The Roar
The Roar


Rugby News: 'Weird period' - Tahs' devastating Eddie treatment revealed, kids' tackling is 'child abuse' claim

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
13th February, 2024
3672 Reads

Waratahs winger Dylan Pietsch has spoken about his World Cup near miss when Eddie Jones called him into the squad as injury cover, only to then change his mind.

Pietsch was with the Barbarians when Jones called him up to join the squad to replace injured Max Jorgensen.

Jorgensen, the son of one of Jones’ friends Peter Jorgensen, was taken to the World Cup despite carrying injury, and suffered a fresh setback in camp. His selection was one of several baffling calls by the now departed coach.

His treatment of Pietsch is another to add to the list.

Pietsch told the Sydney Morning Herald that when Jorgensen, who was in line for a Test debut in the horror show against Wales, went down injured he was in Bristol and received a text telling him to pack his bags for France.

Watch every match of Super Rugby Pacific ad-free, live & on demand on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport

Pietsch was congratulated by BaaBaa teammates and he rang his parents to tell them the news of a potential Test debut.

Then Jones changed his mind and the rug was pulled out from under Pietsch.


With Taniela Tupou and Will Skelton injured, Jones hesitated on calling in a replacement player – and never actually bothered after the Wales defeat which virtually sealed the team’s exit.

Dylan Pietsch of the Waratahs.

Dylan Pietsch of the Waratahs. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

“It was a weird period,” Pietsch told the Herald. “It was a yes then a no. I went from a high to a low. I was straight off the bus, called the family and packed my bags straight away.

“Even at the time, to be fair, I was like, ‘You’re out with a prop and a lock’, you’d think you’d take a prop or a lock because Kells [Andrew Kellaway] and Jordy [Petaia] can play all these different positions. I think they assessed that again and said they’d put me on standby. I said, ‘Righto’.

“They said they’d wait until after the Wales game to decide.

“Obviously I didn’t get a chance to play [in Tests before the World Cup], so I was like, ‘If I make it, I make it’,” Pietsch said. “I was pretty confident and all the chats I had with Eddie were positive. He was really excited for me to be playing international rugby and be at that level.


“Obviously what happened, happened. It is what it is. There were plenty of world-class wingers in there, too, so I understood the mentality of having Jordy [Petaia] and Kells [Andrew Kellaway] playing multiple positions.

“Being in the squad before the World Cup, the boys were training so hard. I’ve never seen such an intensity and workload. For that to not come to fruition was pretty sad to see. You could see it on their faces. They just couldn’t get it done.”

Mack’s tough night out

Injured Mack Hansen caught the eye when he sat in the stands to watch Ireland beat Italy in the Six Nations last weekend – with his choice of attire – a Sexton 69 shirt – raising laughs.

But the Australian-born winger has a shoulder injury and this was the first time he’s attended a 6N match as a fan, having debuted in 2022 against Wales.

He told the Kick Offs and Kick Ons podcast that he struggled to enjoy the game despite being able to enjoy a couple of pints of Guinness and a hot dog.


“I was just enjoying watching my first Six Nations game as a fan. In typical fashion I had a couple of Guinness,” said Hansen.

Asked about watching the game he described it as: “It’s pretty shithouse to be honest. I was thinking ‘this will be great’, but when I was actually sitting down watching them I thought ‘this sucks, I’d rather be involved’.

“In saying that, they’re doing really well at the moment. It’s good as well to see the team that they are turning into.”

Hansen will miss the rest of the 6N campaign.

Super Rugby launched

The 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season was officially launched in Auckland on Wednesday with the 12 team captains brought together for the first time in the history of the revamped competition.

The players participated in a photoshoot and media interviews before the launch, which showcased some of the vibrant Pacific cultures that make up the fabric of the competition.


The launch event also coincided with the release of an aquatic-themed advertising campaign for the upcoming season, taking literal inspiration from the Super Rugby Pacific tagline – The Power of the Pacific.

“With only nine days to go until kick off, the anticipation is building, with every fan dreaming of their team lifting the trophy,” Super Rugby Pacific Chair Kevin Malloy said in a statement.

“After last season saw the most points scored in the history of Super Rugby, we’ve continued to innovate and make improvements with the fans always front of mind.

“We are determined to ensure Super Rugby Pacific delivers the most captivating rugby for the supporters who fill our stadiums and tune in on Sky and Stan Sport.

“I know they’re as excited as I am for the season to come.”

With 91 games to be played across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, the 2024 edition of Super Rugby Pacific is setting out to engage more fans than ever before.


The season kicks off on Friday 23 February with last season’s finalists the Crusaders and the Chiefs shaping up for another epic encounter.

Former international challenges ‘child abuse’ claim

Former England international Ugo Monye has rejected and academic’s claim that allowing children to tackle in rugby is child abuse.

Eric Anderson, professor of Sport Health and Social Sciences at the University of Winchester, believes the long-term consequences of tackling can lead to earlier death.

Monye, who played 14 times for England before launching a media career, was involved in a heated debate with Anderson on TalkSPORT.

“There’s demonstrable injury as a result of intentional tackles that happen in a sport that has a foundational part of it,” Anderson told talkSPORT. “Two brains moving either one into another or both into each other. There’s a rapid acceleration. The brain continues to move forward inside the skull.

“Bounces around the skull causes all sorts of neurological damage. There are both long-term and short-term consequences of this. Let me put this into perspective for you.


“So we know that having one major concussion can lead to higher rates of suicide, higher rates of depression, mental health issues, reliance upon the state for income, earlier death, and incarceration from just one.”

Monye said rugby was working hard to make the sport safer at all levels.

“We saw last week in round one of the Six Nations, we’ve got instrumented mouth guards which are able to detect in real time the amount of g-forces that goes through players’ heads,” he said.

“We saw last weekend in the second round of the Six Nations a player (Scotland’s George Turner) had been removed because of that detection which had been sent across via a signal to an independent doctor.

“The player was baffled by what was going on. We are doing more and more.

“Next month we’re meeting up as a group of people, all the bodies coming together with this in mind. It’s all about shaping our game and what does it want to be, what does it want to look like and how we can create or administer the laws even more or change the laws to protect the players even more.

“I don’t know if there’s another sport in the world that has that amount of buy-in to sit together multiple times every single year to try and protect our players from themselves and from others.”


Monye cited a study claiming to show that introducing tackling at adult level can increase the likelihood of injury.

He believes poor tackle technique is a factor behind the prevalence of concussion that should be focused on rather than a ban.

“I know you can get head acceleration events if you hit someone underneath your ribs and you can get that sense of whiplash, of course,” Monye said.

“What we try to do is mitigate against all the risk. If you ban it between under-13 and under-18, there’s evidence to suggest that if you reintroduce it at a later age, you will get injured.

“If you’ve not been able to condition the body then you introduce it at a later stage you could be exposing boys and girls to a bigger risk of injury.

“I think it’s about doing things better rather than a full out ban. Surely there is a middle ground about how we can do things better.

“The two biggest causes of concussion are accidents and bad tackle technique.”