Wallabies Ladder - Green and Gold Rugby
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Wallabies Ladder

Wallabies Ladder

The upcoming Wallabies squad selection is possibly the most contentious one in recent memory. With so many key Wallabies (in Cheika’s estimation) out of form (Phipps, Stephen Moore, almost all the locks), and with a relatively easy opposition for this June series, this could be a time for Michael Cheika to dust off his selector’s binoculars.

Here’s a Wallabies XV, if there was to be a game on the weekend, and if they team was selected on form only. Hopefully, we can revisit this team in a few more weeks and see if anything’s changed.

* Incumbent Wallaby in that position. No overseas players have been selected.

Loose Head Prop

1. Scott Sio* (Brumbies)

2. Tom Robertson (Waratahs)
3. Ben Daley (Force)

On the back of the James Slipper injury, this is perhaps the position with the least depth in Australian rugby at the moment. Thank the Rugby Gods that Scott Sio has found his mojo again. He’s the attacking fulcrum of a dominant Brumbies scrum at the moment. Missed a chunk of the season with injury but is now reach peak Sio.

Hooker

1. Tolu Latu (Waratahs)

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Force)
3. Robbie Abel (Brumbies)

Tolu Latu has been close to the Waratahs best so far in season 2017. His discipline has improved and his skills have too. His turnover ability is up there with the best in the competition. Incumbent Stephen Moore needs a dramatic form lift to be back in consideration. Veteran TPN in the west is showing form of old while Abel is reaping the benefits of being part of a strong Brumbies pack.

Tight Head Prop

1. Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies)

2. Sekope Kepu* (Waratahs)
3. Tom Robertson (Waratahs)

Allan Alaalatoa is another of the 2016 Wallaby debutants who has continued on his rise this year. As a THP, he is a key player in the strong Brumbies scrum but his workrate around the field has really caught the eye. He is doing the work that Sekope Kepu used to do regularly, however with a stronger defensive game.

Lock

1. Rory Arnold (Brumbies) & 2. Sam Carter (Brumbies)

3. Rob Simmons* (Reds)
4. Will Skelton (Waratahs)
5. Matt Phillip (Force)

Adam Coleman is obviously out of consideration due to a long term injury, while the incumbents of Kane Douglas and Rob Simmons have had mixed years to date. Rory Arnold‘s physicality has raised another level this year, notably in attack. Sam Carter has taken to the captaincy with aplomb and has produced his best form since 2014. Matt Philip of the Force is the darkhorse on the list given Izack Rodda‘s injury concerns.

Blindside

1. Scott Fardy (Brumbies)

2. Scott Higginbotham (Reds)
3. Ned Hanigan (Waratahs)

Many critics were prepared to write off Scott Fardy as a Wallaby contender on the back of an average 2016 and his decision to try his wares overseas at year’s end. However he has produced the old school form that first got him that Wallaby gig years ago and he’s making a fairly unarguable case for reselection. His breakdown work is first class.

Openside

1. Michael Hooper* (Waratahs)

2. Chris Alcock (Brumbies)
3. Matt Hodgson (Force)

Once again Michael Hooper has been the standout player for the Tahs this season. The energiser bunny of Australian Rugby maintains a high workrate despite the constant minutes. His attack work is a focal point for the team, and will be for the Waratahs. Chris Alcock from the Brumbies, however, is producing some very good numbers – and very comparable numbers and wouldn’t look out of place in gold if given the chance.

No. 8

1. Scott Higginbotham (Reds)

2. Ben McCalman (Force)
3. Michael Wells (Waratahs)

Scott Higginbotham had a bit of a shocker against the Brumbies in Week 7, but all up has been one of the bright spots in the Reds season so far. Dare I say he’s been a surprise packet? Many appreciated the skill he possessed but most questioned his commitment to the cause and perhaps the ability for his body to hold up, on the back of a season in Japan. He’s been excellent however and with the Wallaby incumbent, Lopeti Timani, suspended at the moment, Higgers was a must pick here. Young Michael Wells is one to watch too.

Scrumhalf

1. Jake Gordon (Waratahs)

2. Joe Powell (Brumbies)
3. James Tuttle (Reds)

Who wears the 9 jersey is perhaps the toughest question the Wallaby selectors will ask. Arguably better depth than Loose Head Prop, just without the standout candidate. Jake Gordon has managed to relegate Nick Phipps to the bench and provided capable and dangerous. A handy combo. Joe Powell will come into consideration too, but watch out for James Tuttle of the Reds as a possible option too.

Flyhalf

1. Bernard Foley* (Waratahs)

2. Quade Cooper (Reds)
3. Jono Lance (Force)

Is Bernard Foley’s noggin up there with Beckham’s foot as the most worried about body part in world sporting history? Maybe not, but I’m sure it’s dominating much of Coach Cheika’s worrying at the moment. The Waratahs are a much better side when Bernard is playing and he will be first choice for the Wallabies, if he stays ‘clean’. Quade Cooper was back closer to his best against the Lions and the clash between the Reds and Tahs in a couple of weeks’ time could determine final standings.

Inside Centre

1. Billy Meakes (Force)

2. Reece Hodge* (Rebels)
3. Samu Kerevi (Reds)

Billy Meakes has been one of the signings of the season for the Force and one that could have an immediate impact on the Wallabies. Billy obviously loves the physical nature of rugby, and does it well, but he’s proved an impressive link man to his free-running outside backs too. Incumbent Reece Hodge has struggled to regain the form of last year but remains a strong candidate as does Samu Kerevi who started 2016 in the Wallaby 12 jersey. Watch for Duncan Paia’aua as a potential candidate as well.

Outside Centre

1. Tevita Kuridrani* (Brumbies)

2. Samu Kerevi (Reds)
3. Israel Folau (Waratahs)

It’s a close run thing between two K-Trains. While Kerevi‘s attacking stats are league leading, these have been boosted by him being the main man for the Reds with no Quade and limited Hunt. His defensive work is a concern, however, and leads the league there too. Tevita Kuridrani isn’t relied on as heavily at the Brumbies but has been strong in attack, on the back of his excellent EOYT form, scoring crucial tries and defending more effectively.

Wing

wing-3

1. Henry Speight (Brumbies) & 2.Dane Haylett-Petty* (Force)

3. Sefa Naivalu* (Rebels)
4. Israel Folau (Waratahs)
5. Eto Nabuli (Reds)

Australia has rare depth at the moment in the wing position, especially when you consider the utility value of some of our players. Henry Speight is looking as close to his ‘pre-eligible’ form as we’ve seen while DHP continues to show the class we saw in the Wallaby jersey last year. While he’s at 15 for the Force, he must be in the Wallaby team and provides an excellent kicking option. Some are calling for the return of Israel Folau to the wing, however it’s tough to pick him over others who have shown better form of late.

Fullback

1. Karmichael Hunt (Reds)

2. Dane Haylett-Petty (Force)
3. Israel Folau* (Waratahs)

Karmichael Hunt is now showing consistently the glimpses we’ve seen over his initial two years in professional rugby. Most pleasing for Cheika is the impact he brings to the Reds in the front line, a position he would be used with Foley or QC at 10. Hunt has proven a smart contributor to the Reds from set and phase attack as well as on the kick return. DHP’s year in the Wallaby jersey has shown in the experience and leadership he is showing at the back for the Force. Israel Folau has been playing at 13 for most of the season but struggling without Foley inside.

Team in Full:

  1. Scott Sio (ACT)
  2. Tolu Latu (NSW)
  3. Allan Alaalatoa (ACT)
  4. Rory Arnold (ACT)
  5. Sam Carter (ACT)
  6. Scott Fardy (ACT)
  7. Michael Hooper (NSW)
  8. Scott Higginbotham (QLD)
  9. Jake Gordon (NSW)
  10. Bernard Foley (NSW)
  11. Dane Haylett-Petty (WA)
  12. Billy Meakes (WA)
  13. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT)
  14. Henry Speight (ACT)
  15. Karmichael Hunt (QLD)


Oh, and before commenting assume that Rugby Reg is biased against whatever team it is that you may support. That way, we can skip the finger pointing and get to the interesting discussion. Cheers – Ed

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The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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