Friday’s Rugby News has the Wallabies squad against France, wacky stuff from Steve Hansen, Mario Ledesma quotes and the 2017 Force squad.
Michael Cheika has taken the revolutionary guillotine the royal squad, swapping out, making a whopping 12 changes to the XV.
In big news, Godwin will make his debut at inside centre, with Luke Morahan (1 cap) starting at fullback. Making their starting debuts will be Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa (tighthead) and Sefa Naivalu.
James Slipper, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy and Sean McMahon (back from injury) swap the cold for gold. Rob Simmons replaces the injured Coleman and Quade is going in at 10 after being an unused sub last week.
Will Genia, Henry Speight and Tevita Kuridrani are the only ones from last week staying where they are. David Pocock moves from 6 to 7, and will captain the side. Everyone else is benched or will be suited up – Israel’s out, as is Arnold, DHP, Hodge and Coleman (injured).
As ever, Cheika has named an extended bench, with one name to be culled from Moore, Sio, Robertson, Skelton, Mumm, Timani, Phipps, Foley and Taqele Naiyaravoro.
1. James Slipper 2. Tolu Latu 3. Allan Alaalatoa 4. Kane Douglas 5. Rob Simmons 6. Scott Fardy 7. David Pocock (c) 8. Sean McMahon 9. Will Genia 10. Quade 11. Henry Speight 12. Kyle Godwin* 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Sefanaia Naivalu 15. Luke Morahan Finishers/Shoulder Chargers (one to be cut) 16. Stephen Moore 17. Scott Sio 18. Tom Robertson 19. Will Skelton 20. Dean Mumm 21. Lopeti Timani 22. Nick Phipps 23. Bernard Foley 24. Taqele Naiyaravoro
If that Wallabies squad is giving you a bad start to the day, the tonic is right here: Steve Hansen is talking up the All Blacks as underdogs as they take on Ireland this weekend.
No, really. All it took was one loss.
“We know the challenge we face from Ireland will again be massive and we are going into the game as the underdogs,” Hansen said according to rugby.com.au. “They’ll be full of confidence and committed to delivering on their home patch.”
Hansen has decided to take Ireland seriously this time, posting a more-or-less full-strength ABs lineup for the game (except for Jerome Kaino). The lock pairing of Retallick and Whitelock is back, and Aaron Smith is slated to start come back into scrumhalf after an extended period in the disabled toilet block.
The ABs demoted a clutch of the stars last weekend – captain Kieran Read was running drinks – but that didn’t stop them stomping Italy in Rome 68-10.
Ledesma Loves Scrums
Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma has opened up to rugby.com.au about his coaching experiences in Australia. He reckons the key is getting piggies to love scrums.
“I think it was a lack of work and because of that the importance given to scrum wasn’t really there and the players felt that way so no one was proud of their scrum and nobody invested time on working on the scrum or developing players to have a good scrum,” he said.
“The forwards weren’t really proud of what they were doing because it was just… they were trying to get [to get out of there as quick as possible]”
Ledesma also says a few events made his work easier: “Everyone was really receptive either in the Waratahs or Wallaby team because the two years before I came they had a couple of disappointments in the November tour against Wales and England”
He also had praise for the young props in the Wallaby team. “When you see two tighthead props at 21,22 that’s quite surprising. It doesn’t exist in World Rugby and they’ve been performing week in, week out and then outside of the field, they’re great guys, really humble, really eager to know and to develop.
“I prefer to have really strong specialists but if you don’t have that player you need guys that could swap sides and fortunately we have them here.”
The Western Force have released their final squad list for the 2017 season. Of the 36 players named, 14 are new faces.
Tatafu Polota-Nau is the big new name, as is Curtis Rona, the former Canterbury Bulldogs and youth rugby player, who’s returning home to Perth. Big names like Adam Coleman, Dane Haylett-Petty and the man who bleeds cement, captain Matt Hodgson, have all been retained.
The Force also welcome the returning Bill Meakes, formerly of Gloucester and Eastern Suburbs, and have also snatched the signing of Robbie Coleman from the Brumbies and Chance Peni (also a Perth native) from Wests Tigers.
2016 debutants Richard Hardwick, Harry Scoble (the boy who swapped Auskick for rugby and became a man), Anaru Rangi and Matt Phillip have been upgraded to the main squad for next year. The Force have also added locals Shambeckler Vui (also of the Australian u20s) and Michael Ruru.
That now means that ten members of the Western Force squad are Western Australians, an impressive number given that the Force are only eleven years old.
Force Squad for 2017
Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley, Richard Arnold, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Ben Daley, Tetera Faulkner, Richard Hardwick, Ross Haylett-Petty, Matt Hodgson, Kane Koteka, Ben Matwijow, Ben McCalman, Isi Naisarani, Matt Philip, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Anaru Rangi, Harry Scoble, Brynard Stander, Heath Tessmann, Francios van Wyk, Shambeckler Vui.
Backs: Marcel Brache, Luke Burton, Robbie Coleman, Peter Grant, Dane Haylett-Petty, Jono Lance, Ryan Louwrens, Semisi Masirewa, Bill Meakes, Luke Morahan, Chance Peni, Ian Prior, Curtis Rona, Michael Ruru
Coach: Dave Wessels
GRAND SLAM CRAFT BEER
There’s only one thing better than watching a clinical David Pocock pilfer, and that’s drinking some craft beer while you watch your rugby.
Green & Gold Rugby has teamed up with The Craft Beer Market to offer a stonking deal for you. For $84 delivered, you can get your hands on 16 of the finest craft beers around.
This pack has everything – pilsners, pale ales, Indian pale ales, golden ales, bright ales, double lagers (if there can be Two Dads, there can be double lager, right?), wheat ales, chardonnay IPAs, and summer ales.
All you have to do is enter the code “GAGR84” to receive your discount on a lineup of beers that would give the current Wallabies XV (plus coach Cheika) a run for their money.