Taylors Wines Top 5: Argentina, Gold Coast, 2018

By Pete Fairbairn, 14.09.18

It’s time again for the Taylors Wines Top 5, where we wrap up the best of Australia’s players in the media this week (and give you a great wine tip courtesy of Taylors).

It's the final home Test match of 2018, with the Wallabies taking on an Argentinian outfit who've looked the goods in the last fortnight as they defeated South Africa in Mendoza before pushing the All Blacks in Nelson last weekend.

The men in Gold? They're coming off an excellent win in Brisbane last weekend against South Africa, where a new-look backline gelled to secure a tight win against the Springboks, and they're also able to boast the return of last week's late withdrawals, Adam Coleman, Israel Folau and David Pocock, to the 23 this week.

Click here to see the Wallabies’ team announcement - coverage is live on FOX Sports and Channel 10 from 7:30pm (AEST) on Saturday night.

The National Rugby Championship (NRC), meanwhile, is heating up as it enters its' third week of competition with the Western Force, Fijian Drua and Queensland Country looking the most ominous at this early stage. The latter duo clash in Mackay on Saturday (1:00pm) in what is arguably the clash of the round, with NSW Country hosting Melbourne Rising in Mudgee at the same time; both of these games can be streamed live via the FOX Sports website.

The two televised matches of the round see the Sydney Rays host Brisbane City (Saturday 2:30pm) and the Canberra Vikings host the Force on Sunday (3:00pm) - the Vikings have regained the likes of Joe Powell and Tom Banks from Wallaby duty, as well as Rob Valetini and Josh Mann-Rea from injury, so that one also shapes as an absolute cracker.

1. New Dad's roller-coaster week

Speaking with Wayne Smith in The Australian, Adam Coleman explained the chain of events which saw him leave Wallaby camp at midday on Saturday, just eight hours before a Test match he'd been named to start in, with Rob Simmons ushered on to a flight north from Sydney as his replacement.

Coleman's partner Tonia had gone into labour with the couple's first child, and while daughter Fia wasn't born until midnight in the end, there was no way Adam was going to miss being there to support and celebrate with her.

“It was something I was never going to miss and I’m glad I didn’t because it was something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life, a really humbling experience,” he said. “The baby came out at 12.08. She was 7lbs 6oz, 53cm long and three weeks early, so she would have been a bit bigger if she was on time, but she is a little gem.

“I can’t really explain it. My first child, being there, it was very emotional, to see the baby. I’m pretty proud of Tonia, she’s pretty strong. She is back at home now, recovering and the baby is keeping us up at night.”

Adam hasn't yet given much thought as to how Fia’s birth has changed him but clearly it has. He would have looked forward to having next week off but now it’s looming as a magical time.

“Every time you have a week off, you really enjoy it, but having a newborn, it makes it more exciting, just wanting to be home so much more and spending time with this new little gem that’s in the world. It was hard leaving her already. You can’t really explain how it is, seeing the baby for the first time and that unconditional love you instantly give to your kid. It’s a tremendous feeling.”

Click here to read the full story.

2. KB's surprising tribute

Kurtley Beale's successful move to the flyhalf jersey wasn't the only reason we were talking about the Waratahs superstar after last week's Test match, with his 'business at the front, party at the back' mullet haircut also getting plenty of attention; and as he told the Courier Mail's Jim Tucker, the inspiration actually came from a rival code!

“It all started with Cliff Lyons, one of the greats,” Beale said. “I’m a huge fan and all of a sudden it just stuck. He was nominated for the (NRL) Hall of Fame a couple months back so I thought I would run with it and I think it’s going alright.”

Lyons was a classic mullet-and-mo man in the 1980s and ‘90s when a two-time grand final winner with Manly-Warringah and a versatile playmaker who swung from the pack to five-eighth.

Grabbing back a winning vibe for the camp, after four Test losses, and the pack stepping up were more significant for Beale than his own game in tricky, slippery conditions.

“That was a very important one for the group but we are just scratching the surface,” Beale said.

“The forwards certainly brought the physicality and the dominant carries which sucked in the defence but when the opportunity was there to go out the back we just couldn’t capitalise. It’s a work in progress with (inside centre) Matt Toomua and an exciting week ahead to build.”

Taking over from Bernard Foley had not created any angst between long-time friends and the dumped five-eighth had been active with his input to Beale for his first Test at five-eighth since 2014.

“Bernard has been great around the group and he took it really well...he’s a tough, resilient guy who’ll bounce back,” Beale said. “That’s the quality of the player and person. He did a lot of work behind the scenes helping myself and Matty going into last week’s game.”

Click here to read the full story.

3. Alcock in line for Spring Tour?

He's made over 60 Super Rugby appearances for the Brumbies, Waratahs and Western Force since making his debut in the competition in 2009, yet 30-year-old Force flanker Chris Alcock is in arguably career-best form despite this being his first year out of that competition since then!

Alcock left the Brumbies at the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season to link up with the Kaimashi Seawaves in Japan before returning to Perth to represent the Western Force in their inaugural World Series Rugby (WSR) campaign, as well as the NRC.

Speaking to The West Australian's Nick Taylor, Force coach Tim Sampson nominated Alcock as a genuine contender to tour Europe with the Wallabies later this year, however in the same article Alcock insisted he's simply focusing on the job at hand.

“That would be a huge honour but right now I’m focussed on NRC and playing with these guys and having fun. That’s my main focus,” Alcock said.

“Its just good to be out there playing rugby again, really enjoying it and as a team we are really starting to come toegther. I always enjoy playing a more open style of game. It gives me the opportunity as a No.7 to run with the ball.”

He also spoke to the Force's official website this week about playing against some of his former teammates at Viking Park on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to going back and seeing some of those guys. It should be a bit of fun, especially if Bongo [Josh Mann-Rea] is playing,” he said. “They’ve got some lightning fast backline players and their forward line is always going to be good because they love to maul and scrum.”

Click here to read the full story.

4. Samu avoids 'Mad-Eye' Moody for Haka

Back-rower Pete Samu may have had to avoid eye contact with Crusaders teammate Joe Moody during a recent Bledisloe Cup haka but says he is comfortable with his decision to switch allegiances to the Wallabies, who he believes can win next year’s World Cup.

Speaking with Tom Decent in the Sydney Morning Herald, Samu admitted there was some banter with Kiwi players around the time of the Bledisloe Cup last month.

“Just the normal Kiwi-Aussie banter, nothing too serious, all good fun,” Samu said. “I was trying to keep a straight face during the haka because I could see Joe Moody smiling at me during it. I had to sort of step in behind one of our tall boys so I didn't have to look at him.

“A few boys said 'good game' but there wasn't much time. [All Blacks centre] Ryan Crotty actually gave me his jersey. I went to give him mine as a swap but he said: 'When you get a few more we can swap’."

“Getting closer to home was the main reason and obviously there is the World Cup next year,” Samu said. “I definitely believe we can win the World Cup next year.

“A year ago I was playing Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand and this wasn’t really a thought or a plan.

“I was pretty keen to come back and join the boys because, obviously, I know a lot of them from when I was playing in Australia before. The Wallabies have their own culture and everyone is striving to get better."

Asked about his first start for the Wallabies, at No.8, Samu said it was “pretty nerve-wracking” and was confident the side could transfer some winning momentum into a clash with the Pumas this Saturday.

“We just have to prepare the same we did against South Africa,” Samu said. “They had a good game against the All Blacks last weekend and I think if we tick all the boxes this week hopefully the result will show on the weekend.”

Click here to read the full story.

5. Tupou's Instagram feed worth a watch

Taniela Tupou has already lived in three countries by the age of 22; born in Tonga, he went to High School in New Zealand before relocating to Australia to begin his professional Rugby career.

It's a career that got off to a fairly hyped start thanks to a number of schoolboy Rugby videos of the 'Tongan Thor' going viral due to his size, power and pace, however it's a different type of video which has caught the eagle eye of one Rugby journalist.

Speaking with Rugby.com.au's Beth Newman, 'Nela was asked about vision from when he returns to his native Tonga, and his Instagram feed is quickly filled up of videos focused on his culture and his family's day-to-day life. Some of his best videos feature the 22-year-old cracking open coconuts with a machete, while teetering on the back of a moving ute on an uneven gravel road in his village.

It's footage that would send shivers down a coach's spine but Tupou says he's been doing it for so long, he's never even suffered a paper cut. He first learned how to segment a coconut when he was seven, when he would cut on the ground, and from the age of 12 he's been doing it from his hand.

“When you start doing it when you're young, you put it in the ground and just start cutting it like that but when you get confident, you pick it up and just cut it with one hand!"

His scare tactics on Reds teammate Ruan Smith have become another regular feature of his Insta hits and the prop is on the hunt for his next target.

“JP and Ruan the Smith brothers, JP always scared Ruan but then I did it once and I couldn't stop laughing with his reaction and I did it again a second time and I did it a few times and then I kind of stopped because I felt so sorry for him,” he said. “It was so funny - a lot of people kept messaging me to do it again but I didn't want to do it. I think I need to do it again, I need to go back to it because he's so funny his reaction is just hilarious.”

Click here to read the full story.

And now, for an exclusive tip from our friends at Taylors Wines, and this week we’re talking aroma...

Our sense of taste is derived not only from the mouth, but the nose; in fact, 90% of what we call taste is really from our sense of smell!

The aroma of a wine can thereby provide vital insights into such things as the grape varietal it was sourced from, its ripeness, the soil and climate conditions the vines experienced and any winemaker influence on the wine, such as oak maturation.

To release the flavours and aromas, swirl the wine in the glass and get some air into the wine. The more it is aerated, the more the aroma will be revealed. Then place your nose right into the rim of the glass and inhale deeply. While pleasant aroma doesn’t always guarantee a great tasting wine, and vice versa, it can give you a few clues as to what to expect.

Pete Fairbairn
Communications Manager
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