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Q and A with Rebel 136, Quade Cooper



Andrew Phan/Wallabies Media

Test rugby superstars Quade Cooper and Sonny Bill Williams stopped by Melbourne yesterday to promote next month’s Bledisloe Cup blockbuster to be held at Marvel Stadium on September 15. 

For Cooper, it was a welcome return to a city he once called home, having represented the Melbourne Reebls in 2019 alongside current Wallabies’ teammates Reece Hodge, Matt Philip, Rob Leota, Pone Fa’amausili and Marika Koroibete

Rebels Media caught up with Rebel 136 for an exclusive chat on all things Rebels, Victorian Rugby and the continued growth of our Burn Boys. 

Rebels Media: Quade, Australia and New Zealand are fierce rivals on the field, how do you see Australia’s chances getting one back over our Trans-Tasman rivals in Melbourne? 

QC: We’ve been preparing for this one for a long time. Both teams are in the position where their backs are against the wall, so it will be a great opportunity for both teams, who are both relatively young and hungry to compete. In this city, I know it will be a great turnout, so I can’t wait. 

Rebels Media: You mentioned the Victorian rugby community is one of the most passionate communities you’ve encounterd so far in playing career. Touch on the growth you’ve see in rugby across our state since your time with the Rebels in 2019?

QC: With Victorian rugby, there’s never been a question about the hunger there is for rugby. I came here in 2008 after a Reds season to do a presentation at one of the schools down here, and the rugby fraternity blew me away. 

Everybody said  there’s not much rugby down here. When I got here, the reception and the support for rugby was incredible. To then be able to come down here and play for Melbourne was fantastic. It’s a great place to bring a Bledisloe, so it’s exciting to come here and see all the gold jerseys in the stands. 

Rebels Media: Our Club is proud of all our Wallabies representatives, especially our homegrown players who have risen through the local pathway systems such as Pone and Rob. How have you see their personal development working so close with both boys?  

QC: Talent – these boys have it in spades. Spending time with them in the Wallabies set up from last year and seeing their growth as men as they live their lives, has been great.

Pone now messages me say ‘bro, are you still getting up early? Let’s go have a swin before training.’  So we’ll get up at 5 am – me, Rob and a few of the boys – and we’ll drive to the beach, so we’re up and moving. 

That shift in mentality and how they go about their days, there’s no doubt in my mind that flows onto how they approach their training and why they’ve been successful as men and as leaders in the Wallabies. 

That type of approach or mentality for a team is amazing for team culture and for a team that’s looking to grow throughout it’s journey.

If you get guys doing that everyday, that rubs off onto the next guy close to them. Before you know it, you’ve got 30 players out’ve 35 all moving in the same direction. That’s the majority rather than the minoirty. If it’s the other way around, now you’re in a tough position.

That’s where the shift I’ve noticed since being back in the Wallabies over the past 2 years has been. I’m excited about the future and having guys like Rob and Pone lead the way. 

Rebels Media: What impact do you think hosting such a big Test match in Melbourne will have on the next generation of rugby players across our state?

If we can get a win, that will go a long way! Sonny and I were talking about that in the car park. Perception is reality. Two big teams coming together to a great city for a big game. I guarantee
there will be lot of kids that are playing AFL or who are playing rugby league, that are also rugby union supporters. With a strong performance we might be able to sway a few of them over and get them into the game and take advatange of the great opportunity that Melbourne has and the exciting decade ahead for Australian rugby.

Content & Images from – Melbourne Rebels Rugby

Super Rugby

Brad Shields named 2024 Hurricanes Captain



Brad Shields named 2024 Hurricanes Captain

Experienced loose-forward and Hurricanes centurion Brad Shields has today been confirmed as captain of the Hurricanes ahead of their 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

He will be supported by Asafo Aumua and Jordie Barrett, who have been named as vice-captains for 2024.

Shields, who played 103 games for the Hurricanes between 2012 and 2018, before heading offshore to pursue a test career with England, signed with the Hurricanes last year, eyeing a return for this season.

He takes over the reins from 2023 captain Ardie Savea who departed for Japan this season.

The captain’s tag is a title the 32-year-old is not unfamiliar with, having led the Hurricanes in their 31-all draw against the British and Irish Lions in 2017, and then taking on the role for the entire 2018 season.

Shields said he is honoured to be given the captain’s armband for 2024, but it is a role he will lean on many of his experienced teammates for support.

“I’m hugely excited and honoured to be leading the Hurricanes this season,” said Shields.

“I admit, after Clarky (Clark Laidlaw) told me I was really stoked, but I did feel a little apprehensive given I had been away for a few years and the quality of leadership we have at the Hurricanes. But at the end of the day, it’s a massive challenge and opportunity I’m excited for, and what makes it more exciting is there is a handful of guys here with so much experience who I know I will turn to for support. We’ll all work together with this one.”

Hurricane #184 said he intends to lead by his actions this season which he hopes will bring out the best out of a young Hurricanes team, and Hurricanes fans.

“Actions. Always by actions is how I like to lead,” said Shields.

“I really want to challenge our environment because challenge always brings better performances. We’ve got a really young team this season so anywhere I can help and encourage and bring the best out of some of the young guys, and the players who have been here for a while, is what I aim for.

“The one thing that’s massive for us at the Hurricanes is connection within our community. Ultimately, we’ve got to play good rugby and perform really well if we want bums on seats, but it certainly means a lot to know we’ve got our community behind us, and we’ll do everything we can to give them a good service and make 2024 an exciting and enjoyable season to watch.”

Having an abundance of experienced leaders in this Hurricanes side didn’t make the captaincy decision an easy one for Hurricanes Head Coach Clark Laidlaw.

However, Laidlaw said he and the other coaches were impressed with Shields’ attitude the moment he stepped back into camp and became an obvious choice as the right man to lead the side.

“The coaches and I do a lot of observing around leadership of the team, and it became reasonably apparent that we have several players that want to lead which is really exciting,” said Laidlaw.  

“But with Brad, he leads really well every day. He’s a great role model around how we want to train; he’s competitive as hell; he’s won Super Rugby; he’s a test match player; he’s bigger and stronger than he’s been before; and he knows what it takes to win and to lead. So, at the end of the day, he became an obvious choice.

“One of the best things about Brad is that he wants to be better. That’s an important trait to have as a leader as it rubs off on everyone else. We as coaches want our captain to represent what we want the team to look like. And we felt with Brad’s experience and his maturity, he’s the right man to lead us forward for this season.”

Laidlaw also echoed Shields’ comments on looking to his teammates for support this season.

“Brad will lead the side, but we do have a number of other players with Asafo and Jordie, who are going to be vice-captains of the team, and our leadership group will support Brad and help the coaches this season.”


Content & Images from – Hurricanes Rugby

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Super Rugby

Waratahs Squad announced for 2024 Super Rugby Season



The NSW Waratahs confirmed its initial 34-player squad for the 2024 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season with a couple more spots to be decided in pre-season.

Props: Angus Bell, Archer Holtz, Daniel Botha, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Tom Lambert, Tom Ross

Hookers: Dave Porecki, Mahe Vaianu, Theo Fourie

Locks: Hugh Sinclair, Jed Holloway, Miles Amatosero, Ned Hanigan

Loose forwards: Charlie Gamble, Fergus Lee-Warner, Lachlan Swinton, Langi Gleeson, Ned Slack-Smith

Halfbacks: Jack Grant, Jake Gordon, Teddy Wilson

Flyhalves: Jack Bowen, Tane Edmed, Will Harrison

Centres: Izaia Perese, Joey Walton, Lalakai Foketi, Mosese Tuipulotu

Outside backs: Dylan Pietsch, Harry Wilson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen, Vuate Karawalevu

New signings and re-signings

For all new signings and re-signing, you can follow our 2024 Waratahs Contract tracker.

Content & Images from – Waratahs Rugby

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Super Rugby

Highlanders 2024 Squad Announcement




The Highlanders will usher into the fold a swag of new players for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific competition.

Some have already made brief appearances last season such as halfback Nathan Hastie, loose forward Oliver Haig, hooker Jack Taylor and midfielders Jake Te Hiwi and Matt Whaanga. Several players have come through the John Jones Steel Highlander’s High Performance Programme such as first-five, Ajay Faleafaga, and loose forward Hayden Michaels.

Also new to the team, and adding depth to the outside back stocks, are the arrival of blockbusting winger and former Moana Pasifika star, Timoci Tavatavanawai, and Blues’ speedster Jacob Ratumaituvuki-Kneepkens. Argentinian winger, Martín Bogado, fresh from the 2023 World Cup, will return to further his Super Rugby experience in New Zealand.

Another former Blues player will add strength to the midfield in the form of Tanielu Tele’a who will be looking to get his career back on track after being hampered by injury in recent seasons.

Former Welsh international, Rhys Patchell, will bring his vital experience to the first-five role which will be good news for young pivots Cameron Millar and Ajay Faleafaga.

All Black, Ethan De Groot, will be joined in the forward pack by veteran loose forward and former Crusader Tom Sanders.

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, is looking forward to the preseason and the opportunity to work with his players.

“We have had a few changes in our squad and our coaching group so it will be great to get everyone together and start building some cohesion through the preseason. We will just about have our whole squad together from day one, which is a nice opportunity for us.”

“I am also pleased to see some of the younger players that we have invested in over the last few years start to come through to Super Rugby level. I am sure their individual enthusiasm will be infectious for the squad. 

The team assembles on Thursday 23 November 2023.



Backs:  James Arscott (Otago), Connor Garden-Bachop (Wellington), Martín Bogado (Argentina), Folau Fakatava (Hawkes Bay), Ajay Faleafaga (Otago), Sam Gilbert (Otago), Nathan Hastie (Otago), Jacob Ratumaituvuki-Kneepkens (Taranaki), Jonah Lowe (Hawkes Bay), Cameron Millar (Otago), Jona Nareki (Otago), Rhys Patchell (Wales), Jake Te Hiwi (Otago), Timoci Tavatavanawai (Tasman), Tanielu Tele’a (Auckland), Josh Timu (Otago), Matt Whaanga (Southland)

Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley (Otago), Henry Bell (Otago), Nikora Broughton (Bay of Plenty), Daniel Lienert-Brown (Canterbury), Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), Ethan De Groot (Southland), Oliver Haig (Otago), Billy Harmon (Canterbury) , Max Hicks (Tasman), Fabian Holland (Otago), Luca Inch (Tasman), Ricky Jackson (Otago), Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Saula Ma’u (Otago), Hayden Michaels (Southland), Pari Pari Parkinson (Tasman), Hugh Renton (Tasman), Tom Sanders (Otago) , Jack Taylor (Southland), Will Tucker (Otago), Sean Withy (Otago)




Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby

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