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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s rugby news has Will Skelton re-signing, Genia and Cooper to start, South Africa name their side to take on the Wallabies and Waisake Naholo to start for the All Blacks. 


Skelton Re-signs

Wallabies and Waratahs lock Will Skelton has re-signed with the Australian Rugby Union and the Waratahs until the end of 2017.

The 22 year old already has 8 test caps and 39 Super Rugby caps which he hopes to add to.

“I’ve been blessed to have had an opportunity to play for the Wallabies and to win a Super Rugby title, but I still feel I have a lot of improvement left in my game,” Skelton said.

“You need to have high standards for yourself and I’ve been working extremely hard throughout the year to work on all areas of my game to make me a complete 80 minute player.

“Moving forward, we’ve got a great coaching staff at the Waratahs and I really think they’ll offer the best program for me to reach my full potential at both a Super Rugby and Test level.”

Cooper, Genia to Start

As revealed on Green and Gold Rugby, Will Genia and Quade Cooper look set to start in the halves together for the first time in a Wallabies jersey since the end of year tour in 2013.

The team will officially be announced at 10am today but it is also likely that Matt Giteau will start for the Wallabies for the first time in four years, playing inside centre.

Michael Hooper appears to be the favourite to start at openside whilst it is expected David Pocock will come off the bench.

Likely Wallabies starting team: James Slipper, Stephen Moore (c), Sekope Kepu, Will Skelton, Rob Simmons, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, Scott Higginbotham, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Rob Horne, Matt Giteau, Tevita Kuridrani, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Israel Folau.

SA Name Side

South Africa have named their side to take on the Wallabies this weekend with Schalk Burger named to start.

Springboks coach Heineken Meyer said he would rotating players throughout the Rugby Championship.

“We’re expecting a massive contest for the ball on the ground on Saturday and with Schalk there next to Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee, as well as Bismarck du Plessis, we’ve got a lot of players who are very good at the breakdowns,” Meyer said.

“Warren Whiteley played very well last weekend, but he knows exactly where he stands and will play again for the Boks this season. For this match though, we decided to go with this specific loose trio.

“I’ve said last week that we will make changes, but it’s also important to keep some form of momentum. Saturday’s match is going to be massive in the context of our season and we have to ensure we tick the right boxes.

Team: Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Victor Matfield (captain), Francois Louw, Marcell Coetzee, Schalk Burger, Ruan Pienaar, Handre Pollard, Bryan Habana, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, JP Pietersen, Willie le Roux

Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Heinke van der Merwe, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Oupa Mohoje, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo

Naholo to Start

Highlanders winger has been named to make his debut for the All Blacks when they take on Argentina.

TJ Perenara and Ma’a Nonu also return to the side after being rested against Samoa due to their involvement in the Super Rugby final.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said they needed a balance form players that needed game time and players that need a rest.

“Some guys need a breather, some guys need to play and there’s some guys we want to see,” he said.

“Put those three things in the mix and it does make it a bit tricky, but we want to win the game as well.

“There’s a whole lot of things we’re looking to do. We knew that when we selected 41 players.”

Team: Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Luke Romano, Brodie Retallick, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read, TJ Perenara, Dan Carter, Charles Piutau, Sonny Bill Williams, Ma’a Nonu, Waisake Naholo, Israel Dagg

Reserves: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Nepo Laulala, Jeremy Thrush, Liam Messam, Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty

  • Pedro

    If that Kitshoff guy isn’t playing for the Boks, can we have him?

    • Bobas

      I already tried to swap Mumm for Matfeild. Who do we give them for Kitsoff? Beale? they like small outside backs whose influence is sometimes hard to measure right.

      • Seb V

        We can give them Beale for free.

    • REDinCPT

      injured

    • Hitch

      He’s out injured and in conditioning camp. Trust me he’s very much in Meyer’s plans for the RWC.

  • Dally M

    Cue PiratesRugby standard comments about Skelton in 3, 2, 1……

    • PiratesRugby

      Skelton is very tall. He’s has re-signed for NSW. So what? Good on him. I’m not sure what your problem is???

      • Dally M

        There’s only one person with a problem here when it comes to Skelton & it ain’t me.

  • bad ass

    This Wallabies side is mouth watering, I just hope Hooper proves my doubts about his breakdown play wrong. Too be fair he usually only let’s us down against the All Blacks but kills it against anyone else. I predict a solid Wallabies victory Saturday.

    • Nick

      Doubts? There are no doubts, the guy hates a breakdown.

  • Bobby G

    Excellent. A night of watching Will Genia being 3 yards to slow to every breakdown and a solid 6-8 pointless box kicks to look forward to. Or are the Wallabies going to take the Springboks on up front and use Genia close to the ruck to bludgeon their way to victory? Genia’s best for the Reds this year was hardly stellar. He will need a big lift in form to be any threat in this match.

    • Chris M

      I appreciate that point, but I think Genia’s lack in form can be shared between him and the forwards. When the forwards gave decent shape this year, Genia’s game improved dramatically. I am hoping that the Wallabies will manage that better and he’ll have a better opportunity.

      • PiratesRugby

        Plenty of die hard Reds fans never expected to see Genia in gold again. He used to be so good. Phipps is a super hard worker. He defends likes crazy. He tries to get to the ruck as quickly as possible. He has a rubbish pass. He did when he played at the Rebels and the Tahs and for the WBs. Genia has a beautiful pass and that’s what we need to ignite a backline that has Cooper and Giteau. We really have 3 playmakers now. All three of them can run as well. If they click, it can be the some of the best rugby we’ll ever see. Unfortunately, Genia has not been himself for about 3 years. Nor has QC. Giteau has been away so we don’t know what he’s like. Phipps and Foley did well in the absence of real playmakers but they were always second rate.

        • Avid

          ALL tests at this time of year experiments with depth.
          Obviously the coaches want balance according to whatever the game plan they have in mind. Who knows what?
          All I can see is that Aus will play more fast attack in the first half, then more contested opposition ball from the bench (hopefully defending a lead). Basic, I know.

    • I think we should just wait and see if that actually happens on Saturday night. He and Cooper will be playing behind a better forward pack with the Wallabies so I give him every chance to succeed. If he’s terrible Cheika will simply hook him for Phipps for the Argentinian test, no real damage done.

      • Train Without A Station

        I think Genia contributed to a poor Reds pack. The difference being I doubt Graham every put a rocket up his ass for killing momentum, and I’m sure Cheika will.

    • formerflanker

      My tip is that Genia will show a dramatically improved speed of service and add in his unpredictable running game to unsettle the ruck defence of the ‘Boks.

  • Dougs

    I’m optimistic Cheik can get the best out of Genia. Phipps has become a
    much better player under Cheik (from distant 3rd choice halfback to 1st
    choice for a time) and last year when Genia came on for the Wallabies
    his speed of service was noticeably faster. Almost as if all the
    coaches at the Reds ignore his Meerkating at the base of the ruck whereas Cheik doesn’t. If Genia can deliver quick, accurate ball to Cooper and Giteau in form… with Folau and Kuridrani running off them… well that’s a mouth watering prospect.

    Re the Pocock vs Hooper debate I too would go for Pocock… largely due to Nutta’s meat and potatoes vs. gravy argument. That said this whole carrying on like the world is going to end is ridiculous, Hooper is a great player. My only comment would be that I think between Skelton and Hooper we have the forward running game covered… for that reason I would have gone with McCalman at no. 8… better break down presence than Higginbotham, plays tighter. Though I would use Higginbotham if Pocock was no 7.

  • Robson

    I think that Genia playing at or near the top of his form offers something very special to the Wallaby effort, so I’m hoping that the change in coaching environment will re ignite that. Ma’a Nonu only plays at the top of his form for the ABs, so I fully expect Genia to drag the bunny from the hat on Saturday night too. In contrast Phipps at his best is not quite the player that Genia is at his best. And it’s no use saying a chorus of “what ifs”, because the coach has confidence in him so there is no reason why the rest of us shouldn’t.

    • Hear, hear. I think Cheika has done a great job at picking the first Wallaby team of the year. At least on paper, it looks really exciting. My only 2 possible changes would be swapping Pocock for Hooper and swapping out one of the wingers for a bit more pace. But hey I’m confident that Cheiks knows what he’s doing with his team selections and he trusts that they can carry out his gameplan. I’m excited to see how they all come together Saturday night.

    • Chinese Dave

      Completely agree. What we have here is a selection of guys who, if they perform at the top of their game, can play really good Rugby. I may be too optimistic, but I’m hoping Cheika is seeing something in training that we haven’t seen throughout the S15 comp and that he believes in his ability to coax the best out of these guys. I’m a die-hard Tahs fan, but have no problem saying that Genia and Cooper at their best are simply better than Phipps and Foley (that obviously also applies to Horwill vs Mumm).
      The problem with Cooper is that he’s not a big game player, but if Cheika (and maybe Gits and Genia) can make him one he’s better than Foley who is a big game player, but has significantly less talent.
      Let’s just assume, until proven wrong, that Cheika is picking on the basis of what he’s seeing in training and that he knows what he’s doing. We’ll have plenty of time to criticise him if it doesn’t turn out well.

      • galumay

        Unfortunatley I suspect there are ‘political’ reasons for choosing genia and cooper for the Qld test. Regardless its pretty clear there will be a rotation of players from the squad thru the championship and into the world cup.

    • Toonie

      Ma’a Nonu has been at the top of his form for the Hurricanes this year and has had the Super Rugby season of his career. He’ll hopefully be even better for the AB’s this year.

      • Dally M

        No, lets hope it’s the reverse of previous years and his form for the Darkness is absolute shite!

        • Will

          hahaha!! I’d rather we beat the Darkness when they are their strongest though.

        • I’m personally very worried that Nonu’s Law will come into effect when he pulls on the black. It’s hard to imagine him possibly playing any better than he has at Super level this year but there’s just something that happens between him and that shirt that gives him a bit extra.

  • PiratesRugby

    “Michael Hooper appears to be the favourite to start at openside whilst it is expected David Pocock will come off the bench.”

    That sentence makes me want to throw up. It is everything that is wrong with the wallabies right now. What a disgrace that the former captain and easily the better breakaway (and better bloke) has to sit on the bench while the forwards are left a man down. The Boks will smash Hooper. Pocock and Folau are the only two wallabies the Boks truly fear. They are the only wallabies who might make it into a world XV.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Both were former Captains.
      Just curious about what, in your opinion, makes Pocock the better bloke?

      • Dally M

        It would be because he doesn’t play for NSW.

      • PiratesRugby

        Pocock became captain because he as clearly the best candidate. He gets injured. Moore becomes captain because he’s clearly the best candidate. Moore injured. Hooper becomes captain and everyone thought “oh shit, I can’t believe this guy is the captain”. He did a terrible job. He doesn’t even captain his province. He’s since been relieved of the national captaincy. So, Pocock is the only one of the two who was ever deservedly the captain.
        Hooper showed no real moral leadership during the Beale/Patston affair. Pocock shows plenty of moral leadership. Better bloke.

        • Nick

          Love the way he plays footy, hate his ideological save the world bullsh*t.

          Would much rather have a beer with Hooper watching Pocock play rugby.

          That said if he ties himself to another bulldozer or tries to f*ck the economy by breaking the law, lock the b*stard up and throw away the key.

          The we can start the discussion on why Gill should start over Hooper….

        • PiratesRugby

          Yeah, saving the world is over rated. Having an ethical view and then living up to it is for pussies.

          You know Nick, acting like a jerk isn’t very impressive.

        • Nick

          Neither is breaking the law. Hence my comment.

        • PiratesRugby

          You mean like when people opposed apartheid?

        • Nick

          Yeah pirates, that is obviously pretty much the same thing.

          Lets look at this another way, if some (I want to say d*ckhead, but will run with..;.) ideologically driven citizen, decides to chain themselves to your car so you cant drive to work. When you ask why they say “because it burns fossil fuels and is ruining the environment” do you go:
          a) “thanks for the wakeup call I will start walking everywhere, enjoy my comfy car”; or
          b) call the cops and go “mate, some lunatic has chained himself to my car protesting fossil fuels (which he uses to create electricity in his own home) please come and lock him up”

        • PiratesRugby

          No, Pocock was there with local farmers trying to protect arable farming land from being destroyed by miners. He didn’t chain himself up just for the sake of it. Its their land but miners’ right trump the landowners rights.
          This thread is not the place for this discussion. Do you mind if we leave it at that? I’m happy for you to have the last word…

        • Joy

          Pocock and PiratesRugby are both green/left activists. Both think it’s OK to use rugby to shove their minority views down other people’s throats.
          Pocock should have been sanctioned for breaking the law. Pirate Rugby should change his screen name and restrict his comments to rugby.
          There’s a good reason why sport and politics don’t mix and we are seeing it here.

        • PiratesRugby

          I didn’t bring up any green issues. How does Pocock use rugby to advance green issues? Pocock was sanctioned for breaking the law. What are you so upset about? You’d be a much happier person if you calmed down a bit.

        • Dom Par

          Understand that the Leard Forest is on one side, and excellent farming land is on the other. Then we decide to plonk the biggest coal mine in NSW in between.

          I’ve worked for 3 weeks on prac at Leard and it has about 40 endangered species in it. I haven’t worked with the farmers in the area, but its one of the few areas where people are trying to buy into, rather than sell up. So something is obviously important about that farmland. Now consider what a contaminated aquifier does to an area like that.

        • Chinese Dave

          Ahh, the old breaking the law chestnut. Dear Bronnie took a $5000 helicopter trip for 88km on the tax payers bill, but hey, it’s legal. Pocock chained himself in a protest against mining, he didn’t damage anyone’s property, except that the law acting in the interests of big money makes that illegal, but not taxpayer funded jaunts.
          Also, love the “Pocock is harming the economy” bullshit. Are you some sort of IPA stooge or just a moron? PR – we may disagree vehemently on Rugby, but I’m sincerely glad to see you’ve got decent values in real life, unlike Nick here.

        • PiratesRugby

          Nick’s alright. He just needs to look at things from the other side a bit.

        • jamie

          Not sure the law is always the right thing to be followed. Everything Hitler did was legal in Germany…

        • Sambo

          But you specifically said “hate his ideological save the world bullsh*t”… could’ve just focused on the illegalities of his actions but you didn’t… hence you’re a jerk

        • galumay

          Bad laws should be broken. I think both players are world class, but I really admire Pocock for the man he is. Given the lack of maturity, poor judgement and boorish behaviour of so many of our elite athletes its great to see someone like Pocock – a great human being and an elite athlete!

        • Hambone

          Tries to fuck up the economy.. Ha-ha, what a laugh.

    • Will

      Pirates – 1st test of the season, as head coach its cheiks job to test combinations. I’d say he will play hooper to start against the Boks because he feels we can beat them at home then start pocock against the darkness with a slightly different back row setup. I like what cheiks doing – we can beat the Jaapies with this run on team – the bench looks strong and so does theirs.

  • PiratesRugby

    16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
    17. Scott Sio
    18. Greg Holmes
    19. James Horwill
    20. David Pocock
    21. Nick Phipps
    22. Matt Toomua
    23. Drew Mitchell

    A pretty good bench? I’m not sure what Horwill brings these days. I would have preferred to see Arnold (or Luke Jones but that’s never going to happen).
    Great to see Sio and Holmes.
    Is Pocock cover for 6, 7, 8 or all three???
    I hope TPN comes through alright.

    • Michael Hassall

      Horwill is a good lineout option, he has plenty of experience, ex captain, plays close to the ruck mostly, solid if not spectacular finish the super rugby season. Is Arnold in the squad, it can’t be too far away.

      Good luck to TPN alright.

  • Bobas

    Everyone is talking about the form of either Cooper or Genia and how they will play in gold. I’m looking at Kuridrani who seemed a little off in terms of timing and confidence throughout the last 2/3 of the brumbies campaign. If he can put s15 form aside and play like he has for the wallabies in the past, much like Nonu used to do when he was out of s15 form for the all blacks, then we’ve sewn up one backline spot for the duration of World Cup and hopefully won’t have the usual media ideas like playing Folau in 13 and Beale in fullback etc.

    • PiratesRugby

      Hopefully he’s doing a Nonu and will come roaring back to his international form as soon as he hears the national anthem played.

    • Stuey

      Not dis-similar to last year. He was pretty good for the Brumbies, not outstanding, but then came out and killed it for the Wallabies.

  • Ryphon

    Heineken Meyer? Really?

    • Hugh Cavill

      He’s the best coach the Springbecks have had in years. Chocked full of great players like Francois Lowenbrau, Tendai ‘Yeast’ Mtawarira, and VB Pieterson. Can’t wait to see them take on Quade Coopers, bit of a shame KB or Henry Speights aren’t playing though.

      • Ryphon

        It’s a pity Warren Wheatley is not in the mix. He’s a stout defender!

        • Mica

          Massive engine too

      • Chris M

        Come on, people! Where are the upvotes for this?

      • Moose

        Well played, sir.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Hugh, great post.
        Except for the bit about KB!

      • Hendrik Tui ineligible

  • bad ass

    Genia was hindered by the reds pack. I have no doubt that he will have a blinder of a passing game.

  • Simon

    The thing I’ll be most interested to see will be how much the Reds players lift under Cheika as opposed to Graham. We know Genia is capable of much better, and with Horwill I truly do think his biggest problem was that he just could not find his care factor in a team that was beaten before it stepped on the field. Slipper played with heart all season with the added motivation of captaincy, and I got the impression Holmes (who’s used to playing in beaten Reds sides) has found the right headspace for it not to affect him much as long as the scrum was firing, which it always was when he was in it. So I’m not expecting too much lift from the props but Genia, Horwill and maybe Cooper, I’d love to see a pride-induced lift come into their games.

    • Terry

      The same hopes were raised when McKenzie replaced Deans as the Wallaby coach. Now there is an Aussie in the room to rally all the patriotic fervour. Anyone see a dramatic improvement in the Wallaby play and the performances from Genia, Horwill and those other Reds stalwarts?

      • jamie

        Yes.

      • Simon

        We’ll see, but the Reds were nowhere near as shattered morale-wise last year as they are this year, so there was less of a gulf for them to step up. The Reds had a bad season last year but much of it was due to injuries, and I got the sense they were still trying hard last year.

        I’d like to think that Genia and Horwill have plenty more to give than they’ve shown this season. I hope Cheika can get it out of them, and prove the point even more that the Reds’ woes are mostly of the QRU’s making and not the players.

  • jamie

    Just saw this as a Facebook comment on the ponies page

    “As an All Blacks fan, I hope he stays on the bench. He’s clearly the best 7 in the world right now, and an absolute danger to any opposition team.

    But as a fan of the sport, he deserves to start over Hooper.”

    Pocock is feared by opposition for good reason. Hooper is just another back.

    Does anybody remember what happened last time Pocock started against the Boks?

  • Nick

    You are not alone Pirate, I think Skelton is a joke as well. Having him in the team seriously restricts the options for the rest of the back 5, i don’t think he is good enough to justify this.
    However, I am not concerned about him being picked at the moment, as he will get shown up over the next couple of tests in time to be removed before the real damage is done in the world cup.

  • PiratesRugby

    Meanwhile, Luke Jones is in a gym in the western suburbs somewhere getting the eye of the tiger…

  • Nick

    Mate why would we need Luke Jones when we have Dean Mumm?

    Lukes dad needs still has a couple of months to get onto the ARU board, then it should be sorted in time for the world cup.

    That’s the way it works right?

  • Dally M

    Only Mumm’s dad hasn’t been on the board for years.

  • Bobas

    “Mum’s Dad” – Grandad right?

  • Dally M

    Mumm’s Army!

  • PiratesRugby

    And Weeks. Hopefully Leafa has been working on his farking throwing.

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@Hughadams01

Wallabies, Waratahs and Northern Suburbs supporter. Twitter: @Hughadams01

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