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Brumbies wheel out a special celebration

Date

Josh Rakic

THE INSIDE BACK

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 World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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