Super Saturday: Rugby Union and Rugby League overload

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Super Saturday: Rugby Union and Rugby League overload
NELSON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 06: TJ Perenara of the All Blacks runs the ball during a New Zealand All Blacks training session at Trafalgar Park on September 6, 2018 in Nelson, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

It is not often that Rugby Union and Rugby League fans have such conflicting match schedules, as they do on this Super Saturday. With both the All Blacks and NZ Warriors playing, it might end up as a question of sport?

Which one do i watch Live?

That decision is similar to other choices that sports fans make every weekend. To attend a live sports event, or to watch it on television? That judgment is made considering location, however with a conflict in scheduling and fan loyalties, on this Super Saturday, some will go to great length to enjoy both.

Super Saturday: Rugby Union and Rugby League overload

Last Word on Rugby are just as concerned that the conflict in scheduling may mean a high use of the DVR recording feature. Pay TV today offers many benefits – a large choice of live sport being foremost – so the ability to watch one game, and record another means that it can be a back-to-back option.

Of course all over the rugby-globe, the same choices are made daily. In the United Kingdom, Super League must compete with the Gallagher Premiership, as well as Guinness PRO14 and the French Top14. In Australia; where league is the more dominant code, the NRC has to compete with the NRL, which is entering it’s knockout stage.

The NRL is as popular across the Tasman in New Zealand (NZ). But inconveniently, the match is the early afternoon game of a busy Saturday in Sydney – scheduled for 4:30pm in the afternoon. This is why (considering the time difference) and with the NZ Warriors headed to the Telstra NRL Premiership Finals, the conflict with the All Blacks playing Los Pumas means a huge choice must be made by footy fans.

New Zealand v Argentina – 7:35pm (NZT) Trafalgar Park, Nelson

Penrith Panthers v Warriors – 7:30pm (NZT) ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Making that choice is individual. Rugby Union v Rugby League has been an argument for generations, so loyalty and favouritism will play it’s part. The two codes are vastly different, with the fast pace of league attracting many, while the hard-nosed and free flowing style of union has it’s supporters.

On Super Saturday, fans will make their choice. 

Nelson to host first All Blacks International Test match

All week, news and images out of Nelson – a town on the tip of the South Island, will host their very first All Blacks test match. They have hosted games during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and Trafalgar Park is the home ground of the Tasman Mako.

The major investment in extra seating has been welcomed by fans, with the fixture Sold Out! 21,000 will be seated in the small, unique venue. And those who have made the choice to fly into Nelson, will enjoy the small-town feel and the terrific weather.

Los Pumas will be focused intently on defeating the All Blacks. That would be their first victory, only ever achieving a draw in their history of tests against New Zealand. Since 1979, on 25 occasions the All Blacks have been successful. Now, with Mario Ledesma bringing his famous culture and enthusiasm, this will be a significant step forward for the South American side.

The Rugby Championship see’s the NZ side leading, with two wins but, Argentina would ‘turn the table upside down’ if they could overcome the hosts. It would be a monumental result; as much as a giant blip in the current World Cup holders planning.

Opposing them will be a relatively inexperienced All Blacks squad. The calls to allow others to gain experience, will see TJ Perenara (see main picture) hold the link between the pack, and to distribute for a backline stacked with speed and the ability to run from anywhere.

Australia v South Africa – 8:00pm (AUS) Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

With so many changes in both sides, the need for a win is just as powerful a motivator, as it is for Los Pumas. Rassie Erasmus has juggled his squad, as has Michael Cheika. The alterations have removed first-pick names like Malcolm Marx, Handre Pollard and Bernard Foley from the starting line-ups.

If those calls are wise, then their replacements would hopefully make a statement. Steve Hansen of the All Blacks coaching group say’s that his choice of Richie Mo’unga is reward for his form.

“We’ve got a quality squad. That allows you to then be confident to make changes for the very reasons that we’ve stated. That being: 1 – we’ve got a long season so if we don’t play players from off the bench, or from the wider group, then we’re going to flatten the guys that have to play every week and 2 – if we don’t play them we don’t grow them. But the fact that they’re very talented athletes makes it a little easier,” he told AllBlacks.com.

While the rugby union fans will be fixed on those two clashes, many others will tune into the rugby league option on Super Saturday.

NZ Warriors hoping for huge ex-pat crowd support

For NZ ex-pat residents in Australia, an All Blacks match or the NZ Warriors are as close to watching their ‘home team’ as possible. The Warriors are in fact hoping for as much of the crowd in Penrith, to be filled with their fans. It will be one factor that will assist the side, in their first chance at an knock-out game in seven years.

That long drought means that only Simon Mannering can recall a warriors team who has experience in the finals. But his team mate Adam Blair is the most experienced member of the side, when it comes to knock-out footy. The former-Melbourne Storm player can count on four Grand Finals appearances; plus multiple knock-out clashes, to pass on his wealth of experiences.

He told the Warriors.kiwi website, “I’ve played in a few and this one feels a little bit different for some reason. I think it’s that bit of excitement,” said the 41-Test veteran.

“I’m excited for the group and the people involved at this organisation [after the club’s six seasons without September football]. But at the same time I just want to play well for the team and do my part”.

He will need his team mates to front-up against the Penrith Panthers. The Sydney West team will be confident that their young side have the ammunition, to defeat the visitors. With an even ledger of one win each in 2018, the hosts might have the odds in their favour – yet with a big ex-pat crowd, and the confidence of multiple away wins, this year the NZ Warriors might be worth placing a bet on.

Note: After the Penrith v Warriors match, the second NRL finals knockout match is the Sydney Roosters v Cronulla Sharks at 7:40pm (AUS).

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More Super Saturday fixtures to enjoy across the rugby-globe.

Just as we do each weekend, Last Word on Rugby highlight the options for rugby union fans. That includes the domestic competition in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and in the Northern hemisphere.

Mitre 10 Cup, Farah Palmer Cup and Heartland Championship fixtures

With the All Blacks match later, it means that an earlier start of 4:35pm will see the traditional ‘Battle of the Bay’ match played in the afternoon. The two sides who claim to be The Bay, will fight it out – wet conditions may slightly dilute the open play, but MacLean Park has a new surface and the players could still show their attitudes to ‘throw the ball about’.

Down south, Rugby Park will see the two lowest placed sides look to recover some competition points. The Stags must look to gain their first win in the last few seasons, while Counties-Manukau want to bounce back from their close loss to Taranaki last week.

Southland v Counties-Manukau – 2:35pm (NZT) Invercargill

Hawke’s Bay v Bay of Plenty – 4:35pm, Napier

Farah Palmer Cup showcases Women’s Rugby

Last night, the Auckland Storm hit the Tasman Mako with a deluge of point. They monstered them by 86-0, so today the FPC matches need to deliver fairer scorelines. The women’s rugby matches are gaining in popularity, and fans across the country can plan to watch the games early on Super Saturday.

The timing of matches is perfect for families to attend, with young girls seeing their pathway in rugby (and in rugby league) now more clearly, with the Black Ferns and Warriors Women teams each providing professional contracts for athletes to achieve their goals with.

Counties-Manuakau Heat v Manawatu Cyclones – 12:00pm. Pukekohe

Wellington Pride v Canterbury – 1:00pm. Jerry Collins Stadium, Porirua

Taranaki Whio v Harbour Hibiscus – 2:00pm. Inglewood, Taranaki

Otago Spirit v Hawke’s Bay Tui – 2:35pm. Logan Park, Dunedin

As well as the women, Heartland Championship matches are also spread around the smaller venues. It gives fans in their local region, the chance to enjoy the traditional clash of provinces.

Buller v Thames Valley – 2:35pm. Westport

East Coast v Wairarapa Bush – 2:35pm. Ruatoria

King Country v North Otago – 2:35pm. Taumarinui

Mid Canterbury v West Coast – 2:35pm. Ashburton

Poverty Bay v Wanganui – 2:35pm. Gisbourne

Note: On Sunday, in an double-header from Westpac Stadium, the Horowhenua Kapiti v South Canterbury fixture [11:35am] is played ahead of the Wellington v Harbour match.

NRC, Currie Cup and Northern Hemisphere rugby union matches

The rugby-globe is now a smaller world; considering the ability to travel and to follow your favourite teams in person, and online. So for Australian rugby fans, their National Rugby Championship (NRC) continues, with Round 2 of their competition.

Further across the globe, the Currie Cup will see several key fixtures in both the Premiership and the First Division. See the below link for all the latest, on the South African domestic leagues.

And of course, the major competitions in the Northern Hemisphere will each play more fixtures to hold the attention of fans worldwide. The Gallagher Premiership hold Round 2 matches, while the exciting French Top14 continues, with Round 3 clashes.

Several key games to feature, include reigning champions and some of the leading names in Europe, playing away and hosting key fixtures. Newly promoted Grenoble will host Pau, in a fixture in French Rugby that could indicate if the team from the Alps can survive, in the rarefied air of the Top14.

Saracens v Bristol Bears – 3:00pm (ENG) Barnet Copthall

Bath v Gloucester – 4:30pm. The Rec

As mentioned earlier, Rugby League fixtures are also being played in the Northern hemisphere. That includes teams in France and in North America, where the Toronto Wolfpack are making strides to promote league in Canada.

Salford Red Devils v Toronto Wolfpack – 3:15pm (GMT) AJ Bell Satdium

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Follow Last Word on Rugby’s wide coverage of all competitions, with in-depth post match analysis of both domestic, European club and International rugby coverage. And most importantly, do get out and watch the ball be passed around on this Super Saturday.

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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