One Percenters: Dempsey's training revenge, Force front rower locked in

Rugby World Cup
by Beth Newman, Emma Greenwood and Iain Payten

Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley joked earlier this week that Christian Lealiifano was the reason behind his black eye but the full story of how the 10 got his new accessory has come to light.

Foley was the victim of some friendly fire at training from flanker Jack Dempsey and the backrower said on Friday that it was a chance for a little bit of revenge.

"So as you know, we only carrying two halfbacks. Bernard's been given the role of the emergency third halfback so over the last few weeks, every now and then he's been getting some reps at halfback.

"He's been throwing some terrible pies, some hospital passes so I owed him one.

"Because I wasn't in the starting team and was against him in training, I thought I'd get him back I guess."

Cooper comes to terms with being World Cup spectator


Former Wallabies 10 Quade Cooper is not far from the World Cup action, starting his time with Japanese side Kintetsu in the past month, but he says he's at peace with the fact he will only be a spectator of the tournament.

Cooper gave an interesting interview to the UK's Daily Mail this week, suggesting had felt as long as Michael Cheika was coaching the Wallabies, he wouldn't have a look in at the World Cup.

"I can't escape the fact the World Cup is being played in my backyard but I knew I wouldn't be playing in it as long as Michael Cheika had a job. I've come to terms with it," he said.

Cooper was often known as a mercurial player, something he said wasn't always appreciated in rugby.

"Rugby's got a very specific type of person," he said.

"Look at Danny Cipriani. One of the most gifted, talented footballers . . . Probably playing some of the best footy in the world. The coach's job is to work out how to get the best out of these guys and put their egos aside.

"In other sports, players are encouraged to be themselves. In rugby, if you do something that people don't expect or understand then you become a 'maverick'.

"The demographic of rugby is private schools which has social norms. My little brother is 17 and I go to watch his games, you can hear parents on the sidelines having a crack at kids who are a little bit flashy.

"The rugby pitch is a safe haven for a quiet Island kid to go out and express his talent, wear different coloured boots. Maybe they're jealous?"

Queenslanders embrace country trip

It wasn't simply a case of fly-in, fly-out for Queensland's NRC teams who met in the intrastate derby in Gladstone on Saturday.

Players helped out at Gladstone juniors training on Friday before hosting a Rookies2Reds clinic, with more than 50 talented local players turning out.

The teams were also officially welcomed to the city by Mayor Matt Burnett and local council members in a show of what the match means to the local area that has hosted NRL and A-League fixtures since the upgrade to Marley Brown Oval.

The events took nothing away from the match though, with players embracing the mate against mate mantra that has made State of Origin famous.

With bragging rights on the line, club and Super Rugby allegiances meant nothing, with plenty of pushing and shoving at times in an intense clash.

For the record, Country took home the Andy Purcell Cup, wresting the trophy back from City and keeping their finals hopes alive.

Force front rower to stay in Perth

Veteran prop Kieran Longbottom has signed on for a 10th season with the Western Force as they head into the first full home-and-away season of Global Rapid Rugby.

Longbottom made his debut in 2008 and the Rockingham Rugby Club products the longest-serving player in the Force squad.

A knee injury has kept Longbottom out of the Force's NRC campaign but he said he was happy to have signed again with the club.

"WA is my home and I really want to help push the Force forward,” Longbottom said.

“I’ve been fortunate to have had a pretty good career. I have enjoyed myself, I have travelled and I have met some amazing people. I am very excited to continue that into 2020 with the Western Force.

“We want to build a great team that people are proud of and that Western Australia can be proud of, I think we are on the way there right now we just need to keep carrying that forward."

Disneyland adventures few and far between in Wallabies camp

The Wallabies spent this week in Tokyo Bay, right near the famous Tokyo Disneyland, but there weren't many in the camp who ventured inside the gates.

Will Genia and wife Vanessa took daughter Olivia to the theme park on a day off but other visits were few and far between.

They didn't totally miss out on the Disneyland experience, though, according to defence coach Nathan Grey.

“You can watch the 9 o’clock fireworks from your room every night though,” he said.

Hoiles's whirlwind World Cup trip


Classic Wallaby and Fox Sports commentator Stephen Hoiles has had a busy 48 hours.

The former Test and Waratahs flanker flew to Tokyo on Friday night to play in the Classic Wallabies-Classic Japan game in the capital, as a key part of setting up the Classics program.

This was no relaxing holiday for Hoiles though, after playing he had to get back on a plane and return to Australia to ensure he was able to feature in Fox's Australian-based panel for the Wallabies-Wales game.

Cheika's multi-lingual skills on show

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is known for his multi-lingual abilities and he showed off his range again this week in a Wallabies press conference.

Cheika was asked a question about Adam Ashley-Cooper in French and after answering in French, he proceeded to translate the answer into English so that the Japanese translator could pass the response onto the local journalists.

Keeping up with the Hodges

Spare a thought for Reece Hodge's mum and dad this week - the Wallabies winger's parents are halfway through a World Cup trip, hoping to see the Wallabies take on Fiji and Wales.

While they will be at Sunday's game, they will miss a chance to see Hodge after his three-week suspension handed down this week.

Beware the Japanese bathrooms

We'll leave with you a public service announcement this week, for anyone in Japan or planning to travel to the World Cup hosting country.

The toilets fight back....