I have a look back at a few stats and it appears to me that George North has only ever started one test before in the #13 jumper and that was on 21 February 2014 at the Millennium Stadium where Wales defeated France 27 - 6. Interestingly Jamie Roberts wore the #12 jumper on that day. In considering the fact North scored one of Wales' two tries you would think the North/Roberts combination would be pretty handy, but going further into the stat's and looking at the extended highlights that are available on Youtube I think there may be some opportunity for the Wallabies to exploit around the 12/13 channels.
George North and Jamie Roberts came up against Wesley Fofana and Matthieu Basteraud who both can be dangerous players. In the highlights it shows a powerful Basteraud pushing through a George North tackle to all but set up his winger for a try. It appears that a lack of execution and discipline cost France dearly in that match; something the Wallabies have also had issues with at times. However the opportunities were there for France. North made 3 tackles and missed 6, his British & Irish Lions partner Dr Jamie Roberts made 3 and missed 2. Both Fofana & Basteraud had decent games in attack running decent meters, beating defenders and even the odd clean break. Interesting!
It would be unwise to think it will be a repeat performance this weekend but I think Chieka and his team will obviously study that game as the Welsh side appears fairly similar to that which beat France. If I were Chieka I would stick with Lealiifano and Kurindrani at #12 & #13 but really ram home the point of supporting the runner on the inside as I think the Wallabies have too often made a break but lacked support to further the offensive. I consider Lealiifano one of the better inside support runners of his outside players and think he could do a good job the Wallabies in both attack and defense.
I will say I am happy to see Craig Joubert officiating the match. I think we should see some flowing rugby that suits traditionally suits the Wallabies. I am keen to see what side Chieka names.
Good Morning Spiro and all,
In relation to the emerging rugby market in the USA, I think the requirement for a professional domestic league or similar needs to be introduced before we really see the wealth of untapped rugby ability they possess come to life. It is not to be forgotten that in 1995 during the 'Rugby War's' the Packer backed World Rugby Corporation recognised this and had indeed designed such plans to launch an professional tournament there that would comprise of teams filled with ex-pat New Zealander's, Australian's, South African's Brit's, French and Irish blended in with local talent.
Whilst WRC's plan had its own issues I thought this acknowledgement of the US Market and need for a professional presence there was a positive plan. I still wonder 18 years on how rugby in the US may be today if that tournament was launched in 1996? Still I hope to see it in my lifetime and I think the USA and Canada would do an excellent job in hosting a RWC.
In the meantime I would love to see a double header at Solider Field - USA v Canada as the curtain raiser to a Bledisloe or All Blacks vs Springbok's match during the RC.
Spot on about Israel. I recall that intercept he got against the All Blacks when he first got into the side and he appeared to have all the running then but it maybe just my perception but he does appear to slow up as you say. Mate if Chieka does go with Hansen then I still think it will be a very competitive side as well. Mate I like Carter but like all thought his body height was to high when carrying and cleaning out at times but he appears to have done some work on that and I rate him. Poor old Dean Mumm, was he really that bad? I didn't think so - not one of greats but he was part of a side that did beat the AB's in Hong Kong in 2010 albeit as a sub at 72 mins - but he was still there! Some great players have never tasted that.