Monday’s rugby news has Speight preferred over Folau, Gill hyping the Commonwealth Games, the Waratahs lineout calls cracked and McCaw returning at 6.
Roff talks up explosive Speight
Former Wallaby Joe Roff has made the bold claim that Brumbies winger Henry Speight is just as dangerous as the ARU’s pin-up star Israel Folau. Speight, who held the distinction of being Australia’s leading tryscorer in the 2012-13 Super Rugby season was back to his best last week against the Chiefs after a season interrupted by injury.
“His ferocity with ball in hand, he just doesn’t want to be tackled and it’s outstanding,” Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said after the winger’s damaging runs produced 186 metres of attack. Speight becomes eligible for Wallaby contention on September 11. [/one_half]
Comm games on par with Bledisloe
As Australia’s Sevens team landed in Glasgow over the weekend, Liam Gill has commented that ending New Zealand’s stranglehold on the Commonwealth Games would be on par with taking back the Bledisloe Cup. The Kiwis have won Gold at every Games where sevens was offered, starting in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur.
“If we can win gold it would be huge,” Gill said. “It compares to the greatest honours of the game.” The Australian side, coached by Welshman Geraint John, will face England, Sri Lanka and Uganda in their pool after competition kicks off on July 26. [/one_half]
More work on NSW lineout
Despite the belief that the Reds and the Brumbies have cracked the NSW lineout calls, the Waratahs seem unfazed, emphasising that their line-out generals will be able to fix any issues before this weekend’s playoff match.
“It is a long year, we have played 16 games, they’ve had plenty of opportunity to see our lineout,” said injured NSW skipper Dave Dennis, further emphasising that the team wold make a number of subtle changes to the set-piece. NSW will also have an extra few sessions to adjust to the loss of their captain as the figurehead of the lineout.
McCaw shifted to 6 in return
Richie McCaw will make his return to the Crusader’s starting lineup at the blindside flanker position against the Sharks in Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final. While McCaw has now recovered from a rib injury that kept him out of the June Test series against England, coach Todd Blackadder will reportedly reward young openside flanker Matt Todd for his recent form with the 7 jersey.
This will mean that Blackadder will need to remove 22-year-old Jordan Taufua from the starting 15, who has also been a consistently strong performer. Dan Carter will also remain at inside centre, allowing Colin Slade to retain the fly-half role. [/one_half]