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Rugby News: Did Nic White just reveal the Wallabies' first Test No.10? Tupou in major doubt, Smith on help from Quade

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26th June, 2022
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Wallabies halfback Nic White may have given away one of Dave Rennie’s close calls for the first Test starting team to face England on Saturday.

White appeared on Channel Nine on Sunday and laughed when asked who his roommate was, and he revealed it was James O’Connor, who is jostling with Quade Cooper and Noah Lolesio to play flyhalf in Perth.

.Rennie will name his team on Thursday, 48 hours out from the game time.

“Read into that what you will,” White said. “Look we’ve trained in all different combinations this week. They always keep you on your toes, we do a lot of clarity sessions, a lot of walk throughs, a lot of training sessions and the team gets changed up every couple of minutes so you can’t read into that too much.

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“But I like rooming with Rabs anyway – we’re a couple of old heads who like to go to bed early and get up early.”

Meanwhile star prop Taniela Tupou, who has been battling a calf injury for almost two months, is said to have fallen short in his recovery and likely to miss out.

If he’s missing, Rennie will have to adjust his front row thinking. Loosehead James Slipper has shifted to tighthead in the past. Allan Alaalatoa would start in the No.3 jersey, with Slipper coming off the bench over the uncapped Pone Fa’amausili. Angus Bell could start in the No.1 jersey, with Scott Sio as cover.

Banks wants a special farewell

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Dave Rennie faces another selection call at fullback, where Jordan Petaia has come into the frame ahead of Tom Banks.

Banks is leaving for Japan at the end of the season and told Fox Sports he wanted to leave a big impression.

“You’d be lying if you said you didn’t (want to leave a lasting impression),” Banks said.

“You have those moments, especially with the Brums. That place has been pretty special to me, and again here.

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“Australian rugby’s done so much for me.

“It’s tough to think that these moments are coming to an end.”

Former Wallaby James Horwill told the Sydney Morning Herald he would opt for Petaia.

“I’d like to see Jordy there. His natural ability with the ball in hand gives another attacking option. Jordy is very good under the high ball,” Horwill said.

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But Morgan Turinui said Banks was “Australia’s only real option.

“He has a significantly better body of work in Super Rugby. Yes, Banks hasn’t always 100 per cent convinced at Test level yet, but this is probably the right Test series to find out.

“That sets up whether he’s important enough for us to take him to the World Cup. Jordan Petaia is the exciting one, but you’d be picking him on gut. As exciting a player as he is, this might not be the moment.” 

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Smith says Cooper has helped him

England young gun Marcus Smith has thanked Quade Cooper for

“We’ve connected a little bit over socials and he’s helped me a lot actually,” Smith told English media.

“He’s taught me a few things — just different ways to see the game; like the types of things he looks for when he’s analysing opposition and the way he thinks when he makes a mistake.

“It’s his mindset, really. I don’t think we’ll be talking too much on the tour, but hopefully post-game we can have a beer and hopefully I’ll be the one smiling.

“Fingers crossed, I can get a chance to go up against him because he’s a top player and it will be nice to challenge myself against another top 10 in the world.”

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