Wallabies Tri-Nations Squad
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Wallabies Tri-Nations Squad

Wallabies Tri-Nations Squad

Scott Higginbottom, Anthony Faingaa, Rob Simmons and Ben McCalman are the winners in the Wallabies Tri-Nation’s squad announced today.

The losers (so far) were Drew Mitchell, Lachie Turner, Josh Valentine, Pek Cowan, Laurie Weeks and Huia Edmonds who have all been dropped.

Some would say that Mark Chisholm and Richard Brown, who both under performed during the June tests, had the luck of the Irish and retained their spots although I wonder whether that was more about who was actually available to replace them?

Experienced front rowers Stephen Moore and Benn Robinson return to the Australian squad, and not before time. Diggers, Sharpie and Hynsie have also overcome their injury woes and are back – Diggers probably a few weeks later than the others.  

Deans named 28 players today, with the final two positions on the playing roster to be decided soon.

Deans said “Given the difficulties that we have experienced this year, in terms of injuries, we feel it is prudent to allow ourselves a little bit more time in this instance to cover off any other requirements we feel that we will need.”

The speculation on who the remaining two players are will be intense. Looking at the mix it appears that they may be outside backs. There are six players chosen to cover essentially four positions (outside centre, wings and fullback) although A. Faingaa can cover the former and Beale/O’Connor are utilities.

Cameron Shepherd has been the most recent object of Robbie Dean’s desire so I expect if he convinces him that his fitness is up to speed in club football he’ll be one of the add-ons. I actually think Shmoo Mitchell will get the other gig – this to me looks like a wake-up call? 

Stephen Hoiles (achilles) is the latest injury casualty which opens the door for new blood, although word is that Higgo has been on the radar for some time and would have been in the team anyway.

Higginbotham was unavailable for the June tests and Baa Baas series due to a foot injury. He’ll be back playing club footy for Brisbane Wests this weekend.  

Tatafu Polota-Nau was not considered as he awaits an operation on his ankle later this month which will enable him to return in time for Australia’s Spring tour.

Will Slipper has leapfrogged Pek Cowan and Laurie Weeks. He made his debut against England in Perth and featured off the bench in three of the four June Tests, subbing for an injured Ben Alexander. He improved with every outing and is clearly destined for greater things.

As far as Weeks goes, it’s early days for him and he’ll get another opportunity down the track for sure. 

A. Faingaa and McCalman have both had impressive Super 14 seasons and thoroughly deserve their promotion. They also featured in the Baa Baas series. The selectors obviously like Finger’s straight running and punishing defence – he’s not of Nonu size but his technique is second to none. 

McCalman is a very impressive young man and it doesn’t surprise me that he’s made the jump. Throughout the Super 14 he gave sterling service backing up Matt Hodgson during the Force’s ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and thoroughly deserves his place.

Simmons returned from injury only recently and cameo’d in the last match. In a few short years Rob Simmons, Kane Douglas and Peter Kimlin will potentially be the Wallaby locks leading the charge at the next World Cup.    

For those pining for Van Humphries (and I could be counted here) just remember that he’s been injured. 15 of the 28 players actually originate from Queensland. 

10 of the squad currently play for the Reds and 6 each for the Waratahs, Brumbies and Force.  

Queensland is back….

Tri-Nations Squad: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale, Richard Brown, Luke Burgess, Mark Chisholm, Quade Cooper, Ben Daley, Rocky Elsom (captain), Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Will Genia, Matt Giteau, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Rob Horne, Peter Hynes, Digby Ioane, Ben McCalman, Salesi Ma’afu, Stephen Moore, Dean Mumm, James O’Connor, David Pocock, Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, James Slipper.

  • andy golds

    nice to see all the qld inclusions. Wow i complained about Drew mitchell alot on this blog, but i didnt expect him not to have a spot. I hope Anthony fiannga gets gits spot

    • realist

      What in the world is Kurtley Beale doing in the squad? Mitchell and co may miss the odd tackle but Beale rarely attempts to make a tackle. Imagine having QC, JO’C and KB on the field at the same time – like leaving the gate open.

      • fatso

        I think Kurtley is Beally good.

        • realist

          He might piss on them

      • suckerforred

        Won’t need to worry about the gate… whole fence will be gone. As much as I like JO’C talent.

  • I think you’ll probably find Gits starting still. Then if he’s not performing then Finga will come on.
    I still would have thought that shmoo would have at least made the squad unless his training commitment has been sub par as well.

    • RedsHappy

      Giteau needs a 6 month break from the game and to come back revitalised and, hopefully, with some new humility for the S15 in January.

      That Deans has failed to address Giteau’s obvious mind and play quality issues is a serious failing. Giteau’s presence in this team – now with A Finger knocking around the door – will hold it back or, worse, actively harm it.

      As Scarfman has so astutely said, Deans seems to run 4 or more (inconsistent and mixed up) selection strategies alongside 2 or more changing styles of play and you never quite know what will come out next from the Magimix.

      A unique approach.

      • Robson

        Yes and in some respects uniquely flawed. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts of the selection mix which seem to suggest a “bob each way” kind of thinking. I certainly think there are at least a couple in the squad who would have benefitted in the long term of getting a “don’t come Monday” message.

        • Ozrugbynut

          Mumms the word

  • mudskipper

    Anthony Faingaa will get his chance… Higginbotham is a worthy inclusion… Reds boys have done well.

    Quade Cooper needs to learn to the assets in the backline if the Wallabies are going to fire this season… Hopefully Digby will be good to go soon…

  • Brumby Jack

    I’m not sure about this squad. I want them to do well but I’m not sure they can against the likes of NZ and SA but more likely the end of year tour. I am happy to proved wrong though.

    Having said that I’m not sure who else I’d have picked but I am surprised that Drew Mitchell has been left out, surely there must be something behind the scenes going on there?

    • realist

      I think it is called politics.

      • Andrew

        I think its called, I can’t tackle or pass

        • Seb V

          Yeh Dean is setting an example! If you cant perform your out! Im sure he’ll get another shot though!

  • TH Prop

    How much does the pic of Lance Free look like that old Easts prop Ox Heath….

    Bloody hell that bloke could lock out a scrum…

    • Lance Free

      Very perceptive TH….

  • Groucho

    Dropping Mitchell, the standout Australian wing in the S14 and a regular starting Wallaby, from the entire squad is really quite astonishing. It can’t be based on performances. Sure he made a few errors, but other players like Ma’Afu have been retained after being essentially humiliated over the course of entire games.

    • Scarfman

      Agree. One minute he’s a starter, the next minute out of the squad. Deans doesn’t know was he’s doing.

      • RedsHappy

        Even worse was the disgraceful way in which Mitchell’s likely dropping was leaked to Rugbyheaven a week or so ago. In a place where the coaches are self-confident, team culture is good and talented underperformers are helped over issues, this type of manipulative leaking would never happen.

        • realist

          Greg Growden is the ARU mouthpiece.

      • Henry

        Its rubbish, he did everything he could against uni so hopefully he will get one of the final spots in the squad… Conolly dropped him for the 2007 world cup quarters and look what happened… Like Giteau hes a confidence player, this won’t do anything positive for him…

        • Paris Tah

          Surely Shmoo won’t be recalled after being dropped. There’s got to be something else behind it all, espec after Deans says publicly ‘‘We’ve obviously talked about some of the reasons and some of the needs and those conversations will stay personal to us,’’ then again it is Deans so who knows. I’m wearing a Justice for Shmoo armband today.

        • RedsHappy

          Henry, yes.

          In other top sports, experienced sports psychologists are used to help the many very talented elite players who experience lapses in confidence or increases in performance anxiety that mar their execution in play. Top sports success is as mental as it is physical and experience driven. If we just ‘dump’ fine Wallabies that have lapses for these reasons and leave them to the arms of even greater doubt, and they never come back in one good piece, boy is that ‘reverse depth’ right there, of the worst kind. Genuinely increasing depth has many dimensions, this is an important one.

        • JamesD

          Confidence Schmonfidence.

          Drew Mitchell had a great game against England in the first test when their defense was rat-shit. If he couldn’t bring that confidence into the second test, where he was hopeless and his woeful tackling let through a try, then how exactly is confidence a factor here? When will he ever become confident? The fact of Drew Mitchell is that he isn’t a big game player. He’ll score tries against the International/S14 minnows like the Lions or Fiji or in club rugby but he just isn’t good enough to be anything more than a stop-gap. Beale should be dropped too.

  • Robson

    Yeah, Ma’afu is, to me, a bit of a wet squid. Average scrummager and very average at everything else. Laurie Weeks had a far better S14 season. As for Mumm and Chiz, well I just gotta shake my head and lament the continued low vision towards Van Humphries. He will be on the scene ripping gates apart next S14 season and deserves a crack at the RWC squad, I don’t care how old he is. However good to see Higginbotham and Simmons included. The playing squad will be very interesting, I hope.

    • Thomas

      Isn’t Van out of the picture due to injury still? Otherwise I’d agree 100%.

  • JJJ

    My head says we’re in for a drubbing, my retardedly optimistic heart says you never know.

    I doubt we could even put a team together from this squad to beat last year’s Wallabies, and we all know where they finished.

  • bones

    Deans is starting to get there. Shepherd and Rodzilla for the last 2 picks.

    Remaining problem is that Houston and Van H should be there instead of Mumm and Chisholm.

    • Scarfman

      Some gave you a thumbs up for Shepherd and Rodzilla? Double madness.

      • realist

        Shep and Rodzilla need to show some Super form before being considered for the Wallabies. Club is light years away from tests so if the selectors are considering players on club form then they will only compound present problems.

        • sammy

          rodzilla was a crazy call – but shep is never a bad option. If his fkn legs work for more than 2 games straight – if he’d been unijured the last 4 years he’d have 40 caps and 12 tries and we probably wouldn’t have missed goals in front.

    • JTM

      I could go for Van over Chisholm/Mumm…but Houston?

      • Brax

        Van is injured for now. Back in about a month I believe.

  • bones

    Rodzilla wont tap dance through defensive lines, but at least the front row wont fold – he is an immoveable object. So we remove these penalties.

    • realist

      Immovable in general play as well.

  • D

    Robbie Deans must have dial up Internet. He’s finally been able to read our posts from a month or so ago and taken all our advice apart from schmoo getting the axe.

    I think dropping schmoo is a big mistake. He has made a few errors, but seriously who hasn’t? With Schmoo gone, you’re going to see the AB’s and the Bokke tear the Wallabies up in kick returns. Schmoo was the ONLY consistent kick chaser that was effective in the last 4 tests. So much so the pressure he put on the opposition almost turned into tries. Everybody else was poor in chasing kicks. There’s more to a game than kick chase, but it is a big part of it now with all the kicking that is in the mordern game.

    WTF is “I’d rather kick it into touch than score a try” Beale doing in the squad? Need I say more?

    Hopefully Robbie’s Internet connection woes get rectified ASAP and he gets to read our posts. If not, I imagine we’ll see Schmoo back in the squad for the 4th Bledisloe in HK.

  • Smithy

    What about Rod Davies? Is he injured? Would love to see him on the wing

    • Lance Free

      He injured his hammy again just the other day – not considered.

  • Joe Blow

    Schmoo Schmoo Schmoo.

    He will be back, probably in one of the last two spots.
    Deans has made some good selections and now he needs to play them in the tests.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing McCalman getting a run at 8, a position he apparently played most of his junior rugby at.

  • Reddy!

    Deans is an idiot. Mitchell actually played some good footy in the domestic tests and one half of bad footy against the Irish has cost him. And lets not even mention the Super 14. Mitchell is the number 1 finisher in Australian rugby and I’m starting to get worried where our tries may come from.

  • Langthorne

    Meh

  • jase’

    van the man needed to be there, if only to get him used to wallaby standards. he plays with heart and passion that none of the other locks can compare to, something which has been sadly lacking in the wallaby team for many years
    van is the kind of player that lifts those around him> a tough uncompromising agressive bastard that’ll roll c*nts

    • Brax

      Injured

  • bones

    If Deans is looking at Mumm as a 6 (for me he is 6 or out of the squad), then only 2 locks are picked. Could be that Van H is one of the surprise 2 last picks. Deans may be playing some games – he withholds the info and then inserts it into PdV like a large enema 2 days before the match.

  • bones

    Giteau may be playing 14 against the Saffers if Faingaa starts. Could be a sensational move as he is a guy that looks great with a little space. Our Shane Williams as I think Growden suggested.

  • flower power

    WTF is going on with TPN. Injured months back for the TAHS… played prop for the ba ba s and now waiting for surgery???Come on… We are talking about possibly our most important player given the make up of our pack.. This is how Australian rugby manage this situation??? its a circus

    • Robson

      And not all the clowns are in a circus.

  • Joe Blow

    I think Van H. had surgery or is scheduled to have it on an ankle problem so he is not available.

    • Robson

      That might explain a couple of things. Too bad if that is the case.

  • reds fan

    gee the Mitchell fan club are out in force. 5 tries from his last 24 tests… its been a steady decline. Mitchell and Gits are bum chums so this clearly aimed at eroding Gits’ support base in camp and give them all a bloody good wake up call. Grow up and stop with the cliques and ego’s. I’m glad mitchell got the chop. Gits should have got it too.

    • andy golds

      i like your honesty. Lack of form should mean no game

  • Lance Free

    Cheers Dogman – lets put it up (from Rugby Reg in the Forum)

    INJURY LIST (Updated)

    Reds:

    Digby Ione – back for 2nd Tri Nations?
    James Horwill – knee – season
    Rodney Davies – hamstring again – back in August?
    Scott Higginbotham – back this week
    Van Humphries – ankle – season?, out for at least 10 weeks (Sept/Oct)
    Will Chambers – shoulder – season?
    Will Genia – thumb – back for first Tri-Nations?
    Jake Schatz – something foot related – early August.

    Tahs:

    Adam Freier – ?
    Al Baxter – neck – season?
    Benn Robinson – back for first Tri-Nations?
    Tatafu Polota-Nau – season?
    Will Caldwell – ill – who knows?
    Wycliffe Palu – season?
    Dan Halangahu – shoulder – season?
    Phil Waugh – knee – season?

    Brumbies:

    Ben Alexander – season?
    Christian Lealiifano – back for NPC
    Francis Fainifo – season?
    Peter Kimlin – season?
    Stephen Moore – back first Tri-Nations
    Stirling Mortlock – season?
    Stephen Hoiles – achilles surgery – season?

    Force:

    Justin Turner – knee – season?
    Scott Staniforth – neck – back soon??

    • Toby

      I think Lealiifano is back and playing 15 for Waikato this week-end. If it works out for him I suspect the Brumbies may keep him there next year and move AAC to 13, which may not help Deans’ plans.

    • Homer J

      Are you saying Caldwell is retiring????
      NSW is down to one Lock then.

      • Lance Free

        Maybe? It appears he still may not have recovered from that serious intestinal complaint he had – it’s called Crohns Disease. TBA I suppose.

        • Robson

          Crohns disease is a chronic condition. It is likely that there will be recurring attacks of it.

        • Davey

          Can’t they just stop the games while he goes and has a sh!t?

  • reds fan

    Hoiles now also out with surgery on something.

    • Ozrugbynut

      It’s a craze. Everyone’s doing it ;-)

  • Homer J

    Where is Sekope Kepu? Wasn’t he the front row saviour and a Deans favourite. He played for Randwick last week. Dan Palmer is the other prop who needs a chance.
    Rodzilla enjoyed too many croissants to play tri nations speed footy. Apparently he is over 130kgs now.

    Like the thought of Simmons and Douglas for the 2015 world Cup.

    2015 WC
    Slipper
    TPN
    Robinson
    Douglas
    Simmons
    Pocock
    Higginbotham
    McCalman

    Res: Palmer, Fitzpatrick (Whitaker), 2nd rower from somewhere, Colby Faainga, Jake Schatz

    • Lance Free

      Good call about Kepu HJ. I know he’s just returned to the park but he sort of gets lost in the mist of all this. Hopefully he remains in the mix because he appeared to step up last year when he had his chance. Seems to me to be a far better bet than Ma’afu, at the least.

      • reds fan

        agree. ma’afu has looked out of his depth in the test matches.

        • Robson

          He did didn’t he, but Kepu looked the real deal when he was fit and healthy. Maybe he will come into the frame again. I hope so.

  • Pedro

    If Gits whinges about being shafted onto the wing stick him in 9.

  • piggies 7

    mmmm..it all seems fairly fucked

  • AndrewWA

    Much as I love Union I acknowlwdge that it’s not the “biggest game in town” in Australia.

    Past Wallaby teams have done extremely well despite our small pool of top line players.

    Injuries hurt us badly (look at the Force for first half of the year.

    When we’re not doing so well it’s just not constructive to simply dump on the coach.

    I think Deans is doing a pretty good job with what he has to work with. I like the fact that he appears to reward effort and commitment and desire to play for the Green and Gold.

    It’s just a shame that some of our shining lights aren’t as consistent or as committed as Wallabies in the past.

  • Robson

    Deans is not traditionally an axe weilder, but some of the retentions during the June tests were very puzzling, nor does he seem to believe in using the bench. I’m looking at Deans with sideways vision at the moment and hoping he will release the rabbit from the hat for the tri nations. Although I don’t think some of the players have repaid the faith Deans has shown in them, I also wonder about his ability to embed a message in the whole team on some of the really basic issues.

    Ball retention, numbers at the breakdown, support of the ball carrier and keeping the ball alive in the tackle, are some of the goldend gems which characterised the Crusaders play under Deans. How come, after two and a half years, he has been unable to programme this into the playing psyche of the Wallabies? How come?

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Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

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