Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Big calls from Cheika, Samu making the most of the NRC, A new NRL recruit to the Brumbies and Sio ready to scrum for 80 minutes.




Jordan Petaia makes a break

Jordan Petaia makes a break

It what could likely be Michael Cheika’s final match as Wallabies head coach, it appears he has prepared to live out to the title of “mad man” with his selections against England.

Christy Doran has reported on what is likely to be the Wallabies squad to face England with some big changes and some high risk calls. As they say you have to risk it to get the biscuit, though Wallabies fans aren’t all that forgiving at the moment.

In just his 3rd test, Jordan Petaia is expected to start at outside centre, replacing James O’Connor. 

After two tests on the wing against Uraguay and Georgia, 11 Super Rugby matches and an injury plagued 12 months, Cheika believes that Petaia is ready to take on Manu Tuilagi, who is expected to start for England.

Petaia will be pairing up with Reds team mate Samu Kerevi in the centres, as the Wallabies look to replicate the magic the two shared in the opening rounds of Super Rugby.

Other big calls come with Reece Hodge, fresh from his three week stint in the naughty chair, coming back into the starting spot on the right wing.

Kurtley Beale is expected to be named without yet passing all of his concussion protocols, but Dane Haylett-Petty will come into the squad should KB fail.

In the sixth straight test that the Wallabies have a new halves pairing, Will Genia will start with Christian Lealiifano at 9 and 10, with Nic White and Matt To’omua finding themselves on the bench.

Two sayings come to mind about the Pooper, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” and “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” though I have a leaning towards the last one.

David Pocock and Michael Hooper will start together again at 6 and 7, which is how Wallabies tend to feel with these selections. Rebels big man Isi Naisarani is expected to pull on the No. 8 jersey with them in the back row.

The Wallabies haven’t beaten England since 2015, losing six in a row to the Eddie Jones’ men. Bookies would likely give better odds to Japan over South Africa than the Wallabies beating England.

Expected Wallabies team:Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Christian Lealiifano, Will Genia, Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper (c), David Pocock, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Allan Alaalatoa, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Nic White, Matt To’omua, James O’Connor


Pete Samu gets in the zone

Pete Samu gets in the zone

Pete Samu is considered by many to be one of the unluckiest players in Australian Rugby to miss out on selection for the World Cup squad. For Samu he was ‘gutted’ that an injury meant he missed out on the Rugby Championship and ultimately the World Cup.

For a player who was lured back to Australian Rugby by Michael Cheika in a World Cup bid, it was a hammer blow for Samu to not be selected.

Despite not getting picked for the World Cup, Samu has taken all the energy he can and focused into helping the Canberra Vikings win an NRC Premiership.

“I was a bit gutted with the injury but that’s footy. You’ve just got to roll with it and keep going,” Samu said.

“They (Brumbies) tried to fast-track me back to play had we made the final, possibly playing that game but we obviously went down in the semi, so I think the next thing was trying to get back for maybe the Wallabies.

“To be honest, I didn’t really see myself playing NRC but not getting picked in the Wallabies, it was me playing footy, so that was the best option for me, to play NRC and I’m really enjoying NRC at the moment as well.

“It’s a good bunch of boys and we’re going pretty well this season.”

Samu let on that he didn’t receive much feedback from the Wallaby camp about why he missed out on selection, but after a few chats with Brumbies coach Dan McKellar, he used the Vikings season to refocus and prepare for 2020.

 “I had chats to Dan and with the World Cup squad being named, I still had hopes that I would be injury cover if someone went down but I think the focus now is next season with the Brumbies,” Samu said.

“Playing footy was what I really wanted to do, so having the NRC season was a real bonus.

“It’s good quality football and you see a lot of young boys coming through, so it’s a good pathway for the young boys.”

Samu admits he is looking forward to the Brumbies back row next season, with the inclusion of former Waratahs 7, Will Miller and recent Wallabies debutant Rob Valentini looking fighting fit.

“It’s been awesome seeing Will (Miller) come over, he’s fit in really good and having Rob there as well, having played with him last season,” Samu said.

“It’s been pretty good getting those connections early and I’ll be looking forward to lacing up next to them in the Brumbies’ season.”


Embed from Getty Images

The Brumbies have secured the services of NRL player Solomone Kata, with the utility back switching back to Rugby.

Kata played 94 times for the New Zealand Warriors, scoring 46 tries whilst also representing Tonga and New Zealand in League.

“What attracted us to Solomone is that he is a point of difference player with a physical profile to add to our squad,” Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.

“He is a very powerful and dynamic footballer who has the ability to stress any defensive line.

“Beyond having a very successful career in the NRL, Solomone also has a strong rugby union background having grown up playing the game.

“This prior knowledge and experience will help him make the transition back to rugby.

“At this stage we see him as a utility back and we will be open minded about the position he plays for the Brumbies in 2020.”

Kata previously  played rugby for Tonga at under-20 level.

“I am very happy to have signed for the Brumbies and am looking forward to joining the club for the 2020 season and beyond,” Kata said.

“I have heard very good things about the Brumbies and how they have developed their players and can’t wait to get to Canberra to start my professional rugby union career.”



dan cole scott sio scrum england australia brisbane

Scott Sio says despite the history and reputation of the Wallabies scrum, it will count for nothing after the first whistle is blown. But that doesn’t mean the Wallabies props aren’t prepared to take it to the English front row.

“It’s such a humbling part of the game where you can be on top one scrum and the very next scrum you can be penalised and be shoved back five metres,” he said.

“I think it’s really about just backing the process, trusting in our principles there as a team. It’s obviously been broken down but every team’s going to have a different style of how they approach it as well.

“It’s just trusting in each other, we understand scrummaging is as an eight, it’s not just the guys up front although we do cop a lot of the wrap for it, we understand as a group if we’re all firing together, that’s what I believe makes a successful scrum.

“It’s a day by day, scrum by scrum.”

“The solution to that roller coaster? Always be ready,” Sio said.

“If we have to scrum every minute of the 80 minutes, we’re ready to do that as well,” he said.

“It’s just being prepared for any situation that comes in there but once you know the ball’s knocked on it’s ready to go, it’s about connecting, getting the right messages to the forward pack and then providing a solid base there for our backs.”

Typical of Eddie Jones’ prematch mind games has seen England scrum coach Neal Hatley said the Wallabies were a “different beast” with their scrum and English prop Joe Marler said the reputation for a weak wallabies scrum was long gone.

Despite many other positions being chopped and changed to find combinations, the front row has seen the most consistency of the World Cup squad, with there being far less changes, but the opportunity to rest the players to get the most out of front rowers.

“We went through last year, we had to meddle around with a few different combinations but just having that time spent together in numerous matches consistently is probably what’s been the difference for us and it’s been great for us in this tournament style of footy as well,” Sio said.

“I think it definitely helps (playing together in Super Rugby), you get to know each other pretty well but we’ve had guys like Tolu and Keps, a lot of these guys, Jordy as well, the last two years, who’ve been in and around the system,” he said.

“Having these camps and having put the rugby championship together as well has put us in good stead but as we always say, another  week is another week to grow and get better.”



Once captained the 3rds Rugby team, but then again so did Nick Farr-Jones

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