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Q and A with Rebel 136, Quade Cooper

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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

Former English International to join the Highlanders

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English first-five Freddie Burns will join the Highlanders for the 2023 edition of DHL Super Rugby Pacific. Burns, currently playing for Leicester Tigers in the English Premiership has agreed terms with the Highlanders, and with the support of Leicester, will land in New Zealand prior to the first round.

The 32-year-old Burns will bring with him a wealth of experience having started his first-class career with Gloucester back in 2010. His first turn at Leicester was between 2014-2017 before three seasons with Bath and Burns has over 200 appearances in the Premiership to his name. In 2021 he had a short sojourn in Japan before returning to Leicester for the 2022 season.

A former England U20 representative he represented the senior side five times most notably debuting against the All Blacks in 2012, replacing Owen Farrell, in their 38-21 victory.

A prolific goal kicker and tactically sound first-five, who can also play fullback, he was the toast of Leicester when he dropkicked the winning goal for the Tigers against Saracens in the 2022 Gallagher Premiership final.

Burns is looking forward to the experience.

“As a young lad I grew up watching Super rugby in the early hours of morning. To have the opportunity to represent such a prestigious club as the Highlanders in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season is a huge honour. I look forward to getting started and adding to the group both on and off the field”

Highlanders Head Coach Clarke Dermody has welcomed the arrival of the experienced playmaker.

“Having a player of Freddie’s calibre available to us in such a crucial position is a real boost for the squad. Last year we were exposed at 10 due to a run of injuries and while we covered the situation, we were asking a lot of Sam Gilbert and Vili Koroi who are not regular starting first-fives. Freddie’s arrival will provide us with that extra insurance against that scenario playing out again in 2023”.

Burns will be the second international back to be added to Dermody’s 2023 squad with Argentinian outside back Martin Bogado also set to play in Highlanders colours.

 

ENDS

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


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Super Rugby

BLUES PRE-SEASON FIXTURES TO BE MOVED

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The Blues, alongside Mahurangi Rugby Club have made the decision to move their pre-season event – Blues Fest ’23 – away from Mahurangi Rugby Club due to the condition of the field.

The recent bad weather around the Blues region has meant ground staff haven’t been able to work on the field and after a check last week the tough decision was made to move the two games and nib Blues open training session to a new venue.

A final decision on a new location for Blues Fest ’23 is yet to be made.

Blues CEO, Andrew Hore, said the club were gutted to make the tough call.

“As a club we were getting excited to head north for the pre-season,” said Hore.

“Unfortunately, the weather has conspired against us in recent weeks and when we met with Mahurangi Rugby Club on Friday, both parties agreed the field hadn’t responded how we would’ve hoped, and the call was made to move the event.”

Mahurangi Council of Clubs Delegate, Sam Ryburn, said the club were taking a philosophical view over the change.

“We were very much looking forward to hosting the Blues at Mahurangi for Blues Fest ’23,” said Ryburn.

“There’s not a lot we can do, both The Blues and our club explored all the options before coming to this decision, but we’re hoping to continue our relationship with the Blues and look at future options for hosting pre-season matches.”

The Blues still intend to host the entire Blues Fest ’23 programme including a ‘Game of Three Halves’ between North Harbour, Northland and Auckland development players, a nib Blues women open training session and the Blues men vs Hurricanes pre-season match.

A decision on where this will be held will be communicated in the coming days.

Content & Images from – Blues Rugby


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Richie Mo’unga to depart Crusaders after 2023

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Mo’unga debuted for the Crusaders on 27 February 2016, facing the Chiefs at home and scoring 13 points. He made the starting line-up for the rest of the season.

 

“This team has given so much to me as a rugby player and as a person, and in return I’ve always wanted to give my everything to the team both on and off the field, to help us succeed, and to be the best environment for players,” Mo’unga said.

 

Asked about his star first-five’s departure after the 2023 season, Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said Mo’unga was “a special man”.

 

“If there’s one player that continues to leave their mark on this team, that’d be Richie Mo’unga,” Robertson said.

 

“Through his performances in the biggest games, the biggest moments – he stood up, which Crusaders do. He’s a special man, a local boy, pride of the community, and there’s no doubt about it – Richie can play.

 

“When Richie is on, the team is on. He brings out the best from all the players. For me, he is one of the most influential Super Rugby players ever – how he plays the game, his ability to score points consistently year after year in those crucial moments.

 

“The biggest thing for me with Richie is how much he cares about the team and the club, about the players he plays with and the people he plays for. He means a lot to the Crusaders and we wish him all the best. There’ll be a time to properly say goodbye to him at the end of the season, but for now we’re all focused on the job in front of us.”

 

Richie Mo’unga and the Crusaders kick off their 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season against the Chiefs on 24 February at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. Memberships are available now.

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby


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