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Predicting the 31-man Wallabies World Cup squad

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Roar Guru
7th May, 2019
43
4328 Reads

I’m sure many Roarers have started to pick their ideal squads for the World Cup.

I had come up with lots of players I thought should be part of the squad, then I made a list.

Unfortunately, we can only take 31 players, not the 40 or so that I seriously considered.

Not only did putting the names down on paper help me make the tough calls, it also helped me to focus on my core 23 – the team that you want to select for the hardest games.

I then rounded out the squad with a further eight players who would give those critical players in the first 15 a break in the slightly less important games.

I don’t subscribe to the view of picking two separate teams plus one extra player to arrive at a 31-man squad.

I also looked at the Wallabies’ squad for 2015. Four years ago, coach Michael Cheika – as the sole selector – took two hookers, five props, ten other forwards (back five), two halfbacks, two straight-out stand-offs, and ten other backs.

Michael Cheika ruminates

(AAP Image/Darren England)

I don’t recall any discussion about why we only took two hookers, but I do recall the argument over only selecting two halfbacks was settled because Matt Giteau could also do the job.

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I have used the terms ‘other forwards’ and ‘other backs’ because many of the players can fill a variety of positions, and trying to label all the permutations will get messy.

My squad is based largely on form displayed so far this Super Rugby season, with some exceptions.

I have included some players who shouldn’t be picked but will go, and excluded some players that should be selected but won’t be.

I have gone with a different split to the 2015 squad, with two hookers, five props, ten other forwards (back five), three halfbacks, two straight-out stand-offs, plus nine other backs.

So here is my squad.

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Hookers: Folau Fainga’a, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, with Tatafu Polota-Nau on standby.
Props: James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Scott Sio, Sekope Kepu.
Other forwards: Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Jed Holloway, Luke Jones, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Lachlan McCaffrey.
Halfbacks: Will Genia, Nic White, plus one of Joe Powell, Jake Gordon and Tate McDermott.
Stand-offs: Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley.
Other backs: Matt Toomua, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Sefa Naivalu, Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale, plus one other.

The extra back I am looking for is a No.13 who is a good one-on-one defender, can organise the outside defence, and can pass both ways.

I really can’t decide on the last position. Can you help me Roarers?