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  1. Possibly Australia's greatest Rugby Union Test player whose career was cut short due to a severe hamstring injury caused by All Black great Colin Meads in a tackle. His exploits at scrum-half were maybe best remembered in Australia's 1963 tour of South Africa which was drawn 2-2. In the 60's nearly all visiting teams lost to the Springboks. Wallabies legend Ken Catchpole is being remembered as arguably Australia's greatest ever rugby player. Catchpole died in Sydney on Thursday night after a long battle with illness, aged 78. Solid status: Ken Catchpole stands with a bronze statue of his likeness outside the SFS in honor as one of the greatest Wallaby Test players ever. Photo: brendan esposito In an international career cut short because of injury, Catchpole left an indelible mark on Australian rugby in 27 Tests for the Wallabies between 1961 and 1968. He captained Australia in 13 of those Tests, including when he was on debut in the famous Wallabies jumper against Fiji as a 21-year-old. "Australian rugby owes him plenty, it could be argued that we've never had a better player," former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer said. "He was, from the very start of his career to the very end - extraordinary." Rugby Australia paid tribute to its former skipper. "Ken wasn't just a remarkable rugby player but also a remarkable man," Rugby Australia director and former Wallabies skipper Paul McLean said. "He'll be fondly remembered as one of our best and his records will live long at Randwick, NSW and the Wallabies. "Ken had a real aura about him both on and off the field." Catchpole first made his mark in Sydney club rugby with Randwick in the late 1950s before going on to play more than 180 games with the Galloping Greens. 'Catchy' as the halfback was affectionately known, was part of a strong Wallabies outfit that amongst other achievements took out consecutive Test matches in South Africa in 1966 - a feat which hadn't been achieved since a British touring side in 1896. Fellow Randwick legend and ex-Wallabies captain Simon Poidevin said Catchpole deserved to be rated among the icons of rugby. "Ken was an extraordinary athlete with blistering speed, amazing agility and a fearless spirit in taking on much bigger opponents," Poidevin said. "Catchy was a natural leader and was consistently rated the best halfback in the world. "He was loved by Wallabies young and old and displayed a modesty that defied his achievements and set an example for our sport." Conqueror: Ken Catchpole collects from the scrum during the famous 1963 tour of South Africa. Dwyer says that Wallabies from Catchpole's era constantly praised the halfback's 'greatness'. "If you speak to anyone from that era about why they were so good, when you point to their forward pack or anything else, you are cut off." "'No, no... we had Catchy', they say. 'Yeah, yeah... but what about..?' Again, 'no, no, we had Catchy." "There were some truly phenomenal players in that side and they all put it down to Catchy." Catchpole was also known for his accurate passing and clever opportunism and was inducted in the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2013. His playing career came to an abrupt end at 28 when he suffered a severe hamstring injury in a tackle from All Blacks legend Colin Meads. He is immortalised with a statue outside Allianz Stadium in Sydney, while the Shute Shield's most valuable player award honours his name in the Sydney club competition. The statue will be relocated to the entrance of the new Rugby Australia building in the Moore Park sporting precinct on Boxing Day. Catchpole was an inaugural inductee to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985. In retirement, Catchpole became a respected voice on the national broadcaster ABC's rugby coverage and he served as a president of NSW Rugby Union. He was also a trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust for more than two decades. He is the second former Wallaby being mourned this week after 18-Test prop and Queensland great Stan Pilecki died aged 70. Source: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/rugby-community-mourns-extraordinary-ken-catchy-catchpole-20171222-h097qi.html
  2. Well...what a great Sunday Morning! Firstly, Australia actually won a Rugby Union game 32-8 against Wales. It's a pity no-one in Australia saw it, whether on Free-to-Air or Pay-TV. Then Australia defeated New Zealand in the Four Nations Rugby League Tournament in the UK, 14-8, a game that went down to the wire ! However, I reserve my greatest joy for our dear Irish brothers and sisters who have waited 111 years for their Rugby Union team to defeat the New Zealand All Blacks. Well, it happened today in Chicago 40-29. And what a victory it was! After 18 consecutive test wins, the All Blacks went down. Oh what joy for an Australian Wallaby (the moniker of the Australian Rugby Union team) supporter such as myself! Chris Rattue, the New Zealand Herald Sports Columnist, actually predicted an Irish victory two days ago! If anyone knows him, request lotto numbers! So how good must it be to be in Chicago right now? Cubs win after 108 years, then to top it off, Ireland beat New Zealand in Rugby Union after 111 years. With the large population of Irish-descendant Americans, surely "Irish eyes are smiling!" But my favourite news event this morning is the Wikipedia article on the history of Ireland and New Zealand in Rugby Union. The first paragraph reads thusly... "The New Zealand All Blacks first played against Ireland in 1905, beating them 15–0 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. The two teams have played a total of 29 Test matches, with the All Blacks winning 27 of them. In 2016 Ireland beat the All-Blacks for the first time ever in Chicago. The draw was in 1973 where Ireland and New Zealand drew 10-10 with Ireland scoring 2 penalties and a try, to the All Blacks 2 tries and 1 conversion (A try was worth four points in 1973). During the 2012 Irish Tour of New Zealand, New Zealand won all 3 tests having scored 124 points to Ireland's 29. This tour also saw New Zealand score the biggest winning margin against Ireland in their History. This was due to the 60-0 win New Zealand achieved in the 3rd Test on the 23 June 2012. On the 24 November 2013, Ireland were leading 22-17 against New Zealand in the final minute of the match, and on the verge of their first ever win over New Zealand. Ireland had possession of the ball, but gave up a penalty with under 30 seconds remaining, which ultimately led to New Zealand working their way up the field, ending in the match tieing try for Ryan Crotty with over 82 minutes on the clock. The try was converted at the second time of asking, handing the All Blacks their perfect season. Ireland finally ended a 111 year wait for a victory in Soldier Field, Chicago with a 40-29 victory on 5 November 2016, mere days after the hometown Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years." Kudos to the fellow who edited it this morning henceforth... "Ireland have a 100% winning streak against the All Black's winning every game in November 2016 in the two teams long history of competition (Ireland are the best they beat them on the 5th of November 2016 so who cares) The New Zealand All Blacks first played against Ireland in 1905, beating them 15–0 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. The two teams have played a total of 29 Test matches, with the All Blacks winning 27 of them. In 2016 Ireland beat the All-Blacks for the first time ever in Chicago. The draw was in 1973 where Ireland and New Zealand drew 10-10 with Ireland scoring 2 penalties and a try, to the All Blacks 2 tries and 1 conversion (A try was worth four points in 1973). During the 2012 Irish Tour of New Zealand, New Zealand won all 3 tests having scored 124 points to Ireland's 29. This tour also saw New Zealand score the biggest winning margin against Ireland in their History. This was due to the 60-0 win New Zealand achieved in the 3rd Test on the 23 June 2012. On the 24 November 2013, Ireland were leading 22-17 against New Zealand in the final minute of the match, and on the verge of their first ever win over New Zealand. Ireland had possession of the ball, but gave up a penalty with under 30 seconds remaining, which ultimately led to New Zealand working their way up the field, ending in the match tieing try for Ryan Crotty with over 82 minutes on the clock. The try was converted at the second time of asking, handing the All Blacks their perfect season."

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