Why not Smith, Holmes, and Shipperly in Wallaby squad?
The Wallaby selectors did a pretty good job naming a 27 man train-on squad for the inaugural Rugby Championship, with the exception of Andrew Smith, Zack Holmes, and Dom Shipperley.
I look forward to the day the 194cm, 104kgs outside-centre Smith gets a crack in top company.
He’s proven his worth alongside Wallaby Pat McCabe at Super Rugby level for the Brumbies, and it’s an odds-on bet he’d raise the performance bar wearing gold.
It beats me why so many Roarers have little time for Holmes and Shipperley, who have served the Brumbies and Reds respectively with solid and consistent rugby, with flashes of brilliance that wins games, invariably at the death.
Holmes is no Mark Ella, nor is Shipperley a David Campese, nor is anyone else for that matter in those elite categories.
But both have talent that demands recognition in higher company, like utility-back Nick Cummins, centre Mitch Inman, with locks Cadeyrn Neville and Hugh Pyle, who made the 27 cut.
Cummins has proved to be a handful for opponents, despite the fact he doesn’t see much ball with the Force. A strong runner and defender, he will be just as big a handful in higher company.
Inman has done for the Rebels this season what Andrew Smith has done for the Brumbies with consistent performances highlighted by powerful all-round talent.
And with the Wallaby lock stocks needing an injection of power, height, and ball sense, Neville and Pyle are outstanding prospects. Both are big units – Neville 202cm and 120kgs – Pyle 201cm and 116kgs – and they are already finely-tuned as a combination at Super Rugby level with the Rebels.
The added bonus – both are mighty quick for big men.
It’s worthwhile noting that out of the seven players I’ve mentioned, five had to leave their home base Sydney to be recognised.
The Waratahs let the quality quintet slip through their fingers when they were right under the selector’s noses – Neville (Manly). Pyle (Warringah), Inman (Sydney Uni), Holmes (Norths), and Smith with Norths and Manly.
Little wonder the Waratahs are a basket case, yet 13 of the 27-strong squad are Waratahs.
The squad contains no Reds, still on Super Rugby duty, nor injured players – James O’Connor, James Horwill, Wycliff Palu, Christiano Lealiifano, Chris F’Sautia, and Joe Tomane.
But quite a few of the new faces will get a run in the Rugby Championship in a changing of the guard, which can only be good for Australian rugby.
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