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Wallabies must beat Pumas by 101 to claim Tri Nations. But there's some other recent history they can end - Rugby.com.au
Wallabies forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto has no issues with bonus-points being included in the Tri Nations despite the controversial scoring system all but cruelling their chances of claiming some precious silverware.
Wallabies forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto has no issues with bonus-points being included in the Tri Nations despite the controversial scoring system all but cruelling their chances of claiming some precious silverware. Despite the All Blacks losing twice throughout the Tri Nations, their crushing 38-0 win over Los Pumas on Saturday night their second 38-point win of the tournament following their 43-5 win over the Wallabies last month saw Ian Fosters men claim their second bonus-point win of the four-match series, which has them atop the standings on 11 points. But even if the Wallabies - or the Pumas - were to claim a bonus-point victory in next weekends Tri Nations finale, only a cricket score would see them leapfrog the All Blacks on points differential despite the two nations each suffering just the one defeat thus far. With neither the Wallabies nor Pumas claiming a bonus-point thus far, their 15-all draw a week ago saw both nations claim just two competition points clearing the way for the All Blacks to swoop in and claim the trophy despite earlier falling to back to back defeats for the first time since 2011. But Salakaia-Loto, who is fit to return after his Islander genetics helped speed up his potentially long-term syndesmosis injury, doesnt have an issue with the scoring system. I havent had a problem with it, he said on Sunday. If you work hard, play well and get those tries I dont see why you shouldnt be rewarded for the good work you do on the field. BE THERE AT BANKWEST STADIUM FOR THE WALLABIES' TRI NATIONS FINALE AGAINST PUMAS. TICKETS HERE The Tri Nations isnt the only tournament that has had the bonus-point subject questioned, with the northern hemispheres Six Nations regularly coming under fire for also introducing the scoring method recently. The Wallabies must now repeat the feats of 2003, when they smashed Namibia 142 at Adelaide Oval, and beat the Pumas by 101 points to wrestle back the Tri Nations. But even the most one-eyed supporter would laugh at that likelihood given the Wallabies biggest score since 2008 is 68. For the Wallabies, who watched the penultimate Tri Nations match together, theyre just looking to finish the whirlwind year on a high and take some momentum into 2021, which shapes as a fresh start for Australian rugby with new broadcast partners coming on board and Super Rugby to be shown on free to air television for the first time. I didnt have in my head that thats what we have to score in order to win, Salakaia-Loto admitted. Im not going to come out and say that thats a realistic score because were coming up against a quality side like Argentina - youve seen their quality from the first two Tests. Were just looking to get the job done the best we can and whatever happens, happens. @AllBlacks pay respect to the late Maradona LIVE COVERAGE: https://t.co/[email protected]#ARGvNZL#[email protected]/NjvvHttD21 RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) November 28, 2020 Victory in their final game would also carry momentum into the next year for Australian rugby something the Wallabies havent achieved since 2013. Its hugely important for us (to finish on a high), Salakaia-Loto added. Sam Cane hit it on the head (ahead of their final Test of 2020), you dont want to be dwelling over a loss over the summer thats one of the worst things. For us, theres a lot of positives that have happened this year in the weird year that it has been, so were definitely looking forward to working hard to getting a result that were proud of and everyone else can be proud of. We dont train hard and work hard to go out there and lose. Its why first-year Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is unlikely to experiment for the final Test and blood youngsters. But Salakaia-Loto, who has developed into a mainstay in the Wallabies side, believes being forced to work harder for your debut cap can be a blessing in disguise. "Thats a question youll probably have to ask Dave, but those players you named Fraser (McReight), Trevor Hosea, Will Harrison are continually putting their hands up for selection every day at training and theyre working hard Im sure youve been around at a few sessions to see what theyve produced. Whether they get an opportunity or not, Im sure itll leave an experience in the back of their minds thatll make them work harder to get those regular spots or a debut. I remember my camp, I didnt get a debut and it just made me more hungry. You can look at it one way, but you can use it as fuel. READ MORE WHAT WERE YOU SAYING: All Blacks captain Cane and Foster silence the critics WE'RE BACK! All Blacks with one hand on Tri Nations trophy as Pumas Caned
The Wallabies didn't draw because Hooper turned down shots at goal, the talisman Rennie needs: 5 things - Rugby.com.au
Not for the first time, the Wallabies have been criticised for turning down shots at goal during their 15-15 draw in Newcastle.
Not for the first time, the Wallabies have been criticised for turning down shots at goal during their 15-15 draw in Newcastle. But is the external noise justified? Michael Hooper opted for the corner on at least four occasions rather than shots at goal, two of which the Wallabies blew at the first instance the lineout. But then again, he did point to the posts on six occasions five of which Reece Hodge nailed, the sixth would have likely won them the game. Hooper struck the right balance between taking the precious points on offer in Test rugby and working for a try or yellow card. Had he not kicked for the corner early in the second half (they lost the throw, but won one moments later in a similar position because of their strong field position and the pressure put on the clearing kick), the Wallabies would not have had their numerical advantage (not that they used it effectively) as referee Paul Williams sin-binned Julian Montoya for hands in the ruck. The Wallabies also showed some excellent variation in attack during the first half, particularly from first-phase. They just didnt show the skills required to complete the movements, which would have put the Wallabies in a stronger position to go on with the match. In the 15th minute, Jordan Petaia would have scored had Hunter Paisamis left-foot grubber not been as hard or it sat up fractionally earlier. It was an excellent piece of first-phase rugby from an attacking advantage and straight out of the Scott Wisemantel (the Wallabies attack coach) playbook, who had England scoring more inside the opening five minutes of Tests in 2018-2019 than any other Test nation - often from first-phase. So close. A game of inches#ARGvAUS#[email protected] Foxtel Channel 10 WATCH: https://t.co/WaLXBkl7x7pic.twitter.com/pRqYPZ0Ern RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) November 21, 2020 The second no try came in the seconds before half-time when the Wallabies had another penalty advantage. From first phase, the Wallabies played the exact same play off the rolling maul, which actually went backwards and was brought down, but rather than kicking Paisami played out the back to Reece Hodge who held the ball up, attracted his man and found Tom Banks who couldnt catch and pass efficiently and passed forward to Marika Koroibete who would have otherwise scored. In these two instances, the Wallabies should have scored. The latter attacking movement came on the back of a penalty and forced another penalty, which forced Hoopers hand as he pointed to the posts. BANKS BIGGEST FLAW NOT HELPED BY RUNNING CENTRES Without natural ball-playing centres and communicators, the Wallabies would benefit from a fullback who can play as a second playmaker. But thats not Banks game. Banks failure to hit Koroibete has already been pointed out, but his weak left-to-rugby pass that hit the deck near halfway in the second half also illustrated his biggest work-on: passing. Banks is a running fullback but is yet to find his explosive feet in the international game. His work under the high ball has improved out of sight and hes a capable kicker, particularly when aiming for the corner, but with communication and voice needed in the Wallabies backline Banks needs to help relieve the pressure at fly-half. RENNIE NEEDS MORE OUT OF HIS FINISHERS For the second time in five Tests, replacement playmaker Noah Lolesio didnt get on the field. Jake Gordon had his worst of three outings coming off the bench in 2020. Rob Valetini made his presence felt in defence but couldnt match it with ball-in-hand, while fellow back-rower Liam Wright couldnt assert himself either. And Filipo Daugunu had one or two nice runs, but was found out running the ball back from a clearing kick with his first touch and, later, off a set-piece play when his out the back pass failed to hit the mark. BE THERE FOR THE PENULTIMATE TRI NATIONS TEST AS THE ALL BLACKS TAKE ON LOS PUMAS IN NEWCASTLE ON NOV.28. TICKETS HERE Essentially, Rennie needed more from his bench. In particular, the balance of the back-row replacements still doesnt feel right. Valetini is a big body but hasnt been able to turn promise into dominate performances. Wright is a workhorse back-rower, but explosiveness from the bench isnt his game. WINNING IS AN ART One of the many benefits from Super Rugby AU is that it allows Australian teams to regularly win. We saw the Reds and Brumbies regularly win and win consistently in 2020. And consistency, finding ways to wins or to hold on, are attributes that successful teams have. The Wallabies have had issues with that since 2016 and weve seen that twice in 2020. The All Blacks under Richie McCaw often didnt play their best, but they found ways to win. Their World Cup final victory over France in 2011 demonstrated that, but so did their late win over Ireland when Aaron Cruden converted at Lansdowne Road in 2013, Malakai Fekitoas 80th minute try against the Wallabies in 2014 in Brisbane and, later, when Ardie Savea crossed late against the Springboks in Pretoria. Big intervention from Itoje here at lineout time. Very accurate work. pic.twitter.com/dW69yjYClY Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) November 22, 2020 WORLD RUGBYS MOST INFLUENTIAL FIGURE He might not be the England captain, but Maro Itoje represents everything that Eddie Jones wants from his side. Itoje is the talisman that the Wallabies would desperately love to have in their side. With everything he does, Itoje makes a presence. Hes excellent at the lineout, a menace at the maul, strong over the ball and packs a punch in defence. The calls are getting louder and louder about him earning the British and Irish Lions captaincy. If he did, he would be an excellent choice. But even if he doesnt get handed the responsibilities, Itoje is a leader within the side. The Wallabies need a talisman. They need more leaders who demand excellence and are ruthless in their desire to win. Yet, it might not mean changing the leader, particularly if it would mean fabricating one from thin air. READ MORE FOUR GONE: Rennie trims Wallabies squad ahead of final Tri Nations Test, changes expected 'A LOSING DRAW': Wallabies filthy at 'not learning from Wellington' draw 'WE GOT BORED': Rennie rues the one that got away
Rennie's hilarious line on Cheika ahead of must-win Tri Nations Test - Rugby.com.au
There is no doubt that Michael Cheika’s influence rubbed off on the Pumas as they shocked the world by beating the All Blacks for the first time in their 35-year history last weekend.
There is no doubt that Michael Cheikas influence rubbed off on the Pumas as they shocked the world by beating the All Blacks for the first time in their 35-year history last weekend. But its suffice to say that the Rennie didnt credit the former Wallabies coach for masterminding the stunning victory. Asked what influence he saw from the former Wallabies coach in the victory, Rennie wasnt so naïve not to think he didnt play a role, but he pointed to one key aspect of the game that the Pumas dominated the All Blacks, which wasnt a characteristic of Cheika-coached teams of the past: kicking. Im not certain what his role is, Rennie prefaced his response to the New Zealand journalist. I know hes come in as some form of specialist. Certainly, there was a really impressive defensive effort so if hes had anything to do with that hes done a good job. It was then that Rennie pricked the ears of the journalists on the zoom press conference. They kicked the leather off the ball - I would assume he didnt have a lot of influence with that, he said, much to the amusement of reporters. The half time speech tho.. Saturday 21 November 7:45PM AEDTMcDonald Jones Stadium, NewcastleTickets: https://t.co/[email protected]@Channel10au#[email protected]#TriNations2020pic.twitter.com/Q97FqxKj7c RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) November 17, 2020 For the record, Pumas captain Pablo Matera said in his post-match press conference last Saturday that Cheika had given his side belief that they had all the tools needed to go out and achieve greatness. While Cheikas Wallabies bombed out in the quarter-finals of last years World Cup, the Australian did record a win in his first outing against the All Blacks. In his penultimate match coaching against the All Blacks he also led the Wallabies to a record win over their trans-Tasman neighbours. But the tactical decision to run the ball at all costs and not play for territory came back to bite the Wallabies, particularly in quarter-final where Eddie Jones England pounced on their opponents mistakes. Earlier in the press conference, Rennie highlighted that the Pumas outkicked the All Blacks during their 25-15 victory. I think the Pumas are happy to play without the ball, he said, when asked what the major differences were between their opponents this week and the All Blacks. Really dominated the kicking stats last week, which was surprising - 28-16 - so the All Blacks held on to a lot of ball and made errors and got punished. We expect them to kick a lot to us and then try and get a wall in front of us, so weve got a plan around that. Our kicking game needs to be sharp. Our ability to generate quick ball will be really important. And then discipline is going to be massive. Theyre happy to go in threes and if we make errors around discipline, they can kick from a long way out or get their lineout going and their drive game, which was pretty effective last week. Cheik-ing it out. Saturday 21 November 7:45PM AEDTMcDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle Tickets: https://t.co/[email protected]@Channel10AUpic.twitter.com/H5Kvalsw3Z RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) November 16, 2020 Rennie reiterated the importance of playing a varied game shortly after by stating that the Wallabies needed to heed the lessons from the All Blacks failure and not try to play exclusively through them. Certainly weve got to play whats in front of us. They did a good job filling the field last week and when teams fill the field youve got to be prepared to go through the middle of them and squeeze them up and then play outside them, Rennie said. I think the All Blacks tried to go through them all day, but they would look back at the footage Id imagine and realise that they left a few points out there if theyd been able to mix the game up better. Thats our challenge. They defended really well. Theyve got big men, they were very good at slowing the ball down and then getting a wall in front of the All Blacks our challenge is to generate quicker ball than that to create space on the outside. The Wallabies take on the Pumas on Saturday night in Newcastle. READ MORE COACHING MASTERCLASS: How Rennie's Wallabies plan on taming Los Pumas 'I WANT TO CHANGE THAT': The shift the Wallabies must make to win trophies THE BRICK WALL TACTICS THE PUMAS USED TO UNSETTLE ALL BLACKS: 5 things we learnt from epic Tri Nations win
Live Tri Nations: All Blacks, Pumas trade early blows in feisty opening - Rugby.com.au
Welcome to live coverage of the Tri Nations fixture between the All Blacks and Argentina Pumas at Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium. Kick-off is at 5:10pm AEDT.
Welcome to live coverage of the Tri Nations fixture between the All Blacks and Argentina Pumas at Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium. Kick-off is at 5:10pm AEDT. Follow all the live coverage in our MATCH CENTRE HERE Watch the Test on Fox Sports or Kayo Sports Argentinian coach Mario Ledesma says his team are taking a no excuses approach into their first Test since bowing out in the group stages of last year's World Cup in Japan. Ledesma has named an experienced starting side, with inside centre Santiago Chocobares the only debutant. Loose-forward Santiago Grondona and inside back Lucio Cinti are also in-line to make their debuts off the bench. Blindside flanker Pablo Matera once again captains the side, which is stacked with World Cup experience including halves Tomas Cubelli and Nico Sanchez. Juan Imhoff makes his return on the wing. Ian Foster has named his strongest possible All Blacks team for the clash as they look to avoid back to back defeats for the first time since 2011. Foster has shifted Beauden Barrett to fullback from his preferred position at fly-half to make way for the returning Richie Mo'unga, reverting to his first-choice backline combination. Rookie sensation Caleb Clarke takes a slot on the left wing, with Jordie Barrett on the other sideline. ALL BLACKS v PUMAS at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta. Kick-off: 5:10pm AEDT ALL BLACKS (1-15): Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Tyrel Lomax, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Whitelock, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane (c), Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo'unga, Caleb Clarke, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett RESERVES: Codie Taylor, Alex Hdgman, Nepo Laulala, Tupou Vaa'i, Hoskins Sotutu, Brad Weber, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie PUMAS (1-15): Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Guido Petti, Matias Alemanni, Pablo Matera (c), Marcos Kremer, Rodrigo Bruni, Tomas Cubelli, Nicolas Sanchez, Juan Imhoff, Santiago Chocobares, Matias Orlando, Bautista Delguy, Santiago Carreras, RESERVES: Facundo Bosch, Mayco Vivas, Santago Medrano, Santiago Grondona, Tomas Lezana, Gonzalo Bertranou, Lucio Cinti, Santiago Cordero
'Something New Zealand hasn't seen in a Wallaby jersey': Wallabies want debutant to bring hit-man aggression - Rugby.com.au
Michael Hooper believes Lachie Swinton can bring something “New Zealand hasn’t seen in a Wallaby jersey” after being called up to make his debut against the All Blacks in Bledisloe IV in Brisbane on Saturday.
Michael Hooper believes Lachie Swinton can bring something New Zealand hasnt seen in a Wallaby jersey after being called up to make his debut against the All Blacks in Bledisloe IV in Brisbane on Saturday. That something is raw physicality. Few know Swinton better than Hooper, who has played alongside the 23-year-old for the past two years at the NSW Waratahs. Yet, even before the former Junior Wallabies lock had even made his Super Rugby debut, this correspondent had felt the full weight of a Swinton hit after unwisely taking part in a Waratahs training session. His forwards coach at the time, Simon Cron, reacted by telling Swinton dont kill him. But its that no-nonsense attitude from Swinton that won over the Waratahs and has been rewarded by the Wallabies too. Now, Hooper wants his back-row teammate to deliver what hes capable of on the biggest stage. Lachies got a history of being very physical, bringing a real aggression to the game and thats what hes been picked for, Hooper told reporters on Friday. However he can get into doing that against New Zealand, Im excited to see it. I know hes absolutely chomping at the bit to get out there, thats why hes been picked and thats what hes got to deliver on. Ive played with him a lot now. I really enjoy what he brings to a game and the energy and excitement and the aggression, its enjoyable to play with. Its great reward. The guy trains hard. Hed do anything for his teammates. BE THERE FOR BLEDISLOE IV AT SUNCORP STADIUM, SATURDAY, NOV 7: BUY TICKETS HERE Like with any player that plays on the edge, playing within the letter of the law is Swintons biggest risk. The blindside flanker, who plays more like a hit man than a saint, was red carded in his return to club rugby after his debut Super Rugby season in 2019. This year, Swinton was yellow carded for a dangerous late shot. But what Swinton offers similarly to Taniela Tupou is a forward who can sting in the tackle and wont take a backwards step. Hooper said finding that happy medium was important, but the upside was massive for the Wallabies. Its a growth of his game, and a growth that hes aware of, Hooper said. Like all of us, we have points of our game that we need to improve and Lachies no different. Hes very green. This was just his second year of Super, so hes a growing player but one with huge potential and something potentially that New Zealand hasnt seen in a Wallaby jersey. Swinton is the third person that coach Dave Rennie has turned to wear the No.6 jersey in his opening four Tests in charge of the Wallabies. The Wallabies coach said he expected to deliver that same physical presence on the field. What we like about him at training is he creates a bit of edge because hes physical, and even if its supposed to be at 60 per cent hes normally running around at 100, Rennie told reporters on Thursday. We expect him to bring that sort of intensity to the game. Hes a big defender, excellent around cleanout, hes developing his distribution game and developing as a lineout forward, but we think the edge that he can bring will create opportunities elsewhere. Just what route Rennie ultimately goes down with his blindside flanker will be fascinating too. Ever since Scott Fardy left for Ireland the Wallabies have struggled find an adequate replacement, who can get on the ball but also be effective at the lineout. Sean McMahon looked like being a long-term option, but the former Rebel left to Japan just as he was hitting his straps. Since then, Ned Hanigan, who made a good fist of his return to the role during the Bledisloe series after a two-year hiatus, Lopeti Timani, David Pocock, Pete Samu, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto have all been used in the role but no-one has been able to own the position. Rennie said that a mix of Hanigans set-piece skills, footwork and ball-carrying and Swintons physicality is ultimately what hes after. Weve used Ned the last couple of weeks and hes gone well, Rennie said. Based on Lukhans unavailability and Ned covering lock, were going to use him off the bench. But Neds a very good lineout forward, hes a good athlete, carries well, good footwork and a big engine, and likewise Lachies got a big engine and hes got a bit more of an edge about him but not necessarily the skill-set. Were pretty open-minded about that spot, but a combination of those two men at the moment would be world class. READ MORE: SELECTION SHOCK: Why Rennie has turned to Hodge for Bledisloe finale ANALYSIS: How the All Blacks shattered the Wallabies' hopes and the tactic Rennie must 'rethink' 'DELIGHTED TO SEE SELECTORS GIVE THEM A GO': Rennie's Wallabies told not to 'panic' and stick with youth
Wallabies named in strong RugbyAU side to take on Argentina XV - Rugby.com.au
Dropped Wallabies Irae Simone and Fraser McReight will have their chance to impress national selectors on Saturday, after the duo were selected in a Rugby AU side to take on Argentina on Saturday afternoon in Sydney.
Dropped Wallabies Irae Simone and Fraser McReight will have their chance to impress national selectors on Saturday, after the duo were selected in a Rugby AU side to take on Argentina on Saturday afternoon in Sydney. The warm-up fixture which follows their 19-15 victory over another Rugby AU side last Friday is Argentinas last match ahead of their Tri Nations opener against the All Blacks next Saturday in Sydney. The match will be played behind closed doors because of COVID-19 restrictions. It will, however, be available to stream LIVE on RugbyXplorer App (available from the App Store and Google Play Store) from 3pm AEDT on Saturday. BE THERE FOR BLEDISLOE IV AT SUNCORP STADIUM, SATURDAY, NOV 7: BUY TICKETS HERE Both inside centre Simone and onball flanker McReight made their debuts for the Wallabies during Bledisloe IIIs 43-5 loss to the All Blacks last weekend. Simone struggled to get his hands on the ball in the loss while McReight made a fine impression off the bench. They arent the only two that will want to show what theyre made of, with fellow Test players Harry Johnson-Holmes, Rob Valetini, Isi Naisarani and Joe Powell also included. Wallabies squad members Connal McInerney, Trevor Hosea, Caderyn Neville, Will Harrison, Len Ikitau and James Ramm have also been included in the starting line-up. For Hosea and Neville particularly, the match serves as the perfect opportunity to prove their worth given the shortage in the national second-row stocks and the fact the Wallabies will round out their Tri Nations campaign with back to back fixtures against the Pumas. READ MORE: SELECTION SHOCK: Why Rennie has turned to Hodge for Bledisloe finale ANALYSIS: How the All Blacks shattered the Wallabies' hopes and the tactic Rennie must 'rethink' 'DELIGHTED TO SEE SELECTORS GIVE THEM A GO': Rennie's Wallabies told not to 'panic' and stick with youth Argentinian coach Mario Ledesma has yet to announce his side. He will do so late on Friday and hes expected to include a number of his European-based players, after they completed their quarantine on Tuesday. Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who is serving as a consultant for the Pumas under his old scrum coach with the Australian team, said that the arrival of the European players, including world class stars Nicolas Sanchez and Pablo Matera, had given them a boost. Listening to some of the guys who were in quarantine, it was not fun and the guys who were in the real world were feeling for the players who were in isolation, Cheika said. Yesterday when European players came out and met with the first group there was a lot of emotion. And it was interesting too because some of the guys never met each other. Young players that never meet players such as Nico Sanchez and Pablo Matera. So for them to meet the first time and immediately start training together is so interesting. It was great off the field and on the field. You can see the intensity (lift). This is so important for the next weeks, especially when Test matches will start. RUGBY AU (1-15): Harry Johnson-Holmes, Connal McInerney, Vaauli Faamausili, Trevor Hosea, Caderyn Neville, Rob Valetini, Fraser McReight, Isi Naisarani, Joe Powell (c), Will Harrison, Triston Reilly, Irae Simone, Len Ikitau, Mark Nawaqanitawase, James Ramm RESERVES: David Porecki, George Francis, Darcy Breen, Max Douglas, Josh Kemeny, Henry Robertson, Tane Edmed, Lachie Anderson, Harry Wilson, Kristian Jensen, Philip Potgieter, Charlie Gamble PUMAS: TBC
Wallabies spring another surprise as Hodge named at 10 to face All Blacks - Rugby.com.au
Reece Hodge will wear the No.10 jersey for just the second time in his international career, after the utility specialist was promoted from the reserves to face the All Blacks in the fourth and final Bledisloe Cup Test of the year on Saturday in Brisbane.
Reece Hodge will wear the No.10 jersey for just the second time in his international career, after the utility specialist was promoted from the reserves to face the All Blacks in the fourth and final Bledisloe Cup Test of the year on Saturday in Brisbane. He replaces Noah Lolesio, who drops back to the bench, with regular fly-half James O'Connor still not 100 per cent fit after suffering an MCL injury in Bledisloe II at Eden Park last month. It's yet another selection bombshell, with new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie taking an unusual conservative approach by promoting Hodge, who last year played on the wing at the World Cup and generally looks most comfortable at the back, to the main playmaking position. Hodge's one and only appearance in the No.10 jersey came in 2017, when he helped the Wallabies to a 63-30 win over Japan in Tokyo. But the experiment was short lived at Test level, and hitherto hadn't been attempted again. Rarely too has he been used at fly-half in Super Rugby either, with Hodge generally floating between the centres and back three positions. Even last Thursday, when Rennie announced his side, the new Wallabies coach said that Hodge's versatility had hampered his chances of starting. The injuries to O'Connor and Matt To'omua, as well as Lolesio's tough debut, have forced Rennie's hand. BE THERE FOR BLEDISLOE IV AT SUNCORP STADIUM, NOV 7. BUY TICKETS HERE He is not the only major backline change, with Hunter Paisami brought in for Irae Simone - who has been dumped from the 23 all together - at inside centre. Brumbies outside backs Tom Banks and Tom Wright, who will make his debut on the right-wing, have been called in for Dane Haylett-Petty and Filipo Daugunu, with the latter joining Lolesio on the bench. It's the second time in as many matches that the backline has been radically changed, but the question is where the points will come from? While there's a more solid look in defence, none of Hodge, Paisami and fullback Banks are ball-playing backs and instead prefer the direct route. Perhaps that's what's needed after the Wallabies were guilty of aimlessly kicking the ball away during their record 43-5 loss at the Olympic stadium last week. Yet, in his post-match press conference, captain Michael Hooper said that he would have wanted to get those kicking "numbers up". Up front, Rennie has made two changes too. The first has been forced, with veteran Rob Simmons earning a recall to the starting side after the injury to Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, while Lachie Swinton, as reported earlier on Thursday, will make his debut at blindside flanker. READ MORE: ANALYSIS: How the All Blacks shattered the Wallabies' hopes and the tactic Rennie must 'rethink' 'DELIGHTED TO SEE SELECTORS GIVE THEM A GO': Rennie's Wallabies told not to 'panic' and stick with youth 'FIVE OR SIX WEEKS INTO A FOUR-YEAR CAMPAIGN': Rennie 'gutted' but realistic about where Wallabies sit Swinton has been selected to bring some mongrel and fear back into the Wallabies pack. A player with plenty of aggression, Swinton will be encouraged to play to his strengths, which are strong carries and big hits. The concern, similarly to Daugunu, is whether he can keep his head. Talented Waratahs youngster Angus Bell is also in-line to make his debut, after being named ahead of loose-head prop Scott Sio on the bench. Meanwhile, former Queensland Reds captain James Slipper will become the 13th Wallaby to play 100 Tests. Its going to be a really special night for James in front of his family and friends back at his home ground and I know the team will be doing everything they can to make sure its a memorable result," Rennie said. Lachlan, Tom and Angus have been excellent over the past seven weeks and have earned their first jersey for Australia through hard work and good performances. As a whole group we were really disappointed after last weekend and we get a chance to show our character on Saturday in Brisbane." WALLABIES (1-15): James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Matt Philip, Lachie Swinton, Michael Hooper (c), Harry Wilson, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Tom Wright, Tom Banks RESERVES: Folau Fainga'a, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Ned Hanigan, Liam Wright, Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio, Filipo Daugunu
Rocks and diamonds: Wallabies player ratings from Eden Park Bledisloe loss - Rugby.com.au
The Wallabies were their own worst enemies on Sunday afternoon, as the All Blacks pounced on their mistakes to win 27-7 at Eden Park and go…
The Wallabies were their own worst enemies on Sunday afternoon, as the All Blacks pounced on their mistakes to win 27-7 at Eden Park and go one-nil up in the Bledisloe series. They made 20 turnovers with ball-in-hand, while also missing 43 tackles in defence. The frustrating thing too was that the Wallabies had opportunities. Marika Koroibete was held up over the line and should have done better when the score was 20-7. Literally from the next play too, hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa was penalised for double movement as he attempted to score. Here are our player ratings from the 20-point defeat the Wallabies 20th straight loss against the All Blacks at Eden Park, a record that dates back to 1989. Be there for the third Bledisloe Cup clash at Sydneys ANZ Stadium, Saturday 31 October. Tickets HERE Tom Banks 5 Banks forward pass ended the match and it summed up the Wallabies disappointing second half. Save for two drops in the space of a minute midway through the first half and Banks was solid. But he was tentative too. He didnt carry the ball with any conviction. The door is open for Dane Haylett-Petty to return. Filipo Daugunu 6 Once again Daugunu looked lethal with every touch, but he simply didnt have the same space he had a week earlier. Defensively Daugunu was caught out a couple of times. As wingers tend to do, he came in when he should have backed his inside man. That happened in the 43rd minute when Jordie Barrett scored. In the 68th minute, too, he comes in fractionally too much from the outside and that allowed Damian McKenzie to find some space on the outside and was eventually tackled 5 metres out. Hunter Paisami 6 One of a number of Wallabies who did some good things but also some bad ones. He was exposed once in defence early as Beauden Barrett burnt him on the outside from a scrum in the 13th minute. But he was also very active in attack and moved to inside centre after 35 minutes once Matt Toomua was forced off with a groin injury. He made a linebreak in the 36th and offloaded to Brandon Paenga-Amosa. All afternoon he gave some punch with the carry and showed some of his ball-playing ability too, but he also made another error in the 62nd minute as he tried to get the ball free. Paisamis combination with Jordan Petaia looked threatening too. Rod Kafer summed up Paisamis performance in attack: I dont mind Hunter Paisami when he throws those dummies, hes very active. The balls got a lot of movement around him, he brings energy every time he gets near it. He gets into those collisions; the critical thing is delivering that ball back." Matt Toomua 6 Brilliant ballplaying to send Koroibete in, as he held the ball up fractionally, cut out one man and found his winger. Toomuas defence and voice, as well as his composed head, was dearly missed when he was forced off after 34 minutes. That showed in the three quick tries the All Blacks scored after half-time. Marika Koroibete 5.5 A real rocks and diamonds match from the Wallabies winger. He saved the day in the 21st minute as Barrett put the ball on the toe and Koroibete got their first. Koroibetes handling hurt him though. He knocked on in the 37th minute from a Ned Hanigan switch when there was space in behind the All Blacks; he knocked on again in the 76th minute from a first-phase set-play when the Wallabies had space too. But then there was the other side of the game; he had one marvelous weaving run in the 56th minute but had no teammates in support. He should have scored in the 50th minute too, but tried to run over Mounga rather than stepping on the inside before contact. He does that, he scores. Defensively, too, he was exposed by misreading Patrick Tuipulotu in the 54th minute and Sam Cane scored a split-second later. James OConnor 5 OConnor was made to look worse than he looked because the Wallabies were smashed at the collision and the breakdown, which meant he was too deep in attack and the All Blacks closed down the space and time. His kick early in the second half that led to Ardie Saveas try wasnt that bad either, it was just the kick-chase that was horrible. Spoke earlier in the game about poor kicking, the Wallabies had a very poor chase on that kick from James OConnor, Kafer said. They put the ball out the back, so they had five or six players in front of the ball when James OConnor kicks, nobody (chases) with any purpose, no line set and they let this guy (Caleb Clarke) go through the middle. OConnor was run over the top by Jack Goodhue from the lineout in the lead up to Aaron Smiths opening try. He also had two blunders at the end, too, with an average pass in the 78th minute pulling the Wallabies under pressure and then he knocked on in the 82nd minute too. Nic White 5.5 A weeks a long time in sport. Last week the All Blacks were nowhere near as ferocious at the breakdown and it allowed White to have time and space around the ruck. He didnt on Sunday. White hardly ran the ball, but his distribution was solid and his kicking game strong. But once again White went too high his opposite 9 last week it was Smith and TJ Perenara broke free in the 58th minute. Harry Wilson 5 This man was in hospital for 36 hours in the lead up to the Eden Park hit out, but that shouldnt necessarily impact his rating. Heroic sure, but at the end of the day youre judged by what you do on the field. Wilson was just a little overzealous. He didnt need to pop a couple of offloads and gave away possession in the first-half, including in the 25th minute. The big one for Wilson was his missed tackle in the 42nd minute. Dane Coles broke free 41:20 in the second half and that allowed the All Blacks to get inside the Wallabies 22. 40 seconds later, the All Blacks scored out wide through Barrett. Michael Hooper 6.5 Two on-ball penalties from Hooper, which were massive. But Hooper needed more from his forward pack, who were well-beaten around the breakdown. The All Blacks, including opposite back-rowers Cane and Ardie Savea, won the collision. Ned Hanigan 6.5 Like Koroibete and Petaia, Hanigan had a rocks and diamond game. He started well, sealing the ball off well at the breakdown. He then broke free in the middle of the field, bumping Joe Moody away, to set up the Wallabies only try of the match. He then, however, gave away three quick penalties; two at the defensive maul and once for slowing the ball down. Comically, though, he then helped save the Wallabies bacon by getting on the ball in the 35th minute to win a penalty. In the second half, he had some great footwork in the middle of the field to help create a linebreak. Matt Philip 6 Philip didnt necessarily do anything wrong. But last week he got over the gainline and gave the Wallabies some impetus in attack. On Sunday, he took the ball forward just six times. He needed to do more. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 6.5 One of the Wallabies best. He showed good hands in attack and he trudged the ball up 10 times too, which was only bettered by Daugunu. Salakaia-Loto had too good carries in the 64th minute, which was in a 10+ phase period for the Wallabies before Jake Gordon put in a clever box kick to find touch 10 metres out from the All Blacks line. Taniela Tupou 5.5 You couldnt question the endeavor, but the polish wasnt there from Tupou. He dropped an early tough ball from Toomua in the second minute, which came from slow ball. He then put in a silly kick in the 17th minute, which allowed Barrett to counter they almost scored. In the end, the All Blacks got a penalty from a Daugunu off the ball hit and the home side went 3-0 up. Brandon Paenga-Amosa 6.5 Was the Wallabies hooker the best on ground? Had he not been penalised for double movement in the 52nd minute he surely would have. The Wallabies lineout functioned better than Bledisloe I. But its still not quite up to international standard. They were forced to throw over the top because of the pressure of the All Blacks at the lineout. He also had a crucial lineout loss in the 46th minute. But with ball-in-hand Paenga-Amosa was very good, including a great carry in the 28th minute out wide, where he stepped back on the inside. James Slipper 6.5 The Wallabies scrum was strong for the majority of the first half and Slipper earned his side a penalty in the fifth minute. Four carries for 20 metres, as well as six tackles. Jordy being Jordy#NZLvAUS#BledisloeCup Tickets on sale now for 3rd Bledisloe at @ANZStadium in Sydney on Saturday 31 October via Ticketek. pic.twitter.com/PhAGaw4coR RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) October 18, 2020 RESERVES Jordan Uelese 6 Uelese was solid when coming after 53 minutes. He made 28 run metres from his four carries. Perenara did make one clever steal on him in attack though. Ueleses lineout throw was solid too. Scott Sio 7 Earned the Wallabies two penalties when coming on for Slipper. Allan Alaalatoa 6 Gave away one penalty from not staying straight, but Alaalatoa was pretty good when coming on early for Tupou. Rob Simmons 5 Came on midway through the second half and was solid but unspectacular. The Wallabies need more from their lock/back-row reserves. Liam Wright 5 Once again, Wright came off the bench for the Wallabies at Eden Park and it was another afternoon where he didnt quite have the impact he would have wanted. He was stripped in the 57th minute by Perenara and the Wallabies conceded penalty from that next ruck a split second later. He also threw an intercept in the 67th minute when he just needed to hold it with the Wallabies going backwards. But Wrights breakdown penalty win in the 69th minute on his own line was big and he followed it up with a good carry to follow it up. Jake Gordon 6 Coming on after 58 minutes, Gordon was a little indecisive at first, he often got to the ruck and had to turn and switch. That little bit of extra time helped the All Blacks defensive line get set. One great box kick in the 64th minute. A nice little linebreak in 83rd minute too. Jordan Petaia 6.5 You can forgive Petaia for giving the ball away because he was the only player on the field for the Wallabies that looked like being able to create something. Hell start in Sydney. Petaia almost sent Koroibete in with a weaving run in the 50th minute. He had another good run in the 54th minute, but was too loose in the contact and lost it short of halfway and the All Blacks score moments later through Cane. But he also had some lovely hands in the 56th minute, which helped Koroibete break free. Reece Hodge N/A Came on late in the match.
White, Daugunu top list: Wallabies player ratings from incredible Bledisloe Cup draw - Rugby.com.au
The Wallabies came within one right upright of snapping their 19-year hoodoo against the All Blacks in New Zealand, as they secured a famous 16-16 dr…
The Wallabies came within one right upright of snapping their 19-year hoodoo against the All Blacks in New Zealand, as they secured a famous 16-16 draw at Wellingtons Sky Stadium. It was first time since 1962 that the trans-Tasman rivals finished level at full-time. Here are our player ratings from an extraordinary afternoon in the New Zealand capital. Tom Banks 8 Solid as a rock. On a wet and windy afternoon, the best way to sum up Banks game is to compare it with his opposite Damian McKenzie. Where McKenzie was shaky and tested all afternoon under the high ball in the swirling windy Wellington breeze, Banks was dependable and assured. His one fault came in the lead up to Jordie Barretts opening try, as Banks failed to find touch and the All Blacks countered. Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has a tough decision on his hands now as to whether to recall Dane Haylett-Petty, who is expected to be fit for the second Test next Sunday at Eden Park. Filipo Daugunu 10 The selection of Daugunu was an attacking move from Rennie and it paid off in spades. On debut, Daugunu was the best player on the field. He continually beat the first man, powered through impact, was solid under the high ball, won his side an onball penalty and scored the Wallabies second try. Hunter Paisami 8.5 Considered a potential weak spot in the Wallabies team, Paisami not only held up, he exceeded expectations. Thrown in the deep end at outside centre a position considered the hardest to defend on the field Paisami hit and hit hard. His defence was outstanding and he forced a crucial error in the 57th minute on Richie Mounga to force and error and the Wallabies almost scored from it as they toed the ball ahead and ended up inside the All Blacks 22m line. Meanwhile, in attack he carried the ball with the punch and physicality weve seen all year in Super Rugby. He showed a deft touch in the 52nd minute turning the All Blacks around with a lovely grubber, which ended up with McKenzie rushing a clearing kick and only finding touch on his own 22m line. It was that kick that lead to the Wallabies scoring first phase through Marika Koroibete. Ten minutes later, it was Paisamis carry over the gain line that got the Wallabies on the front foot, which Matt Philip followed up with another surging carry before the ball spat out the back and Daugunu finished off to score. Matt Toomua 6 Defensively Toomua was brilliant and he showed that with a massive shot on Mounga to force a turnover in the 13th minute. It will have gone unnoticed for some, but Toomua jumped into first-receiver a number of times, interchanging seamlessly with James OConnor, including in the lead up to Koroibetes opener. Once or twice, however, Toomua would have wanted his time over again as he kicked possession away, searching for space behind the All Blacks defence. He also put Michael Hooper under pressure in the 69th minute with a poor pass that the skipper dropped. Marika Koroibete 7 The Wallabies winger showed his excellent finishing ability to score the Wallabies first try. Koroibete carried with vigour and defensively was very good. He did give away a penalty in the 57th minute for failing to roll away as Daugunu got on the ball. James OConnor 8 Whod have thought that was OConnors first Test in the No.10 jersey since 2013? Assured. Thats what OConnor was. He challenged the line, he distributed well, set-up Koroibetes try and nailed a pressure-cooker penalty to give the Wallabies a late lead. What would have been the icing on the cake is if hed bene given the chance to slot a field goal at the death. It was something both he and Rennie lamented post-match. Nic White 9.5 Close to the Wallabies best. In the lead up to the match a lot of Australian rugby fans questioned why running threat Tate McDermott wasnt starting, let alone in the 23. Well, we saw why on Sunday. White was sensational. He expertly mixed and matched his game up between probing the line and engaging defenders while also putting his boot to brilliant use. White forced three errors (16th minute; 32; 41st) from his box kick and had McKenzie spilling another too in the 65th minute. And who saw that epic out the back flick pass to Daugunu to score? Whitey had it on a string #BledisloeCuppic.twitter.com/XtkPumYrGo RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) October 11, 2020 Pete Samu 7 This was a different game from the one we usually see from Samu. Where Samu often plays on the fringes in Super Rugby, he played tighter on Sunday. He got on the ball defensively and was useful at the set-piece. Once or twice however Samu was fractionally late on the attacking cleanout. Michael Hooper 8 Yet another captains knock. Hooper topped the tackle count for the Wallabies (17) while also making 51 metres with ball-in-hand. He also got on the ball to win a crucial penalty in the 40th minute. Harry Wilson 7 On debut, Wilson did what Wilson does. He carried and took a lot of balls up the middle when the Wallabies needed someone to put their body in places few want to go. Making Wilsons carries all the more impressive was that he seldom was in a position to run onto the ball and often started from a standing start. Early on in the match too Wilson helped the Wallabies get some width on their play as he unleashed Daugunu outside him by subtly holding up the ball. Matt Philip 7.5 A genuine unsung hero. This bloke typifies the hard-working attitude thats caught like wildfire throughout Australian rugby. Following the departure of some big timber in the second-row, the Wallabies needed a huge shift from their lock and Philip delivered. In his fourth Test, Philip regularly got over the gain line and made 55 metres and nine tackles. The lineout does remain a massive work-on though. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto 8 Asked to play tighter, Salakaia-Loto was another who impressed and also made 55 metres in attack. In the 37th minute, he sent James Slipper over the gain line with some beautiful quick hands. Importantly, too, the locks discipline was very good. Taniela Tupou 8 The Wallabies tight-head prop was excellent in the opening half. Pundit Rod Kafer regularly commented on Tupous much improved footwork. He carried the ball eight times during his 50-minute stint out on the field and many of those were early on. He also helped give the Wallabies some width in the opening minutes with a lovely left to right spiral pass that allowed Wilson to free up Daugunu out wide. Tupou gave away a penalty early in the second half at the breakdown. Folau Faingaa 5.5 When Faingaa carried the ball into contact he was very good, but it was a tough night for hooker. Three times he lost his throw in the first half. He also made a terrible gaffe by fumbling the ball at the back of a set-piece play, which should have led to Rieko Ioane scoring on the stroke of half-time. James Slipper 6 The veteran in the Wallabies front-row, Slipper was strong early on and made 17 metres in attack. Unfortunately the scrum didnt quite have the dominance it was hoping to get, with a number of resets. A game of inches.... MORE: https://t.co/mnxYGubX34#BledisloeCup#NZLvAUSpic.twitter.com/b2jnQ1ymO0 RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) October 11, 2020 RESERVES Jordan Uelese 5.5 Came on midway through the second half and was good around the field. Scott Sio 5.5 Like Uelese, Sio came on midway through the second half and was solid. Allan Alaalatoa 7.5 Alaalatoa made a real impact when he came on, regularly carrying the ball forward. Rob Simmons 5.5 Penalised in the 78th minute as he changed binds in the maul. But he also made a great carry in the 68th minute to get the Wallabies on the front foot, while he also managed to win the ball back from the kick restart with a minute to go. Rob Valetini N/A Came on in the 76th minute for Salakaia-Loto, but was strong defensively. Jake Gordon N/A Another to come on late in the match after replacing White in the 72nd minute. Gordon will have wanted to control the tempo better at the end though as the Wallabies contemplated a late field goal. Noah Lolesio N/A Didnt get on the field. Reece Hodge N/A Almost wrote himself into folklore with his penalty strike in the 73rd minute, which smacked the right-hand upright.
'Seriously impressive man, seriously combative': All Blacks pay tribute to Hooper's century milestone - Rugby.com.au
In a sea of change, Michael Hooper is the closest thing the Wallabies have to continuity.
In a sea of change, Michael Hooper is the closest thing the Wallabies have to continuity. Alongside reigning John Eales Medallist Marika Koroibete, the 28-year-old is one of just two Australian players who will start Sunday's opening Bledisloe Cup match from the Wallabies' losing World Cup quarter-final last year. There's a new coach in Dave Rennie, who brings a new style and game plan. There are new players, including four who will debut at Wellington's Sky Stadium on Sunday. There's the challenge of quarantine and the radical schedule shake-up that includes four clashes with the All Blacks before a home Rugby Championship. But there's the same captain - Hooper - and he has an occasion to celebrate. At the 'caketin' this weekend against the All Blacks, the long-time Waratahs flanker will notch 100 caps, and he is relishing the occasion and the challenge. "I've had some really lovely messages. From ex-players, current players, people I respect, family, randoms," he said. "I've been very lucky to get some, get some really, really beautiful messages from those guys and people that meant a lot to me. "I'll get 100 ... and then we've got a bunch of guys on the other side of the spectrum here on the weekend. It's a good full circle for our team." To watch every second of the Bledisloe Cup and The Rugby Championship live, purchase a Kayo subscription here Hooper says the whole Wallabies squad is feeling fresher for the shake-up. "Everything's shuffled. Everything's changed. We've been able to play on that a bit and enjoy the change that's come," he said. "There's a new level of enthusiasm around (players) wanting to get their hands on jerseys, wanting to perform in the jersey and wanting to do some things that we've talked about as a team and what we want to be recognised as." Australia haven't beaten New Zealand away for 19 years and will start as rank outsiders against the Kiwis. READ MORE ANALYSIS: The days of the Wallabies living and dying by the sword are over as Rennie reveals first team 'OUR CHALLENGE': Defence not attack the way to beat the All Blacks, says Rennie EXCLUSIVE: All Blacks' loss is Wallabies' gain, according to World Cup-winner Aaron Cruden On Saturday, All Blacks captain Sam Cane recognised Hooper's service but said the well-wishes wouldn't extend to Sunday. "Hoops is a seriously impressive man. Seriously combative too," he said. "Congratulations to him. We'll be doing our best to spoil his party but it's no mean feat and he's been an outstanding servant to Australian rugby."
Wallabies won't 'disrespect' Bledisloe Cup by naming team 'full of debutants': To'omua - Rugby.com.au
There have been calls for a complete overhaul of the Wallabies’ team in 2020, but veteran playmaker Matt To’omua is predicting a “balance” between experience and youth in Dave Rennie’s first side to take on the All Blacks in Wellington on Sunday (2pm AEDT).
There have been calls for a complete overhaul of the Wallabies team in 2020, but veteran playmaker Matt Toomua is predicting a balance between experience and youth in Dave Rennies first side to take on the All Blacks in Wellington on Sunday (2pm AEDT). In August, pundit Rod Kafer called for Rennie to pick a team made up exclusively of players under the age of 24 so that the Wallabies are in the best position to challenge for the World Cups in 2023 and 2027. Rennies first squad announcement - where 16 uncapped players were named alongside 10 others with less than 10 Tests of experience in the 44-man squad - reflected the mood to invest in youth. The two-time Super Rugby-winning coach at the Chiefs, however, played his initial hand by reappointing 99-Test stalwart Michael Hooper as his captain despite the emergence of openside flankers Liam Wright and Fraser McReight. Whether he opts for Noah Lolesio over experienced duo James OConnor or Toomua at fly-half, or Tom Banks over Dane Haylett-Petty at fullback remains to be seen. But Toomua, who made his debut against the All Blacks in 2013 as a 23-year-old, suggested it would be disrespectful to the Bledisloe Cup if they picked solely on youth. That first Test was quite a stressful week actually, I remember, it is definitely a step up in that sense, Toomua told reporters on Tuesday. But one thing the young guys here do have is theyve got a ton of confidence, a lot of them have come from a winning team, particularly the Brumbies guys. Someone like Noah (Lolesio) is a good example, who has just won a competition and hes got some good experience under his belt. I dont think anyone will be disrespecting a Bledisloe team and naming a team full of debutants, but weve got to develop players and develop a squad for the future as well, so Im sure itll be a balance. I think itll be a mixture of both. To watch every second of the Bledisloe Cup and The Rugby Championship live, purchase a Kayo subscription here In any other year, players would have a fair idea about what the boss was thinking around selection by October. Toomua described the long wait between Tests - the Wallabies played their last Test against England in the World Cup quarter-final on October 19 - as being like newlyweds. Its still very much early days. Were almost in a honeymoon period, Toomua said. He hasnt dropped me yet, he hasnt dropped us yet, we havent had to experience too much stress in that sense. Its been a good breath of fresh air in that sense. Michael (Cheika) did a great job and he put in a great shift for the Australian rugby community, he got us to a final and all that. (But) its been nice, its been different, I think well learn a lot more about it life under Rennie over the next month). Hes definitely got a few different tendencies. He loves a little sing a long, he loves all these different things, its been good. A lot of its new, but he seems like a very calm and composed character which is quite nice. READ MORE UNDERDOGS: Wallabies excited to see where generation next takes them MO'UNGA OVER BARRETT: Why the Wallabies think champion Crusader will wear prized 10 All Blacks jersey REVEALED: Trans-Tasman set for 2021, three teams to be added in 2022 for Super Rugby Aotearoa As has been the case right throughout his career, just where Toomua ends up playing on Sunday is one of the many selections mysteries ahead of the Bledisloe opener. Toomua has always wanted to play at fly-half but has often been selected either at inside centre or on the bench because of his versatility. In many ways, the mystery around the thinking of the Wallabies under Rennie is shared with how the All Blacks will play because they too have a new coaching set-up after Ian Foster was promoted from an assistant to the head coaching role following the departure of Steve Hansen. Its hard to analyse them because they havent played a game, so we take hints from last year, Toomua said. So weve watched clips from our two games against them and their last game against England - and theyre teams that did really well against them, so weve used that as a guide. And also probably the North v South game is probably a nice one to get a little bit of context, but theyre probably in the same boat as well, maybe even more so because weve got a completely new coaching staff. The old cliché that were focusing us on ourselves, we probably dont have a choice but to focus on ourselves because theres not much footage around. Those hints from last year were clear as day from the Wallabies two Tests against the All Blacks. When the Wallabies got quick ball, they unsurprisingly stressed the All Blacks and produced their biggest win over their trans-Tasman neighbours in Perth. A week later, the All Blacks pounced on the Wallabies mistakes and managed to apply more pressure at the breakdown and reversed the result to retain the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park. Just how the Wallabies play under Rennie, who has spent the past three seasons with Glasgow, also remains a slight unknown. But given his Chiefs, whom he won back to back Super Rugby titles with in his first two years at the franchise, were known for their ferociousness at the breakdown and their counter-attacking flair, those same characteristics are well suited to the rigours and tightness of Test match rugby. We still want to play the Australian and New Zealand way, however you want to frame that, Toomua said. If youve looked at his teams in the past, particularly the Chiefs around 2012-14-15 very, very physical around that breakdown, often beautiful tries off counterattack, they were a super aggressive team at the breakdown, so I think breakdown and opportunities off broken play is something definitely that he focuses on.
The Wallabies know they're 'underdogs', but believe they're on to something with generation next - Rugby.com.au
James Slipper says the Wallabies deserve to be “underdogs” against the All Blacks, but the veteran front-rower is just as excited to see what the next generation of players can achieve under Dave Rennie as the public.
James Slipper says the Wallabies deserve to be underdogs against the All Blacks, but the veteran front-rower is just as excited to see what the next generation of players can achieve under Dave Rennie as the public. Slipper has seen it all during his decade with the Wallabies, which has him on track to become a Test centurion later in the year. He was there when Quade Cooper and Will Genia emerged under Ewen McKenzie at the Reds and for a time it appeared that the Wallabies were destined for great things with the halves running the show, and others like James OConnor, Kurtley Beale, Digby Ioane and David Pocock challenging for world class status. But injuries, consistency and off-field cultural issues meant the Wallabies never quite met the expectations many had over the past decade. Yet, at long last theres some genuine optimism in the air, with Rugby Australia getting their ducks in order at board level and a new crop of Wallabies emerging out of the under-20s program, which last year lost in the World Cup final at junior level. Slipper knows the young talent better than most. At the Brumbies he saw first-hand the class beginning to shine within Australian rugby, with Super Rugby-winning playmaker Noah Lolesio leading the way. Ive been impressed with both of those players (Junior Wallabies back-rowers Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight), but, even on top of that, theres plenty of other young players running around from other clubs that are here and theyre doing well, Slipper said. Noahs a Brumbies boy, hes putting his hand up. One thing Ill tell you about these young blokes is that theyre full of confidence, they back themselves, so as an older bloke Im just trying to keep up at the moment and hopefully make that team. Im just excited to see where Australian rugby goes from here because theres some really good talented players coming through the system and theres nothing like testing yourself at a Test match level against the All Blacks in New Zealand for a Bledisloe. Itll be fun times for whoever gets that jersey. Perhaps its because theyve been in quarantine for the past week in Chrischurch since touching down in New Zealand, but the Wallabies are flying under the radar in 2020. While New Zealand Rugby has been worrying about the minutes of board room meetings, Rennies men have been quietly going about their work. Theres been no brazen statements about winning back the Bledisloe for the first time since 2002, and for Slipper, its all about producing on the field. We probably deserve to be under-dogs only because we havent won it for so long and deservedly so, but one thing I can tell you is were training hard to change that, he said. It comes down to that first Test match to see where we are. Weve been training hard and preparing well, but at the end of the day it comes down to results, doesnt it? So we dont have a leg to stand on, talking in terms of results in the last 15 years. For us as a playing group, under a new coach, were just trying to make sure that were good to go. So are they? In terms of training and preparation were doing well, Slipper said. Its obviously been a pretty tough period for us. The year 2020 has been disastrous. Weve been in isolation over here in Christchurch for a while - its been awesome and to be looked after by the Kiwis in such a good way, and weve been able to bond as a team a bit differently than other years, from a personal view were on track. But, once again, Ill always bring it back to the result - we need to win. Weve got seven days before the first Test, so thatll be our true test.