The 2017 RUPA Instagram 23 - The Forwards

By Pete Fairbairn, 26.04.17

When it comes to the world of Instagram, no one Australian Rugby player is like another. Almost all current Australian-based players operate either public or private Instagram accounts, and they all feature a mix of funny and serious, of friends and family, and of Rugby and their life away from the game.

RUPA has gone through all fully contracted Rugby players in Australia, across the five Super Rugby teams and the Australian Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens squads, and selected a matchday 23 of the players we think the general public should be following on Instagram.

Today, we present the starting forward pack… (click on the player to check out their account)

Front Row:

Shannon Parry (Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens)

Where better to begin than the Co-Captain of the World Champion and Gold Medal winning Aussie 7s? Shannon leads from the front on Instagram in much the same way as she does on the field. She provides great insight into the personalities within the squad and the fun that they have behind the scenes, but she also details her love of the water and spending time on the family farm in New Zealand.

Sam Talakai (Queensland Reds)

The first impression you get of Sam from his Instagram posts is that he’s a bloody nice bloke, and secondly, that he is out there supporting people in the community. He spends a lot of time in the community representing the Reds, as well as providing some great coverage as he tours the world playing Rugby for a job! His Instagram story also makes compelling viewing; from singalongs in the car to Fifa battles, this is a great way to get to know Sam and his Reds teammates.

James Hanson (Melbourne Rebels)

When it comes to combining great humour with awesome pics, few can do it better than ‘Chibba’. He has embraced everything about Melbourne since moving down to join the Rebels , and he loves to bring the follower into the inner sanctum of the Rebels when they’re on tour. A real front rowers union kind of guy, Chibba seems to try and avoid posting too many photos of backs; from Laurie Weeks to Sean McMahon, he’s loyal to the pack!


Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Rebels)

He might be out injured at present, but there’s absolutely no doubting that Hanson’s teammates Sa Jeffries is the genuine articles if you are looking for the ultimate online larrakin. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, is a regular poster and has managed the master the art of the clever Instagram caption better than anybody else on this list. Like Hanson he enjoys posting photos almost exclusively with forwards, however made an exception with former teammate Cam Crawford allowed to muscle his way into a snap with Jeffo and Laurie Weeks at Mitch Inman’s wedding.

Will Skelton (NSW Waratahs)

A man focused on faith, family and footy, that is exactly what you get from big Willie Skelton on his Instagram account. From the Rams to the Waratahs to the Wallabies, and even to his time with Saracens in the UK earlier this year, big Will is proud to represent whatever team he is playing for and is even prouder of his ‘Day 1 fans’, including wife Kate and best mate Steve Cummins (Melbourne Rebels).

Back Row:

Jesse Parahi (Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens)

One of the most experienced players in the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens squad, Jesse Parahi’s Instagram account details the life of a bloke who is seemingly always smiling! He and wife Carlien have started Sense Rugby, an Occupational Therapy based Rugby program, and his account shows the two of them running programs across the country. Bonus points for the clever way in which they announced that they’re awaiting the arrival of their first child, too!

Matt Hodgson (Western Force)

One of the veterans of the Australian Rugby scene, ‘Hodgo’ dispels the myth that Instagram is a young man’s game! The long-time Captain and still one of the Western Force’s spiritual leaders, Matt’s professionalism in Rugby is unrivalled; he’s an absolute professional in all he does. The time he spends in the community, whether representing the Force or as an ambassador for LIVIN, is expertly documented, as is his family life with wife Jo and kids Hunter and Buddy

Jed Holloway (New South Wales Waratahs)

Waratahs young gun Jed Holloway is not only a star on the rise on the field, but also a man who gives plenty of time to greatly support the cause of the Starlight Foundation, for whom he is an ambassador. Dedicated to brightening the lives of seriously ill children, Jed puts himself out there and gets involved. He is also a coasty boy at heart, so expect fresh seafood and ocean shots aplenty…

Stay tuned for our announcement tomorrow of the backs…

Pete Fairbairn
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