The Taylors Wines Top 5, brought to you by RUPA’s Official Wine Partner Taylors Wines, brings to you five of the best Australian Rugby interviews in the media this week.
This week in Super Rugby, the Waratahs and Force return from byes to host the Kings and Chiefs on Friday (7:45pm AEST) and Saturday (7:45pm AEST) evenings respectively, while the Rebels head to Durban to face the Sharks (Sunday 3:30am AEST) and the Brumbies head to Napier to take on the Hurricanes (Friday 5:35pm AEST). The Reds have a well-earned bye.
The World Rugby Sevens Series sees the men get a break after good tournaments in Hong Kong and Singapore over the past fortnight, but the women returning to action in Kitakyushu (Japan). On Saturday afternoon, they play Brazil (12:36pm AEST), Ireland (3:20pm ) and Fijiana (6:04pm), before finals on Sunday; full fixture here.
1. Ned changes plans
Young Waratahs forward Ned Hanigan has made quite the impression, on and off the field, amongst the Rugby community.
Quick witted and down to earth, popular Hanigan's also recently earned his first ever call-up to a Wallaby training squad and as he explained to Fox Sports' Christy Doran it meant a sudden change of plans.
“I rang Dad that night (before the camp) and said: ‘I probably can’t come home after the bye either to help muster cattle or anything like that.' I said I’m going for a trip to Canberra.”
2. Fards draws a blank
One of the many challenges of playing within a competition that boasts teams from five different countries is that you're not always sure who is running the shop, as articulated by Brumbies star Scott Fardy at amedia call this week.
When addressing the continued uncertainty around the axing of three Super Rugby teams, Fardy said what many were thinking.
"Everyone looks at the ARU at the moment, but you wouldn't know who the head of SANZAAR [Super Rugby's governing body] is, I wouldn't know what he looked like," he said.
"In other sports in Australia we have a head we can look at. But in SANZAAR rugby we don't, it's faceless men in suits in board rooms and it's the same with the judicial process. It doesn't surprise me it's gone this long, with the different entities ... it's a mess.
"Structural change has to happen. I supported five teams [in Australia] and I still do, I think we've got the players to have that. Hopefully we see changes for the benefit of rugby and this competition gets better."
3. Teenage superstar
When you're eighteen years old and have just signed your first professional sporting contract with a team who are the reigning Olympic and World Champions, it's fair to think that you might not become a regualr fixture in the team immediately.
However that's exactly what has happened for Australian Women's Rugby Sevens star Emma Sykes, who this weekend will play in her fourth straight World Series event in Japan after debuting in Dubai.
“After Dubai I probably didn’t think I’d get another one. (It) has been so amazing and I’m so grateful to have been able to have the opportunity,” she said.
“Going to the Dubai tournament was the best one to go to (first). Then being able to back that up with playing in front of your friends and family at home in Sydney, that is something all of us will never forget. I do have goals I want to achieve but I’m really just taking it day by day."
With Stephen Moore rested for the visit of the Kings, Reds Coach Nick Stiles took the opportunity to hand young rake Alex Mafi his first Super Rugby start at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday; and he made quite the impression!
"He was as nervous as I've seen in a guy starting, making his run on debut," Stiles said. "I thought he was great. He's been in our program for three years, unfortunately he's had a lot of shoulder reconstructions in that time.What we like about him is his athleticism and his footwork and he's a footballer, he can read the game really well. The confidence he'll take out of that is enormous.
"I thought he dominated really well through his right side which is important for a hooker, to lock that side of the scrum down. To come out and get a really rewarding turnover and a try on the back of it was great. It comes from hooker the scrummaging power. If he's not doing a good job with his height it means you cant really be dominant."
5. George the General raises the bat
Still in Brisbane, and George Smith was the talk of the town after starring against the Kings in his 150th Super Rugby match.
Speaking to the Courier Mail's Jim Tucker prior to the game, George explained what the milestone meant to him, as he joined former Wallaby teammates Stephen Moore (171) and Nathan Sharpe (162) as the only Aussies to pass the number.
“This one resonates with me a fair bit because it shows the longevity of my career and it’s pretty special to share with Sharpie and Squeak (Moore), two good mates” Smith said.
And finally, for this week's Taylors Wines bonus tip...
When it comes to food pairing, the simple trick of white wines with chicken and fish, or red wines with beef will always do the trick, but what flavours are the most troublesome to pair with wines?
A few prime examples of tough to pair ingredients include:
- Capers: Alone, these tiny, flavour-packed orbs can be impossible to match with a wine. But when combined with a fresh salmon sandwich, you’ll be fine when pairing with a Pinot Gris.
- Artichoke & Spinach: These two ingredients on their own make your glass of wine taste like a steely tin shed, but when cooked in a creamy cheese sauce or splashed in an acidic dressing, they pair beautifully with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
Few ingredients alone can ruin the flavour of your wine, but paired with the right dressing or cooking method, you’ll be making food and wine magic.