Knuckles has named his team for Australia’s world cup owner on Saturday, saying that it’s the first choice side. While it’s good news that the full strength side is fit at this stage, the even better news is that they’re starting to belt seven shades out of each other at training.
Why’s this good? As Wallaby Push and Shove explains:
A healthy squad is the kind that can take their lumps from teammates in the intention they are dished out. It doesn’t generate bitterness, it stimulates competition.
Teams that start believing like this soon start believing in other things, crazy things like they can actually win it.
“It’s a competitive edge we have at the moment which we haven’t had for years,” said Gerrard.
A bloody good article this. I like the noises coming out of the squad; sounds like the guys are well and truly switched on and low on complacency, a very different situation to the drones of the Eddie Jones days. The reason why I like the sound of it so much is that Wallabies teams tend to have the skills, it’s whether they’ve got the fire in the belly.
Just a couple of comments on team selection. While Ashley-Cooper on the wing must be pinching himself, Phil Waugh must be gutted, even missing out so that Knuckles could beef up the backs on the bench to cover Latham. I don’t think you can argue that Smith’s the form 7 though. I’ll be looking to see what McMenimen has to offer from the bench, he continues to receive a lot of hype.
Bring on Saturday.
Australia:15 Chris Latham, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c), 12 Matt Giteau 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham, 9 George Gregan (vc), 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 George Smith (vc), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Dan Vickerman, 4 Nathan Sharpe, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Matt Dunning.
Replacements:16, Adam Freier, 17 Guy Shepherdson, 18 Hugh McMeniman, 19 Stephen Hoiles, 20 Berrick Barnes, 21 Drew Mitchell, 22 Mark Gerrard.
Date:Saturday, September, 8
Kick-off: (13.45 GMT)
Venue:Stade Gerland, Lyon
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
Touch judges: Dave Pearson (England), Hugh Watkins (Wales)
Television match official: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
Assessor: Bob Francis (New Zealand)