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'I prefer not to load a gun': Wallaby hooker in the dock over trash-talk

By AAP
Folau Fainga'a of the Force celebrates the try during the round 13 Super Rugby Pacific match between Western Force and ACT Brumbies at HBF Park, on May 20, 2023, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

The trash-talking days of Folau Fainga’a could be over after the Western Force hooker was given a clip for his light-hearted pot shots at former Brumbies teammates.

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The Brumbies stood down eight Wallabies stars for Saturday night’s clash with the Force as part of Rugby Australia’s World Cup resting policy.

The decision to rest them all at once backfired as the Force secured a vital 34-19 win, with the result dropping the Brumbies to third on the table ahead of their home clash with the ladder-leading Chiefs.

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Wallabies hooker Fainga’a, who spent five seasons at the Brumbies, said in an entertaining pre-match media conference the mass changes meant the Canberra-based side were sending over the “little puppies” to allow the “big dogs” to rest at home and get their necks massaged.

He also took a series of amusing pot shots at individuals within the Brumbies’ team.

Cron was startled when he heard about Folau’s comments.

“I think that’s Folau having some fun with his friends and giving his coach a small heart attack, because I prefer not to load a gun for people to shoot at you,” Cron said.

“I think that will be the end of those bullets.

“Folau has been there for six years. Even though he’s throwing darts, they are all his friends.

“So he was probably having a little bit of fun with his friends. He’s that kind of guy.

“They will be laughing and messaging him. But I did call him afterwards to have a quick chat about life.

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“And I just reminded him that he’s put a bullseye on his forehead, so he better show up ready to accept the bullseye and go at it.

“To his credit he did.”

Even though Folau was able to walk the walk, Cron doesn’t want a repeat of the trash talk.

“I think we’ve got to show ultimate respect to the Brumbies. They’re a great team,” Cron said.

“The thing for me is humility. He is joking with guys he’s been playing with for six years. He just took an opportunity to crack some friends.

“But from a team perspective, that’s not us.”

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said the decision to rest so many players for the trip to Perth was made in October or November last year.

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Larkham said the six-day break between games and long trip meant it made sense to rest them now.

The Brumbies trailed 21-0 inside 25 minutes, and Larkham wasn’t happy with the preparation of some of his players.

“Just the stuff we talk about every week – making sure you’re looking at your footage, whether that’s training or game footage,” Larkham said.

“I just think some individuals could have done better.

“I’ll ask the question, just sit down with a couple of individuals and see where they got to with their preparation this week, and was it as good as it needed to be.”

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Tim 4 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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