One Percenters: Cheika plays down Gloucester link, Force unveil new recruits

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he's not rushing to his next coaching opportunity after being linked with a high-profile English job.

Cheika was this week linked to the vacant Gloucester position with Johan Ackerman heading to Japan.

Speaking to RUGBY.com.au, Cheika said he had spoken with some teams overseas before the coronavirus pandemic hit but wasn't close to committing.

"I went to Europe earlier in the year, two to times between January and March and had discussions with a few different people around what could happen going forward around opportunity," he said.

"For me, the important thing for next is making sure it's the right people that I get to work with right club and that it's the right time for someone like me.

"Coaches don't always fit, you want to be the right person and for it be a team that will use the skill sets short to medium term.

Asked about Gloucester specifically, Cheika said he had not had any discussions with the England club.

"I haven't had anything to do with them," he said.

"They've always been a good team, I only know of them as an opponent.

"From my time with Leinster, Stade Francais and even Padova, even then maybe came up against them once.

"It's nothing I'm involved with at the moment."

Cheika has previously said he does not see himself coaching against the Wallabies but another coaching stint overseas is on his agenda.

"There's opportunity but I think it's what lines up with what I want to do," he said.

"I'm hungry to be involved (in coaching,) I'm still ambitious to win and be part of that team environment but itt always depends on who it's with and what's right."

Skelton officially moving on

Former Wallabies lock Will Skelton's move to France has been confirmed.

Skelton has signed a deal with La Rochelle and will leave England powerhouse Saracens in July after three seasons with the team, that including a players' player award in 2017-18.

Saracens is set to be relegated from the Premiership next season after a series of salary cap breaches and Skelton is among a number of high profile players moving on.

Skelton told the Saracens website that he was grateful for his time with the club.

“It’s pretty sad having to leave a great club and great environment,” he said. 

“But I’m excited for the journey ahead.

“It’s been a special time here. From the first day you see how welcoming the boys are, you see first hand the culture that everyone’s talking about.

“I’m extremely grateful to the coaches and players for embracing myself and my wife and welcoming us to such a family.

“I came here wanting to improve and wanting to make an impact on the team and I think I’ve done that.

“I just want to thank all the coaches, the players and the support staff for investing in me and making my time here very special and a memory I’ll never forget.”

Skelton's French switch has been an open secret in recent months after reports out of France first touted his new contract.

Rugby Australia said earlier this year they were interested in trying to bring Skelton home but he opted to stay in Europe.

Tupou making gains

Face says it all.....200 Club #Blessgo

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If there was any doubt about the strength of Taniela Tupou's effort in the gym, that should be wiped away now.

The Reds prop broke his personal best bench press record this week, smashing out a 200kg effort.

And, we think he hyped the moment up as it deserved.

Force add more recruits

The Western Force unveiled two local recruits this week as Super Rugby AU nears.

Flanker Kane Koteka will return to Perth after two seasons in Japan with second division side Kamaishi Seawaves while rookie Jordan Luke has been upgraded to the full squad after initially training with the team as injury cover.

“It’s awesome to be back after two years in Japan. I always planned to come back to the Force. Perth is where I grew up and I grew up supporting this team,” Koteka said.

“I was watching from Japan and I was actually really jealous, I felt like I missed out, to be honest. It’s an awesome environment and they were getting huge crowds and playing some great rugby so I’m definitely looking forward to being part of it this year.”

Former Wallabies Kyle Godwin and Greg Holmes and experienced duo Jono Lance and Ollie Atkins had already been announced as new additions.

Lance was originally set to join Scottish side Edinburgh for next season but visa problems opened up the opportunity for him to return to the WA team.

That four have been serving out quarantine periods after returning from overseas but will join their new teammates next week.

Simona signs with Eastwood

There'll be a few extra eyes on Eastwood when the Shute Shield kicks off after the reported signing of disgraced NRL player Tim Simona.

Former Wests Tigers player Simona was deregistered by the NRL and faced court in 2017 for his role selling signed jerseys online claiming to be raising money for charity and using the proceeds for gambling.

He has not played professional football since then but featured for Blacktown in low grade rugby league last year.

Coach Ben Batger told News Corp that Simona had only been a good addition to the team.

“He’s a good fella and he’s done his time,” Batger said.

“He’s really focused on his footy.

“He’s a very good athlete and he’s a bit like a rookie at the moment learning more about rugby.

“He’s got all the potential to be a standout player. We’re delighted to have him here.”

It's not the first time Eastwood have opened their to an ex-NRL player without a club - Jarryd Hayne trained with the club briefly in 2019 but never inked a deal to play.

Rogers heads into player management

Couldn’t be more excited to announce the launch of Rogers Sports Management today. It’s something we’ve been working on for some time. Athlete management is an industry that carries a lot of responsibility toward players and the sport in which they play. We’ve assembled a team that has walked that path and look forward to helping young aspiring athletes and established athletes alike to continue on that road and maximize their potential. My partner Craig has been involved at the top level of Rugby League for over 25 years among other things, and has guided many young men throughout their careers.. Mine included. Our associates are former athletes that have excelled in Law and finance, again giving them a unique perspective to offer our clients having walked in their shoes. We feel we have a great balance to represent our clients. This certainly wasn’t a decision taken lightly or come up with overnight. We’re excited for the future. For inquiries a link to our webpage is in my bio.

A post shared by Mat Rogers (@mat_rogers6) on


Dual international Mat Rogers is set to take his career in a new direction, launching a sports management agency.

Rogers announced the venture, Rogers Sports Management, on Saturday afternoon, saying the organisation has "assembled a team that has walked that path (of professional sport) and look forward to helping young aspiring athletes and established athletes alike to continue on that road and maximise their potential.

While it would be expected that rugby league might be his main source of business, it's certainly worth watching this space.