One Percenters: Waratahs centre on the move
Waratahs centre David Horwitz is set for a switch to the Rebels for the 2018 season.
With Kurtley Beale returning to the Waratahs for the 2018 season, Horwitz’s opportunities were set to be more limited, sitting behind Beale and Foley in the flyhalf spot.
Meanwhile, in Melbourne, centre Mitch Inman has already flagged his departure, while former regular flyhalf Jack Debreczeni is heading to Japan.
Horwitz’s loss is a good addition for the Rebels and intriguing, as the centre would be the first to publicly sign to either of the Force or the Rebels from an interstate club since news that one of the sides is set to be cut in the 2018 season.
Neither club has officially confirmed the switch, but we hear the 22-year-old has been looking for a place to live with an ex-teammate based in the west.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said on Thursday that they were just three spots away from securing their 2018 roster.
“We’re three spots away from completing – looking for a prop, lock and centre,” he said.
Gibson said the Waratahs were biding their time as a decision over the fate of the Rebels and the Force continues to drag on, a move that has potentially left Reds veteran Rob Simmons without a Super Rugby home for 2018.
“He’s certainly up there, we’ve had discussions with Rob but again we can’t really move a great deal until we know with greater certainty what’s happening,” he said.
When a team is eventually cut, a handful of players will be on the market, with the ARU committed to helping contracted players at the unlucky franchise find a new home.
Players whose contracts were finalised after news of the looming cut will either be relocated to a different Super Rugby franchise or granted an early release, but will not be able to have their contracts paid out.
Those contracted for 2018 and beyond before news emerged will have the option of the ARU paying out their contract, as well as an early release or relocation.
Fanning and Pocock team up for Wild Ark
Mick Fanning and David Pocock crossed paths this week as part of a Wild Ark ambassadorial project.
The pair were with Fanning’s fellow surfer Tyler Wright, working to combat poaching.
Fanning was right up close and personal with the idea, acting as a target for some vicious tracker dogs, a process Pocock was happy to document.
We’ve heard of players trying to sneak out of interviews by slipping out the back door, but not pretending to speak an entirely different language.
ACT schoolboys fullback Brendan Jimenez did exactly that this week, though, speaking to a RUGBY.com.au producer in fluent Spanish when asked for a post-match interview.
Once his coach got wind of that, though, the experiment was quickly ended and the enigmatic fullback switched back to English.
On the Spanish-speaking theme as well, ESPN Argentina has been in Sydney this week to cover the clash with the Waratahs and their reporter had a chat with Ned Hanigan on Friday, with the utility forward pulling off a sensational Spanish call to action.
Parry patient over XVs growth
Newly installed Wallaroos captain Shannon Parry is passionate about the growth of women’s rugby but the Olympic gold medallist wants to make sure any push for a national XVs competition is done right.
Buildcorp’s pulled its competition sponsorship over the lack of introduction of a women’s NRC competition, but Parry said a modified nationals format would be a better fit.
“I definitely think it’s a realistic goal but it’s a five to 10 year goal, it’s not a one-year goal,” she said.
“You’ve got to be realistic about it.
“You’ve got to have the funding, you’ve got to have the resources to be able to do it, you’ve got to have the number of players playing the game to be able to do it and I think long-term it’s a great setup, it’s a great model.
“I think instead of having the NRC comp where they all play, why not have the state comp, why not play the nationals across six weekends?
“You play the best of the best, there’s a one weekend final, instead of playing nationals over three weeks.
“It’s definitely something the ARU can look at. I think it’s a definite possibility in the long term.”
Ledesma still an Argentine hero
Mario Ledesma was once a household name in Argentina, and his star still shines bright when it comes to Argentinians in Australia.
The Wallabies scrum coach was at Moore Park this week when an Argentinian fan spotted him across the courtyard, stopping the former Pumas hooker for a snap.
International reunion in the east
There were plenty of big names at this week’s Australian Schools Championships, few more influential in rugby at the moment than Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and his England counterpart, Eddie Jones.
We hear the pair shared a quiet beverage in the Eastern suburbs during the week.
Ashley-Cooper swoops in on married life
He’s heading to Japan next season but Adam Ashley-Cooper had time in France to fit in one more major life mark – his wedding.
Ashley-Cooper was married overnight, with former Waratahs Dave Dennis and Kurtley Beale among the groomsmen.