railings. His sharp-witted schoolmates christened him Spike!

One of my favourites on G&GR (Hoss came up with a few) is Rob Valetini – Sideshow Bob. No explanation needed if you’ve seen the Simpsons. Hoss isn’t a bad one but it doesn’t count if you give it to yourself.

Looking forward to see what others come out of the woodwork. Please go for it.

Ah Love! Could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits – and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!
– The Rubaiyat

Omar, you well could say that about the Wallabies, RA’s new model, Womens’ Rugby support and the game in general. The returning G&GR team have an ambitious vision for this project, which I hope can be achieved while maintaining its communal character. Let’s look forward to killing the fatted calf on Monday and enjoying a refreshed G&GR.

Have a good one.



Credit To Onwer

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