Friday’s Rugby News sees the Wallaby squad announced, young guns included, Brumbies lineout break down, and the Super Final
First the big news. Christian Leali’ifano is back in gold for the first time since 2016. Lilo, in this reporters opinion, has been the best flyhalf in the country this year it only remains to be seen if that form can translate to test rugby. Hopefully, we’ll have a better idea after he plays his 20 test, this time against the Springboks, in a couple of weeks.
Lilo’s inclusion probably comes at Quade Cooper’s expense but that’s probably not that surprising. With Bernard Foley being a long term favourite of Wallaby coaches for years and Matt Toomua being more than a one trick pony Cooper was always going to make way for Leali’ifano.
Young gun Joe Powell, Lilo’s halves partner, has also made the squad. No prop ever really likes a halfback. Yap yaps with a Napoleon complex is the general consensus. Powell must have talent because he annoys this old prop from an entire state away. His inclusion comes at the expense of long term bench man Nick Phipps whos Wallabies career may be over.
Allan Alaalatoa (32 Tests, Brumbies, 25)
Rory Arnold (19 Tests , Brumbies, 29)
Jack Dempsey (10 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)
Folau Fainga’a (7 Tests, Brumbies, 24)
Michael Hooper (c) (91 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 27)
Luke Jones (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)
Sekope Kepu (103 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 33)
Tolu Latu (12 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)
Isi Naisarani (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 24)
Tom Robertson (24 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 24)
Izack Rodda (17 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)
Rob Simmons (94 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (11, Queensland Reds, 22)
Scott Sio (55 Tests, Brumbies, 27)
James Slipper (86 Tests, Brumbies, 30)
Taniela Tupou (11 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)
Jordan Uelese (2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 22)
Rob Valetini (uncapped, Brumbies, 20)
Liam Wright (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 21)
Adam Ashley-Cooper (117 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 35)
Tom Banks (3 Tests, Brumbies, 25)
Kurtley Beale (83 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)
Bernard Foley (68 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
Will Genia (100 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 31)
Dane Haylett-Petty (31 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)
Reece Hodge (33 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)
Samu Kerevi (25 Tests, Queensland Reds, 25)
Marika Koroibete (20 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
Tevita Kuridrani (58 Tests, Brumbies, 28)
Christian Lealiifano (19 Tests, Brumbies, 31)
Jack Maddocks (7 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 22)
Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 25)
Matt Toomua (42 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)
Nic White (22 Tests, Exeter Chiefs, 29)
Have A Go, Get A Go!
And good news for three uncapped backrowers!
Liam Wright: A favourite up here in Queensland, Wright is about ten centimetres taller than our last three great openside flankers. The term future Wallaby captain has been used more than once. At 193 cm and 97 kgs, Liam could probably add a few kilos of muscle but it hasn’t really affected his game so far.
Wright will struggle to become Australias first choice openside with the great Michael Hooper captaining the side and sitting on a five year deal with RA.
Ise Naisarani: Is Ise the power number eight we’ve been looking for since Toutai Kefu retired in 2003 (wow 16 years!). Ise, the oldest looking 24 year old on the planet, is a similar build to Kefu and plays the same kind of power game he played. He’s about 195 cm and 110 Kgs and has run a crap ton of metres in the middle channels this year for the Rebels and there are plenty of Wallabies fans who have waited, a little impatiently, for Ise to become Wallaby eligible.
Rob Valetini: The youngest of the trio has had an injury-interrupted year but there is no denying the obvious talent the flanker has. Rob has spent most of his time on the blindside of the scrum but plays eight as well. At 193 cm and about 113 Kgs Valetini is another power backrower who can make plenty of metres in close to the ruck.
So there you go, three exciting young backrowers that could change the way Australia plays the game. Add Jack Dempsey with 10 tests, Luke Jones -with three tests and Lukan Salakaia-Loto and you have the makings of a new look backrow to partner Michael Hooper.
I recommend clicking the link above and having a look at Hoiles’ video in the article.
Stopping The Unstoppable
The Brumbies loss to the Jaguares in Argentina last weekend has bought up some interesting analysis. Over at Foxsport Stephen Hoiles has had a look at the Brumbies lineout and how the Jaguares took away the Brumbies biggest strength. Basically, the Jaguares gave the Brumbies the front of the lineout and competed for everything thrown further back.
Although they lost by 32 points on Saturday, the Brumbies weren’t altogether poor.
Travel takes its toll and a loud home crowd doesn’t help either.
Instead of trying to exploit the weaknesses of the Brumbies, the Jaguares made the visitors’ biggest strength into a liability.
A dysfunctional lineout was enough: the Brumbies trailed by 20 points after as many minutes.
Former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles pointed it out on Monday’s Super Rugby Wrap, saying that the Jaguares tried to force the Brumbies to throw long, challenging them to throw to where there was opposition.
“I think the Brumbies needed to be a little bit more patient, more intelligent, and just slow it right down,” Hoiles said.
“Essentially, everything went out for them.
“(Hooker) Folau Fainga’a got a little bit spooked; you can see them talking to the callers, and they’re not happy how things went. The timing of the delivery from nine to first receiver: everything was off because of the lineout.”
Over here at GaGR we tend to switch off once the Aussie sides have been eliminated from the finals. That isn’t really fair on the teams who have done the hard yards and made the final. I got this far into the news and realised I hadn’t mentioned the biggest Super Rugby game of the year!
The Crusaders have lost two key players. Is anyone at the Crusaders a key player? Anyway, Scott Barrett and Ryan Crotty are both out of the final through injury.
Mitchell Dunshea is a straight swap for Barrett but replacing Crotty has resulted in a bit of swappsy in the centrefield. Jack Goodhue, best mullet in the game, moves to inside centre to accommodate Braydon Ennor at 13.
The Jaguares have made three changes for the final.
Prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, who boasts 50 Tests, replaces young loosehead Mayco Vivas while winger Ramiro Moyano (30 caps) and flanker Marcos Kremer (21 caps) demote Sebastian Cancelliere and Tomas Lezana to the bench.
Matias Moroni switches from the left wing to the right to cater for dangerous speedster Moyano.
The reserves have also been bolstered by the addition of 36-year-old forward Juan Manuel Leguizamon, who has played 85 Tests but only been fit enough to start four matches for the Jaguares this year.
15-David Havili, 14-Sevu Reece, 13-Braydon Ennor, 12-Jack Goodhue, 11-George Bridge, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 9-Bryn Hall, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Matt Todd, 6-Whetu Douglas, 5-Sam Whitelock (captain), 4-Mitchell Dunshea, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Codie Taylor, 1-Joe Moody
Replacements: 16-Andrew Makalio, 17-George Bower, 18-Michael Alaalatoa, 19-Luke Romano, 20-Jordan Taufua, 21-Mitchell Drummond, 22-Mitch Hunt, 23-Will Jordan
15-Emiliano Boffelli, 14-Matias Moroni, 13-Matias Orlando, 12-Jeronimo de la Fuente (captain), 11-Ramiro Moyano, 10-Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9-Tomas Cubelli, 8-Javier Ortega Desio, 7-Marcos Kremer, 6-Pablo Matera, 5-Tomas Lavanini, 4-Guido Petti, 3-Santiago Medrano, 2-Agustin Creevy, 1-Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Replacements: 16-Julian Montoya, 17-Mayco Vivas, 18-Enrique Pieretto, 19-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 20-Tomas Lezana, 21-Felipe Ezcurra, 22-Domingo Miotti, 23-Sebastian Cancelliere