Thursday’s rugby news has Weeks re-signing, more scrum analysis, a proposed Super match and Giteau injured still.
More optimism from Cheika
Rebels foundation player Laurie Weeks has signed a contract extension with the club that will see him stay to at least 2017. The experienced prop said that the club has never been in a stronger position with an unprecedented number of Wallaby representatives.
Weeks also emphasised that Australians need to change their attitude towards the scrum if they are going to improve. “Spectators don’t see it as an exciting part of the game but in reality it’s integral so we need to focus a lot more attention on it,” Weeks said. “The front-rowers throughout Australia are battling that mind-set.”
We need pack mentality; Kepu
Meanwhile, Wallaby prop Sekope Kepu has said that the Test team’s scrum failings must be conceived of as an issue with the whole pack rather than just the front row. “It’s about consistency and recognising as a forward pack it is not just the job of the front row or the tight five, we have to get the commitment of the full eight,” Kepu said.
Australian backrowers have been known to disengage from the scrum early but with opposition teams putting more pressure on the Wallabies’ set-piece weakness this will no longer be an option.
Toulon v Sharks match set
The Sharks will play a pre-season friendly against two time Heineken Cup Champions Toulon. “It’s always good to play against, learn and share ideas with the best teams around and we are delighted that Toulon has accepted the challenge.,” Sharks CEO John Smit said.
Smit had previously goading the French team by asserting that winning the Heineken Cup was easier than contesting the Super Rugby final. Winger Drew Mitchell responded by saying Toulon would prefer to play the Super Rugby champions – the Waratahs – but Boudjellal has since agreed to playing the Sharks.
Giteau injury lingering
Matt Giteau’s groin injury will take more time to recover than initially anticipated, with Toulon now expected to go without the former Wallaby for the Champions Cup match against Leicester.
Toulon will have to look to their third-choice playmaker as James O’Connor has also been sidelined by injury, with Nicolas Sanchez to start. Sanchez will also assume the goal kicking duties with Leigh Halfpenny another victim of the French side’s recent run of injuries, suffering successive concussions in recent weeks.