The Magic of the Cup.

By Daniel Andruczyk

This weekend showed why the English and for that fact anyone who loved Rugby League loved the Challenge Cup. My time in England saw me grow to love a few teams, Catalans, Leeds and Barrow. This week all teams and a few others showed why knockout Rugby can be so good. Fiji Secondary schools had their semi finals, I managed to catch up with some of the Cronulla Sharks players and see their match against Brisbane. Also is the NRL in crisis?

England Youth Lose Two Test Series

Friday night the England Youth team played their second test against the France U16’s team in Entraigues. The French, having won the first match 19-16, were full of confidence and that is exactly they way things went for them. At the break the French were 23-0 up and the hill seemed like a mountain to the English boys. However a second half fight back showed some potential but it was not enough. France ended up winning it 29-14.

Fijian Secondary Schools Competition

So the Fiji Secondary Schools competition is finally into its last stages. The Semi-Finals were played over the weekend. In the U15 QVS Knight 34 defeated St Sukuna Dragons 12 and Lelean Bulldogs 20 beat Suva Grammar 8. In the U16 Lelean had another strong win over the Nabua Broncos 48-4 and Suva Grammar beat Gospel High School 12-2. The U17 saw QVS have a good win against Marist Brothers 20-14 and Suva Grammar lost to the Nasinu Panthers 2-10. Lelean once again showed their strength in the U18 beating John Wesley College 30-14 and Nasinu Panthers beat Gospel high 24-18. In the U19’s Nasinu Panthers 22 beat QVS 0 and Suva Grammar had a good win over Nabua 32-10.

The competition now goes into the finals this weekend and should be a great day out for all concerned. If you are in Fiji this weekend then do make sure you get out there and have a look at the great talent on display. You never know there may be a future NRL and Fiji National star!


National Rugby League, Australia

The Cronulla Sharks now sit at the bottom of the table having gone down to the Brisbane broncos 44-16. Elsewhere the Melbourne Storm had a very slow start to Manly and just lost to the Sea Eagles 18-16. In other matches The Dragons beat Gold Coast 19-6, Canterbury absolutely thrashed Wests 24-4. Newcastle had a dominant display against the Cowboys 36-18 and the Chooks beat Canberra 26-6. Penrith got a good away win in Auckland against New Zealand 40-12 and Parramatta came back from a 8-2 half time deficit to win 22-8 against Souths.

Team P W D L PD Pt
St George/Illawarra 6 5 0 1 67 10
Penrith 6 4 0 2 58 8
Manly 6 4 0 2 54 8
Wests 6 4 0 2 23 8
Melbourne 6 4 0 2 23 8
Sydney City 6 4 0 2 19 8
Gold Coast 6 4 0 2 -16 8
South Sydney 6 3 0 3 21 6
New Zealand 6 3 0 3 10 6
Canterbury 6 2 0 4 14 4
Parramatta 6 2 0 4 -20 4
Newcastle 6 2 0 4 -25 4
North Queensland 6 2 0 4 -34 4
Brisbane 6 2 0 4 -41 4
Canberra 6 2 0 4 -63 4
Cronulla 6 1 0 5 -85 2

However all seems not to be well with the refereeing standards in the NRL. There were right through all the matches some absolute howler decision, culminating in the Souths – Parramatta match where the wrong player was sent off! Both teams seemed to be perplexed by that one and there is a call now for Refs boss Robert Finch to be sacked. It seems that despite the two ref system, the same mistakes if not worse are still being made. I was at the Sharks game and some of the decisions there, on both sides, were bizarre with even the Broncos fans admitting that the refs seemed to be playing to the home crowd. What is the solution, well who knows?


Cronulla Sharks

Saturday I went out to Langlands Stadium In Coorparoo Brisbane not just to catch the match but also some of the Cronulla Sharks Players were out doing a fans meet and greet. A big good on you and thanks needs to go out to the players and coach. I managed to get a bit of a chat with Trent Barrett and asked him about his time in the Super League. He said that it was a lot of fun and fantastic and for anyone who doesn’t have family commitments is a great place to be, but his family is what forced him back to Australia but did not regret being over there… Good on you Trent.


I also had a quick chat with Rick before leaving, and we seemed confident that the team is very close to gelling and starting to put some big wins on the board. I also mentioned that we had met once before at Henson Park when he was Roosters coach… he had a chuckle saying, “Gee, that was a long time ago now…”. Some of the other players that came out were John Morris, Ben Pomeroy, Tim Smith, Luke Douglas and Isaac Gordon.


Challenge Cup Magic

This weekend there was no Super League, but there was Challenge Cup! And oh what a great round it was. Round 4 had the Magic of the Cup come back and showed why the Knock out comp is so wonderful. Teams that are the bottom dwellers, that is Catalans and Harlequins managed to beat their fancier rivals to go through to the 5th round. But what was more remarkable were Barrow Raiders. Ok So they are top of the Co-operative Championships but hell to beat a Super League club, yes they beat Castleford, and away from home was momentous! A friend of mine from barrow was calling me at 6 am in the morning bragging about it. The other shock results was Whitehaven who are in the Co-operative Championships getting done by Blackpool who are in the Co-operative Championship 1! So here are the full results from the round. York 8-58 Crusaders, Hunslet 42-12 Oldham, Swinton 4-56 Halifax, Limoux 20-32 Leigh, Harlequins 23-16 Wakefield, St Helens 56-16 Toulouse, Catalans 30-8 Salford, Sheffield 34-50 Wigan, Siddal 2-34 Batley, Hull FC 24-48 Leeds, Castleford 28-34 Barrow, Warrington 48-24 Featherstone, Blackpool 24-18 Whitehaven, Hudersfield 40-12 Hull KR and Dewsbury 0-50 Bradford. The Lezignan Widnes match has been postponed because of the the Volcanic plume over Europe.

The 5th round (round of 16) draw has also been done and the match ups are: Halifax vs. Batley, Barrow vs. Hunslet, Bradfor vs. Leigh, Harlequins vs. St Helens, Crusaders vs. Catalans, Huddersfield vs. Warrington, Leeds vs. Blackpool and Widnes/Lezignan vs. Wigan. There is an incentive for the french to do well if I ever saw one, to have a challenge Cup match at home against a Super League team!

Cook Islands Championships

In the Cook Islands Championships, the few results I have been able to obtain are as follows. Titikaveka Bulldogs lost to the Avatiu Eels 62-16, The Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles just beat the Aitutaki Sharks 26-24 and the Avatiu Eels had another win against the Arorangi bears to seal top spot 27-20.

Team P W D L PD Pt
Avatiu 4 4 0 0 68 8
Tupapa 1 1 0 0 14 2
Ngatangiia/Matavera 2 1 0 1 -12 2
Arorangi 3 1 0 2 -13 2
Aitutaki 2 0 0 2 -5 0
Titikaveka 2 0 0 2 -52 0
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