On the second of June the Wallabies will take on Scotland in their first international match of the year at Newcastle. It will be a chance for the Wallabies to avenge their 9-8 loss to the Scots at Murrayfield in 2009.
Also, it will be a chance for Robbie Deans and his new coaching team to broaden their horizons in terms of selection, with many selection headaches.
Poor form, injuries, new kids on the block, and a resurgence from others, will all cause Robbie Deans to think very carefully about who to expose to international rugby this year.
The match against the Scots, primarily, has been forecast by Roarers and other media as a chance to see new blood, while the squad for the Wales games should be Australia’s best possible.
There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing an inexperienced squad against the Scots.
We all saw what happened against Samoa last year when we underestimated the opposition and were totally embarrassed.
Out of that squad, only Pat McCabe received promotion, and although he played admirably, he lacked the x-factor to help bring home the William Web Ellis trophy.
The squad against Samoa devalued the Wallabies jersey and disrespected Samoa. The same must not happen again against Scotland. That said, the World Cup is a long way away, and it will be a good opportunity for a few new kids on the block to be exposed.
If Australia wants to give more players international exposure, an Australia A team should play more often, but that story is for another day.
This poll can be for a few squads. One for the Scotland test, one for the three Wales tests, a best team overall (one that could play in the Tri-Nations this year, meaning injured players can be picked) and an Australia A team.
You don’t have to have a team for each category, just whichever ones you like. You can create whatever team you like, with players out of position, players out of left field or players who I haven’t included below.
Simply leave a comment with your respective team or teams in the comment section below.
I have created a (not-so) shortlist below of 82 players. Bear in mind that James O’Connor is out for the Scotland Test and at least one Wales test, Quade Cooper is expected to miss at least the Scotland Test, and Ben Tapuai, Lachie Turner, Drew Mitchell, Matt Toomua, Dan Vickerman and Jono Lance will miss all the Tests.
Props: Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu, James Slipper, Dan Palmer, Ben Alexander, Pek Cowan, Salesi Ma’afu, Rodney Blake, Paddy Ryan.
Hookers: Tatafu Palotu-Nau, Stephen Moore, James Hanson, Saia Fainga’a, Nathan Charles.
Locks: Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Dan Vickerman, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Nathan Sharpe, Luke Jones, Hugh Pyle, Sam Wykes, Toby Lynn.
Blindside flanker: Rocky Elsom, Lopeti Timani, Dave Dennis, Scott Higginbotham, Ben Mowen, Matt Hodgson, Jarrod Saffy.
Openside flanker: Chris Alcock, Liam Gill, Beau Robinson, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Michael Lipman.
Number 8: Radike Samo, Jake Schatz, Wycliff Palu, Fotu Auelua, Ita Vaea, Ben McCalman.
Scrumhalf: Will Genia, Brendan McKibbon, Nic White, Nick Phipps, Richard Kingi, Nick Frisby.
Flyhalf: Berrick Barnes, Quade Cooper, Christian Lealifano, James O’Connor, Matt Toomua.
Inside centre: Pat McCabe, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Tom Carter, Jono Lance.
Outside centre: Andrew Smith, Anthony Fainga’a, Nick Cummins, Rory Sidey, Mitch Inman, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Tevita Kuridrani, Lloyd Johansson, Stirling Mortlock.
Wing: Joe Tomane, Henry Speight, Digby Ioane, Luke Morahan, Dom Shipperley, Alfie Mafi, Cooper Vuna, Tom Kingston, Mark Gerrard, Lachie Turner, Drew Mitchell.
Fullback: Kurtley Beale, Jesse Mogg, David Harvey, Bernard Foley.
This is simply a poll, so negative comments aren’t needed. The team will be published once all votes are in. Select away Roarers!