Wallabies stalwart Scott Sio was due to speak with Western Force officials in Perth this week as the club consider an offer to sign him on a one-year contract.
The Western Australian newspaper reported interest from the Force and said any deal would depend on the salary cap and whether Sio would receive a top-up payment from the Wallabies.
Sio announced he was leaving the Brumbies after 11 seasons and told a Wallabies press conference his next move was “still a secret”.
“I got a lot of criticism from the boys telling me I would look good in different colors and different teams,” he said.
“It’s part of my development as a player. Where can I continue to grow and test myself in a new environment? Playing for higher honors is always a driving force.
A move abroad could prove more lucrative but would severely limit his chances of competing at next year’s World Cup.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie praised Sio as the player who changed his mind the most about selection during the Wallabies camp.
“The guy who really impressed me is Scott Sio. We left him at home on the year-end tour. He had a really good off-season. He played really well for the Brumbies and probably in the best nickname he’s had in many years.
“It’s great to see him back in the group and also in the 23 this weekend.”
“I know the threat they will bring”
New Wallabies hooker Dave Porecki says he can’t count on his toiling years in English rugby to give him the edge when he makes his Test debut in Perth.
Porecki and Cadeyrn Neville, 33, are the two new faces as the Aussies look to end England’s seven-year dominance in the three-Test series starting on Saturday.
Neville was first included in a Wallabies training squad in 2012 – the same year skipper Michael Hooper, who has now played 118 Tests, made his debut.
The towering Brumbies lock spent time at three Australian Super Rugby clubs as well as a stint in Japan before finally entering Australia’s Matchday 23 this week.
Porecki, 29, has also embarked on the scenic journey, leaving the NSW Waratahs after one game in 2015 before returning with them in 2020 to become their first-choice No.2.
He spent the interim playing for Saracens and London Irish in England, intending to improve his set-piece game, which caught the eye of Wallabies manager Dave Rennie.
But Porecki says he can’t rely on that British club rugby experience for any kind of advantage when he faces a powerful England pack who will do their utmost to test the rookie’s game.
“I don’t think it’s a competitive advantage or should make me more comfortable,” Porecki said Thursday.
“A lot of the boys I scrimmage with have faced the same guys on an international stage and I haven’t.
“I know a few English players from seven years ago when I played with them at Saracens, but I’ve evolved and I’m sure they’ve evolved too.
“I know the kind of threat they will bring.”
Porecki felt being an older rookie could work in favor of him and Neville, who was a former elite rower and only started rugby when he was 20.
It meant that they would not be intimidated by the long-awaited opportunity.
“Maybe just around the nerves…you know what works for you before games and you don’t tend to get overwhelmed,” he said.
“We had a short preparation before England, but a lot of work was done throughout the Super Season and to be selected you obviously did something right.
“Why change that just because you play for the Wallabies? You have to keep doing what you are doing, what brought you here, and you have some confidence in that.
British Pollie mixes his codes in RWC blunder
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries spoke to an audience in rugby league heartland St Helens about her enthusiasm for the game using Jonny Wilkinson’s 2003 World Cup drop goal as an example.
“I’ve always liked the idea of rugby league. My long-time memory is that drop goal from 2003,” she said. “I’m going to let you in on a secret. I think we were drinking Bloody Marys back then. It was 11am but wow what a time it was.
His comments came during the launch of a report on the social impact of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 to be held in England in October and November.
England’s Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer was in a conciliatory mood.
“I’m not going to dwell on that. It’s great to have her here and we’ve had fantastic support from the government. I’m not going to bring down the shine of it all.
“She is lucky to see us for who we really are and it is good for her to have come.”
Dorriesr acknowledged his gaffe in a Twitter post.
“Like Jason Robinson, I may have changed the code in my speech… Both the league and the union have a rich heritage in the UK.
“Obviously I’ve followed rugby league a lot less in my life, but I can’t wait to see England (and all the home nations) in the RL World Cup this autumn.”
NZR admits mistake in HIA incident
New Zealand Rugby have admitted a mistake was made when Jeremy Loughman was allowed to return to play after suffering a blow to the head against the Maori All Blacks in midweek.
Loughman stumbled and had to be helped off the pitch after touching the ball in the second minute of Ireland’s loss.
He was, incredibly, cleared to return to the pitch after an HIA but was substituted at half-time. World Rugby regulations state that players who suffer an obvious concussion must be removed from play immediately and serve a 12-day waiting period.
“New Zealand Rugby conducted a review of the HIA process during the Māori All Blacks game against Ireland at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton on Wednesday June 29,” NZR Medical Director Karen Rasmussen said in a statement.
“As a result of this review, NZR believe Irish prop Jeremy Loughman should not have been allowed to return to the pitch in the first half.
“While NZR adheres to the HIA processes in place and believes that player welfare is the number one priority for medical staff at the match, we have identified a communications gap which means critical video evidence is not available. were not fully considered as part of the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) Process undertaken by the Independent Medical Team on match day.
Rest of the French key men
Charles Ollivon will captain France against Japan as he continues his comeback on the international stage, while Thomas Jolmes and his flanker Yoan Tanga will make their debut at Toyota Stadium on Saturday.
Back row striker Ollivon has spent most of the year on the sidelines after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament at the end of last season.
The 29-year-old returned to the club at the Six Nations and earlier this month led the Barbarians in their 52-21 rout of England.
Antoine Dupont led France to a Six Nations Grand Slam in March, but Ollivon will return to his scrum-half role among a host of first-choice players rested by coach Fabien Galthie.
Damian Penaud, Melvyn Jaminet and Yoram Moefana retain their places in the Six Nations squad, while Bordeaux duo Matthieu Jalibert and Maxime Lucu will team up for Les Bleus for the first time.
France have never lost to Japan but drew 23-23 with the Brave Blossoms when the teams last met in 2017.
Team: 15-Melvyn Jaminet, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Virimi Vakatawa, 12-Yoram Moefana, 11-Matthis Lebel, 10-Matthieu Jalibert, 9-Maxime Lucu, 8-Yoan Tanga, 7-Dylan Cretin, 6-Charles Ollivon, 5-Thomas Jolmes, 4-Thibaud Flament, 3-Demba Bamba, 2-Peato Mauvaka, 1-Jean-Baptiste Gros. Replacements: 16-Pierre Bourgarit, 17-Dany Priso, 18-Sipili Falatea, 19-Thomas Lavault, 20-Selevasio Tolofua, 21-Sekou Macalou, 22-Baptiste Couilloud, 23-Antoine Hastoy.