Cracks appearing with Waratahs abroad
April 4, 2014
The ARU continues their cost-cutting with coach Ewen McKenzie expected to take on team managerial roles
South African road trips have over the years brought down numerous Australian Super Rugby teams, and there is concern that the Waratahs current visit to the Republic could see them go off the rails. Apart from discovering that they lose so much when Israel Folau is unavailable, and Michael Cheika finds himself in trouble with SANZAR for his behaviour on the Durban sideline, there are also worries within the Waratahs team management about the hangers-on who have latched onto the side. The presence in South Africa of several Waratahs officials - past and present - has NSW players asking who is footing the bill. The same players remain unimpressed that one of their favourite team staff members recently lost her job. And the Waratahs team management has not appreciated the antics of some of those alickadoos at the team hotel. With the presence of several well-known party animals in the Waratahs squad, Cheika, who with assistant coach Daryl Gibson are noted team disciplinarians, has deliberately distanced the players from the hangers-on. Adding to the tension is an official memo requesting Waratahs senior management to cooperate over an investigation concerning the province's finances. Several officials - again past and present- are understandably very jittery as certain discrepancies are bound to be raised.
Unrest among Reds and Brumbies
The Queensland Reds are winning again, but we keep hearing they are not all pally-pally. Quade Cooper remains at odds with some members of the Reds management, while another notable player in the squad has lost the respect of his teammates because of his own ambitions. There are concerns that some players are 'untouchable.' At the Brumbies, there are also rifts, complaints about team leadership and some just 'going through the motions', plus uncertainty caused by players indicating they are heading overseas following the Super Rugby season. The Reds and Brumbies are also understood to be unimpressed with the constant media push from the ARU aimed solely at relentlessly promoting ARU agendas and ignoring the Super Rugby tournament. Their patience is wearing thin. And no we are not going to make any cheap gags that rugby is so on the nose the ARU had to this week announce a deodorant and male grooming supplier sponsorship. Smell like a Dove indeed!
Quote of the Year
ARU head honcho Bill Pulver told New Zealand journalist Marc Hinton: "The AFL and NRL enjoy, respectively, $250m and $200m of broadcasting revenue a year. We've also got what we call soccer, which has landed in a bit of a sweet spot as Australia goes increasingly multicultural."
As you would say Bill, we don't want to 'sugarcoat' this… but what are you talking about? 'Got what we call soccer', 'sweet spot', 'increasingly multicultural.'
Oh no! Hate to say it but 'Soccer', otherwise known as 'Football', the world's No.1 sporting code, has been popular in Australia for decades.
Oxford Street wanderer propels rant
Our item last week about a visiting Super Rugby player lucky to escape a night in the cells after police had to talk to him outside an Oxford Street nightclub in Sydney last weekend, caused major drama at an Australian province. Our ever-reliable snouts say that a prominent official from that province after reading the item described the player in the most derogatory of terms. The official then went on an extremely rude rant and rave. We've been told that what the official said was unacceptable. Player fines were even threatened. Let's hope something is done about this, and the official is duly marched out of the place. Numerous players at that province would not be upset if he was forced to depart.
Greg Growden and Russell Barwick give you the inside word on Super Rugby round eight%]
Rebels reserves riding rough
Due to some Australian provinces not allowing their players to appear for their Sydney or Brisbane grade clubs, they instead are involved in some weird B grade affairs. The Manly Daily newspaper reported that Rebels forwards Jordy Reid and Eddie Aholelei, instead of playing for their Manly Marlins club, have been involved in a Melbourne competition, which is lower grade Subbies standard at best. Reid last weekend played in a rough and tough part of Melbourne, where a housing commission estate bordered the ground. As onlooker Arthur Daley said: "Each time the ball was kicked over the fence they never got it back." They finished the game with a kid's footy the size of a pawpaw. Next week, they are contemplating playing with a ping-pong ball.
Rumours of the week
Lawyers are now involved in the episode involving a leading Australian rugby official facing an investigation over overseas share transactions. Apparently some former work colleagues are not exactly missing him. More soon.
Wagging tongues everywhere following a fascinating scene at the Machiavelli restaurant in Sydney where a former influential Waratahs board member was sighted involved in a close and very, very involved lunch with a current board member. Sitting just a few tables away was one of Sydney's best-connected social gossip writers. Whoops.
Who is the ARU official now known around the St Leonards office as 'Fertiliser"?
An Australian provincial coach's campaign to get a $50,000 salary increase has failed. The province showed no interest. Funny that his CV has now suddenly turned up at London Scottish and Wasps.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Join the conversation with Greg on Twitter @GregGrowden
Communication error please reload the page.
Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has played down suggestions that Manchester City's defeat by Liverpool on Sunday was the decisive result in this season's Premier League title race
Kyle Sinckler will miss Harlequins' clash against London Irish at the weekend after being handed a one-week ban
French club Bayonne have announced the signings of England-capped back Mathew Tait on a two-year contract and All Black Tom Taylor, who has agreed a three-year deal
Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak has been charged with violent conduct for elbowing West Ham's Diafra Sakho, the Football Association has announced
Liverpool have recorded an annual profit for the first time in seven years
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
John Terry was visibly emotional during the national anthem in Sunday's League Cup final, but don't get your hopes up - he's not coming back to the England team
The winter is always a time of speculation, but this year the F1 circus will pack its bags for Melbourne with more uncertainty than usual
How many golfers have shot an albatross at the British Open?
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Tyson Fury moved closer to a shot at Wladimir Klitschko's WBO title with Christian Hammer's corner throwing in the towel after the eighth round at the O2 Arena
Sir Bobby Charlton thinks Louis van Gaal was "surprised by the enormity" of Manchester United when he took over as manager last summer
Chris Eubank Jr has called for a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders after stopping Dmitry Chudinov to claim the WBA 'interim' middleweight title at the O2 Arena in London
Brendan Rodgers hailed Philippe Coutinho as "a joy to watch" after the midfielder scored a spectacular winner against Manchester City and claimed it is "frightening" to think what the Brazilian could be worth
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Daniel Sturridge's fitness must be managed properly so that the striker "doesn't break"
Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher marked his return to football punditry by coining a new name for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
We rewind to 2003 when Real Madrid brought a park attitude to their Champions League clash with Manchester United and played out a 4-3 thriller
The tale of the Jamaica bobsled team who triumphed against the odds at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics is embedded in pop culture more than 25 years on, writes Nick Atkin
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Olivier Giroud gets emotional, Dimitar Berbatov is a bit smug, Arsene Wenger is hurting and Rory McIlroy is "p***** off"