Rugby Real or Not Australia cannot support five Super Rugby franchises
It’s another busy week across the world of rugby, with Super Rugby Pacific heading into Round 4 and the Six Nations getting going again with huge matches in London and Cardiff.
We tackle some of the big talking points in the latest edition of Real rugby or not.
Five Super Rugby franchises is too much for Australian rugby if it wants them all to be as competitive as possible
Real. But the devil is in the details of that statement, especially when you look at the history of Super Rugby when all five franchises played simultaneously. While Australia have provided two Super Rugby winners in the past decade, most of those years the other franchises have generally filled the lower rungs of the ladder. But here’s the flip side, that without those five teams Australia would see more of their mid-level players go overseas, as is the case with Mack Hansen and Ireland, and end up playing for d other nations of the world. Australian rugby fans then wonder: why the hell didn’t we pick it up?
If not for the Force or the Rebels over the past few years, it’s entirely possible that Rob Leota, Andrew Kellaway and Feleti Kaitu’u wouldn’t have made their Wallabies debut; Leota and Kellaway ultimately turned out to be two of the season’s finds. Additionally, Leota is a local Rebels product while two other local West Australians made their Force debuts over the weekend. There’s also the not-so-small fact that Australian rugby was engulfed in civil war the last time it decided to kill off a franchise, and those wounds are still being mended. So while Jeff Wilson and John Kirwan make specific claims about the strength of Australian teams, they are slightly more nuanced than their segment on Sky Sport. The breakdown.
Izaia Perese’s contract and the addition of Rugby Australia make him the probable No. 13 of the Wallabies.
Not true. Perese’s decision to re-sign with the Waratahs and get a complement from Rugby Australia in the process, is a huge boost for what Darren Coleman is doing in Sydney, and further reinforcement that the Wallabies environment that Dave Rennie has built is which gamers want to be a part of. But Perese is probably still the fourth-choice center at the moment, especially considering Samu Kerevi is a lock at No.12 when available, and Len Ikitau and Hunter Paisami have each put in performances of stellar tests on the board. Perese, meanwhile, has just two games on the bench. That’s not to say he can’t work his way into the starting squad to face England; having an extra physical defender and an aggressive running back could be essential if Manu Tuilagi is fit and shoots for Eddie Jones in July.
Perese’s other point of difference is that he can also play on the wing, giving him great versatility when it comes to World Cup selection. Rennie is likely to make just 13 returns to France, so places will be limited when boarding the Qantas jet for Paris. The key for Perese will be to develop his game – his passing and short kicking skills as he mentioned on Tuesday in particular – and really become that complete midfield option. If he is able to do so, his claim to a starting spot in the Wallabies midfield will improve significantly.
France will go on and win the Grand Slam with victories over Wales and England
Real. The way they played France has practically already put the Grand Slam and the Six Nations in the trophy cabinet. Antoine Dupont may be making headlines, but he’s just one of many stars in a French side that has been at their flamboyant best throughout the series. They have scored 13 tries in three games so far, including six against Scotland, while their back line appeared to wipe Scotland out of the park with their relentless breakdown pressure.
Previously known for capitulating under pressure, France appear to have moved on from that issue with newfound resilience and one of their most adept packs in years. Don’t expect Wales to shoot much in Saturday morning’s clash, but the real test will come in the final round when France host England. While home game advantage should see them cross the line – the atmosphere at the Stade de France is amazing – England have the talent and ability to match them, if they can put it all together and succeed in Paris, that remains to be seen.
– Brittany Mitchell