Who is pressing for Wallaby selection?

Elisha Pearce Columnist

By Elisha Pearce, Elisha Pearce is a Roar Expert

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    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.

    Jesse Mogg

    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.

    Ben Mowen

    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.

    Alfi Mafi

    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.

    Kyle Godwin

    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.

    Peter Kimlin

    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?

    Elisha Pearce
    Elisha Pearce

    Long-time Roarer Elisha Pearce joined us as a rugby union expert in 2015. He also works for Fairfax Media and has confused more Roarers with his name than anyone in the history of the site.

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    The Crowd Says (88)

    • March 26th 2013 @ 5:35am
      Hightackle said | March 26th 2013 @ 5:35am | ! Report

      My Wallabies side.

      1) Robinson
      2) TPN
      3) Kepu
      4) Timani
      5) Douglas
      6) Dennis
      7) Hooper
      8) Palu
      9) McKibbon
      10) Foley
      11) Mitchell
      12) Barnes
      13) Horne
      14) Izzy
      15) R.Deans.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 6:18am
        Shop said | March 26th 2013 @ 6:18am | ! Report

        No AAC?

      • Roar Guru

        March 26th 2013 @ 6:57am
        JDP said | March 26th 2013 @ 6:57am | ! Report

        How the heck does Horne get a run in? And Foley at 10? OHHH just saw that you are joking because it is a Wallabies team. Funny stuff.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 7:15am
        Justin2 said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:15am | ! Report

        Coach – no tackle 🙂

    • March 26th 2013 @ 5:41am
      mania said | March 26th 2013 @ 5:41am | ! Report

      paddyRyan

      • Roar Guru

        March 26th 2013 @ 6:58am
        JDP said | March 26th 2013 @ 6:58am | ! Report

        He definitely is bolting, still needs to be tested against some Kiwi opposition though. I haven’t seen much of him in the tight, but a great carrier in the loose.

        • March 26th 2013 @ 7:01am
          mania said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:01am | ! Report

          JP – he worked over the cheetah’s front row. kept popping his opposite on their feeds. however in the weekend vs the blues he wasnt able to disrupt the scrum at all, but he did keep it stable on their own feeds. played all right in the loose, not as many carries as previous games but still a work horse.
          i agree tho that i wanna see him vs some quality front rows but i imagine he’d be up to the task.

          • Roar Guru

            March 26th 2013 @ 7:14am
            JDP said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:14am | ! Report

            Very interesting Mania – I thought he was a helluva a bolter into the EOYT last year. from memory he only had 13 odd caps at that point, but I think Robbie and Co must have seen something there.

            Certainly has an impressive physique (6 ft 2.5 in and 120 kgs according to wiki). Will be keeping a keen eye on him from now on though.

            • March 26th 2013 @ 7:24am
              mania said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:24am | ! Report

              JP – TBH i didnt even notice him last season or that he’d gotten a call up. i’m surprised that he’s 6’2″ tho. doesnt look that tall. i’ll def be keepin an eye on him as well

              • March 27th 2013 @ 5:27pm
                Bananas said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

                Keen to keep an eye on Ben Sio as well

      • March 26th 2013 @ 10:57am
        Elisha Pearce said | March 26th 2013 @ 10:57am | ! Report

        Paddy Ryan was close to getting a mention – he was on my initial list.
        As people have said below, I think he still has a bit of proving to go. He’s a legitimate athlete though and gets his work done around the park. I’d like to see him mow people back in the scrum more.

        He’s probably still learning to scrummage at this level though. He hasn’t really been given a whole lot of opportunity before now. I wouldn’t write off further improvement.

        • March 26th 2013 @ 11:02am
          mania said | March 26th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          “still learning to scrummage”?!?! he popped the cheetahs opposite almost every scrum. he held his own vs the blues scrum and mccartney is supposed to be inhumanly strong. if this is how paddy is doing whilst learnin to scrum then he needs to be learning at test level asap.

          • March 26th 2013 @ 11:44am
            Elisha Pearce said | March 26th 2013 @ 11:44am | ! Report

            Thats what I mean though. But how consistent has his game time been at Super Rugby level? Not very over the last few years. I’m just putting myself in his shoes, he’s still probably working on a few things and getting kinks out at this level.
            He’s got long legs for a prop, and as long as he doesn’t get too far in front of the 90 degrees with his knees and hips, should have a great leverage advantage in most matchups.

            • March 26th 2013 @ 11:46am
              mania said | March 26th 2013 @ 11:46am | ! Report

              this year he’s been pretty consistent but i’ve only seen 4 tahs games. your probably right tho. test level scrummaging, the gloves come off and anything goes.

              • Roar Guru

                March 26th 2013 @ 1:28pm
                jeznez said | March 26th 2013 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

                Had a mixed bag in his one cap against the scrum I respect the most France. His first two scrums wound up penalties against him for early engagement, his third was a tighthead with him at THP and Slipper at LHP driving straight through in a very nice win for the Aussies.

                Obviously way too small a sample to get much info from.

              • March 26th 2013 @ 4:44pm
                terrykidd said | March 26th 2013 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                I agree that Paddy Ryan is the bees knees …. he will be in the Wallaby squad for the Lions series. I can’t think of too many props in front of him right now

    • Roar Guru

      March 26th 2013 @ 6:36am
      biltongbek said | March 26th 2013 @ 6:36am | ! Report

      All I got so far from the Super rugby series is:

      Hogg.

      He looks like the form 15 in OZ, his running skills and offloading skills are good enough, but he has completed very few tackles in 3.65 matches.

      I like Liam Gill, but when I looked at his stats for the 5 matches he has played he has only hit 30 odd rucks in 5 matches. His tackle completion is 90% at about 12 tackles per match.

      Then Cooper without Genia is half the man, so if Genia isn’t fit, Cooper shouldn’t play.

      That is it for the moment.

      • Roar Guru

        March 26th 2013 @ 6:59am
        JDP said | March 26th 2013 @ 6:59am | ! Report

        Interesting – I agree BB for me the only question mark for me with Mogg is his defence. The reality is he doesn’t tackle much, because it appears not many linebreaks are made requiring him to tackle that much (credit to the Brumbies apparent strength in defense).

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2013 @ 7:22am
          biltongbek said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:22am | ! Report

          Yes, that is one way to look at it, but it also could suggest he is shirking on defence.

          i am still rating him though.

          • March 26th 2013 @ 8:25pm
            DMac said | March 26th 2013 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

            I’m a bit worried about how Mogg runs into contact. He sometimes runs high and with his head back which leaves him prone to getting cleaned up.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 6:50am
      Jean Polet said | March 26th 2013 @ 6:50am | ! Report

      ELISHA – the big difference is this: the Lions are bringing 35 top class players. We don’t have 35 top class players so we’ve got two strikes against us already. But you’re asking which first timers deserve selection. The ones you mention, certainly. But Deans isn’t going to go that route except in the initial squad. Then he’ll narrow that down. And the 15 guys who start on June 22 will be the 15 regulars.

      • Roar Guru

        March 26th 2013 @ 5:51pm
        Myles Stedman said | March 26th 2013 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

        Agreed Jean. Deans always too yellow to select any more than one new player against Scotland even. No way will he try anything new against the Lions

    • Roar Guru

      March 26th 2013 @ 7:08am
      Who Needs Melon said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      I agree with your list Elisha. I’ve been very surprised by Kimlin. looks much better than in previous seasons. I remember him being tall and rangy. now seems to have a bit of bulk and grunt to him too.

      Perhaps also Fotu Auelua?

      Kuridrani is a guy I feel COULD be really good. You see glimpses but he’s never quite there.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 8:47am
        nickoldschool said | March 26th 2013 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        Agree WNM, Auelua is in the mix too. He brings more mongrel than others and would be a great enforcer when things turn heated.

        I like your five Elisha. Mogg has to be the front runner now and with the KB saga unfolding it’s now unthinkable not to see him with a wallabies jersey on in thre months time.

        Toomua is doing very well too and is now just behind QC at n10. I think Mogg, Toomua and Auelua should be in. 35-man squad, probably not all three in a 23 match day squad but they are definitely among the 35 best Aussies players in 2013 IMO.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 8:53am
        Sailosi said | March 26th 2013 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        Kuridrani needs a consistent stretch of game time. He is very good and by the end of this season i think people wll be ravin about him.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 7:40am
      Rockin Rod said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      Chris Alcock the bolter, keeping EWF captain Matt Hodgson out. And Big Fotu at 8

      • Roar Guru

        March 27th 2013 @ 1:12am
        jeznez said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:12am | ! Report

        I’ve heard you pushing Alcock’s barrow for a few weeks now Rod. Will be paying attention when he faces up to the Tahs this weekend.

      • March 28th 2013 @ 5:22pm
        Denby said | March 28th 2013 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

        Alcock is very good, we have an abundance of talented opensides at the moment. All fast, mobile and aggressive at the breakdown. I am unsure if Alcock will be able to leap frog Gill and Hooper. Smith would also stand in his way, but it is unlikely he will be eligible.

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