Dwyer's View: My Wallabies World Cup squad

Dwyer’s View: My Wallabies World Cup squad

Dwyer’s View: My Wallabies World Cup squad

So, how are we travelling for a Wallabies World Cup squad? When it comes to selections I always ask myself  – could this player develop to get us to where we need to go, to play in a winning World Cup team? If the answer is no, then I’m not inclined to choose them, but rather someone who, with the right support, could. This thinking has served me well over the years – Horan and Little, Kearns, Daley, Eales, Gregan and moving Richard Harry from flanker to prop.

In some positions – notably prop and second row – there are some people who if they played to their potential I don’t believe could play in a winning World Cup team. You might say look, if we’re down to that selection then that might tide us over, but under normal circumstances I wouldn’t go with them. It may cause some controversy.

Below I’ve picked a practice squad of 45 (three teams where no one thinks they’re past the post, but rather paying attention so they can get to their potential) that I believe we should get together prior to the Rugby Championship.

The number you can take to the World Cup seems to keep changing, The general thought is it might move to 32, so I’ve also picked a 32 man squad as if I had to go to England now
(noted with *).





Moore*, Polota-Nau*, Hanson*, Faingaa and Latu.

I think Latu has real potential. Hanson and Faingaa are both good players, but I’m not sure Latu might not turn out to be better. If he improves as much in this current season as he did last, he just might go past.


Slipper*, Sio*, Kepu*, Alo-Emile*, Faulkner* and Holmes. 

I haven’t seen it happen but I hear Faulkner can play both sides, and I know Kepu can. I don’t understand why, but I think Holmes is really underrated. Some people might say Alo-Emile had a hard time against Slipper this weekend, but I’d be talking to Slipper about that to see what went on because the penalties went both ways. Alo-Emile has real work rate – he carries and tackles well.

Alexander and Robinson I would leave out entirely. They spend either too much time on the ground at scrum time or don’t do enough grunt work around the park. In this Super Rugby season Alexander is scrumming better, but I’m not prepared to be penalised out of a game as has happened in the past. New Zealand have left Wyatt Crockett (a very good player) out of a world cup squad before for the same reason.

We really need to bring our back-up props on. Faulkner’s had one tour as has Sio. I want someone I can send out to keep the tight head side up and off the ground. Anything else on top of that is a bonus.


Douglas*, Jones*, Skelton*, Carter, Simmons, Neville and Coleman.

I’m so concerned about lock, I might pick some six/locks to give options – notably Fardy and Timani. Simmons is reputedly the brains trust behind the line-out calling but if we’ve got Douglas, Hooper and Pocock around I don’t see the trouble. I think Neville is better than we give him credit for and Coleman is a player for the future. Horwill is nowhere near the player he was, perhaps through injury.

Back Row

Fardy (lock)*, Timani (lock)*, McMahon*, Hooper*, Gill*, Pocock*, McCalman*, Palu*

In amongst my back row thinking is – depending on how people brush up at camp and what we do in the Rugby Championship – I may even be inclined to use Fardy or Timani as a lock. My concern about our current locks is that they make no impact in ball carry or defence. A 4 out of 10 impact with an 8 out of 10 work rate is no good. I’d rather have it 8 and 6 or 7. If I add it all together I’ve got enough work rate in total. This is why I like Jones, Neville and Skelton.

Liam Gill pass

McMahon can play six or seven, maybe eight. I’m very interested to try Pocock at eight because he’s too good a player even though he hasn’t hit his old form yet. He’s strong, can make hard yards and has been clearly working on his attacking skill set. He’s won the occasional line out as can McMahon and Hooper.

I don’t think Hooper is up to where he was which raises the pressure brought by Gill (who was superb this week) and Pocock. A back row of Pocock, Fardy, Hooper and Luke Jones could be the greatest Aussie ball-robbing combo of all time, over every tackle.

McCalman has played better in the last couple of years than I though he could. People decry Palu’s work rate but have a good look at him in last year’s Super Rugby final you’ll see how much he adds.


Phipps*, Genia(*), White(*),

I don’t think Genia is playing well at all, and I think while White can play well, at times he’s all over the place. His focus can go astray – some games he thinks it’s a debate, or wants to fight Will Skelton for example. The only likely damage to Will would have been water on the knee. I’m finding it hard to choose between these two for Phipps’ replacement  as starter.


Foley*, Toomua* (12), Giteau* (9 and 12)

Cooper and Lealiifano have missed out because I just can’t find a spot. I’ve had huge wraps on Quade’s ability but he can’t put two games together at the moment. He also needs lots of work to play the game we’ll want to (as does Genia). I can’t see who we can leave out from the above.

Giteau was the European player of the year in 2014 (and there are plenty of good players up there). He’s been massively successful outside of Wilkinson and massively successful when Jonny couldn’t play. He’s also got plenty of background at scrum half.


Ashley-Cooper*, Kuridrani*(12 or 13), Horne*(12,13 wing), Godwin, Inman

Godwin’s not playing super well this year but he’s got ability and I’d pick him for experience in the future. In the 99 squad we picked David Giffin  and were criticized that he wasn’t ready but he went on to play for four or more years.

I think Inman can play a role, not just as a basher. We want people who have good positional play who can pass when they need to, or not when the situation prevents it. Horan for example wasn’t a huge passer of the ball. It’s not hard to pass the ball from 12 and we don’t need some amazing distributor.


Speight*, Cummins*, O’Connor* (10 and 15), Tomane, English

O’Connor I’ve seen as a world class player in the past and out of a struggling team I believe he can get back to his best. He can also play centre or full-back. Speight and Cummins give us strength.


Folau*, Beale* (wing), Coleman.

I’d also like to know more about Naiyaravoro  – I’m not sure if he can qualify for the Wallabies but he’s useful. I don’t want to play Beale any closer in than wing or full-back but he offers great versatility.


Goal kicking wise – Foley, Giteau, O’Connor, Beale, White (if he makes it).

All in all it’s a pretty good squad. Except for prop, you wouldn’t be too concerned about what combinations you play. If I were Michael Cheika I’d be very happy to be the coach of it.

What about you?

  • klaus

    Totally agree with Holmes and the majority of what you said Bob

    • Graeme

      I agree with most of those. We need alo amile to hold up the scrum.
      We need some hard locks.
      Beale on the wing sounds good too. His best spot when playing for the wallabies.
      Bob picked 33 players as well.
      My squad
      Sio slipper
      Tpn Moore Charles
      Alo amile kepu longbottom
      Carter Coleman Skelton Arnold
      Fardy timani
      Pocock hooper
      Mccalman veua
      Genia Phipps white
      Foley toomua cooper
      Kuridrani aac
      Cummins JOC
      Speight Beale

  • Jordie

    First time i agree with most of what you’ve said here Bob, reckon its a bit of wishful thinking that Giteau finds a place in the quad, should replace him with Quade and at least give him a chance considering what he can do in a good team.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      The gits thing has me pondering just how good the comp really is where he starred. JOC seems to have been a star too but hasn’t live up to that billing once home. Of course team environment counts for a lot too.
      Interesting that Bob sees JOC as a possible 10 and yet Richard Graham keeps on persisting with Nick Frisby. Is that what’s best for the Reds team?

      • on the Joc/Giteau point: Giteau has been first name on the team sheet, a regular starter and one of the top performers in Europe and the Top14 since his arrival. He and JOC are chalk and cheese in the eyes of the rugby fans here where he’s held in the highest regard – up with Wilkinson who the French obsessed over.

        Whereas I don’t think JOC really set the place alight, he was solid and had a strong Premiership in a London Irish side that got pumped for the most part. But in France, for Toulon, he only really played in Europe from the bench iirc. It’s a similar story in the Top 14, having said that he was only there on a short contract so was used mainly to boost up the alternative team when they were balancing out two competitions.

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Cheers for that mate. Maybe JOC’s star, if given more time, would rise in Europe. Who knows? He sure sounds like a different bloke to the one that left these shores. He’s either a good actor or maybe his time away (short as it was) and exposure to the likes of JW, has matured him. I sure hope the latter is the case.
          With Gits, in a recent interview I watched, he came across as a really good unassuming kind of bloke. I gained the impression that he felt the Wallaby boat had sailed for him. Perhaps not though.

        • Jordie

          Good point, Frisby starting 10 at the RWC

  • Kev

    Luckily we’ve got the best kind of problems when selecting the backrow

  • MattyP

    Bob – if we can pretend that the ARU will allow overseas players to be selected, why not include Leroy Houston? He’s in cracking form for Bath.

    • Train Without A Station

      Mumm was in good form for Exeter. Mowen for his team. Salvi for Leicester. Let’s bring back all the players that were inadequate at Super Rugby and test level since they are apparently playing well in Europe.

      • Pedro

        Elsom should be fit by now too.

      • Chinese Dave

        Ha ha, great reply! You’re spot on. After all, there’s a reason why European TV broadcasters pay a small fortune for the S15 rights while we pay close to nothing for their drivel. That said, Giteau being chosen as Euro player of the year is no mean feat.

        • Giteau has never been EPOTY AFAIA..

          He was French player of the year (Top 14), Armitage was the EPOTY, Wilkinson the year before (2012-13).

          Git’s has been immense for Toloun here though, especially in Europes knock out stages which is about as close as you’ll get to that S15 drivel we all pay so much for :D

        • Chinese Dave

          Yes, you are correct, my mistake. About Gits, not the drivel :D

  • Dave

    Absolute cracker of a squad. My two changes would be Holmes into the 32 and probably into the matchday team after Kepu because as you say he is underrated and in my opinion the best scrummager in Australia. I would also have Simmons starting as he is developed into a lock who actually pushes in the scrum as well as leads the lineout and has also developed his field play.

    I suppose my changes are mainly due to a perceived focus on set play in this world cup which I think will be dominated by Ref calls at scrum time and hence concessions have to be made in these key areas. I also don’t really see Giteau that close to the starting team and hence probably not needed in the squad unless we have an injury crisis.

  • Mart

    Naiyaravoro doesn’t qualify unfortunately. It’s a Speight style situation

    • TheMountain

      yes he does, he has had residence in Australia for the past three years while playing for the tigers

      • Mart

        Does that mean he qualifies?
        I think it’s 4 years

        • TheMountain

          Yes he qualifies, there was talk of him as a bolter for the EOYT last year but that was a very long shot…

    • phil

      Big but such bad skills.

  • Pedro

    I’d more strongly consider Lealiifano. He covers a bunch of back line positions, solid in all facets of play and is kicking well again.

    • Tim

      Agreed Pedro. He’s working back into some of his best form this season. While I could understand if he didn’t make the final cut, he surely at the very least deserves a shit at the squad.

      • Steve

        I’m not sure if that was deliberate Tim, but I enjoyed it.

        • Tim

          Nope, typo :)

  • StewedP

    Not a great Bob Dwyer fan but I agree entirely with him about Alexander and Robinson.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Not a fan but read his work? Someone sounds like they have too much time on their hands.

      • Who?

        You don’t expand your mind by reading only people with whom you always agree. ;-)

  • Lexiano

    Well constructed squad Bob, especially with the international players.
    Hooker: I would find it difficult to leave out Faingaa firstly for his performances for the Wallabies last year, virtually called out of the black as McKenzie’s 6th preferred option, he was one of the lone positives to come out of the campaign and constantly featured in GAGR top performances in both the writer and reader voter polls. Furthermore, his trademark tackling approach will only be useful towards the back-end of games, and providing he maintains the same performance standards as last year, I believe he should be the 3rd Hooker on the plane.

    Props: Brave decision leaving out the experienced heads, but I believe its the correct one. However, if we get to a situation where we have injuries plaguing our front row once again, I’d rather throw Robinson/Alexander into the pressure cooker, rather than the inexperienced Alo-Emile’s. Slipper and Kepu pick themselves as starters.

    Locks: If only Kane Douglas and Sitaleki were available for selection! Douglas was largely underrated amongst Aussie rugby fans, until Cheika bought his damaging best out of him in 2014, and he was, along with Rettalick and Etzebeth, the form locks of 2014. Douglas has managed to maintain the same form from 2014 at Leinster. I would too be pressured into playing Fardy at lock as we just do not have the aggression in those positions that is required. I would pick Simmons in the squad due his experience and line-out ability, although, having yet to play in 2015 and his 2014 far below par, he certainly isn’t a certain for the plane. Personally, I haven’t jumped on the Skelton hype train as of yet, while I think he has a role to play, I don’t think I can justify his selection in the 15, yet alone the 23. If he makes the plane, a starting spot against Uruguay or Fiji may be helpful.

    Backrow: Spoiled for choice really. Fingers crossed Pocock stays fit and continues to improve to where he once was, if so, he would have to start at 7, with Hooper off the bench – Also, if Gill plays like he did against the Rebels for the rest of SXV, we have a very nice conundrum once again. Big Cliffy Palu to start at 8, a scapegoat over the years for bad performances, but his form since Chieka has stepped in to the Tahs has been outstanding, as Bob pointed out, his Super Rugby Final performance was top notch, as with his performance against the Brumbies a couple of weeks ago. With Fardy moving to Lock, a bolter could be Lopeti Timani as he brings that ‘wild-thing’ aggression we’ve missed for sometime, however a more sensible option is Luke Jones. Sean McMahon certainly has a future, but this campaign isn’t his time to run on, however decent game time in the first two fixtures will be beneficial.

    Halfback: Phipps a certain starter over Genia and White, who prefer to see the ball in the oppositions fullbacks hands rather than our own. Genia is currently third in the pecking order, just, and I would argue with his departure next year, I would argue selecting Luke Burgess as the third halfback. Although he is automatically playing No.2 behind the Melbourne Wonderboy, Nick Stirzaker, his performances off the bench this year have been consistently solid and not as erratic Genia. He also has a better passing game to Genia which will only come in handy in the later stages of the game as we look to open up our outside backs. However, here’s hoping Genia finds that form that made this country fall in love with him.

    Flyhalf: Bernard Foley can do nothing wrong, however, I still don’t think he is the man to win us a World Cup. He lacks the panache Bernie and Lynagh, and unfortunately, I don’t think he has that X-factor that can win the World Cup, although his running game has improved out of sight and I love how he plays so close to the defensive line. Personally, Matt Toomua is our best 10, for both raw nature and his game management ability. While it is risky to change Toomua from 12, where he has just been superb, I think it is more important to play him at 10 than 12. If that is the case, I would play Christian at 12 and of course Kuri at 13. Christian may not be the most popular choice at 12, but I think he has played very well this season and will Bernie as the backs coach, the Brumbies 10,12,13 is a ready made combination. Certainly a better option than Kurtley, who was a failure in the front line for the wallabies last year, and is best suited to 15, his defense is too poor on the wing. If Quade is fit, it is hard to leave him out for just his pure X-factor ability. Although who knows how long he will stay fit and then there is a question of who do you leave out for his inclusion. That being said, I would put him on the plane.

    Centres: Largely touched on above, but for the fringe players, at 191cm and 105kg, Mitch Inman should be on his way to England. Can you imagine an Inman/Kuridrani centre pairing against the direct running Roberts/Davies and the like? Godwin has exceptional potential, however his SXV has been below par and will need to shape up before he is selected. AAC is the second name selected for the tour behind Moore for his 100+ caps and his versatility. That being said, I think the only way he can start is on the wing, and even then he may not be a certain starter. Rob Horne is very solid and has turned a corner, once again due to Cheika, but would be a wing selection in my book.

    Wing: Tomane should be picked, defense has improved out of sight and has gone from a how is he selected to a he needs to be selected. Speight is a menace in attack but his defense is weak. Cummins is a great player too. However, the spanner I’ll throw in the works is to play Folau on the wing, his running game at FB is superb, however, we lost 3 tests last year (Argentina, England, France) purely because we were kicked out of it. Who would think that a guy who was coached for 2 years on how to kick a ball in the AFL would be the worst in the backline. We simply cannot take the risk of playing someone who cannot kick at FB, especially if we are to face England and Wales in the group.

    Fullback: With Izzy on the wing, personally, I think JoC is too talented to be wasted on the wing, he has the running game, kicking game, toughness and match awareness for fullback, even though his defense can be questionable. KB as a handy backup.

    I enjoyed that, if you need a junior writer GAGR, would love to help out hahah :D

    Attn: Michael Cheika most importantly

    • Lexiano

      Also, Stephen Moore is captain with Pocock the VC if he starts.

    • Nick

      Folau on the wing is probably the right move. His defence and tactical play isn’t up to scratch at fullback. Toomua at fullback could work if he can’t slot in to 10 or 12.

    • Patrick

      Surely no-one is missing Sitaleki Timani?

      • Joe Blow

        We are absolutely missing him ATM. We need a big brute of a lock to partner Simmons. Sitaleki is that guy as long as he keeps his work rate up.

  • Brendan Hume

    Its nice to see Gill get some recognition – a really good player that brings the best atributes of both Pocock and Hooper to the table – strong over the ball, good hands, quick, huge work rate, and a genuine option at lineout time.

    If Holmes can hold up the scrum for the Reds for the remainder of the season I think he should be picked as the reserve THP. More experience than PAE, which showed on the weekend. Not sure I’ve seen Faulkner dominate at scrum time. Robbo’s effort against the Blues pack was great. He’d probably get my nod as reserve LHP.

    Chibba is a good player, but Faingaa hasn’t let the Wobs down. Maybe Latu over both if TPN and Moore are both fighting fit. Does have potential and easy to see him being there in 4 years.

    I find it hard to see the rest of this squad working, but then I’m not the coach. A lot of those players aren’t eligible to play currently, unless the ARU are considering changing their policy.

  • Waz_dog

    “I’ve had huge wraps on Quade’s ability” – my left foot Bob. Glad to see you being so wisenheimer about mentioning Giteau knowing full well he’s ineligible to play. The lovely photo of him too G&GR to really stamp home the point that QC has a snow flakes chance in hell of making the squad – you all must have been really proud when this article was uploaded!

    You must have nearly choked on your cuppa with glee hearing the news that QC broke his scapula – way to tarnish an otherwise intelligent article.

    On another note are flush with loosies no doubt but I still think there’s room for higgers in this touring squad too.

    • Teh Other Dave

      Notwithstanding his commentary on ARU-imposed eligibility rules, European player of last season does say a lot; I think Dwyer gave a reasonable explaination for his selections, and whether Dwyer likes it or not, Cooper is going to struggle to string matches together to state his case for selection.

      • Waz_dog

        Bob has had the pitch fork out with QC for years now and throwing a full known ineligible player into his team is such a snide, smug comment – there is simply no need for it. Yet he did. That speaks volumes of Bob and him holding a grudge against a man.

        QC was the vice captain of the Wallabies – he should be treated with more respect than that.

        • jutsie

          he selected douglas as well, was that a dig at simmons as well? god the chip on the queensland shoulder is unbearable

        • Waz_dog

          Time to stop spanking the monkey and put it back in the cage chief – did I say anything over Horwill’s omission? Did I say anything about Simmons omission?

          Has nothing to do with state bias and everything to do with Bob moving mountains to ensure the perception of QC is that of total inadequacy to pull on the G&G.

          All Bob had to do was name a third eligible flyhalf and I wouldn’t have had said boo – I understand that QC won’t have enough match fitness to make the squad. The fact he named an ineligible flyhalf is insulting.

    • Chinese Dave

      Yes, clearly the entire intent of this article (and the photo, don’t forget the photo) was to insult Quade Cooper. G&GR have been planning this elaborate slight for weeks now.

      • Waz_dog

        The intent of the article is to name a RWC side – does Bob name any other player in any other position that is ineligible to play? Does Bob have the capacity to format pictures into his articles?

        Bob obviously sees the need to have a third option at flyhalf (abs 2011 ended up using their 4th string in the final) and he’ll name ineligible players over QC… How the lads at G&GR don’t ask Bob to rethink his sentiment is beyond me.

        Don’t insult me by misconstruing my words – I haven’t criticised his article, I’m criticising the constant sentiment he has with QC. I’ll drop this issue the minute Bob does.

        • I think you’re looking into the picture too much mate, Git’s is the wildcard selection in that position so they are clearly going to use an image to flag this up.

      • USARugger

        If you don’t stop leaking internal secrets we are going to be left with no other option but to restrict your site access.

    • Lealiifano also got left out for Giteau – is it a conspiracy against him too?

      • Waz_dog

        Ha – you need secrecy to have a conspiracy Matt and there’s none of that when it comes to Bob’s thoughts on Quade.

        Won’t sit by and have Bob piss in reader’s pockets about how he now had huge wraps on Quade’s ability – which is a blatant lie.

        • Nick

          Yes of course you are the one we should be consulting re: Bob Dwyer’s personal assessments of players…

        • Waz_dog

          I have no idea what you’re talking about…

          Do yourself a favour – go and read all the articles Bob has written for this website about Quade. Let me know if the statements above match the ones he’s previously written (about Quade).

  • Hambone

    some big calls, but always going to be like that when culling down to a world cup squad, good balance of caps and up and comers… i think we need quade, and he has earned the right to give him time as opposed to giteu, i know ur not a higgers fan bob, but he can offer a bit aswell. good call on front row

  • Dom Par

    I’d pick Stirzaker over Genia on current form. BUT I’d prefer to pick Genia if he got even half of his 2011 form back.

    Also do we really need to persist with AAC as a first-picked Wallaby? Or even as a Wallaby? He has a long history of being in a losing Australian team, I think its time to bring in someone who’s NOT OK with losing.

    I’d pick Horne to take AAC’s spot, and Lealifano or Mike Harris to take his squad spot.

    • Nick

      Most players have a history of losing with the Wallabies though. It might make sense if the losses were because of AAC but that is not the case. He’s a great player and still has a lot to offer before he goes overseas.

    • Jumbuck

      AAC is a wonderful player – the sad reality is that because the last few years haven’t unearthed many great wallabies he has been able to limp his way past 100 tests. A great player – but not remotely in the same class of other Wallabies who have racked up similar number of tests. Versatility only explains some of it.

    • Mike

      “He has a long history of being in a losing Australian team”

      Right, where can I find this team? Since you are obviously not talking about the Wallabies who have won a good deal more than they have lost.

      On the same basis Quade Cooper will be out, David Pocock, Will Genia and many others.

      But I guess for some people Ignorance is a happy place to be.

  • Nick

    Looks a pretty gun squad. Forwards are bang on I reckon. I feel Peter Betham deserves a shot though. Hopefully he gets some time in the Rugby Championship because he has great speed and footwork.

    It would be awesome to see Giteau back with us again. We really should consider giving special dispensation to him.

    • Tim

      Is there any serious suggestion that the ARU might consider OS-based players like Gits?

      • RobC

        yeah, wasnt sure about naming KD Giteau. They were in the 51 man camp.

        French Rugby is waaay slower than SR and WBs. Selectors need to ensure there is a transition into WBs from O/S, if that happens.

        Until then, its QC over Gitea. KD was good for the Tahs last year, but not outstanding (scrums, runs/tackle stats).

      • Nick

        I really don’t know but with all the players leaving both NZ and Australia we may have to face up to the fact that being a Wallaby is no longer a draw-card over money. It’s sad as I have a soft spot for the late 90s early 2000s when professionalism was only beginning to pick up steam and Test Rugby was the pinnacle.

  • ScrumJunkie

    Sorry Bob, Faulkner is a poor tight head, and we are well served at loose head. If he is in the squad we are doomed. In fact if I was Foley I would try turn Pek into a tight head and shift Faulkner back to loose head.

    Everyone talks up Alo Emile, but he has always been a poor scrummager at super level I fail to see why he should be picked. He has time to improve, but unfortunately he’ll be doing that at Stade.

    Props that should go if squad were picked today. Kepu, Holmes, Weeks, Sio Slipper, Smith. BA is still dominant at super level, but I share the penalty concern at international level.

    • norm de plume

      Agree totally with your prop selections. Have always thought Holmes and Weekes criminally underrated, they would not let us down as back ups at scrum time, though they are not as explosive as the others ball in hand. Alexander is scrumming well but the international record plus the fact he’s not the try merchant he once was play against him. Robbo too is scrumming well and having a go around the park but others have improved where he is strong, in the scrum. Alo-Emile has great promise but front rowers take longer to mature and time in France will round him out for the next Cup.

  • wiserugbyman

    Id like to see the brumbies take a bullet for Australian rugby and play sio at tight head, he is easily the 2nd if not best prop in Australia at the moment. If him and slipper could hold a scrum up together they would be unstoppable. + Higgers is a squad definite brings so much in the line out and one of Australia’s best carriers

    • TheMountain

      Higgers is a seriously destructive runner and an offload machine but his work around the park is non-existent.

  • Stray Gator

    Totally disagree with White – his default play under pressure is to kick it away. Using your own criterion (viz. could this player develop to play in a winning World Cup team or could with the right support) he should not be selected before Stirzaker.

    Ditto for English (a damn pity that Sefanaia Naivalu isn’t available yet – he’s already streets ahead of English).

    Finally, I’d put Adam Coleman into the squad ahead of Neville and, possibly, even Simmons.

    On the other hand, Bob, I’ve never coached a World Cup winning rugby team, so I apologise for being presumptuous.

  • The King

    - Picking three 80-minute openside flankers is a bold call, as is only taking three specialist locks.

    – No mention of Laurie Weekes, but a decision to take his deputy at the Rebels – fresh off getting trounced by a Loosehead who is slammed for lack of scrummaging ability in NH circles?

    – No mention of Samu Kerevi either – that’s one name I’d love to see Bob’s opinion on

    – Sefanaia Naivalu has the potential to be one of the best wingers in Australia and he didn’t rate a mention either?

    • Bairdy

      Point 2: Weekes is out injured for a number of weeks so quite rightly is not included in Bob’s list – even though he is probably the next best tighthead in Australia behind Kepu.

      Point 4: He’s not eligible until September/November 2016 I recall from a Fiji Times article.

      • The King

        Thanks mate. I knew Weekes was injured, but didn’t think it was ruling him out of World Cup selection?

        Point 4: Rats. Had the impression that he was actually from Melbourne

        • Stray Gator

          Melbourne via Fiji

  • Kostadin Debrenliev

    It’s very interesting squad …but don’t forget Mike Harris is in big form now ! Roby Coleman isn’t soo good …I prefer Lachie Turner he is really good in defense and don’t forget he is one of the fastest rugby players in Australia…

  • RobC

    Thanks Bob. A good list. Additional thoughts:
    – Arnold, over Jones perhaps
    – Kerevi over the Force/Rebs centres

    The other question. Who is the best forwards, set piece coach?

  • Benny A’s Tackle

    Been waiting for this article since kick off in round 1!
    My team:
    Kepu Moore Slipper
    Timani Fardy
    Pocock Higgers
    Toomua Kurindrani
    Speight Cummins
    The all important subs
    Polota Nau
    By way of explanation:
    -replace front row as required
    -instruct Palu and Timani bust their guts, replace after 45 with Skelton and Jones/Arnold. Fardy goes 6 and Higgers 8
    -if Higgers wont do the tight stuff switch with McCalman or McMahon
    -Poey and Fardy attack rucks with Hooper to replace one at 60
    -backs play all game unless injured basically
    -White to kick for touch and to hang back when a kick is needed
    The Premise:
    As Bob said impact from the forwards. First half Kepu, Timani, Paul and even Slipper are go to impact
    Second half Sio, Skelton, Higgers and Jones/Arnold
    The Downside:
    Pocock, Fardy, Moore need to work

    • Pauly

      Love your work re the forwards and the changes. I’d pull Higgers off at 45 and change Poey to 8. Fardy to 7 and Hooper 6. Ball robbing trio on the park for most of second half.

      Agree we need Palu and Timani to smash themselves first half and Skelton and Jones to monster them in the second. White and Quade haven’t shown the goods. Phipps and Foley for mine, agree on Toomua and Kuridrani, I’d have

  • brumby runner

    So happy that the ARU currently has a policy barring overseas based players from the Wallabies. No matter their form in Europe or Japan, ther are not demonstrating in our Super competition that they have the skills and form requiring their selections. And recent returnees Burgess, Hosea Gear and to date JOC have done nothing to support the notion that overseas based players warrant consideration.

    • Who?

      Thank you!!! First post I’ve seen pointing out what’s blindingly obvious to me – that so far, only one player has returned from a stint overseas at Test level. And George Smith isn’t your average player.
      It’s relevant with picking Giteau ex-France. I’m a big fan. But I don’t think he should be picked. And I don’t think that we should go back to Connolly’s mistakes (playing him at 9), or necessarily even Deans’ mistake (playing him at 10 – though I think he’d do as well there as Foley. But I don’t rate Foley’s long passing game. Then again, Mr Dwyer doesn’t seem to see the need for a long passing game.). I think that, at his best, he’s everything and more at Test level that Leali’ifano is at his very best at Super level for the Brumbies. A strong runner, a strong defender, and someone who can set up the player alongside him. Similar to Horan in style (Horan wasn’t any bigger than Giteau, and was smaller than Leali’ifano).
      I can’t understand the Waratah fans’ obsession with Douglas. I really hoped for a lot from him when he started getting picked for the Wallabies. In fact, I wanted him picked well ahead of when Robbie first called him up. But he never once played a good 80 minutes for the Wallabies. He put in a couple of good 40 minute performances, but the reality is he’s never outshone Simmons. And Simmons has come on since that time. Simmons is, without question, and not just in lineout, our best set piece lock. By a long way. I’d encourage Bob to go and have a quiet word with our props and see who they’d rather have pushing them… Whispers I get from near the very top say it’s not Horwill, it’s not Skelton, it’s not Jones. It’s Simmons. And that’s borne out by the fact that, when locking together, Simmons might’ve worn 4 and Douglas 5, but Simmons packed at Tight Head Lock (behind the THP) in their later tests. In spite of giving away 8-10kg.
      I’d also pick Holmes over Alo-Emile. A RWC is no place to test new props. If it were 2016, swap them, fine. Build for 2019 in Japan. But for a RWC, especially in the NH, surely you want the most cunning, street-smart, grizzled, experienced props you can find. So grab the guy who led a 7 man pack to hold off an 8 man pack – which included the other bloke – for 60 minutes.
      Not sure about how you’d do it, either, but I’d be pretty keen to see one of Ita Vaea or Jarrad Butler slot into those loose forward positions, too… Think most of those guys would be very unlucky to miss out, but I’m not confident Palu can last. I don’t question his impact or work rate – when fit. But I do think his workload needs serious management. As such…

      • norm de plume

        What I would like to see is news of how Aust players in the positions the NH is strong in and we are weak in – the tight five – are faring over there. So far as I can make out Douglas is not a regular starter at Leinster and I can’t find any reference to Timani’s form for Montpelier – good, bad or indifferent. Mumm may be going OK but he would need to be 80% better than he used to be to make it back. Apparently Ma’afu has done well at Saints (as per RobC’s link), apart from belting a few people.
        To me, Douglas and Timani were big but too cumbersome to be truly effective. Neville too? Skelton has far better hands and is just starting to boss other packs around with his bulk, shifting rucks on a regular basis. I wish Steve Mafi could rouse himself to get more involved more often because he breaks the gain line when he does. Arnold too green but Coleman might get there.
        As for Cooper, JOC and Gits, I’d worry about team unity as well as form. I think Quade is the most naturally gifted player of the lot, but he must also be durable. He needs a couple world beating games when he returns to be on the plane.

    • RobC

      If there’s one overseas player I would like to see wearing G&G, it would be this one: http://www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/Rugby/Profiles/profile.aspx?TeamID=100969&PersonID=133958

    • Garry

      One major consideration is that Euro based players have more experience on slower UK pitches, under drizzly conditions, and are more familiar with the Euro teams opposition players, and the ten man game often played in the UK. Compare that to the adjustments that Super XV players need to make from our hard fast pitches.

      Invaluable experience?

  • Bairdy

    My 32:
    Props: Slipper* (1st choice LH; covers TH in a pinch), Kepu*, Sio*, Weeks/PAE/Holmes* (bench TH – I’d probably go for 2 and put Robinson on standby), Robinson*. T. Smith, Faulkner.

    Hookers: Moore*, TPN*, Fainga’a*. Charles, Hanson.

    Locks: Simmons*, Skelton*, Carter*, one of the bolters: Arnold, Timani, Jones, or Coleman.

    Backrow: Fardy*, Hooper*, McCalman*, Palu*, one of Pocock/Gill*, Dennis/Jones (lock/6)*. Higgers, McMahon, Cottrell, Butler, Vaea.

    Scrumhalfs: Phipps*, White*, Genia*. Burgess on standby.

    Flyhalfs: Foley*, Cooper*.

    Centres: Toomua* (10/12), Kuridrani*, Leali’ifano* (10/12 or 15 if an injury crisis strikes), AAC* (13/11/14/15), Horne (wing, 12/13)*. Tapuai, Harris, Godwin, Kerevi.

    Wings: Cummins*, Speight*. Tomane.

    Fullbacks: Folau*, JOC/Beale* (take your pic of the 2 amigos). Turner, DHP

    • Stray Gator


      Second thoughts, don’t worry about it.

  • Spank

    Certainly like the front row options. Totally agree that Alexander should stay home. Never does the job scrum time at international level unfortunately. Semi agree on Robinson albeit technically he seems among the best we have at scrum time just not anywhere else. Spank.

  • PiratesRugby

    Anyone who has been reading Bob Dwyer’s articles on G&GR over the last few years knew that Higginbotham was not going to get a mention.

    • RobC

      Last Higgers had an average SR last year. But was great in Brissie vs ABs.

      • PiratesRugby

        Higginbotham holds the try scoring record for all forwards playing SR and is the second all time behind Owen Finegan. He’s one of the best forwards playing SR and certainly one of Australia’s best. And he gets left off a list that contains Douglas, Skelton and even Neville. Without explanation.

        • RobC

          PR, if memory serves correct. Higgers form dropped in the backend of SR14, and racked up penalties / cards instead of points.

          His TRC14 was average, a key event was being routed in the 28-10 thrashing by SB reserves, esp Schalk Burger, in Newlands. This was when the game was razor close at 69′.

          He really lifted in Brisbane, but then got injured.

  • rugbyculture

    Giteau at 10? Why not name bat man and the elf from the lord of the rings… he looks like a devastating runner. What this stupid comment does highlight however is… G&G rugby will remain uncompetitive until a couple of real numbers 10’s are born or created. p.s. Quade is not, nor has ever been the answer, AB’s have 5 number 10’s at the moment you would start ahead of him.

    • Avid

      … just the sort of screech we’d expect from an Orc.

      • rugbyculture

        lol, Insightful comment = 0, funny none the less = 10 :)

        The more I think about it, be crazy not to have ScottyHiggers in the mix. Not enough mongrel without him

  • Avid

    May we yet again see the flying Little+Horan cross-kick chase with O’Connor+Folau. O’Connor is Chieka’s ideal 12.

  • Nomo Los

    Sefanaia Naivalu would be my first choice wing,he can play anywhere in the backs……..Sefa has the X -factor in him just 2 full games for Rebels and he has been choosen for the best Australian super 15 team 2 weeks in a row……..

    • Lee Grant

      He’s not eligible.

  • Mike

    At present Robinson is the premier loosehead in Australia. Slipper was, he has slipped (no pun intended) in the last few games but there is plenty of time for him to come back. Sio is showing early promise. Not many others putting their hand up.

  • Xena1212

    REMEMBER, Giteau is only playing in Europe – Cooper is the only PLAY MAKER WE HAVE, HE SHOULD BE IN THE SIDE.


If you don't know Bob Dwyer is the world cup winning coach of the 1991 Wallabies, then give yourself an uppercut. He did a load in between, but he now runs Bob Dwyer's Rugby Workshops, which you can read more about on his site.

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