Wednesday’s rugby news has the Reds under pressure already, the Tahs ready for a scrum battle, a Brumby re-signing and Tuilagi back in the picture for England.
Reds feeling the pressure
Reds lock Caderyn Neville believes that a win against the Force this weekend will help relieve some of the pressure on his team after their 10-30 round one loss against the Tahs. The Brisbane-based side struggled in the past few seasons and have also lost a number of experienced players last year.
However, Neville, who joined the Reds from the Melbourne Rebels, believes a win against the Force will be crucial in trying to lift the spirits in the city. “When you get a win at home you are going to please a lot of people and if you don’t a lot of people are going to continue to put the knife in,” said Neville. “We want to please as many people as we can.”
Tahs set for set-piece war
The Waratahs forwards won’t be worried if their derby against the Brumbies produces another set piece battle. “We’ll relish it,” forwards coach Cam Blades said. “Obviously the tight five players are proud about the skills they possess and we’re only going to grow week to week with the new combinations with the new players in the club.”
Blades said the Waratahs starting front row combination of Paddy Ryan and Angus Ta’avao was still evolving and would continue to improve as the season went on.The Waratahs will be without prop Benn Robinson on Friday night, after the veteran was still displaying concussion symptoms on Monday.
Alaalatoa re-signs with Brumbies
Developing Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa has re-signed with the Brumbies until the end of 2019. Alaalatoa’s re-signing comes off the back of his selection over incumbent Wallabies prop Scott Sio for the club’s season opener as Sio works his way back from injury.
With 14 Super Rugby caps under his belt, Alaalatoa’s re-signing is also a major show of confidence from the Brumbies. “I’ve enjoyed my time here and I’m looking forward to what the future holds,” Allalatoa said. “What made me stay here was the culture and the boys here, I didn’t want to lose those relationships. It was an easy decision to stay.”
Tuilagi rejoins England squad
Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi has been recalled to the England squad for the Six Nations clash with Wales at Twickenham on March 12. Samoa-born Tuilagi made his last international appearance in 2014 after suffering from groin, hamstring and disciplinary problems and missed last year’s World Cup on home soil.
Leicester team-mate Jean de Villiers says England are “better off” with the centre in the squad but believes Tuilagi should not be rushed back by head coach Eddie Jones. “You have to make sure the short-term goals won’t halt long-term progress,” de Villiers said. “He needs to be playing international rugby for another 10 years, so you need to make the right decisions now.”