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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Luke Rooney welcomed to New Zealand by Patrick Osborne

Luke Rooney welcomed to New Zealand by Patrick Osborne

The ITM Cup kicked off this weekend with hard fought matches around the New Zealand. A wrap up of the best action will follow during the week, but for now heres a requested clip of a young guy making a return to Australasia.

Luke Rooney will be better known by fans of the French Top 14 as Toulons fullback from last season. In Australia, hes known as a former New South Wales, Penrith, and Kangaroos capped Rugby League winger.

Hes has now left the French port city and will be joining the Melbourne Rebels in next years Super 15. En route, the 27 year old has taken up residency as Hawkes Bays new fullback for the provincial championship, yet another path on his union learning curve.

"It is pretty hard switching codes. It's just so technical, union, compared to league. The rucks I've never experienced anything like that. I hadn't ever played union until a year and a half ago, so it's still a huge learning curve for me, says Rooney.

"League was like second nature. I've played it all my life. Here I have to kick more and it's still pretty hard to come to grips with. I think I'm going all right and I'm really enjoying it, and that's the main thing."

This weekend against Canterbury, a game that incidentally was drawn 23-23 with a late penalty kick, Rooney was welcomed to New Zealand by a youngster who himself has quite a fascinating story.

On completion of his studies, young Fijian Patrick Osborne went to Wellington to see relatives last year, but through a strange set of events, ended up being picked to play for a side in a Sevens tournament that was being watched by Canterbury academy manager Matt Sexton.

Osborne was asked to go down to them and do some tests. Very soon, a contract was being offered to him after they were so impressed with his speed, workrate, and his bravery on the wing.

As you can see in this clip, hes not too bad on defence either as he hit Rooney full on and drove him back in the tackle. Hell be one to watch out for this season, as will Rooney. The ITM Cup is great to watch so do so if you can, and keep the requests coming. The tournament will feature on RD when possible over the next few months.

Posted at 10:02 pm | 28 comments

Viewing 28 comments

Anonymous August 01, 2010 9:06 pm

I am henceforth the primary person to leave a comment on this blog. Good tidings dear sirs.

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Alan August 01, 2010 9:12 pm

Not really rugbydump worthy!

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RD August 01, 2010 9:32 pm

Thanks for the feedback Alan, but the story behind both guys is interesting so I wanted to share that too. The Osborne one is a little more complicated than I was able to explain in a short amount of words!

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Citing Commissioner August 01, 2010 11:17 pm

That tackle could have given whiplash, therefore a ten week ban is to be issued.

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Mart August 02, 2010 1:09 am

Fkin Kiwi Commentators.."help yourself to some of that"...wankers, it wasn't that big at all.

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Rob August 02, 2010 1:28 am

Osborne's lucky to have not hurt himself with his body/head in front of a guy as big as Rooney (for you kids watching this - don't!).

As for bigger hits, Auckland's Chay Raui got a big dump from one of the Harbour boys early in yesterday's match. (Can't remember who, possibly Afeaki?)

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Jono August 02, 2010 2:47 am

Decent tackle, not the biggest, but RD is right, they are two players with an interesting background.

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Anonymous August 02, 2010 4:22 am

On the All Blacks website, it says Cory Jane has played only 17 tests, when in fact he has played 18 tests. I wish this to be cleared up as soon as possible because it is misleading.

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i no him August 02, 2010 4:38 am

this dude will make it in the AB's pretty soon you'll see.USP kido boiiiii!!!!

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behind the times August 02, 2010 5:22 am

Watching the match as someone who is able to appreciate league (though I never actually watch it, since in the US it's even more non-existent than union), I felt like the kiwi boys were dogging Rooney for most of the match. Any time he was caught on his own and gave up a penalty or the ball, they had a go. I think they only conceded once that he "likes to have a run" or something along those lines.

It was nothing particularly nasty, mind you, but it made me wonder if in NZ they tend to look down on league a bit (I mean, it was the guy's first game, right? Any convert is bound to start off making some mistakes) - anyone from there have any input?

Cheers

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behind the times August 02, 2010 5:25 am

I'm sorry...turns out I'm a complete idiot. I guess it was the guy's first game in the NZ cup, not union in general.

Either way, the question still stands about NZ looking down on league/league converts - is that sort of how it goes?

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Tommy August 02, 2010 6:55 am

In actual fact, league is regarded, by and large in Australia and New Zealand, as being a tougher, more physical, more furious and atheltically demanding (but not as complicated, technical or perhaps interesting) as union.
This is subjective, and would be the view more in Australia than NZ.
So union people get told alot that league players are tougher and hit harder, and league people get told there game is too simple and league players aren't skilled enough to play. Or something like that.
So what you get is more a rivalry, a bit of a chip on the shoulder from both sides.
So the union guys were probably saying that Rooney wasn't so tough after all, and were excited to see him get tackled hard, that's all.
Plus Kiwis love giving Aussies a hard time, and vice versa (all in good fun of course - taking the piss out of each other is part of the Aus-NZ rivalry, but really we're mates).

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Anonymous August 02, 2010 9:33 am

Could have got seriously hurt with his head in that position - very poor technique.

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NiWiTa August 02, 2010 12:00 pm

As a UK based League and Union fan and having played both codes (admittedly as a deceptively slow loose-forward), I think sometimes the League gets a bit of a hard time on this site.

There have been some excellent converts to either code in the UK (Jonathan Davies to Widnes RL, Jason Robinson from Wigan to Englans RU honours). A quick question and pardon my ignorance - who would those of you from the Southern Hemisphere say have been the most successful? (Lotte Tuquiri - sorry for spelling) comes to mind... Cheers

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olwakachangchang August 02, 2010 2:32 pm

yeah, the technique of the tackle does seem a bit off. Maye he's hanging out for an ACC holiday?

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goodNumber10 August 02, 2010 7:35 pm

good hit, but rooney rode it well, and did exactly the right thing. didn't panic, just laid the ball back.

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Tommy August 02, 2010 11:45 pm

Tuqiri, Elsom and Palu are all good converts (Elsom and Palu started in union as kids, then went pro in league, and came back to union later).
Michael O'Conner and Dally Messenger are both good ones from the old days.

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Hendrick August 02, 2010 11:49 pm

How was that a big tackle? I confused, my grandmother hits harder then that.

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Anonymous August 03, 2010 1:49 am

Brad thorns very highly regarded by the new Zealand media. Plus you've got guys like tana umaga and piri weep who grew up in league.

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RememberTheMer August 03, 2010 5:16 am

NiWiTa - Here are few cross coe successes from NZ-Aus

Frano Botica
Matthew Ridge
Inga Tuigamala
Brad Thorn
Michael O'Connor
Ricky Stuart
Darryl Halligan (not great, but completely changed the way Leaguies approached goal kicking down here).


There have been some less that stellar converts as well.

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NiWiTa August 03, 2010 11:51 am

Cheers Rememberthemer, Tommy and Anon re the cross-code successes...I had not idea on Brad Thorn and Tuigamala.

There have definately been some less stellar converts too in the NH. You'll all probably laugh at the complete disaster of Andy Farrell when he converted to the England Union team - no idea why they bought him as his knees were totally gammy after years of league. Lesley Vanikolo proved a real disappointment too.

Who do you think has been the most disasterous league to union convert in the SH? Perhaps Sonny Bill Williams might not be all he is cracked up to be?

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Tommy August 04, 2010 12:27 am

SBW is looking very good on the contrary NItwa.
All players take a year or two to adapt, it is difficult to switch codes.
Thorn is a great example, people don't realise but he played about 250 games of rugby league, for Brisbane and also Queensland and Australia (that's right he played rugby league as an Australian international). The guy's actually amazing, he's had two huge careers in two different sports at the very highest level playing for the two best teams in both codes.

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Tommy August 04, 2010 12:34 am

Oh, and Farel wasn't even considered that good in league.
He was ok when he was younger, but only for a British player (not nearly as good as the Aussies and Kiwis).
When he went to union he was well and truly past it. Same with Vainokolo.
Jason Robinson is an example of a great convert, and he did it when he was older too.

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NiWiTa August 04, 2010 12:14 pm

Ahhh Tommy - you're probably right on Farrel but stealing my glory as he once broke my nose playing in junior's RL competition before he signed up to Wigan! I forgot to mention Martin offiah who played union at school before being poached to league (although his defence was similar to Jeremy "can't risk my looks" Guscott!)

Some good English league players though (Rabbitoh's Sam Burgess, Ellery "the salary" Hanley) have made it albeit not as converts....let's see what the next 4 nations brings!

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Tommy August 04, 2010 10:49 pm

Yeah, the poms always produce some decent forwards, some good second rowers and locks. Adrian Morley was a great player, for example, muich better than Farrel.
You're right about Burgess as well, he's one of the better forwards in rugby league.
I actually met him a couple weeks back at the Paddinton Inn and he's a good guy too, you can tell he's loving the Sydney night life.

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NiWiTa August 05, 2010 12:13 pm

Hey Tommy - I hope Sam was not skulling too many pints! He is our great hope....Right on the forwards though and other than Ellery Hanley/Sean Edwards I can't think of any current super league back talent I would have that isn't Oz/kiwi based...

Anyhoe back to Union, can't wait for the autumn tests between ABs and England - hopefully a damn good thrashing by NZers might mean Johnson gets the boot!

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Tommy August 05, 2010 10:38 pm

Nitwa, it was more the girls he was impressed by, I think.
Alot of hotties in the paddington on a saturday night.
Don't worry, he's doing well over here, he's already considered one of the best back rowers going round.

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