Show me the players to bring Australia the 2019 World Cup

Tipsy McStagger Roar Rookie

By Tipsy McStagger, Tipsy McStagger is a Roar Rookie

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98 Have your say

    In my rather short Roar career, I have a had a decent crack at the Wallabies ‘brains trust’ because of the attacking and defensive structures they employ. In doing so, I have also had a decent crack at their selections.

    It’s easy to criticise but it’s much harder to offer solutions and alternatives. I have already put forward my ideas in the 2-4-2 attacking structure and the rush/spread defence, as used by the All Blacks. The one thing I have not touched on is selections.

    My guess is that the first response from the Wallabies “brains trust” upon being confronted with the possibility of using different structures would be: “well, show me the players who would be able to play in those structures” (because blaming the players’ skill sets and fitness seems to be their answer to any other problem and criticism they are confronted with).

    To start off this debating tornado, I will now select my 15 to take to the 2019 World Cup if the Wallabies were to start utilising these structures right now.

    Before I bellyflop into this debate igniting topic, I just want to clear up a few points.

    • It is a catch 22 situation – if you want to use the use the 2-4-2 you need the players with the requisite skill sets and if you want players with the requisite skill sets you need to use the 2-4-2. A genuine, fully committed start will have to made at some point, just as the AB’s did shortly after their disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign.

    • When I mention players, it will not only be because of the skillset and ability they possess right now but also because of the skillset they could possess (and have shown glimpses of) given a bit of attention and guidance.

    • No overseas players are mentioned because they should be banned a la New Zealand selection policy (which is a whole new topic for debate)

    • Some players are a getting a bit on but this is team is purely for competing at the 2019 World Cup – I don’t subscribe to ‘building for the future’, win every match at all costs when playing in the hallowed gold!

    The Squad
    01. Ben Alexander
    I rate his deceptive speed and agility but also his handling skills. More importantly I rate his experience and rugby knowledge for the squad in general and on the side of the scrum which involves most of the skulduggery and dark tactics.

    I have never had a problem with his scrumming at loosehead, he has only had his problems at tighthead when moved there for God knows what reason. I remember his early years at the Brumbies when he was a dynamic try scoring machine and I think he can still be that player up to 2019. The haters will keep hating though.

    2. Damien Fitzpatrick
    My pick to fit the 2-4-2 hooker mould. The glimpses I’ve seen in his limited game time at the ‘Tahs since returning from overseas has shown good speed, handling and ability to identify gaps. Also, can’t fault his throwing from what I’ve seen.

    In his late twenties, he has plenty of life and overseas playing experience. I rate his maturity and exposure to different structures and tactics to be an asset in this key position. Jordan Uelese would bench for impact.

    03. Sekope Kepu
    Our best prop on either side of the scrum, just a pity he is asked to do grunt work all the time by running into brick walls. When he decides to tuck it, and run, he has shown glimpses of just how dynamic he can be. His experience also can’t be priced. Along with Ben Alexander in that middle four-man pod, I can see real damage being done.

    Sekope Kepu

    (Photo: AFP)

    04. Steven Cummins
    At 202cm and 122 kegs, he is a very agile, physical and surprisingly trim player. Apart from his skillset, it’s his calmness during the game that impresses me and I think he is one of those players who doesn’t need ‘experience’ to remain that calm on an international stage. I can see his brain constantly ticking over on the field – my choice for captain.

    05. Adam Coleman
    Been a fan since I first saw him. Our own Brodie Retallick. Just need to remove the unnecessary anger out his game that sometimes clouds his vision – a trait which only started developing under Cheika. From what I’ve seen, especially in his early days, he is a very fast and agile player for such a big unit. Imagine giving this unit licence to roam.

    06. Jed Holloway
    Been a fan since day one. He is a massive unit with some incredible speed and handling. The All Blacks upgraded their mobility from Jerome Kaino to Liam Squire, we don’t need to upgrade, because we have this guy. I want to see this unit roam the sidelines in the 2-4-2 structure. Also a lineout option.

    07. Jack Dempsey
    Big call, but not really. Richie McCaw and Sam Cane are not your usual short, stocky, over the ball players and it is not required in the 2-4-2. We all know how good Dempsey is and he has the ability to turn over ball, but more importantly, he is smart and skilful enough to slow the ball down. And for those Pocock advocates – he is too short, immobile and is not agile and dynamic enough taking the ball into contact. Also a lineout option.

    08. Isi Naiserani
    His talent is obvious and this is largely why he has been picked. My concern is his rugby IQ given the positional and tactical importance of this position. If this can be overcome, there is no reason why he can’t run around the field like Kieran Read, except, Naiserani would be more powerful into contact. Also a lineout option.

    09. Jake Gordon
    The complete package but have not seen enough of his general kicking game (which would be worked on overtime is it was lacking). Fit, fast, tenacious with an obvious eye for a gap – he is Aaron Smith on steroids. Love this guy’s electricity.

    10. David Horwitz
    I just plain like what I see and I think he is an unearthed diamond. Played fly half his whole life until Daryl Gibson moved him to inside centre in his debut season and his NRC team decided to play him at outside centre. He is very well conditioned and a very good defender. He also has a very good kicking game both out of hand and at the posts.

    The thing I like most is his persistent calmness. I have not seen him take the reins in a playmaking capacity but from what I’ve seen so far I think he will not lack in this department.

    Also, strikes me as the type of unselfish player who would be willing to be instructed from outside (from the 13 and 15) as to options and calls a la Beauden Barrett. Duncan Paia’aua missed out very narrowly because I think his kicking game is just that bit below par compared to Horwitz’s.

    11. Israel Folau
    The closest, and most likely better, thing we have to Rieko Ioane. We all know he is an out and out left wing and a sure bet to win any contest in the air near the opposition try line or from a kick off. Selects himself here. Will need work on positional awareness though.

    Israel Folau Wallabies

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    12. Andrew Smith
    Andrew who you say? Andrew Smith, under-utilised Brumbies inside centre. Standing at 194cm and weighing in 104 kegs, he is the perfect fit for the 2-4-2 inside centre mould.

    With the limited game time he got for the Brumbies towards the end of last year he showed what natural instincts and ability he has – very impressed by his running lines and handling. I keep repeating calmness and experience and this bloke has both.

    Not seen too much of his work at the breakdown and this would be worked on overtime is found lacking. At 34 he is teetering on retirement but I think, given his obvious physical conditioning, that he can make the 2019 World Cup, no sweat.

    13. James Dargaville
    Big call you say? I stick to my guns. This guy is the all-round package for the 2-4-2 outside centre and is very unassuming – one of those reliable players that almost never makes a mistake. When I think James Dargaville, I think Conrad Smith.

    Strikes me as an unselfish team player who really would put the team first. Also has a very decent fend when going on the outside.

    14. Jack Maddocks
    The requisite second fullback in the back three. At 194cm tall he is also an excellent option for the cross-field kick close to the opposition try line. His talent and potential is undoubted.

    15. Reece Hodge
    Solid is what I think when I think Reece Hodge. A fly half but messed around by being played on the wing and in both centre berths. The only reason I didn’t pick him at fly half is because he’s clearing kick is a bit too laboured for my liking, a trade-off for having a howitzer boot I guess.

    The ABs are obviously grooming Jordie Barret here but we already have this guy. Can’t fault anything of his, especially his commitment. And most importantly, I could not leave out a boot that can score World Cup winning 3 pointers from 60m out.

    I am now at your mercy Roarers, please be gentle

    Have Your Say

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    The Crowd Says (98)

    • January 18th 2018 @ 7:35am
      Mmmmm..k said | January 18th 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      I dont think so.

      No Hooper, no Pocock, no Beale, no Genia, no Kuridrani and no Sio!?

      • January 18th 2018 @ 10:09am
        Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        I really hope either Hodge or Kerevi show enough in defence that we can get away with not playing Kuridrani.

        He is a top class defender (the best in the team at the moment) but he isn’t breaking the line like he used to, he isn’t very quick off the mark and he doesn’t pass very often.

        • January 18th 2018 @ 11:24am
          P2R2 said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

          Kerevi doesnt show much either….

          • January 18th 2018 @ 2:29pm
            Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

            Doesn’t show much what? He has enough pace for a centre, breaks the line extremely often and passes and offloads also.

    • January 18th 2018 @ 8:03am
      Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      There are some very bold choices here.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 8:18am
        rebel said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

        Very polite Fionn.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 8:52am
        Tipsy McStagger said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        Thanks Fion (for not ripping into me),

        Please don’t hesitate to put forward changes and criticisms though. I hope this can spark a bit of debate and fresh ideas between the Roarers because I am tired of the Aussie players being blamed for everything by their coaches

        • January 18th 2018 @ 9:58am
          Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          I actually really like Ben Alexander as a LHP, and he is scrummaging really well for the Brumbies. I was a proponent for him in the Wallabies last year. It’ll be interesting to see if he can retain his form for the next couple of years.

          Haven’t seen enough of Horwitz or Cummins.

          I don’t quite see how Fitzpatrick can get ahead of Uelese, TPN and Latu. I think they’re all very good hookers.

          Smith and Dargaville are Brumbies workhorses, but I’ll need to see some more consistently dangerous attack from both of them. Dargaville was our best player in the QF against the Hurricanes last year until he got his head knock and went off. When he was on the field our attack was consistently hurting the Canes.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 8:53am
        Dave_S said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        Tipsy, I’d say 😉

        • January 18th 2018 @ 8:58am
          Tipsy McStagger said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

          Hi Dave_S,

          Mate, not sue how to interpret that emoticon, hoping it is in approval… maybe.

          Please let the changes and criticisms roll in.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 11:25am
        P2R2 said | January 18th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

        Kepu chief amongst them

    • January 18th 2018 @ 8:29am
      RT said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      I gather you wrote this to elicit some shocked responses.

      Not the team for 2019 but you already knew that.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 8:56am
        Tipsy McStagger said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Hi RT,

        Thinking way outside the box… or circle… or hexagon here. Please don’t hesitate to put forward changes and criticisms

    • January 18th 2018 @ 8:36am
      savant said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      There are three players not born in NSW in this side. Not enough Tahs..

      • January 18th 2018 @ 8:55am
        Tipsy McStagger said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Thanks Savant,

        That was a good chuckle. Maybe in advocating the polar opposite of what Cheika is doing, I am becoming more and more like him – in that I’m selecting mostly Waratahs. Please let it not be so…

    • January 18th 2018 @ 8:46am
      Sherry said | January 18th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Firstly, Tips, congratulations on not asking a question in your headline. I agree that, if we’re to make the final in Tokyo, we have to have a new look team. And yours is very new look. I’m pretty sure the biggest hurdle for most Roarers is your dropping of DP. And most will want Beale included. Naiserani will be a popular choice and Alexander a contentious one. Yesterday it was suggested that Sio needed to be replaced but our leader, Nicholas Bishop, didn’t go along with it but I certainly think we must do better as all the other top teams have a front row of ball runners. I love Hodge’s ability to kick the long goal but I’d want a FB who can hit the line and fly like Smith/McKenzie/Hog/Watson and that’s not Hodge. Fingers crossed on Horwitz.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 9:04am
        Tipsy McStagger said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

        Hi Sherry,

        Thanks for the comments and the suggested changes.

        DP is big omission, as is Tommy Banks. I always knew Alexander was going to stir a quick response. As for Beale, I can take him or leave him. Horwitz is also a big call for many.

        Please keep the conversations rolling. If the Wallabies were to miraculously adopt new structures, we can prove that the Wallabies brains trust can’t rely on their old adage: “show me that players who can do it”.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 9:09am
        Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        1. Sio (we made the 2015 WC final with him)
        2. Polota-Nau
        3. Kepu
        4. Arnold
        5. Coleman
        6. Fardy/Valetini/Highers
        7. Pocock
        8. Naisarani
        9. Genia
        10. Lealiifano
        11. Koroibete
        12. Toomua
        13. Hodge
        14. Folau
        15. Banks

        16. Slipper
        17. Uelese
        18. Ala’alatoa
        19. Tui
        20. Hooper/Higgers
        21. Ruru
        22. Kerevi
        23. Beale/Naivalu

        • Roar Guru

          January 18th 2018 @ 10:42am
          PeterK said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

          In terms of current policies you should omit Fardy and Toomua since they are not eligible.

          Happy to have Kerevi at 12 with CLL at 10 since he won’t be used as a battering ram like he was by Foley.

          I have my doubts of TPN (due to being injury prone) and Genia (due to declining form with his age) being starters in 2019 maybe on the bench by then.

          Anyway I like the team otherwise.

          • January 18th 2018 @ 10:47am
            Fionn said | January 18th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

            I’d change the selection policies so that it is 8 years in Aus rugby + either (a) 0 Tests or (b) 30 Tests. That would make both eligible.

            If those changes aren’t made then I guess Valetini or Higgers at 6 and Kerevi at 12.

            Let’s hope Genia can maintain his form. He was great in the RC but is clearly being played far too much, Cheika needs to manage his workload. Otherwise, let’s hope Ruru, Powell, Gordon and Tuttle all improve.

            • January 18th 2018 @ 12:56pm
              MitchO said | January 18th 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              A question for all of us but most particularly Nick B given his current position – IF Fardy could be selected for WC 2019 would the move to lock get him there?

              I think as a 6 he’d be just a little old for 2019 but what about as a lock either starting or on the subs bench?

              If he says in the Northern Hemisphere his general lock work will improve in a way that it didn’t down here. What if us poor Aussies could partner him up with Coleman to go hard for as long as possible and then sub off for one of the new (big) kids?

              Is Keiran Longbottom back off the injury list and playing again?

              • January 18th 2018 @ 1:39pm
                jameswm said | January 18th 2018 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

                For mine Fardy is too slow for 6, too light for lock, and in both cases lacks impact i n contact and ball skills.

                He’s a good player don’t get me wrong. But not enough of the all round skills I’d want.

                I’d have Coleman, Arnold, Tui, Rodda and Philip all ahead of him. And possibly others.

              • January 18th 2018 @ 1:48pm
                MitchO said | January 18th 2018 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

                I thought Fardy didn’t perform well at lock for Australia and was only a stop gap injury cover in a game. But I heard those reports from the north and got excited coz Fardy has the mental component which makes him handy. He’s just a good guy to have on a team sheet.

    • Roar Guru

      January 18th 2018 @ 9:06am
      Diggercane said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      Enjoying your pieces Tipsy, thanks mate.

      • January 18th 2018 @ 9:17am
        Tipsy McStagger said | January 18th 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Thanks Digger,

        I love the game… and when when mixed with cold beer… it really is the game they play in heaven.

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