Its only taken 23 years, but at last those running Super Rugby realise they must fix the bleeding obvious – the bewildering team names.
Since the competition began in 1996, the No.1 complaint has been that so many dont have a clue where the teams come from because of their silly names. It is rugbys Rubiks cube.
Thankfully, as revealed in the Herald, the broadcasters want Super Rugby teams to feature
the home city or region in their name. Not before time.
Their other smart suggestion is to make the Rugby Championship a tour-based itinerary with midweek games. For years the opportunity to blood youngsters in tough overseas midweek fixtures has been wasted. Instead such trips have often been a junket for fringe dwellers.
Scheduling several tour matches in a short time frame puts players and coaches under pressure to come up with good results. In previous decades, countless capable Wallabies were discovered in tough midweek matches. This is more rewarding than meaningless training camps where a never-ending list of coaches try to justify themselves.
The Howard mystery
Lloyd McDermott was among the most important of Wallabies – the first Test player
who identified himself as an indigenous Australian. His recent death, which was even
reported by The New York Times, has revived interest in who exactly was the
Wallabies first Aboriginal player. This is generally accepted to be Cec Ramalli, the
son of an Indian Muslim trader and Aboriginal mother, who played two Tests in 1938
at five-eighth before being a World War II POW.
There has long been vigorous debate whether winger John Jack Howard, who played alongside Ramalli in the 1938 Test team, was Aboriginal. Several notable Queensland officials and players were adamant Howard was Aboriginal; others werent convinced.
Some believed Howard died in a Japanese POW camp, after being captured in Malaya. While researching The Wallabies at War book, I spent months trying to track down Howards war record, but found no proof of him dying in Malaya. A John Howard from Queensland did serve in Malaya, was reported as missing, survived Changi, and returned to Brisbane in 1945. In Howards military papers, his fathers address is Aboriginal Station, Private Bag, Ballina.
It is not certain this is the same John Howard who played two Tests against the All Blacks. The final years of this Wallabys life remains one of Australian rugbys great mysteries.
We have early nominations for best rugby club food, volunteer, supporter and
ground. Parramatta have understandably nominated their legendary Dennis
Muncher Garlick, who this season is celebrating 50 years as a player, coach and
trainer. The renowned Dunlop Volley-wearing Hydration Executive has handed
water bottles to the likes of Ray Price, Tony Melrose, Mick Martin and Tatafu Polota-
Nau, rarely missed a training session and has never missed a game. On May 4, the club will have a Back to Muncher Day at Lidcombe Oval to celebrate his service.
The infamous Warringah Hillbillies, who invade Rat Park, have nominated
themselves as the games most enthusiastic supporters. When asked to describe
themselves, the Hillbillies came up with lazy.
Bob Doyle says the schnitzels at Wings Bistro at Eastwood Rugby Club are quality, while the Rat Park steak sandwich had Pops Macdonald drooling.
Ray Barber believes the most picturesque ground going around is Noosa Dolphins HQ.
Keep the nominations for the best of everything in clubland coming to [email protected]
Tombs lifts Shoremen
Rousing scenes when former Wallaby Richard Tombs was part of the Northern Suburbs'Read More – Source