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Rugby Championship

Another concussion victim. Former Wallaby hangs up boots.

Only 32.

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Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Former Wallabies centre Anthony Fainga’a has announced his retirement from all rugby.

The 32-year-old, who played 23 Tests for Australia, spoke to Fox Sports News on Wednesday after making the decision and shared some scary stories regarding his multiple brain injuries.

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It’s not spoken about enough nor is it encouraged to be spoken about enough.. Professional sport especially rugby have often been seen as a place where vulnerability is a sign of weakness and a mental health condition as a private battle to be fought but not spoken about. The REAL me is someone who has struggled with mental health throughout my career due to multiple concussions. The public sees what the media shows them and it’s time as an athlete to speak out, show vulnerability and attempt to make a difference. Athlete or not, they are a person, like you, they have unseen struggles that affect their livelihood and those around them. #mentalhealth #rugby #standproud #concussionawareness

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“I’m probably only one more head knock away from being a vegetable or not being able to play with my kids,”

“After a couple of really big head knocks, I had to make a big decision.

“In 2016, my twin brother (fellow former Wallaby Saia) got married and at the altar, I was actually getting held up because of the head knocks.

“I received a couple of really big head knocks over my career and I was standing at the altar getting held up, I got walked out by someone.

“I got a few head knocks last year and after all these head knocks I had to make a decision, make a choice about what I wanted to do with my future.

“I love the rugby game so much but I needed to look after my mental health.”

Fainga’a played for the Brumbies in 2007-08 before running out on 90 occassions for the Reds between 2009-16.

Of late he has been playing in Japan for the Kintetsu Liners but has decided the risks of playing rugby outweighed the rewards.

“When I would speak it out loud, it was an easy decision but when I was thinking about it, it was like, how hard is this, I love the game and I’ve got offers to keep going and I should play still,” Fainga’a said, adding that he had talked retirement options over with brothers Saia and fellow pro Colby, now playing for Connacht.

“They would never say: ‘It’s time to hang the boots up.’

“But I told them and they were so happy for me.

“My message would be it’s never too early, it’s never too late to finish up.

“Everyone wants to keep playing, everyone loves rugby but it only takes that one head knock.

“Especially for younger players, they need to make the hard decision.

“The easy decision is to keep playing, the hard choice is to say I’m going to give this up and go and do something else.”

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International

World Cup Winning Springbok to retire.

Hanging up the boots.

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Photo by Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Worcester Warriors’ World Cup-winning centre Wynand Olivier has announced that he will retire from playing at the end of the season.

Olivier’s glittering career includes 38 Springboks caps, a World Cup winners’ medal as part of Jake White’s triumphant squad in France in 2007 and Super Rugby and Currie Cup success with Bulls in South Africa.

Olivier, 35, joined Warriors from French Top 14 club Montpellier in October 2015 and made his 50th appearance against Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup at Allianz Park last November.

“I have had a long career and made some great memories. have been very privileged to play the game I love for so long,” Olivier said.

“It will be undoubtedly be an emotional experience leaving the game but I’m excited about what the future holds and to follow my ambitions outside of rugby.”

As a World Cup-winner Olivier is a member of one of rugby’s most exclusive clubs but winning trophies is only one part of his career.

“I think people define success in different ways. I’m proud of what I have achieved. However, it is about looking forward and maintaining the ambition and drive that I have learnt from rugby into my transition,” he said.

“I have made a lot of friends along the way and these relationships have only made my career more enjoyable.”

A serious hamstring injury restricted Olivier’s availability last season but he returned to play a pivotal role in the memorable European Challenge Cup victory over Stade Francais in Paris in October.

He helped Warriors reach the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup and Premiership Rugby Cup this season and has also helped to develop the next generation of Warriors players with the Cavaliers in recent Premiership Rugby Shield matches.

“It has been great to see youngsters come through the academy and see them reaching their potential. That has been very satisfying,” Olivier said.

“Obviously I had that injury last year where I tore the hamstring off the bone. Injuries are part of the rugby experience but it has allowed me to pass on my experience to some of the younger athletes and I have enjoyed working with them.”

Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons, a former South Africa assistant coach. Said: “Wynand has had a terrific career. He is a superb rugby player, a wonderful bloke and a great team man.

“He is the consummate professional. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with him. We wish Wynand all the very best for the future.”

Article from Worcester Warriors

He joins Rory Best in announcing his retirement this week. Best announced that he will retire from the game post Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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Rugby Championship

Pocock to be Eased Back Following Injury

David Pocock will have his “load managed” when he returns from injury

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Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

Brumbies and Australian international player David Pocock is to be carefully managed once he returns from injury this weekend against the Lions.

The flanker has been unavailable since his Brumbies side lost to the Rebels on March 8th when he sustained a calf injury.

Speaking ahead of the weekend’s clash Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has confirmed that Pocock will not be rushed back and will be managed carefully.

“You have to manage him. Calf injuries … they can be tricky and hang around a while, so we have to manage his load well. He’s not going to play 80 minutes. That would be silly from our end. We’re just going to manage him wisely and make sure he can string some games together,” he said.

The coach also spoke of Pocock’s vital influence for both his team and the Wallabies heading into the World Cup later this year and would like to get him to build some momentum to get back to his best.

“It would be nice for him to get some consistency week in week out and build his performance. Even if you’re a world class player, if you’re in one week then out for a few more it’s hard to get momentum in your own individual performance,” he added.

Pocock has been somewhat injury prone over the past year with neck injuries and concussion being the most common factors in keeping him side-lined.

However, with Israel Folau’s future in Australia up in the air, a return to full health and form for the 30-year-old leader would be a timely boost to Aussie coach Michael Cheika as Japan approaches quickly.

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International

Latest Argentina announcement is bad news for England.

Group of death.

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Photo by JUAN JOSE GASPARINI/AFP/Getty Images

Argentinian head coach Mario Ledesma has confirmed that the country will be using their European-based players during this year’s World Cup in Japan.

The Pumas have mostly used the players of the Jaguares team in recent years, however that has changed under Ledesma and he has made it known that he wants all his players ready for the tournament.

“It’s time to make things clear: we will not give away any more. We do not have to negotiate with European clubs on the release of internationals. When we want players, we will take them for four or five months if the need arises. If the French clubs want to continue to pay fortunes for these players, it’s their choice! And it does not matter if it falls on a championship final or a super important European Cup match,” he said.

His announcement means that they can now call upon the likes of Juan Imhoff (Racing) Santiago Cordero (Exeter), Juan Figallo (Saracens), Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais), Mariano Galarza (Bordeaux), Facundo Isa (Toulon), Nicolás Sánchez (Stade Francais) and Benjamín Urdapilleta (Castres) to bolster their team.

The news will send a message to the other members of their pool which includes England, France, Tonga and the USA. The Pumas are heading in all guns blazing and that is a worry for everyone else.

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