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Fair or not, clock ticks for Hill as Rebels coach

THE BREAKDOWN

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NZ pride on the line when Canes host Tahs

Can the NZ conference finally get one over the Aussies by beating the Waratahs?

PT0M0S 620 349

Embattled Rebels coach Damien Hill has handled well the recent speculation over his future in Melbourne. He is certainly not the first coach and will not be the last to find himself under fire early in the season - Waratahs, anyone? - but the issues he has confronted with his playing group have been more serious, and his handling of the recent Kurtley Beale crisis deserves recognition. It is, however, a near certainty the Rebels board will cast around for interested candidates should the faltering club slump to their sixth loss of the season against the Force in Perth on Saturday. It is understood the board has not yet made that call but after two seasons in charge and one as assistant coach, Hill is running out of time to turn around his fortunes.

Plan ''B'' in play

The Sydney clubs are resigned to the implementation of ARU boss Bill Pulver's ''Super B'' rugby competition as the latest incarnation of the badly needed third-tier competition. But they're not resigned to competing with it for attention, and have appointed Norths president Tony Crawford to lobby on their behalf for a staggered season. The club presidents' proposal would see the Super B competition run over the first 10 weeks of the regular Super Rugby season, with the Shute Shield following. Crawford, father of Waratahs rookie Cam Crawford and the former long-serving chief executive of law firm DLA Phillips Fox, could find some sympathy on the timing front, since Pulver is keen to give clubs their best chance to thrive. But there is also a distinct feeling the outcome of the joint ARU, QRU and Sydney Rugby Union Premier Rugby taskforce review will mean a shorter, tighter and more competitive club competition in Sydney next year. What that means for some of the clubs struggling to field teams and stay afloat financially, such as Gordon and Penrith, is unknown.

Retro active: The Wallabies' new jersey is 25 per cent lighter, but seemingly much brighter.

Retro active: The Wallabies' new jersey is 25 per cent lighter, but seemingly much brighter. Photo: Supplied

Launch pads

Speaking of club rugby, the calendar has been packed with season launches over the past fortnight. Manly held its bash on Thursday night, Penrith welcomed Waratahs coach Michael Cheika and NSWRU chair Nick Farr-Jones to theirs last week, and Randwick will on Friday host Pulver, Alan Jones and federal minister Peter Garrett at their own. The Galloping Greens will also announce the formalisation of their relationship with UNSW, with vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer coming along to take part. The smart clubs know their futures lie in economies - or at least communities - of scale. Gordon, despite their financial woes, are developing a closer relationship with UTS. It's all a bit reminiscent of the plan floated by RUPA boss Greg Harris to align every rugby club in Australia with a tertiary institution.

Tops on team

It's a little bit green, a little bit parochial and more than a little bit 1970s Socceroos. We're even wondering if mullet 'n' mo' aficionado Berrick Barnes had a hand in its design. It's the new Wallabies jersey, complete with a green patch coat of arms, thick green stripe and, in case the British and Irish Lions need a navigational tool, the Southern Cross emblazoned across the torso. The jersey is also, says manufacturer KooGa, 25 per cent lighter than its predecessor. Next off the production line will be Australia's secret weapon in the supporters' wars. Desperate to prevent a repeat of the sea of red that greeted the Wallabies at the Gabba in Brisbane 12 years ago, the ARU has been working up a very clever garment for Wallabies fans to don in the stands. We can't say too much now but we can guarantee it won't be as stifling or unflattering as the ''Golden Suit'' onesie, nor as cutesy as the popular spirit hoods, which were great last year but too cuddly for the incoming Lions.

Twitter- @geerob

7 comments so far

  • If you want to avoid fans being swallowed in a seas of Red, make supporters merchandise affordable.

    Commenter
    Ben
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    April 05, 2013, 8:35AM
    • Ben from Sydney is spot on - at the price they're charging for tickets to the game, make the merch affordable for once and we'll compete with the sea of red!

      Commenter
      naliestes
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 05, 2013, 8:45AM
      • Gents - visit http://www.lovell-rugby.co.uk and have a look. Pay no VAT so knock 20% off the price, and delivery to Oz is about 15 quid. Just had a Lions jersey and jacket delivered in about 2 weeks, $115 all up - Rugby Fever in Melbourne wants $120 for the shirt alone.

        Obviously haven't got the new one yet, but last years is 40 pounds - probably about $70 delivered.

        Alternatively - enjoy the red!

        Commenter
        PB
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        April 05, 2013, 11:55AM
        • Agreed! I got my Lions jersey (incl shipping) for about $100. $50 less than a Waratahs jumper? Something wrong with this picture!

          Commenter
          PeterB
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          April 05, 2013, 1:40PM
          • @ PeterB

            Ummmm....it's pretty obvious what's wrong here....picture this...YOU bought a Lion's jersey !
            Everyone knows that Waratah's jersey (in your case a 'jumper') ...is worth heaps more.
            Agreed ?

            Commenter
            Machooka
            Location
            inner west sydney
            Date and time
            April 05, 2013, 2:03PM
          • Not only make it more affordable...can we stop mucking around with the jumper, return it to its traditional gold, and make it desirable to wear!

            Commenter
            Alf
            Location
            Phuket
            Date and time
            April 05, 2013, 4:05PM
        • Unfair that the clock is ticking for Hill? I think not.
          I believe he has had more than sufficient time to get a winning percentage on track with the players at his disposal.
          Further, I believe that the 'letting go' of the Rebels first 'home-grown' Wallaby Nick Phipps obviously with a long career in from of him is nothing short of ridiculous in as far as the culture of the Club is concerned to say nothing of the esprit- de-corps of the current team. What sort of message does it send to players when an outstanding one is 'let go' in favour of a very good but ageing halfback?
          What does Hill expect of team morale with such behaviour of team management?
          And when morale drops so does team performance.
          The Red's Coaching Director is on the move - a return home to Melbourne by him should be encouraged

          Commenter
          Strineranger
          Location
          SW VIC
          Date and time
          April 05, 2013, 5:36PM

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