Tuesday’s Rugby News has Genia praising McKenzie’s discipline, Mortlock criticising backline tinkering, another England injury and Benji feeling the pressure of the code-switch.
Genia backs McKenzie’s discipline
Will Genia has told reporters that the hardline approach of coach Ewen McKenzie has transformed the Wallabies into the most disciplined squad he has played with. ‘When he came in as the Wallaby coach, one of the first things he did was put in place the protocols and procedures for doing the right thing and the wrong thing and he was very hard on the group,’ the 50-Test halfback said. While the Wallabies have only won two from seven games with Link in charge, Genia believes the team is cultivating a successful culture that will bring wins down the line.
Genia also briefly mentioned the ARU’s current financial predicament, saying results are all-important in Australia’s competitive sporting market. ‘If we can be successful it would go a long way to easing that financial burden,’ he said. [/one_half]
Mortlock urges backline patience
Former Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock has appealed for an end to the constant backline tinkering that has plagued the Australian side. Mortlock says that the Wallabies must follow the lead of the All Blacks and try to establish a steady 10-12-13 partnership, at least in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup. ‘You look over five to eight years we haven’t had set combinations for a while,’ said the 80-Test centre.
Ewen McKenzie faces a number of tough decisions heading into the European tour. Matt Toomua’s impressive performance at No.12 has created some uncertainty with Brumbies teammate Christian Leali’ifano returning to full fitness. Link will also need to settle on the outside centre position, which will involve either committing to Tevita Kuridrani or handing the job back to AAC. [/one_half]
England suffer more injuries
British and Irish Lions lock Geoff Parling will not play in this weekend’s match against Australia after sustaining a mild concussion during a training session on Tuesday. England head coach Stuart Lancaster said that Parling will undergo the recommended gradual return to play protocols. ‘ He will be unavailable for Saturday’s game but will stay in camp with a view to returning to training next week,’ Lancaster said.
The unfortunate news comes after England lost another influential Lion, loose head prop Alex Corbisiero, with a knee injury. The side already went into training camp without the services of key players Manu Tuilagi, centre partner Brad Barritt and flanker Tom Croft. These absences may be the boost in confidence the Wallabies need to get their northern hemisphere tour off to a winning start. [/one_half]
Benji nervous over code-switch
As the Auckland Blues named Benji Marshall as an outside back for their 2014 squad, the former West Tigers superstar admitted that he was ‘pretty nervous.’ ‘I’ve been in an environment for 11 years where I’ve sort of known what’s going to happen week-in week-out, whereas now there’s a lot of unknowns,’ Marshall said.
Despite this nervousness, Blues Coach Sir John Kirwan has been pleased with the work of the NRL convert so far. ‘Everyone is impressed with his professionalism and what he’s going to bring so it’s going to be great to see him grow into it,’ Kirwan said. Along with Marshall, the Blues have been very busy this offseason, signing three experienced All Blacks – flanker Jerome Kaino, centre Ma’a Nonu and prop Tony Woodcock. [/one_half]