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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

As Wayne Pivac teeters on the edge of finding new gainful employment after a series of disappointing results, the wider-lens story tells of dysfunction and frustration

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Coronavirus scare could curtail Super Rugby AU plans

Ruan Smith. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Queensland prop Ruan Smith may miss the chance to suit up against his former club Melbourne in Saturday’s Super Rugby AU sudden-death final after being sent for a COVID-19 test.


Smith played three games for the Rebels before the season shut-down in March but switched to the Reds two weeks ago to join his twin brother JP, and lined up in their win over the Brumbies on Saturday night.

While Ruan can provide the intel on Melbourne, his participation is in doubt as he was excluded from Queensland training after feeling unwell on Monday. He is now waiting for the all-clear.

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Reds prop JP Smith interview – Rebels semifinal
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Reds prop JP Smith interview – Rebels semifinal

His brother JP played down the threat of the virus and said Ruan was still feeling the affects of his first competitive hit-out in almost six months.

“He’s still looking for his lungs on Suncorp Stadium,” JP said on Monday.

“He’s just a bit sore but he’ll be back tomorrow.

“He’ll help the boys and help the team as much as he can around that but he has a lot of respect for the Rebels … the Melbourne staff as the team really meant a lot to him.”


JP Smith is one of the few players left in Australian rugby who has had a taste of Super Rugby finals, part of the Brumbies’ charge to the semi-finals in 2014 and 2015.

He said he would try to teach his young teammates not to get ahead of themselves, with a grand final spot against the Brumbies on September 19 in Canberra beckoning.

The Reds are hoping for as many as 15,000 fans to be allowed into Suncorp on Saturday night.

“We need to look at it as another game and just enjoy the moment as it doesn’t come very much,” the South African-born prop said.


“We’re not looking past this week, it’s a grand final for us.”

The Brumbies complained after the Reds match about the scrummaging technique of Reds tighthead Taniela Tupou but JP said they felt the Wallabies prop was in the clear.

“As a team, we need to look past that and we’ll just do what we’ve been doing and leave it in the ref’s hands,” he said.

“The ref’s got a job to do, we’ve got a job to do.

“We want to portray a place at the scrum that we do everything right, and we believe we are doing that.”


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RUGBYPASS+ Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis