Connect with us

International

Koroibete Ready to Stake his Claim

Wallabies winger Markia Koroibete is pushing for his chance to claim a spot in the squad for this year’s World Cup

Published

on

(Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete believes he has improved his game and is ready to show head coach Michael Cheika that he is ready to step up this weekend. 

The former Rugby League star who has worked his way through the Rugby Union system and ended up at the top of the game with the Melbourne Rebels believes he understands the game better now.

“My understanding of the game; it’s something that I’ve learnt a lot from when I came on in 2017. It was like just ‘play the game’, now I understand it a bit more, how to work smart instead of just walking around (using my) energy up. Picking the right time to work hard, not just run around for the sake of it, or for the GPS (running and workload statistics),” he said.

Koroibete missed last weekend’s 35-17 loss against the Springboks due to the birth of his second child, with Reece Hodge and Dane Haylett-Petty starting on the wings.

However, the Fijian-born star has been working hard in the background and is ready to show how good he is and force his way into the team.

“I’m working with (Wallabies strength and conditioning guru) Dean Benton, who’s helping me a lot with my speed, power, endurance. Hopefully I get some game time to show my potential, show what I’ve got. There’s a lot of competition, I just want to get a chance and give all I’ve got,” he added.

The Wallabies look set to switch things up for their clash with the Pumas this week with Koroibete hoping to add to his 20 caps, while utility back James O’Connor is in with a shout of playing some role too.

Argentina will probably introduce many of their overseas stars after playing most of their Jaguares contingent last weekend, with both teams needing a win with the Wallabies only winning two of their last seven Rugby Championship matches, while the Pumas have not won their last six tests.

If Koroibete is given a chance and impresses then a place on the plane to Japan will look more possible than ever before.

6 Nations

Sexton to Miss Northampton Return Game

Leinster fly-half Johnny Sexton is set to miss this weekend’s home game against Northampton Saints and there are further injury concerns for the Irish province

Published

on

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Leinster have confirmed that out-half Johnny Sexton will not feature in this weekend’s return fixture against the Northampton Saints in the Champions Cup.

The Irish-star went down awkwardly in a tackle early in the second-half of Saturday’s 43-16 victory over the Saints and was replaced by Ross Byrne immediately and will now see a specialist later today for further scans on the injury. 

The 34-year-olds fitness uncertainty will come as a massive concern for new Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, with the Six Nations edging closer and with him set to take charge of his first training camp before the New Year. 

As well as his skill-set, many expect Sexton to take over the captaincy from recently retired Rory Best, with his experience being a key component to the Irish side. 

The good news for his province is that Ross Byrne has been in fine form so far this season after his Rugby World Cup omission from the Irish squad and has back-up from younger brother Harry as well as Ciaran Frawley, with Ross likely to take the starting spot this weekend. 

However, Leinster will be without backs Joe Tomane and Rory O’Loughlin this weekend, with the former set to be side-lined for up to eight weeks with a hamstring injury following a brilliant opening to the season, while the latter is suffering from a shoulder problem. 

In the forwards James Ryan is undergoing the return to play protocols after taking a knock to the head during Saturday’s win. 

Leinster and Ireland will hope that Sexton makes a speedy recovery, but for the boys in blue their eyes will be firmly set on this weekend’s fixture which could see them all but qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition and they will want to continue their perfect start to the season with an incredible 10 wins from 10.

Continue Reading

International

All Blacks Players’ Player of the Year Confirmed

The All Blacks have had an off-colour year compared to their usual high standards but there were some stand-out performers and the players have cast their vote on their player of the year

Published

on

(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

New Zealand back-rower Ardie Savea has been announced as the All Blacks Players’ Player of the Year for 2019.

The nation as a whole were disappointed with their year having lost out on the Rugby Championship and failing to retain their Rugby World Cup crown, with their rivals South Africa claiming both. 

However, despite all the downsides there were some stand-out performances and Savea has stood out among his peers for his showings this year beating fellow teammates Beauden Barrett, Kieran Read, Codie Taylor and Anton Lienert-Brown to the award. 

It brings Savea’s year to a bright ending after also being pipped to the World Player of the Year award by Springbok Pieter-Steph du Toit last month. Although Savea will miss a chunk of the 2020 season having confirmed he will undergo surgery on a knee problem which will leave him side-lined for between four to six months.

Sevu Reece was handed the Players’ Super Rugby Player of the Year after finishing top of the try-scoring charts with the Crusaders

Meanwhile, in the women’s voting Charmaine McMenamin came out on top as the Players’ International Player of the Year. 

The New Zealand Rugby 2019 awards take place on Thursday with both Savea and McMenamin up for the Player of the Year award going up against Beauden Barrett and Lienert-Brown, and Black Ferns’ Kendra Cocksedge and Ayesha Leti-l’iga respectively.

Continue Reading

International

Cooper Talks About Kneeing McCaw in the Head

Quade Cooper has opened up on his career to date and in particular his controversial knee to Richie McCaw

Published

on

(Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP/Getty Images)

Australia’s Quade Cooper has opened up on when he kneed former All Black Richie McCaw in the head and the backlash he received.

Cooper, a New Zealand-born Wallabies player, was talking on the Ice Project podcast with Isaac John about his rugby career to date and owned up to his “dirty” knee to McCaw’s head in a game leading up to the Rugby World Cup in 2011, admitting he apologised to the All Blacks legend years later.

“A few years later I’ve seen Richie in the airport and I went up to him and said, ‘Sorry about that’. It’s not that he didn’t care or he did care but, when I said sorry to him, I confronted it and said, ‘I really looked up to you as a kid, you were my idol, everyone in New Zealand loves you and I loved you, so when I played against you it was just emotion, passion took over, you were playing dirty on me and I kneed you. He’s one of the best at [dirty play],” he said.

The incident caused uproar among fans and the now veteran Wallaby, who has 70-caps to his name confirmed that he wasn’t ready for the backlash he received and how he couldn’t even go out.

“I look back at it now and I wasn’t ready for it. I had the expectation of 2011 of playing good football but now I had the pressure of all these guys hating me as well, and a whole country, not just the rugby public. I couldn’t go anywhere. I was on the team bus and there were signs ‘I hope you break your leg, I hope you die in this game’. If I had my time again, [because] I know how to handle it now, I’d just say, ‘Yeah I did it, so what?’. Not ‘So what?’, but ‘It’s part of footy, it was a bad play but I did it’, so what could people say?” he added.

In the end McCaw got the last laugh, going on to win the Rugby World Cup with New Zealand later that year.

Cooper’s career has had its ups and downs since, but he is now starting a new chapter in Japan with the Kintetsu Liners in the second-division where he will be hoping to stay out of the limelight.

Continue Reading

Trending