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Wallabies Squad for Spring Tour

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Post by boomeranga Sat 05 Nov 2011, 10:09 pm

The Wallaby squad for the two match tour to Europe will be named on Monday. There are a fair few blokes injured, and a few that I think are worth leaving home for various reasons. Twenty six players are to be taken.

Injured (not all confirmed as gone)
Benn Robinson (knee), Sekope Kepu (eye socket), Dan Vickerman (shoulder), Rocky Elsom (hamstring), Wycliffe Palu (hamstring), Kurtley Beale (hamstring), Pat McCabe (shoulder), Quade Cooper (knee), Drew Mitchell (hamstring)

Give them a miss
Matt Hodgeson is 30 and hasn’t made it so far, so why persist; the Faiangaa twins are ok, but they aren’t showing enough not to give a couple of others an opportunity; Radike Samo appeared to have run out of gas by the end of the RWC, and at his age that’s ok.

I would like them to add a few players that were not in the reckoning for the RWC and think they can do this without further damage to our prospects. The squad I would like to see:

4 x Props: James Slipper, Ben Alexander, Salesi Ma’afu, Keiren Longbottom
3 x Hookers: Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Hansen / Nathan Charles
3 x Locks: James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Nathan Sharpe, Kane Douglas
6 x Backrow: Scott Higginbotham, David Pocock, Ben McCalman, Dave Dennis, Beau Robinson / Ita Vaea
2 x Scrumhalf: Will Genia, Nick Phipps
2 x Flyhalf: Berrick Barnes, James O’Connor
3 x Centres: Rob Horne, AAC, Ben Tapuai
3 x Outside Backs: Digby Ioane, Lachie Turner, Luke Morahan

The Newbs
Keiren Longbottom (25): Would be out of his depth, but along with Dan Palmer, Longbottom is rated as one of our best scrummaging prospects.
Nathan Charles (22): settled into S15 well this year.
James Hansen (23): So hot right now. He didn't overtake Saia Faingaa at the Reds this year, but I think he will unless second year blues strike.
Kane Douglas (22): suffered second year blues at the Tahs in 2011, but had a terrific debut season in 2010. A big aggressive kid who would benefit from going on tour. I wouldn't be disappointed to see Sam Wykes or Hugh Pyle named instead, but Dean Mumm is more likely.
Dave Dennis (26): toured in 2009, but last season finally started to look more like a player. Not the answer to our backrow questions, but looks worth developing as a squad player
Beau Robinson (25): should have been in NZ from the start. Not in the class of Bam Bam, but courageous, athletic and annoying. More likely to take Hodgeson.
Ita Vaea (22): Started the season on a $15k academy contract, and ended up one of the few bright sparks from the Brumbies season. No actual chance of Ita going, and that is probably the correct choice.
Ben Tapuai (22): Like a good horse, so far he’s handled every step up in class
Luke Morahan (21): I think one day soon he’ll be very good.

I'll update with the squad when announced.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 06 Nov 2011, 12:50 pm

Not sure about the Aus front row, but this has the look of a team which could win the RWC.
ooooooops, err, do well for the next few years.

I think if Aus chose Barnes at Stand Off from the beginning of the RWC, we might have a different winner.

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Post by Pal Joey Sun 06 Nov 2011, 8:38 pm

That injury list is pretty horrific. The fact that we will be forced to blood those youngsters a little earlier than planned may well work with this '1-year' cycle approach mentioned in the media the other day, boomer?

At any rate, we will need to strengthen our backup players across mostly all positions. The injury toll from this last RWC has hit quite a few nations hard but the Wallabies especially so.

Maybe you are right about Barnes, doctor. However his return from the head knock was only 2 or 3 games before the Cup started. Quade Cooper had the right for the spot after this year's S15 and if they were going to give BB a chance... then, when would have been the best time to get him in the side? After the 3N loss to the ABs at Eden Park perhaps or for (or after) the Ireland game?
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Post by boomeranga Sun 06 Nov 2011, 10:04 pm

I noticed the switch in PR cycles as well LB. I personally would have got the sh--- if we were told we were already rebuilding towards another world cup. I read around today and most of my chosen ones are not getting a mention (no suprise there), so maybe they arent tossing it all out and starting again. Ben Lucas and Tapuai are the two bolters flagged.

This isn’t related to the tour squad, but not worth a thread of its own.

I noticed that there are three young guys that have been signed out of the NRL clubs in the finalised S15 squads, plus one elevated from the academy after leaving the NRL last year. Three are backs – Will Tupou (signed from North Queensland), Joe Tomane (Gold Coast) and Jordan Rapana (Gold Coast), while the one forward is Lopeti Timani, Sitaleki's little bro.

I'm over the idea of poaching NRL players like they did with the Dell, etc, but I googled and each of them are young (20-21), low profile, and three have strong rugby backgrounds before signing to the NRL. It’s also good that when reading the media coming out of the squads, there isn’t talk of these kids being saviours, so they will hopefully get to develop and either make it or not based on their performance, rather than being elevated because they are costing a fortune. I’d bet all four of these are costing less than Wendall did 10 years ago.

Tupou and Tomane both played rugby at Australian Schoolboy level, but were then poached over to the NRL. Jordan Rapana moved with his family from NZ as a 10 year old, but switched to league when he got here. He debuted for the Titans at 18 before going on a Morman mission for two years. Timani is Tongan raised and schooled, and moved here to play with the Bulldogs.

All of them had offers to stay on with their NRL clubs, but chose rugby, so will be interesting to see how they come along. Much better way to do it than dropping a bomb on someone with a big profile but little background in the game.


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Post by Morgannwg Mon 07 Nov 2011, 6:23 am

What sort of team will Aus bring over for the December test in Cardiff, the best available?
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Post by boomeranga Mon 07 Nov 2011, 9:25 am

They'll send the best available team on paper Morgan, but all the players that were at the world cup are on holidays. Expect a slightly fatter team to run out at Millenium than you would be used to.

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Post by boomeranga Mon 07 Nov 2011, 10:12 am

Wallabies squad: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Pekahou Cowan, Dave Dennis, Anthony Faingaa, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Rob Horne, James Horwill (capt), Digby Ioane, Ben Lucas, Salesi Ma’afu, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, James O’Connor, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota Nau, Radike Samo, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Ben Tapuai, Lachie Turner.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/uncapped-trio-in-wallabies-squad-20111107-1n2kw.html#ixzz1cyBiQKFA

Bolded players are non-RWC squad

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Post by boomeranga Mon 07 Nov 2011, 12:36 pm

O'Connor for bigger Wallabies tour role Adrian Warren
November 7, 2011 - 11:49AM
.AAP

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has indicated young utility star James O'Connor will get a bigger role, closer to the action, on the two-match rugby union tour to Britain.

The squad of 26 named on Monday included three uncapped players, NSW Waratahs backrower Dave Dennis and Queensland Reds backs Ben Tapuai and Ben Lucas.

Injuries meant eight World Cup squad members were not considered for the tour which comprises matches against the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 26 and Wales in Cardiff on December 3.

Advertisement: Story continues below That contingent included forwards Sekope Kepu, Rocky Elsom, Dan Vickerman and Wycliff Palu and backs Kurtley Beale, Drew Mitchell, Pat McCabe and Quade Cooper, while halfback Luke Burgess is unavailable after joining a French club.

With Cooper and McCabe among the absentees, Deans hinted O'Connor, who has played primarily on the wing for Australia in recent times, could be moved to five-eighth or inside centre.

"When you are looking at the players that we are taking, it's very likely he (O'Connor) will get the opportunity to step up and accept some of the greater responsibility that comes directing the game," Deans said.

He wasn't concerned the Wallabies could struggle for motivation so soon after the World Cup, in the aftermath of their semi-final loss to New Zealand and ultimate third placing there.

"It's a great opportunity for this group," Deans said.

"We've already been through the emotional ride of disappointment of not being able to beat New Zealand (in the World Cup semi-final) and having to get up four nights later (against Wales in the bronze medal match).

"But the boys did that well and showed the pride that they have representing their country and this is another opportunity which is important to them."

Of the newcomers, Dennis went on the 2009 Spring Tour but didn't play a Test and he was also a member of the initial 40-man squad for this year's domestic campaign.

"He was probably unlucky in the first instance not to make that World Cup squad, but he gets his opportunity now," Deans said.

"Then we've got the two Bens. Ben Tapuai, who earned the right off the back of his Super Rugby experience and played very well on the Gold Coast for the Australian Barbarians against Canada.

"Ben Lucas is obviously a very versatile player. There's an opening at No.9, which is where most of Benny's background is and with Luke Burgess going to play his rugby offshore, his versatility will be handy."

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Post by boomeranga Sun 13 Nov 2011, 5:47 pm

I know that there’s an absolutely insatiable desire on the board for news of the Australian s15 sides Erm , so I thought I’d oblige.

All Teams
• The ARU has introduced changes to the squad makeup as of next year. An Extended Playing Squad system is being introduced so each team is allowed five EPS players who will train full time with the team’s 30-man Core Playing Squad (CPS), but who will only be available for selection in the match-day 22 where the CPS is depleted by injury.
• The 25 EPS players are funded by the ARU
• There is also going to be a national ARU funded academy to replace the provincial academies.

ACT Brumbies
• Jake White has distributed all 35 players between the local clubs and introduced a rule that all fit squad players not in their game day 22 must play in the ACT competition. The intention is to link the Brumbies to the community more prominently as last years sacking of the coach did a lot of damage. Without this players would return to their home club even if that was in Sydney.
• Brumbies have signed a 24yo Irish guy named Ruaidhri Murphy to their EPS.
• Brumbies have also signed former Shute Shield player Fotu Auelua from Toulon on a two year contract. There are mixed reviews here from his time in the Sydney Club rugby (from ‘good signing’ to ‘he’s a fat seagull better suited to chasing chips at Bondi’), but the ARU seem pretty interested as they are paying part of his salary. Has anyone seen him play with Toulon?

Melbourne Rebels
• Rebels have signed John Muggelton as Defence Coach. Muggleton was the defensive coach for the ’99 Wallabies. They need a good defensive coach.
• Stirling Mortlock has been retained as captain. They have also signed JOC and Mitch Inman who are both worth a run in the centres.
• No Cips, Delve and Lipman news other than they are back at training.

NSW
• Sarel Pretorius has begun training with the Tahs
• Speculation about who will be the new Waratahs skipper with Phil Waugh having retired last year. Most likely it will be Barnes.

QLD
• McKenzie and the QRU have hosed down any talk of him being involved with the Wallabies coaching team
• Digby Ioane is expected to turn down a $1m per year deal to play in Japan
• Cooper is out for 6 months so expected to miss the first 6 weeks of the S15.

Western Force
• The club has recently unveiled their new training centre: http://www.westernforce.com.au/FanZone/PhotoGallery/tabid/860/AlbumId/256/Default.aspx
• David Pocock has/had an eating disorder: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/pocock-autobiography-reveals-flight-into-exile-led-to-eating-disorder-20111112-1nctp.html
• The only Wallaby to debut at a younger age than JOC died last week: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sport/youngest-wallaby-dies-at-72/story-e6frg7o6-1226190628078

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Post by maestegmafia Sun 13 Nov 2011, 8:17 pm

Cheers boomeranga, an interesting read.

Moving O'Conner to 1st 5/8th with Barnes and Genia either side of him would be a great axis.

This is a talented Aussie side, Wales cant take them lightly.

What other matches other than the one at the MS against Wales are they playing?

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Post by boomeranga Mon 14 Nov 2011, 6:09 pm

Just the Baa Baas the week before mm. Long way to send them for two games, but no doubt we need the cash. The midfield with JOC and Rob Horne is what I'd like to see for this trip.

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Post by boomeranga Mon 21 Nov 2011, 12:18 pm

Pocock named WA’s Young Aust of the year
Posted: 20 Nov 2011 12:27 PM PST

Wallabies flanker David Pocock has been named Western Australia’s Young Australian of the Year for his work on and off the rugby field.
The 23-year-old won the 2010 John Eales Medal as the best performing Wallaby and, in the past two years, has been nominated for the International Rugby Board Player of the Year.
Pocock’s humanitarian efforts have brought hope to disadvantaged communities in his native Zimbabwe.
Pocock established the charity EightyTwenty Vision in 2009 alongside close friend Luke O’Keefe.
He has worked to raise funds for projects focusing on health care for HIV and AIDS sufferers, education for children, food and water security, and human rights.
He also regularly travels to Africa to assist in projects and ensure they’re delivering real outcomes.
“It is a great honour to be recognised in such a way, especially given the calibre of young West Australians who were nominated this year,” Pocock said in a statement.
“There is a large group of outstanding young people who have won the award over the years and, to be mentioned alongside them, is a privilege.”
RugbyWA chairman Russel Perry accepted the award on behalf of Pocock, who was unable to attend the ceremony as he was in transit to England with the Wallabies for matches against the Barbarians and Wales.

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Post by OzT Mon 21 Nov 2011, 10:07 pm

Good on ya David Pocock, looks like a real decent bloke going back and donating towards helping his native Zimbabwe.

clap

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Post by boomeranga Tue 22 Nov 2011, 4:14 pm

The ARU have announced a new jersey for the Oz 7s sides that bears no resemblance to the Wallaby jersey.  I read it described somewhere as being Parrot Sh-- Green.  Link

I'm trying to work out why theyd go this way and wonder if they are intentionally trying to distinguish the sevens team from what the huge league community here refer to as Yawnion, and for which the wallaby jersey is the main symbol.  Maybe they think if they can set it off to the side far enough they'll be able to bridge the gap and get young "mungoes" enticed by the idea of going to the Olympics.

I can't stand the jumper, but it could prove to be a smart move as there are an awful lot of kids that may not fit the formula for making the big time in the NRL, but could still prove worth a look for the sevens. Worth a try anyway.

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Post by Pal Joey Tue 22 Nov 2011, 6:57 pm

It's Pine Lime Splice colour... Laugh

I thought England was Papua New Guinea for a while... quite a fiery outfit; so un-England!

Looking forward to the warm up matches and the Tests, boomer?
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Post by boomeranga Wed 23 Nov 2011, 9:02 am

It bloody is LB! Someone should buy JOn an Orange Calippos.

Looking forward to the two games, but still feel a bit sorry for them having to play at this point of the year. Every time I look at the team printed, I can't believe Samo is still going. Poor old bugga must be tired.

did you catch the news re Drew Mitchell? Had to go back in for more Ankle surgery.

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Post by Pal Joey Wed 23 Nov 2011, 10:15 am

Yes, I wonder whether it happened a few weeks or more back and the news only just came out?
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Post by maestegmafia Wed 23 Nov 2011, 11:14 am

Any ideas on what a test team might look like?

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Post by boomeranga Wed 23 Nov 2011, 2:40 pm

Could be right LB. There was some talk of it on GAGR last week, but today was the first time I heard it confirmed.

MM - there hasnt been much talk really about the team they will pick, but based on the the selections this year, who was able to make the tour, and the talk that JOC will be 10 or 12, it will probably be:

1) Alexander
2) Moore
3) Maafu
4) Horwill
5) Simmons
6) Higginbotham
7) Pocock
8) Samo
9) Genia
10) Barnes
11) Ioane
12) JOC
13) Horne
14) Turner
15) AAC
16) TPN
17) Slipper
18) Sharpe
19) McCalman
20) Hodgeson
21) Phipps
22) Faingaa

I'd like them to try Dennis at 6/8, but it is unlikely. McCalman and Hodgeson will get the run (again). If Jones doesnt make it, Slipper may replace one of the two props at the starting line, but against your first choice front row I think they will go for the two more experienced guys. Ben Lucas has a chance of replacing Phipps as Lucas covers 9,10,15 for the Reds.

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