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A complete team-by-team guide to the 2020 Shute Shield

Prediction: 1st

The competition’s best side over the past two years will be looking to become the first team to pull off a trifecta of grand final wins since the Students won six consecutive premierships from 2005 to 2010. With last year’s coach Rob Taylor now an assistant at Leicester, Michael Hodge takes over the reins. Uni have lost a number of star players in captain Guy Porter, Harry Potter and James Kane but will still be hard to beat, particularly when they get some Waratahs representatives back later in the year.

1-15: Tom Osborne, Pat O’Doherty, Darcy Breen, Luke Porter, Ratu Rotuisolia, Nick Champion de Crespigny, Hugh Summerhayes, Rohan O’Regan, Banjo Travers, Connor O’Shea, Ofa Manuofetoa, Will McDonnell, Henry Clunies-Ross, Matt Hood, Tim Clements.

Guy Porter lifts the Shute Shield after Sydney University's victory last season.

Guy Porter lifts the Shute Shield after Sydney University’s victory last season. Credit:Brook Mitchell

VS WARRINGAH at Pittwater Rugby Park

Coach: Michael Ruthven

Captain: Sam Ward

Last year: Runner-up (3rd after regular season)

Prediction: 2nd

With coach Mark Gerrard leaving the club for Austin, the Rats will be looking to make amends for two consecutive grand final defeats. Last year’s was particularly tough to swallow after leading 16-0. Sam Ward takes over the captaincy from the retiring Hamish Angus and moves to the second row. Watch out for deadly back-rowers Mungo Mason and Charlie McKill. The Rats have brought over Uni prop Wayne Borsak, who was excellent last season.

1-15: Jayden Taylor, Wes Thomas, Sam Needs, Sam Ward, Andrew Davies, Rory Suttor, Mungo Mason, Charlie McKill, Josh Holmes, Tom Halse, Charlie Tupu, Tyson Davis, Seb Wileman, Oisin Clarken, Harley Attwater.

Warringah Rats fans at the Shute Shield grand final.

Warringah Rats fans at the Shute Shield grand final. Credit:Brook Mitchell


Coaches: Ben McCormack and Morgan Turinui

Captain: Nathan Den Hoedt

Last year: 8th

Prediction: 4th

A number of Randwick’s best won’t be available for a couple of rounds due to Waratahs duties but they have brought in a number of Australian sevens players in Maurice Longbottom, Henry Hutchison, Locky Miller and Dylan Pietsch. Former Waratah Dave Horwitz also returns from overseas to start at No.10. Could be a smoky for a semi-final spot.

1-15: Jake Turnbull, Dave Vea, George Hendry, Tom Pirrodi, Nathan Den Hoedt, Kyle Harris, Christian Poidevin, Ryan Powter, Tyzac Jordan, Dave Horwitz, Jackson Mohi, Kristian Jenson, Henry Hutchison, Christian Yassmin, Locky Miller.

David Horwitz in action for the Waratahs in 2016.

David Horwitz in action for the Waratahs in 2016. Credit:Mark Kolbe

VS NEWCASTLE at Coogee Oval

Coach: Scott Coleman

Captain: Chris Ale

Last year: N/A

Prediction: 12th

Even Newcastle will admit that pulling together a team at short notice will make it difficult for them but with nothing to lose could spring a few upsets. Have poached speedy back Hayden Cole from the Two Blues who will be one to watch. Coach Scott Coleman is the brother of Gordon’s Darren Coleman.

1-15: David Puchert, Chris Ale, Nicholas Dobson, Adam Edwards, Va Talaileva, Lachlan Miller, Piers Morell, Benjamin Ham, Mahe Fangupo, Brendan Holliday, Caileb Gerrard, Taulogo Lalaga, Rob Buserau, Nimilote Qio, Hayden Cole.


Coach: Darren Coleman

Captain: Jordan Goddard

Last year: 7th

Prediction: 6th

Coleman helped lift the Stags from 11th in 2018 to 7th last year and they could go even better. Halfback Harrison Goddard is a good signing from the Rebels.

1-15: Brandon Faavae-Eli, Mahe Vailanu, Rhys Brodie, Jack Margin, Brendan Mitchell, Tom Silk, James Lough, Jordy Goddard, Harrison Goddard, Rod Iona, Brandon Quinn, Tautalatasi Tasi, Lucas Price, Ahmu Tuimalealiifano, Jaline Graham.

VS EASTERN SUBURBS at Chatswood Oval

Coach: Pauli Taumoepeau

Captain: Jack Grant

Last year: 5th

Prediction: 5th

Have a reasonably similar roster this year boosted by five-eighth Jordan Jackson-Hope from the Brumbies now that Mack Mason is not around. May be without young back-rower Will Harris now he has burst onto the scene at the Waratahs. The Beasties have picked up winger Richard Woolf from Norths.

1-15: Vunipola Fifita, Moli Sooaemalelagi, Archer Holz, Jack Digby, Jeremy Williams, Sam Shires, Charlie Smith, Dean Oakman-Hunt, Jack Grant, Jordan Jackson-Hope, William Paterson, Nicholas Holton, Henry Paterson, Richard Woolf, Dan Donato.

Richard Woolf has moved over to Easts from Norths.

Richard Woolf has moved over to Easts from Norths. Credit:Karen Watson


Coach: Matt McGoldrick

Captain: James Ohmsen

Last year: 6th

Prediction: 7th

Were just off the pace by bowing out to Sydney Uni in the first week of the finals last year and if injuries don’t affect them as much could push for a top-four finish. May get club icon and hooker Dave Porecki back later in the season but have lost Brad Hemopo to Norths.

1-15: Alefosio Tatola, James Hilterbrand, Conor Davidson, Van Stewart, Alex Dalzell, Harry Bergelin, Max Douglas, Daniel Alley, Adam Crerar, Sam Lane, Mick Adams, Hutana Coffin, Dennis Pili-Gaitau, Yool Yool, James Ohmsen.

South Sudanese refugee Yool Yool will start on the wing for Manly on Saturday.

South Sudanese refugee Yool Yool will start on the wing for Manly on Saturday. Credit:Janie Barrett


Coach: Joel Rivers

Captain: Riley Jacobson and Lafi Pongi

Last year: 11th

Prediction: 11th

It wasn’t the Two Blues’ year in 2019 but they could be bolstered by the return of club legend Tatafu Polota-Nau, who is back at the club. Winger Robert Duff is back from the UK; a player to watch.

1-15: Airi Hunt, Nick Blacklock, Lafi Pongi, Tevita Vea, Tuitakau Kioa, Sione Fifita, Riley Jacobson, Emmanuel Maliko, Liam Tully, Rory Garrett, Robert Duff, Phillip Pale, Leviticus Dodd, Niko Davilusa, Michael Zahkia.

Former Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is still heavily involved with his childhood club.

Former Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is still heavily involved with his childhood club. Credit:Wolter Peeters


Coach: Todd Louden

Captain: Marcus Carbone

Last year: 9th

Prediction: 10th

A mid-table club who could pull a few surprises but need to be more consistent, particularly late in the season. Captain Marcus Carbone will be looking to lead from the front.

1-15: James Wayland, Sama Malolo, Tim Metcher, Isoa Nasilasila, Jake Douglas, Philip Potgieter, Harry McLennan, Marcus Carbone, Sam Harris, Liam Moseley, Christian Kagiassis, Viliami Latu, Nathan Lawson, Apaola Tea Lama, Daniel Bell.

VS EASTWOOD at Forshaw Rugby Park

Coach: Ben Batger

Captain: Pat Sio

Last year: Semi-finalists (2nd after regular season)

Prediction: 3rd

The Woodies fell short in the semi-finals to the Rats and have an interesting name on their roster in former NRL player Tim Simona, who was deregistered in 2017 for betting on games and later convicted of auctioning signed jerseys for charity and using the money raised to gamble. Pat Sio takes over the captaincy, while they won’t be with veteran halfback Mick Snowden who has retired. Tayler Adams is a big loss.

1-15: Jed Gillespie, Ed Craig, Rhys Sheriff, Charles Granger, Daniel Cosgrove, Michael Icely, Tom Murphy, Pat Sio, Matt Gonzalez, Tane Edmed, Fabian Goodall, Chris Bell, Barton Picone, Tim Simona, Harry Wilson.

The Woodies will be without Taylor Adams this year.

The Woodies will be without Taylor Adams this year. Credit:Karen Watson


Coach: Mark Gudmunson

Captain: Dion Spice

Last year: 10th

Prediction: 9th

The Pirates have a number of new faces, including Rod ‘Rocket’ Davies from the Aussie sevens program, and will be looking for a better showing this year. They’ve also picked up Randwick prop Cam Betham, who is a quality player.

1-15: Sonny Satuala, Tonga Tangitau, Cam Betham, Otto Wendt, Etienne Oosthuizen, Francis Ireimia, Kaliova Nacina, Liam Moylan, Dion Spice, Kodie Drury-Hawkins, James Turner, Justin Tavae, Connor Chittenden, Rod Davies, Josh Petero.

Rod Davies during his days with the Queensland Reds.

Rod Davies during his days with the Queensland Reds. Credit:Bradley Kanaris


Coach: Earl Va’a

Captain: Nick Palmer

Last year: Semi-finalists (4th after regular season)

Prediction: 5th

Weren’t too far off the pace in 2019. No.10 Angus Sinclair will be looking to steer his lads around the park and get off to a favourable start to the season.

1-15: Jack Brewer, James Margan, Jayden Lynch, Dave Henaway, Nick Palmer, Brad Hemopo, Hugh Taylor, Heinrich Brendel, Nick Duffy, Angus Sinclair, Reece Mau’u, Harry Burey, Nathan Russell, Kepu Lokotui, Max Burey.


Coach: John Muggleton

Captain: Delahoya Manu

Last year: N/A

Prediction: 12th

Back in the competition after being kicked out in mid-2018 due to a string of heavy losses and other off-field issues. Know they will be up against it but have an experienced coach in former Wallabies defence guru John Muggleton, and will be playing with pride when they get a chance in round two.

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