Wallabies abroad: Tributes for Horne, Folau's reportedly big English offer

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Europe’s biggest rugby tournaments were back in action on the weekend, but there was just as much talk about Aussies off the field.

The biggest news for Australian fans out of the UK was the premature retirement of back Rob Horne.

Horne has spent the past week in hospital, with such severe nerve damage in his arm that he made the call to retire.

Tributes have flooded in on social media for the hard-working back, who played 34 Tests for the Wallabies and played at the Waratahs for a decade before moving to England.

This was the first in a three-season deal for Horne with the Saints.

Off-field, reports of English interest in Israel Folau has hit the papers, with The Rugby Paper reporting Premiership club Sale were prepared to offer the star fullback roughly $1.37 million a year to make the switch.

Though it is believed Folau is keen to stay in Australia, with wife Maria playing professional netball in New Zealand, the report gives an interesting guide to the figures European clubs are able to offer.

Sale is also home to James O’Connor, who won’t be featuring for the English club for a while, taking time out to rehabilitate a troublesome ankle injury, explaining the decision in an Instagram post.

 

Hey guys, just wanted to keep you all in the loop. I’ve recently undergone surgery to clean out my ankle and have another operation in 2 weeks to fix some complications that have arisen as a direct result of the reconstruction work I had done last year. It’s been a very humbling experience having to stop and process everything that has happened recently but since making the decision to embrace this reflective period rather than fight it, I have started to let go and re-connect with my true power! On the 3rd day of preseason in 2016, I injured my ankle at Toulon. Since then I’ve been fighting to play for nearly 2 seasons! It got to the point where I was only training 1 session a week and injecting it with local anaesthetic just to be able to take the field. At the time I knew this wasn’t in my bodies best interest but I was so determined to play and win a final with Toulon that I disregarded all the signs and carelessly played on. I Ended up getting the reconstruction 5 days after losing that final and moved across to Sale Sharks to start fresh. After the first training session I knew my ankle hadn’t healed but again, I ignored the signs because I wanted to make an impact at my new club. I masked the pain through various means and just got on with the job. I did whatever I could to get onto the field to play...3 games on, 2 weeks off and cortisol to PRP injections became my routine! This pressure in no way came from the club. I thought I could beat this through force & never actually allowed myself to stop and heal correctly. So now I’m here in the exact same place I was last year, 1 surgery down with another to go...but this time around we (club & I) have taken all the correct measures and discussions with my surgeon, going over all possibilities and put together a great rehab program to get me back for next season faster, stronger and pain free! Sounds funny but I cant even express how excited I am to just take this time and recover properly, heal correctly and start playing with power again! Just want to recognise my team mates and coaches for having the patience and supporting me through this year. Also anyone who has been following my journey..

A post shared by James O'Connor (@jamesoconnor832) on


“I’ve recently undergone surgery to clean out my ankle and have another operation in 2 weeks to fix some complications that have arisen as a direct result of the reconstruction work I had done last year,” he wrote on Instagram.

“It’s been a very humbling experience having to stop and process everything that has happened recently but since making the decision to embrace this reflective period rather than fight it, I have started to let go and re-connect with my true power!

“I thought I could beat this through force & never actually allowed myself to stop and heal correctly. So now I’m here in the exact same place I was last year, 1 surgery down with another to go...but this time around we (club & I) have taken all the correct measures and discussions with my surgeon, going over all possibilities and put together a great rehab program to get me back for next season faster, stronger and pain free! “

CHAMPIONS CUP

Scott Fardy featured for Leinster in their Champions Cup quarter-final. Photo: Getty ImagesOn the field, Scott Fardy produced a man-of-the-match performance to help Leinster qualify for the Champions Cup final. 

Fardy scored a 49th minute try in the clash, playing at blindside flanker for the Dublin side, on the way to a big win over Welsh side, Scarlets.

It is the first time since the 2011-12 season that Leinster has reached the final, beating Ulster in that decider.

Leinster will take on Racing 92 in the final on May 12, after the French club edged out Munster in its semi-final.

RESULTS

Leinster 38 - Scarlets 16

Racing 92 27 - Munster 22

CHALLENGE CUP

Former Wallabies hooker James Hanson came off the bench as Gloucester found its way into a third Challenge Cup final in four seasons.

Ben Mowen played at six for Pau in the other semi-final, but the French side went down to Cardiff in the knockout match.

RESULTS

Gloucester 33 - Newcastle 12

Cardiff 16 - Pau 10