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.