Leading up to the Rugby World Cup, it will be vital to have a plethora of players to choose from that are fit and ready to go – even if they are playing 20 minutes off the bench.
These are some of the names I would like to see, based on their performances in the Super Rugby so far).
Tom English, 28, Rebels (Centre)
With the Melbourne Rebels having a squad packed with quality, and currently leading the Australian conference, it is no surprise that English, the most-capped Rebel, is my number one choice to debut for the Wallabies this year.
English currently has five tries this season, equal with fullback Reece Hodge.
Pushing off the back of a decent season last year with both the Rebels and Melbourne Rising, English is having his best season by far. Quade Cooper and Will Genia deserve some of the credit, however, English has certainly capitalised on the improved side.
The former sevens player has scored more tries in Super Rugby than any previous season. He has clocked up some good run metres as well.
English’s success will surely grow as the Rebels continue on. The only thing left for him is a Wallabies call-up.
Billy Meakes, 28, Rebels (Centre, Wing)
Following on from English is teammate Bill Meakes. Meakes has more experience, playing in England and for the Western Force, and has three tries this season.
Meakes on paper, however, offers more insurance. He is a better stop in defence as he has 67 tackles, second only to Luke Jones, and has a tackle success rate of 85 per cent, compared to English’s 34 tackles with a success rate of 76 per cent.
The Wallabies are going to want a solid defence at the World Cup and Meakes certainly offers that.
Lachlan McCaffrey, 29, Brumbies (Flank)
There is no doubt McCaffrey is having a good year. He is a great ball-runner and isn’t shy of getting a try here and there. He also has some experience playing in England for Leicester Tigers.
However, McCaffrey is prone to injury and, going into a World Cup, that will be the last thing Michael Cheika, or any coach, would want.
Anaru Rangi, 30, Rebels (Hook)
With the Brumbies’ try-scoring Folau Fainga’a and veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau, it’s tough seeing who could replace them. But New Zealand-born Rangi has put his hand up for Wallabies selection, being a big-bolting player for the Rebels.
Unfortunately for Rangi, his age and lack of experience may see him overlooked, especially when compared to Fainga’a.
But Melbourne’s performances this year have given them a spotlight. It would be a shame if Cheika didn’t capitalise on it.
Tom Wright, 21, Brumbies (Centre)
New face Tom Wright has scored two tries this season, after playing only three games in his Super Rugby debut year. He hasn’t done a whole lot yet, however, he has electrifying pace and is a versatile, young player with vast experience.
No wonder the Brumbies were keen to sign him from rugby league.
His age is a great benefit to his club and will put them in good stead for the future. Hopefully he can turn it into a Wallaby cap in the near future.