As the Qantas Wallabies enter a new era in 2011, with the National side one of the youngest in the world of Rugby, Rugby HQ takes a look at a handful of Australian’s plying their trade north of the equator.
From France to Japan, Australians are scattered throughout Rugby Clubs all over the world – whether it be players, coaches, trainers or fans.
Here’s a few we’ve been keeping an eye on….
Paul Warwick – Munster
A slight unknown in the world of Australian Rugby, Paul Warwick may not be an ex-Wallaby however the Munster flyhalf is quite familiar to many of the current squad. Warwick was the man behind the upset victory over Australia when the historic Irish club side met the Men of Gold in a mid-week fixture on the 2010 Spring Tour.
A former Australian Sevens rep, who also plied his trade in the Australian Under 21s squad, Warwick joined Connaught in 2004 after a successful stint in the Shute Shield competition with the Manly Marlins. Warwick played 72 matches in Connaught before signing with Munster in 2007 where he has become a regular at both flyhalf and fullback – operating as a back-up to Irish No.10 Ronan O’Gara.
George Smith – Toulon
One of the most-decorated and fan-favoured Wallabies of all time, George Smith announced his retirement from Australian Rugby following the 2009 Spring Tour of Japan and the United Kingdom. After 110 Test caps and 122 Super Rugby appearances with his beloved Brumbies, Smith ended his career as one of the most highly-regarded and exciting No.7’s in the history of the game.
Quite fittingly, Smith announced he would be joining cashed-up Toulon for their 2010/11 season alongside fellow entertainers of the modern game Felipe Contemponi (Argentina) and Jonny Wilkinson (England).
Smith crossed on 9 occasions for the Qantas Wallabies, an impressive feat when you consider the talent he was surrounded by, and when in Brumbies colours he touched down on 15 occasions. Highly-skilled, fierce and unique, Smith will forever be remembered as a key-figure in the evolution of the openside flanker position.
George Gregan – Suntory
Finishing up his illustrious Rugby career, former Qantas Wallabies captain George Gregan recently completed a stint with Suntory Sungoliath in the Japanese national competition under former Brumbies and Wallabies mentor Eddie Jones and alongside former Waratahs fullback Peter Hewat.
Gregan, who also appeared for Australia at Under 19 and 21 level, retired from international rugby in 2007 following his fourth World Cup appearance for Australia and signed for French club side Toulon. After only one season in the south of France, Gregan was enticed to Suntory by former mentor Jones who is a Coaching Advisor at the Tokyo-based club.
A major-player throughout the golden-era of Australian Rugby, between 1998-2002, Gregan won a World Cup, Tri Nations, Bledisloe Cup, British Lions series in 2001 and two Super 14 titles with the ACT Brumbies in 2001 and 2004.
Brock James – Clermont
A Queensland Reds and Western Force representative, Brock James is another who struggled to crack the big-time in Australian Rugby. After a decorated Schoolboy career with The Scots College, NSW and Australian Schools squads, Brock James represented the Australian Under 21s and A side while consistently performing for club side Sydney University in the Sydney Premier Competition.
James, after much trial and tribulation, headed for France in 2004 and linked with Clermont-Ferrand. In his first season, James played every game with Clermont and became the top scorer in the French League with 380 points.