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.
View this post on Instagram
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
“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.”
Wallabies selector O’Connor outlines requirements for Quade Cooper
New Australian Rugby selector Michael O’Connor has highlighted that Quade Cooper can take less risks to win international selection, now that he has joined the Melbourne Rebels.
Connor is set to start his work as a selector next month. He will work alongside head coach Michael Cheika and in-coming director of Rugby Scott Johnson.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “There are still areas in his game he needs work on and if he can improve those, well then he’ll be in the reckoning.
“I would be very surprised if Michael (Cheika) didn’t agree with that. At Test level though you can’t be throwing blind passes. You can’t be taking risks at the line.”
Cooper was impressive during the Rebels recent 34-27 victory against the Brumbies.
O’ Connor expects his side to face a few selection dilemmas this year especially as it is a world cup year. However, he does feel that the final decisions will ultimately go down to coach Cheika.
Check out some of Quade’s highlights from his debut with the Rebels
Barrett wary of French move following Savea blastings
Beauden Barrett was speaking to reporters since the comments were made and
The unrepentant French tycoon doubled-down on his criticism of Savea with another astonishing rant after Savea publically responded to the ‘released‘ comments made by his boss. This sparked a huge Twitter backlash against Boudjellal with friends and former colleagues of the All Black winger showing him their support.
Barrett took things a step further when questioned if Boudjellal’s comments would put him off signing for Toulon when he decides his post RWC Future.
“It certainly doesn’t help,” he told reporters.
“Firstly, you’ve got to be comfortable. It’s a big move to move offshore and you have to be happy with a number of things.
“Your family have to be happy, you have to be happy with the coaching setup and team culture, so there are a number of different things.
“It’s totally different over there from what we see externally. It must be a different dynamic, it’s not the same as here.”
The owner was particularly unhappy Savea took a month
“I can not think it’s normal for a player paid more than 1 million euros per year to go on holiday to Fiji for a month in December … he just had to attend his brother’s wedding, not take long leave,”
Boudjellal words perhaps were an intentional warning for those considering joining the club.
“Do not come to Toulon as a tourist. There is enough in the region,”
Earlier this season the outspoken owner came out and said when he intended leaving the club. Perhaps this isn’t soon enough for some players.
Richie McCaw on how New Zealand can stop the exodus.
“You’ve just got to make it really hard for guys to make that decision to go overseas.”
New Zealand Rugby legend Richie McCaw has admitted that the exodus of top talent from the Rugby club is concerning.
McCaw never quite thought of heading abroad during his illustrious Rugby career. These days the Rugby landscape is different and many players leave. In some cases, it is done in order to play in a less demanding environment and thus prolong their Rugby careers. In other cases, it is motivated by financial incentives.
Brodie Retallick, Beauden Barrett, Kieran Read, Ben Smith &Nehe Milner-Skudder are just a few of the New Zealand Rugby players who have either confirmed that they will be leaving New Zealand following the World Cup or who have been linked with moves away.
McCaw feels that the current situation is ”unfortunate”.
“I think it’s always been a challenge,”
“It has been for a while and it’s always going to be. It’s just unfortunate the things you have to deal with as New Zealand Rugby. I think we’re probably never going to compete dollar-for-dollar for what’s on offer for some of these guys up in the Northern Hemisphere.”You’ve just got to make it really hard for guys to make that decision to go overseas.”
The solution which McCaw put forward to the issue is simple. He feels that nothing can beat getting the opportunity to wear the jersey of the All Blacks.
“We’ve always said having an environment that’s really enjoyable and fulfilling, [where] you get looked after, and the chance to play for the All Blacks, that’s the things that we’ve got in our favour as New Zealand Rugby.
“And some will [leave], and rightly so if that’s the right thing for them. But if we keep the environment good and the All Blacks successful, it’s quite a hard team – when you’ve had a taste of it – to turn your back on.
“They’re the things that you can control and if you do that, then hopefully we encourage a good number to stay behind and stay here and keep playing. But I think it’s always going to be a challenge and we’ll be talking about it for a long time but we’ve just got to keep hopefully inspiring people that want to perform in the black jersey because I think it’s a pretty big carrot to stay here.”
PREVIEW: Ireland Stick with Some Big Guns for Italy
Schmidt rings the changes for Italy Clash
6 Nations Fantasy Rugby Guide Round 3
“Awful, actually terrible” – Fitzgerald blasts one Ireland star.
WATCH: Ben Tameifuna gets 4 week ban for this monster hit
Ulster Rugby ban supporter for life.
6 Nations4 days ago
Ireland squad update for Italy
Champions Cup5 days ago
Savea “not welcome” at Toulon Anymore
International3 days ago
Sonny Bill Williams linked with Canadian move.
6 Nations3 days ago
Scotland could lose another player due to lost passport 🤦♂️
Premiership4 days ago
England centre signs for Rugby League side #CodeHopper
Champions Cup5 days ago
Savea and Twitter responds to Toulon Boss comments.
Pro143 days ago
Big contract news coming out of Munster.
6 Nations20 hours ago
Schmidt rings the changes for Italy Clash