One Percenters: NRC could be last Perth talent pillar

by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

The NRC could become pivotal for WA rugby, after news the Force would be cut from Super Rugby in 2018.

From next year, that means the Perth Spirit might be the highest level rugby team in the state, and thus a key plank in the talent pathway.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said on Sunday he was confident WA talent would still find its way to the Wallabies.

Though the structure going forward is unclear, Cheika said NRC would be critical if it remains on a long-term basis.

"If that's what will be there, then that's going to be something that we focus on around pushing that talent into there and whatever that might be," he said.

"It's about us identifying those players probably a little younger.

"I think in the coming time, in the shorter period that work's been done so they're there to be identified because they're coming through.

"It's that next generation, got to make sure our fans and volunteers and people who participate in the game over there are still very engaged so the next generation of players and kids, they're seeing rugby as something they want to be involved in."

It is unclear exactly which players would be available to play in the NRC, with clubs in each of the other Super Rugby teams' states too, though players can potentially play for interstate sides.

Furious with the decision to cut the Force from Super Rugby, fans were threatening boycotts of the Wallabies vs South Africa Test over the weekend.

With a number of WA players in the Wallabies mix, an alternative school of thought emerged - the idea of wearing a Force jersey to the clash.

The Force are exploring their rights to appeal, with a Supreme Court hearing likely to occur in the next month, should they be find grounds for an appeal.

Whatever happens from here, there's plenty more to play out but pencil in September 9, because things could look very interesting at nib.

Lealiifano looking overseas

Reports out of Ireland have suggested Christian Lealiifano is readying himself for a trip to the emerald Isle, with Belfast-based Pro14 side Ulster.

Don't panic, Brumbies fans - the deal would just be a short-term one for the flyhalf to build up some game time ahead of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

If the reports prove true, Lealiifano could find himself face-to-face with a couple of his former teammates, in Scott Fardy (Leinster) and Jarrad Butler (Connacht) who have just begun their deals in Ireland.

Thorn back with Broncos

Brad Thorn with Petero Civoniceva, and members of the QPS rugby league side. Photo: QPS FacebookBrad Thorn still looks ready to jump on the footy field should it be required and he popped up in the 13-man code again last weekend, all for a good cause.

Thorn and former Broncos Scott Prince, Dane Carlaw and Petero Civoniceva all featured in the Queensland Police Service Rugby League Association's biggest day, raising funds for the Brett Forte Remembrance Fund.

Forte was a Queensland police officer tragically killed on duty. 

Great stuff from Thorn. 

Sevens embracing diversity

The South Australian Rugby Union held a landmark tournament last month, celebrating the diversity of those in its rugby community.

The Country of Origin 7s was organised in conjunction with the Australian Refugee Association, and involved a Fiji, South Africa PNG, Australia, New Zealand and a Tuskers team.

Catch some of the highlights here.

Mako makes a splash

UK powerhouse Saracens hit the pool this week, as their preseason continues, with a video making the rounds showing some pretty silky skills on the diving boards.

It was prop Mako Vunipola who surprised everyone, though, with this effort on the springboard.



Chances? 🤙🏿

A post shared by Mako Vunipola (@mako_vunipola) on