Most read: 'I didn't feel worthy of being Māori' – Quade Cooper opens up about struggling with cultural identity after moving to Australia as a youngster

This story was first published on Monday August 27.

The former Wallabies first-five bared all in a revealing interview with Marae. Source: Marae

Former Wallabies first-five Quade Cooper has opened up on his early life struggles, saying that he lost his cultural identity after moving from Tokoroa to Australia in his youth.

Having been expelled by Reds coach Brad Thorn earlier this year, Cooper is currently plying his trade in Brisbane club rugby with Souths, his first ever club, looking to work his way back into Super Rugby reckoning.

Speaking to Marae's Jordan Vaha'akolo, Cooper spoke openly about the struggles of adapting to living in Australia, having relocated with his family as a teenager.

"Sometimes, I didn't really feel worthy of being Māori," he said.

"Living in Australia, you sort of not forget, but it's not right on your doorstep.

"But I think being Māori is something that's inside you.

"A lot of times people criticise (me), because I played for Australia, things like that.

"A lot of times I have felt it's a bit true, because I don't necessarily know enough about my family or my heritage, or what I'd like to know.

"I've been trying to learn a little bit more, trying (to) get a bit more knowledge on my roots and things like that.

"It's all a journey."

Cooper has played 70 Tests for the Wallabies, and over 100 matches for the Reds in Super Rugby, winning the title with the Queensland side in 2011.



'I will be joining an elite Test team' - John Mitchell confirmed as new England defence coach

Former New Zealand head coach John Mitchell will be joining Eddie Jones' staff as England's defence coach until the end of next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Mitchell will leave his role of Executive of Rugby for South African Super Rugby side the Bulls and join up with former Wallabies boss Jones this month to help prepare for their upcoming run of internationals, including a clash against Australia on November 24 at Twickenham.

The 54-year-old replaces Paul Gustard, who took over as head coach of English premiership side Harlequins this season.

"This is an exciting opportunity to work with England Rugby and support Eddie Jones as head coach," Mitchell said.

"I will be joining an elite high-performance programme, test team and coaching group where I will use all my experience and focus to bring the necessary clarity and confidence to the players from a defensive perspective."

England's defence has come under intense scrutiny after a poor run of form in 2018 that has included five defeats in eight internationals.

Three of those losses came in the Six Nations as the defending champions finished a dismal fifth, and criticism has mounted in the wake of their 2-1 series defeat in South Africa.

The hope is that Mitchell's experience will aid an upturn in form. The New Zealander previously served as forwards coach to Clive Woodward when the latter was in charge of England between 1997 and 2000.

As head coach of the All Blacks, he won 23 of 28 tests and led the team to a third-place finish at the 2003 Rugby World Cup and consecutive Tri-Nations titles.

"Defence is a key pillar of our game and John is an experienced coach," said Australian Jones.

"He's coached the All Blacks, USA Rugby and a number of Super Rugby sides so he will bring a wealth of experience and add to the coaching mix we have here."


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'It's a great opportunity' - Canterbury law student dabbles in new NZ Rugby initiative, Ignite Sevens

Canterbury sevens player Grace Steinmetz only played the game last year in December and is now having a crack at making the national women’s team.

New Zealand Rugby has started a new initiative Ignite 7 which sees 48 female and 48 male athletes take part in a four day event on November 21.

Players will go through a field of testing before playing in a televised one day tournament to earmark new talent.

"Hadn't played rugby or sevens before, so come from a touch and hockey background," said Steinmetz.

The 20-year-old law student hopes to one day wear the Black Ferns women jumper as she tries out her hand in the Ignite 7 tournament.

"It is something I would love to do one day, I think it's a great opportunity for sevens now girls, it's professional and it can be your job now," she said.

"I don't have to worry about my law degree, like I can just go and train and be a professional athlete which is definitely a goal of mine."

Coming from a touch and hockey background Grace Steinmetz admits she is still getting used to contact. Source: 1 NEWS


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Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup tickets to go on sale, All Blacks fans urged to get in quick

All Blacks fans are urged to get in quick if they are to secure seats at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, with officials warning tickets will sell out fast one year out from the tournament.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds aloft the William Webb Ellis Cup after winning Rugby World Cup Final. New Zealand All Blacks v Australia Wallabies, Twickenham Stadium, London, England. Saturday 31 October 2015. Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds aloft the William Webb Ellis Cup after winning Rugby World Cup Final. Source: Photosport

Half a million tickets have already been pre-sold with tickets set to be open for sale to the public at 1pm today (NZ time).

Head of the Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin believes there will be an "unprecedented demand" for tickets which involves the home team, Japan's Brave Blossoms and the top tier nations.

"All the matches involving Japan, definitely all the matches involving New Zealand... England, Australia are experiencing high demand and we would expect they will be sold out very quickly," said Gilpin.

The All Blacks begin their title defence against the Springboks in Yokohama, the evening after the tournament opener between Japan and Russia in Tokyo on September 20, 2019.

Adult ticket prices are expected to range from ¥10,000 - ¥40,000 (NZD $136-$544) while tickets to the final on November 2 to cost anywhere between ¥25,000 - ¥100,000 (NZD $340-$1361).

"When you bring Rugby World Cup to a place like Japan, you hope that people will get behind it and the demand will be there – and it really has been," said Gilpin.

"It's a fantastic story for the event and a good message of confidence for the organising committee."


Kidnap suspect accused of tying woman to pole at outlaw bikie clubhouse, assaulting her for days

A Sydney man has been charged after he allegedly kidnapped a woman, holding her prisoner and assaulting her for two days.

The 22-year-old woman told police she was walking in Cambridge Park in the city's west on Sunday when a man known to her forced her into his car and took her to an outlaw bikie clubhouse in Horsley Park.

She said she was tied to a pole and assaulted for two days.

The man allegedly forced her back into the car yesterday and drove to South Penrith. When he left the car, the woman managed to escape to a nearby property and call police, she said.

When police went to the clubhouse to arrest the 29-year-old man, he held officers off for two hours before surrendering peacefully.

He has been charged with kidnapping, assault and intimidation and is expected to appear in Fairfield Local Court today.

Sign on the top of an Australian police car in Sydney Source: istock.com