GAGR Exclusive: Prepare for the POOPER
All Blacks

GAGR Exclusive: Prepare for the POOPER

GAGR Exclusive: Prepare for the POOPER

It’s already the ultimate test in rugby. Throw in some championship silverware on the line, a looming Word Cup and you wouldn’t think the prospect of this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup match could be any more exciting.

But it is.

Yes people, G&GR can exclusively reveal we will finally see from the Bledisloe kick-off a back row pairing that feels so right it must somehow be wrong – THE POOPER (and before you lose your shit about the line-out, Horwill and Mumm with Fardy at six will be the options, Skelton on the bench).   If that high octane  mix of a ball scavenging, Argie-slapping back five isn’t enough, factor in Sio, Moore and Kepu for the win.

This is a pack designed to raise the pace of the match to breaking point on some ageing Kiwi bones before bringing the hammer down with Big Will, Polota-Nau and Slipper.

Behind the scrum the mayhem continues. Phipps and Foley will keep the pedal to the metal, releasing the strike weapons of TK, Two-Dads and Folau – who by the way has beaten 15 defenders in his two TRC appearances – the next nearest is Cordero with 10. Injecting some sanity, experience and a couple of left boots in the backline is the Giteau-Mitchell bromance. Expect no Kiwi weakness to be left untested by this backline combination of brawn and brains.

Just how many All Black weaknesses are there though? Well, a key stat say they do exist – New Zealand has conceded twice as many tries as the Wallabies (4 vs 2) against the same opposition. Three of those four have been in the second half of the game.

A traditional weakness of the Wallabies – the final quarter of the match is yet to yield a try against them. Have Australia finally managed to find an extra gear in the most important part of the match? We’ll find out on Saturday night.

Perhaps the strongest indication of the threat the Cheika Wallabies pose is the side New Zealand has named. This is their A-Team with the brains trust of McCaw (about to equal O’Driscoll’s world record of 141 caps), Carter and Conrad Smith all running on and augmented with excitement machines Savea, SBW, Ben Smith and test debutant Milner-Skudder. It’s clear that Hanson and co. have decided to snuff out any Wallaby momentum early on the road to the World Cup.


Lets get real, for a minute

This is a mammoth task for a Wallaby side that was a TMO’s blade of grass under Tevita Kurudrani from a record horror run of results. The detail  in the Wallaby game is still sketchy – goal kicking is woeful, scrums are a worry and positional play barely existent. New Zealand have been honing variations within these facets for years.

What we are going to see on Saturday night is a modern sporting experiment – can belief, guts and physicality overcome the best of the best? One thing we’re coming to believe is that Cheika’s Wallabies won’t take a step back in trying.

The teams


1.Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore (c)
3. Sekope Kepu
4. James Horwill
5. Dean Mumm
6. Scott Fardy
7. Michael Hooper
8. David Pocock
9. Nick Phipps
10. Bernard Foley
11. Drew Mitchell
12. Matt Giteau
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
15. Israel Folau

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
17. James Slipper
18. Greg Holmes
19. Will Skelton
20. Ben McCalman
21. Nic White
22. Matt Toomua
23. Kurtley Beale

All Blacks

1. Tony Woodcock (113)
2. Dane Coles (28)
3. Owen Franks (70)
4. Brodie Retallick (39)
5. Luke Romano (19)
6. Jerome Kaino (58)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (140)
8. Kieran Read (75)
9. Aaron Smith (39)
10. Daniel Carter (104)
11. Julian Savea (33)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (25)
13. Conrad Smith (86)
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder
15. Ben Smith (39)

16. Codie Taylor (2)
17. Ben Franks (42)
18. Nepo Laulala (2)
19. Samuel Whitelock (64)
20. Sam Cane (22)
21. TJ Perenara (13)
22. Beauden Barrett (29)
23. Malakai Fekitoa (9)


  • Zzzz

    Phipps & Foley… The most uninspiring and slightly above average pair to ever do it. Hope our forwards pick up for their prowess.

    • Cramps

      Sorry mate, I’ve drunk the Kool aid. I think they’re a bloody good fit for the game plan.

      Hey, we have a game plan! That alone is something to celebrate!

      • Chinese Dave

        We always did have a game plan, except it was crap. It went something like Give it to a back, and stand still while he tries to score a try on his own, preferably with a low-percentage chip kick.

    • Train Without A Station

      They’re a perfectly decent international combo.

      Foley may not be completely capable of creating opportunities, but how many international 10’s are against modern defenses?

    • wilful

      Seriously, there is no better half back in the Wallabies squad than Phipps. He’s demonstrated that clearly. He’s no wallaby legend, I agree, but I can’t think of a better option right now. (Stirzaker’s both injured and very green, Genia far too slow, who else??)

  • Pclifto

    Bring it on!!

    (I hope Gits has his tackling boots on…SBW is going to be a handful)

    • Pedro

      His goal kicking boots might also be useful…

  • Pedro

    Every match so far has given the punters a chance to see new combinations from the squad. It’s a exciting time to be a Wallaby fan and Matt’s enthusiasm is palpable in this review.

    Feel a bit sorry for Tomane who is in career best form but I’m sure he’ll get more opportunities. Also the 10/12 area looks a little light defensively but Toomua will starch that up when he’s injected. Skelton off the bench is also a potent weapon to release when the time is right.

    • sugarwookie

      Yeah, actually very disappointed for Tomane and Speight. :(

    • Tim

      Not sure why Pup is on bench. Maybe he’s still a little groggy. Has Mitchell played any games as yet? I can’t recall.

      • Pedro

        Yeah the drewster came off the bench against the Saffas. He played Ok.

        • Tim

          Which is how we should pick a team. Go with the guys who played OK, as opposed to someone like Joey, who has been on fire.

    • I’m definitely palping

      • Pedro


  • Steve

    Some points if true:

    – Definitely the right call on Toomua. I’m not a doctor but would have thought about leaving him out of the squad entirely this round.

    – The 10/12 axis looks really flaky for the Wals. can’t see how Giteau is going to be able to derail the SBW offload show.

    – Our 2 LH and TH props are very similar quality, Sio possibly the stronger scrummager over Slipper. Nice to see him get a start on the big stage though I accept it is probably injury-influenced.

    • Big Ted

      I agree about Toomua. With all the chat in the media about concussions to players in the NRL, Matt Toomua has to have had more regular concussions than any NRL player I can think of in recent history! Love the guys commitment to contact but at some point he might need to see the bigger picture.

  • TheMountain

    Well Milner Skudder’s pace is going to tear us to shreds, Hope AAC and Mitchell are ready to tackle

    • Parker

      Think you might have overdosed on the positivity pills mate.

  • Mackhath

    Who is the eighth reserve for the Wallabies?

    • TheMountain

      Mystery? O.o

      • Mackhath

        I have a sinking feeling it might be Kurtley….. Although, having said that, he is a fairly dangerous option with quick feet to bring on late in a game. Also, with no JOC he probably is the best utility option. I think the team looks really solid and really my only concern is Foley because I think his kicking game is just not up to speed and if he kicks it down Ben Smiths throat we could be in for a long day in the office.

        Jeez I hope we stick it to them . I am getting sick of the smugness of every kiwi I talk too regarding these matches.

        Carn the Wallabies!

        • It’s Beale

        • Geoffwho

          I like the Foley-Gits combo and Beale was good off bench last game, so form says that is right move. But given this is a fan forum, I can defy my own logic…. I would have liked a Cooper-Toomua bench option and tried a complete 10-12 switch with 20 mins to go. For the Wallabies at moment I kind of see the decision at 12 as who plays 10. If Gits (or Beale) is 12 then Foley at 10. If Toomua goes in at 12 then Cooper at 10. (So, thinking this through I guess I am saying you can’t carry both Cooper and Beale in game day squad – which is exactly what Cheika has done….. Excellent squad!)

        • sugarwookie

          Yeah I begrudgingly agree, I think it’s KB’s best position to be honest. Not many players bring that kind of spark and against a tiring opposition he can carve up.

  • Troy

    Good write up Matt! Looking forward to this one!

  • Whig

    This team feels so right. The best performing players of the last 2 matches are starting; the next best on the bench; and the next best dropped. And this coming from a massive QC fan.

    • Cal Manut

      Skelton experiment over for mine. Massive unit but big liability. Bench definitely best place for him if he has to be in the squad.. Phipps should go too. Will cost us games with his idiocy and general c##tiness. Foley ordinary at best.

      • Bezerker

        Don’t drop Phipps if White is the alternative – bigger liability in my opinion (particularly in big games) – might agree if Stirzaker was the replacement. I know he is young but to my mind he was the form Australian halfback this year and should be there. Phipps has had a couple of bad games but after Stirzaker is the next best that we have (unless Genia is on song).

        • Beagle

          Hasn’t Stirzaker just had shoulder surgery?

        • sugarwookie

          I agree with Stirzaker, he’s been awesome.

          As a Brumbies fan I am trying not to bite at what you’ve said about White as I think it’s a bit of a misconception… :) I was hoping the Brumbies would try and sign Stirzaker for next season – future Wallaby for sure.

      • Pclifto

        And who would you put in at 9 instead of Phipps? Agree he is yappy and tempestuous, but he is clearly the best-performing halfback in Oz

        • Cal Manut

          He probably is, and that is highly unfortunate.

          I just think he will cost us games as the refs seem to hate him (rightly) and will punish the team as a result, even if subconsciously.

          Watching that last game against the Argies every flare up was instigated by Phipps, and then he would just walk away backwards after starting it. Risk is that one of our big men will get yellow or red as 3rd man in protecting a little turd who frankly doesn’t deserve protecting.

          I know half backs are meant to be annoying, but some do it well and some are a negative to their team. Phipps is the latter.

        • Ooaahh

          I’m guessing you’re a front rower. He needs to be yappy.

        • Cal Manut

          Second rower. ;-)

        • Guy

          The first line in this post should have been enough to avoid the original post altogether. What you really meant to say, was, “he plays for tahs, and that is highly unfortunate”. Get on board old mate. Go Wallabies!

        • Cal Manut

          Nah. I didn’t like him at the Rebels either.

          I meant it is unfortunate because he probably is the best we have at the moment, and that is unfortunate for Australian rugby.

      • ForceFan

        Agree re Skelton

    • Guy

      This is the best Wallaby team i have seen in ages. Finally got it right i reckon. Cant wait to see how we go

  • Hitcho

    Where’s Speight?

    • Seb V

      My first thought too. But then I looked at the kickers in the squad and realised Mitchell must have got the nod for this boot.

  • Kokonutcreme

    Interesting the Wallabies are opting for a bench split of two backs and five forwards, especially given the concussion history of Toomua.

    We haven’t yet seen either team produce their best game this year and the occasion and opposition should ensure sharp focus in preparation this week.

    The Wallabies tend to rise to the level of the opposition so their form in games to date may not be an accurate form guide ahead of this weekend.

    Reading the All Blacks team, its a mark of their respect and recognition of the development of the Wallabies under Cheika that they’ve taken no risks with their starting XV and named a very strong bench.

    • Braveheart81

      There is one reserve missing. Could easily be an outside back making it a standard 5:3 bench.

      • Fixed now – it’s Beale

        • Simon

          Well, Cheiks had to drop the ball eventually.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold Simon!

        • Stuey

          Can you re-fix it to say something else?

  • astamax

    Milner-Skudder is scary good.. Gonna be a cracker! GO THE WALLABIES!!!

    • Big Ted

      He is bloody good with ball in hand I will give him that, but he’d still be the guy that I would target in defence. Make an aging Conrad Smith work hard and get a small M-Skudder make some decisions with a T.K, Izzy, Mitchell barrage.
      One thing is for sure, with a Milner Shudder, Smith and Savea back 3, our ordinary kicking/kick chase better take a few steps up or we’ll be in trouble!

  • Big Ted

    Matt, before I get too gooey in the pants about that line up, how certain are you of that being the run on side??

    • Have we ever let you down?

      • Big Ted

        True… Silly of me to doubt.

      • Cramps

        Looking forward to seeing ‘The Pooper’ t-shirt design Matt :-)

        • John Tynan

          I’d buy that

        • Cramps

          Catchphrase: ‘Fear the Pooper’

          Or ‘Unleash the Pooper’?

        • John Tynan

          Definitely “Unleash…”

        • John Tynan

          definitely an “unleash”

      • Chinese Dave

        Matt knows a guy who’s friends with another guy who married to the daughter of…

        Just kidding, your exclusives have so far been both correct and actually exclusive (looking at you Daily Mail and co).

  • Cramps

    Oh man.

    Now you’ve gone and got me all excited, lifting my hopes and all…


    Best run on side we’ve had in years!

  • Rugby Fanatic

    I find it quite ominous that we are still almost 2 months out from the world cup and Michael Cheika is preparing his pooper for the all blacks.

  • Big Ted

    The Pooper combo takes me back to the days when they experimented with a Smith/Waugh 6/7 combo!! The only other time a coach had to acknowledge that both players were so good you had to try them on the field at once. Only difference being where Phil and George’s skill sets were mostly the same and almost nullified each other, Hooper and Pocock’s compliment each other. Pocock: the defensive ruck, ball pilfering maestro
    Hooper: The cover defending, line breaking Nutter.
    Take into account their relative youth and these two could be terrorising other teams for the next 6-7 years!!

  • jamie

    Toomua for Giteau and this is our best team by far.

    • Purce

      Toomua for Foley and you’re correct.

      • Jimmydubs

        Toomua for gits. QC for Foley. An 8 for pocock, pocock for hooper. A couple hard working locks for the current pair. A fit slipper for sio. TPN or even finger for moore (scrummaging). Speight for drew. George Smith providing 6,7,8 cover on the bench if he isn’t god like enough to start, which I doubt. Oh and stirzaker for phipps (I would’ve blooded him already). Then You’re right. IMHO

        • qwas

          Your honest opinion is worthless. Try a dishonest one

  • Huw Tindall

    Outside SBW and Savea it’s a pretty small AB back line. Oozing experience and talent but small. I’d back Izzy, TK and even AAC to pose some serious threats to them before even thinking about Pooper on the burst!

    Can’t sleep now. Which is balls as it’s midnight in London. Thanks G&GR.

  • Simon

    I must say I’m agreeably surprised. I hoped, but didn’t think we’d get to see Pooper starting with Skelton on the bench.

    The rest is up to the vocal chords of the city of Sydney… create a reverse Eden Park environment with a sea of screaming gold so that the AB’s hearts sink as soon as they step onto the park.

  • harro

    Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more excited for the match!

  • brumby runner

    I also would prefer Matt Toomua to start in place of Matt Giteau, for two very obvious reasons. Toomua attacks the line and is exceptionally strong in defense. My preference would also have been Tomane at 11 and Mitchell at 14.

    However, given that as the starting side, I’d like to have seen Palu on the bench for Ben McC and AAC in place of Beale with the wingers as above.

    • Kiwi John

      Beale seems a surprise. Unless I’ve missed a couple he didn’t make any team of the week in Rugby Heaven. But bring it on as to be honest most Kiwi’s see him as a liability

  • brumby runner

    Both Mumm and Beale got plaudits for their time off the bench against the Argies. But Mumm’s contribution in the defensive hard stuff didn’t seem to be that great, and we all know about Beale’s distaste for tackling.

    And iirc during this year’s Super comp, Horwill fairly consistently started to fall off tackles as the game progressed. A tiring Horwill and a second row partner who might not get into the hard in-tight stuff as much as he should could well be the Archille’s heel of this side.

    Certainly, set up to have a stronger influence once the bench comes on late in the game, assuming it’s the two locks who get replaced.

    • Cramtram

      He has had a terrible super season outside of his set-piece play but Horwill looked in great touch against the boks. Brought some real starch and damaging carries to the latter stages of the game. If he can do that again, I’m a happy man.

      • Pclifto

        Agree. Let’s hope that Boks game was the first release of Horwill 3.0, not the inferior 2.0 from earlier this year where he was utterly hopeless

    • ForceFan

      Close to our best team available.
      Pocock/Hooper for 80 minutes will certainly answer a few questions.
      Assuming that Mumm av around 4 LOW per 80 minutes this combination gives
      the Wallabies a genuine 3 Line Out options and a SXV average of close
      to 12 LOW across the 3 strong options + 2 half-options.
      So far all we have seen from Mumm since his return to Aus has been a series of cameos. Very interested to see his workrate and game focus around the field over the longer period.

    • merle

      Mumm made a pretty crucial turnover penalty against Argentina. he can get over the ball. He’s definitely not a lightweight.

      Watching the Manly v Randwick game and Beale made some pretty textbook tackles during linebreaks so he’s not exactly a liability there, not a positively great defender though.

      • Seb V

        Sure Beale goes okay at cover tackles but front-on tackling he might as well lay down and let them passed.

      • Funk

        Making a couple of tackles in Shute Shield is slightly different to facing down Savea at full steam, and we’ve all seen how well Beale goes there…hopefully in their time together in the squad QC has taught Beale how to tackle.

  • Brendan Hume

    Good luck Wallabies. Not sure that I share the vision of the coach with this team, but I hope they do well.

  • Raytah

    How good are GAGR’s early scoops!? Who’s the informant?

    This isn’t the team that I expected but am excited to be heading out to homebush to see this one! I think we will have a very good idea by the end of this 80 minutes whether the Pooper is a legitimate starting option for the big WC games. Big game needed from the tight 5 for this team to work!

  • Dally M

    I really like the look of the starting team and i think most importantly the bench again.

    How many times have we been in a match versus the Darkness only to be blown away in the back of the 2nd half or for them to get out of jail in the dying minutes. We are now selecting replacements that can give us the edge PLUS we are actually using them unlike in the era that shall not be mentioned.

  • Robson

    I have never been in favour of playing 2 specialist 7s in a test match, but the “Pooper” combination is so unique that it has the potential to be a shaft of selectorial brilliance. The stars look like they are falling into alignment, but they have got to stay that way for the full 80 and Foley needs to be wearing his no. 1 kicking boots.

    • ols

      I agree, although last combo of Smith and Waugh didn’t have the same combination the Pooper offers. Both can jump (although Pocock would be 4th jumper I assume) but unlike Smith/ Waugh (Smaugh) they are not bot hard core fetches. I am excited

      • John Tynan

        Ah the Desolation of Smaugh…

  • Ol’ mate

    Great stuff guys.

  • Ol’ mate

    Great stuff guys.
    I’m all in on this team, my only concern being our kicking options – the Tahs have suffered at times due to Foleys inability to find distance and relieve/build pressure with his kicks.
    I’m hoping Gits relieves this to some extent – I think the Hooper/Pocock call is the right one and almost a no brainer – still takes balls to make.
    The rise of Mumm is interesting but lets see what he’s got hey.
    I’d love to see Horwill turn back the clock – I wrote him off as done midway through this year but there were signs of life against SA.
    We need an old school big performance from him Saturday night – I think he’s got it in him.
    Looking forward to seeing Skelton off the bench, I think it suits both him and us to have him playing the last 20 – just balls to the wall stuff.
    It’s a Point of Difference if he gets it right.
    Really excited for the game, I’d like to see us pressure the wingers – contrary to popular belief I reckon they both might be slightly susceptible in this game.
    I’d also be targeting Smith with TK – that has to be an advantageous match up for us.
    TK is fast becoming our go to weapon.
    I’m dead set frothing for kick off….

  • Mart

    I’m feeling pretty confident.

    As long as Aron Smith is contained….

    Last year in Sydney we had a very green hooker and a very random selection at 10.
    The Pooper will run em ragged.

    I think Palu would offer more than McCalman off the bench But maybe it’s for lineout reasons.

    We have a lot of big game experience on the wings.

    Either way it looks to be a belter! pumped

    Who’s reffing???

    Just found it … could be good, Barnes is not easily influenced by Richie
    Wayne Barnes
    AR1 Nigel Owens
    AR2 Federico Anselmi
    TMO Shaun Veldsman

  • RedAnt

    Really? Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited and really hope we can win, but realistically I cannot see this team going even close. All this talk about physicality – look at our forwards man for man vs the Darkness’s. Nup. AAC? Gits? Drew? Versus Milner-Skudder, SBW and Savea? Nup. Phipps and Foley vs Smith and Carter? Nup. I really think this team is a step backwards… I can only assume Chieks is still experimenting/looking for combinations.

    • AB

      I am a die hard fan and love cheika as coach but am baffled by the optimism in posts here. I am not at all convinced by this team. The only thing more surprising than mumm and horwill as locks is how excited everyone is about it. Also I think this is a long way from our most convincing backline. It is very small by international standards, a bit long in the tooth and not that quick. I am far from convinced that Mitchell is a better option than Speight or Tomane, and thought Giteau got absolutely man handled by South Africa and will be in for a very tough night giving 20+ kgs to SBW. The 10-12 channel in defense looks very weak – I can imagine them running Savea and Milner-Skudder through there as blind wingers, or looking for offloads from SBW. I think Pocock to start with Hooper off the bench replacing Palu would be more convincing. I am hoping I am wrong and have alot of faith in Cheika but also cant help we might be in for a tough night with some pretty strange selections…

  • Brisneyland Local

    Like most people hear I think that we are starting to see a good pack forming. Also go the Pooper! I think we definitely need a T-Shirt Design up on G&GR! I am sure one of us will pick up the mantle and take it to production.

    Foley’s kicking and defence concern me, but it is what it is.
    Skelton off the bench is probably better then him being on for 80 mins.
    Beale of the bench concerns me too.

    But other than that, even a loss inside 5 points against the “Sheep rooters” for a side that we are still bedding in will be a good result!

    Go the Pooper! Go the Wallabies!

  • Keith Butler

    An interesting team if its correct. Can’t say that I’ve been convinced with Big Will as a starter, always thought that he would be more effective off the bench in the last 20-25 mins. Now that Kane Douglas has returned Aussie lock stocks are looking better. Should be a cracker of a game. As a Pom who also happens to be an Aussie citizen I sincerely hope that we tear the All Blacks a new one. Go Wallabies!

  • Avid

    There are a number of attack and defence alternatives with this mix. IMHO this team says strong (attacking) defence by Aus. Having Giteau to shut down SBW is an invitation for the AIG’s surely. Hence, later roll in an extra forward in Skelton or McCalman and retain Hooper to 12. Toomua fans will ‘poop’ this, but its viable (as with Burgess for Eng) … broken record I know.

  • Lee Enfield

    With a Foley and Gits combo, can’t see the Wallabies spending too much time in the All Blacks 22 and can’t see the wallabies kicking themselves out of their 22.
    The 10/12 channel is going to be a turnstile and when Beale comes on the Wallabies defence will have more leaks than a sieve.
    If we see Gits and Beale on at the same time, the field will not be wide enough. The pooper is going to have to be dilated to the max for the Wallabies to be remotely competitive.

    Bold prediction, long night for the Wallabies, All Blacks with a 4 try bonus point win, 35-9.

    • harro

      We’ll actually kick 3 penalty/drop goals!? That is a bold prediction, especially the way we’ve been kicking lately. Haha!

      • Simon

        Plus once we go down a couple of quick tries, all the penalty kicks will be for the corner, even if it’s right in front.

    • wallabee

      coincidently thats almost the score in the first innings of the Ashes Test, Australia in some trouble

  • Andy

    2nd row looks pretty light. We’ll see how that one goes. The rest of the pack I like including the subs. That’s the area of the field where this could be won or lost.

    Same as the 10/12 channel. They could be seriously run over by the AB midfield. Both Foley and Gits need a big game.

    I do like having Mitchell on the wing. Good on the kick return as is Folau. AAC there for his experience and his ability to kick. That’s the only reason I can see him being picked over Tomane and Speight.

    However, when I see this AB team I shudder. Such a good team with proven combinations. Even if we play well they should do us by 5-10.

  • ForceFan

    Cheika has reportedly been working the squad very hard this week.
    Most photos have shown the full-contact suits being utilised.
    In last year’s EOY Tests the team looked overdone.
    I hope that he’s got the work-load right.

  • Avid

    Our extra man … with a tad less potential brutality methinks.
    AIGs have over 3 mins extra gee-ups/grandstanding compared to Advance AF at 40 secs !
    AIG anthem Including indigenous+ english versions @ 1.45 mins. The haka takes up an additional 1.33 mins. Got my goat !!

    • Stray Gator

      Or two more minutes of adrenalin-pumping physical and mental distraction to deal with …
      Depends on your viewpoint

      • Avid

        Mines behind the point of the spear.

  • Warwick Todd

    It appears Cheika will lead with his aces and start Hooper and Pocock. The trouble is it looks like he will play the two of clubs off the bench in Beale and Skelton. If Giteau/Foley or Mumm/Horwill are injured in the first few minutes a rout will ensue. Cheika needs to light a candle and have a few quiet words with St. Jude on Saturday morning.

  • Funk

    From the ARU website…(who are you sleeping with Matt?)
    1. Scott Sio (Brumbies – 7 Tests)
    2. Stephen Moore, C (Brumbies – 94 Tests)
    3. Sekope Kepu (Waratahs – 54 Tests)
    4. Dean Mumm (Waratahs – 34 Tests)
    5. James Horwill (Reds – 59 Tests)
    6. Scott Fardy (Brumbies – 21 Tests)
    7. Michael Hooper, VC (Waratahs – 43 Tests)
    8. David Pocock (Brumbies – 48 Tests)
    9. Nick Phipps (Waratahs – 30 Tests)
    10. Bernard Foley (Waratahs – 19 Tests)
    11. Drew Mitchell (Toulon – 64 Tests)
    12. Matt Giteau (Toulon – 93 Tests)
    13. Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies – 22 Tests)
    14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, VC (Waratahs – 106 Tests)
    15. Israel Folau (Waratahs – 31 Tests)


    16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs – 51 Tests)
    17. James Slipper (Reds – 65 Tests)
    18. Greg Holmes (Reds – 15 Tests)
    19. Will Skelton (Waratahs – 10 Tests)
    20. Ben McCalman (Force – 39 Tests)
    21. Nic White (Brumbies – 20 Tests)
    22. Matt Toomua (Brumbies – 23 Tests)
    23. Kurtley Beale (Waratahs- 50 Tests)

  • Ryan

    We are just a Rob Horne away from the perfect side… In my opinion…

    • Ian


      Thats crazy talk.

      My ten cents worth would be to have White and Toomua at 9 & 10, happy with the rest of the selections.

      • Ryan

        There is no way Rob Horne wasn’t the form wing of the Super 15 this year. Start him, bring Mitchell on late to really get in the heads of the All Blacks, drop KB or Nick White… Mitchell can be back up whatever, Giteau can be back up 9.

        Can’t start Nick White unless our tactic is to throw up repeated sh*t box kicks. Which I highly doubt it is- and ever should be for that matter.

  • JimmyMosquito

    Looks like GAGRs got the Pooper Scooper.

  • Hambone

    leave it to chek’s.. i doubt anyone would have seen this line up for the blacks on sat. im quietly confident because as soon as i open my mouth i get shut down by a bunch of kiwi mates.. so ill be sipping on beer, yelling a shitload of expletives cheering the boys home… go u fooken good thing.. cant wait

  • Older I Get

    There’s little doubt that Hooper and Pocock are our best players and we need our best. That they are both 7’s is not ideal but it becomes a management issue. Then we need two second rowers and a blindy that can jump. Check that with Skelton on the bench so Mumm can come in with Horwell and Fardy. Good thinking Cheika.

  • bad ass

    I’m excited to see how this pack goes, and believe they will match the all blacks. I’d prefer the Pooper at left and right but no one does that these days. Unfortunately, the wheels will fall off at 10-12 with short kicks and just not enough creativity. Go the Wallabies! (subdued for what could have been).

  • Ranter

    Go the Pooper!!! – Much better than yelling “You just got DP’D!” everytime David Pocock turns a ball over.

    • qwas


  • Gooddog


  • Gooddog

    Farkin’ Poey. Massive unit. Hard yards. YAAARARARRARAARRA

    • Toblum

      looks like aDNA cover.

  • wilful

    The trouble with playing against the Darkness is that they’re just so damned consistent. They range from pretty good through to great every time they get on the paddock. When the Wallabies are great, they can totally match them, and can beat them. Should have won that drawn test last year for example. But we’re far far less consistent, often scrappy. Which Wallabies will turn up on Saturday night? That’s the question. I think a lot of kiwis will be writing us off, but I hope they’re wrong.

  • Liam

    Has any one thought that either Foley or Gits will revert to the wing in defence and centre pairing of TK and AAC,

    With that in mind I think SBW wont be having such a walk in the park like many of you believe.

    Other than that im very excited!

    • Adrian

      Hooper to contain SBW

      • Toblum

        Then other backline options come into play with one of your best cover defenders stuck at the bottom of a ruck.

  • galumay

    Its a reasonable team with the cattle we have to choose from, but I fear it will have little chance against an on-song All Blacks side. We barely beat a tiring South Africa with a very lucky try decision, and a tiring Pumas side flattered our score line last outing. Its winnable of course, but the Wobblies would have to play well above themselves and the AB’s would have to have an off day. I hope the Wobblies can do it, but expect the AB’s to show up for this one and put at least 10 points on us.

    • Gooddog

      Booooooooooo. Galumay is glummy. Wallabies by 20! Get on board!

      • galumay

        No, just realistic! I am looking forward to a cracking game of rugby whoever wins, its always a pleasure watching an AB’s side in full flight and when the Wobblies are on song they sometimes make a contest of it too. I am a rugby fan first. Watching the world’s best side being taken on by the 5th best in the world has got to get rugby fans excited.

        I hope you are right and they do win by 20, but there is nothing in recent history to suggest that is possible, let alone likely.

  • Bobas

    We have two James’ and the best they have is a Jerome… We’re going to walk it in.

  • Gooddog


  • ForceFan

    A lot of people getting excited about Hooper and Pocock playing together.
    I know we have to go back a long way to have Smith and Waugh starting.
    However, last year there was three memorable occasions when Hooper and Hodgson played together:
    WALL 28 v 29 ABs in Brisbane (18 Oct 14)
    In the 21 minutes together Hodgson made 25 rucks + 5 tackles + 1TOW and Hooper 25 rucks (sorry don’t have his tackle count for this period – he had 9 tackles for game). Even this couldn’t stop the storming finish by the ABs.

    WALL 33 v 28 WALES in Cardiff (8 Nov 14)
    In the 13 minutes together Hodgson made 18 rucks + 3 tackles + 1TOW and Hooper 17 rucks (Hooper had 17 tackles for whole game.)
    Wales scoreless during this period.

    WALL 26 v 29 FRANCE in Paris (15 Nov 14)
    In the 6 minutes together Hooper made 9 rucks and Hodgson 6 rucks + 1TOW.
    Simmons scored a try during this period.

    Both Hooper and Hodgson averaged more than a ruck engagement every minute. Mighty efforts by both players – esp Hooper at the closing stages of each game..

    To put the combined rucking efforts into perspective, the best rucking performances so far in the TWC 2015 are:
    Michael Hooper: 45 rucks in 84 minutes against Springboks
    Scott Fardy: 40 rucks in 84 minutes against Springboks
    Richie McCaw: 40 rucks in 83 minutes against the Pumas.
    Marcel Coetzee: 38 rucks in 71 minutes against Wallabies.
    i.e. a ruck engagement about every 2 minutes.

  • Gnostic

    I am happy to see that Chieka is thinking about the way forward for the Wallabies and trying to address the issues that are emerging. Skelton has been less effective this year as every team has been double teaming him in defence as early as possible to negate his go forward and often those tackles are taking place on the gain line negating the offload as well. Add in swarming of the ruck at those breakdowns to slow the ball so that the extra defender in the tackle advantage cannot be used.

    The Tahs were caned a number of times this year in purely because they had no kicking options in the back three and as a result had no real exit strategy away from the physical power game. I feared it would bite them and it did. In each test so far Chieka has tried to play at least one winger who can kick and it has alleviated the problem to a certain degree, but this week it looks like he has gone for a structure that I personally always favoured, Two kicking back three players (Fullbacks) and a running winger (even if the running winger is playing 15 and the fullbacks on the wings). The wallabies now have an effective exit strategy and options. Add in Giteau and Foley as kicking options and the ABs have more options to cover.

    As much as I would have liked to see Beale dropped after last year and never seen again in a Wallabies jersey, the above reasons is also why he is selected over Speight and Tomane and Horne. Maybe if JOC had shown a skerrick of form this year he would have got the utility selection ahead of Beale, and I’d be much happier if he did, but he didn’t and no other player in Oz really ticks the skill boxes (attacking and kicking) other than Beale. Hopefully we don’t have to rely on KBs defensive skills though.

  • Lachy

    Hate to be gloomy but we can match the sheep lovers if not for positions 4,5,9 & 12 where they have dominance. On the plus side we will have two players at rucks on schedule!

  • Boris

    Love the forward pack not 100% sold on the backs. I think Toomua and Tomane deserve to be there over the frenchies. I think this is probably gits and mitchells last chance to prove they are still up to this level. Bad game here and they are gonski

  • galumay

    At least we have a target now, score more points than the Aussies scored runs in the cricket!

  • @Adorimedia

    A good looking team and apart from the second row and wing, close to the best we can put out, taking into consideration form and injuries.

    Kepu deserves his chance as does Sio – formidable front 3 as was shown against Boks. Horwill also deserves his spot after his Bok performance and Mumm for his against the Pumas. Apart from them not many other options due to injuries and being overseas (Douglas), so they pick themselves really. Skelton no chance if we start the Pooper and on his form he’s lucky to get the pine anyway.

    I’d prefer Speight in for AAC being a specialist winger (AACs a great servant and one of the best utilities we’ve ever had – no doubt) and possibly Toomua at 12, but happy (and hoping) to see Gits influence on the game now he’s got his nervous return out of the way (and for those worried he won’t handle $BW don’t forget that he’ll have Hooper to help him). Mitchell on the other win is our best option particularly as he has a good kicking game, a good kick retun and before his injuries a couple of years ago, was our form winger. He’s found that form again at Toulon. Tomane is great, but against the Abs his defence would be a liability. He’s fine for teams outside the top 5 but otherwise he gets found out in defence.

    The only player I’d like to see in the 23 still needs to grow up, find form and stop being a tw*t. JOC would be a great addition if his attitudinal compass could be re-calibrated.

    Roll on Saturday..

    • Dally M

      Maybe i have missed something, but what has JOC done since he left Oz to go play in Europe & come back that indicates he hasn’t grown up, is still a being a twat & his attitudinal compass is out?

      • @Adorimedia

        I did mention “form” in that rant, which he currently doesn’t have. I know 3 out of 4 ain’t bad but at Test level you need all 4. I’m sure Cheika would have him in the team if beneficial. I’m a fan of JOC, he’s a top player (look at 2010/11) but he needs to pull all facets together. Amazing to think he’s 88kgs wringing wet and can break tackles/kick/defend. Australia need him, but not when he’s being a pretentious twat. Cheika backed Beale despite his indiscretions but at the moment is not willing to do the same for JOC. Gotta be a good reason why.

        • Dally M

          Yep, and on from i totally agree with you.

          It was just that the other 3 were baggage from 2 years ago you wanted still hang on him.

  • @Adorimedia

    One more thing….Is anyone else waiting for the Wallabies to use the crossfield bomb to Folau during a Test? Is this being tucked away till the RWC comes along so others don’t conjure a solution? With AAC and Mitchell on the wings this weekend, it would be the perfect time to try it as either can drop back to cover 15.

  • Hardtackle

    So if we get Pocock and Higgers will it be Cocknbottom?

  • Madflyhalf

    This’s my opinion:
    Yes, maybe Hooper is more suitable than Pocock in n.8 position, especially due to his attacking skills.
    But focusing on defensive work, you have to think at scrums pick up from the base: tackler would be Hooper or Fardy (depending on the side) with Pocock the first to come to the bd.
    The ABs surely have consider this in game tactics, so maybe they will be more inclined to shift the ball out as soon as possibile.
    Do we all remember how NZ butchered us in 2011 RWC semi-final? Forcing Pocock to be the tackler! They searched him all along the field!

    If the Wallabies can cover well outside (I have few doubts) or rushing the first 3 men of the line, this can be a good way to stop them.

    SBW vs Gits actually scares me: Gits should be forced to tackle low, leaving SBW arms quite free.

    Sorry for my english, a bit rusty…….. :(

All Blacks

Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

More in All Blacks