Rookie Cadeyrn Neville rockets into Wallaby squad
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Cadeyrn Neville has been held back from the latest Wallabies squad (AAP Image/Annaliese Frank)
Wallaby selectors put their vision caps on last night to select Rebels lock Cadeyrn Neville in the 39-man train-on squad for the one-off Test against Scotland, and the three against Wales.
But Robbie Deans, Tony McGahan, and David Nucifora took their caps off to ignore the claims of Zack Holmes for the contentious fly-half berth.
Neville is an extraordinary success story of a rocket rise. The 23-year-old only took up rugby with Manly three years ago after an international rowing career.
In his first season of Super Rugby he’s only a sniff away from a gold jersey, and deservedly so. He’s one of the major reasons why the Rebels are a far better proposition this year, with his superb lineout jumping and pace around the park.
Holmes (21) has only had two run-on games for the Brumbies, but he’s been an instant success.
In the first he piled on 22 points to beat the Hurricanes 37-25 in wet and bitterly cold Wellington, and last Saturday night he scored all the Brumbies’ points in the 13-12 loss to the Reds, out-playing Quade Cooper in the process.
But Cooper has made the squad despite only 120 minutes of rugby since the Rugby World Cup seven months ago. He’s clearly underdone.
Holmes would have been an ideal selection against Scotland with Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor, and Christian Lealiifano injured, and Berrick Barnes out of the No 10 frame, even though he’s in the squad.
Other notables missed out. There was former Wallaby skipper Rocky Elsom; Brumbies Ben Mowen and Scott Fardy; Rebel Mark Gerrard; the Red’s Beau Robinson; and five from the Force, including Wallabies Matt Hodgson, Pek Cowan, and Richard Brown along with Nick Cummins and Nathan Charles.
Neville is one of 14 uncapped Wallabies, the highest percentage in memory, along with Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Bernard Foley, Mike Harris, Michael Hooper, Jesse Mogg, Luke Morahan, Dan Palmer, Hugh Pyle, Dom Shipperley, Nic White, Cooper Vuna, and Joe Tomane.
The rest of the squad consists of Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper, Anthony Fainga’a, Saia Fainga’a, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Rob Horne, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Salesi Ma’afu, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, Wycliff Palu, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, and Sitaleki Timani.
Overall, the Reds and Waratahs have 11 squad members, the Brumbies eight, the Rebels five, and the Force four.
David Pocock looms as the Wallaby captain he was always destined to be, with incumbent James Horwill ruled out with a hamstring injury. Will Genia should be the vice-captain.
The 22-man squad for the Scottish international will be named next Sunday, just two days before kick-off. Hardly an ideal preparation.
The first Test team to meet Wales won’t be named until after Scotland. Again hardly ideal, but June is a jam-packed month of international rugby with England in South Africa and Ireland in New Zealand for three Tests apiece.
This makes it an ideal time for new faces in seven different nations to burst onto the scene to become frontline internationals.
Cadeyrn Neville will be one of them.
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