Thursday’s rugby news has Will Skelton ready for All Blacks challenge, Aussies named in World XV, All Blacks preparing for Hooper and Pocock and Jean De Villiers to return to test rugby.
Wallaby lock Will Skelton is ready for the challenge of playing the All Blacks in Sydney and says the Wallabies will have to be on top of their game to have any chance of beating them.
“We try and build our game around physicality and having a power game through the forwards and being creative in the backs,” he said.
“Always when you play the All Blacks you have to be on your game. But we have guys in our team who have the same characteristics with the ball in hand.
“I think we can match them across the paddock. It is just a matter of whether we bring our game.”
Aussies Named in World XV
The World XV squad to take on Japan on August 15 has been announced and consists of many fringe Wallaby players.
Ben Alexander, Benn Robinson, Saia Fainga’a, Luke Jones and Liam Gill are all named in the squad alongside Nick Cummins, James O’Connor, Christian Lealiifano and Taqele Naiyaravoro.
The squad also includes Bakkies Botha Pierre Spies, Carl Hayman, Ali Williams and former Wallaby Berrick Barnes.
The World XV will be coached by former Wallabies coach and current Panasonic Wild Knights coach Robbie Deans.
All Blacks Preparing
The All Blacks are preparing for the Wallabies to play both Michael Hooper and David Pocock when they meet in Sydney this weekend.
“Early in the week, we take our best guess, but we just really gear our game about what we want to get out of it,” said All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster.
“Once we find out who’s in their team, we might make the slight adjustment. But either way we’re expecting Pocock and Hooper to be on the park together at some point.
“If we’re not good at what we do, if we’re not accurate in the way we attack and clean out, we’re in trouble; and we got a bit of a lesson in that [against the Springboks].”
The All Blacks have named Sonny Bill Williams and Nehe Milner-Skudder to start.
Team: Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Jerome Kaino, Luke Romano, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Codie Taylor, Ben Franks, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane, T.J. Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Malakai Fekitoa.
De Villiers Returns
Jean De Villiers will make his return to test rugby after being named at outside centre for the Springboks.
De Villiers will also captain the side for the first time since his horrific knee injury against Wales in November 2014.
In form centre Jesse Kriel has been shifted to the right wing for the match against Argentina.
“Jean’s comeback is truly remarkable and very inspirational and I can’t wait to see what he can offer playing next to exciting youngsters such as Handre Pollard, Damian (De Allende) and Jesse,” said Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Jean now has 160 minutes of rugby behind him since his comeback a month ago and I’m very satisfied that he will be able to make his mark as player and captain.”