Now that the Australian teams’ involvement in Super Rugby is complete the Wallabies Rugby World Cup 31-man squad is due to be named.
I would like to show what such a squad based only on Super Rugby form would look like.
Of course in reality other considerations are more important, like consistently good international form and the skills to implement the coaches desired game plan.
However this exercise is useful to help gauge how many of the players chosen in the final squad were in good Super Rugby form.
I have used The Roar posters’ ratings in determining form over the season and not my personal evaluations.
The squad is of 31 players. I am assuming it will be 18 forwards and 13 backs broken up as follows.
The forwards: 5 props, 3 hookers, 4 locks, 2 blindside flankers, 2 openside flankers, and 2 no 8s.
The backs: 3 halfbacks, 2 fly-halves and the best in every other position, with the remaining 3 players chosen covering more than 1 position.
All the players per position will be listed in order of their player scores for their form.
Tighthead props – Sekope Kepu, Greg Holmes, Paul Alo-Emile. Kepu and Holmes are very close in scores the difference is negligible
Loosehead props – Scott Sio, James Slipper. Sio and Slipper are very close in scores the difference is negligible
Alo-Emile was chosen as the fifth prop as the next best of either tighthead or loosehead props.
Hookers – James Hanson, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polotau-Nau. The only hooker in form is James Hanson, all others have relatively low scores.
Locks – Will Skelton, Luke Jones, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold. Coleman and Arnold are very close in scores the difference is negligible and if Rob Simmons was chosen for his experience and set piece skills either could be dropped.
Lopeti Timani is rated second but since he did not make the train-on squad he has been excluded.
Blindside flanker – Scott Higginbotham, Scott Fardy. Note Higginbotham did play 8 but on scores we ended up with 3 no 8’s on form and 1 blindside flanker and since Higginbotham plays 6 as well he was moved.
Openside flanker – David Pocock, Liam Gill.
No 8 – Ita Vaea, Wycliff Palu. Note if Matt Giteau was chosen as the third halfback, and a utility and a 19th forward was chosen, Sean McMahon would be the next forward chosen by ratings.
Notable exclusions – Benn Alexander, Benn Robinson, Lopeti Timani, Rob Simmons, Sean McMahon, Michael Hooper, Ben McCalman
Scrum halves – Will Genia, Nic White, Nick Phipps. The only halfbacks in form are Will Genia and Nic Stirzaker, all others have relatively low scores
Nic Stirzaker is rated second but since he did not make the train-on squad he has been excluded.
Fly-halves – Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley.
Inside centre – Samu Kerevi, Christian Lealiifano
Outside centre – Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper
Fullback – Israel Folau
Wing – Joe Tomane, Rob Horne
Utility – James O’Connor
The last remaining spot is very close in score between Taqele Naiyaravoro, Henry Speight and James O’Connor. I chose James O’Connor because he is a utility player and a goal kicker. He is also a good kicker in general play.
If Matt Giteau was chosen as the third halfback and as a utility player, then one of these wingers could be chosen, or an extra forward.
Notable exclusions – Nic Stirzaker, Matt Toomua, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Henry Speight