Where would the Wallabies be without the Pacific Island connection?

David Lord Columnist

By , David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    When the Fijian flyer Eto Nabuli debuts for the Wallabies against Scotland at Allianz tonight, he will be the 16th Pacific Islander of the current squad or those injured to don the coveted gold jersey.

    Add Will Genia, born in Port Moresby with a Papua New Guinean father and Australian mother, and there will be 333 Wallaby caps on duty tonight with Sekope Kepu, Tatafa Polota-Nau, Israel Folau, Tevita Kuridrani, Allan Alaa’laltoa, and Karmichael Hunt, nearly half the starting side.

    And they have all done Australia proud, and will do so for years to come.

    Nabuli will be the sixth Fijian, joining Kuridrani, Henry Speight, Samu Kerevi, Sefa Naivalu, and Taqele Nauyaravovo – between them 74 caps with Kuridrani the senior player on 46.

    There are seven Tongans of either parentage or born in Tonga with Kepu (78 Wallaby caps), Polota-Nau (69), and Folau (53) the senior players with Will Skelton, Tolu Latu, Lopeti Timani, and Chris Feauai-Sautia,earning 230 caps between them.

    The Tongans with the same qualifications are Christian Lealiifano, Alaa’laltoa, and Hunt with 30 caps between them.

    All up in the current squad and including those injured there are 411 Wallaby caps from the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea, with a lot more in store.

    So the Wallabies are along similar lines to the Australian population, quite diverse, and it’s more so when Quade Cooper is added to the mix with his New Zealand heritage.

    Tonight, the Scots are forewarned not to give Eto Nabuli too much space, or all they will see his back and the soles of his feet disappearing at speed.

    And with Folau back in the try-scoring business, the Scots will have their job cut out keeping the men in gold in check.

    And it’s about time that was the case,

    Wallaby rugby is all about running rugby, and that’s the way Michael Cheika was coached to play at the best running rugby club side in the world – the Galloping Greens at Randwick.

    And that’s the way it should be.

    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