Nathan Sharpe spoke to us as an HSBC Ambassador at the Dubai Sevens. For more information follow @HSBCrugby Chris Jack (New Zealand)Tests 67 Points 25 (5T)I played a lot of rugby against Chris Jack growing up in the age-grades at U19 and U21s. For a long period of time in the early 2000s, he was the dominant lock for the Crusaders and the All Blacks. Chris had some great skills. He was a really good all-rounder.Andries BekkerTests 29 Points 5 (1T)Andries Bekker was another tough Springbok. At 6ft 10in, he’s very tall – even for a lock and that made him a real threat an the lineout. He’s a technically gifted in the lineout lineout but he was also pretty quick around the park. He used to get through a lot of work, hitting rucks and making the tackles. He’s been unlucky with injury.The next generation…Top dog: Brodie Retallick is the World Rugby Player of the Year for 2014“I still watch a lot of rugby. I was pleased to see Brodie Retallick win the World Rugby Player of the Year. He’s a very talented player, I played against him a bit. Eben Etzebeth is another in the typical Springbok enforcer mould but he’s a very good player and he’s still so young. He has so much potential. Joe Launchbury has all the makings of a great lock too. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS At the Dubai Sevens we caught up with Wallaby great Nathan Sharpe. In a stellar 14-year career former Queensland Red and Western Force lock Sharpe won 116 caps, played in three World Cups and is the third most capped lock of all-time. He also won the John Eales Medal on two occasions. He took some time out to give us a list of the greatest lock forwards he played against.Victor Matfield (South Africa)Caps 121 Points 35 (7T)Master at work: Victor Matfield is the most capped lock of all time“I’ve picked Victor Matfield on his ability to run a very clinical lineout. Over the years he has built a real presence on the field for the Springboks. I think he understands the game of rugby very well and takes real pride in doing his homework around his lineout, something he’s still doing pretty well at 37. As well as being very organized he is also a fine athlete who is a tremendous lineout jumper. Knowing him as I do, he’s also very, very competitive. He’s one of the best in the business.”Brad Thorn (New Zealand)Caps 59 Points 20 (4T)“Brad Thorn is a hard man and so resilient – which is why he’s still playing when he’s nearly 40! He made the difficult transition from League to become one of the most important cogs in the All Blacks team that lifted the Rugby World Cup in 2011, which was some achievement. Physically he’s an absolute beast, a real specimen, but if anything tops his physical stature it’s his mental toughness. I’ve heard he’s making a good impression at Leicester. I would guess he certainly commands respect.”Paul O’Connell (Ireland)Caps 103 (96 Ireland) Points 30 (6T)Takes some stopping: Paul O’Connell is a tough operator“Paul O’Connell is one gritty player. He’s been the main man in the Irish pack for such a long time now and you can see he really drives them through a game. He’s good in the air and in the tight exchanges and he never yields an inch. He’s everything you want in a modern lock. He hits rucks, makes yards and puts his fair share of tackles in. He’s the ultimate warrior in green and one tough bugger to play against.” Old warrior: Nathan Sharpe played 116 times for the Wallabies in a stellar career
We are ’SC · Keyshawn Johnson, alumnus and former NFL player, spoke to players and students after the team’s practice Thursday. Jackson Dahl, a senior majoring in business administration, organized the rally for students to attend the practice before the team faces Notre Dame. – Maya Dondonayan | Daily TrojanAs USC football players left Howard Jones field after practice on Thursday, they were met with cheers, applause and chants of “We are SC!” and “Beat the Irish!” from students on the sidelines.Students gathered for the team’s final practice before heading to face Notre Dame as part of a rally organized by Jackson Dahl, a senior majoring in business administration.“I was talking with a close friend and mentor Professor [David] Belasco, who has a lot of connections to the athletic program, and we were thinking, ‘It’s been a really rough week — it’s been a really rough four years,’” Dahl said. “We were thinking, ‘What could we do that would be really special?’ — hopefully lift [the team] a little bit as they go off to Notre Dame for probably the toughest game of the year.”Belasco, co-director and adjunct professor at the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Marshall School of Business who teaches the popular class “The Leap,” said the idea for the rally came to him on Tuesday night.“I went here, I teach here. This is why they call it a Trojan Family -— we show up for each other when we need it,” he said. “This team has been through so much beyond their control over the last few years between sanctions and abrupt coaching changes that we just felt we needed to tell them, ‘It’s our team, it’s our University,’ and show up for them.”Belasco spoke to J.K. McKay, senior associate athletic director for football, and reached out to Dahl to get students involved. Dahl created a Facebook event for the rally and sent out emails to generate awareness.“When you want anything done, you get students involved quickly,” Belasco said. “You can tell that students were ready to receive this and support this because they all feel the same way: ‘What can we do to show our support for these players?’”Students joined the players in the huddle after practice where several former NFL football players who played for USC — Keyshawn Johnson, Willie McGinest and Keith Rivers — gave motivational speeches to the team.“It wasn’t us reaching out to the Trojan Family, it was the [Trojan Family] reaching out to us,” interim head coach Clay Helton said. “That’s what makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.”More than 500 students said they would attend the rally on Facebook, but actual attendance was closer to 50. Will Orr, a senior majoring in law, history and culture said that while he was slightly disappointed with the turnout, he was glad to be able to support the team.“Two years ago, we said ‘one team, one heart,’ and I think that message still rings true,” he said. “I think Helton’s a helluva coach, and I think we’re going to finish the season strong, the team’s really coming together.”Eric Hahn, a sophomore majoring in international relations and global business, said the turmoil surrounding USC football earlier in the week drove him to attend the rally.“We had a tough week, a lot of stuff’s gone down,” he said. “Sark’s gone, but the one thing that brings us together is football and the Trojan Family, so it’s always worth coming out and supporting our guys.”Dahl said he is considering hosting more rallies in the future.“[Today’s rally] was super grassroots. We planned it the day before, but it’d be cool to see something happen with a little more momentum,” he said.