Five things to be excited for in the Wallabies’ trial game

Blaise McKee Roar Rookie

By Blaise McKee, Blaise McKee is a Roar Rookie

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    It might only be an under-strength Wallabies side playing against a Super Rugby XV, but there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about tonight’s trial game at Leichhardt.

    Force influence
    The inaugural World Series Rugby has proved to be nothing but positive for West Australian rugby. Although the quality of opposition has been lacking at times, the series of games have allowed those in the west to stay involved with rugby – and the excitement that has surrounded each game has been great.

    A bright shining light for the Force through the first five games has been Andrew Deegan. The young fly-half has led the Force around the park brilliantly and it will be great to see him have a crack against his Super Rugby counterparts.

    Tevin Ferris has also been very good and will come off the bench for the Barbarians.

    Hodge at 13
    This will be one of the hot topics going into the Bledisloe Cup opener on August 18.

    With injuries to Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani, the 13th position is open and Reece Hodge will rightfully get the first crack.

    The Rebels’ man is the likeliest to take the position against the All Blacks with Dave Wessels labelling him a ‘natural centre’.

    However, a bad performance at Leichhardt could leave the door open for young Jordan Petaia who might also get a chance at outside centre off the bench after finishing the season there with the Reds.

    New combinations
    With Micheal Cheika selecting 28 players for the trial, it will be interesting to see the number of minutes everyone receives, along with where everyone plays.

    With the game meant to prepare players for the opening Bledisloe Cup, I expect to see many of the key players get significant minutes with some of the outer squad members rotating more regularly.

    Cheika will probably give some new combinations a try and move some players around through the game. I expect to see Jack Maddocks at fullback at some point.

    Also, with no recognised second fly half in the mix, Reece Hodge may have a go there for moments during the game.

    Young blood
    In both the Wallabies and Barbarians side, there is youth. Hamish Stewart is probably the player who jumps off the page the most, but there are many more.

    It will be great to see some of these young guns push their case for selection in the matchday 23 – not only the for Bledisloe Cup, but for the Rugby Championship which follows.

    Upset?
    The British side will present a difficult challenge for the Wallabies.

    I expect that they are hoping to pull off an upset that would rattle a few players. This competitive nature will ensure a high-intensity, physical match.

    Matt Phillip of the Rebels has said, “We’ll be definitely trying to flog them, try and put some good hits on and stuff like that.”

    Many of the Barbarians will be looking to impress as they push for selection in the Wallabies end of year touring party – and hey, who knows, a standout performance could lead to a call-up for the Rugby Championship.

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    The Crowd Says (54)

    • August 3rd 2018 @ 2:38am
      KenoathCarnt said | August 3rd 2018 @ 2:38am | ! Report

      Hodge is useless Australia are in trouble without Kerevi or Kurindrani. I’m just glad to see Banks given a go he is absolutely leathal and should be Australia”s fullback with Folau on the wing. I wonder if it is possible for Hayllet Petty to play outside center and have Folau on the wing with Banks at fullback?

      • August 3rd 2018 @ 6:14am
        jameswm said | August 3rd 2018 @ 6:14am | ! Report

        DHP at 13? So defence is not important?

        Hodge at 13 – an option you ridiculed – is miles better.

        • August 3rd 2018 @ 10:22pm
          KenoathCarnt said | August 3rd 2018 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

          Hodge just doesnt offer much besides goal kicking. Maybe Matt Tamoua there?

        • August 7th 2018 @ 11:37am
          John P said | August 7th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

          Foley at 10? So defence is not important?

        • Roar Rookie

          August 7th 2018 @ 11:46am
          piru said | August 7th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          Radical idea

          Play a 13 at 13

    • August 3rd 2018 @ 5:11am
      P2R2 said | August 3rd 2018 @ 5:11am | ! Report

      all of this glee, excitement, hope, wonderment, etc etc is fine but the end result is the first BC game…MC will still pick the side he wants and as shown before, will come up short….then 2 more games and voila….

    • August 3rd 2018 @ 6:23am
      jameswm said | August 3rd 2018 @ 6:23am | ! Report

      Both Wallaby packs and the starting Super selection pack are pretty good.

      9-10-12-13 are solid too.

      Wallaby team has a much stronger reserve pack

      Could Louwrens not have got a chance?

      • August 3rd 2018 @ 4:32pm
        Richard said | August 3rd 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

        Louwrens is playing in Japan and not good enough anyway.

    • August 3rd 2018 @ 7:26am
      Lewis said | August 3rd 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      British side? I was under the impression this was not a barbarians team?

      • Roar Guru

        August 3rd 2018 @ 7:34am
        jeznez said | August 3rd 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        Your impression was correct

    • Roar Guru

      August 3rd 2018 @ 7:37am
      jeznez said | August 3rd 2018 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      Petaia is the guys that leaps off the page when we are talking youth. English is the other player that looks to be in serious consideration for 13.

      Suspect Maddocks will get some time as the 10 to spell Stewart.

      Wonder what the quality of the broadcast will be, is it likely to be a single fixed camera at halfway?

      • Roar Rookie

        August 3rd 2018 @ 7:49am
        Paul D said | August 3rd 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        “is it likely to be a single fixed camera at halfway”

        I’m hoping for more, but not expecting high production value. I’d wager similar to what was done during the schoolboys comp which wasn’t too bad tbh.

        Would love to get there live. I think it’ll be a great event

      • Roar Guru

        August 3rd 2018 @ 8:31am
        John R said | August 3rd 2018 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        They’re talking about Marika and Naivalu having a look at 13 as well.

        I’ve seen Naivalu play 13 a bit (and Speight actually), but not sure about Marika.

        • August 3rd 2018 @ 9:17am
          Fionn said | August 3rd 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

          Koroibete at 13 is a terrifying thought.

          • Roar Guru

            August 3rd 2018 @ 9:34am
            John R said | August 3rd 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

            You’d get like, maybe 2-3 or 3 highlight tackles where he destroys blokes, and 12 tries let in

            • Roar Guru

              August 3rd 2018 @ 10:02am
              jeznez said | August 3rd 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

              Yeah, can see Naivalu and Petaia having a crack there but haven’t seen anything from Koroibete that makes me think he could succesfully transition.

            • August 3rd 2018 @ 12:21pm
              Fionn said | August 3rd 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              You’d definitely have Hugh on the GAGR podcast gushing over those highlight tackles, John 🙂

              I don’t know why we haven’t learnt from the Kiwis’ mistakes about fashioning outside backs into 13s. We have a good 13 in English and Hodge, if given time, could develop there too I feel. It isn’t always about getting the highest number of flashy fast guys into the backline at once.

              • Roar Guru

                August 3rd 2018 @ 3:49pm
                John R said | August 3rd 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

                Nah agreed aye, you need humble grafters in there too. I think in the NBA they refer to them as roleplayers.

                Like Hegarty does that job at the Tahs when he is on.

            • August 7th 2018 @ 11:40am
              John P said | August 7th 2018 @ 11:40am | ! Report

              And Folau where you’d get like, maybe 2 highlight tackles where he cuddles blokes, and 12 tries let in.

      • August 3rd 2018 @ 10:31am
        jameswm said | August 3rd 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

        Jez I’m still annoyed that I have a work dinner tonight. The game is a 5-min drive from home, next to our gym, and even my wife was interested in going!

        Would have been a very interesting watch.

        • Roar Guru

          August 3rd 2018 @ 11:59am
          jeznez said | August 3rd 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

          aaaargh, frustrating. Going to try and catch the stream

    • August 3rd 2018 @ 9:04am
      jimbo81 said | August 3rd 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      There are 13 spots in the 22 already locked in (by Cheika):
      Sio
      Kepu
      Coleman
      Hooper
      Pocock
      Genia
      Phipps
      Foley
      Hodge
      Beale
      Folau
      DHP
      Korobeite

      There are spots more than likely locked in:
      Rodda
      Coleman
      Tupou

      So tonight there’s 44 players essentially competing for 6 spots.

      But it’s worse than that – the only real spots available are:

      Hooker
      Reserve Hooker
      Reserve Backline Utility
      Reserve Prop
      Reserve 2nd row / Backrow
      Reserve Halfback

      So 73% of the players in tonight’s game can’t realistically compete for a spot.

      But it get’s even worse. Of the remaining six spots, the Tahs players (and one Crusader player) by not playing will compete (very strongly) for Hooker (Latu), Prop (Robertson), Utility Back (Rona), Halfback (Gordon), Flanker (Samu).

      That’s 44 Players playing plus seven players not playing plus TPN, plus Toomua (9 players) = 53 players competing for six remaining spots in the 22.

      That’s 88% of players NOT in contention for Bledisloe 1.

      Tonight’s game is really only a tune up game for players already in the Wallabies.

      Cheika has removed all competition for selection and all incentive for fringe players to step up.
      If he was serious about fostering competition for every position in the Wallabies, the Tahs players would be playing. That’s not an easy task as they could have been playing a finals game this weekend. Since they’re not, I would have included them in tonight’s game in the interests of genuine competition for the Wallaby jersey.

      • August 3rd 2018 @ 9:18am
        Andrew Kennett said | August 3rd 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        jimbo81 — are there Coleman twins or is Adam so good you had to name him twice? Makes me wonder about the sense in the rest of your comments. The lack of Tahs players is mostly because the other players need the run not having any SR for a few weeks, as MC has noted in the past the Wallys often start the RC slow because the players are rusty — this game is about much more than competition for spots in RC18 it is about player development, match fitness as well as a last chance to impress for some players.

        • August 3rd 2018 @ 10:32am
          jameswm said | August 3rd 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

          It’s primarily about match fitness

      • Roar Guru

        August 3rd 2018 @ 9:33am
        jeznez said | August 3rd 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        Jimbo – Cheika has been pretty up front that this is primarily a tune up game for the guys that haven’t had any rugby for a couple of weeks now.

        That he also gets another look at a few blokes in the spots that there is uncertainty is a bonus.

        Isn’t like none of these players have had a chance to push their claims during the Super Season or anything.

        • Roar Guru

          August 3rd 2018 @ 2:44pm
          Hoy said | August 3rd 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

          I find this game a bit of an insult really. To state early on that they will be having some form of warm up game, and everyone thought “Finally!”, then announce an internal trial game, and I thought “As long as it is fair dinkum, not a micky mouse affair!” and then to announce it as it is… really disappointing.

          Wouldn’t you use a serious game to warm up combinations? Isn’t that the point of a warm up game?

          What combinations are going to come out of this game? The lineout maybe. That’s it. The rest, i.e. the Tahs, will come in later and take their spots, and still be underdone in 4/5 weeks for Bledisloe game 1 anyway. So this is a lip service, useless venture, taking players out of their club sides at crucial times.

          Why don’t the Wallabies have a proper hit out against someone as a warm up? Do it two weeks out from Bled 1. If people get injured, hell, they just get injured. These days, they are likely to do it in training anyway.

          I just find this a dreadful waste of time that doesn’t fulfill any purpose and I am very disappointed. Having said that, I hope everyone comes out injury free.

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