Bret Harris

Author's details

Name: Bret Harris
Date registered: June 7, 2017
URL: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/super-rugby

Latest posts

  1. Rugby union has an image problem in Indigenous Australia | Bret Harris — July 20, 2017
  2. Under-prepared Wallabies need match-hardened Brumbies for Bledisloe Cup — July 16, 2017
  3. Move an Australian Super Rugby club to Japan and solve ARU problems | Bret Harris — July 13, 2017
  4. Short term thinking led to Super Rugby struggles of Force and Rebels | Bret Harris — July 6, 2017
  5. State of the union: can Australian rugby reclaim the glory days? | Bret Harris — June 29, 2017

Author's posts listings

Jul 20

Rugby union has an image problem in Indigenous Australia | Bret Harris

Indigenous Australia has provided champion players to the NRL and AFL, but it is time the ARU woke up from decades of neglecting Australia’s first peoples

It was wonderful to see Kurtley Beale dancing at the unveiling of the Wallabies’ Indigenous jersey in Redfern on Monday. Beale’s impromptu expression of pride in his Aboriginality was certainly an uplifting moment in an otherwise bleak year for Australian rugby.

But it also underlined the appalling lack of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the Wallabies. Only 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players – Beale, Gary Ella, Glen Ella, Mark Ella, Anthony Fainga’a, Saia Fainga’a, Matt Hodgson, Lloyd McDermott, Cecil Ramalli, Wendell Sailor, Timana Tahu, Andrew Walker, Lloyd Walker and Jim Williams – have played Test rugby for Australia.

Related: Under-prepared Wallabies need match-hardened Brumbies for Bledisloe Cup

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/21/rugby-union-has-an-image-problem-in-indigenous-australia

Jul 16

Under-prepared Wallabies need match-hardened Brumbies for Bledisloe Cup

The lack of Australian success in Super Rugby leaves the Wallabies in danger of lacking match fitness for opener against the All Blacks.

With only one Australian team in the Super Rugby playoffs, the Wallabies are in real danger of being badly under-prepared when they face the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney on August 19. The Brumbies are Australia’s sole representatives in the playoffs, while four of the five New Zealand teams have reached the top eight as well as three South African sides.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika lamented the lack of fitness in the Australian squad during the June Tests against Fiji, Scotland and Italy, but the situation is about to get a lot worse. When the Wallabies kick off their Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship campaign, the vast majority of the squad will not have played a game for over a month, which means the players will be severely lacking in match fitness. Cheika has organised three training camps for the Wallabies in Newcastle, Cessnock and Penrith and no doubt will work them hard, but there is no substitute for playing games. Even if Cheika holds inter-squad matches, it will not be the same as the real thing.

Related: Move an Australian Super Rugby club to Japan and solve ARU problems | Bret Harris

Related: It won’t happen any time soon but why shouldn’t the Lions tour Argentina? | Michael Aylwin

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/17/under-prepared-wallabies-need-match-hardened-brumbies-for-bledisloe-cup

Jul 13

Move an Australian Super Rugby club to Japan and solve ARU problems | Bret Harris

It’s a radical idea but one that at least deserves consideration with the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force still under the threat of extinction

With the axe hanging over the Melbourne Rebels and the Western Force, the ARU might be advised to follow South Africa’s example and relocate a Super Rugby team rather than cull it – and the obvious place is Japan.

South Africa have confirmed the Cheetahs and the Kings will not play in the contracted 15-team Super Rugby competition next year, but those two teams won’t disappear and are instead likely to move to the Pro 12 competition in Europe, which includes teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

Related: Short term thinking led to Super Rugby struggles of Force and Rebels | Bret Harris

Related: State of the union: can Australian rugby reclaim the glory days? | Bret Harris

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/14/move-an-australian-super-rugby-club-to-japan-and-solve-aru-problems

Jul 06

Short term thinking led to Super Rugby struggles of Force and Rebels | Bret Harris

Where patience was a virtue in rival code expansion, Super Rugby’s Melbourne Rebels and Western Force have been victims of short term thinking

A few years ago I was waiting for a NSW Waratahs media conference to start at the Super Rugby team’s headquarters at Moore Park in Sydney. I started chatting with a television reporter who told me she was an AFL fan and supported Greater Western Sydney.

At this point in the Giants’ history they could not win a game and suffered some huge losses. I asked the journalist if it was frustrating to follow a team that rarely won. Her answer was enlightening.

Related: Steve Hansen hoping pressure on All Blacks is a challenge, not a burden | Andy Bull

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/07/super-rugby-struggles-of-force-and-rebels

Jun 29

State of the union: can Australian rugby reclaim the glory days? | Bret Harris

The ARU’s trophy cabinet hasn’t been refreshed in a while, and the Wallabies fan-base is dwindling. It’s time for Australian rugby to get back to basics

In August last year, at a well-tended oval on Sydney’s affluent north shore, a undeniably significant moment for the game of rugby union came to pass. There was little fanfare, no reporters or camera teams present, yet when the Northbridge No1 Oval at the Shore School – a blue-ribbon nursery for rugby talent – was reconfigured to host Australian rules football matches, it was a sign the goalposts had, quite literally, shifted.

For many, the incursion of AFL into this rugby heartland was emblematic of the current state of the code. Battles are being lost on so many fronts, from the Wallabies all the way down to the grassroots and some believe the game in this country should start from scratch.

The posts at The Shore School No. 1 oval. Great for more boys to have the opportunity to play @AFL for their school. pic.twitter.com/hyT5wimOrb

Related: All Blacks-lite: Wallabies take inspiration from across the Tasman | Bret Harris

Related: Australian rugby currently languishing about 10 years behind New Zealand | Bret Harris

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/30/state-of-the-union-can-australian-rugby-reclaim-the-glory-days

Jun 20

Status quo remains in Australian rugby after ARU emergency meeting – for now | Bret Harris

Bill Pulver remains in a job and the Super Rugby cull is still on, yet there is every chance that by next year there will be a new CEO and there will still be five Australian teams

It is business as usual for the ARU, if you can call it that, after the emergency general meeting in Sydney on Tuesday turned into something of a non-event, but there is still a mood for change.

Bill Pulver is still ARU chief executive and the national governing body remains committed to axing one of Australia’s five Super Rugby teams, most likely the Western Force.

Related: Pulver stays on as ARU chief but an Australian Super Rugby team will be cut

Related: All Blacks-lite: Wallabies take inspiration from across the Tasman | Bret Harris

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/21/status-quo-remains-in-australian-rugby-after-aru-emergency-meeting-for-now

Jun 15

All Blacks-lite: Wallabies take inspiration from across the Tasman | Bret Harris

In a tacit acknowledgement that rugby has changed and they are trying to change with it, Australia are attempting to replicate New Zealand’s style of play

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. That seems to be the Wallabies’ motto as they use the June Test window to develop a new attacking style of play to put an end to the All Blacks’ 14-year dominance in Trans-Tasman rugby.

Related: Rugby league convert Eto Nabuli to make Wallabies debut against Scotland

Related: Australian rugby currently languishing about 10 years behind New Zealand | Bret Harris

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/16/all-blacks-lite-wallabies-take-inspiration-from-their-rivals-across-the-tasman

Jun 06

World rugby needs to consider radical step to help out Pacific Island nations | Bret Harris

Players of Pacific Island descent fill the squads of international rugby powers, but should discarded players be able to return to their nation of origin?

When the Wallabies play Fiji in Melbourne on Saturday the majority of players on the field will be of Pacific Islander descent. Obviously, the Fijians are Pacific Islanders, but 18 members of the Wallabies’ 34-man squad are of Pacific Islander descent,though centre Samu Kerevi, who was one of seven Fijians, has withdrawn following an ankle injury.

At present, there is also a decent percentage of Pacific Islanders playing for the All Blacks, while there is even a sprinkling in the British and Irish Lions, plus the English, French and Japanese national teams. It raises the a question for the game on a global level: are the Pacific Island nations just becoming nurseries for the top cashed-up countries in world rugby?

Related: Warren Gatland demands more intensity from Lions against Blues

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/07/world-rugby-needs-to-consider-radical-step-to-help-out-pacific-island-nations

May 24

Sanzaar relations with Super Rugby clubs hit rock bottom as new issue looms | Bret Harris

With the axe still hanging over two Australian clubs, a date change for the start of next season’s competition is set to further inflame tensions

Just when the fractured relationships blighting southern hemisphere rugby union seemingly could not deteriorate any further, a new issue is brewing which is likely to add further strain.

The relations between Sanzaar and the Super Rugby clubs could hardly be at a lower ebb, and the urgent need for governance reform for the showpiece competition has been highlighted over recent months.

Related: Super Rugby cull: Western Force not dead yet with Rebels feeling heat

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/25/sanzaar-relations-with-super-rugby-clubs-hit-rock-bottom-as-new-issue-looms

May 08

Australian rugby currently languishing about 10 years behind New Zealand | Bret Harris

Under the likes of Rod Macqueen, Australian rugby was always one step ahead. Now, after another weekend of disappointment, it finds itself desperately adriftIt is unprecedented, unimaginable and unacceptable. New Zealand teams have won all 17 games aga…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/09/australian-rugby-currently-languishing-about-10-years-behind-new-zealand