Three of Australia’s most celebrated Wallabies Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell represent the pinnacle of Australian team sport. They have played 295 games collectively in the Wallaby backline and became very close mates through the process.
All three had the opportunity later in their careers to play club rugby in France where they not only excelled professionally, but took the time to experience the ‘gourmand’ culture and ‘joie de vivre’ of the French lifestyle. It was in France where they cemented their love of wine.
The group made a pledge to find a way to bring this way of life back to Australia. Through their rugby journey in Australia, the boys met Ben Riggs - the Bushing King of McLaren Vale who agreed to partner with the trio to create a range of wines as a tribute to excellence, connectedness and an appreciation for the finer things in life.
Together the team delivers a range of finely crafted, regionally expressive wines sporting great character and quality.
Matt Giteau has been one of the most highly regarded Wallabies of his generation. Hailing from Queanbeyan in the ACT, the young fella began his rugby journey after being plucked from obscurity as an 18 year old by Eddie Jones into the 2003 World Cup Team. He grew to become one of the most dominant centres in World Rugby, leading his teams from the mid field through Australia, France and Japan. Comparable to a Rolls Royce engine in the way he rarely missed a beat in his performance, his ability to work hard for his mates left an undeniable impression with all those who played with him. Smarts and skill sum up Git’s game, however the inherent toughness he brings to his game is second to none. Gits will go down as one of the great Wallabies.
AAC has been the rock of the Australian Wallabies since he made his debut in 2005. It is well known that he was only inches away from tucking into a meat pie in the crowd after being selected as 23rd man, before being called up as a late replacement for his teammate who was injured in the warm up. From there, AAC made himself a staple necessity of the Australian backline, playing in whichever position the team needed him most. His resilience, skill and attitude made him one of the first men picked in every team he has been a part of. 121 test matches for his country speaks volumes for the contribution AAC makes to his team week in, week out. Always greedy for the tryline, his link work in attack and metronomic defence always allowed his team mates to flourish around him.
On the end of a backline, Drew was nigh unstoppable in all conditions. Regarded globally for his ability to find the try line, Drew still holds the record for the most tries by an Australian at all World Cups. The timing with which Drew chimed into attacking lines forced opposing teams into changing their defensive patterns just to cope with his assaults. Always one to bring energy onto the field and encourage his team mates to enjoy their unity off it, Drew was that player that never let a scoring opportunity pass him by. Never far from a practical joke or making his team mates laugh, Drew is always looking for the play which will get his team across the line. One of the finest try scoring finishers Australian rugby has witnessed.
About 'Coach' Riggs
The key for any coach to be successful is a wealth of experience. Ben Riggs or favourably known as Mr. Riggs has been in the winemaking game both in Australia and Internationally for more than 35 years. Ben built his experience through vintages abroad in the Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Greece, Italy, and the South of France as well as Australia. Ben has logged a whopping 47 vintages in total.
Ben has consulted with over 25 winemaking companies and has decades of vintages at McLaren Vale’s Wirra Wirra under his belt as well as founding Mr Riggs Wine Co. in 2001.
Every good coach likes to win. Ben’s winemaking skill has been recognised locally through over 100 trophies, countless gold medals and awards including winning the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge twice, McLaren Vale “Bushing King" twice plus two nominations for Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year.