Singapore sevens and Super W

As Brett McKay noted this week it is timely to have a reminder of the good in rugby, so why not add to the positivity?

The men’s Australian sevens team performed mighty well at the Singapore sevens over the weekend, taking a bronze medal. The usual kingpins, Fiji and New Zealand, secured gold and silver, while South Africa had their first loss after 36 wins on the trot.

The Aussie squad went to Singapore with four debutants: Michael Icely and Matt Gonzalez (Eastwood), Ben Marr (Warringah) and Tim Clements (Sydney University). So with a third of the team debuting, plus five other players with five or fewer caps, the third is a great effort.

Credit must go to Coach John Manenti and his staff for getting this team to fit together so well, so quickly.

Current World Rugby Sevens commentator and former English sevens player Rob Vickerman tweeted his highlights of day two of the tournament and in reference to Australia said “Best Aussie team I’ve ever seen.”

The men are now in Canada for the Vancouver sevens this weekend.

If you haven’t had a chance, check out the highlights of the Corey Toole from the Brumbies academy. He has fast feet, blistering speed, can tackle and a very average haircut. He has signed a one-year contract with the sevens program to cover this year’s World Series, Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup.

As an aside, it was great to see Charlotte Caslick doing some commentary for World Rugby and also running some training sessions for kids – no doubt as part of an ambassadorial role. As a superstar of the sevens circuit, she gets more tissue and recognition internationally than in Australia.

Super W

In what is another case of rugby being played but few are aware of it, this Thursday at 6pm is the Super W semi-final between the NSW Waratahs and the Queensland Reds at Eric Tweedale Stadium, in Sydney.

It is a rematch of last weekend’s final competition round, which the Waratahs belted the Reds by 46-0.

While disappointing that it wasn’t a close match, it did show that maybe, just maybe this Waratahs side are in with a chance of beating the Fijiana Drua in the final.

In addition, many of these Waratahs players will form the core of Wallaroos, which will be handy as with so little international play in recent years, combinations out of Super W will be critical.

For the Reds, Renae Nona played 10 and looks like she could develop into a classy flyhalf, as she seems to have the hands and time. Interestingly, back in 2019, Andrew Walker took two First Nations sevens squads to a New Zealand international schools tournament involving 32 teams, where Renae Nona, a Torres Strait Islander, was the captain of the girls team.

On the Waratahs side we are hoping Mahlia Murphy returns as she is a superstar but has had a bit of a hamstring issue the last couple of weeks. It has made a difference to have Arabella McKenzie back from her stint over the ditch playing in the Super Rugby Aupiki competition. She is a quality and experienced fly half who has both a good pass and kicking game.

Finally, have to highlight a bit of a favorite – Georgia Friedrichs was in the sevens program up until a couple of years ago. She is an absolute terrier and dynamo in the centers. She is not big but as you would expect coming from the sevens program has a great engine, great tackle technique, can jackal over the ball, and has a quality pass.

So there is a bit more rugby positivity.

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