It’s time again for the Taylors Wines Top 5, where we wrap up the best of Australia’s professional players in the media this week (and also give you a great wine tip courtesy of Taylors)!
Round 16 of the Super Rugby competition is the final round of action before the June Test series against Ireland, and there’s plenty on the line in the Australian conference!
The first Australian team in action are the Rebels, as they venture to Eden Park to take on the Blues on Saturday afternoon (3:15pm AEST), before a local derby at Suncorp Stadium sees the Waratahs take on the Reds at 7:45pm.
Finally, the Brumbies are home from their two-match South African tour and will take on the Sunwolves in Canberra on Sunday afternoon (4:05pm), knowing they remain a mathematical chance of making it through to post-season action and a win would help them greatly on their quest.
Click here for the full list of Round Sixteen Super Rugby fixtures.
The Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens team head into their penultimate World Series tournament of the year in London, looking to go one better after claiming Silver in Singapore last time out.
They’re up against Ireland (7:36pm, Saturday), Wales (10:42pm, Saturday), and Spain (1:48am, Sunday). If they make it through to the Cup Finals section of the competitions then they kick off at 7:58pm on Sunday, with Semi Finals from 11:48pm and the Cup Final at 2:57am on Monday
Click here for the full list of London Sevens fixtures.
1. Pone the latest homegrown debutant
We love hearing from Super Rugby debutants, and last Friday night saw giant Melbourne Rebels prop Pone Fa’aamausili become the latest player to come through the Victorian Rugby junior pathways and graduate to playing for his hometown Super Rugby team.
Pone follows in the footsteps of Rob Leota, Fereti Sa’aga, Sione Tuipulotu and Jordan Uelese, and he reflected on the journey while speaking with the Club’s media team after making a winning start against the Sunwolves,
“When I found out at the start of the week I asked Lisa and the girls in the office for 50 tickets!
“My family has made a great effort to come out in such big numbers. (When I was) warming up I heard their voices, and that was a big boost for me when I went out on to the field.
“I can’t explain how hard the journey has been to get here, and I just want to thank everybody who has supported me along the way. I grew up here in Melbourne and I’m very grateful for the opportunity!”
Click here to watch the full video, also featuring Pone’s brother, Setu!
2. Goddard trains with his idol
We’re being a bit sneaky here by going outside the professional player ranks, but we couldn’t let this cracking story in the Canberra Times slip through to the keeper.
Brumbies Academy playmaker Will Goddard was down at Griffith Oval doing some extras late last week ahead of his duties with the Queanbeyan Whites in the John I Dent Cup when he was spotted by none other than Wallaby and Brumbies legend Matt Giteau, himself doing some extras to stay fit for his Japan Top League season with Suntory.
"I think it was a Thursday morning and I had some time off work. There were some guys at the other end of the field and when they got closer, I noticed the face straight away," Goddard told Chris Dutton.
"At the end of the session, he walked over to say hello and give me some tips. It turned into a 30-minute session. Then he asked if I wanted to do the odd session with him. How surreal. Who wouldn't want that? I'm very lucky.
"It was out of the blue and he made the decision to come over. I was definitely a bit star struck ... I still remember playing in the Matt Giteau Cup when I was 10 and watching him on TV. I'm still pinching myself."
Click here to read the full story.
3. Freier gives a shout-out to his greatest supporter… his wife!
We’ve already thrown the rulebook out the window by allowing a future star to feature in the Taylors Wine Top 5, so we’re next going to hear from a former star of the game (and RUPA President) in Adam Freier.
‘Hass’ joined respected journalist Rupert Guinness on the Crossing The Line podcast this week, and for an hour the two chatted about Freier’s career, his retirement from the professional game, his transition into the next phase of his career, the support he received during his career, and more.
There were many great moments in this chat we could’ve singled out, however one which particularly resonated was when Guinness asked Freier about his greatest supporters during his footy career.
“The need of having structures in place around a team is vital, but I wouldn’t say that is who guided me (the best),” Freier says.
“Early on, Eddie Jones was instrumental in the way he was able to program me around work ethic, but throughout my whole journey and trip it has probably been my wife Tamie that has given me the most guidance.
“There’s times you’ve missed lineout throws in close games and you’re actually talking about your mental health, and there’s times when I should be handing Tamie a Medicare card (For her support). She has been my rock and she has given me three beautiful daughters in Florence, Primrose and Avalon.
“I have been with her since I was seventeen and it hasn’t been smooth sailing the whole time, but we have been best of mates and if I was to go back and finish my footy career and say who was the one coach or the one physio or the best teammate that you’ve had, I would say Tam straight away.
“Your partner, your wife or your family are so key in you being a good performer and a grounded person, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today, let alone the athlete that I was, without her support. She’s pretty special and I don’t need to say much more, but she has been absolutely the key part of what I have done, and I owe it to her patience and her resolve.”
Well said Adam! Click here to listen to the full podcast.
4. A text from Thor delivers the big news
New Wallaby Brandon Paenga-Amosa was one of five uncapped players named by Head Coach Michael Cheika on Kick & Chase last night, but while you can assume that most of the 32 players picked were perched in front of the television the rookie Reds hooker wasn’t one of them.
Last night, he was sitting in a Chinese restaurant in Sunnybank when he was named in the Wallabies squad, as he told Rugby.com.au’s Sam Phillips.
"I got a text from (Taniela Tupou) and he just said congratulations bro, you're in the squad," Paenga-Amosa said. "It means the world for me. It's been a long journey, there have been a lot of setbacks but it's a true honour to represent this country, Australia, my country.
"To put on that green and gold jersey would mean the world to me."
Paenga-Amosa’s work ethic has earned him rave reviews in his maiden Super Rugby campaign.
That head down, bum up attitude is something the rookie credits to the cold, long days as a garbo, long before a Wallabies debut was on the radar.
"It's helped me work hard for things in life and it's really taught me to humble myself throughout my life," Paenga-Amosa said.
"Being a garbo, the early starts - you're up at 4am every morning and getting home late. It really taught me a lot of life skills."
Click here to read the full story.
5. Pincus prepares to grace Twickenham turf
This weekend, Joe Pincus will make his debut for the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens team, and he couldn’t have picked a bigger stage!
Twickenham, owned by the England Rugby’s governing body (the RFU), has a capacity of 82,000 and is home to the London leg of the World Series. Pincus has been part of the Aussie program for nearly a year, however injury has kept him out of the selection picture for a large portion of that time.
When he was named in the squad, Head Coach Tim Walsh said that “Joe (Pincus) has all the attributes to be a great Sevens player for Australia.
"He's done his apprenticeship and has been knocking down the door of selection for a while now and the whole squad is excited to see him make his debut on the Twickenham turf in London."
Now that he’s touched down in the UK, Pincus is excited to get out and amongst the action.
"I moved down to Sydney at the start of last year and I started doing a few training sessions here and there with the boys, then started full-time at about July last year," he told Rugby.com.au’s Beth Newman.
"I've been injured for a few months now but I've just been having a good time doing my rehab and really keen to get onto the field. It's hard to say (how I’ll feel making my debut). I guess you don't know until you're there. I'm just hoping I'm going to stay excited and stay happy and stay hungry."
Pincus’ brother Tom starred for Queensland Country in the 2015 and 2016 National Rugby Championship (NRC) competitions, and now plays professionally in the UK.
Their parents had coincidentally planned a visit and will be able to watch him win his first cap this weekend, though we can’t help but think maybe Mum and Dad had an idea Joe wasn’t too far away!
"My brother just lives a few hours down the road in Bristol," he said.
"Luckily enough that Mum and Dad were going to be over there visiting him, so they're all going to be in Twickenham watching which makes it extra special."
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 the ideal temperature for cellaring wine…
Storing wines at the ideal temperature can have a significant impact on the life of a wine. Extreme heat is wine’s enemy and can cause a wine to age prematurely and oxidise.
The ideal temperature for cellaring wine is around 10 - 14ºC, though chances are few of us have place in our home that is this cool all year round. One option is to invest in a wine storage cabinet that can maintain this ideal temperature for cellaring wine.
The commercial wine storage companies can also achieve this cellaring temperature consistently for a low monthly rental fee. Otherwise, find the coolest place in your home that will keep the wine anywhere from 7 - 21ºC.
That may mean in a cupboard or perhaps a dark corner of the garage. Find a spot with minimum fluctuation in temperature, from day to day and season to season, away from direct sunlight, or appliances like a fridge or oven.