The Taylors Wines Top 5, brought to you by RUPA’s Official Wine Partner Taylors Wines, brings to you five of the best interviews with current Australian professional players in the media this week.
This week in Super Rugby, the Western Force have a bye while the Rebels host the Chiefs in Melbourne on Friday night at 7:45pm (AEDST). The Waratahs host old rivals the Brumbies in Sydney on Saturday night at 7:45pm (AEDST), whilst the Reds will look to hit back from last week's narrow defeat against the Crusaders when they visit the Lions in Johannesburg at 2:15am (AEDST) on Sunday.
1. Curtis makes the switch for Jacinta
Western Force centre Curtis Rona has made an instant impact in his first season of Super Rugby, after a high-profile switch from the NRL where he was a try-scoring sensation with the Bulldogs.
Speaking with Jamie Pandaram, Perth-raised Rona explains the main reason why he left the NRL powerhouse to return home and join the Force; to repay the faith of his wife who had left everything behind in Perth to move with him to Sydney.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my wife, Jacinta," Rona said. “I know a lot of people say that, but we were high school sweethearts; she has been the driving force behind me for a long time. I was 15, she was 14 when we met and she has always been there for me. (In Sydney) we were living by ourselves, a young couple, it would have been easier for her to walk away saying, ‘this is a bit too hard for me. Instead, she made the toughest decision.
"She was at uni, she had her family network around her and she gave that all up to support me and my career (in Sydney). We did think long and hard about returning to Perth, this wasn’t a decision made overnight,” Rona said.
2. Adam fitting in seamlessly to all-star back row
After signing Wallabies George Smith, Scott Higginbotham, Stephen Moore and Leroy Houston to join fellow Test stars James Slipper, Kane Douglas and Rob Simmons in their forward pack heading into the 2017 Super Rugby season, not many would have predicted that it would be a 22-year-old on the comeback from a serious knee injury who'd grab the headlines at Queensand Reds HQ after three rounds of the campaign.
However Adam Korczyk is smashing expectations out of the park at Ballymore, and making the most of the lessons he can learn from the experienced stars he is training and playing alongside.
“Obviously I’d heard all the (talk that) George Smith was coming and Scotty Higgers (Higginbotham) was coming as well and I was coming back from an ACL injury as well,” he told Beth Newman. “I was thinking I’ll train as hard as I can and when I was coming from my rehab I was always trying to train as hard as I can because I knew it was going to be a tough competition to get a starting spot in front of other players of that calibre.
“Having George Smith and Scott and even (Japanese international) Hendrik (Tui) all those guys in my position, it’s good competition for me. They’re quite seasoned veterans and international players and... I’ve only played four games in my Super Rugby career so I’m learning as much as I can off them.”
3. Izzy praises opponent Tevita
As arch-rivals the Waratahs and Brumbies prepare to meet this weekend, one of the most mouth-watering match-ups is that of opposing star Wallabies in the centres; Israel Folau and Tevita Kuridrani.
Speaking with Iain Payten, Folau praised Kuridrani as both a player and a person, while also admitting he is tiring of the constant chatter about where his best position is.
“Defensively, Tevita is very strong and reads the attack really well,” Folau said. “When he carries the ball as well, he is a strong carrier of the ball. He can break tackles. Those are things as a team we have to be wary about and we know that when Tevita gets the ball he will be out to make something of it.
"I am really close with Tevita and he is one of the great players in Australia. It is going to be a great challenge for me and I respect Tevita both on and off the field. I am always learning things off guys like him.”
4. Fards spruiks the benefits of rest
Another man Folau will have to be wary of this week is Brumbies forward Scott Fardy, who is likely to return to the side fresh from a week's break after being rested against the Force.
Speaking to Eamonn Tiernan, Fardy said that "everyone needs a rest at some point and mine has come earlier than others and now I'm ready to go (against the Waratahs).
"I think it should be a plan for all players. Every player playing every minute isn't the appropriate way. They tend to rest players in other sports the give them the opportunity to freshen up and I think Australian rugby is a bit behind in that department."
5. One-hungry for more Super action
After becoming the latest graduate of the Future Force Academy to make their Super Rugby debut for the Western Force, Onehunga Kaufusi Havili praised two men who've mentored him and signalled an intent toplay as much Super Rugby as possible.
“One of my goals at the start of the year was to play Super Rugby and I made it, so really happy." he told Elliot Raiter. “I was rooming with Tatafu Polota-Nau, we actually sat in the room and he was just telling me not to overthink the game. He told me to just go and do what you are capable of, giving me plenty of encouragement to go and play the game I love.”
He also praised the Club's CEO for helping him settle in Perth and pursue his goals.
“When I came here (to Perth) Mark Sinderberry was great,” he said. I stayed with him for about a year and a half. He helped me stay on the right path with training and things. I think he is the reason behind why I am so focused this year and why I played my first game. I struggled at times last year and ‘Sinders’ was really good for that.”
And finally, for this week's Taylors Wines bonus tip...
Chocolate and wine might sound like a romantic pair, but they aren’t the best of friends when it comes to your tastebuds.
The sweetness of chocolate, while delicious, instantly cancels out any delicate fruit flavours or sweetness in the wine your drinking (making it appear bitter).
Fortunately, there are fortified and sweet wines like Muscadel or Moscato that are packed with sweet flavours, making them an ideal pair for your chocolate craving.