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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

All Blacks Lucky to Only Receive One Red Card?!

Following Saturday’s first Bledisloe Cup match much of the talk revolved around Scott Barrett’s sending off, however, it turns out the All Blacks may have been fortunate to have only had one red card!

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The All Blacks 47-26 crushing defeat to the Wallabies on Saturday was mostly followed by talk surrounding Scott Barrett’s sending off, but it now seems as though he could have been joined on the side-lines by some of his teammates

Social media exploded on Saturday in the aftermath of Barrett’s red card, for which he subsequently received a three-week ban from rugby. However, Fox Sports have done some research and found that the All Blacks actually committed 17 instances of foul play in the 80 minutes of which only three were penalised.

The most noticeable of which happened only eight minutes into the game when the All Blacks were fortunate not to have three men given at least yellow cards at once.

Dane Coles, Owen Franks and Ardie Savea all could have faced further punishment than the penalty awarded with the trio performing no arms tackles that were high on Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.

Flanker Sam Cane complained after the game of the Wallabies methods of breaking up the ruck.

“To be honest, I wasn’t aware of it until I looked at my game yesterday but there were times when you’d get over the ball and you’d know you were in a good position and then for whatever reason you get taken off it. Sometimes it was because players were coming blatantly in from the side, sometimes it’s those neck rolls,” he said on Monday.

However, it has since been noticed that he flipped Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu on his head in the 35th minute to prevent a turnover at a ruck and a short time later Franks was spotted tackling Izack Rodda around the neck.

That was only in the first-half.

In the second-half there were two instances were substitute prop Angus Ta’avao tackled players around the neck and also didn’t use his arms in a tackle.

As well as this the Wallabies were constantly being hit off the ball, but there was no punishment.

The Wallabies were at fault on multiple occasions too with neck rolls being missed and late tackles slipping by.

However, the call from fans and players alike that the All Blacks were treated unfairly during their side’s record loss to the Wallabies would appear to be unjustified.

If anything, it seems as though things could have been much worse for the All Blacks if the officiating was stricter.

What is certain though is that both side’s will need to solve their defensive indiscipline for the second test this weekend or we could be seeing more players join Barrett on the side-lines.

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Rugby Championship

WATCH: Surely this new angle on Barrett Red Card ends the debate.

Surely this ends the debate.

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Photo Credit: Fox Sports

There has been mass debate over the weekend since Jérôme Garcès issued Scott Barrett a Red-Card for a no arms tackle to the head/neck area of Michael Hooper.

Many pundits, players, former players and spectators gave their 2 pence worth but surely this new video angle that has been uncovered by host broadcaster Fox Sports ends the debate?

Here are some of the ranging opinions from Twitter.

Perhaps the most precise of all:

The SANZAAR foul play review committee will convene late Sunday afternoon (5pm AEST) by video conference to consider Barrett’s case.

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International

Weekend’s Rugby Guide to Key Games

There are some key games coming up this weekend so here’s a guide through them, what they mean and how to watch them

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(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

This weekend sees the start of World Cup warm-ups games for some northern hemisphere teams as well as the conclusion of the Rugby Championship so here’s a small guide to help you through it all. Click on each team to check out their squad for the game. 

Saturday

Australia vs New Zealand (KO 10 45, Sky Sports):

In terms of competition the biggest prize up for grabs is the Rugby Championship title.

Up first in the final round fixtures is the clash of the Wallabies and the All Blacks in Perth. Both teams are still in with a chance of winning the championship depending on South Africa’s result against Argentina.

However, with that game later in the day both teams will be going all out to not only win but score as many points as possible to secure a possibly vital bonus-point.

This could be the game of the weekend and could be high-scoring.

Argentina vs South Africa (KO 20 40, Sky Sports):

The Springboks are going in search of their first Rugby Championship crown in a decade and have it in their own hands knowing a bonus-point victory will be enough to win.

The Pumas are currently on a losing-streak and will want to finish the tournament on a high to build momentum ahead of the World Cup, as well as avoiding the wooden spoon.

Argentina have nothing to lose in front of their home crowd while South Africa have everything to play for so expect a cracker.

Ireland vs Italy (KO 14 00, RTE & Channel 4):

The first of their World Cup warm-up games. Both team’s have given fringe players and youth players a chance to stake a claim for a place on plane to Japan.

Ireland need to put in a performance to banish the demons of their terrible Six Nations campaign earlier in the year, while Italy will look to build some momentum in the first of four warm-up games.

It could be a comfortable afternoon for the Irish, but Italy’s young talent could put in a big performance, one to keep an eye on.

Sunday

England vs Wales (KO 14 00, Sky Sports):

Two old foes come face to face once again. Wales will be going for a 15th win in a row on Sunday, while England will be hoping to upset Warren Gatland’s men.

Both have named reasonably strong teams as they will look to get one over on the opposition before they face again within the next month.

A real clash of the titans, with both teams in with a chance of winning the World Cup this year, this will be a chance to show what they’ve got and lay down a marker. Expect big hits and moments of class in a game not to be missed.

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