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Brumbies wheel out a special celebration


Josh Rakic


Absent ... Dan Vickerman has been largely unavailable for the Waratahs this season.

Absent ... Dan Vickerman has been largely unavailable for the Waratahs this season. Photo: Steve Christo

It might be a disappointing Tour de France for Australians Cadel Evans and Matt Goss but that hasn't stopped the ACT Brumbies celebrating the race. As part of the side's Mad Monday celebrations, the players dressed up for a Le Tour theme party at an infamous Canberra watering hole in honour of departing players Ben Hand and Anthony Hegarty, who will both play in France next season. Neither tacks nor tact made an appearance but it's safe to say anyone who stumbled upon the bunch would be thinking twice about ever harassing a cyclist. So confident was the ACT side of making the finals that administration had released an application for fans to order tickets for what was presumed to be a home final this weekend. It's a disappointing end to an otherwise brilliant season.

Consolation prize

While a shock loss at home to the Blues ended their charge to the Super Rugby final, the news isn't all bad for Brumbies players, with coach Jake White set to take the team on a two-week trip to his home patch of Cape Town. The Brumbies not involved in the Wallabies train-on squad will enjoy their annual holidays over the next month before pre-season training for next year begins in August. That will include a trip to South Africa, where White hopes to line up some matches for the team against local opponents.

Saying Tah-Tahs

There was no apparent theme for the Waratahs' Mad Monday commiserations, although that is not to say the players were any less spirited. After a few beers following Saturday's disappointing loss to the Reds, the Tahs returned home yesterday and descended on the Clovelly Hotel, where we're told they behaved in a jovial yet orderly manner. Coach Michael Foley's instructions to the team before they flew the coop: take care of yourselves and each other. The entire team has been given the next week off but a number of players - including prop Paddy Ryan and wing Lachie Turner - have chosen to play Shute Shield for University and Eastwood respectively. Both players, who only recently returned from injury, have been named in Robbie Deans's Wallabies train-on squad that will gather in Sydney next Monday. And given their lack of match time, both have decided to continue their returns at club level.

In absence of Dan

One last thing on the Waratahs and their season from hell. While former Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom has been a constant target for fans and critics alike this year because of the injured flanker's lack of game time and value to the team, little has been mentioned of Dan Vickerman's contribution, or lack thereof. Vickerman was signed by the Waratahs late last year on bigger money than Elsom, and hasn't played a single game this year and has rarely been sighted at training. Meanwhile, if Michael Foley does not see out his contract, is Michael Cheika really the must-have coach? Sure, the former Randwick player won a Heineken Cup with an all-star Leinster side featuring Elsom and a host of internationals but in two seasons at Stade Francais his side's highest finishing position has been seventh. That's not to say the big guy can't coach; he clearly can. But is he the only man for the job?

Quality recognised

It wasn't long ago that Layne Beachley was pulling faces behind Stephanie Gilmore as the Coolangatta surfer collected her fourth world title trophy at an ASP awards night. Well, a year is a long time in surfing, and it seems the rift between the seven-time world champion and now five-time champion Gilmore has been mended. Beachley's last two seasons on tour were dominated by Gilmore, and the veteran seemed to take issue with Gilmore's determined attitude and how quickly the youngster was lauded as the best ever. But now, at 40, Beachley has taken the philosophical approach. "I'm really proud of the legacy I created, and I'm looking forward to Steph creating her own one,'' Beachley told The Inside Back. ''I couldn't have done what I did without my predecessors, and the same goes for Steph. When Steph won her first world title she came out claiming she could win 10 of them. And now, after seeing her perform this year, I don't see what's going to stop her, to be quite honest.''

Who's popular?

Either Quade Cooper is the most popular person in Australia or the former Wallabies five-eighth is yet another high-profile personality guilty of buying Twitter followers. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd was accused of buying Twitter followers after his count shot to more than 1 million last year. And Cooper's count has recently raised suspicion after he jumped from about 120,000 followers to register more than 603,000 in the space of a season - for most of which he has been injured. To put those numbers into perspective, James O'Connor - who has a larger public profile thanks to commercials - has 190,000 followers while Adam Ashley-Cooper has about 28,000. Even more intriguing is that Cooper has more followers than television and radio's highest rating comedy duo Hamish & Andy (382,000), 11-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater (212,000), Socceroo and Everton striker Tim Cahill (406,000) and the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard (250,000).

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
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