Monday’s rugby news has Moore clearing the air, added prop depth for the Brumbies, Stirzaker staying grounded and an update on Australian players overseas.
Moore speaks after signing
Stephen Moore has broken his silence after his surprising signing with the Reds to a three-year deal extending through to the World Cup. At the time, chief executive Michael Jones issued a critical statement that said the club moved “heaven and earth” to retain the 32-year-old.
Moore admitted the chance for his children to be closer to the rest of the family in Queensland convinced him to make the move. He also decided on the Reds rather than Europe because Michael Cheika had indicated he preferred the hooker in Super Rugby and Moore feared that he would be unable to retain his Wallabies spot from overseas.
Brumbies prop ready to make impact
ACT Brumbies prop Les Leulia’iali’i-Makin is set to make his long awaited impact on the Brumbies front-row stocks after suffering a prolonged injury in what was supposed to be his debut season. The Queanbeyan junior feared his immediate rugby ambitions were gone, and he was contemplating going back to lifting pianos as a removalist next year.
Leulia’iali’i-Makin says his foot injury has instilled a mental resilience to chase his first cap, and he says he wants to repay the Brumbies’ faith after signing a new two-year deal. “They showed faith in me,” he emphasised. “I guess I’ve got to put my head down to show the team and club who I am.”
Stirzaker staying Wallaby hopes
Rebels scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker is not entertaining any Wallabies fantasies just yet. With Will Genia and Nic White overseas, the Wallabies No.9 jersey competition has opened up in 2016. Stirzaker said he’s not letting this interfere with his focus, despite being tagged as a future Wallaby.
“I guess people speculate after a World Cup when things are changing,” he said. “We just worry about what we’re doing. Tony’s (head coach Tony McGahan) pretty good at keeping us grounded and we’re focusing on winning games next year.” An extended break after this year’s Super Rugby season allowed Stirzaker to have a shoulder reconstruction and enter the 2016 pre-season fully fit
A number of Wallabies have made an impact in overseas rugby this weekend. Backrower Ben McCalman finished with a double for Panasonic Wild Knights, as they continued their unbeaten start to the Japanese Top League season. McCalman came off the bench in the 46th minute and scored in the 51st and the 60th minutes in the Wild Knights 64-5 win over Honda Heat.
Bernard Foley’s Ricoh Black Rams had another loss, going down to the Kubota Spears, 22-31, keeping them in the frame for a relegation play-off. In the match between Toulon and Toulouse, James O’Connor has been elevated into Toulon’s starting side for the game, with Quade Cooper coming off the bench.