Former Australian rugby league Test prop Price has won a surprise award in New Zealand. Recognised for services to rugby league in New Zealand after playing 91 NRL matches for the Auckland-based Warriors and becoming the club’s longest-serving captain, proud Queenslander Price was initially unsure whether he was eligible.
“I didn’t know whether I was allowed to accept it,” said Price, who represented Australia in 15 Tests and played 28 State of Origin matches for the Maroons.
“I actually said to the lady, ‘You know, don’t you, that I’m Australian?”
A recent survey has concluded that Rugby is the ninth most popular sport in Australia. The sport of Rugby Union reached it’s all time high of being Australia’s fourth most popular sport in 2004 after Australia hosted the 2003 Rugby world cup and reached the final.
However since that time the sport has dropped to fourth to seventh and now to ninth in sports rankings over the past seven years.
A report by a brand analysis and research agency, Repucom says that when the 2007 Rugby world cup was taking place in France the sport had dropped from fourth to seventh.
After Australia’s humiliating defeat of fans many pundits have predicted that the team could be even better with the good scrum. The Wallabies’ record Test victory over France was the perfect example of that. Has there even been such a dramatic contrast between the first and second halves of a rugby match?
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In the first half, the Wallabies scrum was castigated by New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence over and over again, and suffered the indignity of a penalty try in the 30th minute.
The three minutes before that was one of the most humiliating an Australian scrum has experienced in recent times. Unlike the England Test in Perth, when a rookie Wallabies pack of Ben Daley, Saia Faingaa and Salesi Ma’afu was pulverised, the seasoned front row that encountered France – Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and James Slipper – was supposedly Australia’s best.
Reputation counted for little. The French scrum perched just five metres from the Australian line was repeatedly able to disintegrate the Wallabies. Twice Lawrence penalised the Wallabies for collapsing it, and on the third occasion had no alternative but to run under the sticks to award a penalty try. It was the right call.