What did you miss in this week of rugby?
The good news story rugby desperately needs
Australian rugby needs some good news right now and it’s come in the form of GingerCloud’s Modified Rugby program.
The ARU announced a new partnership with the Queensland organisation this weekend, to provide coaching and bigger picture aid to the program to help it grow.
Former Wallabies skippers Nathan Sharpe and Tim Horan as well as the current man Stephen Moore (see below) attended the launch of the fantastic initiative on Friday in Brisbane.
GingerCloud’s co-founder Megan Elliott set up the program to help her son, Max find a way to play rugby.
The program puts children with intellectual disabilities together with player mentors to learn rugby in a local club.
MRP has been so successful that the Elliotts were awarded the Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of Rugby Award at last year’s John Eales Medal and shortlisted for World Rugby’s Character award.
“Through The Modified Rugby Program we’re about creating a home for our children in rugby clubs everywhere and we’re delighted that the ARU has joined us on this journey,” she said.
“Together we can make real social change and continue to drive respect, diversity and inclusion in our communities.”
A timely reminder of why rugby, and sport in general, means so much to so many.
Cheika gives Phipps high praise
The Waratahs are confident Nick Phipps’ latest ankle concern is not a major one, but the Wallabies are also likely to be keeping a close eye on his fitness this week.
Australia’s June Test squad is set to be announced on Tuesday and the three scrumhalves named look likely to be Will Genia, Phipps and Joe Powell.
Phipps has bounced back from his mid-season Super Rugby demotions to be among the Waratahs’ most influential in recent weeks and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has noticed.
“I actually think Nick, the last couple of games it’s starting to square away for him,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“I think he’s getting very clear on his role in the team, not thinking about too many things and doing what he does well - he’s super fit, get there first, shift the ball, be aggressive in defence, be a motivating force within the team.
“They’re his qualities and I think he’s gone back to those these last couple of weeks - I think you’ve seen improved performances from him.”
Know your audience
Jersey sponsorships for individual players are common among club sides, but it’s not quite as common to see targeted ads for certain positions.
Eagle eyes at Coogee Oval on the weekend spotted the jersey endorsements on each of the Gordon props, who were taking on Randwick, were of a very high-profile fried chicken establishment, often the downfall of players wearing No. 1 and No. 3.
Not to stereotype our front row friends, but it seems like pretty clever ad placement to us.
Gits pokes fun at Joubert
It’s been nearly two years since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but there are memories that last forever.
Craig Joubert & Scotland can be friends again now.. 👌🏼— Matt Giteau (@giteau_rugby) May 21, 2017
Matt Giteau certainly has a long memory, unable to resist a joke at the expense of Scotland after last week’s London Sevens.
Scotland took out the UK tournament for the second year running, with Craig Joubert the officiator in the final, the man that many Scots still hold a grudge against for a controversial penalty that handed the Wallabies a quarter-final win at Twickenham in 2015.
Though, judging by some of the replies, it seems some Scots still hang on to that slice of anger.