With the 2018 Super Rugby season back and underway, we’re pleased to welcome back the Taylors Wines Top 5 for another year!
Brought to you by RUPA’s Official Wine Partner Taylors Wines, we’ve done the hard yards for you and searched through the week’s media to find the best interviews with players as we look ahead to Round Three (and furthermore, we’ve got a great wine tip from the experts themselves at the bottom of the article).
This week, the Reds will be looking for their first win as they host the Brumbies on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium (8:00pm AEDT), while the Rebels are off to Tokyo to play the Sunwolves on Saturday afternoon (3:15pm AEDT). Finally, the Waratahs are in Durban to play the Sharks, fresh off a bye, just after midnight on Sunday (00:05 AEDT).
In the Rugby Sevens world, the Men will look to kick on from their Cup Gold Medal in Sydney and Bronze Medal in Hamilton, as the Las Vegas Sevens gets underway, while the Women's squad are also in Vegas playing some exhibition matches ahead of next month's Commonwealth Games; click here for the Las Vegas Sevens schedule.
1. Hot-stepper Slips
Queensland Reds star James Slipper has been working hard to return to Rugby this year in tip-top shape, after a busted achilles tendon ruled him out of most of the Super Rugby campaign and the entire Wallabies’ season in 2017.
As he explained to Jim Tucker from the Courier Mail, he had to think outside the square a little bit as he looked to restore the power to his legs required to have an impact at scrum time, and it led him to the 107-step climb at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane.
“There were plenty of ladies in activewear ahead of me and people heading to coffee stops at the top of the cliffs but I just kept my head down,” Slipper said 0f his low starting base.
“It was very hard in those early stages but just completing those runs up and down the stairs gave me confidence because you never know how an achilles is going to react.”
Click here to read the full article.
2. New Brumbies star wants Cheika to take a Chance
It’s certainly not the traditional route to a Wallabies jersey – let’s see if we can get this right without missing any steps along the way!
From the Chatham Islands, an archipelago around 800km from New Zealand with a population less than 1000, to Perth, to the Wests Tigers NRL team, a stint representing the Cook Islands in Rugby League, a contract with the Western Force and now, finally, a place in the backline with the Brumbies in the nation’s capital!
It might be exhausting, but the reality is that regardless as to how he got there Chance Peni is determined to try and break into the Australian team before next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
"I played for New Zealand in junior rugby league and it is part of my culture ... of course we grew up wanting to play for the All Blacks," Peni told Chris Dutton of the Canberra Times.
"But I've been in Australia now for so long and I didn't hesitate about the Wallabies. It wasn't a big drama for me, I made my decision and I'm happy with that. I definitely want to have a chat to [Cheika] to see if I can push my way in. Any international rugby is definitely a goal of mine."
Click here to read the full article.
3. We’re going to need some tape for that tattoo
On the subject of those who had eligibility to represent multiple nations, we come to one of the proudest players in the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens squad and a man who has been one of the shining lights across the globe on the World Rugby Sevens circuit in 2017-18.
Ben O’Donnell, or ‘BOD’ as he is more commonly known, may be the first person in his family to gain Australian citizenship but there is absolutely no doubting his loyalty to the cause.
“I started playing Rugby when I was four; I was a leaguie back in the day. Dad hated that, as he was a Rugby man all his life, so he wouldn’t even come and watch me play until I switched; that next year I started playing Union,” he told Rugby.com.au.
“I played for the Clovelly Crocodiles, fierce name, and I was playing with all the blokes I grew up with and we kept winning stuff, so I fell in love with it there.”
He has a large silver fern tattooed on his leg to acknowledge and represent his Kiwi heritage, and he admits he cops plenty of grief from his teammates.
“Since joining the program, the first thing I got where questions about what’s on my leg. Every time I get a massage, somebody will tap the masseuse on the shoulder and ask them to rub a little harder on the calf and try to get it off!
“I am a dual citizen, I am proud to be an Australian and a New Zealander, I am the first Australian of my whole family and to be the first and then get to represent my country is an amazing feeling!”
It’s hard to believe that this is BOD’s first year on the circuit; click here to watch the video and find out more about his journey.
4. Ned happy to watch from the sidelines
Cricket and Rugby players have often been seen as kindred spirits, with the Captains of the Australian teams often referred to semi-jokingly as the two most important jobs in the country (with the Prime Minister in third).
With the Australian cricket team kicking off their first test against South Africa last night and the Waratahs in town to face the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning, the invitation was extended for the boys to come down and check out Steve Smith’s men in the nets – but don’t expect to see Ned Hanigan jumping in for a bat anytime soon!
“We’re just having a bit of a look about. I don’t think I will be getting in the nets anytime soon, but I had a good yarn with the fellas,” Hanigan told Cricket.com.au. “I can’t even see some of the pills that are coming down at the moment (as they’re so quick)!
“Growing up, I always liked Matty Hayden. Adam Gilchrist was another bloke I used to love watching. Davey Warner, Steve Smith; they’re exciting and always good to watch. From a bowling point of view, I sat next to Glenn McGrath on a plane ride back from Sydney to Dubbo once.”
Raised in Coonamble, just a two hour drive from McGrath’s home town of Narromine, it’s no surprise that Dubbo’s Daily Liberal newspaper picked up on the story; click here to read the full article.
5. Toua and Froa – Brumbies jersey goes into the cupboard!
Aidan Toua was the last player signed for the Queensland Reds this season, heading back to Ballymore after spending four years there before heading south to join the Brumbies in Canberra in 2015.
This week, his immediate past and present combine as his side hosts the Brumbies in just his second match back in the Reds jersey, and he admits he’s had to wean his three-year-old daughter Matilda off the Brumbies since relocating to Brisbane.
“Her little jersey has been left in the back of the cupboard,” Toua told Jim Tucker. “It may seem a little weird considering I only finished playing for the Brumbies six months ago but rugby is a business these days. I’ll be putting everything into that Reds jersey when I run out.
“There weren’t too many fond playing memories in my first years at the Reds when they were full of injuries. This is somewhat of a second life with Queensland and I’m excited to resurrect things and when my time ends I want it to be on a good note this time.”
Click here to read the full article.
And now, for an exclusive tip from our friends at Taylors Wines, and this week we’re talking glassware…
One of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your wine is to have a decent glass to drink it from; the size, shape and type of glass you use can make all the difference.
A stemmed, clear, tulip-shaped glass should be what you’re looking for – one in which you can easily swirl a small sample of wine. You can also buy glasses made for specific varietals , created to make the most of the wine it was designed for, with different capacities and widths of rim to help manage the aroma and tannins experienced when drinking.