One Percenters: New single lift law following Izzy's June card

by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

Israel Folau's contentious June Series suspension is unlikely to be repeated with World Rugby officially putting the onus on lifters to return their teammates to safety. 

World Rugby introduced a new law 9.19 after a week of meetings in Sydney that puts the responsibility on players to ensure teammates are brought to ground after an aerial contest and face giving away a free kick if they don't.

"In open play, any player may lift or support a player from the same team," the new law reads.

"Players who support or lift a teammate must lower the the player to the ground safely as soon as the ball is won by a player of either team."


It's not specifically exonerating Folau but the law change certainly backs the argument that the Aussie fullback was harshly penalised.

Folau was suspended for a match in June after an aerial contest in which Ireland skipper Peter O'Mahony landed awkwardly after being lifted by flanker CJ Stander.

Rugby Australia openly questioned the duty of care on lifters after Folau's suspension with teammate Dane Haylett-Petty pointing the finger at the issue back in June.

"Being a player that's often in the air, you want to be protecting the players but I felt like last night that one-man lift, they're obviously putting their own player in danger there," he said at the time.

"Any time there was any sort of contact in the air, he fell pretty badly. So, I feel like if anything we should be getting rid of that."

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson also questioned the safety of the one-man lift after Folau's suspension.

The new law comes into effect immediately.

Storm put the rugby into league ahead of NRL decider

The Melbourne Storm set up camp inside the Rugby Australia building last week, ahead of their clash with the Roosters.

Teed up through sevens official Scott Bowen, the Storm used the indoor field and the gym and had a good read of the Aussie rugby history adorning the walls.

Interestingly, the Storm team had a perfect vantage point to stare down in the Roosters offices and gym, which are situated right next to the Rugby AU headquarters.

Twiggy building bridges

World Series Rugby has taken another step forward towards an international 2019 competition, with World Rugby having given a conditional green light to the proposed expansion into Asia.

The WSR was discussed during World Rugby's quarterly meetings in Sydney last week, and the man bankrolling the competition, Andrew Forrest was also in town.

"The Executive Committee recommended the concept for approval to the World Rugby Council, subject to finalisation of regulatory and governance criteria," a release from Mindaroo said.

If all boxes can be ticked in time, the World Rugby Council next meet in November.

Whatever the next step for his competition, Forrest is certainly not being ignored by the major rugby powers.

In a sideline meeting in Sydney, the mining magnate posed for pictures with NZ Rugby CEO Steve Tew and Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle in a park near Circular Quay.

World Rugby vice-chairman Gus Pichot was also there.

Plans for World Series Rugby include two teams from Japan (who aren't playing Top League next year) and teams from Fiji, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and even Western Sydney. 

Warringah and NSW Country Eagles coach Darren Coleman on the top of the list to take the job coaching the Sydney team, who are expected to have a strong Pacific Island flavour.

If approved, World Series Rugby will start in March, run for 14 weeks and reportedly have a million dollar prize purse for the winner.

Jordy's junior in NZ colours

Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese mightn't be the only one in his family with a Test cap in coming years with little brother Ovaleni 'Junior' Uelese catching attention in the schoolboys ranks.

The younger Uelese has been picked in New Zealand's school squad for next week's Tri-nations between Australia, the Kiwis and Tonga.

It will come as no surprise that Uelese is a front rower, built similarly to his elder brother.

Junior has been going to school in Auckland to further his rugby and where he ends up plying his trade down the track could be an interesting development to watch.

Two Blues pay tribute to fallen mate


Some sad news in Sydney rugby circles this week with the Western Sydney Two Blues paying tribute to young player Kolia Liko, who passed away last week.

Two Blues sevens players sported Kolia's name on their wrist tape during matches at the weekend.

Our thoughts are with the club and all of Kolia's family and friends.

Aussie Sevens win in Sapporo

The Aussie Sevens women will take confidence into next month's opening World Series event after taking out their only preseason tournament in Japan.

Australia took out the Hokkaido Generals Cup, beating out New Zealand in the final.

Though New Zealand left most of its stars at home, a win will be a handy confidence boost for Australia who have suffered a string of recent losses to the Kiwis in major events.

GPS schools raise money for spinal injury victims

The GPS schools in Queensland are fierce enemies on the field but they pull together off it, judging by a recent fundraising drive to raise money for kids who suffered spinal injuries this year.

Brisbane Boys' College held a wide-ranging charity drive of selling raffle tickets and caps, and donations, and it hauled a terrific $65,000 sum. 

Reds backrower Angus Scott-Young drew the raffle, which saw a lucky punter win a new car.

The money has been donated to the families of those players who suffered neck injuries in an unfortunate spate this winter, including Toowoomba Grammar School student Ollie Bierhoff and Gregory Terrace youngster Conor Tweedy.

Sean and Bec Tweedy said in an email to BBC: “[We] would like to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your support – emotional, spiritual, financial and practical. We mention all those various types of support because each is important in its own way and fully reflects the authenticity and completeness of the support that the BBC community is offering to Conor, to us and to the other injured players.”