So much for annual appearances on the Green and Gold Rugby podcast, where after a rather traumatic week for Australian rugby, I’ve earned a second guernsey in a month. It may mean I’m not on again until the 2019 Rugby World Cup, though.
A really enjoyable chat with Hugh Cavill and Will McDougall where we cover off the appointment of Michael Cheika as Wallabies coach, the Ewen McKenzie legacy, a narrowing of the focus now onto Bill Pulver and ARU management of this whole debacle, the Spring Tour squad, and even a quick look at the NRC Semis this weekend.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver, speaking after Ewen McKenzie resigned on Saturday night.
The Roar: One of these days, between 10am last Saturday morning and the release of Ewen McKenzie’s eventual book detailing his side of the story, the pennies will start dropping for ARU CEO Bill Pulver that all is not right at the pointy end of Australian rugby.
And not even the now-likely appointment of Waratahs Coach Michael Cheika, with a possible dream team of Stephen Larkham and Michael Foley as Wallabies assistants, can paper over the canyon-sized cracks in the administration of the game in this country.
Pulver’s extraordinary press conference follow-up on Saturday night, where he laid blame upon the media, and then the rugby public for the “character assassination” of McKenzie would’ve been funny if he wasn’t so absolutely serious.
And while my initial reaction was to wonder where this spirited (attempted) defence of McKenzie was ten days ago, it quickly turned to one of disbelief that Pulver was yet again missing the elephant-sized point behind all the media reporting over the last fortnight.
The Melbourne Rebels get around Mitch Inman (centre) after he scored the match-winning try against the Brumbies in Melbourne last night. Image: ABC Grandstand
ABC Grandstand Digital: Francis Leach was a happy Melbourne camper this morning, after the Rebels’ impressive win over the Brumbies at AAMI Park last night. The speed of his pre-chat retweet should’ve been a sign for me:
Another good Super Rugby chat regardless, in which we covered both the Rebels’ and Hurricanes’ shock wins thus far in Round 7, how badly tipsters will be going as result, and why the National Rugby Championship is going to be Bill Pulver’s legacy. Thanks once again to the ABC for the clip:
The Roar: It was the announcement Australian rugby fans had been waiting for since late 2007. From the moment then-ARU CEO John O’Neil cut the financial umbilical cord of the Australian Rugby Championship after its inaugural season, the calls for a re-establishment of third tier competition have been as loud as they’ve been persistent.
And given how hard he’s been pushing for its rebirth, from the moment he took up residence in the big office in St.Leonards, Bill Pulver was an understandably happy man as he fronted the hordes.
Nine teams, playing four home and four away games plus a bye, with the top four teams progressing to a Finals series. The entire NRC will be done in 11 weeks, running from the third weekend in August through to the first weekend in November.