Sports

Rugby News: ‘Don’t think it’s good enough’

Ray Nu’u’s miserable Super Rugby season took another turn for the worse on Wednesday when he was banned for four weeks after his red card in his comeback game following an earlier three-game suspension.

The Melbourne Rebels centre was sent off for his second game in a row, in the 81st minute of the Rebels’ clash with Moana Pasifika for a high shot on playmaker Christian Lealiifano and that is likely to rule him out for the rest of the Rebels’ campaign.

The SANZAAR judiciary reduced the suspension by two weeks, even though Nu’u was just back in action after his three-week suspension for another red card for the same offence – breaching Law 9.13 – ‘A player must not tackle an opponent early late or dangerously’.

“With respect to sanction, the Judicial Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to the World Rugby directive that mandates that any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range entry level,” SANZAAR ruled.

“Taking into account mitigating factors, including the Player’s remorse, young age, and conduct at the hearing; the Judicial Committee reduced the suspension by two weeks.”

The SANZAAR statement ignored Nu’u’s previous suspension and The Roar expert Brett McKay was among those surprised by the length of ban.

With four rounds remaining, starting with the Blues on Friday night in Auckland, and the Rebels unlikely to play finals, Nu’u is set to see out the season from the stands.

In other judiciary news, Crusaders lock Hamish Dalzell was suspended for three weeks for a dangerous tackle in the second half of their loss to the NSW Waratahs.

Crusaders’ hard hitting review

Scott Robertson reacted to the surprise loss to the Waratahs last weekend with a comprehensive review that stung his players.

Hooker Bryn Hall said the focus on the Crusaders’ poor start – they were down 14-0 in a flash – was particularly hurtful.

“Look, we’re going to lose games, we’ve lost games in the past, but when you question around our start and were we really there, and having those kind of [mindset] questions … it hurts as a player,” Hall said.

“I think for us, it’s the kind of traits that we live by that we weren’t living up to. That’s probably the most thing that hurt.”

Captain Codie Taylor said after the game finished that the Waratahs wanted the win more than the Kiwi team.

“It’s fair comments,” said Hall. “If you look at that first 20-30 minutes, you can’t really question it.

“That’s probably what hurt for us, we have a standard that we want to live up to and I have this crest on my right chest that we live by…”

Sydney Morning Herald rugby writer Georgina Robinson, speaking on the The Roar Rugby Podcast on Wednesday, questioned the Crusaders’ attitude.

“This isn’t going to go down well everywhere but I wonder if there might have been a bit of complacency,” said Robinson.

Host Brett McKay added: “Watching them play it looked like they felt they could just roll into Sydney and smack the Waratahs.”

While co-host Harry Jones agreed: “The Crusaders did not take the Waratahs seriously. The Crusaders thought ‘we’re going to roll over them, we’re going to stomp on them’.”

Jones said that a few years ago the Tahs would have folded when the Crusaders finally woke up but “this time they hung in there.”

Robinson warned that the Kiwi teams would bounce back.

“Every time this happens the Kiwis respond and they’re good at doing that,” Robinson said.

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French club waves Latu goodbye

Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu has been released by his French club Stade Francais after his 11-week ban ended a controversial time at the Parisian club.

Latu has been linked with a move back to the Waratahs to attempt to claim a place in the Wallabies’ squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup but so far the NSW team, who are happy with the progress of Dave Porecki, have been tight lipped on a potential return.

“Thanks to our hooker Tolu Latu for these three seasons,” the Parisians posted on Twitter.

“We wish you the best for what’s to come.

“Have a safe trip back home,” they added.

Latu scored six tries, was shown two red and seven yellow cards in 54 appearances for Stade Francais.

“It’s with a heavy heart I announce I’m leaving the club,” Latu said on Instagram.

“It’s time for me to go home and start the next chapter of my rugby.”

Brumbies looking to make amends

Australia’s top-ranked Super Rugby Pacific side, the Brumbies, have some unfinished business in New Zealand starting with the Chiefs on Saturday.

The Brumbies have won their last two against Kiwi opposition, beating the Highlanders in Melbourne and then the Hurricanes in Canberra, to sit second overall on the competition ladder.

But last year, like the four other Australian teams, the Brumbies struggled on New Zealand soil.

They lost all three games there and only managed one victory from two games in Canberra, with a two-point win over the Hurricanes their best result.

Their Wallabies winger Tom Wright said last year’s results had stung the team.

“Without making it about last year there’s definitely a bit of a burning sensation for a few of us,” Wright said on Tuesday in Canberra.

“We went over there last year and got touched up a little bit so definitely looking to make amends on what happened then so it’s a good opportunity for us.”

The Chiefs were 51-27 winners against the Waratahs during Super Round while they edged Queensland by two points in an ugly affair last weekend.

They sit fourth on the table and will fancy their chances against the Brumbies back home at FMG Stadium in Waikato.

Wright said his team had taken lessons from the New Zealanders to try beat them at their own game.

“It’s a little bit of tempo,” he said when asked what changes the Brumbies had made in the last 12 months to prepare for the Kiwi sides.

“On the weekend, we looked good when we played off the cuff and Whitey (Nic White) and Loners (Ryan Lonergan) were jumping out and looking threatening around the ruck.

“We’re trying to play in and out of structure … and take opportunities around the middle part of the field where the Kiwis have been really good.

“Tip our hat to them – we took a few things from stuff they do and it’s working for us.”

(With AAP)

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