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Super Rugby

Cooper Shows Thorn What He’s Missing

Quade Cooper was the star in a win over his former Reds’ side

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Photo credit by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP/Getty Images

Quade Cooper was in fine form during the Rebels 32-13 Super Rugby win over his former Reds’ side as fans turned on their current coach Brad Thorn.

This was Cooper’s first match against the Reds’ since his departure and along with the win he contributed 12 points from the boot and two try assists for Jack Maddocks.

However, with the Reds struggling at the moment some fans took the opportunity to support a former fan favourite and point out Thorn’s flawed decision of not taking Cooper back when he had the chance.

Although there might be some bad blood between the player and coach, Cooper confirmed after the match that he is still a Reds fan and hopes they get out of their poor situation.

“There was a few people that sort of feel that I must have left them. But it wasn’t the boys that didn’t want me. The boys were the ones that we were playing against and I love those boys. For me, I don’t want to see them go down, I want to win when we play against them but I’m always supporting them. I want this franchise to do well. It’s a little bit sad to see when they’re struggling a little bit, on and off the field,” he told Fox Sports post-game.

Thorn was forced to admit that Cooper and Will Genia, another former Red, played well in what must have been a hard game to watch.

“He’s on the winning side and he contributed to a really good win for them. So well done to him and Will,” he said.

Cooper is one of the Reds most decorated players, having won the Super Rugby title with the franchise in 2011 and is now delivering success down south with the Rebels now top of the Australian Conference following the win.

Match Highlights:

International

Springbok trio heading to Japan?

Three more players look set to brace the Japanese shores next year

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Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Three South African internationals appear to be on their way over to Japan after the World Cup.

Afrikaans outlet Rapport has reported that Damien de Allende, Jesse Kriel and Jason Jenkins are all heading North West post-World Cup.

De Allende has been linked with the Panasonic Wild Knights, whom All Black Sonny Bill Williams and Aussie David Pocock have previously played for.

Kriel, who only returned to the Bulls XV this weekend after missing last weekend’s match and 23-year-old Jenkins are also set to join de Allende.

The moves would see them join up with their new teams following the World Cup with the Japanese Top League season running from January to June to accommodate the World Cup.

All three would be set for pay-rises that the South African based sides cannot compete with and they are unlikely to be the last names to join the ever-growing league.

Only last month New Zealand captain Kieran Reid announced he would be playing for the Toyota Verblitz next season and there is speculation that All Blacks head coach Steve Hanson could be moving over too.

We will have to wait and see if these moves become a reality but expect there to be many more players heading to Japan in the coming weeks, months and years as they try to build a super league.

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Super Rugby

Remember Simon Zebo’s pick up? This could be better…

Better than Zebo’s?

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Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Do you remember that heel flick style pick up from Simon Zebo for Ireland v Wales back in 2013? If not, you can see it again below.

Anyway, there’s potential that this piece of skill from the Irish Magician was eclipsed on the weekend by Chiefs Super Rugby Star Sean Wainui.

In what has been labelled by some, as ‘the best game they’ve watched’ this season the Chiefs played the Blues in Hamilton with the Chiefs running out eventual winners 33-29.

The game saw Ma’a Nonu cross the whitewash for 2 tries but on a negative note, it also saw Damian McKenzie ruled out of the World Cup after rupturing his ACL.

Back to the positives, just check out this ridiculous bit of skill from Wainui.

Better than Zebo’s?

You can watch highlights of the match here:

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Harlequin & Former Wallaby announces retirement.

#BigKev

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Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Harlequins Co-Captain, former Wallabies and Queensland Reds Captain James Horwill has announced that he plans to retire at the end of the current Gallagher Premiership season.

Horwill, a stalwart of the Australian rugby scene, joined the London Club at the start of the 2015/16 season. With his wealth of experience and natural leadership, Horwill was named Club captain after two seasons.

On announcing his retirement, Horwill said

“I have given this great game everything I have, and I feel I can no longer give what is needed to play at this elite level.

“Rugby has been a big part of my life for many years; never in my wildest dreams would I have envisaged the incredible journey it has taken me on.

“I’ve had the privilege and honour to not only play, but captain my State, Country and Club, Harlequins, on a number of occasions over my 14-year career.

“Winning the Super Rugby title at the Queensland Reds and being asked to captain my Country are just some of the moments I will look back and cherish for a lifetime.

“I want to thank all the coaches and staff I’ve worked with over my career; you have all made an impact and shaped me into the player and person I am today.

“Special thanks must go to the physios, doctors and surgeons, who have put me back together. We probably spent more time together than we would have liked, but without your expertise and continued care, I wouldn’t have been able to play for as long.

“To the fans all over the world, who have supported me throughout my career, thank you. My job wouldn’t have existed without you; you are what makes this game so special. I will never be able to replicate the feeling I get from running out to a full stadium of support. It has been my honour to represent you and a role I will forever miss.

“Finally, to all the players I have had the pleasure to play with (and against), you are why I have loved my career so much. We have made some unforgettable memories and I know I have friends for life.

“I’m completely committed to leading Harlequins to success this season, and then I’ll turn my attention to the next chapter of my life.”

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Thank you rugby ? ❤️

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Paul Gustard, Harlequins Head of Rugby added:

“James is a true warrior of our great game; the ultimate professional and someone you always want on your side.

“It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work alongside him at Harlequins. His resilience and character have made him the role model he is today and will continue to be long after his retirement. Every week he puts his body on the line and stands up to be counted alongside his teammates; he is a very popular member of the squad, whom we will all miss.

“From everyone at Harlequins we would like to wish him and his young family all the very best in the future and he will always be welcome at his second home, The Stoop.”

A modern-day champion, Horwill made his professional debut in 2006 for the Queensland Reds and was quickly called up to the Wallabies side the following season.

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Despite his youth, Horwill was handed the Reds captaincy in 2008 and the second-row led the franchise to its first professional title, beating the Crusaders in the 2011 Super 15 final.

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Later that season Horwill was named captain of the Wallabies ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. He would go on to lead the side out on 16 occasions across his 62-match international career, including against the British and Irish Lions in 2013.

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Horwill joined Harlequins in 2015 and was named club Captain ahead of the 2017/18 season. In the same season, Horwill made his 50th appearance for the Club in the win over Saracens at The Stoop.

Horwill’s final game at The Stoop will be against Leicester on Friday 3rd May.

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