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Saturday Nov 1 07:43 AEDT
Matt Hodgson. (Getty)
Matt Hodgson's ability to lead by example convinced Michael Cheika to overlook several former Wallabies leaders for the captaincy.

Wallabies fullback Israel Folau. (AAP)
Israel Folau's value to rugby union has been underlined after he claimed the John Eales Medal.

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More union headlines
SBW returns to rugby against USASonny Bill Williams says he's a long way from being a fully restored rugby athlete for his New Zealand Test return against the United States. NZ fly-half Slade sees Aust comebackNew Zealand fly-half Colin Slade gets another crack at Australia playing for rugby's Barbarains at Twickenham. All Blacks in Chicago for rugby promoThe promotion of rugby union in the United States will be the important factor when the world champion All Blacks meet the Golden Eagles in Chicago. Cooper to express himself v BarbariansReturning playmaker Quade Cooper is ready to fight to reclaim his Wallabies Test spot and has backed close friend Kurtley Beale to learn from his mistakes. Beale issued last-chance warningWallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale has been fined another $3000 for his in-flight verbal altercation with management staff. ARU's Pulver wants in for the long haulThere were calls for Bill Pulver's head due to his handling of the Kurtley Beale saga but he says he wants to stay on as ARU CEO. Burgess has 'belief' he can make WC 2015Sam Burgess was peppered with questions about his ambition to play in the 2015 Rugby World Cup when he was presented as a Bath player for the first time. Cheika to make Aussie rugby irresistibleWallabies coach Michael Cheika wants to make playing for Australia an experience so good it will stem the flow of players to foreign clubs. Burgess backs Cheika to 'turn team around'Bath recruit Sam Burgess believes his mate Michael Cheika has the right attitude to help the Wallabies become a threat at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. All Black praises Hayne's gutsy NFL moveJarryd Hayne could be a trend-setter with his switch to American Football says All Blacks winger and NFL nut Cory Jane. Hansen effusive about SBW's potentialSonny Bill Williams was preparing for his All Blacks return well before his NRL stint with the Sydney Roosters finished. Rumour mill does not upset Perth SpiritRumours that Karmichael Hunt may run out for Brisbane City in Saturday's NRC final have not put off Perth Spirit mentor Kevin Foote. Beale saga could have been avoided: DeansFormer Wallabies coach Robbie Deans believes the latest Kurtley Beale saga could have been nipped in the bud. Test spots up for grabs v BarbariansA new era in Australian rugby begins when the Wallabies face the Barbarians in Michael Cheika's first game in charge. Ireland lose NZ-born White for rugby TestsIreland's scrum further weakened by the loss of New Zealand-born prop Nathan White for the rugby Tests against South Africa, Georgia and Australia. Banned Taofifenua misses Fiji, Aust TestsA three-week ban for kicking an opponent in the head will keep Toulon lock Romain Taofifenua out of the French rugby squad to take on Fiji and Australia.
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