It’s been another big month for rugby with the announcement of a new Coach for the Wallabies ahead of their Spring Tour campaign in Europe, the awarding of the John Eales Medallist and the wrap up of the inaugural Buildcorp NRC.
Ahead of the Wallabies Spring Tour match against the French this weekend, on behalf of RUPA, I'd like to congratulate Sekope Kepu on reaching such a significant milestone - becoming just the sixth prop in Australian rugby history to reach 50 Test caps.
I would also like to extend my congratulations to Michael Cheika on his appointment as the new Wallabies Coach. Following his success with the NSW Waratahs in the Super Rugby this year, it is an exciting step for our Wallabies on the path to next year’s Rugby World Cup.
And to Israel Folau on becoming the 2014 John Eales Medallist, as voted by his Wallaby peers. There’s no greater honour than to be considered the best Australian rugby player by teammates. Israel was one of several players recognised at the event following this year’s rugby season, including recent Wallabies debutant, Sean McMahon who took home three awards. Well done to all winners.
RUPA’s own annual awards lunch is also coming up within the next month. The event is another opportunity to recognise our professional Australian rugby players for their performance and efforts on and off the field. Stay tuned during the lead up to the awards on 10 December as we reveal this year’s nominees on social media and the RUPA website.
As part of the awards, this year you can win a money can’t buy VIP Volvo V8 Supercars experience at the Sydney 500 just by voting for the 2014 Volvo People’s Choice Player of the Year thanks to our partner, Volvo.
The inaugural Buildcorp NRC came to a close in thrilling yet unpredictable fashion. Once again I was extremely impressed with the amount of new playing talent that emerged from the third tier competition, which has reflected in the latest player signings. I would like to congratulate Brisbane City on successfully securing the first NRC Championship title.
Ahead of the finals series, RUPA worked closely with NRC naming rights sponsor, Buildcorp, and the State Unions during round nine’s mental health round. The aim of the round was to raise awareness and funds for Lifeline Australia, spreading the message about the importance of talking about mental health and anxiety.
I am extremely pleased that together we were able to raise just over $40,000 for Lifeline Australia through the generous donations and purchases of special Buildcorp NRC rugby balls at all NRC games during the round and the third and final Bledisloe Cup Test. I'd like to thank everyone for their assistance and generosity.
Finally, I would like to encourage everyone to get behind Brumbies and Wallabies winger, Henry Speight who is shaving his hair to raise $10,000 for the Walk on Walk Strong Foundation (WOWS), a charity in his home country which supports children with cancer and their families.
In next month’s issue we’ll reveal all the players who won at this year’s RUPA Awards. Until then I’d like to wish Michael Cheika and the Wallabies all the best as they continue their Spring Tour campaign.
Also, good luck to our Women’s Aussie Sevens as they officially embark on their 2014 Rio Olympics qualifications early in December with the opening round of the Women’s Sevens World Series in Dubai, and to the Men’s Sevens who continue their Olympics qualification quest with their second World Series Round also at the Dubai Sevens.