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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News has Hooper voted Wallabies best, Pocock working his way back, more struggles for the Welsh and Eddie Jones recovering well as Japan prepares.

Hooper wins John Eales Medal

Australian Wallabies Squad Headshots

Michael Hooper has been named the Wallabies’ best player for the 2013 season, winning the John Eales Medal by an astounding 120 votes. Hooper finished on a total of 297 votes with Wycliff Palu tallying 185 and Israel Folau rounding out the top three on 177. ‘It’s good to be recognised on the field and to have guys to play out there and to go through the hard yards together,’ Hooper said.

The 22-year-old continued a strong trend of Wallaby openside winners. Thursday’s result makes it  five wins in 12 years by openside flankers – with Hooper now joining previous winners George Smith (2002 and 2008), Phil Waugh (2003) and David Pocock (2010). Hooper also picked up the Australia’s Choice Award as the fans’ favourite while Folau won the Rookie of the Year Award.   

Pocock almost back to full fitness


David Pocock is leading the Brumbies’ pre-season training, showing positive signs after an ACL injury ruled him out of the majority of last season. While the former Wallaby captain contemplated playing in the team’s grand slam tour of Europe next month, his surgeon eventually opted for a full pre-season. ‘Long-term injuries are always tough and this is the longest one I’ve had,’ Pocock said, lamenting the inability to lead his new franchise from the front. If the 45-Test star does return to his former best, it will be quite a selection dilemma for the Wallaby backrow.

Pocock also said that the Brumbies must ‘move on’ from ex-coach Jake White. The Brumbies board will meet on Friday to discuss whether Stephen Larkham or Laurie Fisher should take over the coaching reins. 

Welsh struggle to retain players

Wales Rugby

The Welsh Rugby Union have floated the idea of offering central contracts to top internationals such as Wales captain Sam Warburton to prevent them being poached by the breakaway Anglo-French competition. This would mean that the best Welsh players would be given contracts by the WRU for next year, which would then by ‘reassigned’ back to the regions once the European tournament picture has been settled for 2014.

The WRU is pulling out all stops, drawing on the £33m ($A55.6m) earmarked to pay out to the regions over the next five years to fund the contracts. ‘It is important that any player considering his future right now fully understands the level of support the WRU is prepared to offer,’ said WRU chief executive Roger Lewis.  

Eddie Jones on the mend

e jones

Former Wallabies coach and current Japan mentor Eddie Jones is recovering from his October 15 stroke and is confident that the Japanese side will give the All Blacks a run for their money. Jones has said his team is training to ‘beat New Zealand,’ with this year’s victory over Six Nations champions Wales providing a major confidence boost. The New Zealand match will continue the soaring popularity of rugby in Japan, with the match selling out the 25,000 seat Prince Chichibunomiya rugby stadium for the first time.

The match is also the beginning of their Northern Hemisphere tour, with the team then moving on to face Scotland, Gloucester, Russia and Wales all during the month of November as Japan prepare to host the 2019 World Cup.  

  • Patrick

    Palu got how many votes power seconds played!?! Or was that a vote for how much they missed him on field?

    • Pedro

      “It’s not how many seconds. It’s how many power seconds.” The art of war.

  • Anil

    Palu was superb during last years Europe tour so I am not very surprised but I would have thought Adam Ashley Cooper, Christina L could have got more votes.

  • Nelse

    Heaps surprised to see Palu at number 2. Must have been all from the end of year tour last year??


    Don’t believe any one should of won the JEM, none of them deserve it.

  • Mica

    Must be prank post or late April fools. Palu second??? Japan to beat ABs says Eddie???? Ha ha ha. Friday shenanigans I say. ;)

  • Dasher

    Japan v New Zealand is a Raeburn Shield challenge. Remarkably, Japan is the current holder after beating Wales (who beat England, who beat NZ). The IRB should make a bigger deal out of this shield.

    • Wilson

      It’s a great concept, pity it isn’t official. IRB missing an opportunity there.

      • ralph

        good to see you used that avatar :D

        • Steve

          ye sure mate

    • mxyzptlk

      I did not know that — very, very cool.


  • Moz

    Is it just me, or lately when I see Hooper running around with the tape around the head, I think “Chris Roche”…… I’m just saying!

  • Giles Gibbins

    Folau won the Rookie of the Year Award….OBVIOUSLY!

  • Steve

    thats silly like my bum

  • Seb V

    Selection problems once Pocock returns?… Maybe for the blindside flank and number 8 but I think the number 7 is pretty easy to pick.

  • RJ

    Hooper needs to put on 7-10kg’s. His work rate may be high but it’s not very effective work personally.
    We always make allowances for his size and say, “ahh we cant expect him to be able to make a dominant tackle on player x, or clean out player y because he’s small”. if he can’t mix it with the big boys he should hit the gym and protein shakes.
    Back row when all is fit is Fardy, Pockock and Higgers, with Mowen and Gill as reserves.
    Before all the haters chime in, im not doubting his spirit or enthusiasm. he has that in spades. it’s just that when mccaw or ried and arched over the ball, he can’t blow them off it. you can’t play in the forwards and weigh 94kg.


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