One Percenters: Healthy rugby appetite on show at Shute Shield

by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

Another week down in rugby.

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Shute Shield a reminder of healthy rugby appetite

The Wallabies have copped plenty of criticism in recent weeks after another Bledisloe series went to New Zealand but one look at Saturday's Shute Shield final showed rugby still has a strong beating heart. 

Wallabies and Sydney Uni halfback Nick Phipps pointed to the 15,500 strong crowd as a sign of that.

"People always say that rugby's in decline but it's not, people want to watch great footy," he said.

"If the Tahs and Wallabies aren't going well, they're always going to come and watch Shute Shield and you can see the crowd here today 16,000 people here watching a club game. It's unreal.

"People love their footy and it's great to be able to get around and see everyone walking out the gates with a smile on their face."

There were a whole host of recognisable faces in the stands at North Sydney Oval, with Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle and chairman Cameron Clyne at the game, as well as a handful of Wallabies including Bernard Foley, Jack Maddocks and Ned Hanigan.

The NSW decider came off the back of a month of state club finals that attracted healthy crowds and delivered some exciting results.

Homophobia research a big step in Victoria

Monash University and Rugby Victoria have teamed up in a research project to help reduce discrimination in sport.

The project, aiming to help educate players on the use of homophobic language, has been rolled out across Victoria with Rebels players delivering training programs to local clubs.

Rebels club captain Tom English said there was still a long way to go but opening the conversation on appropriate language was important.

"When we spoke to the boys a lot of them had never had this conversation about the language before or any education similar to this and so it’s really important that we don’t leave it here and we need to continue with this kind of education and other programs," he said.

"If we can create an environment where people are comfortable to speak up and call out the language and also acknowledge that this kind of behaviour can be quite harmful, then sport is going to be in a much better place in the future."

Endeavour Hills player Raymond Hill was one of the players involved in the study and said it had highlighted the need to think about the way people talk to each other in any context.

"Diversity is important in rugby and sometimes the things we say to others, like negative words about gay people, can make people feel like they are not welcome in the sport," he said.

"It is important that people feel comfortable and especially in rugby where we want people to feel like they belong to the team.

"I think accepting people that are different makes a team strong and brings everyone together because we want everyone to feel welcome."

Classics felled by Fijian Legends

The Classic Wallabies have had a big week in Fiji. Photo: SuppliedThe Classic Wallabies spent the week in Fiji helping local school children and communities but they couldn't get the better of the Fijian Legends in a 55-14 loss.

The Aussies had a late inclusion in the form of Souths halfback De Wet Roos, who was staying in town for his sister's 30th.

Roos played a starring role on a tough day for the Classics, while local hero Radike Samo lit up the crowd with some big hits ahead of the NRC match between the Fijian Drua and Melbourne Rising.

Lote Tuqiri and Sam Cordingley scored tries for the Classics on the day.

Goddard resists travel bug

Promising Rebels halfback Harrison Goddard has resisted an itch to join the Australian Sevens setup for 2019.

We hear the former Junior Wallabies star was considering a short term stint with the squad in the lead up to the next Super Rugby season having made his World Series debut in Hong Kong but has since told Melbourne he will see out the remainder of his contract - which ends next season.

Goddard currently sits third on Melbourne's depth chart at halfback - Will Genia and Michael Ruru sharing the load at No. 9 through the 2018 season.

Patu picks up a different pig skin

Liz Patu switched it up in Brisbane this week. Photo: InstagramWallaroos captain Liz Patu traded tries for touch downs this week.

The Australia hooker pulled on the Griffith University grid iron uniform to have a run around in the American code. 

Super 6 Cup kicks off

The Moreton Bay 6 Cup got off to a strong start. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelThe first round of the Moreton Bay 6 Cup was played in Queensland last week.

The competition brings boys in Year 7 and Year 8 from six non-traditional rugby schools - Caboolture State High, Clontarf Beach State High, Deception Bay State High, Tullawong State High, Murrumba State Secondary College and Southern Cross Catholic College - together for a six-week season.

The two top teams at the end of the season will square off in the final.

Played after school on Wednesday afternoons, the initiative is the first of its kind in Australia and Rugby Australia is now taking applications for other regions across the country to receive similar support.

Great to see kids whose dreams may have been all rugby league having a chance to star in the 15-man game.