While the rugby fraternity continues to thrash itself over next year’s hybrid national club competition and struggles to stir up interest in tomorrow’s Wallabies v Springboks test, one of the code’s best kept secrets is that a seven-match interstate series kicks off today, concluding with a final on September 30.

No, it’s not a series for the Under 12s, but a full-blown Waratahs/Reds/Force/Brumbies thing, minus the Wallabies in South Africa. If you search hard in the rugby press, you might find a passing mention tucked away at the bottom of a story about something else, like this Oz effort, or there’s a Terror yarn about a rugby league convert deciding not to be available for the grandly-titled Australian Provincial Championship. Ryan Cross must have figured that since nobody else seemed to care much about it, he wouldn’t either.

To find out more about it, you really have to go to Planet Rugby, but that in itself says something about the level of local media interest. Putting the series up against the test in South Africa and all the hype of the rugby league and AFL finals looks like being a disaster. Nice use of available funds.

Meanwhile interest in tomorrow night’s contest comes down to whether Australia might be able to rediscover how to win away from home and whether it might be George Gregan’s last test … but we’ve been wondering about both those things for a couple of years now.

The Terror’s Peter Jenkins at first appears to be on to something with the headline “George on notice” and the intro: “Wallabies coach John Connolly has refused to offer George Gregan long-term security and admits the veteran skipper could play his last Test tomorrow night”.

But the story turns out to be the usual thing about no-one being safe etc etc. The late night in front of the TV will be one for the faithful, just like watching NSW play the Brumbies in Bathurst as part of the APC.

Peter Fray

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