Thursday’s rugby news has Josh Mann-Rea wanting more test caps, Ioane and O’Connor give advice to Wallabies, IRB nominations announced and All Blacks switch up their midfield.
Mann-Rea Pushing for Starting Spot
33 year old Wallabies journeyman Josh Mann-Rea says he is wanting to push for more game time. Mann-Rea became the oldest Wallaby to debut in 56 years when he made his debut this year and he is looking to add to his 2 caps which he has earned so far in 2014. Despite being low in the pecking order of Australian hookers he says he is not there as a temporary substitute.
“I’m not here just to make up numbers. I want to show what I’ve got” he said.
“There’s no better thing than playing and representing your family so yeah I’d be disappointed, I think anyone would be disappointed, if they didn’t get game time.”
Ioane and O’Connor Give Advice
James O’Connor has said the Wallabies must develop a killer instinct to close out matches. The Wallabies have finished poorly in their past five matches which have allowed the opposition back in the match.
“[The Wallabies] still lack ingredients to kill the matches … their performances have been quite mixed” he said.
Meanwhile, former Wallaby Digby Ioane has warned the Wallabies that they will face an extremely physical French side.
“I well remember my first match against France in 2008 … We struggled to impose ourselves. The French want revenge against matches in June and that’s never good for their opponents. Australia must expect to suffer.”
IRB Announce Nominations
The IRB have announced 5 nominees for this year’s player of the year award in which no Australian players were nominated. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), Julian Savea (New Zealand), Willie Le Roux (South Africa), Duane Vermeulen (South Africa) and Jonathan Sexton (Ireland) were all nominated.
Some thought Michael Hooper or Israel Folau would be nominated for the award which has never been won by an Australian.
The award was first presented in 2001 and the winner will be announced at their final game of 2014.
All Blacks Switch Up Midfield
Due to the fact that veteran centres Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith are unavailable for this weekend’s match against Scotland, Malakai Fekitoa and Ryan Crotty are expected to start in the centres as Sonny Bill-Williams is rested.
“The fact that we had to play him at 12 sped up his growth a lot and opened up an opportunity. We’ve been delighted with that,” All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said of Fekitoa. “He’s a very real prospect in both positions now but if you asked what jersey he wanted to wear, it’d be 13.”
“Ryan’s done both jobs really effectively for us. I don’t necessarily see him as a specialist in either” said Foster.