One Percenters: Walsh opens up on Porch departure, Yabbies go high-vis after jersey mishap

by Beth Newman, Emma Greenwood and Iain Payten

Aussie Sevens coach Tim Walsh has opened up on the surprise departure of winger John Porch from the Sevens setup after he confirmed a move to Ireland this week.

Walsh said the decision was a "mature" one from Porch and that the door remained open for Porch to return to the fold down the track.

Porch this week announced a move to Irish Pro14 side Connacht, reuniting with former national coach Andy Friend.

The 25-year-old made his Aussie Sevens debut in 2015 and was a surprise inclusion in the Rio Olympic squad less than a year later. 

Porch had become a key part of the side for the better part of the last two seasons and a potent attacking threat but he was dropped from the team after March's Las Vegas-Vancouver legs amid a poor run of form.

The winger was given some time away from the Sevens program and began considering a switch to XVs, playing club rugby with Shute Shield side Norths in recent weeks.

While Walsh said ultimately, Porch decided he wasn't happy in the national squad.

"We were doing everything we could to make him feel comfortable and looking after him, just trying to get the best out of him," he said.

Australia hope this is the start. Photo: Walmsley"He wasn't performing, dropped him from a tournament and said, "You're out of this tournament because of your form but you're a big part of this team and you're going to be on that podium".

"You've got to believe in what you're doing and you've got to enjoy what you're doing and if he wanted a challenge and he needs that then we fully support him in that.

"You don't want anyone playing for Australia that doesn't want to and that's a mature decision from him. It's a real honour and there are some big goals to achieve and if you don't want to be a part of it, don't."

Walsh said the door remained open for Porch if he decided down the track that he wanted to return to Sevens.

"I think probably as a group we underachieved and I think he's left things undone but he's got to look after himself and do what's the right thing for him.

"We wish Porchy all the best and we had a great conversation and I do hope to see him back in Australia and back in Australian colours at some stage.

"I think once you make a decision you feel relieved.

"I'm sure he's very much looking forward to his next challenge.

"It's probably the hardest decision he ever had to make - I don't know, I'm not him - but decision's made, he's moved on, we're moving on and we've all got jobs to do and goals to achieve."

The Aussie men currently sit seventh in the overall World Series standings with two legs to go, well shy of the top four finish required to automatically qualify for the Olympics.

Australia is set to go into an Oceania regional qualifier in Suva in November to fight for that spot in Tokyo.

Yabbies go high-vis after jersey mishap

The high-vis Young Yabbies in action yesterday against West Wyalong. Photos: Fin MartinThere was no missing the Young Yabbies in West Wyalong yesterday with the visitors forced to don an alternate high-vis strip for their clash with the Weevils.

Captain-coach Ned Mullany realised he’d made the 90-minute road trip without the club’s regular bottle green jerseys upon arriving at West Wyalong Rugby Paddock for the Central West NSW second division fixture, and a dash to the nearest menswear establishment ensued.

“Because we needed 16 of them, it came down to a choice between flannos, high vis or dressing gowns, so they went with the high vis,” said veteran scrum half Mick Hudson, who is still running out for the Yabbies at the age of 51.

“Then the referee complained that we hadn’t drawn the numbers on thick enough, so we had to redo them.”

Incredibly, it was Ned’s uncle Brian Mullany who was to blame the last time this happened to the Yabbies - an away game to Condobolin Rams in the early 2000s when the squad were forced to squeeze into a set of borrowed junior rugby league jerseys.

The Yabbies ran rampant in their new away strip, recording a 43-12 victory, but there was also a more sombre moment pre-match when the teams assembled to acknowledge the sudden and tragic passing of former West Wyalong player Andrew ‘Snapper’ Widdows.

Killingworth in action for Warringah

Boyd Killingworth playing for Warringah against Southern Districts. Photo: Karen WatsonPorch isn't the only Sevens name who has been featuring in club rugby.

Liam McNamara was in action for Brisbane's Sunnybank earlier this season and Boyd Killingworth was back in Rats colours this weekend.

Killingworth hasn't featured for Australia since January's Hamilton Sevens.

Navy claims ADF Rugby crown

The Royal Australian Navy Rugby team have spoiled the centenary celebrations of the Australian Army Rugby side by downing them 30-20 in the Australian Defence Force Rugby Championships on Saturday.

Australian Army Rugby is marking its 100th year in 2019 but Navy didn’t get the script and, after beating Air Force on Wednesday, the seafarers toppled their rivals for the first time 2014 and to claimed the 2019 ADF Rugby crown.

The Army women’s team, featuring Wallaroo Sarah Riordan, got one up earlier in the day with a 93-0 win over Navy.

Combined squads for the ADF men’s and women’s teams have been selected after the championships, and they will take on New Zealand Defence Force XVs in Newcastle in July.

Wales better than Wallabies heading into World Cup: Warburton

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton says Wales has the edge over the Wallabies heading into the world Cup in September.

Australia and Wales face off in the pool stages in Japan and it was the Welsh who won their last encounter, a 9-6 grind in Cardiff that ended a 10-year losing streak.

Wales went on to take the 2019 Six Nations title and rocket up to three in the World Rugby rankings.

Ahead of the 2018 Spring Tour, Warburton pointed to the Australia game was one to target for Wales and, speaking to Rugby Pass this week, he said that victory removed a psychological barrier for Wales.

“Wales have had the taking of Australia in the last 10 years but when you look at videos back, it’s literally just been one or two examples of perhaps where they might have left a try or not taking a three-point opportunity which has been the difference between the two teams," he said.

“Both teams have been so close in recent years – but Wales are genuinely the better team at this moment in time.

“Wales have done a lot of things right in the past 10 years when they have played Australia.

“They have beaten them recently in the November series in 2018, which is great from a psychological point of view because you don’t want to be doing press conferences as a player and being asked questions that you haven’t won since 2008, so that monkey has gone, that’s off the back".

The Wallabies take on Wales on Saturday September 29 in Tokyo, kicking off at 5:45pm AEST.

Owens praises Rugby AU for Folau sacking

The World Rugby laws book launched overnight. Photo: Getty ImagesWelsh referee Nigel Owens has praised Rugby Australia for sacking star Israel Folau.

The decision to terminate Folau's contract over a number of controversial social media posts was a polarising one but Owens said it sent a vital signal to the world.

"It is an important message from the Australian Rugby Union, who I think have dealt with it properly in the only way that they could," he told England's Radio 4.

"It is a clear message going out to people that there are consequences for expressing those beliefs, which are very, very hurtful and not acceptable in today's society.

"Rugby is a sport inclusive for all, which means I can be a part of the sport. When you're in that sport you must respect other people within that sport."

Owens, who is openly gay, said no one should "take any pleasure" in Folau's sacking but hoped the process would help foster a greater understanding of other lifestyles for those on both sides of the debate.

"I respect their religion, I respect their beliefs and all I would like to ask is that they respect other people's way of life and try to understand that it's not a choice," he said.

"I cannot choose my sexuality; I can choose what religion I follow, I can choose what kind of person I am - I'm a good person - what sport I play. There are many, many things I can choose in life but my sexuality is not one of them, that's what I'd like them to understand.

"It's a shame that it's gone to this and none of us should take any pleasure in the fact that somebody has lost his job and lost his career."