AntipoDeans has gone for a pretty much full strength side to take on the Baabaas in Sydney this weekend – looks like he doesn’t fancy sharing Martin Johnson’s embarrassment.
The most newsworthy selection seems to be Lote Tuqiri at Left Right Out. There’s speculation over whether this is a form based decision, but even with Hynes injured Australia has wing talent to burn at the moment and with the selection of Hodgson at 6, it appears that the Wallabies plan to fight Barbarian fire with fire through a fast, running game. With Tuqiri having developed into a strong defensive winger, this may well be a ‘horses for courses’ selection.
There are a couple of other eye-brow raising selections. The first is AAC at 15; James (aka Jason) O’Connor is on the bench but I’d been hoping since last season that the “AAC at 15 project” had finished and his form for the Brumbies wasn’t electric. Ashley-Cooper does provide a lot of flexibility, it would be nice for the young and talented O’Connor to get a good run out though.
The other one is Quade Cooper on the bench. He did a pretty good job of disappearing as the Reds season went to shit this year and there’s plenty of inside back cover through that team.
We need an addition to the Aussie RugbySaurus: Cooper [n.] – a selection based on faith, not on form
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies)
14. Lachie Turner (Waratahs)
13. Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies, captain)
12. Berrick Barnes (Queensland Reds)
11. Drew Mitchell (Western Force)
10. Matt Giteau (Brumbies)
9. Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs)
8. Richard Brown (Western Force)
7. George Smith (Brumbies)
6. Matt Hodgson (Western Force)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force)
4. James Horwill (Queensland Reds)
3. Al Baxter (NSW Waratahs)
2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)
1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs)
17. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
18. Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs)
19. David Pocock (Western Force)
20. Josh Valentine (Western Force)
21. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)
22. James O’Connor (Western Force)