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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s rugby news has Tolu Latu surprised by Wallabies call up, Marika Koroibete revealing his real motivation to move to Rugby Union, Sekope Kepu happy with emerging props and Nehe Milner-Skudder ruled out for the rest of the year.


Latu Surprised

Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu has admitted he was surprised by his call up to the Wallabies squad to replace the injured Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Latu was apart of the Wallabies squad in 2014 but a broken arm delayed his chance of a test debut.

“Pretty surprising after the season Andrew Ready had with the Reds, so yeah pretty surprising to get the call up,” he said.

“Hopefully the second time around lasts a bit longer than what I did last time.”

“To be honest that was my first camp, that was my first year of professional rugby,” he said.

“I was pretty fresh and didn’t really back myself to do a lot of things, and I was just happy to be there.”

Koroibete Moved for Money

Melbourne Rebels recruit Marika Koroibete has revealed that he is only leaving the NRL for money.

Koroibete will play his last Rugby League match when the Melbourne Storm play the Cronulla Sharks in the NRL grand final.

“I’d like to have stayed,” Koroibete said.

“I have to look after the family, especially back home (in Fiji).

“It’s a business decision; but if they gave me a good offer I would have stayed.”

Koroibete has previously said that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has asked him to join the Wallabies on the Spring tour at the end of the year.

Kepu Happy with Props

kepu sekope

Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu says he is happy with the new generation of props coming through Australian rugby.

The emergence of Tom Robertson and Allan Alaalatoa has been a highlight for the Wallabies during the Rugby Championship.

“It’s exciting and scary for me,” he said.

“I’m almost 10 years older than a couple of those guys.

“I’m just more happy for Australian rugby that we’ve got young guys coming through and the important thing for those young guys is to get that experience and bide their time.”

“They’re in a great program and it’s exciting for me to know when I move on, there’s a lot of great young props and players – not only can they scrum but they can run and carry the ball a fair bit.”

Milner-Skudder Out

Hurricanes and All Blacks back Nehe Milner-Skudder has ruled out playing for the rest of the year due to a long term shoulder injury.

Milner-Skudder will play it safe and focus on having a strong pre-season with the Hurricanes.

He broke the news over Instagram.

“Would have loved to get back out on the paddock this year but it’s a bit too early and still some risk of buggering it,” Milner-Skudder wrote.

“I look forward to getting stuck into preseason with the Canes.”

  • Bay35Pablo

    Koroibete “I just jumped for the dollarz”. Well at least he’s honest. However, ironic coming from league to rugby for that given their larger salary cap. Ultimately he’s probably got a family here and in Fiji to look after, and his career is short.
    He may have wanted to retract that when he thinks about how his new team mates might view it.
    Might also have been a trawl for a better offer when his Rebels contract runs out, i.e. “I’m just waiting for you to up your offer boys!!!” (flashes leg)
    Mind you, if he gets a Wallabies jersey, the contract upgrade, and French rugby comes calling, that mercenary streak will have him on the 6.45am red eye to Paris quicker than a rat up a drainpipe.

    • nmpcart

      Yes, let’s hope that he can actually deliver – being fast and strong is all good and well when the defenders are 10 metres away from you, and you can’t lose possession in a tackle. I hope that Cheika has taken his league love tinted glasses off and will get someone doing some serious coaching of the different skills required in rugby to make the transition fast. I’ve always felt that someone needed to run training programs focused purely on the different requirements as quite a few of the league guys in the past have struggled to cope with the nuances and positional play. Plenty of league players have failed to make any particularly dominant impression when they have switched – been fine players mainly but not noticeably outstanding as the defence and skills are so different.

  • Dud Roodt

    As playing rugby or league professionally is just like any job, in which you may be offered more money to leave one company and go to another, I don’t begrudge anyone for changing teams/sports for money.
    But I do think telling your new company that’s the only reason you did it makes you a bit of a dickhead.
    And just like that company might not rush you to an executive role – he should now not even dream of playing on the end of year tour.

    • Muzz

      Agreed. And the ARU tells us that they’ll only consider the league players that approach them and genuinely want to come over. It kind of goes against this when we then pay over the odds for these players.
      Why don’t we just get 15 NRL stars (a term that’s used very loosely) and give them ARU top ups so they can play for the Wallabies. F*ck all the blokes already playing rugby this is the worlds most competitive sports market you know.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Well he did genuinely want to come over, maybe not to make rugby better though.

        • Muzz

          You’re right. But that’s Australian rugby’s problem and not his. Why would they allow this sort of thing? They’re just asking people to take advantage of them.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      At least he’s honest. I predict that in 2 years he’ll be in Europe earning even more. Personally I think these remarks should ban him from being a Wallaby as with that attitude you just can’t trust that any investment in him will be paid back. despite his natural skills and his previous experience he will have a lot to learn to be an effective top line rugby player and you now know that he’ll take that to get a better deal.

      Although if he’s in the Wallabies and helps win the Bledisloe Cup will anyone care that he’s off to Europe chasing the money the following year?

      • Dud Roodt

        But this is business KRL, a fact of which he seems painfully aware. Or is it just the money side of the business he wants?
        Just like I mentioned before – if he were a CEO who was poached by another company, do you think he would say something as daft as “I’m just coming because they offered me more money” even if that was 100% why he came?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          mate I agree with you. His comments make me wonder if he actually knows what he’s in for and whether he’ll actually step up. As mentioned elsewhere he’s got a lot to learn

  • Tim

    I just like how even Latu was surprised giving Ready a wrap good on him

  • McWarren

    Great another fella who doesn’t see the issue with speaking more than he should. Just what we need in Oz rugby, another dickhead.
    I must be old, I thought Instagram was for showing off nice pictures you’ve taken of the view out your sitting room window. Turns out its for announcing injury rehabs and career moves. I’m glad he didn’t pictorialize the announcement, back….paddock….buggering!!!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Which one

  • MM

    I was watching rugby when it was plundered by league in the 70’s and 80’s, so many great players lost that the core of the Wallabies was constantly being torn out. All those guys who went across did it for the money and that was fine and everyone in league knew that. Some of you guys need to get off your fucking high horses and your moral high ground and don’t choke on your indignation on the way down – welcome the guy to the game whatever his motivation is. The Wallabies need quality wingers badly, and he’ll bring more people to the Rebels games and potentially to the Wallabies games. You don’t hear the same bitching about serial code hopper SBW or Brad Thorn from the Kiwis, just the usual whingeing bitching tall poppy cutting shit from Aussies.

    • Trucker

      Agree the moral high ground is pretty shaky but i think this is more about setting a high performance framework if we want Wallabies to be the best. Great teams play for each other and not just the money although that is an important factor. Players should be paid to out-perform not walk into contracts with a 250k top up from ARU w/o performance hurdles. Koribete in his own words is playing for money only with no performance criteria. When Chieka and ARU work out that pride/commitment to jersey and pay for performance are not mutually exclusive we might start having a few wins against ABs again..

    • Dud Roodt

      Woh Woh Woh, relax brah.
      You don’t think any Wallaby and rugby fan has any right being a bit pissed off when our struggling code just pays overs for a guy who then openly says he’s only coming for the money?
      It doesn’t matter if that’s his reason, all power to him, but have a little fucking tact and class about it. As much for him as for the team/code he’s about to join.
      Like it or not, people revere the Wallabies jersey. And people spend a lot of their own money supporting that team. It shits on the history and the pride people have in that jersey if the only things out of this guys mouth so far have been (paraphrasing);
      – “oh yeah, I’ll be straight into the team” &
      – “I’m only going for the money”
      You think league would accept the hundreds of schoolboy rugby players they sign out of school saying “I’m only going because they’ve offered me money”. Nooope.
      If he was just going to the Rebels and couldn’t play for the Wallabies – then no problem, he came for the money, but he’s hoping to play for this country at the highest level. And right now he’s making it sound like he would only play well to get the extra match payments and hopefully a pumped up contract next time round.

      • MM

        Hey cobber, what the struggling code need right now is Wallaby wins and what the Wallabies need is quality wingers. Its the 21st century mate.

        • Dud Roodt

          Yeah I’m not arguing the reasons behind his move – I’m arguing the comment regarding it.
          It was completely unprofessional and tactless

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah but he’s not a quality rugby wing yet. He probably will be in time but right now he’s a quality league wing and there’s a lot to learn.

        • Who?

          And there’s no guarantee that Cheika wants that type of winger, unless he’s in League… Let’s be honest, Cheika has a penchant for Leaguies…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Maybe part of the problem mate

    • SuckerForRed

      Part of me agrees with you…. but……
      I do not begrudge Koroibete coming looking for a better contract and I seriously don’t think many people here would, particularly if they understand the Islander culture and the fact that family always comes first. As others have said – we all would move or have moved for more money at some point in time.

      The problem that I have, and I think at least some others have, is that the ARU is showing a penchant for paying extras (top up contracts) for talented athletes from other codes and effectively telling young blokes who have played Union all or most of their lives to go hang. Imagine what you would think is someone with little or no proven experience was parachuted into your company earning more money than you to do the same job just because, well, they came calling.

      I have seen a bit of Aviva Premiership & Top14 over the last few weeks and have actually been surprised at the number of Australians playing in Europe. And some of these aren’t just the decent club players who can’t get a Super Rugby contract or the Wallabies who are filling their superannuation account. Some of these are our relatively recent U20’s representatives who felt for what ever reason they couldn’t get a go in Australia. Some of these a good players who are maybe 1 or 2 injuries out of actually pulling on the gold jersey but can’t now because they feel they are being stepped on by the Australian rugby machine.

      Yes, some of them are young and just might come back better players in a few years time….. what worries me is that ones who have not already been capped might just come back as better players in another country’s jersey. And that will be unforgivable if the “interlopers” just take the ARU’s money, couldn’t give a shit about the pride in the gold, and move on to more dollars else where. All I want is for the ARU to actually pay the players who PLAY for the Wallabies (or make the training squads), not for players who they think might make it, or ones that they think might be good promotional material.

      And before people start picking holes in my emotional outburst I know there are shit loads of if, buts & maybes….. but the pride in the gold jersey has to count for something. And the whole contracting system needs an overhaul.

      • Muzz

        Mate you’re spot on with the ‘interloper’ bit. This will erode Wallaby culture quick smart because the attitude is completely wrong and not conducive to a good team environment for either the interlopers or their team mates. It will not lead to sustained success.
        Going back to 2002/03 Australia was already a good side and then Sailor, Rogers and Tuqiri were signed and all started in the World Cup final ahead of Roff and Burke. Only Tuqiri would have started on merit.
        And did Australia strengthen from this commendable world cup finish? Not really. And then Sailor and Rogers went back to league and a few years later Tuqiri did the same (albeit after some solid service). So on balance it’s not a great legacy that is left from signing ring-ins. And you’re basicly back where you started.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate, I don’t think anyone objects to him coming over for the cash. The issue will be that if he is only motivated by cash then who will want to put in the work he will need to be good at the game knowing that as soon as he is up there he will begin to look for another chance to earn even more. Don’t get me wrong I think he’s a great player who will do well but there is a lot he needs to learn. The game has changed dramatically since he played and he needs to learn new attack and defence lines, how to securely hold the ball as even the 4th and 5th can rip it free, how to position himself in a tackle as it is the start of the contest not the end of it anymore, the different game plans and how and when to execute. That will take a fair bit of investment and I’m not sure his comments will make someone want to invest in him to a large extent if they think he’s only motivated by money and so will go as soon as he’s stepped up.

  • Even Latu thinks Ready should have been picked ahead of him…

    • Chinese Dave

      Yeah, must be that, or maybe he’s showing some grace and recognising another good player instead of being a self absorbed dickhead.

  • Adrian

    Korebeti just being honest, and not speaking from a predetermined spin script.
    All professional players move codes or teams for money.

    I think it’s refreshing, even if tactless. The same goes for his comment about going on EOS trip to Europe. Cheika probably DID tell him he’d go during the negotiations to sign him.

    In time he’ll go on the roster with other players, and trot out inane nothings to the press every third Tuesday, but for now he’s just being honest.

    By the way, he’s a very electric, very fast pocket battleship. Watch him in the RL grand final

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I almost snorted my coffee over the 3rd paragraph. well put that man.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Dissapointed for Ready, but lets see how this young fella goes! If there is another injury you would have to assume that Ready is next on the list!

    Love Koro honesty! He is looking out for his family and that really is the Fijian way, and I hope he is not critiscised for it!

  • Ash

    More then happy for Koroibete to come over and make as much cash as humanely possible in Super Rugby. But he doesn’t deserve a Wallabies jersey. You should have to prove your dedication to the sport. If his only desire to wear gold is the pay packet, i’m sorry but that’s not enough.
    And it diminishes what playing for your country is all about. I’d love to see him play for Fiji. He’s Fijian and that’s where is heart obviously is.

  • first time long time

    I’m happy to give Koroibete the benefit of the doubt.
    I haven’t actually heard him interviewed to get his statements in any context.
    All I have seen are transcribed sound bites which probably don’t tell the whole story.
    Fingers crossed he lives up to the hype and plays the house down.
    These guys know the only way to keep getting big money is to play well so here’s hoping.

    • MM

      Yes.

  • McWarren

    I really hope Latu takes the chance and doesn’t do anything silly. He could be fantastic. It is great to see five maybe even 6 hookers in Oz all fighting to get the Wallaby 2 spot and all with valid claims to either start or be on the bench. I was disappointed for Ready but have to accept that Latu aint no slouch either. If only we could get the same depth in all other spots. Taking Kepu’s comments into account it is amazing what can be achieved when we put our minds to it. Not so long ago we couldnt scratch together 4 test level props (mainly cause we didn’t trust anyone but the already tried and failed, sorry that’s for another day), now I think we could name at least 7, a bit short on tight heads but we’re getting there. If Ben Ryan is right we have about 12 Fijian wingers about to hit the scene. Perhaps we should start cherry picking 8’s out of Tonga???

  • wilful

    I’m quite surprised that the Rebels salary plus a top up from the ARU is so much more than the Storm could pay. Aren’t the Rebels effectively broke?

  • Mark Courtney

    Cmon its an honest statement,but im sure if more questions are asked he will pass the test.I say lucky Rebels as he is a superb winger and id be surprised if he doesnt make a quick rise to the top.So much speed and elusiveness as well as being a strong defensive player.Like I said lucky Rebels..money well spent.

  • DrewB

    We should treat the Koroibete issue like rooting a Swedish backpacker. Accept its only for one summer, but its probably going to be a lot of fun. Sure, we might miss out on meeting that someone special, but we haven’t ‘scored’ in bloody ages.

  • jamie

    I have no problem with what Koroibete said. If there’s one thing we should all place above the wallaby gold, it’s our families. His family back in Fiji probably live in a shack and he has the opportunity to change that.

    Hopefully he’ll get a gold jersey based on merit and nothing else

  • Chinese Dave

    I don’t mind Koroibete being a mercenary, I just hope the counterparties, i.e. the Rebels and the ARU are equally as mercenary so he doesn’t get a free ride. If he puts in good performances over decent time and he gets a lot of money, that’s a good deal.

  • Dud Roodt

    Agree.
    At first I was excited to see him come back to union. Now, couldn’t care less.
    He’s obviously not smart enough to know that there are parochial supporters from both sports and while he might be pleasing the ears of NRL supporters, union supporters will be pretty pissed off to hear it.

  • Dud Roodt

    Couldn’t agree more on all fronts

  • Muzz

    I agree but he’s got an ARU contract so they’ll make sure he stays in the Wallaby mix.

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@Hughadams01

Wallabies, Waratahs and Northern Suburbs supporter. Twitter: @Hughadams01

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