One Percenters: Cross-code bouts

by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

Richard Hardwick was one of six Wallabies debutants this June but the rising backrower didn't even consider himself a Wallabies supporter until he was 17.

Hardwick, who played in two of the Wallabies' three Tests, moved from Namibia to Australia as an eight year old and despite his mother's encouragement, stayed a staunch Springboks supporter.

There was just one thing that would make him switch allegiances - donning a gold jersey.

"My mum was hassling me for so long saying that we were in Australia now so I need to support Australia," he recalled.

"I was pretty stubborn and so I was like, I’ll get there one day and I said, 'When I play for Australia, I will support for Australia'.

"That came when I was 17, played U18 schoolboys and just about then I was softening up to the idea to become Australian, supporting them."

The days of his national confusion are over, though, with the green and gold the only thing on his mind.

Cross-code bouts


Quade Cooper's penchant for boxing is well-known but this week he crossed paths with AFLW star Tayla Harris, set for her own foray into the noble art.

Harris, who was recently traded from Brisbane to Carlton, fought on the undercard on Saturday night at Brisbane's Eatons Hill Hotel, her first bout.

Cooper gave her a shoutout earlier this week when they shared a workout space.

Mumm dons the big V


Waratahs lock Dean Mumm went back to club rugby this weekend, playing for Sydney Uni, and donning the No. 5 jersey, though it wasn't just any jersey.

Sydney Uni has replaced the 5 with a V after the passing of Dan Vickerman earlier this year, someone who Mumm played plenty of his rugby with, posting a tribute to his old mate after Saturday's game.

English speaking his mind

Tom English has long been considered one of the better speakers on the rugby landscape and he's putting his communication skills to good use, in a very raw way.

The Rebels centre has launched his own website, openmybrain.com, detailing his battles with depression, in a bid to create more discussion around the mental well-being of athletes.

It's a brave move from English, but hopefully one that will break down the barriers for people going through similar challenges.

Battle of the border on the bus

The Wallabies bus broke down on Saturday night, so at short notice it was replaced by the one used by the Queensland State of Origin team when they are in town - logos and all.

Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt (they both played for the Maroons back in the day) were over the moon about that but some of the NSW Blues leaning members of the squad were less than impressed.

Latu hooked because of fitness

Tolu Latu was one of the few players who failed to get a run in the June Series, despite being Stephen Moore's back up in last year's Spring Tour, and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said there was one simple reason for that.

"I think Tolu probably got caught in the fitness battle," Cheika told reporters on Sunday.

"I think that for a young guy coming up, he's a player who we have a lot of regard for.

"We want him to be in the game here for a long time but I think he got caught out by the fact that as a young player in particular, he needs to be working harder than anybody.

"He needs to be outshining the older guys that are playing - physically, in particular, because he's got 10 years on them and when he steps up to the plate, I've got no doubt he can compete for the number one hooker spot."

Mini Wallabies

There have been plenty of different marketing stunts in this June Series but this independent effort that popped up on Instagram was a Saturday lifter for any Lego fans.

 

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