Which fringe players are putting together a resume that Robbie Deans needs to seriously consider this Wallabies season?
Are there players coming from even further back in the pack to make their case this year?
The chances are that Robbie Deans will stick with the players he already knows best for the Lions Tour, but there may be people who sneak into the side with outstanding play in Super Rugby.
For others, a fantastic year in their provincial side could still be rewarded with Rugby Championship caps.
I’m just going to start with a few names who warrant consideration.
We’ll start with the most obvious player asking to be nominated. Mogg has been outstanding every time he’s played for the Brumbies this year. Their first loss coincided with his absence this week after sustaining an injury during the Sharks match.
Every time he touches the ball he’s shown class in 2013.
Mogg has four tries already this year, the top in that category for the side. He’s backed that up with numerous line breaks and great passes to put others through holes.
What makes is game suited to the international arena is that he’s fantastic receiving kicks. His speed enables him to get into great position.
Mogg also has a long booming punt himself – the closes thing to a Latham boot we’ve had since his retirement.
The captain down in the ACT is having a great year for the second year in a row.
Some would have pointed to his play last year and said he deserves a call up to the highest level. I would argue he’s playing better in 2013.
Mowe has always had the ability to impact the game on a few occasions each week. What has improved this year is his work rate and ability to get around the park.
He looks just as big as he always has been, so I think it’s just a matter of everything coming together between the ears rather than a drastic improvement in bulk or speed for Mowen.
Not many Wallabies forward pack incumbents have started the year very well and Mowen may well make someone pay.
This may appear a little left-field for some, but Mafi has been one of the stand out performers on a Force team that hasn’t had much go their way this year.
He knows when to follow the ball and back up, he also has a thirst for getting involved.
Mafi is quick, he’s strong and he takes the ball into contact very well.
As some on The Roar have pointed out, Tomane and Speight of the Brumbies often reduce their own momentum going into contact while trying to step and jink around (I’d put the Reds’ Chris Feauai-Sautia in this group). Mafi is always driving through contact and is therefore much harder to bring down and is able to place the ball for his team to access it easily.
So, rugby fans, don’t snooze on the Force this year. Tune in to see one of Australia’s better wingers.
I’ll admit that this nod is probably more looking toward the Rugby Championship or even the Spring Tour, but Godwin really is a player of the future.
Last year was Godwin’s first in a Super Rugby set up and he came onto the scene for a side decimated by injuries. He made a name for himself in the famous almost-win against the Crusaders.
Godwin possesses a wonderful build for a young inside centre. He’s tall, quick, has long powerful legs and a very serviceable pass.
I hope that someone doesn’t make the silly decision to move him in one spot to 10 because at inside centre he has skills that set him apart from most others.
While you are up late watching the West Australian time-zone matches see if you can predict where the game is moving before Godwin does. He seems to know where gaps are about to open and when to follow the ball and burst through them.
Australia isn’t exactly bursting at the seams at the lock position. I’d put to you that Kimlin is a strong candidate to boost that area.
Kimlin is a work-horse who goes about his business with a minimum of fuss. He also covers blindside flanker of the pack when the coach needs him to, adding a good level of versatility.
He is aware of his duties as well. At blindside he appears more often on the stat sheet for tackles and runs. When in the second row, Kimlin tends to roam the centre of the field to clean out and drive over the opposition ball which isn’t always as noticed.
Measureable or not, Kimlin is always doing his job.
Mowen and Fardy are often the more targeted lineout options for the Brumbies, but Kimlin is there every week providing a very secure alternative when needed – as has been the case in the last two weeks.
Add to all this is the fact that only against the Sharks, when the match was well and truly won, has he come off the field before the final siren. That dependability is an asset any coach would love.
Who else is warranting consideration?