About this podcast
A Podcast that delivers rugby insights from passionate enthusiasts from the grassroots to the global game. Players, punters, professionals and partners providing uncensored opinions on how the sport of rugby can thrive again.
About this podcast
A Podcast that delivers rugby insights from passionate enthusiasts from the grassroots to the global game. Players, punters, professionals and partners providing uncensored opinions on how the sport of rugby can thrive again.
Kerry Chikarovski - Kicking Goals with Chika
Kerry Chikarovski is a former NSW Liberal Leader and was the first woman to lead a major political party in New South Wales. She is also the Founder and Director of Chikarovski & Associates, a governmental relations, community engagement and stakeholder relations consultancy, which she founded in 2003, whose expertise spans a wide range of industries including financial, government, community, property and technology start-ups. Kerry holds a number of non-executive board roles including, NSW Waratahs Rugby Union, Our Watch, Adopt Change, Road Safety Education and the Humpty Dumpty Foundation. She is the Chair of NSW Women’s rugby union, an ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, and a mentor with the Minerva Network, supporting professional sportswomen on and off the field. Kerry can be seen and heard regularly as a media commentator across national television and radio channels including Sky News, ABC Weekend Breakfast, 2GB Radio, ABC The Drum, Q&A, Ch 7 Sunrise and was part of the key panel for the Seven News NSW 2019 State Election Coverage. We discuss her time in politics and her reasons for leaving the most rewarding job so far of her career. We discuss her role as a Director with the NSW Rugby Union, after originally being asked by Nick-Farr Jones to join the board, and the transparency and accountability moving forward of that board in relation to the Waratahs and the strategic decisions made. We talk about the launch of her biography 'Chika', her involvement in women's Rugby Union as chair of the NSW Women's Rugby Union, the new competition named after her, the Chikarovski Cup and its progress in developing and nurturing the womens game. Kerry says she is encouraged by the Stan deal and its commitment to broadcasting more female rugby. Kerry talks about her involvement in the Minerva Network, and the satisfaction of mentoring female athletes. We briefly discuss the Rugby World Cup bid and also Olympic bid, and also her day job with Chikarovski & Associates. Kerry provides an insight into her passionate and committed approach to Rugby Union with a particular focus on the female game and is looking forward to more and more time on the sidelines supporting the game she loves.
Andrew Lockwood - The Andy Army
Andy Lockwood grew up in PNG and the UK. In 1999 he travelled to Perth to play some rugby and managed to get selected for the WA U19s. On return to the UK he attended University before starting a career in the British Army. Rugby playing was put on hold for various periods as deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan were on the cards. In 2015 Andy started a part-time internship at Bath Rugby Academy within the Performance team. At the end of the internship in 2018 he was left with no involvement in rugby after 30 years in the game as a player and coach. This motivated him to start The Rugby Outreach Project and Rugby Vacancies. The Rugby Outreach Project provides free fitness and Strength & Conditioning advice to teams around the world. From international to grassroots level. 170+ teams have been assisted over the last three years. Rugby Vacancies connects coaches and rugby people to jobs around the globe. He has previously assisted the Crusaders and Fiji with their coach recruitment. We talk about these exciting ventures in Rugby and their ongoing success, as well as his recruitment of rugby players into the WWE, world of wrestling. We discuss his 17 years in the British Army, and his thoughts on the game of rugby in Northern Hemisphere. Rugby Vacancies https://www.facebook.com/rugbyvacancies/ Rugby Outreach Project https://www.facebook.com/rugbyoutreach/ Andrew Lockwood @ LinkedIN https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-lockwood-18a14864/?originalSubdomain=uk
Dr Adrian Cohen - Cohen, Concussion and the Chek
Your mission with head safe and neck safe is ultimately to eliminate or reduce preventable neck and head injuries. Do you have any current information specific to sport in Australia around the number of head and neck injuries occurring in sport each year. What can we do to prevent this or reduce this number? Concussion is of particular concern, even in junior sport. What can be done more actively to reduce the occurrence of this and what are the effects of experience a single concussion, and multiple concussions? There is some litigious discussions currently with the English Rugby Union and Welsh Rugby Union in the form of a class action, taking World Rugby to task for not providing adequate player welfare and a safe playing environment for players. Some high profile ex players are saying that long term brain injuries have been endured as a direct consequence of head or neck injuries sustained while playing rugby. What are your thoughts on this and have we globally provided a safer playing environment now? Do measures such as Head injury Assessments HIA or the implementation of the Blue Card for example - indicating that a match official would like the player assessed for concussion or a potential head injury - do you think these measures are adequate and a step forward, or is there further to go to ensure player welfare in this combative sport. There is a Gradual Return to Play protocol in Rugby Union, where anyone who has been confirmed medically as suffering a concussion must under specific guidelines for specific players, gradually return to full play following the injury. Can you tell us what is the required time for the injury to be deemed now safe to play again? Is there a standardised treatment, analysis and recommendations for head or neck injuries across the board for all community rugby union and then also for all professional rugby union? Should there be a unified approach? Is there a potential litigious situation for Australian Rugby Union in relation to providing a duty of care to players? What needs to be done immediately to avoid a litigious situation, but more importantly, to mitigate these risks and provide the safe environment needed and provide the highest level of care for all players? Could you talk to us about NuroChek and its application in assessing brain function. I understand the FDA in the USA has adopted this technology, but it is not yet approved in Australia. Does this enhance the more precise diagnosis of a head injury, taking the subjectiveness out of it? You have also introduced a training accreditation process for first responders to be trained in how to manage head and neck injuries correctly. Can you tell us about this accreditation process and can other first aiders in general do this course if they wish to be able to be informed and mange these injuries until more qualified expert attention can be given? You did some high level studies with players at Randwick rugby, measuring the force of impact, the frequency of impact and gathered much needed facts and data. What were the findings in general from that study? Do you think this is a new problem and is it related to the pace and ferocity of the game and the way it is played now? Or, has concussion and related head and neck injuries always been prevalent in all full contact sports? You have also provided medical teams to film sets and TV shows, such as Survivor, The Biggest Loser and others. Do you have any stories you can share where these medical teams were critical? You are at the fore front of this important medical science. What do you need to ensure this important work is implemented, recognised so that globally we reduce and prevent head and neck injuries of players? NUROCHEK HEADSAFE NECKSAFE DR ADRIAN COHEN
Will Grant - Grassroots Gun
Will Grant lives in Rouchel (pronounced 'Roo Kill' he tells me) - a small town in the Upper Hunter, and was introduced to Rugby Union when he started as a boarder at the Kings School in Sydney. He played his junior rugby as a rugby league player in the surrounding league competitions offered near his rural home. In his senior high school years, Will moved to Riverview College where he played in the first XV for two years and cemented his love of union. Following school , he headed to New Zealand and was signed to the provincial competition, the Mitre 10 Cup competition, playing for Northland. It is the second highest level of competition in NZ and Will is returning to NZ for the next season, leaving his beloved farming life again in Australia. Will talks about growing up in very rural and isolated NSW and playing rugby league asa youngster, with dreams of becoming a wests tigers player, his beloved team. He was introduced to Rugby Union when he attended boarding school in Sydney, and did not look back. Following school, he spread his wings and ventured to New Zealand, where he was picked up by the provincial club, Northland in the Mitre 10 Cup. Will talks about his development as a player and person in New Zealand and how the rugby experience across the ditch has been invaluable in his understanding of the game and application of his rugby skills. He is back in Australia on the farm, but talks about how keen he is to get back to NZ and play, following a Covid enforced break, with aspirations of playing in a Super Rugby team, the next step for him in his career. We talk about his desire to play for the Wallabies, and how he will need tor eturn to play domestically if he wants to achieve that goal. We talk about the positive culture in NZ and the love of Rugby there, and the off field community feel to the game in the very successful rugby nation. We talk about the differences on the field with the way the game is played there, and what Will has learnt from many notable players he has had the opportunity to be exposed to and involved with in his time there. We discuss how he was heavily influenced by Rugby league at a young age as rugby union did not have the same presence in the bush, and we talk about the lack of opportunity for country kids to immerse themselves in union due to the lack of nearby competitions. Will talks about the future, heading back to NZ, and how he has appreciated the huge rainfalls we have been experiencing which is helping farm life. He hopes to get Upper Rouchel in the spotlight one day when he pulls on the green and gold jersey and plays for the Wallabies. Upper Rouchel Scone Mitre 10 Cup NZ Rugby Super Rugby Upper Hunter Riverview College The King's School Dane Inman Northland Taniwha Hora Hora Whangarei
Nick Piper - The Piper Production
In the first episode of the 2021 season of Rugby KO, we talk to the talented Nick Piper, owner and producer of Onion TV. His prolific sports documentaries have a combined almost one million views and he is now into the 7th series of The Season, his Rugby Union documentary series. He takes a close look at schools Rugby, and provides access to the inner sanctum of what makes a schools rugby team so entertaining. Nick talks about his devotion to sport and profiling all sports, including Rowing, Rugby, Basketball, Netball, Baseball amongst others and what are the key ingredients into producing reputable, high quality sports documentaries. We discuss the name Onion TV and Nick provides interesting insights into why the company was named Onion, including the layers involved, standing out from a crowded and contrived production cohort , and that when you watch Onion TV you may just shed a tear or two with the intensity of the documentaries and the sporting highs and lows experienced. Nick talks about some integral components to providing great content and a production that achieves the goals intended, including the importance of the audio insights, the microphone always on, cinematography and the tricks of the trade in capturing the best position for videoing. The detail in post production and the requirements to align with the ethos of schools in particular in generating a final product that is not only highly entertaining, but keeps to the professionalism, the spirit captured and honours the subjects in question. He shares a story about launching the documentary and how fortunate he was in the game he produced in Queensland between Nudgee College vs Gregory Terrace. The match could not have been scripted better, with a packed school stadium of 12,000 spectators, a tied game, controversy over a final kick, and then the unbelievable applause and adulation of the emotional crowd. It launched his series and was the perfect rugby match that had it all for engaging an audience. We talk about what in fact makes a great sports documentary, the rise of the category over the last 10 years, and what it takes to present the best possible content and viewing for a demographic that wants highlights and shorter excerpts of matches and regularly able to have access to it. We discuss how the landscape for media and sport in particular has changed. Nick discusses his preliminary conversations with Stan and Nine Entertainment and the exciting future for Onion TV. He talks about his vision for the company, both short and long term and what he is planning immediately to take Onion TV and sports documentaries to the next level. Watch his series on Rugby Pass, You Tube or the Onion TV website and see what we are talking about. Episode Links Nick Piper www.oniontv.com.au The Season The Crew The Code Nudgee College Gregory Terrace Hamilton Boys College Brisbane Boys College The Brumbies The Waratahs Reesjan Pasitoa Rugby Pass Fox Sports Stan Sport Nine Entertainment Mumbrella Awards Loughborough University The Big Breakfast UK The Haka
Matt Taylor - Tackling Defence
From knowing your opponent’s key stats to studying their star players, preparing your team’s defence is as vital as their offence game. Today we speak with Wallabies defence coach Matt Taylor about his life, career, and what he does to develop a dogged defensive line. After touching on his professional highlights, we chat about his time coaching in Scotland and how he landed his job at the Wallabies. From there, we discuss his relationship with attack coach Scott Wisemantel and coach David Rennie. Matt shares insights into his defensive plan, what information he uses to develop his strategy, and which aspects of the Wallabies’ performance he aims to improve. We unpack how Matt adapts his plans on the pitch before we dive into his team’s coaching structure. As head coach David Rennie is a New Zealander, we ask Matt whether coach nationality impacts player patriotism and pride in wearing the jersey. Matt’s answer emphasises the importance of culture fit over nationality, along with why he believes David Rennie is the perfect coach for the job. Near the end of the episode, we explore the Wallabies role in reaching the grassroots game and how they are restoring faith in Australian rugby. Tune in to learn more about what Matt is doing to bring confidence back in the defensive aspects of the Wallabies. • Introducing Wallabies defence coach Matt Taylor. • Exploring Matt’s experience coaching in Scotland. • Hear about Matt’s current work at the Wallabies. • Insights into Matt’s strategies for developing a team’s defensive capabilities. • Why head coaches need to recognise the importance of a side’s defence. • Which defensive areas the Wallabies need to improve. • The stats that defensive coaches use to formulate their defence plans. • How players adapt their defence plan during a game. • Why the Wallabies have brought more young guns into the team. • We discuss the Wallaby coaching structure and team. • Whether nationality impacts the ability to instil patriotic pride in wearing the jersey. • Matt shares his opinions on why David Rennie is the ideal Wallabies head coach. • How the pandemic has affected the Wallabies' plans to connect with the grassroots. • Winning fanbase and restoring confidence in Australian rugby. “As a defensive coach, you have to study your opponent’s attacking stats, their star players, their speed of ball, what phases they score their tries in — it’s a big melting pot.” — Matt Taylor [0:12:04] “One thing that’s impressive about David Rennie is he’s not afraid to give the young guys a go.” — Matt Taylor [0:17:01] “As long as you understand the culture, your coach’s nationality doesn’t matter. There wasn’t an Australian coach that could have taken the role of Wallabies coach as well as David Rennie.” — Matt Taylor [0:21:54] Matt Taylor Wallabies Glasgow Warriors Scottish Rugby Dave Rennie Scott Johnson Scott Wisemantel World Rugby European Rugby Champions Cup Premiership Rugby
Curtis Bradford - The Austrian Advantage
With so many styles of play on offer, adaptability has become a necessary skill for the international and modern rugby coach. Today we speak with Curtis Bradford, one of the youngest national coaches in World Rugby, whose career has taken him to Malaysia, Wales, Finland, Rwanda, and Austria. After sharing his professional highlights, we chat with Curtis about his current role as the Head Coach of the Austrian Sevens team. Curtis provides insights into what rugby is like in a smaller nation, diving into their focus on player retention, the sports that rugby competes with, and what Austrian rugby is doing to ensure that each generation of players performs better than the last. We also touch on the state of Austrian women’s rugby before Curtis reflects on his experiences as a globe-trotting coach. Following this, we discuss the importance of adaptability to rugby coaching. Near the end of the episode, we explore Curtis’s work for the Friends of Rwanda charity. Tune in to hear more game-changing perspectives on coaching from Curtis Bradford. Key Points From This Episode: • Introducing Curtis Bradford, the world’s youngest national rugby coach. • Hear about how Austria is faring under the pandemic. • What led Curtis to find and then accept his Austrian coaching appointment. • Curtis shares details about what the Australian club rugby scene is like. • How Austrian rugby retains its players through high-quality programs. • Exploring the opportunities presented by rugby’s international profile. • Why Curtis’s priority as an Austrian coach isn’t to win titles. • Why the successes of Austria’s coaching approach will first be seen in sevens rugby. • Discussing the state of women’s rugby in Austria. • How rugby fits into Austria’s sports landscape. • Curtis talks about the top experiences from his globe-trotting career. • The importance of adaptability when coaching such an international game. • We touch on Curtis’s work for the Friends of Rwanda charity. “In Austria, we’re focusing on player retention. The best way is to make sessions as high-quality as possible and to develop players as quickly as we can.” — Curtis Bradford [0:08:16] “What we’re trying to do is to lay the platforms for the next group to come through. We aim to set up good pathways and leave the jersey in a better place than we found it.” — Curtis Bradford [0:13:12] How I speak to players in Byron Bay is completely different to how I speak to Malaysian players. With such an international game, you have to be adaptable in your approach.” — Curtis Bradford [0:22:13] Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Curtis Bradford on LinkedIn Austrian Rugby Federation Waratahs World Rugby Kuala Lumpur Tigers Welsh Rugby Union Friends of Rwanda RugbyKO
Tim Wallace - Time to Soar for Shore
High-calibre play and healthy interschool rivalries make school rugby a key battleground for developing the next generation players. Today we speak with ex-Wallaby Tim Wallace about school rugby and his work in rugby development at the Shore School in Sydney. We open our conversation by discussing Tim’s career highlights in club and international rugby. After sharing his tips on competing for team spots, we talk about the link between effective school level coaching and building a rapport with your students. Tim then opens up about the challenges faced by Shore School rugby and the solutions they’re introducing to boost their level of play. We touch on the importance of school competition, how school rugby creates a pathway to professional rugby, and Tim’s views on other codes of football. He emphasises that the sport provides students with mentors and role models — irrespective of the code they play. Near the end of the episode, we reflect on why many students stop playing after leaving school, with personal insights into what helped Tim continue his rugby career. We round off our conversation by chatting about the Shore School’s 2021 goals. Tune in for more on how Tim is determined to take school rugby at Shore into a successful new era for the school. Key Points From This Episode: • Comparing the experience of playing school, club, and international rugby. • Tim shares his fondness for old school rugby tours. • Advice on perseverance and competing over the same player position. • Hear about Tim’s work at the Shore School in Sydney. • Why the Shore School hasn't been able to land a rugby title in recent years. • What the Shore School is doing to boost their level of play. • The importance of strong school rugby rivalries. • How school rugby provides a pathway to the professional game. • How pride in the school, the jersey, and playing the first XV is inherent at the school. • Tim discusses the factors that kept him playing after leaving school, but why others don't. • Insights into coaching resources provided by Rugby Australia and GPS schools. • Tim opens up about the 2021 goals that he has for his team. “Old boys are proud to watch their school play. It becomes a breeding ground for professional athletes.” — Tim Wallace [0:16:53] “For younger boys, if they have good role models, it doesn’t matter if they’re playing rugby union, league or AFL. They’re getting a good example of who they can aspire to be.” — Tim Wallace [0:19:37] Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Tim Wallace Shore School GPS Rugby Barker College Wallabies Gordon RFC Shore School The King’s School Rugby Australia St Joseph's College Newington College The Scots College Hadley Jackson Waratahs RugbyKO
Toutai Kefu - An Overview with Kefu
For many, rugby has been an incredible outlet where people have found friendship and camaraderie. For Toutai Kefu — arguably the best number 8 that the Wallabies have ever had, transitioning into coaching was a natural step that allowed him to stay connected to the culture that he loves. Today we speak to Toutai about his career as an illustrious player and prolific coach. Early in our conversation, we chat about his love of coaching and the years he spent in Japan. Touching on his current role as a coach for the World Ten Series, we talk about the 10s format and how its focus on set pieces might attract rugby traditionalists. Following this, we discuss his work at Brisbane Boys’ College, what it’s like to work with his brother, Steve, changes to the Wallabies’ culture, and why forming a Pacific island rugby team is an opportunity to inject excitement into Super Rugby. After sharing his take that Rugby Australia could have better handled the controversy surrounding Israel Folau, Toutai dives into what he would do if he was in charge of Rugby Australia. With an international career spanning many areas of the game, tune in to hear more insights from Toutai Kefu, the multi-faceted Tongan talent. Key Points From This Episode: • Introducing ex-Wallaby and prolific coach, Toutai Kefu. • Toutai shares details about his career highlights as a player. • Living in Japan and what their rugby following looks like. • Hear what Toutai loves about coaching and how it keeps him connected to the sport. • Comparing 10s rugby with other formats and why it might appeal to traditionalists. • What it was like for Toutai to coach Brisbane Boys’ College with his brother. • How Toutai would coach the Wallabies scrum if he were in charge. • Why Toutai thinks that a Super Rugby Pacific island team is an incredible idea. • Courting controversy; why Rugby Australia could have better handled the Israel Folau case. • Repairing the Australian rugby’s relationship with the grassroots game. “One of the biggest things that I love about rugby is that camaraderie and friendship. Being a coach keeps you in that fantastic environment.” — Toutai Kefu [0:05:08] “Everyone thinks that there will be cultural challenges with creating a Pacific island team but we all get along. We’re all Pacific brothers and we all know that.” — Toutai Kefu [0:13:25] Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Toutai Kefu Tonga National Team Brisbane Boys’ College Queensland Country Kubota Spears Queensland Reds World Tens Series The Season Steve Kefu Rod Macqueen Taniela Tupou Super Rugby National Rugby Championship Rugby Australia Israel Folau Qantas RugbyKO
Mark Tonga - ReMARKable and Resilient
Mark Tonga is a native of that lush Pacific Isle He was typical of kids across the land, With an innate love of Rugby and an ever ready smile He grew up with a football in his hand. His simple Christian lifestyle, you could never underrate As childhood brought a life of wondrous pleasure, But the economic future for a family of eight Was such that other things were brought to measure. So the family moved to Sydney, and lived out in the West Where Polynesian people come to stay, And the young man went to high school where he did his very best While he walked a balance beam of work and play. Then he took himself to college, he was destined to succeed As some among his school mates lost the track, No smokes, no drugs, no alcohol, he really felt no need His goal was set, there was no looking back. He paid his way through Uni doing odd jobs night and day He saw them as a pathway to his goal, And when he graduated, the reward that came his way Was tribute to integrity and soul. And yes, he played his Rugby with the same incessant drive Still living out his boyhood football dreams, A clubman who would give his all to keep the game alive A fixture in those tough West Harbour teams. He wasn't set for stardom, nor to play on hallowed grounds, But it didn't dim his feeling for the game, He trained as hard as those that may earn a million pounds And the pleasure that it bought him was the same. Who knows why fate would treat him so, why injury occurred A ruck drill left him stranded on the floor, An incident so freakish that it all seemed quite absurd He'd done the same thing a thousand times before. The injury he suffered was beyond his greatest fears An injury all football players dread, But he showed the badge of courage, as he'd done through all his years Accepting what he knew must lie ahead. For months he battled bravely just to learn to breathe again To hold a conversation with his clan, And now he's set his sights on long term goals and speaks of when He'll walk again like any other man. Ad once again we've come to see that ever ready smile As family and friends give their support With his sweetheart, standing by him all the while She comprehends the battle to be fought. The fight will be a long one and the rounds will ebb and flow Some darker days may seem to have no end, But Mark, you're made of special stuff, your mates have told us so They guarantee, you'll never lack a friend. Tribute to Mark Tonga, Peter Fenton February 2009.
Gaven Head - Heading up Community
The pandemic has shifted Australian rugby, causing it to focus on the aspects of the sport that matter the most, including fellowship, player engagement, and rugby’s ability to foster communities. All of these are hallmarks of grassroots rugby. Today we speak with Queensland Reds’ General Manager for Community Rugby, Gaven Head, about his role in promoting on-the-ground rugby. We open our conversation by chatting about how tackling COVID challenges has allowed him to accelerate the changes that he’s wanted to make. After sharing his team’s successes in maintaining participation rates, Gaven talks about how grants have empowered local rugby communities, leading to more players and coaches taking to the field. Considering his 2006 consulting work with Rugby Australia, we ask him if his recommendations were implemented. His answers touch on the executive turnover at that time, along with the sport’s general struggles with recruiting and retaining a customer base. We then discuss the incredible diversity of community rugby, the resilience of smaller clubs, and how rugby organisations and grant-funded programs are trying to align rugby with the grassroots game. A key initiative, we talk about how Queensland is raising mental health awareness before diving into Gaven’s take on the support that community rugby needs right now. Tune in to hear more about how Gavin is tackling the challenges of community rugby. Key Points From This Episode: Exploring Gaven’s role in promoting Queensland community rugby. Gaven shares some of his successes, including high participation despite the pandemic. Hear about Gaven’s ‘roadshow,’ and how he’s engaging with the areas he serves. How Rugby Australia’s emerging grants program is getting more players onto the field. Judging the 2006 recommendations that Gaven made while consulting for Rugby Australia. Why community rugby seems to have been neglected for such a long time. Defining the incredibly diverse spectrum that makes up community rugby. Creating an atmosphere of fellowship and enjoyment in local games. Why rugby culture is realigning the sport with a focus on grassroots games and support. Raising mental health awareness and helping clubs develop mental health strategies. Gaven discusses changes to the Rookies2Reds program. What community rugby is Queensland needs right now. How you can ensure that schools and clubs can work together as a community unit. Models that allow local rugby communities to adapt to regional strategies. Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Gavin Head on LinkedIn Queensland Rugby Union Sunnybank Rugby Rugby Australia The Emerging Schools Rugby Foundation In Touch with Mental Health Rookies2Reds Program Shute Shield Cup
Peter Murphy - Fundraising and the Foundation
Far from being a “dirty word,” fundraising is a critical part of supporting rugby. And importantly, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Today, we speak with former Olympic rower and Executive Director of the Australia Rugby Foundation, Peter Murphy, about the role his foundation plays in funding rugby. Our conversation opens as Peter explores the foundation’s purpose and the five major pillars that it focuses on, including women’s, grassroots, First Nation, and high-performance rugby, along with player welfare. We talk about how the foundation guides local clubs, providing them with toolkits and resources to help them fundraise. On the topic of transparency around spending, Peter discusses the systems and governance model that tracks every dollar that his foundation spends. We touch on the contributions made by John Howard the foundation’s chairman, how the foundation operates with other fundraising bodies, and why coterie groups are an excellent fundraising model. Peter then shares details about his work as the high- performance manager for the Fiji Rugby Union, and the pride that this has brought him. Near the end of the episode, we dive into the foundation’s 2021 goals. Tune in to hear more about Peter’s work and how it enriches the world of rugby. Key Points From This Episode: • Exploring the role of the Australia Rugby Foundation in funding Australian rugby. • Hear about the Australia Rugby Foundation’s five pillars of focus. • Shifting investment from high-performance play to grassroots rugby. • Why “fundraising” isn’t a dirty word; it’s a tool to enrich valuable projects. • How the Australia Rugby Foundation is making it easy for clubs to fundraise. • What the Australia Rugby Foundation does to create transparency around spending. • How their chairman, John Howard, has shaped their organisation. • The relationship between different fundraising bodies. • The psychology behind giving; you donate to what engages you. • How COVID has negatively affected community funds and player numbers. • Raising money through a coterie system or ‘giving circles.’ • Peter shares details about his work as the high-performance manager for Fiji Rugby Union. • Insights into the Foundation’s 2021 goals, emphasising women’s and grassroots rugby. “Fundraising is not a dirty word. The biggest mistake a club can make is not having a go at it. You’ll be surprised at what you have in your network.” — Peter Murphy [0:12:14] “We know that if we keep our talent in this game, playing rugby and not going to other codes — it’s a big investment that will create depth in rugby.” — Peter Murphy [0:29:38] Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Peter Murphy on LinkedIn Australia Rugby Foundation Australia Rugby Foundation Toolkits Hearts in Union The Shore Foundation Rugby Xplorer Australian Sports Foundation J John Howard Positive Rugby Foundation Queensland Reds Foundation The Future Force Foundation Brumbies Rugby Foundation Dr. Nicola Forrest Andrew Forrest Fiji Rugby Union World Rugby
Trae Stevens - Grassroots Gun Ep 8
Trae Stevens is a Bermudian local who began his rugby career in his final year of high school and has not looked back. He was selected in the U19 Bermuda squad, and today plays tight head prop for the Bermudian Mens national side. Last year they won the Rugby Americas North championships, becoming Carribean Champions, edging out Gutaloop, Trae has travelled the world playing rugby and is a promising and committed young rugby talent on the island of Bermuda. I talk to Trae about staying safe in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the approaching hurricane, his Rugby passion and career to date, all that Rugby in Bermuda offers him, on and off the pitch, the many countries that play rugby in his part of the world, and his motivations for playing the global game of rugby union.
Jamie Barnwell - The Bermudian Breakdown
Never underestimate the strength of a small but motivated rugby team. The first episode of our new Going Global format, today we hop over to Bermuda’s tropical beaches to chat with Jamie Barnwell, head coach for the Bermuda men’s national rugby team. Despite having fewer resources and a limited player pool, Bermuda rugby is thriving, in part due to Jamie’s training regime and unassailable optimism. We start our conversation by talking about what Bermuda rugby looks like and how Jamie landed a coaching gig soon after landing in the country. Jamie discusses some of his career highlights before reflecting on the differences in coaching in England versus in Bermuda. After Jamie shares his enthusiasm for coaching such a motivated side, we ask him about how the game has grown in the country. His answer touches on how he helped create an elite player development group and how youngsters are being brought into the sport. On the topic of his impact, we dive into how Jamie has shifted his team’s culture through a collaborative coaching style, a focus on staying positive, and developing processes to deal with player mistakes. Near the end of the episode, we talk about what his team’s training regime looks like, the World Rugby Classic Event, and the rugby relationship between Bermuda and its neighbouring countries. A discussion revealing the vitality of Bermudan rugby, tune in to hear more insights from Jamie Barnwell. Key Points From This Episode: • Introducing Jamie Barnwell, head coach for the Bermuda men’s national team. • How having a coffee at a local cafe led to Jamie coaching for Bermuda rugby. • The state of Bermuda rugby and Jamie’s experience coaching there. • From England and Malaysia to Bermuda, what coaching means in different countries. • Creating an elite player development group in Bermuda. • How the game has been growing for both men and women’s sides in the North Americas. • Jamie shares his views on what Bermuda needs to go to the next level of rugby. • Injecting positivity into Bermuda rugby through a collaborative coaching style. • Developing a process to deal with mistakes — especially if your side often loses. • Bringing in psychology to build your team’s momentum both off and on the field. • What a typical week looks like when training the Bermuda national side. • Hear about the World Rugby Classics, a Bermudan event dedicated to celebrating international rugby. • Jamie’s ambitions for the future of Bermuda rugby. • Local pathways to play Bermudan national rugby and the prevalence of young players. • The rugby relationship between Bermuda and its neighbouring countries. “If coaching Bermuda rugby has taught me anything, it’s that you should never underestimate the power of what a small group of motivated people can do.” — Jamie Barnwell [0:05:36] “We needed to understand how to deal with mistakes. Because if you’re on the losing end of things, you need a process to deal with speed bumps in the game, or you’re going to struggle.” — Jamie Barnwell [0:15:24] Jamie Barnwell on LinkedIn Bermuda Rugby Bermuda Rugby on Facebook Caribbean Rugby Championship Rugby Americas North Region Americas Rugby Championship Bermuda Olympic Association World Rugby Classic
Phil Thomson - Bullish Brumbies
Before Phil Thomson took over as CEO, the Brumbies were facing difficult times. They had posted a financial loss for both 2015 and 2016. Today, they boast a tidy profit and increased membership despite the pandemic. In this episode, we speak with experienced manager and Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson about his experience at the Brumbies’ helm and how the club is positioned to tackle the future. After sharing his career highlights, we ask Phil for his take on the Brumbies 2016 instability. We talk about how his time on the police force impacted his role as an integrity manager before he explains how team managers are responsible for everything that happens off-field. Phil discusses his relationship with sponsors and the need to align their interests with your team. On the subject of how the Brumbies increased their membership, Phil dives into the importance of connecting with their community, with added insights into how he’s engaged with this community during the pandemic. He also talks about sharing content that emphasizes the Brumbies’ story and how connecting players with their fanbase has been a key strategy. We explore how their local programs and academy provide pathways to play and Phil’s focus on investing in grassroots rugby. Near the end of the episode, Phil touches on how he’s growing women’s rugby, how the Brumbies make decisions based on their mission statement, and what Australian rugby needs to do to create a brighter future. Tune in to hear Phil’s perspective on the sport — brought to you straight from the CEO’s desk. Key Points From This Episode: We share Phil Thomson’s many career highlights. Why the Brumbies has had such a high CEO turnover over the years. What the Brumbies did to turn their tricky financial circumstances around. Exploring Phil’s experience on integrity commissions and in the police force Phil’s journey as a team manager and what the role entails. Sponsorship struggles and the need to align your interests with your sponsors. Engaging with the Brumbies community and how this led to a membership increase. What the Brumbies have been doing to connect with their fans. Hear Phil’s take on what rugby will look like in 2021. Phil answers a looming question; will the Brumbies and the Rebels merge? What Brumbies community sport looks like and how it’s managed. Participation number and pathways to playing for the Brumbies. The importance of connecting your team with the local crowd. Investing in rugby at the grassroots level when funding is limited. Pandemic-related stand-downs and soldiering on despite reduced capacity. What the Brumbies have done to increase participation in women’s rugby. Allowing your mission statement to drive your decision-making. What Australian rugby needs; stability, a future-thinking vision, and unity. “Our mission statement is to inspire and connect people — it brings people along on our journey and it’s how we tell our story to people.” — Phil Thomson [0:39:20] Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Phil Thomson on LinkedIn Brumbies Rugby Marist College Canberra The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports Australian Federal Police ACT & Southern NSW Rugby Union Limited Board Canberra Kookaburras Brumbies Rugby Foundation
Scott Young - The Whistleblower
Some of the best referees rarely get noticed. And even if they make the right call, they’re likely to suffer abuse from crowds and players alike. With experience officiating over the highest levels of play, Scott Young is a veteran ref who can attest to being sworn at in several foreign languages. As today’s guest, we speak to Scott about our great sport and his career as a match official. After sharing his humble start as a referee — something he agreed to do at a pub — we talk about how referees train to keep up with players. We then dive into Scott’s career highlights, referee accreditation, and the elements that make up a good referee. He reveals some challenges in being a referee before commenting on Australia’s referee successes, including the rise of women referees. With new rugby rules and variations, we discuss how referees adapt to change and why Scott likes the 50:22 rule. Following the topic of rule changes, we ask Scott about the state of the scrum and his answer provides insight into how difficult scrums are to rule on. We touch on why referees can be over-technical, Scott’s perspective on blue and yellow cards, how the press amplifies incorrect information, and the level of support offered to Australian referees. Near the end of the episode, we explore Scott’s role in developing strategies for sevens rugby before we ask Scott what he would do to improve rugby. Tune in to hear more of Scott’s views on high-performance refereeing. Key Points From This Episode: How Scott became a match official and what he loves about refereeing. Training, fitness and decision-making ability as a high-performance referee. Hear about the highlights of Scott’s refereeing career. Referee accreditation and the importance of progressive learning. Challenges to growing the number of match officials. How referees are adapting to new rugby rules and variations. Why Scott likes the new 50:22 rule; it increases the ball-in-play time. Tracking referee success and the many aspects that go into judging a game. Establish a World Cup standard for interpreting rugby laws. What referees look for in a scrum and how it can remain a showpiece. Why referees can be overly-technical in their decision-making. Maintaining respect among players and referees. Why referees don’t aim to be loved. Scott’s support of the blue card and the dangers of concussion. Using yellow cards to prevent ‘cynical’ play and keep the game safe. Supporting officials and coming under fire after making high-stakes decisions. Investing in referee coach programs; there are now more Australian refs fielded overseas than ever before. Refereeing sevens versus 15 a side rugby and Scott’s contributions to each game’s officiating strategies. What Scott would change in rugby to cause the most impact. Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Scott Young LinkedIn Rugby Australia University of Queensland King’s College St Leo’s College Queensland Reds
Mitch Watts - Grassroots Gun Ep 7
From country Tamworth, Mitchell Watts attends Calrossy School, where he has just completed his year 12 trials. He plays for the Tamworth Magpies in the second row. He was selected for Central North, NSW Country and the the NSW Junior Rugby Union U18’s. Mitch is beginning on his pathway to professionalism, but first hopes to achieve the marks to study commerce /law at university. I talk to the modest and self deprecating Mitch about rugby and his experiences so far in rugby union.
Baden Stephenson - A Rebel with a Cause
2017 was a transformative year for the Melbourne Rebels. Having survived being axed from Super Rugby, they also transitioned from being privately owned to joining the Victoria Rugby Union stable. In today’s episode, we speak with Baden Stephenson about his greatest challenges and achievements since becoming the Rebels CEO in 2017. Considering the uncertainty of the time, Baden talks about his early priority in quickly building trust among stakeholders. Reflecting on the ‘start-up’ nature of the 2017 transitions, Baden highlights the importance of developing a club from the ground up. On the topic of sponsors, we talk about modern approaches to corporate partnerships, which involves aligning brands with your team’s culture. After sharing how the Rebels have been affected by COVID-19, Baden dives into his efforts in fostering the club’s accessibility and how management staff and players have helped grow community rugby. Baden then shares his perspective on Western Force getting cut from Super Rugby before touching on how the Rebels have developed talent and bring in local players. We discuss what Baden is hoping for in a new Rugby Australia CEO and why we need more positive messaging in the media. Near the end of the episode, Baden gives his insights on how we can make the game better for both broadcasters and viewers. Tune in to hear Baden’s fresh take on how we can improve the sport. Key Points From This Episode: Baden shares his greatest achievements and challenges as CEO for the Melbourne Rebels. Connecting the Melbourne Rebels with the local community. What the Melbourne Rebels ownership and governance model has looked like. The importance of spending the capital to properly set up a new club. The need to align sponsors with your club’s culture and players. Using corporate partnerships to expand community rugby. How COVID-19 has affected the Melbourne Rebels. Players as club ambassadors who connect with sponsors and the community. Creating a holistic rugby environment where top clubs can support local rugby. Baden’s perspective surrounding Western Force getting cut from Super Rugby. Developing next-level talent without the NRC and bringing in local players. What Baden is hoping for in a new Rugby Australia CEO. Making the game more appealing for both broadcasters and watchers. The future of Super Rugby and Australia’s place in the world of rugby. Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Baden Stephenson on LinkedIn Baden Stephenson on Twitter Melbourne Rebels Rugby Victoria Rugby Australia Western Force National Rugby Championship SAANZAAR
Josephine Sukkar - Building Rugby
We talk with Josephine Sukkar, Principal of Buildcorp about Rugby Australia’s incredible opportunity to redefine our approach to the sport and meet the challenges of modern rugby. Tied to this is the need to build greater inclusivity into the game, especially increasing women’s participation. A member of the Order of Australia, Buildcorp principle, and president of Australian Women’s Rugby, Josephine is an important rugby sponsor who has been integral in advocating for women’s rugby. We start our conversation by chatting about what sparked her passion for rugby and her company’s involvement in the sport. Josephine talks about witnessing the change in visibility for women’s games and the power that sevens rugby and the Super W competition has had in popularising women’s rugby. After opening up about why she pulled her sponsorship from the National Rugby Championship in 2017, we dive into her experience of sitting on the 2015 Rugby Australia nomination board. As Josephine explains, poor participation from key stakeholders led to false perceptions about the transparency of Rugby Australia’s nomination process. This leads to a discussion about the negative effects of having a divided rugby community. Josephine then reflects on the state of Australian rugby and how our federation system needs to adapt to ensure better sponsorship and to field more competitive teams — on both a national and international level. Near the end of the episode, we touch on the importance of Australia’s 2027 World Cup bid in providing vision for Rugby Australia. Tune in to hear more of Josephine’s insider-perspectives on Australian rugby. Key Points From This Episode: Hear about how Josephine developed her passion for rugby. Josephine’s journey sponsoring rugby starting in 1992, and why she likes giving to club rugby. The heightened importance of team or player behaviour in affecting sponsorship. Being on the front-lines of making women’s rugby more visible. The importance of women’s sevens rugby in the Olympics for popularising the sport. Using sponsorship to nurture aspects of the game that are underdeveloped. Why Buildcorp pulled their sponsorship from the NRC in 2017. Josephine shares her perspective on the Rugby Australia nomination process. False perceptions around the transparency of the Rugby Australia nomination process. Highlighting the need for workable solutions and not behaviour that destroys the game. Thoughts on Rugby Australia’s evolution, governing body, and structure. Why now is the time to have hard conversations and reimagine union rugby. How ‘corporate courage’ and supporting leadership will allow rugby to survive. Rebuilding trust in Rugby Australia through their new chair and CEO. Why the 2027 World Cup bid is providing vision for Australian rugby. The work of the Buildcorp Foundation in giving back to the community. Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Sydney University Football Club Foundation Australian Rugby Foundation Buildcorp Foundation Rugby Australia The Wallaroos University of Sydney Rockdale Rugby Union Super W AON Uni 7s National Rugby Championship
Grace Hamilton - Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace: Women’s Rugby with Grace Hamilton. Despite having a relatively late start in rugby, Grace Hamilton’s commitment to the sport and excellence on the field led her to be named the 2019 Wallaroo of the year. In this episode, we speak with Grace about women’s rugby, her career and leadership challenges, and the future of the sport. We begin by talking about her start in rugby before diving into her career milestones. Grace attributes her success to her drive to see how far she can push herself. We ask Grace about the difficulties of playing women’s rugby and she comments on how empowering the sport is for women. After discussing what it was like to train while studying her Master’s degree, we talk about what the rest of 2020 looks like for women’s Australian rugby. As the Wallaroo captain, she opens up about the difficulties of keeping her team motivated during the pandemic. Grace also opens up about losing her father, her bedrock of support, while achieving some of her career highlights. With a focus on the future, Grace shares what she would do if she had a magic wand to grow the game for women in Australia before sharing her advice for young women who aspire to play rugby. Tune in to hear more about women’s rugby — an aspect of the sport that’s seeing an incredible uptake. Key Points From This Episode: Grace shares her love of rugby and what brought her to the sport at a young age. Milestones in Grace’s career including being named the 2019 Wallaroo of the year. Finding success, despite starting rugby at a relatively late stage. Why rugby is an excellent sport for women to play. What it was like for Grace to train for rugby while studying her Master’s. What the end of 2020 looks like for women’s Australian rugby. Maintaining discipline and motivation despite an uncertain future. Playing as number 8 and the skills that Grace focuses on. Leadership challenges and what Grace has learned from captaining the Wallaroos. Why women’s sevens rugby has helped fuel the uptake in women’s rugby. The importance of creating grassroots opportunities for women’s rugby. Grace’s advice to aspiring young women who want to play rugby. Getting back onto the field after losing her father. The people who most inspire Grace to eventually “leave her jersey in a better place.” What Grace would do if she were given a magic wand to improve women’s rugby. The benefits of the Super W competition for women’s rugby. “I was 21 when I first put on my rugby boots. Once I put my boots on, I never took them off.” — @GracieJHamilton [0:05:05] “Young women should give it a go. Even if you don’t know if you want to play, head over to a training session and watch. You’ll see how fun it can be.” — @GracieJHamilton [0:16:12] “I thrive over people who are passionate about the game. It makes me want to leave my jersey in a better place and make those girls proud.” — @GracieJHamilton [0:19:35] Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Grace Hamilton on LinkedIn Grace Hamilton on Twitter Wallaroos Rugby Australia Black Ferns 2021 Rugby World Cup Super W