What gives with Wycliff Palu?

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Wycliff Palu gives Ben Alexander a cuddle. AP Photo/Tom Hevezi

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    Here we go again: injury-riddled Wycliff Palu missed yesterday’s training session “as a precaution”. When is coach Robbie Deans going to take the precaution earlier and not pick him?

    But it’s easy to see why Deans keeps taking a punt on the big bloke. Palu can be devastatingly destructive on his day.

    One problem: he has to be on the paddock. And there’s the perennial question.

    I’d rather have Brumby Peter Kimlin at 8, knowing he’ll be there 100% of the time to give 100%. And the way Kimlin played against the Lions, as the stand-in captain and man-of-the-match, he’s the better bet over Palu anyway.

    The question mark over Palu apart, the Wallabies are ready to make their presence felt at Suncorp tonight, their fortress.

    The men-in-gold have won 14 of their last 16 internationals at one of the very best rugby grounds to play on, and view, in the world.

    The perfect place for the W’s to start the three-Test series with a W.

    This clash promises to be a cracker. Everywhere you look on both sides there’s quality.

    And especially among the Wallabies, where Ben Mowen, Israel Folau, and Christian Lealiifano make their debuts.

    And deservedly so, all three have been dominant in Super Rugby.

    Mowen has captained the Brumbies with distinction since the start of last season, having moved away from the then negative elements of the Waratahs – with the emphasis in “the then”, not the now.

    Mowen has been the driving force behind the Brumbies qualifying for their first Super Rugby finals series in a decade.

    Lealiifano can take the same accolades in the Brumbies back division with his general play – and just as importantly his goal-kicking. It will be interesting to see how he slots in between James O’Connor and the very much in-form Adam Ashley-Cooper.

    The success of those three will directly affect how Folau fires in his first up appearance on the wing. He made his presence felt in 15 games for the Waratahs on rugby season debut as a fullback, and now has been dramatically moved by Deans.

    Hopefully it’s a Deans masterstroke. But it is a huge gamble whichever way the cards fall.

    Looking at the Lions, there’s plenty to roar about with the men-in-red. That’s the inbuilt aura about this combined side that has stood the test of time since 1888.

    They are big, fast, experienced, and desperate for a Test, and series, win.

    Desperation can be a handy tool if used properly, and coach Warren Gatland is an old hand at calling on all the pluses he can muster.

    Like Deans with favourite Palu, Gatland has chosen two favourites in skipper Sam Warburton and winger Alex Cuthbert, both out-of-form – a mighty risk in what looms as a razor-edged 80 minutes.

    And for the man who will dictate the outcome, Kiwi referee Chris Pollock, this will be the game of his life and a huge honour to control the first Test in the series.

    It’s the general consensus the winner tonight will win the series, so it’s vital Pollock lets it happen rather than make it happen.

    In short, be 31 on the paddock, and not top dog.

    So bring it on gold and red, the rugby world awaits with anticipation.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 7:26am
      cmon david give up said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      might have something to do with the fact that he was our best player on the EOYT last year

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 4:08pm
        Schuey said | June 22nd 2013 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

        I agree. Palu was immense at Twickenham in particular. You have to take a risk on him. He’s a better option at 8 than an inexperienced Kimlin imho as we need his bulk and experience in the scrum, which will be under big pressure.

        To play a rookie at the top level Kimlin out of position in the such a massive test is a bad idea. Maybe in the dead rubber 3rd test.

    • Roar Guru

      June 22nd 2013 @ 7:30am
      biltongbek said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:30am | ! Report

      It is a shame Higginbotham is out, he was in great form this season.

      • Columnist

        June 22nd 2013 @ 7:35am
        David Lord said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:35am | ! Report

        bilton, that will end of being the quote of the day.

      • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:01am
        Albo said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:01am | ! Report

        Oof, that one hurts the most BB. We could have used the new Higgy immensely.

        Have to agree David about Cliffy but what’s done is done. It’s D-Day now. Lets hope the moment lifts that frame up a gear, fires for 60 and causes a ruckus (for them). A few 2009 hits like he did at Croke Park against the Irish would be a good start (without the ridiculous yellow card).

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 2:37pm
          kombiutedriver said | June 22nd 2013 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

          That is the point in one …….. 2009 and 2013 ……. and the likelihood of turning back the clock?

      • Roar Guru

        June 22nd 2013 @ 9:29am
        Simon Levingston said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Higginbotham is a 6 not really an 8.

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 1:12pm
          WRM said | June 22nd 2013 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

          Yeah thats where Id play him.
          I have liked what Ive seen of Kimlin at 8 but Australia lacks a quality specialist tighthead and a quality specialist 8.

          • Roar Guru

            June 22nd 2013 @ 3:08pm
            Nick Turnbull said | June 22nd 2013 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

            Well mate there is only one Keiran Read and its daylight after that. However I think Cliff is the best we have in Australia right now.

            • June 27th 2013 @ 8:51am
              riccardo said | June 27th 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

              Not quite true actually Nick.

              Louis Picamoles was the outstanding player of the French series before he was injured and is battle with Read for that mantle will be something to savour over the next few years.

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 7:43am
      eagleJack said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      While not ideal it’s not unusual to rest a player as a precaution (Lions did the same with Davies and Croft). Palu will not be taking the field if not 100%. You can guarantee that. He was one of our best on the EOYT and is worth the risk.

      But as Biltong points out he really only got the shot due to injury to Higgers. He’s as big a loss as Pocock such was his sensational form.

      But all in all it’s a very strong looking Wallaby outfit.

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 7:44am
      Adsa said | June 22nd 2013 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      Sadly Palu will be a soft target for the Lions having spent very little time on the park. Dingo will point to Cliffs EOYT as a reason for his place in the squad. From my memory of last years tour he only had a really good game against Wales which was the final game, so expect a biggie from Cliffy in the last test. Kimlin would be a great choice at 8, he gave it to the Lions on Tuesday and is exactly what we need from an 8 – 80 minutes of grunt. Wycliff will last 60 minutes tops then we will bring Gill on to lighten the pack, curious concept by Deans. Anyway David get use to Palu part time prescence he is signed for 2 more years by the ARU.

      • Roar Guru

        June 22nd 2013 @ 9:00am
        PeterK said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        very ignorant idea to put Kimlin at 8, typical of DL.
        The Lions pack will be very strong, you must have a specialist 8 who can handle the scrum going backwards, to pick up the ball and retain possession.
        Higgs has taken 2 years plus to be ok at 8 but still better at 6.

        Kimlin can play 6 or lock NOT 8.

        Now if you suggested Mowen at 8 and Kimlin at 6 that at least works.

        • Roar Guru

          June 22nd 2013 @ 9:30am
          Simon Levingston said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          Mowen is too small for 8.

          • June 22nd 2013 @ 9:40am
            Ash said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:40am | ! Report

            He also gets pumbled too easily.

          • Columnist

            June 22nd 2013 @ 3:21pm
            David Lord said | June 22nd 2013 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

            Mowen too small at 195cm and 114kgs Simon?

        • Columnist

          June 22nd 2013 @ 9:42am
          David Lord said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          Peter Kimlin played his blinder against the Lions at 8.

          • Roar Guru

            June 22nd 2013 @ 9:58am
            Simon Levingston said | June 22nd 2013 @ 9:58am | ! Report

            I agree Kimlin could be the alternate 8. It is a pity he is heading overseas and will ineligible to play for the Wallabies next year under the current regulations.

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:08am
      Harry said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      No doubt he can be devastating, but very unlikely to do it 3 weeks running. Lets hope he’s on song tonight and worry about the inevitable injury/form dip next week.

    • June 22nd 2013 @ 8:37am
      colvin said | June 22nd 2013 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      I read that he got a head cut the day before in contested training.

      • Columnist

        June 22nd 2013 @ 3:14pm
        David Lord said | June 22nd 2013 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

        Colvin, is the head cut “terminal”?

        • June 22nd 2013 @ 6:36pm
          colvin said | June 22nd 2013 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

          Maybe not. Hope not. Let’s see if he’s still in the run on 15 in 90 minutes.

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