How much am I looking forward to rugby in 2013?

gatesy Roar Guru

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    How much am I looking forward to the rugby season in 2013? I haven’t had too much to say on The Roar this year, as frankly, I think that the reportage has been fairly ordinary.

    But it’s a new year, and there is a bit of excitement in the air!

    It seems like everyone is fit, for once.

    James O’Connor back on board, desperate to take Kurtley’s No 10 jersey, and along comes a new kid (Angus Roberts) who looks like getting the nod at fly half at the Rebels.

    Wow, that’s one out of left field and the kind of surprise I like to read about in the morning paper.

    Next is the Brumbies. What might have been last year?

    Watching Matt Toomua and then Christian Lealiifano go down with injury was almost surreal. However, Jake White just got on with it and how close did we come?

    Clyde Rathbone is back and don’t underestimate that little vignette! In 2012, leaders stood up, none less than Benny Mowen.

    Ben, you will wear the Green and Gold. Dave Pocock appears to be refreshed and mentally dangerous with many others ready to make a mark.

    I reckon the team is revving up like a purring Ferrari. The quiet achievers are on the starting blocks and I’m excited. The Brumbies are strong across the park in 2013.

    The Waratahs are up next. They are Australian rugby’s glamour boys and perennial underachievers.

    I have, however, a funny feeling that that is about to change.

    Coach Michael Cheika will bring the eastern suburbs, surf club, hard man attitude, and I’m guessing that there ain’t much room for princesses at Moore Park at the moment.

    If you haven’t noticed, there is not a lot of hype coming out of the Waratahs right about now. It looks like they have finally decided to do their trash talking on the paddock for a change!

    The Reds. Well how would you know? Who is really in charge? Have to say, every photo, video and article that Ewen McKenzie features in shows him looking pretty relaxed.

    Looks like someone is doing the hard yards at HQ. But they are fit, mostly ready to play and therefore bloody dangerous. A lot of people down south are hoping Quade Cooper gets knocked out by that bloke that he is about to fight.

    What a bummer for rugby, in general, if he gets his block knocked off. Silly season is in full swing!

    Are the Rebels the new Waratahs? I mean, on paper they are a top side but have they got their heads in the right place?

    They definitely have the talent, and I think that they will be the fourth team in the conference this year.

    I was glad to see Danny Cipriani go, but not too many other radical changes – Higginbotham should contribute – if they can get O’Connor and Beale firing together, they should be dangerous.

    I hope that Saffy can make an impact this year. He made a big commitment to come across from NRL and hasn’t yet been able to crack it.

    He has come off second best against the likes of Michael Hooper and Pocock, and he must be wondering what happened.

    Well, mate, when you are playing in that position, you can’t afford to be complacent, that’s for sure!

    Finally, the Force. Who knows?

    They are a bunch of relative no names. Foley has to prove himself, yet again,

    I wish them all the best and I am definitely looking forward to seeing Sam Norton-Knight back.

    He is one of those players that you just like to watch. Will be interesting to see how his game has gone while he has been in Europe.

    What about international rugby?

    The biggest event this year is the Lions’ tour. We need to have a good look at the Six Nations, because I don’t think that there will be the same number of big well known names in this year’s group than the last time they were here.

    Given that they will be playing most of their games against our professional outfits this time around, it’s not likely to be too much like the last time they were here, when their first game was against some Western Australian amateurs with a couple of east coast ring ins.

    The final score was around 62-0, which was a feel good start to their tour. However, it won’t happen again this year.

    My guess is that they better be on song from the get go. We have more depth this year, and barring some catastrophic injuries in the early part of Super Rugby, the best are on deck.

    If the Six Nations is one-sided, then England will get weight of numbers and the arrogance factor will be right up there.

    As for the Wallabies, after five years, I can’t decide whether Robbie Deans is a great coach or not.

    He probably is not, but you have to give him the benefit of the doubt with the injury toll the Wallabies suffered last year.

    However, the omission of Matt Giteau from the Rugby World Cup was a glaring mistake that can never be forgotten. So maybe that is the best way to sum it up.

    The silly season has been pretty light on for rugby news, but there seems to be a new crop of journos who might try to write original stuff!

    I surf the rugby web most days and I find the same stuff everywhere I go.

    And last but not least, the most exciting thing for me this year is that my little guy, Charlie (just ten-years-old), had his first rugby season last year.

    He loves the game big time, and wants to learn everything about it.

    He can’t wait to get back into it in 2013… it doesn’t get any better than that!