One Percenters: Cheika building referee relationships

The Wallabies have had a somewhat rocky relationship with the World Rugby ref bosses but coach Michael Cheika hopes that is being mended.

Cheika attended a World Rugby meeting with referees and Test coaches when he was in Europe recently, and spoke positively about the meeting earlier this week.

“We talked about a few really good points around how they’re going to ref the games,” he said at this week’s Rugby AU #partofMore launch.

“It gave me an opportunity to also keep working on our relationships with, not as much the referees but also improved relations with the referees’ management, get better dialogue and a more regular dialogue with them.”

Cheika has in the past been frustrated by a lack of transparency when it comes to communicating with the World Rugby brass, but is keen to continue to build the lines of communication going forward.

“I’ll touch base again with the refs’ boss when they come out here.

“There’s a May camp for referees in Australia, so I’ll touch base with them again and just keep that dialogue again.”

Wallabies coaches looking for edge

Every small edge makes a difference in top level rugby, and Wallabies assistant coaches Stephen Larkham and Nathan Grey were working to ensure Australia could get that in 2018.

Training gear supplier Gilbert visited Rugby Australia’s offices this week, showing the pair the latest training innovations, and looking to establish some custom-made equipment for the side, in a first for the company.

Grey said the initiative could make a difference for the Wallabies and other levels of rugby.

“Any way that we can use training aids to improve the performance of the players at training and to have a bit of input to tweaking things and how you use things,” he said.

It’s always good and from their perspective, their ability to create a product that’s going to be very useful for not only us at the Wallaby level but also to filter down to the grassroots.

“It’s all about little incremental gains and looking for those one percenters, so to speak.

“If you can produce or create a piece of equipment that’s going to simulate a body or a certain scenario in a game then it’s going to help your preparation and sharpen your focus.” 

Gordon and Phipps go head-to-head as the pair ‘trade positions’

Waratahs halfbacks Jake Gordon and Nick Phipps went head-to-head in a CMC Markets initiative this week, putting the pair in charge of teams from their junior clubs.

It’s an initiative that hit home for both of them, but especially Gordon, who is passionate about expanding the pathways of rugby, having come through outside the private school pathway himself.

“It’s really good to go back to where you started and your grassroots of rugby,” he said.

“I feel very strongly about that.

“I didn’t go to a private school, I came up through the grassroots system and it’s something I feel strongly about and hopefully I dust Nick up.”

Stadium change won’t hurt Australia’s World Cup chances

The NSW government this week announced a change to plans for ANZ and Allianz Stadium’s redevelopment.

Instead of demolishing ANZ, Gladys Berejiklian has opted to simply refurbish the Homebush stadium, while Allianz will be torn down and rebuilt.

Though Rugby Australia supported the initial plan, it is understood the national body isn’t concerned about the changes hurting their bids for a 2021 Women’s World Cup or the 2027 Men’s Rugby World Cup. 

Hardwick helps out Rebels women

The Super W is growing in its first season, and it was heartening to see some support for the Rebels women, from male counterpart Richard Hardwick this week.

Hardwick was a conspicuous figure at Rebels training this week, talking to the women and giving advice, and also joined them in the rooms before their clash with the Brumbies.

Great stuff from the capped Wallaby.

Slipper the sleepy centurion

James Slipper celebrated his 100th Super Rugby match last weekend, and his Reds teammates certainly made the most of the significant occasion.

Slipper, well-known for his ability to sleep well in a variety of locations, was dubbed the ‘Sleepy Centurion’ with teammates donning t-shirts with his face and the nickname on their flight back to Australia.

Some great creativity from the Queensland lads for a player who means a lot to the Reds.

Mafi savours special visitors

It wasn’t the best result but Rebels no. 8 Amanaki Mafi had plenty of reason to smile, with his parents in Melbourne for the first time to watch their son play.

Mafi has been the Rebels’ best player over the past two seasons and clearly relished the chance to see his family.

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Aussie Schools looking to fund tour

The Aussie Schools side is hoping to travel to the UK at the end of the year, with a fundraising lunch in a fortnight’s time, run by the Australian Rugby Foundation.

If you’d like to help the next generation get their tour off the ground, please click here.

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