Wallaby selectors have another chance to recognise Zack Holmes
Zack Holmes. Photo via http://brumbies.com.au/
With Kurtley Beale facing shoulder surgery and officially out of the June Tests against Scotland and Wales, Wallaby coach Robbie Deans has a second chance to select Brumbies fly-half Zack Holmes.
While selectors showed commendable vision in naming the likes of Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, and Dan Palmer in the 39-man train-on squad for the four Tests, they ignored Holmes, who has only played two run-on games, but outplayed incumbent Quade Cooper in the second.
For the knockers, and the selectors, who stay negative on Holmes’ two run-on games, let me remind them of Jimmy Lisle.
He was a phenomenal schoolboy athlete at Grafton High, joined the “Dirty Reds” at Drummoyne rugby club, and won Wallaby selection in 1961, setting up a crack pivot combination with Australia’s greatest rugby half-back Ken Catchpole.
Lisle toured South Africa and immediately switched codes in 1962, joining South Sydney with Wallaby team-mate Mike Cleary.
After just one game of club league Lisle was selected for NSW and Australia, still the fastest rise to Kangaroo status in the code’s history.
The reason was simple: Jimmy Lisle had talent and selectors didn’t need to have Lisle prove it to them over a long period. It was so obvious from the start, why waste time in recognising it?
The Jimmy Lisle story applies to Zack Holmes.
Talent doesn’t need umpteen games, it’s there or it isn’t. Like ball sense, you either have it or you don’t. You can’t learn talent, or ball sense.
You are born with it, or never have it.
Holmes has both.
With Beale, James O’Connor, Christian Lealiifano, and Ben Lucas out of the poisoned chalice 10 jersey frame injured, Cooper is first choice selection over Berrick Barnes.
But Cooper is still underdone after only 120 minutes back following knee surgery required from the Rugby World Cup seven long months ago.
Barnes is a victim of the colourless Waratah backline, most of which is not his fault. As a result he’s playing ordinary rugby.
Step up to the plate Zack Holmes, at the very least against Scotland on June 5.
For starters, Cooper can’t play two internationals against Scotland and Wales in four days. He will willingly play, but that’s courting disaster, a form of rugby Russian roulette.
And playing Barnes at 10 is just papering over the cracks. He’s better suited outside the pivotal area.
So selectors, you step up to the plate and add Holmes to the squad that will remain at 39 with Beale’s unavailability.
Given the chance, I’m backing Zack Holmes to be a rousing success.
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