On Saturday, June 6, 1998, Steven Larkham punctuated an unlikely switch from fullback to five-eighth with a hat trick of tries in the Wallabies 76-0 rout of England in Brisbane.
Larkham’s conversion from fullback to five-eighth proved to be a stroke of genius on Rod McQueen’s part, which contributed to one of the great periods in modern Australian rugby.
By most accounts, Larkham was not an obvious candidate for five-eighth – certainly not in any classic sense of pass and kick. However, breaking the mold worked out rather nicely. See this article for more.
Included in the several persistent headaches confronting the Australian selectors today, are the lack of ‘grab it by the scruff of the neck’ candidates for scrum half and fullback.
We have a handful of candidates for both positions that are competent. None, however, seem capable of putting the issue to rest. Perhaps it is time to pull a McQueen-Monty Python and try something completely different.
My initial suggestion along these lines is to consider someone like Quade Cooper as a scrumhalf. Certainly not because he plays like one now, but because he is one of the few players I can think of who can really throw a long, flat, hard pass.
He, as much as several others, appears to have a promising future as a five-eighth or center. However, on reflection, Cooper also seems to be slipping behind Matt Toomua on an already longish list of ‘promising’ five-eighth’s.
Please note, since several recent posts have gone wildly off topic, this is:
NOT about Steven Larkham – his legacy is secure.
NOT starting a case for Cooper as a scrumhalf.
About suggesting some creative position switching to use the talent we have to build better, more robust Super 14 and Wallabies teams.
You’ll no doubt notice in the coming weeks that we’ve cooled our jets on the amount content we’re producing. With no live sport, and our advertisers pausing, we are sure you’ll understand and stick with us.
Let’s all remember to breathe, be grateful, and look after each other. And, if you want to send in an extra article or comment every now and then, go for it.
I wrote an article on this site a few years ago entitled ‘The anatomy of the tribe‘, and while I thought it was one of my best pieces – and I still do – it attracted only four comments, and one of them was mine. I’m not sure why that was, but it’s probably because […]