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Happy’s Thursday Rugby News – Rebels, Retirements, Teams Men’s and Women’s and The Tahs – Green & Gold Rugby

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Situated on the banks of the Severn, Bridgnorth RFC’s home is at constant risk of flooding – in fact, the pitch has been submerged five times within a two-year period. The club are currently fundraising to build a new “flood-proof” clubhouse on stilts.

As always this is a fan run site and any contribution is always welcome feel free to reach out to me at happyman@greenandgoldrugby.com.au be it with an article an idea or an opinion piece.

There’s also a ‘Submit a Story’ option. So feel free to have a crack as the more the merrier.

Strap in Guys and Girls this will be a long article today

Rebels Rise from the Ashes (Maybe)

Late breaking news yesterday was that talks seem to be advanced in a new entity taking over the Rebels. The Private Equity model seems to be on good footing and one can only hope that this is good news for the code in Victoria.

I have pasted the statement in full.

THE FULL STATEMENT

A private equity-backed consortium is in the final stages of high-level talks to move the Melbourne Rebels women’s and men’s professional rugby Club to Melbourne’s fast-growing western suburbs.

Under the innovative masterplan, the Melbourne Rebels would negotiate a deal with Western Melbourne Group which would see them sharing the Wyndham Regional Football Facility in Tarneit with the Western United Women’s and Men’s A-League teams.

Led by Leigh Clifford, the former Chair of Qantas and former CEO of Rio Tinto, the consortium he has assembled are all a part of the Melbourne business community that see the benefit of keeping professional women’s and men’s rugby in Victoria, but equally see the benefit of their first of its kind business model for Super Rugby, based out in the West of Melbourne.

The Melbourne Rebels consortium is well on the way to raising $20-$30 million from private equity to invest in the Rebels over a number of years.

The Federal Government and Wyndham City Council have been briefed on the plan over recent months.

There are obvious synergies and cost efficiencies between the sporting codes which would see both Western United and the Melbourne Rebels share a community-based facility and growth strategy. Wyndham is home to one of the largest Pasifika communities and already has a large Rugby Union fan base in the West of Melbourne.

The deal will include playing games in the recently opened 5000 capacity stadium and the 15,000 capacity stadium which is anticipated to be ready for the 2026/27 A-League Season and the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

The broader precinct owned by Western Melbourne Group in partnership with Wyndham City Council, features a 1000+ residential estate and over 100,000sqm of commercial land, which is earmarked to be the centrepiece of Wyndham’s Riverdale town centre and proposed Oakbank PSP.

Jason Sourasis, the Chairman of Western Melbourne Group, the parent company of the Western United Football Club, said: “The Western Melbourne Group’s vision has always been to host Multi Sports and create a vibrant city underpinned by sports, education, health and wellness.

“We are proud to have created only the second rectangular stadium in Victoria that is built for both men and women and is already A-League and Rugby Union compliant. 

There are obvious synergies hosting both Western United and the Melbourne Rebels and naturally, we are keen to explore those opportunities,’’ said Mr Sourasis, who is also Executive Chairman of Western United FC.

“Our first Women’s A-League game at Tarneit last month was a great success and this Saturday the 6th of April we take another huge step with the first Men’s A-League game at the facility. The growth of both our organisations will come from connecting with the local community and providing a precinct that the region can be proud to call their own.

“We welcome the opportunity to continue to achieve that connection in close collaboration with the Melbourne Rebels women’s and men’s teams.’’

Consortium spokesperson and current Melbourne Rebels Director Georgia Widdup said the move to Tarneit “would be the game-changer that the Melbourne Rebels and the sport of rugby desperately needs in Victoria’’.

“We have an exciting vision and a detailed, common sense plan to grow the sport of rugby in the fastest growing municipality in Australia,’’ Ms Widdup said.

“The Rebels are committed to the women’s game, the Pasifika community and important programs for the western region’s youth and this move will enable us to significantly expand these critical areas.’’

The Rebels club was placed into voluntary administration earlier this year and is restructuring for a bright future for the game, in one of the fastest growing rugby corridors in the country.

“The Tarneit Masterplan is a new financial model for our club, teams, our players and our fans that is sustainable and embraces our future, not our past,’’ said Ms Widdup.

“This is an opportunity to grow rugby’s grassroots supporter base and attract significant new private investment to make the game sustainable into the future,’’ she said.

“We are passionate about keeping rugby in Victoria but we realise for the Rebels and the sport generally to thrive we need to innovate and be smarter.’’

“We are also impressed by the vision of the facility and future of the precinct in respect to a core focus on the women’s game. As the first Super Rugby Club to pay its professional women players in Australia, we are focussed on continuing to develop the women’s game and we believe this provides us that opportunity to once again lead the sport”.

Rugby Union in Victoria has seen major expansion over the last decade throughout some of the fastest growing Pasifika communities in the country; through its growth in State school curriculum programs; and through its community Clubs that have embraced diversity and the women’s game in a leadership capacity.

Rugby’s investment through the State Government in the North at our State Centre of Excellence at La Trobe where women will be based for training and high performance, our investment in Clubs in the South East, and now our ground-breaking professional model in the West of the city, make rugby a game for all,’’ said Ms Widdup.

“Combined with the greatest sporting facilities in Australia in AAMI Park, Marvel Stadium and the MCG, we intend to continue to bring rugby to all of the Victorian community, and we look forward to being an integral part of the innovation and work that Jason and the Western Melbourne Group are doing in the West of Melbourne.’’

Sam Whitelock Retires from Professional Rugby

Winners are grinners #1. Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock can afford a smile after the game

As an Australian rugby supporter all I can say is thank goodness, as a Rugby supporter in general I can only say thank you for the enjoyment. (I did check the date) But seriously from The Guardian

Sam Whitelock, the most capped player in All Blacks history, will retire from professional rugby at the end of the season with his club Pau in France, the 35-year-old lock said on Tuesday.

Whitelock has played 153 Test matches since his international debut in 2010 and was part of the All Blacks sides that won the World Cup in 2011 and 2015.

I note that he says from professional rugby which to me means that some builder in Canterbury is going to have a bad day at club footy next year. 

Super Rugby Pacific Teams for This Week

Friday 5:05 pm AEDT – Blues v Western Force at Eden Park, 

BLUES (1-15): Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Ricky Riccitelli, Angus Ta’avao, Josh Beehre, Laghlan McWhannell, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali’i (c), Hoskins Sotutu, Taufa Funaki, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, Corey Evans, Rieko Ioane, AJ Lam, Cole Forbes

RESERVES: Soane Vikena, Joshua Fusitu’a, Marcel Renata, Anton Segner, Adrian Choat, Sam Nock, Lucas Cashmore, Caleb Tangitau

FORCE (1-15): Ryan Coxon, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, Sam Carter, Thomas Franklin, Tim Anstee, Carlo Tizzano, Reed Prinsep, Nic White (c), Ben Donaldson, Chase Tiatia, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Bayley Kuenzle, Max Burey

RESERVES: Ben Funnell, Marley Pearce, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Lopeti Faifua, Will Harris, Ollie Callan, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Henry O’Donnell

Referee: Paul Williams

Assistant Referees: Marcus Playle, Mike Winter

Blues by 5

Friday 7:35 pm AEDT – Melbourne Rebels v Fijian Drua at AAMI Park, 

Carter Gordon

REBELS (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Jordan Uelese, Sam Talakai (c), Josh Canham, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angelo Smith, Maciu Nabolakasi, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Glen Vaihu, David Feliuai, Filipo Daugunu, Darby Lancaster, Nick Jooste

RESERVES: Alex Mafi, Isaac Kailea, Taniela Tupou, Daniel Maiava, Vaiolini Ekuasi, James Tuttle, Matt Proctor, Mason Gordon

DRUA (1-15): Haereiti Hetet, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesake Doge, Mesake Vocevoce, Leone Rotuisolia, Vilive Miramira, Kitione Salawa, Meli Derenalagi (c), Frank Lomani, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Epeli Momo, Apisalome Vota, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese

RESERVES: Zuriel Togiatama, Livai Natave, Jone Koroiduadua, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Elia Canakaivata, Simione Kuruvoli, Waqa Nalaga, Taniela Rakuro

Referee: Damon Murphy

Assistant Referees: Graham Cooper, Jeremy Markey

Rebels by 7

Saturday 5:05 pm AEDT – Chiefs v Moana Pasifika at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton

CHIEFS (1-15): Ollie Norris, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Reuben O’Neill, Jimmy Tupou, Tupou Vaa’i, Samipeni Finau, Simon Parker, Wallace Sititi, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Damian McKenzie, Peniasi Malimali, Rameka Poihipi (c), Daniel Rona, Emoni Narawa, Etene Nanai Seturo

RESERVES: Bradley Slater, Jared Proffit, Sione Ahio, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Kaylum Boshier, Cortez Ratima, Josh Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown

PASIFIKA (1-15): Donald Brighouse, Sama Malolo, Sekope Kepu (c), Tom Savage, Ola Tauelangi, Irie Papuni, Niko Jones, Semisi Paea, Melani Matavao, William Havili, Viliami Fine, Julian Savea, Fine Inisi, Nigel Ah Wong, Kyren Taumoefolau

RESERVES: Samiuela Moli, Abraham Pole, Suetena Asomua, Michael Curry, Miracle Faiilagi, Aisea Halo, Otumaka Mausia, D’Angelo Leuila

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe

Assistant Referees: Stu Curran, Jackson Henshaw

Chiefs by a 20

Saturday 7:35 pm AEDT – ACT Brumbies v NSW Waratahs at GIO Stadium, 

BRUMBIES (1-15): James Slipper, Billy Pollard, Sefo Kautai, Darcy Swain, Nick Frost, Rob Valetini, Tom Hooper, Charlie Cale, Ryan Lonergan (c), Noah Lolesio, Corey Toole, Tamati Tua, Hudson Creighton, Ollie Sapsford, Tom Wright

RESERVES: Connal McInerney, Fred Kaihea, Rhys Van Nek, Cadeyrn Neville, Luke Reimer, Harrison Goddard, Jack Debreczeni, Declan Meredith

WARATAHS (1-15): Angus Bell, Julian Heaven, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Jed Holloway, Fergus Lee-Warner, Lachlan Swinton, Charlie Gamble, Hugh Sinclair, Jake Gordon (c), Tane Edmed, Dylan Pietsch, Lalakai Foketi, Joey Walton, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen

RESERVES: Theo Fourie, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Tom Ross, Miles Amatosero, Sione Misiloi, Teddy Wilson, Will Harrison, Izaia Perese

Referee: Nic Berry

Assistant Referees: Jordan Way, Matt Kellahan

Super Rugby Women’s Team Lists

Is that Hoss over there?

Friday 5:05 pm AEDT – Melbourne Rebels v Queensland Reds at AAMI Park, 

REBELS (1-15): Ana Mamea, Jayme Nuku, Jiowana Sauto, Easter Savelio, Tiarah Minns, Melanie Kawa, Sui Pauaraisa, Grace Hamilton, Sarah Hogan, Cassie Siataga, Teuila Pritchard, Crystal Mayes, Ashley Marsters, Chanelle Kohika-Skipper, Samantha Treherne

RESERVES: Mary Tuaana, Laiema Bosenavulagi, Paula Ioane, Sydney Niupulusu, Laetitia Bobo, Lucy Brown, Grace Freeman, Mia-Rae Clifford

REDS (1-15): Madi Schuck, Tiarna Molloy, Charli Jacoby, Ashlee Knight, Lucy Thorpe, Grace Baker, Carola Kreis, April Ngatupuna, Nat Wright, Carys Dallinger, Ivania Wong, Cecilia Smith (c), Shalom Sauaso, Caitlin Urwin, Lori Cramer

RESERVES: Liz Patu, Janita Kareta, Maletina Brown, TBC, TBC, Alana Elisaia, Mel Wilks, Mercedez Taulelei-Siala

Rebels by 7

Saturday 5:05 pm AEDT – ACT Brumbies v Fijian Drua at GIO Stadium, Canberra, 

BRUMBIES (1-15): Allana Sikimeti, Tania Naden, Iris Verebalavu, Kate Holland, Ash Fernandez, Siokapesi Palu (c), Lydia Kavoa, Tabua Tuinakauvadra, Kolora Lomani, Faitala Moleka, Jemima McCalman, Kayla Sauvao, Harmony Ioane, Biola Dawa, Ashlea Bishop

RESERVES: Erika Maslen, Sally Fuesaina, Iroha Kisimoto, Jess Grant, Loretta Mailangi, Bonnie Brewer, Kyah Little, Chioma Enyi

DRUA (1-15): Salanieta Nabuli, Keleni Marawa, Vika Matarugu, Asinate Serevi, Jade Coates, Nunia Daunimoala, Sulita Waisega, Karalaini Naisewa (c), Setaita Railumu, Jeniffer Ravutia, Atelaite Buna, Merewai Cumu, Vani Arei, Merewairita Naivoha, Luisa Tisolo

RESERVES: Jordyn Tihore, Salanieta Nabuli, Tiana Robanakadavu, Mereoni Nakesa, Teresia Tinanivalu, Evivi Senikarivi, Salanieta Kinita, Litiana Lawedrau

Brumbies by 5

Saturday 6:05 pm AEDT – Western Force v NSW Waratahs at UWA Sports Park, 

FORCE (1-15): Hinata Komaki, Sara Cline, Harono Te Iringa, Libya Teepa, Michaela Leonard (vc), Lucy Dinnen, Anneka Stephens, Tamika Jones, Samantha Wood, Renae Nona, Saelua Leaula, Trilleen Pomare (c), Sheree Hume, Haylee Hifo, Aiysha Wigley

RESERVES: Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke, Alapeta Ngauamo, Natsuki Kashiwagi, Alanis Toia, Brooklyn Teki-Joyce, Kendra Fell, Nicole Ledington, Siutiti Ma’ake

WARATAHS (1-15): Brianna Hoy, Brittany Merlo, Bridie O’Gorman, Kaitlan Leaney, Atasi Lafai, Leilani Nathan, Skye Churchill, Piper Duck (c), Layne Morgan, Arabella McKenzie, Desiree Miller, Katrina Barker, Georgina Friedrichs, Maya Stewart, Caitlyn Halse

RESERVES: Siusiuosalafai Volkman, Emily Robinson, Eva Karpani, Annabelle Codey, Sera Naiqama, Tatum Bird, Waiaria Ellis, Rosie Ferguson

Waratahs Opinion on results from someone who Is not a fan

Tah Man: next Governor General?

For context I am not a Waratahs supporter. Many are calling for Darren Colemans head at the moment. This is the thing that has haunted Australian rugby ever since I started following the code. 

Any result in Sport is binary but as Les Kiss said earlier this year you have to define what success is. The Tahs are one and five after six rounds which is not acceptable in any code but if you look more closely at the numbers, they have a points differential of minus 18. The Rebels are at minus 54 and the Highlanders are at minus 40. 

So my point is this Darren Coleman has a team that is clearly trying at the moment and are close in matches you are a missed penalty and drop goal from being three and three, they could only be a player away. I do have a problem with a lack of accountability with players who do dumb things without consequences.

Look at my team the Reds we have had a level of continuity from Brad Thorn to Les Kiss a process which had no real upheaval which has led to a team that has matured hopefully.

Hoss back tomorrow I suspect off the long run.

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