One Percenters: Trans-Tasman bubble could open doors for international feast

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Chances of a trans-Tasman travel bubble being open by the end of 2020 could open the door for a feast of international rugby from Tests down.

There are hopes that  trans-Tasman borders could be opened up before broader international travel, something that would keep hopes of a Bledisloe series.

It's not just a Bledisloe series that could be staged, though - travel restrictions could pave the way for a host of Australian teams being able to play internationals.

The Junior Wallabies and Australian Schools teams are yet to play matches this season due to the coronavirus pandemic while the Wallaroos have also had their planned schedule thrown into disarray due to ongoing restrictions.

Should travel restrictions be scaled back towards the end of the year, all three of those teams could feature in the same weekend as a Bledisloe Test, something that is rarely able to be done given the usual schedules.

Rugby Australia national head of talent management Adrian Thompson said they would be open to the possibility of trying to schedule a range of trans-Tasman games if circumstances allowed.

"We've not taken any of that off the table, and you can throw the Wallaroos in along with those Schools and U18s and Junior Wallabies, so those three national sides we want ot make sure there's some form of program for all our national sides," he said.

"At the moment we've got a whole bunch of plans and New Zealand would be the most likely opponent which fits that 20s, and the Schools and U18s and girls but our hands are tied at the moment around timelines and with travel restrictions."

Australia's representative teams have had recent success against the Kiwis, the Junior Wallabies winning the 2019 Oceania U20s with a win over New Zealand and the Schools and U18s boys breaking a long drought to beat the Kiwis across the ditch.

AIC and GPS schedules to line up

Sports schedules around the country have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and in Queensland it will bring together two of the major schools rugby competitions for the first time.

The GPS and AIC competitions are the two leading schools rugby tournaments and in recent years they have run back to back with AIC in term two and GPS in term three.

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting schooling, though, the AIC schools have discussed the idea of shifting into term three, after announcing the cancellation of term two sports in March.

That move would bring the two tournaments together and pit some of the state's top talents up against each other in a more comparable way.

One factor that is for sure is that the school organisations will not be rushing their way back to competition, ensuring they tick off all the safety components required for students to play.

Initiatives like a front row passport were introduced last year in the wake of a spate of injuries among school-aged players in 2018.

School sports associations are not administered by state or national unions but QRU head of community rugby Gaven Head said that he expected schools would take every precaution before starting their competitions up.

Community rugby is slated to return on July 4 with training back on June 1.

"The areas we don't control are GPS and AIC so we'll just see what happens there," Head said, before recent plans to ease restrictions were announced.

"GPS especially with the recommendations from the committee last year, they're don't want to skip over the steps to be safe.

"They're doing the right thing so it's not just the COVID thing that'll be considered."

Wallabies join forces in new wine label

Former Wallabies Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Drew Mitchell have been close mates throughout their rugby careers and now the trio are embarking on a post-rugby venture together.

The three Test backs this week launched their "Backline" wine range, in partnership with winemaker Ben Riggs, out of McLaren Vale.

Currently, the range includes a rose, cabernet and shiraz all named with rugby themes in mind.

MJ Bale launch Noble range

MJ Bale have released a new shirt that will help one of rugby's bravest teenagers, Alex Noble.

Teenager Alex Noble who was injured in a training accident in 2018, has documented his journey on his "I fight ,you fight" Instagram account.

MJ Bale have launched a new Noble shirt with a portion of proceeds going towards the Alex Noble Foundation to help Alex.

More information here.

Brumbies on the hunt for fan-voted greatest XV

This year's Super Rugby suspension has given pundits plenty of time to mull where some of the best players sit in rugby history.

The Brumbies are going to be launching their search for the side's greatest XV on Monday.

Keep an eye on the club's social channels for details on how to vote.