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Thread: 2007 ARC Round 1.3, Vikings v Rebels, Preview

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    2007 ARC Round 1.3, Vikings v Rebels, Preview

    Vikings v Rebels, preview

    August 09, 2007 - 8:05am
    Story by: Sportal


    Venue & time

    Manuka Oval, Canberra, Saturday August 11, 2.30pm (AEST).

    Head to head

    Debut starts

    Walking wounded

    Vikings skipper Alister Campbell endured a horrific year in the Super 14 due to injury but his comeback at the end of the season for the Brumbies plus his selection as captain of Australia A gave the talented lock/flanker the chance to get back up to match fitness.

    Form

    The Vikings, with a stack of key players rested, lost a trail game last week against the Rams 28-10 but the fact that they had a chance to play 80 minutes as a team will hold them in great stead for this Saturday's clash.

    The Rebels have had a limited preparation with a number of players involved in the final of the Shute Shield between Sydney Uni and Easts. However, the students combination of Dan Kelly at flyhalf, Jack Farrer at inside centre, Nathan Trist at fullback and Peter Playford on the wing will give the Rebels plenty of fluidity.

    Who's hot

    Wallabies lock Mark Chisholm was the form Australian lock throughout the Super 14 and continued that form into this season's Test arena. He hasn't played in over a month, however, and it is his last run on the rugby field before leaving for the World Cup campaign in France. Injuries to Wallabies David Lyons and Cliffy Palu have given barnstorming No.8 Jone Tawake a slight hope of making the World Cup squad so he will be out to impress.

    Rebels winger Digby Ioane shone when given his Test opportunity for the Wallabies against Wales earlier this season and must have gone within a whisker of being included in John Connolly's squad to France. He is on the cusp of bigger things and will be looking to use the Mazda ARC to prove he is a superstar of the future. Veteran lock Matt Cockbain has been in such vintage form that Connolly included him in the Wallabies stand-by squad even though he hasn't played Test rugby for four years. With a World Cup carrot dangling expect a big game from the big man. Rebels skipper David Croft always gives 110 per cent so there is no doubt he will be leading from the front.

    Teams

    Canberra Vikings


    1. Nic Henderson,
    2. Saia Faingaa,
    3. John Ulugia,
    4. Alister Campbell (capt),
    5. Adam Wallace-Harrison,
    6. Mark Chisholm,
    7. Julian Salvi,
    8. Jone Tawake,

    9. Nick Haydon,
    10. Christian Lealiifano,
    11. Francis Fainifo,
    12. Gene Fairbanks,
    13. Matt Carraro,
    14. Eddie McLaughlin,
    15. Tim Wright.

    16. Anthony Hegarty,
    17. Dan Raymond,
    18. Peter Kimlin,
    19. Jack Vanderglas,
    20. Anthony Faingaa,
    21. Rowan Kellam,
    22. Tim Cornforth.

    Melbourne Rebels

    1. Scott Cameron,
    2. Nick Churven,
    3. Heamani Lavaka,
    4. Matt Cockbain,
    5. Richard Stanford,
    6. David Dennis,
    7. David Croft (Captain),
    8. Dave Haigh,

    9. Luke Burgess (Vice-Captain),
    10. Dan Kelly,
    11. Digby Ioane,
    12. Jack Farrer,
    13. James Lew,
    14. Peter Playford (Vice-Captain),
    15. Nathan Trist.

    16. Mike Ross,
    17. James Hanson,
    18. Liam Shaw,
    19. Filipe Manu,
    20. Jon McGrath,
    21. Michael Hobbs,
    22. Damon Murphy.

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    Rebels raise their flag and union hopes

    Stathi Paxinos
    Saturday, August 11, 2007


    THE Melbourne Rebels will run on to a rugby field as a team for the first time today in the Australian Rugby Championship.

    Their presence in the inaugural competition, based on an honourable concept but heavily criticised by some quarters as financially untenable, (Yes, Stathi is a SMH writer...) is being eyed by Victorian rugby powerbrokers as the precursor to the ultimate goal — a franchise in an extended or revamped Super 14 competition.

    But if that is to be achieved, all the omens will have to be favourable for the Rebels, who play the powerful Canberra Vikings at Manuka Oval this afternoon.

    The tournament, which will use experimental rules to quicken and simplify the game, is a concept that has been much criticised despite being based on the goal of building player depth in this country after decades of the Wallabies punching above their weight on the international scene.

    But there is far more at stake for the authorities in Victorian rugby, who are determined to make a success of the opportunity, even if the Rebels — made up of two players from each Australian Super 14 team, with the rest from Sydney and Brisbane clubs — go into the competition rated as the weakest of the teams.

    The rugby fraternity is still hurting from the decision to overlook Melbourne and award Australia's fourth provincial franchise to Perth when the Super 12 competition was expanded for the 2006 season.

    Victorian Rugby Union president Gary Gray said making a success of this project and building the infrastructure, and in the process transforming what had been an amateur sporting body into a professional outfit, would add weight to achieving its goal.

    "I suppose in a sense, Victorian rugby has been working up to this for five or 10 years," Gray said. "There's always been a hope and a desire that somehow we could have a professional team here … now we actually get an opportunity to complete the picture.

    "There is a real latent following for rugby here and I know if they're given the product they will come and they will support rugby in Victoria.

    "It was very hard (when Perth was awarded the franchise that became the Western Force).

    "There was anger, disappointment and a feeling of being let down because I think people truly believed that we deserved to have a team here in Melbourne because of the history we have and the opportunity in the business sense.

    "To be honest, I think our arse was on the ground for a year or two and we were looking for something and this came along."

    But the Australian Rugby Union has acknowledged that a loss has been budgeted for each of the first three years and stories have circulated that the competition would not last beyond its first season, or would be substantially altered next year, while critics questioned whether the tournament could draw crowds, particularly in Melbourne.

    The Rebels, who will be up against the omnipresent AFL and Melbourne-based teams in first-class rugby league and soccer during their season, play their first home game at Olympic Park next Saturday against a Gold Coast Aces team that should include World Cup-bound Wallaby Chris Latham, who is gaining match fitness after a knee reconstruction.

    Rod Macqueen, the 1999 World Cup-winning coach, who is acting as an ARU-appointed adviser to the Rebels, knows the challenge is on.

    "If rugby is going to challenge some of these other sports, it needs to have good roots in Melbourne because it is a very important part of overall sport in Australia," he said. "This side is representing Melbourne and it's a level of rugby that has been needed in Australia since it became professional."

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    Return from Exile
    Julia Whyte - The Canberra Times

    IF RUGBY union is the game they play in heaven, then Manuka Oval is Canberra's very own Valhalla.

    The Vikings' heaven.

    But what's gone on there is far from mythology or folklore.

    Legend? Perhaps, when you talk about those who once ran out on Manuka Oval representing Canberra. Players such as Joe Roff, George Gregan and Stephen Larkham who normally come to mind.

    Now, the Canberra Vikings are preparing to add a new set of names to that list - names such as Nic Henderson, Saia and Anthony Faingaa, Al Campbell and Julian Salvi.

    This afternoon those players will help kick off a new chapter in Canberra's rugby story, when they run out against the Melbourne Rebels in their opening clash of the Australian Rugby Championship.

    The new national competition is aimed at unearthing future stars, bridging the gap between club and Super 14 rugby and, most importantly, increasing the overall depth of elite Australian rugby.

    It is a competition that many hope will help Australia re-establish itself at the top of the Test rankings.

    But the ARC has not been without its sceptics.

    Part of the criticism of the new competition is that it won't evoke the same kind of passion from players and supporters that a side such as a Sydney University or a Randwick might because the teams lack history and tradition.

    But that's not so in Canberra.

    The players running out today represent a proud but often tumultuous history of Canberra's involvement in interstate competition; a history thwarted with controversy, rugby politics and tension, particularly during their times in the Sydney club competition.

    Canberra's team, then known as the Kookaburras, first played in the Sydney club competition in 1995.

    In that inaugural year the Kookaburras drew large crowds to Manuka Oval, most notably in their first game against Randwick, which they lost 30-26.

    Experienced ACT player Geoff Didier led the team out in that match, Gregan, having made his Test debut a year earlier, wore the No9 jersey, rising local boy Roff was at outside-centre and the lanky Larkham sat on the bench.

    That year, Canberra was runner-up and that success helped lay the foundation for a Super 12 team in the ACT.

    The Vikings, largely underwritten by the Vikings Group of Clubs, who have put about $4.3million into the side since its inception, continued to play in Sydney until 2000, when the NSW Rugby Union rejected their application to play the next season.

    Tuggeranong Vikings treasurer John McGrath, who was Kookaburras vice-president in their inaugural season, described the dumping of Canberra from the competition as a "brilliant piece of rugby politics".

    He said Sydney tried to sell the story that Canberra was simply a victim of a competition downgrade from 16 clubs to 12. But he said there was much more to it than that, including jealousy at the club's financial clout and player quality.

    "Face-to-face the relationship seemed good, we got along with the Randwicks and the Unis. It really was more the middle-level clubs who didn't support us being there," McGrath said.

    "We always felt one of the reasons for kicking us out was that they thought our players would still want to play in Sydney and we were actually approached by two clubs saying 'give us a list of your players and we'll look after them for a year and then you can have them back', which was a load of bull ... just the politics of it."

    At that stage the Vikings costs to play in Sydney were between $500,000 and $600,000 a season. McGrath said they looked at just backing a first-grade side to play in a competition and even considered sending the Vikings to a club competition in Wellington, New Zealand.

    But Brisbane came to the party in 2001, inviting Canberra to join the Queensland club competition.

    The Vikings dominated the Brisbane competition, which was weaker than Sydney's, winning the premiership for three consecutive years, with the likes of Matt Giteau, Matt Henjak, Mark Chisholm and Henderson on board.

    McGrath said after the 2003 season the Vikings weren't so much dumped from the competition as it being a mutual parting. Brisbane decided it needed to reinvent its competition and improve its standard of club rugby, without the dominant Vikings involvement.

    The Vikings returned to Sydney for two years, before once again organisers decided to cut back on the number of teams by one - Canberra.

    Last year, the team was in rugby limbo, while the finer details of a national competition were decided.

    The announcement of the Australian Rugby Championship set the ball rolling for the resurgence of the Canberra Vikings.

    The Vikings Group of Clubs are back on board and are spending almost $1.5million for three years on the team. McGrath said the organisation had long campaigned for a national club competition and believed it would further the ACT's contribution to Australian rugby.

    Brumbies and Wallabies prop Henderson, who played for the Vikings from 2002 for four seasons, is one of the players who credits much of his rugby development to being able to compete in Brisbane and Sydney with the Canberra side.

    He said it had provided a crucial step between Canberra club rugby and reaching higher honours, which he did in 2004 when he made his Brumbies debut.

    The former league player said the new competition was a positive step in improving rugby in Australia and giving players the chance to reach their potential.

    "It's giving guys a pathway to the Brumbies again which is what the Vikings has a tradition of doing. It's a team where in the past if guys performed well they picked up contracts," he said.

    Today when the players pull on the red, white and black and take to the field at Manuka, many of those who went before them will be watching proudly from the stands as part of a Kookaburras reunion.

    And no doubt they will join the crowd as it cheers on the next stars of Australia and Canberra rugby, just like a Manuka crowd once cheered on Roff, Gregan and Larkham.

    TODAY

    Australian Rugby Championship. Canberra Vikings v Melbourne Rebels, 2.30pm at Manuka Oval. Tickets on sale through Ticketek.

    ****************

    Unfortunately in a bad piece of timing... today arch rivals St Eddies play Marist in the local schools competition and it is also the last round before the finals of the local club competition. But as a plus it is sunny and they are still expecting a crowd of about 3000, despite the clashes.

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    Shame that couldn't have been the curtain raiser hey Evie, would have been an awesome experience for the Schoolboys and a boost to the attendance too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs
    Shame that couldn't have been the curtain raiser hey Evie, would have been an awesome experience for the Schoolboys and a boost to the attendance too.
    Yeah that would have been much better than the Navy v Army game that is being played as a curtain raiser. The Schoolboys game will draw away a fair bit of the Vikings crowd that is for sure.

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    Or go nuts and have both!
    I would love my Rugby "nights" to be a three match spectacle rather than just the main event or some obscure Govo School match as they have at Subi before the Force.
    Gives it a real feel of a build up and a sens of occasion.

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    By the way, I think I can watch this match via Sat so, if anyone has a particular interest in how any of the forty four players go, then let me know before kick off so I can watch them more closely.

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    Watching (slightly delayed) coverage on www.abc.net.au/rugby and the Rebels look a good unit, working well as a team.

    Also, #8 for the Vikings, Tawake also looks a useful player.

    Final score:

    Canberra Vikings 27 - 32 Melbourne Rebels

    Great result for the unfancied Rebels.....wonder how the vOdds will change after this weekend (Rebels were 50-1 in the first release).

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    Just finished on the TV, huge team effort by the Rebels to beat the Vikings!
    Really blew them away in the early minutes of the second half with a couple of quick tries.
    A converted try after the siren for the Vikings saved them further embarrassment of not getting the <7 Point Margin Bonus Point.
    The "Flying Scotsman" Eddie McLaughlin (actually a Kiwi but has been playing in Scotland and sounds better ) could prove to be a handful as a speeding midget (186cm, 86kg) on the Wing with great skills.
    Nick Haydon, Christian Lealiifano and Tim Wright all looked good lesser known talents for the Vikings.
    For the Rebels, Captain David Croft was absolutely everywhere and I would assume would get man of the match. His performance is an ominous sign of the ELV's though in that Richie MacCaw is destined to become even more dominant as what he already gets away with will become legal play.
    Other players who stood out for me were Scott Cameron, Luke Burgess , Dan Kelly, Peter Playford and Damon Murphy off the bench.
    In all though every Rebel player can hold their head high as it really was a team effort.

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    Argh is what I have to say!

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    What do you reckon were the crowd figures for this match - sounds like it was a cracker

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    Hope you didn't swear too much at Tawake Evie

    Didn't hear a crowd figure TQ1 but I think it will be down a little on the first two, only about 100 on the far side on temp seating.
    Hopefully a more suitable ground can be found in future years as it isn't very suitable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs
    The "Flying Scotsman" Eddie McLaughlin (actually a Kiwi but has been playing in Scotland and sounds better ) could prove to be a handful as a speeding midget (186cm, 86kg) on the Wing with great skills.
    Nick Haydon, Christian Lealiifano and Tim Wright all looked good lesser known talents for the Vikings.
    For the Rebels, Captain David Croft was absolutely everywhere and I would assume would get man of the match.
    I told you Eddie was awesome. He and Frankie have quite a bit of a following, each time either of them got the ball you could here "Go Frankie/Eddie Go". I was quite impressed with Lealiifano, at just a week older than me (19), it was a glimpse at a Larkham-less ACT team. Tim Wright was great to watch, you can see why he has played Sevens for Australia.
    Crofty was amazing (and did get MotM), his battle with Salvi was always going to be a key and as much as it pains me to say Salvi went a bit awol today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs
    Hope you didn't swear too much at Tawake Evie

    Didn't hear a crowd figure TQ1 but I think it will be down a little on the first two, only about 100 on the far side on temp seating.
    Hopefully a more suitable ground can be found in future years as it isn't very suitable.
    Oh I could have killed Jone especially early on.... but to be fair a few a lot of the Vikings boys had the dropsies.

    Crowd was actually bigger official number was 4355. It actually wasn't too bad to watch footy there, as they had the field pushed as close to one side as they could. I think I actually got shown on tv... I was down in the corner where Saia Faingaa got his try.

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    Goes to show my crowd judging ability
    To be fair the never actually showed the Grandstand
    Well done Canberra for the show of support, I hope this loss and an away thumping by the Spirit won't dent the enthusiasm

    Here's the VRU version of events:

    AAMI Melbourne Rebels upset Vikings for first historic win in the Mazda ARC!

    11 August 2007

    The AAMI Melbourne Rebels came from behind to score an historic upset win over the highly favoured Canberra Vikings at Manuka Oval in Canberra 32-27 today.

    The Rebels, rank outsiders in the new Mazda Australian Rugby Championship, slipped to 13-3 in the first half and were down 13-10 at half time before an impressive second half performance saw them run out winners over the tournament favourites, the Vikings.

    The Rebels started well with a strong run from captain David Croft from the first kick off, charging at the Vikings defensive line.

    The first scoring opportunity came in the 7th minute when the Rebels were penalized for going offside at a ruck. Vikings outside centre Matt Carraro landed the penalty to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead.

    Vikings No.8 was penalized for not retiring ten metres at a tap penalty three minutes later and sent to the sin-bin. Rebels inside centre Jack Farrer landed the penalty from 40 meters out to get the Rebels back to 3-all.

    A line out win for the Vikings after 14 minutes saw them set up a number of phases and then break down the right hand side. Vikings captain Al Campbell as the end of a neat set of hands to run in for the try. The conversion was missed but after 15 minutes the Vikings were up 8-3.

    At this stage the Vikings were dominating the line outs which led to some quality possession which they used well with backs and forwards linking superbly.

    In the 24th minute Captain David Croft was put through a gap by fullback Nathan Trist and set off on a twenty metre run down field. With support looming the pass didn’t go to hand and the possible try-scoring opportunity was lost.

    A mysterious free kick awarded by referee Brett Bowden, with no accompanying signal, saw the Vikings take a quick tap in the Rebels quarter. The ball was sent wide to where Vikings winger Francis Fainifo crashed over for the try. Vikings by 13 to 3 with ten mints left in the half.

    But just a minute later Rebels scrumhalf Luke Burgess made a half break running from a ruck on the Vikings 30 metre line and popped a pass for the People’s Vice Captain Peter Playford.

    The hard running winger charged into the Vikings quarter before passing inside to prop Scot Cameron who beat one defender and carried another one over the line in a barnstorming run to score the Rebels first ever try !

    The try was converted by Farrer and with 8 minutes to go in the first half the Rebels were trailing 13-10.

    The Rebels were on the attack s the half closed with Burgess’ runs from the scrum base proving hard for the Vikings defence to contain. The Vikings held on however to make the half time score 13-10 to Vikings.

    As Rebels coach Bill Millard said to the team at half time the much favoured Vikings were in a bit of “shock”at how competitive the Rebels had been in the first half and there shock as compounded by two Rebels tries straight after he re-start.

    Firstly a huge mid-field bomb from the kick off bounced over the Vikings fullback and was re-gathered by Burgess who passed to Trist who went over for the try under the posts. Farrer converted to make the Rebels shock 17-13 leaders.

    Then only seconds later the Rebels were in again as Croft turned over ball from a Vikings scrum on the Vikings 22 line and put Playford in for a run to the corner. Rebels up 22-13 and a hush falling over the stunned Vikings fans.

    The Rebels had more chances to go ahead with some fine breaks but it was the Vikings who scored next thanks to some good work down the blindside by Vikings fullback Tim Wright who put winger Eddie McLaughlin in in the corner.

    Carraro landed the excellent touchline conversion to make the score 22-20 with 18 minutes to play.

    Replacement fullback Damon Murphy had come on for Trist after 58 minutes and only a few minutes later he turned provider for the Rebels fourth and bonus point earning try.

    Murphy kicked deep and then followed up to charge Wright’s clearing kick down. He then picked up the rebound and passed to Farrer who barged his way over for his first try for the Rebels.

    The Vikings then put the pressure on with many phases close to the Rebels line but it was the Rebels who scored next with Burgess picking up he ball at he base of th ruck to run 80 metres and score for the Rebels.

    Farrer missed the conversion but with only 7 minutes to play it looked like the Rebels were on their way to an historic first win.

    A late try to Vikings hooker Saia Faingaa and a sidelined conversion gave the Vikings two crucial bonus points.

    RESULT:

    AAMI Melbourne Rebels 32

    (Scott Cameron, David Haigh, Peter Playford, Jack Farrer and Luke Burgess tries; Farrer one penalty and two conversions)

    Canberra Vikings 27
    (Eddie McLaughlin, Al Campbell, Francis Fainifo, Saia Faingaa tries; Matt Carraro penalty, two conversions) at Manuka Oval, Canberra. Crowd: 4355

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    Senior Player Contributor Evie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs
    Goes to show my crowd judging ability
    To be fair the never actually showed the Grandstand
    Well done Canberra for the show of support, I hope this loss and an away thumping by the Spirit won't dent the enthusiasm
    Haha, well the broadcast side was actually pretty much packed. I expect it will be over 5000 for the week after next game, as it is a Sunday afternoon (mind you against the Tornadoes) so no clashes.
    Nah, I think (read: hope) the Vikings boys will be shocked into action and come back stronger next week and hopefully stop with the dropsies!

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