Six new faces and an old favourite in Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup squad

The Roar Roar Guru

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    Michael Cheika has released a 36-man squad for the upcoming 2018 Bledisloe Cup, featuring six uncapped potential debutants and the return of an old favourite.

    Tatafu Polota-Nau is in line to play his first match for the Wallabies since 2017, while Jermaine Ainsley, Folau Faingaa, Tom Banks, Jack Maddocks, Billy Meakes and Jordan Petaia will all be in with a chance of representing Australia for the first time.

    The 36-man squad will complete a training camp in Cessnock before being revised ahead of the 2018 Rugby Championship.

    The first Bledisloe Cup match of 2018 will be played on Saturday night, 18 August.

    Wallabies 36-man squad

    Forwards
    Jermaine Ainsley* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 22)
    Allan Alaalatoa (23 Tests, Brumbies, 24)
    Rory Arnold (15 Tests, Brumbies, 28)
    Adam Coleman (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
    Folau Faingaa* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)
    Ned Hanigan (13 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)
    Michael Hooper (c) (82 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)
    Sekope Kepu (94 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 32)
    Tolu Latu (7 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)
    Brandon Paenga-Amosa (3 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)
    David Pocock (69 Tests, Brumbies, 30)
    Tatafu Polota-Nau (82 Tests, Leicester, 33)
    Tom Robertson (21 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)
    Izack Rodda (7 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)
    Pete Samu (3 Tests, Brumbies, 26)
    Rob Simmons (85 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
    Scott Sio (46 Tests, Brumbies, 26)
    Caleb Timu (2 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)
    Lukhan Tui (7 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)
    Taniela Tupou (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

    Backs
    Tom Banks* (uncapped, Brumbies, 24)
    Kurtley Beale (74 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
    Israel Folau (65 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
    Bernard Foley (58 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 28)
    Will Genia (90 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)
    Dane Haylett-Petty (21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)
    Reece Hodge (27 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 23)
    Marika Koroibete (11 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
    Jack Maddocks* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 21)
    Billy Meakes* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 27)
    Sefa Naivalu (7 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
    Jordan Petaia* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 18)
    Nick Phipps (64 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
    Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 24)
    Curtis Rona (3 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)
    Matt Toomua (33 Tests, Leicester/Melbourne Rebels, 28)
    *denotes uncapped

    Rebuild announcement

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    The Crowd Says (137)

    • August 5th 2018 @ 10:44am
      ForwardsWinMatches said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      The definition of insanity comes to mind. Same old same old. Necessity is mother of all invention. There are some necessary changes but I’m afraid they don’t look like being made.

      Hope I’m very wrong.

      • August 5th 2018 @ 10:47am
        jameswm said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

        Who have they left out?

        All our best players are there.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 10:51am
          Davesko said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          Tom English and Matt Philip are the guys for me unlucky. In no world is Petaia currently a better all-round player than English, good prospect though he is.

          I don’t mind Phipps still being there but wouldn’t mind Powell getting another crack at reserve 9. He looked sharp on Friday night.

          • Roar Guru

            August 5th 2018 @ 12:11pm
            PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

            I have no issue Petaia being there for development purposes, I do have an issue if he gets in the team.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 3:50pm
              Daveski said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

              That’s fair enough and we are probably talking the number 3 and 4 outside center options ( in Cheika’s eyes ) but doesn’t seem quite right.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 9:23pm
              Redsback said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

              Petaia is an absolute gun. He has Greg Inglis (before he filled out) written all over him. Silky hands, great footwork, saw a Folau-esk jump for that try on the weekend and his defence is outstanding. He’s been a standout a Reds team which has a lot of talent out wide, was the U20s best player in their game against the Junior ABs and deserves to be there.

              Rona is not and never should be considered a Wallaby 13. I see a lot of Mortlock in Hodge and maybe 13 ends up being his position (can’t really see him as a long-term 10). I won’t complain if Hodge gets the start, but I honestly wouldn’t mind having Petaia on the bench and I don’t think he would let anyone down if he started. Covers 13-15. Hodge covers 10-15 also, which still allows for a 6:2 split.

              Cheika is never going to take Foley or Beale off if we are in the game, so it makes more sense to me to have Petaia (an outside back) on the bench than Toomua. Otherwise, we’ll end up with Toomua playing wing when someone goes down or getting 2 mins at the end of the game. He only gets a guernsey imo if Chieka opts for a 5:3 split. Chieka should know that he needs to gamble to beat the ABs, which means we should be seeing a 6:2 split.

              Toomua is good squad coverage if there is an injury to come in for subsequent game.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 9:39pm
                Dave_S said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

                “Petaia is an absolute gun. He has Greg Inglis (before he filled out) written all over him.”

                Big call, but I’ve made that comparison myself. Big, mobile, athletic, footy brain. Very surprised if he doesnt turn into a 10 year WB. Could move into 12 later into his career, too.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 9:45pm
                riddler said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

                big call agreed dave..

                but i see similarities with a young herbie..

                has great skills.. great defence.. starts on the wing/utility and ends up making 13 his spot..

              • August 5th 2018 @ 10:14pm
                Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:14pm | ! Report

                I was thinking a young Mortlock 🙂

                Imagine another Mortlock playing outside of Kerevi…

              • August 5th 2018 @ 10:24pm
                riddler said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:24pm | ! Report

                i am an unabashed herbie fan over mortlock..

                huge personal bias i admit..

                but even when i try to be unbiased mortlock isn’t in herb’s class.

          • August 5th 2018 @ 12:53pm
            jameswm said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

            True I’d go Philip ahead of Simmo, but these aren’t guys who’ll make the 23.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 7:06pm
              HiKa said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

              If you want your 2nd rowers to improve their lineout skills, not a bad idea to have them training with/against Simmons. He is the best this country has at lineout time and is also a very good scrummager. Elsewhere around the park, not so much.

          • August 5th 2018 @ 2:29pm
            Dave_S said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

            Surprised to see Meakes in and no English. Clearly Beale and Toomua are the 12s (with cover from Hodge), and Meakes doesn’t play anything else. Guess Cheika has definitely settled on Hodge or Rona as the starting 13 (agree Petaia is not ready just yet, but glad to see him in the squad). Just seems unbalanced between 12 and 13. Maybe Folau is going to 13?

            • Roar Guru

              August 5th 2018 @ 2:42pm
              PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

              IMO Meakes is there to provide contested training.

              Foley Beale Hodge on one side and Toomua Meakes Rona on the other side.

              Toomua covers both 10 and 12.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 2:57pm
                Dave_S said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

                that makes sense

              • August 5th 2018 @ 4:50pm
                jigbon said | August 5th 2018 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

                Mate call me old fashioned but I haven’t seen Meakes do anything worthy of a call up. I agree with you think contested training is all he is good for..

              • August 5th 2018 @ 9:09pm
                Clifto said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

                Yep. If Meakes is the answer, I don’t like the question asked…

              • August 5th 2018 @ 7:07pm
                HiKa said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

                Yep.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 10:52am
          ForwardsWinMatches said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

          Obviously it’s just an opinion. I would have had Holloway and English in there but I can understand why others wouldn’t agree.

          However, my bigger issue is what I perceive – namely an attempt to play a Waratahs style game at test level, against the best. I’m very much against Pooper and a combination of Foley-Beale-Hodge at 10-12-13. For all the so called attack/flair, there are too many compromises in tight (set pieces) and mid field defence. We know Foley and Beale are suspect in defence and we’re likely to have a utility at 13 – widely regarded as the most important defensive player in the backs.

          Recipe for problems.

        • Roar Guru

          August 5th 2018 @ 12:17pm
          PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          English should be considered for 13 since he has the best defense at 13 from the possible candidates, Cheika’s only focus seems to be attack and ignore defence.

          Holloway or Phillip over Hanigan.

          However as FWM states it is not so much the squad but who actually gets selected in the xv / 23.

          Banks should be starting but will be lucky to make the bench.
          Pooper should not be used against the very strong AB’s lineout. Start Pocock or Hooper not both.
          Hanigan is not ready and should not be in the 23 despite a lot of improvements made this year.
          Toomua should be starting instead of Foley.
          Phipps should not be the bench halfback.

          • August 5th 2018 @ 1:45pm
            Cynical Play said | August 5th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

            Banks ever played 13?

            • August 5th 2018 @ 1:51pm
              Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

              I wouldn’t play him there, CP, I don’t think he would defend well enough and I don’t think he’s big enough in terms of getting over the advantage line. He’s an outside back.

              Has to be Hodge or Rona as English has missed out…

              • August 5th 2018 @ 2:23pm
                Dave_S said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                Banks def not a 13, and it would be a waste of his broken field running anyway.

          • August 5th 2018 @ 5:45pm
            Bodger said | August 5th 2018 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

            DHP is injured, so Banks on one wing most likely. Toomua didn’t do anything on Friday night to warrant displacing Foley.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 6:05pm
              Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

              Toomua shouldn’t displace Foley unless he plays better than him at international level. He needs 2-3 starts with Beale at some point this year to determine whether he does better than Foley. Only then should he displace him.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 9:29pm
                Mzilikazi said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

                Good post, Fionn. I totally agree. Foley is still the best we have until Toomua can prove otherwise.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 6:07pm
              Morsie said | August 5th 2018 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

              Agree completely re Toomua. He sold the dump on Meakes several times. He would be an easy 1st5 to defend against. He’s a 12.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 7:40pm
                Riddler said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

                I am stoked that toomau is back..

                But dropping him straight into ten is wrong..

                Let him get his feet from the bench..

                Then if going well, give him some starts at ten.

                Remember he trailed off at the end of the premiership season up here.. was good during the 6n..

                Personally though think was more due to O’Connor’s cosching/game plan..

                So much talent in that squad and so underperforming.

    • August 5th 2018 @ 10:46am
      Rob9 said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      Solid looking squad. We can definitely pull a 23 from that group that’s capable of putting one (hopefully 2) over the AB’s.

      A few small things; I’m not sure of the logic behind bringing TPN back into the mix at 33 and carrying 4 hookers. I’m hoping it’s in a support/leadership capacity to help bring these blokes along and they get plenty of opportunities to stake a claim heading into a big year next year.

      Also to me, Rona looks out of place. I don’t think he’s up to test standard. Surely if Kerevi and/or Kuridrani were fit he wouldn’t have got a look in??

      Great to see Toomua back too. It really shores up some depth at 10. He’d be my starter but I can appreciate why others may hold a different opinion.

      • August 5th 2018 @ 10:57am
        Dan in Devon said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

        I only saw him play 12 at Leicester. Does he normally play 10 in super rugby. Defensively he is very strong, so would add something to Wallabies at either 10 or 12 but will he actually be given the opportunity?

        • August 5th 2018 @ 11:13am
          Rob9 said | August 5th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          Prior to heading north his time was probably equally split between 10 and 12. I think more time at 10 for the Brumbies while more of his test opportunities were at 12. I think he’s very capable in both roles but given our lack of depth at 10 at the moment, that’s where he’ll be needed moving forward.

          For mine, Foley has only ever proven himself to be an ‘under study’ at test level. While Toomua isn’t as tested, I don’t recall him putting in too many poor performances for the Wallabies. As you point out, he’s very competent in defence- a big plus if Beale’s our 12. And I rate him higher than Foley in terms of what he offers taking the ball to the line and also putting boot to ball.

          • Roar Guru

            August 5th 2018 @ 12:20pm
            PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

            On set piece in attack play Toomua 10 and Beale 12 and on defence Beale 10 (or back in cover) and Toomua at 12.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 12:34pm
              Rob9 said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

              Great. If that’s our 10/12. Unfortunately it’s unlikely to be.

          • Roar Rookie

            August 5th 2018 @ 2:42pm
            Kirky said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

            And if you dump Foley, who’s going to win the game for the Wallabies? ~ Foley has won so many games for the Wallabies through his kicking alone, there is no better and dumping him,(which they won’t) will just make the inevitable loss worse because there’s not one player better than Bernard Foley in clutch games and a penalty awarded on or after full time, He’s done it so many times! ~ Foley is one of the top three or four best goal kickers in the game, of that there is no doubt!

            As far as Toomua goes, he was playing rubbish before he left here so unless he’s lifted his game I wouldn’t even have him in the side! ~ what’s more he’s nothing less than a Dinosaur resurrected which is common practice for the Wallaby Selectors!

            The Kiwis may give the Crusaders a run anyway instead of risking injuries to the All Blacks who already are in the Red and Black shirt at the moment, just swap them to Black jumpers!

            • August 5th 2018 @ 3:19pm
              Rob9 said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

              Foley and clutch in the same sentence… interesting…. Sure there’s the Final against the Crusaders a few years ago where he slotted one from the edge of his range, but this isn’t a guy that springs to mind when you talk about a ‘game winner’. Far from it. What does spring to mind is a certain game in Dunedin last year where a handful of very kickable goals ended up costing the Wallabies the game (not to mention the Bledisloe).

              Having the ability to consistently perform and handle pressure is a ‘game winner’ who can deliver in clutch moments. You’re watching rugby from another planet if you think Foley adequately fits this mold. This is a guy that regularly misses kicks for touch and sends restarts over the sideline! I also have a very different recollection of Toomua than you from his finish in Super Rugby. Terrible? Really? His goal kicking stats might not be at Foley’s % (we have Hodge there too) but he has a superior tactical kicking game.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 3:26pm
                Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                I think all we can hope for is that Toomua outplays Foley. If Foley performs better then of course he should be retained (for all his limitations).

                You need a good 9-10-12-13 to win a world cup. We know that Genia, Beale and TK are good enough. Foley, as good of a bloke as he is and as much of a natural leader I don’t think is quite good enough at this level. Toomua might be good enough but we haven’t seen him play international rugby for a long time. Hopefully he is given a shot and plays the house down.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 3:57pm
                Rob9 said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                Pretty much where I’m at Fionn. Foley’s been ok, had good games and in small windows has even been the best option we’ve had available. That may still be the case depending on how Toomua comes back. But I’ve always held the belief since Toomua entered the test arena a few years ago that he could be our long term solution at 10. In his test career (which is admittedly shorter than Foley’s) he’s certainly represented a more consistent and well rounded prospect in my belief. I thought it was a big loss for Australian rugby when he went to the Tigers. Given our current lack of playmaking depth that certainly seems to be the case. I just hope he can pick up where he left off. It sounds like he impressed in the Premiership.

              • August 6th 2018 @ 2:06pm
                MitchO said | August 6th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

                Foley looks a better player when left to defend in the line. Cheika needs to follow Gibson.

                Then we will see what happens. I am not a big foley fan in the sense that I think he’s a good competent test match player but will never be better than that. But I have not seen Toomua show more than that either.

                Does Toomua have Foley’s support game? Coz Foley does do that superbly. Does some good cover defence too. Last Bledisloe he played in Toomua’s tactical kicking was silly which is okay but it wasn’t working and he kept doing it anyway – which is not okay.

                Note that we all seem to be working on the assumption that KB starts instead of being relegated to super sub. I do think that KB is one of Australia’s 15 best rugby players and so ideally he should play as much of the 80 minutes as he can but Toomua needs some time at 12 as do Kerevi and Hodge.

            • Roar Guru

              August 6th 2018 @ 8:18am
              Train Without A Station said | August 6th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

              How many Wallaby games has Foley won on full time?

              • August 6th 2018 @ 9:30am
                Markus said | August 6th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

                I can think of two, one of which (RWC QF vs Scotland) he was the reason why they were needing to win it on full time in the first place.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 12:19pm
          Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

          He played 10 for Leicester during the 6N.

      • August 5th 2018 @ 2:48pm
        Utah said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

        Totally agree Rob re TPN. Latu is playing well, and Folau Faingaa was one of the Brumbies best this year. Not to mention Paenga-Amosa, and Uelese yet to return. Surely 14mths out from a RWC is the time to be getting these guys test experience. If for some reason we are desperate next year TPN can be brought in then. He doesn’t need 14mths around the team to perform, he could do it at the drop of a hat. A lot of talk about development of young players, but we just don’t seem to do it as well as say Ireland or the All Blacks are doing right now.

      • August 6th 2018 @ 12:12pm
        P2R2 said | August 6th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        there’s alot of HOPING going on here….

        • August 6th 2018 @ 5:23pm
          Rob9 said | August 6th 2018 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

          What else can a Wallaby fan do??

    • Roar Guru

      August 5th 2018 @ 10:51am
      Nick Turnbull said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

      I like it. My 23;

      1. Tom Robertson
      2. Totafu Polota-Nau
      3. Taniella Toupo
      4. Rory Around
      5. Adam Coleman
      6. Lukhan Tui
      7. Michael Hooper
      8. David Pocock
      9. Will Genia
      10. Bernard Foley
      11. Marike Korabiete
      12. Kurtley Beale
      13. Reece Hodge
      14. Dane Haylett-Petty
      15. Israel Folau

      16. Tolo Latu
      17. Scott Sio
      18. Sekope Kepu
      19. Isaac Rodda
      20. Pete Samu
      21. Joe Powell
      22. Matt Toomua
      23. Tom Banks

      • August 5th 2018 @ 11:29am
        Mungbean said | August 5th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        That’s a solid run on team and bench Nick!
        I like it. If Kerevi was there, I’d love it. Not sold on Hodge and 13 but who else right? I hope he proves me wrong.

      • Roar Guru

        August 5th 2018 @ 12:24pm
        PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        1. Scott Sio
        2. Totafu Polota-Nau
        3. Taniella Toupo
        4. Isaac Rodda
        5. Adam Coleman
        6. Lukhan Tui
        7. David Pocock
        8. Caleb Timu
        9. Will Genia
        10. Matt Toomua
        11. Marike Korabiete
        12. Kurtley Beale
        13. Reece Hodge
        14. Israel Folau
        15. Tom Banks

        16. Tolo Latu
        17. Alaalatoa
        18. Sekope Kepu
        19. Rory Arnold
        20. Michael Hooper
        21. Joe Powell
        22. Bernard Foley
        23. DHP

        • August 5th 2018 @ 1:35pm
          ForwardsWinMatches said | August 5th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          I’d start with Kepu and Arnold, Tupou and Rodda bench. Timu or Holloway at 8. Agree on back three but for me Foley at 10, Toomua 12 and English 13. Beale from bench with 30 to go. With solid defence at 12 and 13, Pocock is in play.

          • Roar Guru

            August 5th 2018 @ 1:57pm
            PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

            I restricted my selection to the named squad otherwise English would be at 13.
            I would have Holloway in the squad ahead of Hanigan and I would consider him at 8 or bench but Holloway didn’t ,make the squad so I ignored him.

            IMO Kepu needs a break, he looks very tired in matches, Tupou needs to start some time to see how he goes.

            IMO Arnold lacks the work rate and mobility that Rodda brings which is important if Hooper is benched and both Tui and Timu start, it is about balance. On form Arnold should start ahead of Coleman who is selected more on past deeds than current form this year.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 2:08pm
              Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

              Arnold’s work-rate has been an issue at times, but I would actually say he’s our most mobile lock aside from perhaps Tui.

              I often disagree with Paul Cully on the Wallabies (it seems to me like he very much knows he’s writing for a NSW audience), but he has been on the money when he’s said Arnold has far and away been Australia’s best SR lock in the second half of the season. Arnold has been absolute class. He’s more mobile than Rodda, more powerful, has far better ball skills and is unbeatable in the line out because of his height.

              Arnold is in career best form and, in my opinion, should definitely start with Coleman.

              • Roar Guru

                August 5th 2018 @ 2:47pm
                PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

                Simmons is the most mobile lock.

                From watching Rodda and Arnold get in the open and run Rodda looks a lot quicker.

                I agree on Arnolds form and if just icked on form he should surplant Coleman and the 2 locks starting on form should be Arnold and Rodda.

                If Coleman starts then for balance I prefer Rodda if Pooper is not played. Knowing Pooper will start then I would probably select Arnold over Rodda since work rate and mobility is more than covered.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 2:49pm
                Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

                I think the line out is that much stronger with Arnold than Rodda. He is poorer in a defensive line out but his extra height is so valuable on one’s own throw.

                I’d be interested to see who was quicker out of Simmons and Arnold. There have been a few times when Arnold has broken the line for the Brumbies and he is really quick in space.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 7:40pm
                Bodger said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

                I think Arnold will start, especially if Pooper or Timu start also. Arnold and Tui make a world of difference at the line out. It would be nice to win our line out and steal the occasional one. I’m a big Rodda fan, lad has come on loads in such a short time and can make a real impact coming off the bench.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 8:15pm
                Frank said | August 5th 2018 @ 8:15pm | ! Report

                I saw Arnold drop at least 2 balls on fri night which didn’t impress but not sure if that is typical.

            • August 5th 2018 @ 2:36pm
              ForwardsWinMatches said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

              Peter, I suspect the differences we have in terms of forward selections are much of a muchness. However, we are both dreaming to imagine Pooper will not be selected.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 6:04pm
          Bodger said | August 5th 2018 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

          Hopper must be a real doubt whether he’ll be right for the first game. Putting Toomua straight in at 10 would be a risk, doubt the coaches would think that’s a good idea. DHP is doubtful due to injury so would expect Banks to start on the wing and play that second fb role like DHP did in June. Tupou won’t start, Kepu plays that distributor role like Pocock and he and Tupou are the form props. Sio will start but must be under pressure as wasn’t effective against the Irish especially carrying the ball and Robertson outplayed him when he came on.

      • August 5th 2018 @ 12:28pm
        Fraenkel said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

        You can’t be serious if you put a 105kg prop on to start who shouldn’t even be in the match day 23. Something to make the AB props shudder in their boots!

        • Roar Rookie

          August 5th 2018 @ 2:53pm
          Kirky said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

          Fraenkel ~ Spot on mate but one can just imagine that it won’t matter who they put in, they’re sure as hell going to be like the Lions yesterday, and the Lions, if they play like they did yesterday would beat any team you Couch Selectors have put up so far, Leave Foley out! what the hell next?

      • August 5th 2018 @ 9:16pm
        Clifto said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

        I think that’s a good guess…

        But Sio and Kepu will start and Phipps will be on the bench

    • August 5th 2018 @ 12:18pm
      Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

      Pretty horrified English didn’t make the squad.

      Seems really unfair to me.

      • Roar Guru

        August 5th 2018 @ 12:21pm
        PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

        exactly

      • August 5th 2018 @ 2:42pm
        Dave_S said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

        I suspect Rona has got the nod because of his combination with Foley, Beale and Folau.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 2:44pm
          Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

          I love this line… I mean, it’s not like the Waratahs’ midfield defence has been a strength, was it?

          • August 5th 2018 @ 3:26pm
            Dave_S said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

            Hey I didn’t say it was a GOOD idea! Maybe he’s ‘rips in at training’, too 😉

        • Roar Guru

          August 5th 2018 @ 2:50pm
          PeterK said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

          I actually think it is because both Hodge and Rona have been involved in the squad longer and know the patterns etc, a lot less of a learning curve.

          Petaia is the only new player to the squad (from memory Ainsley has been in it before, I could be wrong).

          Neither of the above 2 new to the squad will be in the 23.

        • Roar Rookie

          August 5th 2018 @ 3:03pm
          Kirky said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

          Dave S, it’s important you have a Kiwi boy in there mate!

    • August 5th 2018 @ 1:23pm
      Stu said | August 5th 2018 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

      I didn’t see the WBs or Waratahs miss a beat when MHooper was out injured recently. In fact, better performances imo. Pity Hooper’s back already without more meaningful time to see how the back row goes without him. Seems the eternal question for Michael Cheika’s reign.

      • August 5th 2018 @ 8:55pm
        Reverse Wheel said | August 5th 2018 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

        I think you’re seeing what you want to see. The waratahs were much better in May (with Hooper) than in July (without him). In July they lost to the lions and brumbies, beat the rebels and highlanders though comprehensively outplayed for much of both games, and had a big second half against the sunwolves. They were not in any way dominant through that period without Hooper.

        • August 5th 2018 @ 10:45pm
          ForwardsWinMatches said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

          Conversely RW, they lost 29-0 in Sydney to the Lions with Hooper, and lost to the Blues in Sydney, with Hooper. Not suggesting they would have won without Hooper but nor can you suggest they would have beaten the Brumbies or Lions (semi) with him.

          Hooper is a terrific player, but he isn’t the best in Australia in his position.

          • August 5th 2018 @ 10:51pm
            riddler said | August 5th 2018 @ 10:51pm | ! Report

            hooper is a great player.. no doubt..

            i think though foley captained well against the highlanders and lions, maybe something for next year..

            poey is my seven every day of the week as well..

          • August 6th 2018 @ 7:38am
            Reverse Wheel said | August 6th 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report

            Imo both Pocock and Hooper are in your top 4 or 5 in the country, it’s easy to understand why Cheika would be trying to shoehorn them into the same team. Is it the best option? Jury is out for me. But the abuse Cheika receives over it is ridiculous.

            • August 7th 2018 @ 7:35am
              Bakkies said | August 7th 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

              I have never seen it work long term as it means the opposition have worked it out and also know that one player will be out of position. Eddie did it with George Smith to get Phil Waugh in the starting side and to make things worse he had Lyons at 8 who wasn’t a noted lineout jumper.

    • August 5th 2018 @ 2:29pm
      Bigtree Smallaxe said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

      I love English but he had quite a disappointing end to the season. Although, in saying that i still haven’t seen the last rebels game. It’s a real shame too because with TK and Kerevi out you’d think he’d be next in line. I guess this means it’s very unlikely Petaia would get anytime. I wonder if Cheika believes Naivalu would be the back up for Hodge?

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