Taylors Wines Top 5: Super Rugby Finals & RWC7s
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By Pete Fairbairn, 19.07.18

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)!

As we reach the knockout phases of the Super Rugby competition, all Aussie eyes will be on Allianz Stadium when the Highlanders visit the Waratahs on Saturday night (8:05pm AEST). Can the men in blue progress to the final four after winning the Aussie conference for the first time in three years? They’ll need to be at their very best

In the competition’s other Quarter Finals, the Hurricanes host the Chiefs on Friday (5:35pm), the Crusaders host the Sharks (Saturday 5:35pm) and the Jaguares travel to Johannesburg to face the Lions (Saturday 11:05pm).

The Rugby World Cup Sevens competition has also arrived, with the Australian Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens teams looking to have big weekends in San Francisco. The tournament is a knockout format, with the Women’s side beginning their campaign with a clash against Papua New Guinea (4:28am Saturday) and the Men’s team in action (Saturday 12:47pm) for the first time against the winner of the game between France and Jamaica – best of luck to both teams, who we’re sure will do us proud!

Click here for the Men’s schedule, and click here for the Women’s schedule.

1. Taqele looking to emulate heroes

He’s had an incredible season thus far, and Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro heads into the Quarter Final knowing he has the chance to make Super Rugby history if he navigates his way to the try line.

Naiyaravoro is equal with Joe Roff, Rico Gear and Ngani Laumape as the only men who have scored 15 tries in one season, and speaking with Jamie Pandaram he admitted this season has already exceeded expectations.

“It’s the biggest achievement I’ve ever come across personally, just one try away from being the top try scorer in a season, in the history of the game, it’s beyond what I’ve dreamt, beyond what I could think of doing this year,” Naiyaravoro said.

“Coming into the pre-season all I wanted to do was finish off and score tries for the team, obviously it’s been going that way this year.

“Being up there with Rico Gear and Joe Roff, those are players I grew up watching at school. Being able to put my name up there with them is a dream come true. I’m still a bit nervous, it gives me goosebumps, but hopefully I cross for another few this weekend. That’s the plan.”

Click here to read the full story.

2. Fanga knows the challenge will be tough

Speaking with Georgina Robinson ahead of the game against the Highlanders, Waratahs scrumhalf Nick Phipps revealed he has never felt anything like the shock of losing to the same team in 2015, and in the process missing out on the opportunity to be back-to-back Super Rugby champions.

“There was nothing worse than 2015, not even expecting not being in the final," Phipps said. “On the Sunday I was like, 'What are we doing?' It was a really deflating sense. Making the semi-finals is still deflating if you're not going through.

“We didn't expect the ambush the Highlanders gave us at Allianz. They turned up, they were hungry, they wanted it more, they went on to win [the title]. It did happen to us and it's great now that we can use the experience we have with experiencing that sort of moment. It's something we've been trying to talk about with a lot of the boys, making sure they know this is do or die.”

The game will pit Phipps against a familiar foe in All Blacks No.9 Aaron Smith. The pair have faced off in countless matches at Super Rugby and Test level and the Australian is expecting Smith to be at his rowdy best on Saturday night.

“He and Sopoaga are the life blood of all their attack. Ben Smith (at fullback), the general, controls a lot from the back but the spark that they get in their attack is through those two (Smith and Sopoaga). "He's going to be his usual loud, energetic self, which is awesome and I really enjoy playing against the best halfbacks in the world. We've got to make sure we [have a handle on] the things that make him strong - his running game, his ability to get quick ball and quick service. If we can influence the game in that way then that's important for us."

Click here to read the full story.

3. Cassie confident ahead of World Cup

Aussie Sevens star Cassie Staples was the victim of a particularly noisy Robina Stadium in Australia's defeat to New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games final, booting the ball into touch with the scores tied and sending the game to extra time due to miscommunication in the midst of a raucous supporter base.

It could have happened to anybody, and speaking to Sam Phillips ahead of the RWC7s Staples said it definitely hasn’t affected her confidence heading into her second major tournament.

"I’m a lot more confident going into this World Cup with these girls," she said. “We’ve got a great team and it was a big step up - the Commonwealth Games - but I’m looking forward to it."

Staples described the Commonwealth Games as a "learning experience" which helped her grasp how to best absorb the pressure of the bright lights and the big stage.

"It was a good learning experience with the team I have and the girls that I have around me," she said. "It was obviously awesome to do it on home soil. But this will be another challenge away from home.

"I’m pretty excited to have this as my first World Cup and to experience this opportunity."

Click here to read the full story.

4. Lewy commits in pre-Cup boost

In a year in which the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens program has farewelled legends Ed Jenkins and James Stannard, leadership and continuity heading into this World Cup has received an important boost with Captain Lewis Holland re-signing through to the end of 2020.

Speaking with Beth Newman, Holland said it was an easy decision to stick with Sevens with plenty more to achieve.

“I didn’t really ever seriously consider leaving this group and the game of Sevens," he said. “It’s got so much to offer and I feel like I have a bit of unfinished business too. "The group has been really focused on the World Cup for a while now, and then it won’t be long before the next World Series rolls around and we get stuck in again.

“Walshy (coach Tim Walsh) and I have a clear vision for where we want to take this squad and I know we have to talent to achieve those goals."

Click here to read the full story.

5. Shannon reflects on the growth of Women’s Rugby

Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens Co-Captain Shannon Parry is one of the code’s biggest assets, a role model and a superstar with both the Wallaroos and the Sevens, and speaking with The Players’ Voice ahead of the World Cup she reflected on her journey since giving up her full-time teaching job and relocating from Brisbane to become a professional Rugby player.

“I finished school in 2006, went straight to university and finished in 2010 and was teaching in Brisbane, and then I’d train in the afternoons at Ballymore. It was very hard to juggle time and time management, so when the opportunity came to play Rugby full-time I knew it had to be one or the other.

“People call them sacrifices but I call them choices, I made the choice to move to Sydney and chase the dream of being an Olympic Gold Medallist. It was a phenomenal feat to achieve that goal and we put so much into it, and to just sing that national anthem standing next to year teammates with so many tears of joy and elation, and to have your family and friends in the grandstands to share it with you, it was definitely a very special moment.

“In Rio when we won, I was very much oblivious to how it would be perceived back home. The next day, I got a snapchat from my best mate and we were on the front page of the newspaper. I was very much blown away by how much that gold medal has affected community Rugby, and we’re pioneering women’s sport and Rugby now.

“The future of women’s Rugby in Australia is so open in which direction it could take, we’ve come so far already in our full-time program and for me it’s an unknown but it’s an exciting unknown.”

Click here to see the full video.

And now, for an exclusive tip from our friends at Taylors Wines, and this week we’re talking about decanters…

Chances are, many of us don't actually have a wine decanter in the cupboard. If you really enjoy your wine, think about buying one for your next dinner party. Otherwise, you can also gain the benefits of decanting wine by looking for a clean water jug or similar wide-mouthed glass serving jug.

Choose a clear (not patterned) glass container that will allow a full 750ml bottle to be contained while ensuring a generous surface area.

 

19.07.18
Pete Fairbairn
Communications Manager
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