One Percenters: Polota-Nau set to play for Baabaas

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

It's been a big week in rugby. 

What did you miss in the past seven days?

Polota-Nau lining up for Baabaas

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika confirmed this week that Tatafu Polota-Nau wouldn't be playing in the June Series, but he will play one more game before taking a rest.

The first-choice Australian hooker has been named in the Barbarians' squad to take on England next weekend, in what will be his last game in the UK this season.

Polota-Nau won't be the only familiar face there, with former Wallaby Sitaleki Timani also named, along with Scotland's Greig Laidlaw and Ireland centre Bundee Aki.

His absence from June opens the door for a host of options in the no. 2, with Queensland's Brendan Paenga-Amosa and Melbourne's Anaru Rangi among the pack leaders, behind the injured Jordan Uelese.

NSW's Damien Fitzpatrick did his chances no harm on Saturday night either, in a win over the Highlanders.

Taylor confirmed for Love Island

Charlie Taylor was playing Sevens for Australia at the Commonwealth Games last month, but now the Insta-famous athlete is switching sport for a shot at love, on Channel Nine's Love Island.

Taylor quit the Aussie Sevens program to pursue a burgeoning acting and modelling career, confirming his new TV spot on Sunday morning.

Cross-code collaboration

Fremantle's Nat Fyfe training in Sydney this week. Photo: AFL's Fremantle Dockers dropped into Rugby AU ahead of their clash with the Swans, and their contingent contained a familiar face.

Fremantle's head of sport science, Jason Weber, was with the Wallabies during the early 2000s, including the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, and his relationship with Rugby AU high performance boss, Ben Whitaker, brought the Dockers into the new facilities.

Weber said he learned plenty from then Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, and said it was important that 'like-minded' people could share strategies across sports.

"We mightn't do exactly what the Wallabies do but we could have concepts that Haydn (Wallabies head of physical performance Haydn Masters) comes up with or that he develops, that maybe we can then modify to utilise in the AFL world and similarly he would do the same things," he said.

Masters welcomed more collaboration between the codes.

"If we live in a little shell and we think that what we're doing is perfect then we're going to get left behind, so it's really good to cross-reference and cross-pollinate between codes and different coaches just to get an insight in what they're doing and potentially what you could do better," he said.

"Maybe a better way to represent things, represent data, but in general you get a chance to really assess what your program, where your program sits in comparison to what other teams are doing."

Ref chat not Hooper's go

Dealing with referees is a fine art in rugby  - or a dark art, depending who you ask - but Waratahs and Wallabies captain Michael Hooper isn't about to begin piping up more to try and sway officials.

His dealings with referee Brenton Pickerill on Saturday night were in stark contrast to his counterpart, Ben Smith, who found every opportunity to get into Pickerill's ear.

"It's a hard balance to get right. As far as the game's concerned, they're the best on the field at refereeing yet, obviously, I've got my point of view but that's his job on the field," he said.

"My mindset is they're there to do a job and they're very good at it.

"So, unless there's something standout for me, which I thought he may have missed an Aaron Smith one (deliberate knock down), which I approached him on, they're there to do a job and it's a fine balance between going up to them too much and not at all."

The issue of referee communication has reared its head in the past week, after the Waratahs didn't spend much time appealing to the referee in a controversial loss to the Crusaders a week ago, a game in which there were at least two obvious infringements overlooked.

When Hooper did ask referee Ben O'Keeffe to look at something, he refused.

O'Keeffe took an about turn in Wellington on Friday night, appearing to give in to a request from TJ Perenara to review an incident and reverse a decision on the big screen.

Hegarty heading to Tokyo

Bryce Hegarty will start at 10 for the second week in a row. Photo: WalmsleyJapanese Top League side Ricoh Balck Rams announced a host of new signings for the 2018-19 season, including Waratahs back Bryce Hegarty.

Hegarty is signed with the Waratahs until the end of 2019, but it's believed his is a deal to fit in with Super Rugby, set to return to Sydney for Super Rugby next year.

The 25-year-old has played in Japan before, before signing with the Waratahs ahead of the 2016 season.

Emus keep the fight going

Penrith hasn't given up on returning to the Shute Shield, with an appeal against the club's axing to be heard on Tuesday May 22. 

The Emus were cut from the Shute Shield last month, with the Sydney Rugby Union saying the club failed to meet a series of criteria.

Elsewhere in club land, there's some tension brewing over the proposed re-naming of Woollahra Oval.

Though Easts has a long list of high-profile rugby names that have plied their trade there, the name of a former mayor has been thrown up as an option for the field.

Needless to say, it's an option that hasn't gone down well with everyone.

Rebels duo officially released

Nic Stirzaker has signed with Saracens. Photo: Getty ImagesFormer Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker and flanker Jordy Reid have both been formally released by Melbourne.

Neither was a shock, with English deals announced for the duo earlier this year, but the Rebels chose Friday to confirm their official releases.

Stirzaker was signed to a loan deal with Sraracens in January, before signing with Bristol for the 2018-19 season.

Reid hasn't been training with the Rebels for much of the season, playing club rugby with Manly in the Shute Shield, before inking a deal with the Ealing Trailfinders last month.