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Thread: Dunning's departure from NSW replenishes Force's depleted stocks

  1. #1
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    Dunning's departure from NSW replenishes Force's depleted stocks

    Josh Rakic | June 14, 2009

    WALLABIES and Waratahs prop Matt Dunning has quit the NSW Super 14 franchise and will announce his signing with the Western Force tomorrow.

    Dunning sat stranded on 99 Super 14 matches this season after suffering an Achilles injury on the end-of-year Wallabies tour last year and his future has been clouded for some months.

    But Waratahs insiders have confirmed he will leave the club after failing to negotiate a one-year extension to his current deal.

    With two world-class loosehead props and a fine tighthead already contracted to the Waratahs, Dunning was believed to be seeking just a 12-month deal in the hope of linking with likely Super 15 franchise Melbourne in 2011. Instead, he's believed to have accepted a two-year deal with Force after an unsatisfactory offer from NSW.
    Since recovering from the season-ending injury, Dunning has dropped 7kg and come through three Premier Rugby matches with Eastwood unscathed. He was one of the side's best with an 80-minute performance in yesterday's match.

    His signing is a massive coup for the West Australian franchise, which has lost a host of stars including Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and James O'Connor.

    Former Wallabies coach John Connolly said Dunning was still a world-class prop and his signing was great news for the club. "He's been a great servant to NSW and Australia, and he'll be a great asset for the Force," Connolly told The Sun-Herald.

    "I have no doubt once he gets back to full fitness he'll return to international duties, there just aren't many players who can offer what he can at international level.

    "He can play at both tighthead and loosehead, and that make him a pretty rare commodity.
    "I think he's a big loss for NSW and a great gain for the Force."
    The news came on the day of Dunning's impressive effort in a losing Eastwood side in the Shute Shield clash with Sydney University.
    Waratahs five-eighth Daniel Halangahu inspired Uni to a thrilling 29-17 win as Wallabies Phil Waugh and Dunning pressed their claims for a representative return.
    The 2008 grand final hero Halangahu got the Students off to a flying start in the fifth minute with a sideline penalty conversion and from there it was all Uni against a competitive Woodies outfit.
    Despite the presence and impressive scrummaging of Dunning at loosehead, a brave Eastwood was unable to match it in the end with Uni's star-studded line-up, which also featured a livewire Tom Carter.

    The Waratahs connection of Halangahu and Carter threatened from the opening whistle, clean cut-out balls for the No.12 causing constant headaches for Eastwood down the left of their defence.

    It also happened to be the same side Waugh was stationed on, so it was no wonder that was where Uni scored their first try. It was the Halangahu-Carter duo that started the charge, with No.4 Hugh Hawkins crossing the stripe to give University a 10-nil lead at the 17th minute.

    Waugh was never far from the action, continually threatening the left edge defence and only superb defence from the Wallabies squad member stopping a deadly Mark Frost from crossing for more than one try. The diminutive Frost was Eastwood's best, breaking the line at will, scoring his side's only points of the first half for a 16-7 halftime deficit.

    Uni didn't have it all their own way in the second stanza. Just 11 minutes in, some James Foote brilliance got the home side within two points. The teams then traded penalty goals but it was Uni who finished stronger, with a try to replacement winger Nick Edwards in the corner and then Halangahu converting his seventh goal from as many attempts with five minutes left after another Eastwood penalty for the 29-17 result.

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  2. #2
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    His signing is a massive coup for the West Australian franchise, which has lost a host of stars including Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and James O'Connor.

    ...huh??? Come again???

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  3. #3
    Immortal Contributor jono's Avatar
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    beat me to it burgs.

    is it just another sensationalist statement?

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