Taylors Wines Top 5: Round 6, 2018
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By Pete Fairbairn, 23.03.18

We’re back again with this week’s best interviews with players ahead of Round Six of Super Rugby, and as this is brought to you by RUPA’s Official Wine Partner, Taylors Wines, we’ve even got a great wine tip from the experts themselves at the bottom of the article.

With the Waratahs and Brumbies both earning themselves a much-deserved weekend off on the back of a win in Round Five, there are just two Australian teams in action this weekend.

The Rebels play their first match from outside of the Australian conference when they host the Sharks at 7:40pm (AEDT) on Friday night, before the resurgent Reds look to make it four on the trot as they confront the massive challenge that is the Stormers in Cape Town, also live on Fox Sports at 2:15am.

Click here for full list of Round Six Super Rugby fixtures.

1. Quade praises pathways, all class at Premier Rugby season launch

It has been one of the biggest talking points in Super Rugby over the past few months, with Reds and Wallabies superstar Quade Cooper told by new Coach Brad Thorn that he is not part of his plans moving forward.

When the news first came out, it was a stunning revelation; Quade is arguably one of the most talented players that the game has witnessed in Australia over the past decade, a genuine game-changer.

What's happened next has been just as stunning; instead of lashing out, or moving elsewhere, Quade has decided to knuckle down and try to use his form for Souths Rugby Club in Queensland Premier Rugby to force a recall, at both Super Rugby and national level. He spoke to Vince Rugari at this week's QPR Season Launch:

“If there wasn’t a pathway, why would you have all these kids lining up to play colts, Premier Rugby and aspire to represent your country at some stage?” he said. “It’s definitely a platform and it has to be used that way. I’m very happy where I am. I’m really enjoying the situation and the opportunity that I have to represent the club I played for when I first moved to Australia when I was 13.

“I signed a three-year contract. I want to be here for three years and enjoy my time here. If the opportunity arises to one day represent the Reds and the Wallabies again, then so be it. But at this point in time, I’ve got a great opportunity to represent this great club, hopefully go out there and win a title for Souths and work hard.”

Click here to read the full story.

2. The remarkable few weeks of Mitch Short

The Players' Voice is a new Australian owned and operated website which launched in the late stages of 2017, empowering players to tell their own versions of events and expose their stories to the public. It's a great platform which has already seen a dozen Australian Rugby players bare their souls, and one of the best parts is that it's not just the biggest names who have the opportunity to do so.

Take Mitch Short... it's fair to say he's a fresh face on the Aussie Rugby scene! When he scored a breakaway try for the Waratahs last week against the Rebels, it may well have been the first time many Rugby fans saw him play. And, as he told the Players' Voice, it was a genuine surprise to him that he was even out there...

"The specialists don’t reckon they’ve seen anything quite like it. I ruptured my ACL against the Sharks at Kings Park in Durban a couple of weeks ago. It happened two minutes into my Waratahs debut. I came off the bench with about 15 minutes to go, made a run off a line-out, tried to step off my left foot and I think that’s where it went. There was no distinct ‘pop’, but when I stood up my leg was numb. I felt like it switched off.

"I was standing there for about 30 seconds in a break of play hoping the feeling would come back. It did and I played out the rest of the game. The medical staff looked at it in Durban but it wasn’t until we flew to Argentina and had it scanned that they realised it was no good. I was facing four-to-eight weeks on the sideline – and nine months if a reconstruction was required. My head was a bit all over the shop. It was quite a lot to take in straight after the high of your home-state Super Rugby debut.

"But a funny thing happened over the next ten days. I didn’t lose mobility or strength in the knee. The specialists had another look at it back in Sydney. They realised that the ACL was indeed ruptured but the meniscus and everything around it hadn’t blown out. They tell me it’s very rare. I’m one of three halfbacks at the Waratahs along with Nick Phipps and Jake Gordon. I’m on a short-term contract at the moment and that runs out in a couple of weeks. Nick and Jake have had a few injuries this season – thus the opportunities I’ve had off the bench – and it looked like they might both be pushing it to be fit ahead of the Rebels game. I was on the rehab list and hadn’t been training.

"By mid-week, it looked like Jake was in a fair bit of doubt to play so the coaching staff asked me whether I was confident enough in the knee to test it out at training. At first, I thought it was a discussion about playing off the bench but it quickly turned into a talk about starting. That’s been the dream for a long, long time. I gave it a shot. I ran twice during the week. I could sprint, stop and change direction. That was enough for me. There’s always the risk of doing more damage, but I was confident I wouldn’t let the team down against the Rebels. I told the Waratahs I was available."

Click here to read the full story, in Mitch's own words.

3. Gemma likes what she sees...

Australian Rugby Sevens Olympic Gold Medalist Gemma Noller (nee Etheridge) OAM has joined former teammates Nicole Beck, Tiana Penitani and Mollie Gray behind the microphone for Fox Sports this year, taking the reins for a number of games in the Buildcorp Super W competition - and she's been a fantastic addition!

Speaking with the Daily Telegraph's Fiona Bollen, Gemma (who was RUPA's inaugural Women's Rugby Sevens Player Director) provided some feedback on the first two rounds of the competition's inaugural season.

"I think it’s only going to get better as they play week in, week out. The girls have never had that opportunity where they get to play a game and then work on it for the next week and then play again. It’s always just been a four-day tournament and you don’t get time to practice and work on things that were bad the game before.

"I didn’t think it would happen so quickly that every sport now has a semi-professional/professional women’s comp. In the next couple of years it’s only going to get bigger.”

Click here to read the full story.

4. Bernard loves that Rugby World Cup feeling

Speaking of Olympic Games, and Waratahs and Wallabies superstar Bernard Foley admits he would have loved to return to Rugby Sevens to represent Australia at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but it just wasn't possible.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph's Iain Payten, Bernard also all but rules out a crack at Tokyo 2020 however it's not all doom and gloom for Aussie Rugby fans who love seeing the 'Ice Man' in action; off contract at the end of the year, Bernard is determined to play in next year's Rugby World Cup!

“There was an intention of trying to do that (play Rugby Sevens at the Olympics) but I will be 31 next Olympics. You look at the guys coming through that sevens squad, they’re big boys. They’re 21-22 and they’re absolute weapons, with the physiques on them. The games are becoming two separate games. It is not as easy to give yourself a couple of months just to transform. A lot more goes into now especially with full-time programs. It’s not as easy to cross as it might have once been and I am not getting any younger.

”“For me, really, the primary focus has been on this Waratahs season and making sure we get off to a good start. We were away for a while and had a month of tough footy, so it wasn’t in my mind,” Foley said. “But personally I had a great experience at the World Cup last time and it feels like there is unfinished business there.”

Click here to read the full story.

5. Will finds himself at home in Melbourne

Keeping it in the halves, and our final story this week takes us back to last weekend when Melbourne Rebels star Will Genia sat down with the Sydney Morning Herald's Georgina Robinson for an in-depth interview about his first season at the Rebels.

He spoke about his blossoming partnership with flyhalf Jack Debrecezeni, and his love of playing alongside Quade Cooper in the past for the Reds and Wallabies.

"I always thought Jack was a quality player, but being here I've learnt that he's someone who's at his best when he's not thinking too much and just enjoying his footy. So, from No.9's point view, I try to take as much control of the game as I can, just give him the freedom to play what he sees.

"Quade is probably still my favourite player (ever), just because we started together and we built a certain game style that we thoroughly enjoyed at the Reds. It was very simple and it was controlled by me and Quade and it was all about instinctive Rugby, playing what's in front. He's someone who made my job a hell of a lot easier, because he plays off instinct and I had so much faith and trust in him.

"I hope he can get back playing Super Rugby or playing any sort of professional Rugby. He's too good a player not to be playing in a team and I know whoever he plays for he contributes in a good way to their success."

Click here to read the full story.

And now, for an exclusive tip from our friends at Taylors Wines, and this week we’re teaching you about how to describe the flavour of a wine…

Try to identify flavours and aromas using terms you know and understand, rather than trying to describe them with words you may have read in the wine columns.

As a wine ages, the flavours and aromas change. A Riesling, for instance, might display citrus and lime characters while young, but will transform to reveal flavours and aromas of honey and cloves as the wine matures in the bottle.

Find out more about wine on the Taylors Wines website.

23.03.18
Pete Fairbairn
Communications Manager
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