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Off-the-ball exchanges a winner


Greg Growden


Polyglot ... Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Polyglot ... Tatafu Polota-Nau. Photo: Getty Images

No matter if they are victors or losers today, the Wallabies will leave Argentina having won over the locals. During their week in Rosario, the Wallabies have done all they can to embrace the Argentinian culture. The chief Wallabies pied piper is Test hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau who astounded the local media when he spoke Spanish for several minutes during a media conference. They were even more delighted when he said he was a fan of the local football hero Lionel Messi. The Barcelona star's junior club, Newell's Old Boys, heard about this and the following day their players arrived en masse at the Wallabies' city hotel, located just around the corner from where Che Guevara was born, to give him a team jersey. Polota-Nau responded by giving the Old Boys club the Wallabies jersey he wore against the Springboks last weekend. One of the main football clubs - Rosario Central - are also enthused the Wallabies are in town. Unbeknown to the players, the Rosario club will present each of the Wallabies players with a club jersey before today's kick-off. The players have also made certain they have immersed themselves in the local fare. They were soon directed to the best steak house in Rosario and discovered that asking for seconds was impossible.


Scott Johnson, former Wallabies assistant coach and now a key member of the Scotland coaching staff, had some encouraging words for his old Australian colleagues when they were in South Africa. Johnson stayed at the same hotel as the team in Pretoria and met up with many of his old colleagues. He had been commenting on recent Rugby Championship games for a British television station where he made the point that the Wallabies will be dangerous during next year's British and Irish Lions series. He argues that the gap between the All Blacks and Wallabies is not as big as some make out because one country is currently enjoying a virtual injury-free run and the other has been decimated by a glut of unavailable players. Fortune can so quickly turn.


Wallabies winger Digby Ioane has an intriguing diet. When asked during the week to name his favourite food, he replied: ''Weet-Bix.'' And we're not talking one or two. He said when he is by himself he eats seven Weet-Bix for breakfast, seven for lunch and seven for dinner. For a bit of a change, he has tuna and rice. Regular as clockwork you would imagine.


❏ Strong word that Quade Cooper has recently clashed with an important Reds heavy. Not as bad as a major altercation some months ago between a well-known Reds Wallaby representative and a now departed Queensland team official in an incident that was successfully hushed up.

❏ Suggestions John O'Neill will depart as the ARU chief executive shortly after the Lions tour next year? Brett Robinson is being pursued by some to take over as ARU boss.

❏ Who is the Waratahs official known as the optometrist because all he talks about is ''I''?

6 comments so far

  • I'm delighted to read that the Wallabies are getting to enjoy the way life in Argentina by taking in the sites and the culture. I agree with Bob Dwyer that it's an important part of Rugby when on tour. It also sounds like the Wallabies are becoming quite popular with the locals who appreciate the efforts of the Wallabies to understand Argie culture. I'm pretty sure that won't count a dot when the game starts.

    Bill Blinky
    Bellingen NSW
    Date and time
    October 07, 2012, 8:33AM
    • I think Mr O'Neill should be 'handed his hat' NOW , he has nothing more to offer Australian Rugby and is only doing it damage when the overwhelming majority of the Australian Rugby -going public have lost confidence in his ability to take the game forward in this country

      Matthew Skellett
      Date and time
      October 07, 2012, 1:03PM
      • OK OK so Monday Maul is gone but Sunday Maul is to stay .... I can live with that ... welcome back grump Growden

        John O'Neil
        Date and time
        October 07, 2012, 4:35PM
        • Would be interesting to read a list of John O'Neil's positive achievements to the game in his second term as CEO. Handing the television rights to Channel 9 (THE RUGBY LEAGUE CHANNEL), would surely not be one of them.

          fair go
          Date and time
          October 07, 2012, 5:53PM
          • Is there rugby union on free to air TV?? you wouldn't know it down here in Melbourne.

            Hint to ARU: TV coverage = more exposure = more supporters = more dollars.

            Date and time
            October 08, 2012, 12:22PM
        • Can someone tell me which planet Scott Johnson on? To say the gap between the All Blacks and Wallabies is not as big as some make out because one country is currently enjoying a virtual injury-free run and the other has been decimated by a glut of unavailable players. Do the following players count Scott? Richard Kahui, Colin Slade, Ali Williams, & Anthony Boric, I can say though Ali had a hit out for Auckland (ITM Cup) the weekend. Wallabies with a full strength side would still struggle to keep up with AB's, so I say "yes" there is clear daylight between the two country's.

          Oi Boi
          Date and time
          October 08, 2012, 5:49PM

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