Is Michael Cheika's voice growing tired after an unsatisfactory year?

Consider this: Australia came within five minutes of winning their first Bledisloe Cup since 2002 this year, but also lost twice to Scotland with an aggregate scoreline of 77-43. MORE: Barrett scoops World Rugby's top prize again | Townsend hails Scotland mentality after record-breaking Wallabies win With the season now over - and with less than 24 months until the next World Cup - when do the knives come out for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika? Scotland were far more ruthless, far smarter and

How Kurtley Beale became an Australian rugby star on and off the pitch

Kurtley Beale's career has experienced many peaks and troughs, but the boy from Mt. Druitt is finally blossoming into a leader Poor results at the outset of 2017 and the protracted cutting of the Western Force were low points in Australian rugby history. This form turned around though, with some strong wins through the middle of the season, coming five minutes from winning back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 15 years. Utility back Kurtley Beale has been a standout in almost every perf

Vikings on hunt for three straight wins

Undefeated NRC side Canberra Vikings have their sights set on a third-straight win, over Brisbane City, in the 2017 competition. The men from the nation’s capital notched a last-gasp 33-26 victory over defending champions, Perth Spirit last weekend, with two tries in the last 15 minutes sealing the win and second place on the ladder. Vikings coach Tim Sampson lauded his team’s fast start to the year, and their attacking ingenuity, but admitted defensive problems needed to be solved if they are

NRC: Round three key matchups

Which positional clashes will be the most crucial in NRC round three? Fijian flyhalf Peceli Nacebe has quickly proven himself one of the new stars of the NRC, impressing for the strong yet enigmatic Drua, the competition leader in points, tries and attacking metres and second in carries and defenders beaten. His NSW Country counterpart Tayler Adams has certainly not been able to match his opposite in those metrics having played one game to Nacabe’s two, but the Shute Shield player of the year

Aussies draw Fiji in Oktoberfest Sevens

Australia will compete in pool C of the Oktoberfest 7s on September 29 and 30, alongside Chile and Ireland, and Olympic champions Fiji. The Fijians, last year’s World Series bronze medalists, will provide the main threat to the Australians to finishing top of the pool. Chile only took part in the Americas’ World Series events in 2016-17, gaining one point in Las Vegas and five in Vancouver, while Ireland failed to compete in any of the 10 events. Pool A will feature Olympic bronze medalists a

NRC season preview: Queensland Country

Despite a disappointing start to NRC life for Queensland Country, there is cause for optimism, with Brad Thorn handed the reins in 2017. An assistant coach in Country’s one-win 2016, Thorn will know the task he faces in turning around the competition’s underachievers but with the talent he has at his disposal, 2017 could be a game changer. With Thorn at the helm, the Country side should pack plenty of punch as it looks to live up to its potential. Philip Potgieter 22 University of Queensland

NRC season preview: Greater Sydney Rams

The Greater Sydney Rams jumped from ninth to sixth last season, and are expected to push for finals this year. Boasting a formidable squad featuring many Shute Shield stars, the Rams have the quality to contend for the title if fit and firing. Led by John Manenti and Brian Melrose, Greater Sydney have plenty of experience in the brain’s trust, and have all it takes to put together a strong season. The Rams finished sixth with two wins and five losses, missing out on finals by three competitio

Rays prepare for historic double header

NRC’s Sydney Rays and the Aon Uni 7s’ Macquarie Uni Rays will link up for a historic double header this weekend. Macquarie Uni plays host to the second Uni 7s series leg kicking off on Saturday, while the NRC Rays will also take on the Greater Sydney Rams in Sunday’s second round NRC clash. The teams trained at the same time on Thursday, with NRC coach Julian Huxley and Uni 7s star Dominique du Toit excited about the weekend’s back-to-back matches. “Seeing the quality of the girls’ team, they

Wallaroos duo ready to tackle Uni7s

Wallaroos Millie Boyle and Mahalia Murphy are set to make their Uni 7s debuts, after returning home from the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Match fitness will be no issue for the pair, seasoned by five intense matches against some of the world’s best XVs players and a month-long training camp in the lead-up. Boyle, set to line up for Bond University in the Uni 7s, was the youngest member of the Wallaroos squad and said she learned plenty from her first World Cup campaign. “It was an awesome experie

Wallabies abroad: Pocock denied rugby return

David Pocock has been denied his long-awaited return to rugby with Top League giants Wild Knights, forced to watch his new club’s crushing victory from the bench. Pocock could only watch on, with Digby Ioane scoring two tries and Berrick Barnes adding nine with the boot for the Wild Knights in their big 43-8 victory over the Canon Eagles. Two Test Wallaby Daniel Heenan also featured in the match for Pocock's club, playing 80 minutes at lock. Matt Giteau and George Smith continued to steer Sunt

Game of Thorns takes hold at Queensland Country

Game of Thrones may be the most popular television show in the world but at Queensland Country, ‘Game of Thorns’ reigns supreme. While the lands of Westeros are fought over by multiple families, Country coach Brad Thorn reigns supreme over his troops, implementing a 20 minute high intensity interval training session which the players have dubbed 'Game of Thorns'. “It’s tough, hard work, going to a dark place and trying to get through it,” said newly-appointed Queensland Country captain Duncan

The late Ross Turnbull's dream comes to life

To late Classic Wallaby Ross Turnbull three things were dearly important: family, footy and France, the latter of which Turnbull had long dreamt of publishing a book on. Earlier this month, two years after his death, Ross’ dream was realised, with the help of his wife and two of his closest friends, with the publishing of Five Walks Around Central Paris. The inspiration for the book came from Turnbull’s original works; a well-known Francophile, Turnbull spent countless hours in his many trips

Milestones on the line for Norths and Warringah

History is up for grabs for both Norths and Warringah in Saturday's Shute Shield final, and there won't be any shortage of emotion at North Sydney Ocval. Defending champions Norths are looking for back-to-back titles for the first time since 1964, an incredible turnaround from a side that had not won any titles in 41 years this time last year. On the other side, Warringah are looking for their first taste of Shute Shield glory since 2005, a victory that would end an emotional season for the Ra

Rebels aplenty in Rising preseason hitout

Two months ago Toby Smith was playing for the Wallabies. Now the international prop, set to head to the Hurricanes in 2018, will come off the bench for the Melbourne Rising in their final hitout before the NRC kicks off Despite signing in New Zealand, Smith is locked in to play in Melbourne for the rest of the season, adding some more star power to an already Super Rugby-packed squad. Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker is among the other Super Rugby capped players set to suit up in the hitout on Sa

Nervous emotions prevalent ahead of series opener

Nervousness is one of the dominating emotions ahead of the first ever Aon Uni 7s tournament this weekend, according to some of the inaugural captains. “It’s exciting, it’s good to see all the captains and feel all the nervous energy tonight,” Macquarie University skipper Emily Chancellor said. “Our training sessions have been going well and we’re a good young team, and it’s exciting to play good level footy. “I’m so proud, I’m stoked, I was shocked, but it’s such an honour to lead the girls o

Pelite excited to mentor future stars

Aussie Sevens star Evania Pelite is excited to provide an example to, and share her experiences, with her University of Adelaide teammates in the inaugural Uni 7s. Rio gold medallist Pelite, said she was looking forward to the chance to mentor the next generation of Aussie Sevens hopefuls in an emerging state. “I’ve been put with Adelaide, so I’m really excited, and I’ve been down and seen a couple of the girls, and I get along well with the coach, so I’m great that I’ve been put with that tea

Around the grounds: Rats into historic decider

The Warringah Rats have qualified to contest for their first Shute Shield title in 12 years, after usurping minor premiers Manly 27-17 in the third and final Battle of the Beaches of the year. In an emotional season for the club, they toppled their fierce rivals, adding another thrilling chapter in the sides' rivalry and putting them in the mix for their first title win. Former Aussies sevens representative Josh Holmes led the way with a double, with the Rats also fielding Waratahs squad membe

GPS, UQ gearing up for grand final showdown

The two best teams of 2017 will get their grand final showdown tomorrow, when GPS face University of Queensland at Ballymore. Jeeps are hunting their first Hospital Cup since 1996, which currently stands as the second-longest drought in Queensland Premier Rugby, while UQ are looking to reverse last year’s result, where they fell at the final hurdle chasing their first title since 2014. The Gallopers finished the season in second with a 12-4 record on 54 competition points, 16 behind the Red He

Wests heap Pindan Premier Grade pressure on Associates

Wests Scarborough are heaping all the pressure on Associates as the two prepare for this weekend's Pindan Premier Grade final. Though it's Wests who have had the upperhand in their head-to-head tally this year, with wins in round two and round 11, Associates come into the decider on a hot streak of form. Wests snuck through to the grand final, edging Nedlands 32-29 but coach Scott Batters said they would need to go up another level to contend with Associates. “We need to improve on everything

Battle of the Beaches kicks off Shute Shield semis

Manly finished the regular season on top of the Shute Shield ladder, but it's Warringah who will take the favourites tag into the final Battle of the Beaches. The Rats cruised to victory over Randwick in week one of the finals, where the Marlins went down in their opening post-season clash. “We certainly didn’t expect the score line in last week’s match, most aspects of our game were pretty strong," Rats coach Darren Coleman said. "We’re not reading too much into Manly’s form, they beat us la
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