Taylors Wines Top 5: Argentina, Salta

By Pete Fairbairn, 05.10.18

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).

The Wallabies head into their final fixture of the 2018 Rugby Championship in Salta on Sunday morning (AEST), looking to gain revenge after going down in a nail-biter against Argentina last time out. They’ll have to do it without Tatafu Polota-Nau and Jack Maddocks who have both left the squad as a result of injuries, but they’ll be determined to get back to winning ways ahead of a showdown in Japan against the All Blacks in three weeks’ time.

Coverage is live on FOX Sports 503 from 9:00am and One (free-to-air) from 9:15am, with the clash between South Africa and New Zealand in Pretoria coming a few hours earlier at 1:00am live on FOX Sports 503.

It looks like the race for the National Rugby Championship (NRC) playoffs is down to five teams, with one to miss out, and with only two rounds remaining the permutations are plentiful. The Drua, Force and Vikings have four wins apiece (from five fixtures) while Brisbane City and Queensland Country sit on three wins; click here to check out the table.

The match of the round sees the Drua host the Vikings in Fiji on Saturday at 1:00pm (live at foxsports.com.au) before Queensland Country host Sydney Rays at Bond University (3:00pm, live FOX Sports 503).

On Sunday, Melbourne Rising host the Western Force as the NRC heads to Geelong’s Simonds Stadium (2:30pm, live FOX Sports 503) before the round concludes with the NRC visiting Camden Rugby Club for the first ever time as NSW Country host Brisbane City (3:00pm, live foxsports.com.au).

Bond University is a Rugby lovers’ hub this weekend, hosting not only an NRC fixture but also the fourth and penultimate round of the AON Uni 7s. It’s pretty tight at the top right now, with Griffith Uni, Macquarie University and reigning champions University of Queensland all tied on 54 series points. University of Canberra have consistently challenged the top three, while surprise packets University of New England are looking to take the next step after making an impact at the last two tournaments. All the action will be broadcast LIVE on Rugby.com.au from 9:00am Saturday. Finally, good luck to all involved in the Queensland Junior Girls State Championships, being held at the same venue on Thursday and Friday as part of a Festival of Rugby!

The Australian Schoolboys started off their campaign with an emphatic 53-10 victory over Tonga earlier this week, with the Australian Schools Barbarians putting in a massive shift against New Zealand before succumbing 55-31, and this Saturday the Australian side take on at Ballymore on Saturday at 5:00pm with the Barbarians to play Tonga at 3:00pm (both matches LIVE on RUGBY.com.au).

Finally, a shout out to all involved in the inaugural Under 19 Rugby Championship held in Canberra this week, with the final round of matches on Friday culminating in the Grand Final between Queensland Country and Brisbane City at 2:00pm – you can watch all the final day action LIVE on Rugby.com.au from 9:30am.

1. Willing themselves to win

Despite a tough result in Port Elizabeth last week, Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia has an unshakeable belief that the Wallabies are on the right track with their game style.

The Wallabies scored five tries when they toppled the Pumas 37-20 in Mendoza last year, and speaking to the Courier Mail’s Jim Tucker the 95-Test halfback said he could still see progress despite the disappointment of the 23-12 loss to the Springboks.

Genia was the trigger in the two tries that the Wallabies did score, with a long pass to Reece Hodge for the first and then with two touches in his own try after a wonderful blindside, kick-return strike that unfolded over 75m.

“We showed a lot of good things in terms of the heart, character and determination to fight back from 14-0 down but more specifically in the way we want to play the game,” Genia said.

“There was some good interlinking between forwards and backs and big discipline in sticking to our shape but execution errors let us down, passes going slightly behind or pushing an off-load. Copping a loss is very disappointing but there were a helluva lot of positives and we’ve a lot more to build on for this Argentina Test than in weeks before.”

Genia’s upbeat outlook has been tested but he takes confidence into every Test.

“To be honest, you might think I’m silly but we’re confident all the time,” Genia said. “We believe in ourselves as individuals and as a team, and if we prepare well, we go out every single time believing we are going to win, I’m telling you.

“They’ll be difficult. They are playing a really good brand of rugby, they are confident and they’ll know they are coming off beating us in Australia.

“It’ll be tough, but like I’ve been saying all the time, we are going to go there and we are going to win.”

We love that kind of positivity!

Click here to read the full story.

2. Haylett-Petty backs Captain Hooper’s calls      

Wallabies fullback Dane Haylett-Petty has been highly impressive in the Gold jersey this year, and speaking with Rugby.com.au’s Beth Newman he backed up Genia’s position that the Aussies have arrived in South America looking for victory.

However, Haylett-Petty said too much focus on how much they need a victory would be a 'trap' for the Aussies.

“We're definitely not happy about that (position) and we've definitely come here to win,” Haylett-Petty said. “It's probably a bit of a trap to focus on 'We have to win, we have to win'. I don't think it's make or break. For us, we're not so much focusing on the outcome.

“We've got to make sure we're learning our lessons and getting better.”

“I definitely try not to worry about the external noise and what's going on and it's probably easier maybe being away from home and being in camp altogether and being able to focus on each day and doing the things we need to do to be able to come out on the weekend and perform.”

Haylett-Petty admitted at times there was a difficult dilemma for Captain Michael Hooper in deciding what to do when his side was awarded a penalty, with the Wallabies focused on trying to play a try-first style of rugby but backed his captain’s decisions in Port Elizabeth.

“For people and for ourselves, it's the way we've all grown up in Australia is playing that attacking style of rugby so it's definitely the way we want to play,” he said. “I suppose it is probably a little bit of a dilemma for Hoops as the decision maker in that instance.

“Definitely Hoops made the right decision on the weekend. I think everyone says, 'Oh maybe you should've taken the points,' if you don't come away with the points so I suppose Hoops will make a decision at the time on the field depending on how the game's going.”

Haylett-Petty said the Wallabies’ communication and composure had to improve in those moments to finally convert backline progress into actual points.

“Definitely composure (needs to improve). The defence has definitely improved a lot," he said. “South Africa definitely put us under a lot of pressure on the weekend, blitzing in ‘D’ and so probably just composure in that part of the field.

“I suppose one part is just continuing to work on our skills under pressure, which we do pretty much every day. Part of it's decision-making, part of it's communication from everyone around the ball.”

Click here to read the full story.

3. Jack ready to face old mates

Since moving to the Western Force from the Melbourne Rebels a couple of months ago, young flyhalf/fullback Jack McGregor has been a genuine revelation in both the World Series Rugby and National Rugby Championship competitions.

Speaking with the Force’s official website, McGregor explained how important it was for his side to keep their good form going in their win against the Sydney Rays last week, where he scored a remarkable try in the process.

“We knew they would come out firing first out of the gates there cause they had a good a good game last week against Fiji,” McGregor said. “We weathered that storm pretty well and we were lucky enough to run away with it.

“I’m very happy [with the win], this was such a big week, we needed a bonus point win and we got away with it.

“(For the try) I was a bit lucky with the bounce on the ball and great pass by Rocket (Rod Davies) there and the boys outside me,” he said. “[The forwards] are very important, they scored some brilliant tries of mauls there and our scrum was very effective.

“Those players changed momentum in the game there pretty easily and for them to change the momentum at certain parts of the game makes the backs life’s much easier to play off it.”

McGregor admitted he couldn’t wait to face his old team mates this week, with the Force travelling to Victoria to take on the Melbourne Rising.

“Melbourne is going to be a tough game,” he said. “They will be looking to get a win against us as well so we need to be on our game, so we’ll prep well this week and hopefully get the job done.”

Click here to read the full story.

4. Coleman not lacking in the motivation stakes

Wallabies second-rower Adam Coleman says the pain of letting down Australian supporters on home soil is motivating the group to flick the switch and chalk up a big win against Argentina in Salta this weekend.

Speaking with Tom Decent in the Sydney Morning Herald, Colemans explained that as much as players try to reset and forget about what has transpired over the past few weeks, the memory of a 23-19 loss to the Pumas has had a profound impact on the group.

“When we lost at home that hurt a lot but [it is about] just using that and turning that into motivation instead of letting that hurt hold you down, making sure it builds you up to perform the next time you get that opportunity,” Coleman said.

“[We are] really focusing on what we bring this weekend knowing it’s going to mean a lot to us. We are really up for the fight. The boys have done a lot of hard work over the last couple of months but also to the Australians back home, we let them down on home soil.

“I know the boys are really looking forward to getting on the field this weekend and putting on a good performance.”

Coleman says he is simply sticking to the process, adamant the outcome will be a direct result of how the side prepares.

“My process throughout the week doesn’t change week in, week out,” Coleman said. “You don’t go into a Test match not to win, so it would be silly to go in and say 'we’re going to lose'.

"We’re obviously going there to win and that’s our full process for any game. If I was playing a different sport it would be the exact same mindset.”

Click here to read the full story.

5. King making an impression in new home

 For most who make it to the NRC, it usually happens via an elite junior pathway; it’s hard to just be an amateur player with no rep experience and make it to an elite level like the NRC.

However, for Melbourne Rising flyhalf Archie King, the Shute Shield player can lay claim to being one of the few genuine amateur athletes to make it into an NRC starting side. In his inaugural year in the NRC, the 24 year-old has played every game for the Rising, and speaking to the Melbourne Rebels’ website King says the step up has been manageable due to facing quality opponents in the Shute Shield competition all year, where he plays for Eastern Suburbs.

“Playing in the Shute Shield, you play against a lot of good competition each week,” he said. “It’s definitely a competitive place where there’s not a lot of distinctions between who’s markedly talented and who’s not.”

The flyhalf says his teammates around him have helped him perform, while also believing that his role in the team may have meant he was noticed more than others.

“I suppose I’ve played around good players, and flyhalf is a skill based position than most others, and you know a good kick is just that, regardless of what level you are playing,” he said.

“There’s always bits to improve in my game when I was playing club footy, and it’s the exact same now. I still play a skill based position, so everything I do is pretty irrelevant of the opposition.”

Outside of rugby, King holds a degree, having just graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Commerce and Arts, Majoring in Finance.

“I’ve been working as a stockbroker for a year and half for our rugby (Eastern Suburbs) President John Murray and I really enjoyed that,” he said. “I’ve been in and out of a different range of jobs, so I’m trying to work out what I’m doing.”

It’s clear to see if King can continue his performances at NRC level heading into the final two rounds though, there could easily be some genuine interest from Super Rugby clubs.

“I’d love to stick around (in Melbourne) because I think there’s a lot I could improve on and I don’t think I’ve come anywhere reaching my potential,” he said. “I’m not looking too far ahead though; I’m just enjoying my time here.

“Sadly, we haven’t got the results we could of, so yeah, it’s been disappointing, but I’ve obviously just enjoyed it a lot and I’m grateful for the opportunity to play around good players and to have good coaches.”

Click here to read the full story.

And now, for an exclusive tip from our friends at Taylors Wines, and this week we’re teaching you about glassware…

Choosing the right glassware can really add to the enjoyment as well as the flavour of a wine. You may have noticed how the glassware in department stores is differentiated by wine style or grape. Some glassware manufacturers have a specific glass for every varietal, which can add up to a lot of different shaped glasses

Pete Fairbairn
Communications Manager
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