One Percenters: World Series reunion for Rebels and Force

by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

There's been plenty going on in rugby this week.

What have you missed?

Momentous week for Force and Rebels

The Rebels head into the June Test break with plenty of momentum, but arguably one of their biggest weeks in 2018 is yet to come.

Melbourne's non-Test players are heading to Perth to take on the Western Force in World Series Rugby, a game coach Dave Wessels said was a significant one.

Many of the Rebels players are ex-Force players and Wessels was their head coach last year, as Rugby Australia mulled a decision to cut one of the Rebels or the Force from Super Rugby.

"I think we get a special game next week, we get to go and play the Western Force in Perth, which is I think a pretty momentous occasion for both clubs because it's really a sign that rugby people want to put things that have happened in the past behind us and we want to move on and try to support each other and try to support the game we love," Wessels said.

"It's going to be a pretty special and probably quite emotional occasion next week when some of us who were in Perth last year return there..

"I'm proud of the fact the Rebels are the only Australian team to support their venture.

"I had a fantastic time in Perth and a lot of our players are still associated and still got families over there and things.

"It'll be a special game, to be honest, we probably want to support the concept which is entertainment and so we're going to go there in a festival mindset and put on a bit of an exhibition that'll be certainly what I'm thinking."

The Rebels take on the Force on Saturday June 9, kicking off at 8pm local, 10pm AEST.

Campese holds optimism for Australian rugby

David Campese runs a clinic at Sydney Boys' High. Photo: legend David Campese holds hope for the future of Australian rugby, but says that optimism won't be found in homogeneity.

Campese said Australia had to rediscover its identity and play to their senses more often.

"I think it is, i just think we've fallen in the trap what everyone else wants to play," he said.

"We don't play what the New Zealanders play, it's always been different.

"(You should) play what you're good at and we had great backs, we were very unpredictable, we have still got great backs, you've got Maddocks is now a young guy, you've got Banks who's playing great rugby.

"Now we've got five really exciting players in the backline not just two.

"When you've got five, the opposition have got to worry about five. When you've got two, it's a lot easier to defend. Now, we're starting to get players.

"I think if you break it down, we can still bring the game to the way we want to play, we've just got to try and change our mindset a bit and just coming out here by helping and just say look there are other ways of doing it, just don't sit there, get your vision going, see where the gaps are and start to run in the gapes instead of running into people."

Campese said players had to have an understanding of what they were playing for, and said Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's selections showed form was coming into the picture more and more.

"There's always hope but the players have got to understand why they're playing for the Wallabies," he said.

"It's not because of them, it's because of what happened in history.

"I played in a great era, but it wasn't for me, it was for the guys before me.

"Every time you go out, you're playing for your country, every kid in Australia who wants to be a Wallaby and all us old guys. We've set a pathway, now it's time for you guys to continue so hopefully they can do that."

RUPA reunion helping retired players

A host of Classic Wallabies and vintage Reds gathered at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, as part of an initiative to continue to ease the transition out of professional sports.

Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) player relations manager Patrick Phibbs said they wanted to use the opportunity to help encourage players to engage with formal mental health training if they needed.

"It makes sense for everyone to be working together and having one function so we can all be under the same tree so we can get that re-engagement back and drive it a bit more," he said.

"Part of the reason for having these is to use it as a touch point to reengage with the players and through that we have player development managers in each of the states which can help with CV writing, a mentoring program going on, we have networks where we can facilitate and help out and we have a partnership with Michael Page Recruitment firm 

"We're trying to just help with that transition into life after footy and in light of what happened to Dan Vickerman last year, we plan to roll out some formal mental health training over the next month or two for past players.

"I think guys are opening up a bit more in that mental health space

"The way society is now encourages guys to open up about it, to reach out and it's a bit more prominent." 

Timani says Au Revoir

Lopeti Timani will play his first 2017 Test in Brisbane. Photo: WalmsleyLopeti Timani's Wallabies appear to be over, with the backrower agreeing to a deal with La Rochelle.

Timani will follow older brother Sitaleki to France, with the latter having played with Clermont since 2015.

The 27-year-old was not included in Michael Cheika's June Squad, after a patchy Super Rugby season, suggesting he wasn't in Australia's World Cup plans.

JR Smith or Matt Dunning?

The NBA finals kicked off this week, and the opening game between Golden State and the Cleveland Cavaliers was one for the history books.

Cleveland's JR Smith had the ball with seconds to go in regulation time, with the scores tied, but instead of passing to LeBron James for the winning shot, he just dribbled out of play, sending the game into overtime, with the Cavaliers eventually losing 124-114.

You see, Smith thought the Cavs were in fact one point up, a blunder that ultimately cost them the game.

We couldn't help but be reminded of Wallabies and Waratahs prop Matt Dunning's infamous drop goal that cost the Waratahs a finals spot back in 2003.