The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement

'We want to back Noah': Every word Rennie said on Quade, Fainga’a, Kerevi and Tate calls

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Editor
3rd September, 2021
83
10255 Reads

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie stuck with youth in all but ending Quade Cooper’s Test career by leaving him out of the squad to face the All Blacks in Perth on Sunday.

Rennie announced a team that kept faith with rookie No.10 Noah Lolesio and No.9 Tate McDermott but saw Samu Kerevi and Izack Rodda restored for the first time since the 2019 World Cup quarterfinal.

Cooper was thought to be close to his first game in Wallaby gold since 2017 when he was put up in front of media on Tuesday, but Rennie explained why he missed the squad.

“He was certainly close to selection,” Rennie said. “We looked at the fact that he’s contributing really well, he’s training well.

“But we were keen to bring Samu in and we thought a couple of changes in the inside backs for both guys who haven’t had a lot of time in the environment we thought that was too much.

“We wanted to back Noah. He’s played a lot of good footy for us. There was a lot of discussion around that position because of the experience that Quade can bring.

“He’s been fantastic. He’s missed out selection, he’s disappointed but contributing and training really well. So yeah, that was the final decision.”

Here are the other big talking points from Rennie’s press conference

Tate McDermott used the word “embarrassing” to describe the Wallabies’ record 57-22 loss in Bledisloe 2 and Rennie had no issue with the young gun speaking his mind.

Advertisement

“We went through a review and there’s a lot honesty throughout that so Tate’s right,” said Rennie.

“You know, we want to play. It if’s on to play from 80 out then we want to. But it comes with responsibility and it comes with accuracy.

“We turned over a bit of ball and put ourselves under pressure and some of our attacks – we gave up a couple of tries when we were in strong attacking positions.”

Tate McDermott in front of his home supporters

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

Rennie said the young Queenslander’s excellence continued to see him preferred to Nic White.

“To his credit we’ve talked a lot about his distribution game and the quality of his kicking game and it wasn’t quite up to scratch,” said Rennie.

“He’s worked really hard on it, is kicking really well now and as we know he’s a real handful with ball in hand and creates space for others so he gets another start based on performance.

“He was excellent in both tests in Auckland and his other start against the French in Brisbane. Whitey gives us good experience and we’re pretty fortunate in that position.

Advertisement

“We’ve got some really good depth. Obviously, Jake Gordon, then young Ryan Lonergan, who’s training the house down.”

On the decision to back youth
“We’re always looking forward to what’s next while we’re picking so many young men but in the end, we’ve got to win on Saturdays.

“It’s not just about preparing for a World Cup, but performing well at this level breeds confidence.

“We were really disappointed with the last outing. I thought we played pretty well in the first 40 minutes but you can’t give up soft points to the All Blacks and we got hurt from it.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to show we learned a few lessons and I think a lot of the young men that we are playingat the moment are getting better and better. It’s exciting to see that played out on Sunday.”

Advertisement

On the return of Samu Kerevi
“He’s only been with us a few weeks but he’s a good student,” Rennie said. “He’s worked really hard to get his head around a lot of our structures, has contributed really well in meetings and is sharing his experience.

“We talk a lot about earning the right to play and he certainly has done that. He trained well and prepared well and gives us experience in amongst some, some pretty young inside backs.

“Likewise, with Izack coming back from France, he was probably a little bit off the pace physically. To his credit, he’s worked really hard. He’s certainly a lot more explosive and powerful, and better conditioned, to play Test footy and we reckon he’s ready to go.”

On the absences of BPA and Harry Wilson
“Brandon was going to be on the bench but he tweaked his neck at training on Tuesday so he’s unavailable,” said Rennie.

“With Harry, there’s great competition in the back three. We’re pretty happy with the starting list in the forwards.

“And we looked at Pete Samu as someone who gives us a point of difference – very quick, highly skilled, really comfortable in the wide channels and has trained well. He deserves a crack.

“It’s tough on Harry, we’ve a lot of time for him and he played pretty well, last time out. But we think Pete’s the right person for this game.”

On the return of Folau Fainga’a
Fainga’a, who was alongside Rennie at the press conference, was honest when asked why he felt he hadn’t been able to nail down a spot under Rennie.

Advertisement

He was asked why he fell off the radar and replied: “I guess falling in love with myself”.

I’ve been inconsistent throughout the Super year and it kind of bit me in the backside,” Fainga’a said.

“But I just put my head down and worked hard and I’m just grateful I got called back into the squad and I’m just making the most of my opportunity.

“It wasn’t a word from Dave, I just had to have a proper look at myself in the mirror.

“I was getting too comfortable with myself and just putting myself in situations where it wasn’t going to happen.

“It hurt not getting called into the French series and I had to have a proper look at myself and just go away work on a few things.”

Sports opinion delivered daily 

   

Advertisement

Rennie praised Fainga’a for taking an opportunity.

“It’s no secret we had four hookers at the start of this campaign and Folau wasn’t one of them,” Rennie said.

“He got an opportunity through injury and he’s training really well. He brings really good physicality, he’s got a strong set piece.

“It’s a credit to him. He’s made shifts physically he’s showed that through his performance and we expect to see that put on the park on Sunday.”

On the current Giteau Law thinking
“We’ve had lots of discussions around it,” Rennie said. “What’s important is we’re doing what we think is best for rugby in this country.

“We don’t want to go wholesale and have lots of players to pick from overseas because I think it’ll have an effect on our domestic rugby.

“You’ll end up with with a big chunk of guys who can go overseas and still earn good coin for the Wallabies. Based on COVID situations and the way things are at the moment, we’ve had a bit of leniency around that and we’re fortunate enough to pick up someone of Samu’s quality.”

close