Youth influx makes Peter Siddle nervous about playing for Australia again

Veteran pace bowler Peter Siddle has admitted that seeing so many young and inexperienced players included in the last Australian Test side made older players like him nervous about their futures.
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Siddle, 32, has been sidelined with a back injury sustained in the first Test against South Africa, early last month.

After two embarrassing defeats to the Proteas to start the three-match series, Australian selectors kickstarted a changing of the guard, making wholesale changes for the third and final Test in Adelaide.

Joe Burns, Adam Voges, Callum Ferguson, Peter Nevill and Joe Mennie all made way for debutants Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson as well as Matthew Wade and Jackson Bird.

The revamped Aussie team subsequently won the day-night Test by seven wickets.

“I think so a little bit, I think it always does,” Peter Siddle told SEN when asked if the successful influx of youth made him nervous.

“But at the end of the day if you’re putting forward good performances and you’re going well, I don’t think age is going to be a factor.

“You’ve got to be performing and those young guys, when the selectors put it out there that they’re looking for a few new players, the young guys that obviously got picked performed well in the lead-up and that’s what they (selectors) want – they want players in form and I think it won’t matter if you’re 25 or early 30s, if you’re performing you’ll still get your opportunity.”

Siddle, who broke down with back stress fractures in February too, said it was frustrating to injure himself again but was optimistic about a potential Boxing Day Test return against Pakistan.

“The good thing was we got onto it early and we knew what it was so that made it easy just to keep in control rather than push it too hard and be out for a long time,” he said.

“I’ve only missed a few weeks. You never know, Boxing Day would be a nice time to come back but I’ve just got to get it right and see how I go.

“I’ll have another scan next week and see how it goes and I’m feeling good. I’m back training, fitness-wise I’m feeling good.

“You never want to miss Boxing Day as a Victorian.”

Siddle said the hardest thing about returning to full fitness was to then ascertain how hard he should push his body when ramping up his bowling so as not to suffer a recurrence.

“That’s always the hardest thing I think working out how hard to go once you come back,” he said.

“The training and everything is pretty easy because the carrot at the end is to try and play for Australia again.

“It’s just about control and how you go once you get out in the field.”

Siddle will also play his fourth season with the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League this summer.

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Nick Olive hopes it will continue to be effortless for All Too Ready

Aiming high: Canberra trainer Nick Olive brings All Too Ready to Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Jay Cronan Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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The syndicate that races All Too Ready is already all too familiar with the sometimes painful reality of horse ownership.

The All Too Hard filly, which runs in the opener at Rosehill on Saturday, is their second chance: an insurance job after their dream filly from the Magic Millions sale died at the breakers.

Canberra trainer Nick Olive well remembers the calls he had to make earlier this year to each syndicate member about the first filly.

“This filly was actually bought with the insurance money from another filly,” Olive said. “We paid $140,000 for a Not A Single Doubt filly at Magic Millions but she flipped over and killed herself when she was being broken in.

“It was one of those freak accidents and she just got that part of her head where there was nothing that could be done.

“I had to ring everyone and tell them what happened. It wasn’t a great day. There are a few of my good mates and first-time owners in the syndicate, so it wasn’t a good experience.

“We were able to get the insurance from her and had the chance to get them another filly and it looks like we got a good one.”

Olive headed to the Easter sales looking for a replacement and found an All Too Hard filly out of More Than Ready mare Modonna. She made an immediate impression on him and, remarkably, he secured her for the same money.

“I just liked her straight away. Everything she did was effortless. She was big and strong and an athlete,” Olive said.

“She has just continued that since she got to the stable. She is a natural.”

All Too Ready is the latest of the All Too Hards to get to the track. He leads the first-season stallion standings but is yet to have a winner from 11 runners. But the signs are good with Groundbreak and Reflectivity running seconds in Sydney two-year-old races last month.

Olive decided to come to Sydney with his filly after she won a Canberra barrier trial by 4¼ lengths without being extended and he is eyeing the Inglis Nursery with her in a couple of weeks.

“Richard Bensley​ rode her in that trial and said she was only going half pace,” Olive said. “She was a bit slow to jump but mustered quickly and as I said she is effortless in whatever she does.That’s what it looked like.

“I rang Tommy Berry and asked him to ride her a couple of weeks ago. It seems like the right option to come up there with her.

“The test is going to come on Saturday when we put her under pressure. You don’t know until then how they really go.

“But I’m confident from everything she has shown us that she will handle that.

“There are always going to be good two-year-olds around at this time of year, so we will find out a lot more about her on Saturday.”

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Fred Kersley’s long wait for group success in Perth racing carnival may be over

Fred Kersley is overseeing former rivals in the Perth carnival. Photo: Vince CaligiuriFred Kersley is one of those horsemen who have always been advocates of giving horses time to mature, and being patient when waiting for that pay day.
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It has long been regarded as the cheapest recipe for success. A former brilliant reinsman in the harness racing world, Kersley in recent years has turned his hand to racing, with considerable success.

But even the quietly spoken Kersley admitted this week that his two carnival horses Respondent and Ihtsahymn had more than worn out the patience of those involved with them.

It all started in 2014 when Respondent, then trained by Grant Williams, defeated Kersley’s Ihtsahymn in the Western Australian Derby, leaving the connections of Respondent delighted by the success and Kersley, who at the time only trained Ihtsahymn, understandably downcast at coming so close to a big race win.

“I was disappointed of course, we all like to win but that was the way it went and Respondent proved better than Ihtsahymn on the day, but it’s always in the back of your mind when you get beaten in a Derby ,” Kersley said.

But since then, both have proved costly conveyances. Itsahymn, a 2013 winner of the Kingston Town Classic, a race he will contest on Saturday, was sent to Victoria to be prepared by Paddy Payne not long after his Derby defeat.

Payne and Kersley had formed a strong partnership following the deeds of champion West Australian galloper Northerly in years gone by.

“After the Derby we felt Ihtsahymn was being weighted out of races here in Perth, so I sent him over to Paddy,” Kersley said.

“He struggled there and perhaps it was the weight that was again a concern for him and he didn’t win a race.”

Earlier this year, Ihtsahymn arrived back in Perth to be prepared for its rich summer carnival which includes the Kingston Town Classic and the Perth Cup.

At his third start back for Kersley, Ihtsahymn was successful, and not before time, as the horse had not been in the winner’s stall for 750 days.

“It was a fair time to wait, but, it looks like he’s back and the weight-for-age conditions for Saturday’s race will very much play into his hands as he won’t be giving his rivals any weight,” he said.

Just a month before Ihtsahymn arrived back on Kersley’s doorstep, a group of owners got together and purchased Respondent at a dispersal sale for $55,000.

The group chose Kersley to reinvent the horse’s career and last Saturday week Respondent won its first race in 960 days when successful at Ascot, with Kersley elated after such a long drought with a quality stayer like him.

“I’ve got to say it was nice to win but I’ve still got mixed feelings about him beating us all those days ago. But, there is very much an upside. I think Ihtsahymn will be competitive in the Kingston Town Classic, a race he’s won before, and then we can ago on to the Perth Cup,” he said.

“And when he gets to the Perth Cup he’ll be competing against Respondent and this time under the same roof. They’ll be stablemates and hopefully those years on the outer have ended and we see both of them produce their very best.”

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Message from cricketing great inspires Daniel Popovic to put himself in PGA mix

A message from good friend Ricky Ponting lit the fires and the sight of the Joe Kirkwood Cup had memories flooding back as Victorian Daniel Popovic bounced back to form on the first day of the Australian PGA Championship.
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It has been a long, long time between drinks for Popovic, who had plenty of sips from the cup back in 2012 when he broke through for his sole professional victory the final time the event was staged at Coolum before moving to Royal Pines.

There are no giant dinosaurs and spray-painted fairways on the Gold Coast this week, as was the case when he triumphed in a madcap final fling at Clive Palmer’s now-failing resort, but the 30-year-old feels as if the confidence has returned after a wretched run of injuries and form.

Ponting set the scene on Wednesday night, reminding Popovic to go back to basics as he tried to relocate the type of golf that earned him a surprise leg of the Australian triple crown in a wire-to-wire performance.

“Rick texted me last night. He knows how much I’ve been struggling mentally on the golf course. I’ll play well in rounds with him and he’s just as confused as me in tournaments,” said Popovic, who carded a two-under 70 to be five shots behind leader Andrew Dodt.

“He said to go out and hit each shot on its merit and take it one shot at a time. It sounds really simple but a lot of the time you forget about it. When you hear it from a guy like that, you should be listening.”

Popovic’s emotional PGA title helped him to a career-high ranking of 363. Now he’s the world No.1872 but starting to remember the good times of a very blurry week four years ago.

“For approximately a week, I reckon I had every single meal apart from hard food [out of the cup] – cornflakes, coffee, champagne, beer. It was our last event for the year, so I completely partied it up. I didn’t leave it out of my sight,” he said.

“When I saw the trophy on the first tee, it brought back a lot of good memories. I just wanted to run with it for the day. I’d love to be eating my cornflakes out of that again.”

A bulging disc in his back saw him spend three months in Britain earlier in the year, a week of which was spent staying with cricket star Kevin Pietersen, who like Ponting, is a huge golf fan and enthusiastic player.

And the year before that, he spent months recovering from the ankle he broke during a regrettable golf buggy incident in the carpark of The Heritage course just north of Melbourne.

“Last year I broke my ankle, coming back from that was really hard. I flipped a golf cart. It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.

“I was completely sober. It was 11am and pouring down outside. Just like kids do when they’re bored, I tried to do too much and made some big mistakes. I turned it far too hard on a side hill, I flipped over, Ryan Lynch fell on top of me and so did the golf cart.

“This year, I had a bulging disc in my back and that was really difficult. But the belief is still there, my game is still there, I know I can win tournaments, that I can compete.”

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Jason Attard draws on Sons Of John experience as he steps up Reiby The Red

Jason Attard with his star miler Sons Of John. Photo: Brendan EspositoWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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Hawkesbury trainer Jason Attard isn’t that worried about the huge step up in class Reiby The Red takes in Saturday’s ATC Cup at Rosehill.

The son of Dane Shadow sits a whopping 32 points  behind topweight Mighty Lucky on the benchmark. Mighty Lucky will carry 60kg compared to the limit weight of 54kg for Reiby The Red on Saturday.

In reality Reiby The Red should have 46kg for his first open class experience, but Attard takes confidence from his experiences with Sons Of John into the listed race, which could serve as a lead-up to the Villiiers Stakes for the five-year-old.

“If he can run well I would like to drop him back to the mile in the Villiers, I think he is good enough to be at this level and he gets his chance without the weight he has been carrying,” Attard said. “I learned with Sons Of John they can take big steps if they are good enough, especially down in the weights.”

When Attard did the same with Sons Of John, he ran into a handy type named Winx in the Theo Marks Quality, the beginning of her winning run. Reiby The Red won’t have that star power against him, just a bunch of good, hardened stayers.

The plan all along for Attard has been to target the summer carnival with Reiby The Red, which had had a campaign of near misses until he won easily over a mile at Warwick Farm on November 16.

The three runs before that had all finished in photo finish defeats for a galloper which likes to dictate terms from the front. Resuming he found Meiner Freccia too strong, then New Tipperary got him on the line as it began to emerge as a quality stayer. Then Reiby The Red was a close third to Circular at Hawkesbury on Oaks day; the Godolphin mare would  win the Goulburn Cup at her next start.

“The form has just stood up around him. He has been getting beaten by short margins and the horses have been going out and winning again,” Attard said. “You start to think his turn isn’t going to come.

“He was very strong under 60 kilos last time and I think getting down to 54 is going to help him.”

Reiby The Red’s pattern of racing on speed means he will control his own fate and Attard was delighted to draw gate one.

“It means he can just be there without doing too much work and over 2000m he should be able to relax  and get the chance to run his race,” Attard said.

“There are a couple of others that will push forward, so it will be a good test for him, but it is a risk worth taking with a horse like him.”

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Glenn Maxwell says Matthew Wade’s decision to bat above him for Victoria ‘painful’

‘I think because he’s captain and he chooses the batting order’: Glenn Maxwell would like to bat higher in the order for Victoria. Photo: Eranga JayawardenaGlenn Maxwell says it has been “painful” to be batting further down the order than wicketkeeper and captain Matthew Wade at state level, believing the decision may have hurt his chances of a Test recall this summer despite an impressive recent first-class record.
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The electrifying all-rounder is back in an Australian uniform this week for Sunday’s first one-dayer against New Zealand at the SCG but was overlooked for a first ever Test appearance on home soil when selectors changed more than half the squad for the pink-ball Test against South Africa in Adelaide.

Not helping his cause this season has been where Wade, the Bushrangers captain and recalled Test gloveman, has had him batting for the defending Sheffield Shield champions.

In the crucial match against NSW at the SCG last month that featured most of the Test squad and led into the selection of the new-look line-up for Adelaide, Maxwell batted at No.6, behind all-rounder Marcus Stoinis at No.3, Peter Handscomb at No.4 and Wade himself at No.5. In the other match Wade and Maxwell have played alongside each other in the Shield this season the captain has also batted himself above the all-rounder.

It’s a scenario that does not sit well with the 28-year-old, who is teammates with Wade at national level for the three-match ODI series against the Black Caps. He made it clear he thought the ‘keeper should be batting at seven.

“That’s probably a little bit painful at times,” Maxwell said when asked about his place in the Victorian batting order on Thursday.

“I think probably batting below the wicketkeeper is also a bit painful as well. I think the wicketkeeper should be batting at seven unless you’re trying to squeeze an extra bowler into your line-up.

“I’ve been just trying to bat whereever I can and trying to make as many runs as I can. I got a hundred from No.8 from Victoria so there is always opportunities to get runs wherever you are in the order but the way the Vics have been going you’re generally coming in trying to set a total up or trying to win the game with not many runs to get.”

Asked why Wade was batting above him, Maxwell replied: “I think because he’s captain and he chooses the batting order. That’s my view on it.”

Victoria has a quality batting line-up, to the extent that there wasn’t even a place in the XI for Maxwell in the first game of the season, leaving him to play club cricket instead. But Maxwell is a wasted talent for Australia if he is stuck in the middle order, and after unsuccessfully attempting to relocate to NSW in the off-season he would surely have to consider a move interstate again after this season if the situation does not change.

Maxwell had thought he was a chance of a Test call-up after South Africa’s thumping of Australia in Hobart but selectors preferred debutant Nic Maddinson at No.6, saying the powerful left-hander had the ability to take the game away from an opponent.

If Maxwell was miffed by that snubbing, he would be well within his rights. He averaged 56 in the last Shield season in the six games when he wasn’t absent due to Australian duty and his first-class average has just dropped below 40 to 39.92. Maddinson, whose career first-class average is 37.27, averaged 30.5 in 2015/16.

“To not get picked was a little bit disappointing,” Maxwell said. “But as I said there are plenty of Tests on the radar. They’ve made it quite clear the direction they’re going to try and go.

“In saying that they picked an absolute gem in Pete Handscomb and he played absolutely beautifully. Unfortunately for Maddo he came out at probably the toughest time to bat which was against (Kagiso) Rabada bowling 145kmh and above under lights and swinging the ball. I felt a bit stiff for Maddo at that stage, and to only get one hit in your first Test match, hopefully he gets another chance.

“I’m looking more to the India series (in February) now having missed the boat for this Australian home summer. Whether that comes from white-ball cricket or any sort of cricket I’m playing, whether (the selectors) come down and watch me at Fitzroy-Doncaster and see how I’m going in club cricket it doesn’t matter.”

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With all eyes on Shiraz, Kim Waugh toasts Supreme Effort in Starlight Stakes

Nicely matured: Classy sprinter Shiraz returns at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all Racing
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The focus might be on Kim Waugh’s latest star acquisition Shiraz at Rosehill on Saturday, but she warns not to underrate in-form Supreme Effort in the Starlight Stakes.

Shiraz is at Waugh’s yard to have the benefit of being trained from a yard and a paddock, which has been the case previously when he has performed at his best.

The Galaxy runner-up resumes in the Starlight Stakes, and Waugh admits she is still learning about him.

“When Tony McEvoy had him at Hawkesbury he was in a yard and was happy and racing well. We are trying to do the same thing with him and he can go back to the farm if we want to put him in a paddock,” Waugh said.

“He is obviously a very good sprinter, a group 1 sprinter, and has trialled well after having a bit of a spell. I want to see what he can do and then we’ll decide what we are going to target with him.

“He could have a couple of runs and be put away for those sprints in the autumn again.”

After going through his grades with McEvoy, Shiraz ran fourth to English in the Challenge Stakes before being beaten in a photo finish by Griante in the group 1 The Galaxy. He struggled with stable life in Melbourne at the beginning of the spring, failing twice.

While it is the unknown with Shiraz, Waugh knows what she has in Supreme Effort, a winner of seven races, which is having the best preparation of his career.

He started this campaign by winning the Hurricane Stakes at Newcastle and Port Macquarie Sprint, before running third to Flippant down the straight at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day.

But it was the last run that has Waugh thinking he is ready to break through for a listed win.

“I think people always underestimate him,” she said. “He is very fit and tough and racing in great form.

“He got a bit lost down the straight and still got home well, and then last time he didn’t have a chance the way the race was run. He got back last and ran home in 32.65 [seconds for the last 600 metres], which was the fastest of the day, so the run was better than it looked.

“There is more speed in this race and that will suit him, and I think he can run a very good race.”

Waugh will also have Hetty Heights resuming at Rosehill, and there are a couple of options for her after that.

She won the Wyong Provincial Championship heat earlier in the year and was sixth in the final, and could return to the series again next year.

However, it will depend how she shapes up this preparation.

“She has five wins, so if she wins another one that counts her out of the Provincial Championships,” Waugh said. “That is what I would like to do, but we are aware that Provincial Championships are still an option for her

“I think she is up to black-type races, so something like the Belle Of The Turf at Gosford could be a good race for her.

“She has come back well and goes well first up. We will see where this preparation takes us.”

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Rugby league needs the values of John Quayle

Experience and dignity: John Quayle has the right credentials to become the ARLC chairman. Photo: Marina NeilA covert push for John Quayle to become ARLC chair became overt on Thursday morning when multi-media’s Matty Johns declared on Triple M radio that the “Canon”, after a 20-year absence as boss, should replace John Grant immediately.
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When the Herald learnt of the move on Monday to install Quayle for a two-year period, the first three NRL clubs contacted all enthusiastically supported him, but warned of the constitutional roadblock that disqualifies anyone who has held a position in the game in the previous three years from becoming a commissioner.

Quayle is an incumbent director of the Newcastle Knights where he has received lavish praise from both the NRL and the business community for his unpaid labour resurrecting the club in the post-Tinkler era.

However, Quayle’s strongest opponent will be his closest friend.

Quayle and Roosters’ chairman, Nick Politis, are “family”, owning a Hunter Valley vineyard together, yet they have polar opposite views on where rugby league money should be spent.

The “Canon”, whose father was a frugal Anglican clergyman, is a fan of future funds; Nick, a billionaire clever businessman, believes the future is now.

The Roosters’ chairman, along with the Bulldogs’ Ray Dib (who has begun to dress like Nick), and the Storm’s Bart Campbell, are strong supporters of clubs receiving 130 per cent of the salary cap, a not surprising position given its inbuilt inflation.

After all, it means that if the players get more, so must the clubs, the reverse of the historic master-slave rugby league relationship where clubs tried to curb player payments.

At the beginning of the Super League war in 1995, Quayle, as NSWRL chief executive, built a nest egg of close to $25 million.

Twenty years later, NRL chief executive Dave Smith proudly proclaimed a $50m profit.

Who knows what the ARLC’s future fund is now, but if it’s near zero, then a long document – the 2015 NRL Benchmarking, issued to all clubs on March 31 – indicates they are at fault.

Between 2012 and 2015, NRL club revenue from sponsorship, membership, game-day income and merchandising has grown about 2 per cent, equal to inflation.

Over that period, average profitability has declined by $100,000 per club, per year. While revenue has increased marginally, clubs are making less money because they are not growing their businesses.

In fact, the average loss has blown out from $1.5m in 2012 to $3.5m.

Meanwhile the grant per club from headquarters has increased from $3.85m to $8.2m.

In the same period, payments to players, measured by the salary cap, has increased per club from $5.45m to $7.7m.

Admittedly, there are some payments to players outside the cap but the grant from headquarters has more than doubled, while player income has increased only 40 per cent.

So where has it gone? Hiring staff to sell more sponsorships, memberships and merchandising? Attracting more fans through the gate?

No, the money has gone in football department spending.

And it’s a radical uplift – from $1.8m average per club in 2012 to $6.5m now.

No wonder the NRL boffins are looking at a football department spending cap, a mechanism that the AFL has had in place the past few years.

The Bulldogs are squabbling again and it’s over football department spending, with coach Des Hasler installing multiple cameras at Belmore Oval to monitor training and chief executive Raelene Castle accused of not reining him in.

It’s not as if football department spending correlates with premierships. When the Rabbitohs won in 2013, they were in the bottom four of NRL clubs for expenditure. The 2015 premiers, the Cowboys, were middle of the spending ladder, while the triumphant Sharks had the second-lowest spending.

Nor is it fair to accuse RL Central of wilful spending. Administration costs will increase 6 per cent annually from 2013 to 2017, while revenue will grow from $181m annually to $350m.

Some of the necessary programs would be ignored by clubs. RL Central’s budget for education and welfare is $7m and the NRL now has more players with university degrees than the AFL.

Rugby league’s pioneer administrator, James Joynton Smith, a very successful businessman, once said.”There is no task in business which a man conducts that should be beneath him.”

Quayle left rugby league headquarters in 1996 as a peace offering during the Super League war. He then became in charge of amenities at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and later advised Middle Eastern, African and South American countries on how to run major events. Yet he has also cleaned out abandoned wells and planted olive trees at his Hunter home. He has maintained a dignified silence as speculation builds on Grant’s future.

Joynton Smith also said: “Dignity resides in the way you do your work – what you bring to it. “Dignity is not confined to the top jobs.”

Quayle has had top and bottom jobs and dignity is what the game needs now.

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Tevita Kuridrani slam still on the cards but it won’t be an Australian record

Chasing five: Tevita Kuridrani of Australia celebrates scoring against Ireland and hopes to do the same against England. Photo: Dan MullanLondon: Although the Wallabies’ grand slam dream is over, Stephen Larkham is hopeful outside-centre Tevita Kuridrani can create history by becoming the first Australian player to score five tries in five games on a spring tour.
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Wallaby legend Mark Ella’s efforts in 1984 have gone down in rugby folklore. The five-eighth scored a try in each of Australia’s four Tests on a tour in which they clinched a famous grand slam.

If Kuridrani can cross the line for a five-pointer on Saturday at Twickenham against England, it would be his fifth in as many matches.

Even if he does, Kuridrani would still be one game behind the Australian record held by wingers John Ryan and David Campese.

Ryan featured in only six Tests for his country but still shares the record with Campese for the most consecutive matches having scored a try.

He managed a hat-trick in his debut against Japan in 1975, before scoring a least one in his next five outings, while Campese achieved the same feat during a hot streak from 1985 to 1986.

The world record of eight consecutive matches is held by John Kirwan (New Zealand), Christian Cullen (New Zealand), Daisuke Ohata (Japan) and Nemani Nadolo (Fiji).

What makes Kuridrani’s feats even more remarkable is the fact he would not have started if Samu Kerevi came on the tour.

Kerevi has been one of Australia’s standouts this year but an injury just before the team departed for Europe created an opportunity for Kuridrani.

Before his try in the Wales game at Cardiff, Kuridrani was on an eight-match drought – he did, however, come off the bench in five of those fixtures – going back to Brisbane in June.

Up until the spring tour, Kuridrani had managed four tries in his last 18 appearances but has taken a real liking to the northern hemisphere.

Wallabies attack coach Larkham, who is also Kuridrani’s mentor at the ACT Brumbies, praised his impressive run.

“We’ve had a big focus on scoring tries and we’ve shown a few clips of Tevita on this tour,” Larkham said. “The one against France was certainly a highlight [with his] desperation to score that try. It was pleasing to see him get another one on the weekend. It’s quite a unique feat. I assume Mark Ella was the last guy to do it but they won all their games over here.”

Larkham said he didn’t think Kuridrani had fallen off the radar during earlier Tests this year but was rather not being afforded the opportunities to show what he could do.

“It [his talent] has been there the whole time,” Larkham said. “He really hasn’t had the opportunities so that happens with players in the backline particularly the outside backs, sometimes the ball doesn’t come their way.

“With Samu Kerevi coming into the team and doing such a good job, Tevita missed his chance to get his hands on the ball and to make some tackles but since he’s been back in the team he’s played the rugby I’ve always seen him play.”

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Stephen Larkham says Eddie Jones’ mind games are nothing new and won’t affect Wallabies

London: Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham says Eddie Jones’ verbal barbs were always to be expected but insists Australia don’t care about what England’s boss says in the lead up to their final match of the year on Saturday.
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Jones got on the front foot immediately after England’s win over Argentina by questioning Australia’s scrummaging technique and said he wanted to have a meeting with referee Jaco Peyper to discuss some “issues”.

According to Larkham, if Jones thinks he is being original or successful in winding the Australians up, tell him he’s dreaming.

“There was always going to be some mind games played in these weeks,” Larkham said. “It’s just a tactic to distract the opposition. It’s not something new to us. We’ve had coaches throughout this year – last couple of years – who use that sort of tactic going into games. All the players are very conscious of how the media works and some of the tactics of opposition coaches.

“We’re not really focused on external influences, we’re just focused on getting our preparation right and putting a good performance on the paddock this weekend.”

While it appears certain England will have a conversation with Peyper before the match, it is not clear yet whether the Australians will follow suit and join in on the same conversation.

“We met with the referees in June with some of the England staff present and we’ll make a decision later in the week as to whether we do that again or not,” Larkham said.

Michael Cheika said earlier this week it was ironic Jones had demanded a meeting given it was he who stormed out of a similar catch-up when he was last in Australia.

Larkham was at that meeting in June and shed some light on what exactly went on.

“That was an enjoyable meeting,” said Larkham with a smile on his face. “He didn’t storm out, he just left the meeting. We had a good conversation with the referee both before that and after that but I guess Eddie wasn’t happy with the way the meeting was going. You’d have to ask him.”

Larkham, who played under Jones for the Wallabies, says Australia were “embarrassed” after being whitewashed by England in June and indicated it would take a while to get over that series no matter what happens at Twickenham in a few days time.

“It [a win on Saturday] is a small way to rectifying it,” Larkham said. “When you lose in your home country 3-0 in a series … we were pretty embarrassed by it. But we’ve certainly moved on from it. A lot of the players who played in that series aren’t here with us now. The combinations and motivations in this group is far different to back then. You never want to look back too much but it would be nice to start to rectify what happened there, but you are never going to rectify it.

“We obviously had a bit of pressure placed on us in terms of the grand slam. We’ve lost that opportunity now and at the start of the spring tour it was always about the next game and it’s no different this week.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.