Wallaby greenhorns? No, men-in-gold
Robbie Deans could be gone from the Wallabies at the end of the 2012 Rugby Championship (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
David Pocock’s Wallabies for tonight’s international against Scotland at Newcastle have been dubbed greenhorns by the doomsayers. Don’t believe it; the Wallabies don’t.
They are men-in-gold, led by one of the best openside flankers international rugby has seen for decades in the 24-year-old Pocock, who was always destined to be Wallaby skipper.
Throughout his Force and Wallaby careers, he has been a lead by deed captain without the (c) beside his name.
Now it’s official: he’s captain of the Force and the Wallabies and will be, barring injury, for a long time.
Pocock is the first bonus, but there are five new caps in the starting lineup: blindside flanker David Dennis, prop Dan Palmer, inside-centre Mike Harris, winger Joe Tomane, and full-back Luke Morahan.
And a potential sixth new cap in flanker Michael Hooper off the bench.
That’s not a negative, it’s a huge plus.
Do you think for one moment, doomsayers, the new boys on the block won’t be playing out of their skins? Their adrenalin levels will be going through the shed roof.
And to prove the gold value against greenhorn belief, the names in bold for tonight are the best selections if everyone was fit:
15 – Luke Morahan is an exciting prospect, but no Kurtley Beale.
14 – Joe Tomane is also an exciting prospect, but no James O’Connor.
13 – Anthony Fainga’a is playing better rugby than Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rob Horne. Andrew Smith is knocking on the selection door.
12 – Mike Harris has been playing consistent rugby, a sharp-shooter making him likely first choice goal-kicker, and has a useful centre partnership with Reds team-mate Fainga’a. That gives Harris the team edge over Pat McCabe, the better player who is on the bench.
11 – Digby Ioane is one of the world’s best wingers.
10 – Berrick Barnes is tried-and-tested, and with incumbent Quade Cooper still game-time shy, the right selection. Zack Holmes is knocking on the door.
9 – Will Genia, the world’s best half-back.
8 – Scott Higginbotham has been consistently good all season, Wycliff Palu has not.
7 – David Pocock is David Pocock. He doesn’t need any explanation.
6 – David Dennis has been the outstanding Waratah forward in an ordinary pack, and deserves his selection.
5 – Nathan Sharpe is winding his stellar career down to retirement and should be allowed to do so. Cadeyrn Neville is the future 5, and should have been blooded in this Test.
4 – Sitaleki Timani is a big unit, and a big question mark. He hasn’t been outstanding in the Waratah pack. Hugh Pyle, Kane Douglas, or Scott Fardy would have been better selections.
3 – Dan Palmer is a rookie but a universally recognised scrum technician, and a deserved selection over Ben Alexander.
2 – Stephen Moore is the Wallabies’ undisputed best rake.
1 – James Slipper has played all over Benn Robinson.
There you have it, doomsayers. There is a lot of bold staring you in the face: 11 out of 15.
So, go get ‘em tonight men-in-gold and leave the greenhorn believers wallowing in their negativity.