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.
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