This month’s October Lineout is dedicated to one of our most reliable and talented players, Adam Ashley-Cooper who will make his 100th Test appearance in this weekend’s third and final Bledisloe Cup after being named in the Wallabies squad on Tuesday.
Swoop has undeniably delivered inspiration and strength to every team he has been part of, from Norths to the Brumbies, Waratahs and the Wallabies, consistently contributing an added sense of steadfastness. Off the field, Adam’s commitment, leadership and charisma are just as prominent; leaving little doubt he would become one of only six to notch triple digits to his Wallaby cap count. On behalf of the entire team at RUPA, I would like to sincerely congratulate Adam on this significant milestone.
This week RUPA is proud to support the Buildcorp NRC mental health round. We have been working closely with NRC naming rights’ sponsor, Buildcorp, and the State Unions to raise awareness and funds for mental health. As part of the round, volunteers will be collecting donations and selling rugby balls at each of the NRC matches this week and the Bledisloe Cup at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday. You can also donate to this worthy cause at www.buildcorp.com.au. All monies raised will go towards The Buildcorp Group’s Charitable Trust to assist Lifeline Australia.
One in five people in Australia have some form of depression, anxiety or mental health issue. 75% of these people have their first mental health issue before they are 25 years of age. The average age of professional Australian rugby players is 18 - 25 years old. Mental health is a therefore a key priority for RUPA, as part of our mission to support, prepare and protect players on and off the field. Together with our Player Development Managers, we are committed to the importance of raising awareness of and supporting those with mental health issues.
This week also sees the last round of the Buildcorp NRC, with a number of teams vying for finals contention. I am looking forward to seeing the talent unearthed from the tournament continue to shine during the business end and finding out which team will be crowned this year’s inaugural NRC champions.
Earlier this month saw a squad of 26 Australian Schoolboys head across the ditch for the annual Tri Nations Series against Fiji and New Zealand. The Aussies kicked off the tour with an emphatic win over Fiji, before suffering losses in their next two games against a New Zealand Schools Barbarians outfit and New Zealand Schools in the final Test.
As a proud supporter of the Australian Schoolboys, we recognise the value of providing some of this country’s future rugby stars the opportunity to play the best international rugby schools teams in an overseas touring environment. Such experiences have proven their worth over the years with a gamut of national and international rugby stars born out of the Australian Schools system.
Off the field the development experience is just as valuable, with the Australian Schools Rugby Union (ASRU) staff ensuring education and learning form a fundamental part of all tours. The ASRU have recently introduced associate memberships and I would encourage everyone to lend their support to assist the future of the ASRU and the prospects it provides for rugby in Australia.
I would like to congratulate the Melbourne Rebels’ Cadeyrn Neville and Western Force’s, Zack Holmes who last month were the first recipients of academic scholarships, awarded through an exclusive program established by RUPA’s Player Development Program (PDP) and our education partner, Kaplan Professional Education. Both players were awarded the scholarships after completing an application outlining their background and interest in advancing their financial industry knowledge.
Finally I would like to recognise our Men’s and Women’s Sevens efforts at the Gold Coast Sevens on the weekend. Whilst the men were unfortunate, finishing with a plate semi-final loss to Argentina, they still have many chances left to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics during the 2014/15 IRB World Series. It was a more victorious experience for the women, winning two out of the three-match exhibition tournament against Canada.
Until next month, all the best to Adam Ashley-Cooper in his 100th Test this weekend and to all the Wallabies in this Saturday’s third and final Bledisloe in Brisbane.