One Percenters: Out of cotton wool and into NRC

by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

What have you missed in this week of rugby?

Cheika happy with NRC hunger

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is pleased with a renewed hunger from his players to tally game time, at any level.

Cheika has been quick to release players to play in the NRC this season if they’re not picked in Test squads and his charges are just as keen to run out.

A handful of players who missed out last night remained in Canberra for the Test but jumped on a plane to head to Brisbane for the City vs Vikings clash at UQ.

“The one thing I have really noticed is the appetite of all players to play footy,” he said.

“As soon as they're not picked, they want to know if they can go back and play NRC straight away.

“We've got to keep some guys just as back up, if there's an injury in the warm up or whatever.

“There's a real appetite for that, that's a really good sign. Maybe in the past years it hasn't always been like that, but there's a real appetite for the guys to play NRC.”

Lopeti Timani was in action for the Rising on Saturday. Photo: Karen WatsonCheika will likely take a 31-man squad to Africa next week, looking to strike a balance between players being in the international environment and ensuring they actually have the chance to play regularly.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is pleased with a renewed hunger form his players to tally game time, at any level.

Cheika has been quick to release players to play in the NRC this season if they’re not picked in Test squads and his charges are just as keen to run out.

A handful of players who missed out last night remained in Canberra for the Test but jumped on a plane to head to Brisbane for the City vs Vikings clash at UQ.

“The one thing I have really noticed is the appetite of all players to play footy,” he said.

“As soon as they're not picked, they want to know if they can go back and play NRC straight away.

“We've got to keep some guys just as back up, if there's an injury in the warm up or whatever.

“There's a real appetite for that, that's a really good sign. Maybe in the past years it hasn't always been like that, but there's a real appetite for the guys to play NRC.”

Cheika will likely take a 31-man squad to Africa next week, looking to strike a balance between players being in the international environment and ensuring they actually have the chance to play regularly.

South African Pro14 debut falls flat


The Kings and Cheetahs found a home in the Pro14, but it seems their fans may not have followed them.

It was the Kings who played host for the first time in the expanded competition on the weekend and just 3011 turned up to watch them take on Leinster.

Maybe it’s just teething problems, but it wasn’t the most positive sign for the future of South Africa in Europe. 

Brisbane hustles its way to Purchas Cup


The Brisbane Hustlers took out the 2017 Purchas Cup in Melbourne on Saturday, beating the Sydney Convicts 22-10 in the final.

The Purchas Cup is an Australasian gay rugby competition that has been running for close to a decade, involving Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, a Barbarians side and a New Zealand team.

This year’s competition comes off the back of a week in which the ARU and Wallabies pledged their support for marriage equality, before fullback Israel Folau tweeted his own personal opposition to the move.

Hustlers coach Darren Hegarty said the competition had been a timely refuge for players amid the increasingly volatile debate.

“Winning the Purchas Cup this weekend and being part of the tournament, with like-minded people, has been a very welcome escape," he said.

"This debate has exposed us to a lot of negativity, particularly in Queensland, where a lot of people live in regional areas and many have probably never met a gay person. This makes it easier for them to believe the rubbish being said about us.

“These sports touch massive populations right throughout Australia and they influence people involved in the sports. I hope their support will have a very positive impact and counteract the lies people are hearing.”

Melbourne Chargers vice-captain Ryan Naylor spoke to RUGBY.com.au earlier this week about what that support means to players.

Why McMahon snubbed Koroibete


Marika Koroibete may have been justifiably miffed after flanker Sean McMahon opted to throw an inside pass to Nick Phipps instead of looking to the debutant.

The 23-year-old gave a simple explanation for the choice post-match.

“I was worried about my left-hand pass so I thought I'd thread the needle to ‘Fang’ just in case I sent the other one over the sideline, but it definitely should've went to 'Reeks' to give him his first one for his debut.”

Wallabies watch on at Uni7s

Kane Douglas was released from Wallabies camp this week to play for Brisbane City and he used the extra time to head to UQ to watch the Uni7s tournament, watching on with scrumhalf Moses Sorovi.

Cheika’s dumpling mishap 

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has had his fair share of training incidents in recent times, even forced into shoulder surgery after a collision last year, but it was the humble dumpling that proved his latest downfall.

Cheika was sporting a burn on the tip of his nose on Saturday night, a scar of some stray dumpling juice that scorched his tip.

“It was beautiful food but I did get scalded,” he laughed.

“I wish I could say I’d done it in training.”

Baby joy for Sevens

 

Aussie Sevens' Nicole Beck made her comeback in the Uni 7s on Saturday five months after giving birth to daughter Harper, and now there's set to be another new member of the Sevens family.

Recently retired Gemma Etheridge, who was a keen spectator as her former teammates went at it at UQ, is set to have her first child early next year. 

The Sevens world might just need to keep an eye out in the 2030s for the next generation, literally.

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