Maestro Deans has made sweeping changes to his team to face the Bokke this Saturday with the biggest changes being Will Genia and David Pocock getting their chance to start this week. After sniping at the heals of Burgo for a few weeks Genia takes over from the wayward incumbent while Bam Bam gets his chance to step out of the sizeable shadow cast by George Smith and Phil Waugh.
Deans explained his overall reasoning for the changes in typically cryptic fashion and gave the followers of Dingo Bingo something to get excited about.
“We tend to approach it (team selection) more from a squad perspective to be honest. We clearly believe in all the blokes we pick, this is by nomeans tokenism, nor is it a stick (to the players dropped).”
“We all work hard for the team to thrive, we’ve got some blokes who aren’t pulling on the jersey who have helped the blokes who have an opportunity – and that’s the way it’s got to be.”
“The blokes who are starting have earned their right, we are also mindful that there are no guarantees in the future. We are chasing some solutions (with selections) and the rest remains to be seen”
On Luke Burgess “Luke is still a big part of our future, the fact he doesn’t have number 9 on his back doesn’t change things, he’s still a big part of the Wallabies and he is working hard to that end”
On Will Genia “We can provide opportunity for a player and Will is a bloke who has really made the most of every opportunity that has come his way and he has overcome adversity with his injury. He has shown the he’s got the discipline and the habits to deal with that sort of challenge, and that’s a good trait”
On the Mitchell replacing Hynes “Drew made the most of his chances at the end of last week’s game so he deserves another chance. We thought that Hynsie didn’t perhaps make the most of his opportunities”
On the Barnes and Giteau combination “The numbers on their back aren’t that relevant to be honest, you’ll see them in both roles during the game. It’s not a big deal, we only put numbers on their back to help you blokes (the hack press) out actually”
On Al Baxter “The whole front-row work hard with each other with each other so if one thrives it is on the back the work of the others around him. Al will play club rugby this week and as with all the players who play club rugby this week, without going into detail, selections have been influence by club performance. We want him pulling on the reins”
On Pek Cowan playing at tight head – Jim Williams explains “We are definitively confident (he can make the switch to tight-head), the background work we’ve done with Ben Alexander we have worked on with Pek and he has been putting in some work playing tight head (in the club competition) so certainly he has worked hard. He’s brings athleticism around the park, he’s got a great work ethic and has certainly helped and enhanced the squad from that perspective. He deserves his opportunity and we’ll see how he goes”
On David Pocock “He’s a blend those two (George Smith and Phil Waugh) in many ways, he’s a very strong player and his build is ideal for that position. His ability to keep going and also to impact on events while he is going is good. He’ll enter the game looking to impose himself on the game in an area that’s really going to be important to us”
On Nathan Sharpe’s non-selection -
- Jim Williams “It was one of those things where we didn’t want to push it too much. We are trying to build depth in that position so Mark and James did well last week and it is just one of those things”
- Robbie Deans “Sharpie was non contact today (Tuesday’s training). We could have pushed him on Thursday to see if he was able to get through the session but we just don’t see the point. He’s important to us in the long run, it is an area where we don’t have much depth and we didn’t want to break him particularly when we have a couple of blokes who are fit and are rearing to go”
On the mid-field defensive lapses “It was a team failing, there’s no excuse. I can’t guarantee it won’t happen again, but it was certainly an awakening. I really can’t lay blame, there’s no point, it was a team failing. We came up short in an area that we should have mastered”
Australia: James O’Connor, Lachie Turner, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Will Genia, George Smith (capt), David Pocock, Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, James Horwill, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: Stephen Moore, Pek Cowan, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Peter Hynes.
South Africa: Ruan Pienaar, Odwa Ndungane, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Heinrich Brussow, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, John Smit (capt), Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Res: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Jannie du Plessis, Danie Rossouw, Schalk Burger, Ricky Januarie, Adi Jacobs, Frans Steyn.