Rugby Australia Awards 2023: All the info you need to know

The 2023 edition of the Rugby Australia Awards are set to be unveiled in the coming days.As last year, the awards will be released across February and March to celebrate an incredible year of Rugby.It will conclude with the awarding of the John Eales Medal, with Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper out to win a record fifth award.Check out all the details for the 2023 Rugby Australia Awards below Harvey Norman Super Rugby Player of the Year – Rob ValetiniThe Super Rugby Player of the Year is awarded to the standout player from the 2022 Super Rugby season from the Australian clubs.Brumbies enforcer Valetini claimed the award after guiding the club to the semi-finals.Click here for more informationPAST WINNERS2021: James O'Connor (Reds)2019: Samu Kerevi (Reds)2018: Taniela Tupou (Reds)2017: Amanaki Mafi (Rebels)Community AwardsThe Community Awards recognises all the incredible contributors to the great game of Rugby.It aims to celebrate Rugby at all stages, especially at the grassroots level.These awards include Volunteer of the Year, Joe French Award for Outstanding Contribution to Rugby, Geoff ‘Bunter’ Shaw Community Coach of the Year Award and Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of RugbyBuildcorp Super W Player of the YearThe Super W Player of Year looks at the best player during the 2022 Super W competition from the Australian clubs.2022 saw the Fijiana Drua claim their first ever title, capping off a historic year for the expansion club.Last season lead to a number of players making their Wallaroos debut after breakout seasons.PAST WINNERS2021: Lucy Lockhart (Reds)2020: Ema Masi (Brumbies)2019: Tayla Stanford (Brumbies)2018: Shanice Parker (NSW)Fedex Referee of the YearThe Referee of the Year is awarded to the standout Australian Rugby referee across either Sevens or the 15-a-side format.It is awarded to the referee who demonstrates high standards of officiating and is considered to be a role model for the game in Australia.There have been several referees that have made their name on the World circuit, refereeing games at the Six Nations, Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup 2021.PAST WINNERS2021: Nic Berry2019: Nic Berry2018: Angus Gardner2017: Angus GardnerRookie of the YearRookie of the Year is awarded to the player who is deemed to have been the most outstanding first year player in Australia in the last 12 months.They must have made their debut for either the Wallabies, Wallaroos or Aust 7's teams on or since the opening game in the current rugby seasonPAST WINNERS2021: Andrew Kellaway2019: Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea and Jordan Petaia2018: Taniela Tupou2017: Ned HaniganCadbury Try of the YearThe Try of the Year is awarded to the best try scored by an Australian across the past 12 months.This includes Wallabies, Wallaroos, Super Rugby, Super W and Sevens.PAST WINNERS2021: Taniela Tupou v South Africa, Brisbane2019: Nic White v New Zealand, Perth2018: Taqele Naiyaravoro v Rebels (Round 5 – Super Rugby)2017: Joe Powell v Hurricanes (Round 2 – Super Rugby)Shawn Mackay Awards: Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players of the YearThe Shaun Mackay Awards celebrates the best Sevens players from 2022.It is awarded to the standout and most consistent Australian Men's and Women's Sevens player across the last 12 months.Both sides finished 2022 as the World Series champions, with the Women completing a historic Triple Crown.PAST WINNERS2021: Henry Hutchison & Charlotte Caslick2019: Maurice Longbottom & Charlotte Caslick2018: Ben O'Donnell & Evania Pelite2017: James Stannard & Chloe DaltonBuildcorp Wallaroos Player of the YearThe Wallaroos Player of the Year is awarded to the best and most consistent Women's player across the last 12 months.It must be a representative of Australia's national women's team (Wallaroos XV) and recognises the female Australian Rugby player that has shown the most outstanding on-field performance over the last 12 monthsThe award makes its return after a COVID-affected 2021 for the Wallaroos, with last season headlined by October's Rugby World CupPAST WINNERS2019: Grace Hamilton2018: Emily Chancellor2017: Hillisha SamoaJohn Eales MedalThe John Eales Medal represents the standout Men's Player across the last 12 months.Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper holds the record with five Medals since it was introduced in 2002.It is a peer-voted award to Wallaby that is considered the most outstanding performing player across the last 12 monthsPAST WINNERS2021: Michael Hooper2020: Michael Hooper2019: Marika Koroibete2018: David Pocock2017: Israel Folau2016: Michael Hooper2015: Israel Folau2014: Israel Folau2013: Michael Hooper2012: Nathan Sharpe2011: Kurtley Beale2010: David Pocock2009: Matt Giteau2008: George Smith2007: Nathan Sharpe2006: Chris Latham2005: Jeremy Paul 2004: David Lyons2003: Phil Waugh2002: George SmithClick Here: Ruben Dias Jersey Sale

United Rugby Championship: Former Sharks coach Sean Everitt joins Bulls backroom staff as consultant

The Bulls have bolstered their backroom staff with the news that former Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has joined their ranks on a temporary basis.

The 53-year-old was in charge of the Sharks from 2020 until last November when he stepped down from his position after the team suffered a 35-0 United Rugby Championship (URC) defeat against Cardiff in Durban.

Bulls chief executive Edgar Rathbone confirmed that Everitt has joined them as a consultant and that he will be concentrating on the Pretoria-based side’s upcoming Currie Cup campaign.

“We have indeed recruited him,” Rathbone told Sport24.

“For now, Sean is subject to a short-term deal, one that essentially covers the domestic tournament. We’ll see how things pan out afterwards.”

Rathbone said Everitt will start in his new role immediately and emphasised that he will not be involved in the Bulls’ URC and Champions Cup campaigns.

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Experience of developing young players

Despite that, Everitt is a valuable addition to the men from Pretoria’s backroom staff as he has coached the Sharks at Currie Cup level and has a reputation for fostering the development of young players.

Everitt’s acquisition also shows how seriously the Bulls are taking the Currie Cup, which kicks off next month, as the tournament overlaps the URC and Champions Cup competitions.

That means all the South African franchises’ depth will be severely tested over the next few months.

Everitt’s experience of bringing through rookies at the Sharks – with whom he won South Africa’s U19 title in 2018 – should stand him in good stead, especially as the Bulls have a healthy crop of promising youngsters coming through their ranks.

“It doesn’t happen often that you get the opportunity to get a guy like Sean involved,” said Rathbone.

“Sean’s a highly experienced coach who’s been exposed to the rigours of the URC and Champions Cup and we’re very confident he’ll add real value to our Currie Cup setup.”

Reds announce team for Super Rugby Pacific opener

The Queensland Reds have confirmed their matchday-23 for this Saturday’s Super Rugby Pacific opener against the Hurricanes in Townsville.19-year-old flyhalf Tom Lynagh will make his Queensland debut, with James O’Connor unable to overcome an ankle complaint in time for Round 1.Off the bench, Fijian Test prop Peni Ravai, lock Jake Upfield and playmaker Taj Annan will potentially debut in the maroon jersey, while Sef Fa’agase is in line to play his 50th Queensland game.Head coach Brad Thorn said: ““We’re excited to kick-off the season in Townsville.“We’ve built some strong relationships and connections across the state during our Reds to Regions tours. We had a really enjoyable time in Townsville in 2021 when we played the Chiefs in front of a great crowd.“The Hurricanes are a tough opposition that we have a lot of respect for.“Tom Lynagh will debut at 10 and he’s earned his spot over the pre-season. We’re looking forward to seeing him in a Queensland jersey.“Peni Ravai, Jake Upfield and Taj Annan may also get the chance to debut for Queensland.We wish them well.”Lynagh will start alongside co-captain Tate McDermott in the halves, while Jordan Petaia will run-on at fullback with Jock Campbell still recovering from a minor ankle injury.Isaac Henry and Hunter Paisami reprise their club Rugby partnership in the centres, seeing Josh Flook and Filipo Daugunu start on the wing.Dane Zander, Matt Faessler and Zane Nonggorr start in the frontrow, with Lopeti Faifua making his starting debut at lock.He’ll partner Ryan Smith, who has made a speedy recovery from a knocked suffered against the New South Wales Waratahs a fortnight ago.Seru Uru, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson make for a dynamic backrow, with skipper Liam Wright ruled out with concussion.Off the bench, Connor Anderson is in line to make his Super Rugby Pacific debut after first representing Queensland on the Reds’ tour of Japan last year.Buy tickets for Queensland's season opener via https://bit.ly/3I70Juvn or watch LIVE on Stan Sport and Nine Gem.Queensland Reds v Hurricanes, Saturday 25 February, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, 6:35pm AEST. Watch live on Stan Sport & Nine GemDane Zander – University of Queensland – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Albany Creek BrumbiesMatt Faessler – Brothers – Toowoomba Grammar School – USQ SaintsZane Nonggorr – Bond University – The Southport School – Gold Coast EaglesRyan Smith – Brothers – St Patrick’s College Shorncliffe – Caboolture SnakesLopeti Faifua** – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, AucklandSeru Uru – Wests – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji – Namoli Rugby Club, FijiFraser McReight – Brothers – Brisbane Grammar School – Albany Creek BrumbiesHarry Wilson – Brothers – St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace – Gunnedah Red DevilsTate McDermott (cc) – University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast Grammar School – Flinders Rugby ClubTom Lynagh* – University of Queensland – Epsom College – Richmond Rugby ClubFilipo Daugunu – Wests – Dogotuki District School, FjiiIsaac Henry – Wests – Brisbane Boys College – Kenmore BearsHunter Paisami – Wests – Mangere College, AucklandJosh Flook – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – BrothersJordan Petaia – Wests – Brisbane State High SchoolRichie Asiata – Easts – Anglican Church Grammar SchoolSef Fa’agase – Sunnybank – Shailer Park State High School – Beaudesert Warriors – potential 50th Queensland capPeni Ravai*** – Easts – Ratu Kadavulevu School, FijiJake Upfield*** – Bond UniversityConnor Anderson**** – Wests – Brisbane State High School – Everton Park RoostersKalani Thomas – University of Queensland – Ipswich Grammar School – SouthsLawson Creighton – Brothers – Padua CollegeTaj Annan*** – Souths – Brisbane Boys College – Merewether CarltonClick Here: Fjallraven Kanken Art Spring Landscape Backpacks

The investigation report reveals disturbing messages between Aminata Diallo and her confidant

Accused of carrying out an attack on her former teammate Kheira Hamraoui, Aminata Diallo remains imprisoned. Meanwhile, a new set of revelations by the police has shed light on the fact that the attack was conducted solely due to sporting rivalry and jealousy between the two professionals.

As reported by Le Parisien, the police officers of the crime prevention brigade of the Versailles judicial police, in their investigation report, note that it’s “a slow psychological drift that has become, so to speak, pathological”. It adds:

“It has thus been irrefutably proven that Aminata Diallo nourished a real hatred against her club partner, whom she considered an obstacle to her own sporting career.”

Reports understand that Diallo hired four men to sponsor the attack on the PSG midfielder. In another revelation, the investigators noticed Diallo’s “deep jealousy” toward her former teammate. The claims have been backed by a plethora of WhatsApp messages that have emerged from the two phones retrieved by the police.

Diallo sent a message to a mysterious confidant, nicknamed “Jaja”, writing, “I will become shameless now! I need someone but to f**k my job for free I don’t accept… I wish them all bad luck, I only need my relatives.”

On September 14, 2021, four men participated in the attack on Kheira Hamraoui. As of now, all of them have been arrested. One of them, named “the little one”, has admitted that they were hired to attack Hamraoui to handicap her for €500.

The investigators have not managed to get hold of the fifth person, who is considered one of the main perpetrators in this case. None of the convicted ones is keen on giving out his name, perhaps for fear of reprisal.

The police have also been searching for the intermediary, who was in constant contact with the Diallo during the mission. Although the suspect remains unidentified, the police anticipate that it could be “a relative of Aminata Diallo”.

GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder

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Scotland: George Turner delighted to back up Calcutta Cup win and now shifts focus to France clash

Scotland hooker George Turner wants to build on their confidence boosting start to the Six Nations as they look to prove they are a serious outfit.

Gregor Townsend’s men had developed a reputation for blowing hot and cold in the Championship after winning in week one but then losing in Round Two.

But finally they put that two-year hoodoo to bed last Saturday as they comfortably beat Wales 35-7 on the back of their Calcutta Cup victory over England.

Backed up their opening victory

“The last couple of years we’ve been talking about a special group of players and we’ve had great wins over England in the opening games then slipped against Wales home and away having been confident going into both those games,” said Turner.

“We talked after the England game about how we’d had a good win but that we’d made a lot of mistakes and knew we had a lot to improve.

“We were all ecstatic that we’d won against England but everyone just automatically rolled into the next week and was like ‘we know we’ve lost to Wales a few times, we need to focus’.”

Now in the Six Nations‘ fallow week, Scotland will look to regroup before going again when they face France a week on Sunday, a task that excites Turner.

“It’s a great feeling in camp, a great group of boys,” he said.

“But even now, although we played well for a lot of that game against Wales, the main thing is that we’re now really wanting to build on that and take it further.

“The next game is about really fine-tuning and having a proper good performance. We’ve got things to work on and get better at. We’re obviously confident and we want to back up these wins again but we won’t take France lightly. We want to win there again.”

Turner crossed for the first of Scotland’s five tries over the weekend but he admitted it was only after a TMO review that he knew he’d dotted the ball down.

“I didn’t know I’d scored until I looked up at the replay,” he said. “I got a bit lucky. They nearly held me up but I just touched a blade of grass!”

Try followed by a sin-binning

However, it wasn’t a perfect afternoon for the hooker as he was sin-binned soon after, but credited his team for how they adapted to being down to 14 men.

“I was absolutely gutted,” he said about the card. “I can see why it was a yellow card. But we have plans, we replicate in training things that can happen.

“Actually, we replicated last week what we might do if I got a yellow card so that was good foresight, maybe. The boys adapted to it, spread a bit more and did a good job.

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“It was a wee momentum shift. They got a few calls and they nearly scored in the corner right at the end of the half. If we’d let them in, we would maybe have dropped our heads but to keep them out at that point was a really big thing.”

PSG consider benching Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé or Neymar

As reported by L’Équipe, Christophe Galtier is planning a change in tactics after the team’s 3-4-3 set-up has struggled for the same impact it had in the earlier part of the season across recent games.

After a tricky first half in Israel against Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League this week, a game PSG eventually won 3-1 after falling behind, Galtier recognised that space between his front three, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, and PSG’s midfield and the defence allowed Haifa to cause Paris problems. It seems that, with a chance to analyse Paris’ new set up having seen it across several games now, opposition teams are starting to formulate a stronger defence.

In response, Galtier could consider moving back to a four-man defence, but that move would demand more defensive effort from his front three, who have offered relatively little protection so far, and Galtier is reluctant to impose restraints on his attackers. Galtier is also thinking about adding a central midfielder to the side, to aid Vitinha and Marco Verratti, who can be outnumbered in central areas. That, however, given the importance of PSG’s wing-backs, means Galtier is contemplating dropping one of Messi, Mbappé or Neymar for a forward more willing to press and hold shape.

The sports daily suggest Galtier is asking himself if PSG can win the Champions League with three attackers who don’t defend or hold shape with the rest of the team. The answer could make for some difficult decisions.

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Christophe Galtier speaks about managing players at PSG

Following the departure of Mauricio Pochettino, Paris Saint-Germain appointed Christophe Galtier as their first-team manager. Nevertheless, handling a star-studded team like PSG could be a handful—even for the former Ligue 1 champion with Lille.

Addressing the media at the “Demain le Sport” festival (co-organized by L’Équipe, Radio France and France Télévisions), Galtier decided to speak broadly about managing players at PSG. He said:

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“At PSG, we have world-class players, it is very important to have a permanent dialogue that is both collective and also individual with the players. I worked a lot upstream, as soon as my president told me that I was going to be a coach.”

The 56-year-old continued:

“I read a lot of interviews, watched reports on each other to try to identify more precisely the personality of the group but also of each player. Then after there was the contact. I made sure to observe a lot and listen a lot. Little by little, I started to have exchanges either by sector of play or individually to quickly take the temperature but also quickly explain to the group and the players what I expected of them. Staff should not be put forward too much, it is the players who must be.”

Since taking over the reign at PSG, he led the team to glory in Trophée des Champions and has won seven matches in Ligue 1. They are currently atop the points table in both the Ligue 1 and their respective group in the Champions League. 

Lucien Favre to stay on as Nice manager

RMC Sport report this morning that Lucien Favre is set to stay on as Nice manager, with the decision being made by Les Aiglons’ upper management after a long meeting with the Swiss coach.

At the start of the week, INEOS sporting director Dave Brailsford had been looking to bring in a replacement after the team’s poor start to the season, with Mauricio Pochettino notably being linked. However, an agreement was not found with the former Paris Saint-Germain manager, who is currently without a club.

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As a result, Favre’s second stint in charge of Nice is set to continue for now, as the team currently find themselves lying in 13th place with just two wins in their eight matches so far. They face PSG next after the international break, before a trip to face Czech outfit FC Slovácko in the Conference League, in which they remain winless after two draws.

John Textor’s Lyon takeover delayed to October 21

Le Parisien report that the sale of a majority stake in Lyon to American businessman John Textor has been delayed to October 21, despite reports earlier in the week indicating the deal would be confirmed by this past Friday.

A statement released by the club’s parent company via AFP has stated that there were still a few technical aspects to overcome, and that the extra time would be used to finalise legal documents and iron out the final details before the operation is completed.

Textor’s takeover will involve buying all of the shares held by Pathé (19.26%) and IDG (19,74%) as well as those held by Holnest, the Aulas family’s holding,  set at 27.56%.

The sale was initially set for September 30 after Textor brought on board a new financial partner who, after a set of Jean-Michel Aulas-led negotiations, satisfied the club’s creditors, who hold Lyon’s €330m debt. They had previously thrown a spanner in the works over a previous investor.

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Fabián Ruiz and Carlos Soler made aware of their little game time by PSG

Paris Saint-Germain now have a massive pool of talented players across the pitch following what is generally considered a decent summer transfer window for the Parisien club. Consequently, Fabián Ruiz and Carlos Soler have had to endure the limitations of a full-fledged squad by sacrificing their playing time.

According to what is reported by L’Équipe, PSG’s sporting advisor Luís Campos, before convincing Fabián and Soler to sign for the Ligue 1 champions, had already informed them of their lack of playing time at least until the Qatar World Cup.

After the World Cup, they would reportedly see more playing time for Christophe Galtier’s side. Fabián and Soler joined PSG last summer for €‎23 million and €‎18 million, respectively.

Since arriving in the French capital, the former Napoli midfielder has played 101 minutes of football across three appearances for PSG, while the former Valencia man has had to content with just one Ligue 1 and one Champions League appearance for the French club thus far.

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