Super Rugby Wallaby Watch - Rnd 1 - Green and Gold Rugby
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Super Rugby Wallaby Watch – Rnd 1

Super Rugby Wallaby Watch – Rnd 1

With news arising that Rugby Australia are set to announce the new third Wallaby selector in coming days (rumoured to be former dual international, and Aussie 7s coach, Michael O’Connor), I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring in the meantime.  As we’re coming up to a World Cup year, I’m going to use the Super Rugby form to pick with Wallabies “in form” starting 15.  Week by week I’ll be adjusting my team as if I was coaching the Wallabies.

This is my team from week 1.


1. Harry Johnson-Holmes (Waratahs)

After a strong week 1 with 10/10 tackles, 15 run metres and being handy around the park, he makes the side.


2. Anaru Rangi (Rebels)

10/11 tackles, 22 run metres and not a single lineout lost, Rangi is our starting hooker this week.


3. Alan Ala’alatoa (Brumbies)

Coming second in the overall run metres for tightheads this week with a very good 30 run metres. AAA and the Brumbies had 100% scrum wins and made 8/8 tackles this week. Nice pick and drive try to top it off.


4. Jed Holloway (Waratahs)

Made 11/11 tackles, 1 tackle bust, 34 run metres and the full 80 minutes brings Holloway into the team


5. Matt Philip (Rebels)

Got through 14/15 tackles, 23 run metres and a try to top off a nice game. 2 handling errors, but he has done enough for week 1.


6. Rob Valetini (Brumbies)

Almost in the team by default. Most tidy of all of the candidates. 4 runs for 37m, 9/9 tackles. Due to Cottrell not making his mark and Hanigan giving away multiple penalties, Valetini gets the spot.


7. Richard Hardwick (Rebels)

Another one that has made it into the team due to no one else standing up. 2 runs for 15 metres, 11/13 tackles. Not much else to say, just like Valentini, if someone stands up next week he may lose his spot.


8. Isi Naisarani (Rebels) 

Big week from the big man. Coming second in the charts for run metres at 78, 2 offloads, a tackle bust and 10/11 tackles. Very strong performance.


9. Will Genia (Rebels)

This was a bit of an interesting week for halfbacks. Genia seemed to have a pretty decent performance along side Cooper. He made a clean line break, earning himself 23 run metres in the process. He also kicked for 245m over 9 kicks. He did make four handling errors as well as only making 1/4 tackles this week. Given the spot for his leadership around the field.


10.  Quade Cooper (Rebels)

Had a very commanding performance for the Rebels this week. He ran 36m with a line break and 2 tackle busts. Distributed the ball well.


11. Curtis Rona (Waratahs)

Not too many stand outs for the wingers this week with Pulu going off early in the Brumbies game and the others being pretty quiet. Rona gets the nod with a try, 41 run metres, 2 tackle busts and 5/5 tackles.


12. Karmichael Hunt (Waratahs)

Very strong debut for the Waratahs. 78 run metres with a good four tackle busts. Although only made 9/12 tackles, they were strong and shut down the play from the Hurricanes.


13. Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)

Working hard to reclaim his spot that was taken from him by Samu Kerevi. He makes the team this week with 74 run metres, a line break, 2 tackle busts and an offload. Solid in defence with 9/10 tackles.


14. Jack Maddocks (Rebels)

Two nice tries which included picking up an error from the Brumbies and walking it in. An intercept or two in defence also. 48 run metres and an offload.



15. Israel Folau (Waratahs)

Second in run metres for fullbacks this week at 122m. A linebreak, 3 offloads and a simple 1/1 tackles this week. Few mistakes and handling errors but still brings that X-factor.

On the fringe of selection:

James Slipper – Debuting for the Brumbies this week he had a very solid week. A few nice runs for 18m. 4/4 tackles and being a major factor in the Brumbies 100% scrum win ratio on their own feed. A good effort but just pipped this week.

Luke Jones – After coming back to the Rebels from overseas he had a very tidy performance with 5 runs for 23 metres, a few lineouts takes and 12/13 tackles.

Melbourne Centres – Billy Meakes and Tom English had a solid week as a unit with Meakes running for 46m with a linebreak and 4 tackle busts. English finished a nice try alongside his 43 run metres and his 2 linebreaks. Not a great defensive effort from them though with 5/8 (Meakes) and 4/6 (English).


David Pocock – Off within the first 5 minutes due to a concussion. Hopefully back very soon and ready to push for a starting position.

Sekope Kepu – Had a few nice run metres and made 8/8 tackles but conceded 3 penalties which dampened a decent performance.

Jeraime Ainsley – Very similar to Kepu with his 3 penalties. But also went missing for a lot of the game.





  • Mart

    Question is are those 2 second rowers really second rowers?

    • Huw Tindall

      Why do you think not Mart? Holloway is definitely in a transition mode to second row and that’s his stated ambition this year and how Gibson sees him. Phillip is an out and out second rower as far as I know.

  • Adrian

    Good selections Michael, and almost exactly my picks.

    Agree Meakes unlucky.

    I thought Holloway played like a lock actually, after spending half of last year there.

    My favourite for the round was Rangi, the Rebs hooker. His try was an outstanding example of running into the ball.

    • Adrian

      I’d add that McCaffrey unlucky in this team, as I picked him ahead of Valetini

      • Dylan Langes

        Agree on McCaffery, best game I have seen him play in a long time.

        There is an interview with Rangi where he said Willy G kept saying run hard with your hands up and ill hit you at least once. It was a great try.

        • HK Red

          That’s is excellent to hear about Genia’s direction to Rangi. I’m sure with QC there organising the backs now, he’ll feel like he has much more time available to direct the pack.

      • Huw Tindall

        McCaffery played 8 and I think shaded Naisarani so I’d have him at 8 on last week’s performance. Thought Samu > Hardwick too as he had a great running game and was still good at the ruck.

  • Footyyy

    Nice looking team. I was very impressed with Johnson-Holmes for the Tahs and Anaru Rangi for the Rebs. The latters build up and line for his try were superb. Just run the thing with pace/intent.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Hey Michael, some good pics there. I love these as there are so many points of difference and there will never be 100% agreement so they offer a great way of getting in some solid arguing :-)

    Personally I’d have Meakes as the 12. I thought his all round game was better than Hunt as he looked better positioned for both attack and Defence. I personally think Hunt lacks the instinctive response that a long time rugby player has and that this is a weakness.

    Like a lot here I much prefer Holloway as a Flanker or No 8 and think he’s wasted as a lock but I can live with it. I don’t agree with Folau as a 15, I think his best position is 14 but I guess you have to pick them where they play. The risk of a better 15 showing up and then him missing out as he isn’t playing wing is just something to live with and we know that he’ll always play at either one of those positions except when some muppet tries to play him at 13 which has been proven to be just the height of stupidity

  • Dylan Langes

    From a Rebels supporter, Im surprised you didn’t mention McCaffery, i thought that was one of his best games I’ve seen him play.
    Does anyone know why Rangi isn’t on Cheika’s radar? he’s such a workhorse. Really disappointed by Ainsley, I would be replacing him with Sa’aga next week.

  • joey

    I know you’ve put him on the fringe, but as a former front rower you’ve committed blaspheme. You’re bang out of line having HJH over Slipper when Slips forced 3 scrum penalties. That in itself proves that he’s the prop of the week. Forget about tackle counts, it’s meat and potatoes first. Slipper had so much of it you’d be right to call him a hangi.

    • Huw Tindall

      Fair call Joey and I think you’re probably right to put Slipper over HJH but his tackle and jackle on TJ was class and it wasn’t his side of the scrum that got pinged for the technical scrum penalties in the Tahs game. Line ball but it’s just great to have Slipper (and QC and Hunt) back at the top level. Clearly all class players.

    • disqus_NMX

      Want to upvote 10 times. Props need to scrum first, all the rest a bonus.

  • HK Red

    Hahaha, QC’s defence is sooooooo bad, he’s a bloody turnstile!!

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Well against the Sunwolves it won’t probably matter but here’s a shit selection

    • Who?

      It’s not ideal, but he played his first NRC at 13, outside Kerevi.
      Also, love Whitaker blaming Beale’s absence for the loss… Because Beale’s presence would’ve been such a positive when you’re defending against Laumape!

  • Slim 293

    I know you fanboys are lacking nuance, but there was a lot of runners who broke through Quade’s channel on the weekend…

    Good work brining down Kuridrani, but his general defence was poor.

  • OnTheBurst

    I’d be happy with this WB team!

    Holloway was also outstanding in the defensive line out. Will be interesting to see where he settles for the Tahs… and where he might play for the WBs in the future (should his ongoing form demand it)

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23 year old Rugby tragic who plays for Merewether in Newcastle. Too young to remember a Bledisloe Cup win.

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