Reds boss lauds all-round star Gill

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    Ewen McKenzie has long been a George Smith fan but talk of a fairytale Wallabies comeback against the British and Irish Lions just doesn’t wash with the Queensland Reds coaching boss.

    When his own outstanding openside flanker, Liam Gill, is currently rated third in the pecking order for Australia’s No.7 jersey, McKenzie sees an embarrassment of riches that requires no further addition.

    Gill’s stand-out performance in the Reds’ scrappy 18-12 Super Rugby win over the Hurricanes once again highlighted his superb 2013 form and a compelling case for Wallabies inclusion.

    The 20-year-old did it all against the Wellington outfit, racking up Queensland’s most running metres, making 12 tackles, forcing steals and penalties at the breakdown and also chiming in at the lineout.

    Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett singled out Gill for his tireless and canny work in rucks which he believed was a crucial factor in the result at Suncorp Stadium.

    Wallabies great Smith will make his return to Super Rugby with the Brumbies next week, prompting calls for him to add to his 110 Test caps against the Lions in June.

    But with all the debate surrounding whether David Pocock and Michael Hooper can start in the same back-row, McKenzie finds it bemusing Gill is largely an ignored contender.

    “He’s the forgotten amigo isn’t he?” he said. “There’s three of them and he’s the forgotten one.

    “I think he is an outstanding player, he is in the game in so many different ways.”

    It’s fair to say McKenzie wouldn’t swap Gill, who played eight Tests off the bench last year behind Hooper while Pocock was injured, for any of them.

    Of all three, Gill is most like Smith as the consummate all-rounder, whereas Pocock’s an amazing ruck warrior and Hooper the speedy attacking threat.

    He has lots of skills and makes contributions, including winning lineouts for us, attack, defence, getting on the ball, taking the ball forward,” McKenzie said.

    “He is a very slippery player carrying the ball in close. It’s not wide channel running, it’s in close-in hard work and hard yards.

    “He is doing exactly what we expect him to do so there’s no surprises in the Reds camp but hopefully it’s going to count for something down the track.”

    Another fringe Wallabies forward to shine on Friday night was lock Rob Simmons who crossed for his first try in 51 games for Queensland, finally ending the banter he cops from teammates.

    “As much as I’m happy for him there was a little bit inside me that was a bit disappointed,” smiled skipper James Slipper.

    Halfback Ben Lucas is in doubt for the Reds’ trip to Melbourne to play the Rebels on Friday night due to a shoulder injury.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (52)

    • Roar Guru

      March 3rd 2013 @ 6:58am
      Who Needs Melon said | March 3rd 2013 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      It was a great game from Gill. And he showed what he’s got over Pocock and Hooper: a genuine lineout option.

      Jeez it’s tough isn’t it? In many positions we have a dearth of talent at the moment but we have three very, VERY good 7s. ALL of them deserve to be in the Wallaby team. Because of Gills versatility, he’s almost guaranteeing himself a bench spot though. He could cover a variety of spots. Pocock and Hooper could MAYBE cover 6 but that’s about it.

      • March 3rd 2013 @ 8:53am
        Kuruki said | March 3rd 2013 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        “He could cover a variety of spots. Pocock and Hooper could MAYBE cover 6 but that’s about it.”

        I would be interested to hear what these variety of spots were? Imo he has his work cut out getting a shot in his position let alone anything else.

        • March 3rd 2013 @ 10:29am
          mikeylives said | March 3rd 2013 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          With his lineout ability and increasing size 45678

          • Roar Guru

            March 3rd 2013 @ 2:18pm
            jeznez said | March 3rd 2013 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

            Ha ha, Mikey. Love the enthusiasm but he is only about 15cms too short and 10kg too light for 4 or 5. He doesn’t really have the size to cover six or eight either.

            He is a very versatile number 7 with the most complete game out of all the Aussie 7s. That doesn’t mean he can cover other positions though.

            • March 3rd 2013 @ 2:35pm
              Justin2 said | March 3rd 2013 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

              Jez, would you say Kimlin is better in the air and a little looser, quirk plays tighter and is maybe tougher type?

              • Roar Guru

                March 3rd 2013 @ 3:05pm
                jeznez said | March 3rd 2013 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

                Kimlin is definitely a strong lineout option, I don’t know that Kimlin plays that loose but he isn’t as robust a ball carrier, tougher probably isn’t quite the right term but I agree with the sentiment.

                If our 8 is a strong lineout option such as Samo or Higginbotham then if Quirk keeps improving he could be an option

                If our 8 is heavier such as Palu or say Auelua then the stronger lineout options such as Higgs, Dennis, Mowen and Kimlin come in to play.

              • March 3rd 2013 @ 4:18pm
                Jutsie said | March 3rd 2013 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

                I dont think aeula will factor into wallaby selections unless deans is willing to take a gamble (not likely) as its looking less and less like he will get sufficient game time before the lions series. Jake seems to prefer mowen at 8 and kimlin at 6 (cant blame him with the way either is going atm) and i have a feeling if smith is to break into the 22 it will be at aeula’s expense. Furthermore aeula was playing for the 2nds team this week.

              • Roar Guru

                March 3rd 2013 @ 4:31pm
                jeznez said | March 3rd 2013 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

                Juts probably right, was throwing up all the potential 6/8 combos that I think are physically mature enough for June.

              • March 3rd 2013 @ 4:49pm
                Jutsie said | March 3rd 2013 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

                I was hoping that either vaea or aelua would make a push for wallaby selection this year as i dont think palu and samo will last till the next WC.
                However as I said you cant blame white for sticking with kimlin, he hasnt done anything to warrant being dropped and sadly for vaea his season is over.

                On another do you think guys like cotterrill and mcmeinemen will factor in deans thoughts or even jones from the rebels?
                I hope McMeinemen’s body holds up and that he continues to dish out punishment like the accidental shoulder that floored van der merwe last nite 🙂

            • March 3rd 2013 @ 5:06pm
              mikeylives said | March 3rd 2013 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

              I rated gill as the best 7 in the super15 in late 11 and was on par with hoops in 12.
              As a rule, l tend to find you are spot on jez for most things 1-8 related, but if he’s too short for the 2nd row, surely he could be cover for 6 or 8. People have been talking about pocock and hooper respectively for those positions.

              • March 3rd 2013 @ 5:23pm
                Hightackle said | March 3rd 2013 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                This may sound strange but Pocock should convert to Hooker. He has the build and game of a very good no.2.
                Gill could become an 8 and Hooper a 7 with Higgs or Quirk at 6.

              • Roar Guru

                March 3rd 2013 @ 5:26pm
                jeznez said | March 3rd 2013 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

                I think those people are wrong as well.

                If you look at the 6 and 8s I mentioned above Auelua is the shortest and even he is five centimetres taller than Gill, Quirk is next shortest with seven centimetres. Quirk is the lighter of these two and has twelve kilo on Gill.

                The other players I mentioned are over ten centimetres taller and carry similar weight advantage. Height is needed in the lineout and weight required in scrums and the collision zones. I’m not a believer that any of Gill, Pocock or Hooper can play another position in the pack.

              • March 3rd 2013 @ 6:05pm
                Mike said | March 3rd 2013 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

                I think Broussow, McCaw and Dusatoir have all played at 6 on occasion, even if they mainly play 7.
                I can’t remember who took 6 when we played Smith and Waugh together.

                Lock is a very specialist position, that plays very differently to 7 at the breakdown. I wouldn’t consider any of our opensides for lock.

                The hard truth is that we have lots of options at 7 that probably can’t be used elsewhere. They just have to compete for the spot. I hope, with five Super sides, that we will soon see this sort of competition for every spot.

              • Roar Guru

                March 3rd 2013 @ 7:28pm
                jeznez said | March 3rd 2013 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

                No doubt if there aren’t genuine 6 candidates one ode these guys could shift. Although I think the blindside and 8 positions are screaming out for the depth we have at 7. I’d prefer a more traditional style player in those positions.

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 8:53am
      PeterK said | March 3rd 2013 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      The Wallabies are very weak at 6 picking journeymen like Dennis, or with a push for Mowen.

      I would much rather start Gill at 6 and Pocock at 7.

      Smith NO LONGER plays 7. He plays 6 and 8. The trouble is this takes away a lineout jumper.
      If you pick him at 8 then you must pick Dennis at 6.

      I would much rather have Gill at 6 and Palu at 8 than Dennis at 6 and Smith at 8 because Dennis is so ordinary.

      Gill is a better lineout option than Smith as well.

      • Roar Guru

        March 3rd 2013 @ 2:25pm
        jeznez said | March 3rd 2013 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

        I actually like how Kimlin and Quirk are going as potential 6 options. Will be interesting to see how they continue over the course of the season.

        For the 8 spot I think we are reliant on Cliffy and Radike to maintain form and fitness.

        • March 3rd 2013 @ 6:10pm
          Mike said | March 3rd 2013 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

          Hi Jez, this is partly a devil’s advocate question, but you wouldn’t consider Higginbotham at 8?

          • Roar Guru

            March 3rd 2013 @ 7:42pm
            jeznez said | March 3rd 2013 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

            He and McCalman will probably be looked at for there as well. McCalman needs to make the starting side at the Force again.

            For Higgers I share the criticism that many do that he has a tendency to play too loose. I think with Jones and Delve and in the Rebels squad that he will come under selection pressure unless he tightens up his play. He needs to go back and look at the Reds v Chiefs match from last year. He was exemplary for 6 or 8 that day but unfortunately performances like that are too infrequent.

            So far this season I think he has been particularly poor.

            • March 3rd 2013 @ 10:37pm
              ScrumJunkie said | March 3rd 2013 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

              What about Dick Brown for wallaby 8?

              Just kidding.

        • March 4th 2013 @ 11:08am
          WOLF said | March 4th 2013 @ 11:08am | ! Report

          By the way Hugh Mcminemen played on the weekend, i wouldnt mind seeing him at 6.

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 10:08am
      kingplaymaker said | March 3rd 2013 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      Every one conveniently forgets Smith’s last season and indulges in crazy fantasies. In his last season his powers were gone, worn out, and that was years ago.

      Forget the bizarre dreaming and face the reality. Smith is a great player from a bygone era.

      • March 3rd 2013 @ 10:46pm
        ScrumJunkie said | March 3rd 2013 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

        Lost his powers? Did you see that game against wales?

        Having said that, I think calls for him to make the Lions squad are ridiculous considering we have Pocock, Hooper and Gill. What a slap in the face it would be to select GS over any of them. Unless of course he outplays them and earns selection, which I doubt.

        Still think he will be a dominant player at super rugby level though. With a few injuries at no. 8, you never know, we may see him in a wallaby jersey.

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 11:42am
      Jonny Boy Jnr said | March 3rd 2013 @ 11:42am | ! Report

      Wallaby XV for Lions

      1. Ben Alexander
      2. Stephen Moore
      3. James Slipper
      4. James Horwill
      5. Sitaleki Timani
      6. Eddie Quirk
      7. Liam Gill
      8. Scott Higginbotham
      9. Will Genia
      10. James O’Connor
      11. Drew Mitchell/Joe Tomane
      12. Ben Tapuai
      13. Israel Folau
      14. Dom Shipperley
      15. Luke Morahan / Ben Volavola

      16. James Hanson
      17. Benn Robinson
      18. Hugh Pyle/Kane Douglas
      19. David Pocock
      20. Nic White
      21. Digby Ioane
      22. Christian Lealiifano

      • March 3rd 2013 @ 1:04pm
        WOLF said | March 3rd 2013 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

        Nice try.
        Deans will only take experienced players to play the lions.
        You cant take untested and inexperienced players into a lions squad.
        there will be no:
        Liam Gill
        Joe Tomane
        Israel Falou
        Dom Shiperley
        Luke morahan
        Ben volavola

      • March 3rd 2013 @ 5:35pm
        Hightackle said | March 3rd 2013 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

        Johnny boy surely you dont think that has any chance of happening? Thats what you want but has 0% chance of even being close imo.

        I think you have 13 from 15 wrong. Imo this will be closer.

        1) Fat Cat.
        2) TPN.
        3) Alexander.
        4) Horwill.
        5) Douglas
        6) Higgs
        7) Pocock
        8) Palu
        9) Genia
        10) Beale
        11) Ioane
        12) Lealiifano
        13) AAC
        14) Mitchell
        15) JOC

        16) Moore
        17) Slipper
        18) Kepu
        19) Pyle
        20) Hooper
        21) Phipps
        22) Tapuai
        23) Barnes

        • March 3rd 2013 @ 6:19pm
          Mike said | March 3rd 2013 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

          Do you really think Deans will start CL at 12? Tapuai has started at 12 for the last three Wallabies tests.

          • March 3rd 2013 @ 7:10pm
            Hightackle said | March 3rd 2013 @ 7:10pm | ! Report

            It could be Taps at 12 but it all depends on how the season goes.
            Lealiifano is not a major risk imo and its clear he is in that class.

            • March 3rd 2013 @ 7:19pm
              Mike said | March 3rd 2013 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

              Sure, but I thought you were commenting on what Deans was likely to do, rather than what you or I might choose? I just can’t see him bringing in CL at 12 – bench, sure.

              • March 3rd 2013 @ 9:02pm
                Hightackle said | March 3rd 2013 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

                Yes thats what I think he’ll do.

        • March 4th 2013 @ 1:00am
          barbz said | March 4th 2013 @ 1:00am | ! Report

          I hate that you are right.

          Except on Pyle. Wouldn’t deans go with Simmons or Timani by your reasoning?

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 1:17pm
      Jonny Boy Jnr said | March 3rd 2013 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

      He will do that at his peril. The only reason South Africa held out the Lions on their last tour was due to rookie Heinrich Brussow’s efforts at the breakdown and Steyn’s long range conversions in the 3rd test. Our current batch of ‘experienced’ Wallabies certainly don’t have what’s required

      • March 3rd 2013 @ 7:06pm
        Hightackle said | March 3rd 2013 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

        Pocock is better than Brussow.

    • March 3rd 2013 @ 1:52pm
      kingplaymaker said | March 3rd 2013 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

      Not sure Shipperely instead of Ioane will change that.

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