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Thread: and a new Rugby correspondent at the Sunday Times.

  1. #1
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    and a new Rugby correspondent at the Sunday Times.

    New Force recruit Matt Dunning aims to scale more peaks









    BIG GUNS: Western Force recruits Brett Sheehan and Matt Dunning are ready for a bumper Super 14 season. Picture: Theo Fakos Source: The Sunday Times




    MATT Dunning's golf handicap - two digits higher than his all-time peak with the Waratahs - is an indication of just how seriously the resurgent Wallaby prop regards the 2010 Super 14 season for his new Perth club, the Western Force.



    Now 31 and in the twilight of his career, Dunning aims to scale rugby's peaks before he hangs up his scrum cap.


    It can be regarded as a good omen that he's now teeing off on an eight, having consistently played off a six throughout his career.


    After missing Super rugby last season with an achilles tendon injury and returning on the end of year tour to win his 45th Wallaby cap, Dunning has set his sights on a rare half century this season.


    Fifty Tests would put him in some elite company, joining Al Baxter (69 caps), Phil Kearns (67) and Ewen McKenzie (51) as the only Australian props to achieve this milestone.


    Then there's next year's World Cup in New Zealand, realistically Dunning's last shot at grasping rugby's holy grail.


    Dunning, now in Cape Town with the Force on its Super rugby dress rehearsal, knows the clock is ticking and that only fewer doughnuts, fewer fairways and a manic dedication can fuel his objectives.


    "It's every player's dream to play in a World Cup and win 50 Test caps and so forth," he said.


    "But you can't look that far ahead in rugby. The here and now is the Western Force and success in this year's Super-14. "That's my focus and hopefully everything will flow on from there."


    That signals a serious edge to the jovial Dunning, who spent nine years with the Waratahs, has played on both sides of the scrum and has no hesitation nominating tighthead as his preferred position.


    No surprises there considering the much maligned Wallaby scrum, the butt of many jokes in recent years climaxing, with former Springbok coach Jake White's belittling gibe that the Australian set piece might compete with the Stellenbosch (university) fourth team, has transformed itself under Kiwi coach Robbie Deans.


    The jokes and the taunts were buried in the Suncorp turf by Benn Robinson during last year's Tri-Nations on a night when the world and Tri-Nations champion Springboks were humbled by their host.


    While Robinson has the inside lane on the loosehead berth, Dunning, significantly, returned to the Wallaby team as a tighthead replacement in November's tour victory against England.


    Just to show that he is still the character of old, Dunning may yet revert to type with unpredictable consequences this season.


    Best known as probably the only prop in Super rugby history to slot a drop kick - he was aiming to miss to secure a penalty for the Waratahs in 2003 when they needed bonus point tries to make the semi-finals - Dunning hasn't forgotten the 28m effort.


    It was a goal that would have made new Force flyhalf Andre Pretorius marvel in admiration.


    But like that first chip-in eagle, you don't forget the feeling and Dunning can't wait to do it again.


    "Maybe, maybe not, very possibly," he said.


    Rugby sages will tell Dunning to leave that to the experts.


    http://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/new...-1225822896832

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  2. #2
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    And starts his new career by belting someone in the head and getting red carded
    A good profile piece though, hopefully more of them to come.
    Seem to get three or four pages of AFL ones each week in the ST even so far from the start of their season, surely now our season is upon us we will get some extra coverage?

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    There was a bio on this guy / writer in the corner of the article - he hails from Capetown and has won awards for sports journalism - so hopefully

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    Best known as probably the only prop in Super rugby history to slot a drop kick - he was aiming to miss to secure a penalty for the Waratahs in 2003


    Pull the other one Donut. It plays jingle bells.

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    Champion oxleymoron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    But like that first chip-in eagle, you don't forget the feeling
    Have to agree with this comment

    I'm not sure whether Dunning will get back to the cult status following he had from his couple of appearances on "The Fat", with his piece in the litter tray liner each week.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxleymoron View Post
    I'm not sure whether Dunning will get back to the cult status following he had from his couple of appearances on "The Fat"
    Maybe not but I think the "Donut" tag has to stick. Reminds me of a kids show from 1950's called "Our Gang". There was a fat kid who was always getting them in the poo. They called him Donut.

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