It’s time again for the Taylors Wines Top 5, where we wrap up the best of Australia’s professional players in the media this week (and also give you a great wine tip courtesy of Taylors)!
There are just two Australian teams in action this week in Super Rugby, with the Melbourne Rebels hosting the Crusaders at AAMI Park (7:45pm AEST on Friday) and the Waratahs hosting the Blues at Brookvale Oval, Manly, at 7:45pm.
Click here for full list of Round Twelve Super Rugby fixtures.
Also, this weekend, the Western Force play their first ever game in the World Series Rugby competition, in front of a sell-out crowd against the Fiji Warriors in Perth. We wish them all the very best; for more information, check out their official website.
1. Caleb opens up on his Mormon mission
When he was 19, Caleb Timu had to make the choice whether to serve a fulltime Mormon mission or to keep playing in the NRL for the Brisbane Broncos.
He ultimately chose the former, with the former Nudgee College student then deciding to switch back to Rugby when he was reintegrating back into the work force following his two years serving his faith. Now at the Queensland Reds, and with many tipping him as a potential Wallaby bolter in 2018, Timu wrote about the experience in a personal column for The Players’ Voice.
“Because I figured my footy career was over – I was planning to resume my studies to become a financial advisor – I stopped watching what I was eating.
“I started the mission at a fit 110 kilos but blew out to a fat 120. It wasn’t until I received an email from my agent towards the end of my mission saying that the Broncos were interested in re-signing me that I got serious about my diet again.
“From then on, I didn’t touch any sweets and woke up earlier to run and go to the gym. It was one of the toughest times of my life. By the time I was finished with the mission, I was a lean 106 kilos.
“It took a little while to get used to being back in society – there were so many more new buildings in Brisbane, and the iPhone that unlocks with your thumbprint was something I hadn’t seen before – but resuming footy was good once I got back in the swing of things.”
Click here to read the full story.
2. Kerevi at home in 12 jersey
Having long resisted a move to inside centre, Samu Kerevi is starting to see why some pundits have long thought he is best suited at 12. Kerevi has played the majority of his rugby at inside centre this season, Reds coach Brad Thorn opting for a pair of centres which can bend the gain line with regularity.
"I'm definitely more comfortable now, playing consistently at 12," Kerevi told Sam Phillips for RUGBY.com.au.
"Like I have said in the past, I've always enjoyed playing 13 because that was the first position I shifted to from the forwards when I left (Brisbane) State High. All my learning has been at 13 but now, playing 12 more gives me more of an understanding of the game on the whole.
"It helps me with kicking, my defence and I think playing at 12 is definitely going to be beneficial for my game at 13, as well.”
Kerevi also spoke about the need to involve Queensland’s x-factor outside backs more, and his blossoming partnership with Chris Feauai-Sautia, as well as feeling comfortable enough at inside centre to fill that need at Test level, should he be required, when Ireland arrive in June.
Click here to read the full story.
3. Young guns re-sign
It’s been a big week for some of Australia Rugby’s brightest young talents, with the ink barely dry on new contracts for players at two Super Rugby teams and within the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens program.
Jermaine Ainsley and Semisi Tupou have re-signed in Melbourne until the end of 2020, with both players excited by the Club’s journey.
“I’m really excited to be staying here in Melbourne. We’ve got a really good young group and we’re building something special with Dave (Wessels) as well,” Ainsley said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time in Melbourne and being part of the world-class environment that the Rebels are building, that’s going to make the people of Melbourne proud to support our Club.”
Tupou said he was excited to continue his career that had given him his top-flight rugby start.
“It’s awesome to know I’ll be here at the Rebels for another two years and I thank the club for the faith that they’ve shown in me,” Tupou said. ““I can’t wait to keep learning off guys like Reece (Hodge), Will (Genia) and Dane (Haylett-Petty) and taking my opportunities at Super Rugby level.”
At Super Rugby rivals the Waratahs, flanker Will Miller, a former Rebel himself, has inked a deal for a further twelve months.
“I am really enjoying being part of this environment and I am at a stage in my career where I am continuing to learn,” Miller said. “I have decided to give myself another year to try and keep a starting spot, whether it’s with two No 7s on the field or not. At the same time, I am going to get the best competition here with Michael (Hooper) and I believe it will make me a better player.”
Finally, Ben O’Donnell and Lachie Anderson will stay with the Men’s Rugby Sevens program until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after extending this week.
“It’s been a surprising debut year for me and I’m over the moon to be signing through until after the Tokyo Olympics and thrilled to remain part of a seriously special group of blokes. We have a lot of goals before then though and I know this group has what it takes to achieve them,” O’Donnell said.
“It’s just my second year in the program so I know I still have plenty of work to do to hone my game but I’m stoked to be staying on until the end of 2020,” Anderson said. “It’s great to keep learning off some of the older blokes like Jesse (Parahi), Chucky (James Stannard) and Lewy (captain Lewis Holland) but it’s also good to see how much competition for spots there is in the side.”
4. No relaxing in bye week for Rory
They might have a week off in Canberra this week, but there is no danger of the Brumbies and Wallabies lock taking his eye off the prize after a tough few results, as he told the Canberra Times’ Eamonn Tiernan.
“I don’t think Dan and the coaches can prepare us any more, it’s all on the players, we’re just not sort of responding to what they’re telling us and it is frustrating," Arnold said.
"We talk about the same things week-in, week-out. We need to have a hard look at ourselves and individually step up.”
The Brumbies host the Rebels in Canberra next weekend, and Arnold knows how big the game is.
"It's a massive game, they dusted us up down there earlier in the season and we all know the important of this one," he said. “We’ve just got to come out and put on a performance like we did [against the Crusaders] but just tweak those little details; lineout, execution, individual errors.
"Those little one percenters get you wins and prove the difference at the end of the game, you’ve got to take your opportunities when you get them.
"The Crusaders game was a golden opportunity for us and we created a lot of opportunities but didn't capitalise, that's what's lacking."
Click here to read the full article.
5. Monye & Care discuss Rob Horne’s injury and retirement
Finally, for the first time ever in the history of the Taylors Top 5, we’re actually going to hear from two Englishmen rather than Australians.
In the wake of Wallaby Rob Horne’s injury-enforced retirement, England international Danny Care and former star Ugo Monye joined the BBC Rugby Union Weekly Show to talk about the dangers of Rugby and preparing for life after Rugby.
“When you think about it, you think about Rob being a guy who grew up playing Rugby and loved it and was good at it, so he got paid to do it. He’s now forced to stop and for the rest of his life will be hindered by the severity of his injury. It’s hard to get your head around it and he will need to take a lot of time to react,” Cane said.
“When his teammates got told a lot of them were in tears, and it just puts a bit of perspective into remembering that Rugby isn’t everything and life is actually a bit more important than just Rugby. He was just doing something that he loved, and now he can’t do it ever again.”
Monye said that the injury had struck him personally as well.
“I’ve never met Rob Horne, I’ve commentated on a few of his games, but it really deflated me and I was properly wounded by it and couldn’t stop thinking about it all weekend. You’ve got a 28-year old international, and it doesn’t actually matter what level he played at, but he moved his family across from the Southern Hemisphere and within a year he has to stop playing the sport. It’s not fair, it’s not right and he injured himself being committed and being the Captain and wanting to set the tempo.”
The clip continues on to discuss the importance of life outside of Rugby, and is well worth the watch.
Click here to watch the full clip – RUPA will continue to provide as much support as needed, and to work with our colleagues at the RPA around assisting Rob and his family.
And now, for an exclusive tip from our friends at Taylors Wines, and this week we’re teaching you about cellaring your wine…
The ideal storage conditions for cellaring wine will ensure that it ages gradually without spoilage. The perfect storage conditions for a wine call for humidity of 70%.
Storage conditions which are too damp can cause mould and for the labels to deteriorate, whereas being too dry can affect the corks. Avoid storage conditions that expose the wine to strong odours. Also keep away from storage conditions that subject the wine to vibration, like under a stairwell or beside an appliance like a fridge. If they are cork, store bottles of wine lying down. This keeps the cork from drying out which can let air into the wine and age it prematurely.