Quade rage: Wallaby team to play All Blacks announced
Wallabies

Quade rage: Wallaby team to play All Blacks announced

Quade rage: Wallaby team to play All Blacks announced

Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made four changes to his starting side – including benching Quade Cooper –  for the final Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand at Eden Park.

Nick Phipps will wear the number 9 jersey in the absence of Will Genia and joins Bernard Foley in the halves – Quade moves to the bench.

Foley’s shift to flyhalf sees Reece Hodge claim the number 12 jersey, with the Melbourne Rebels star moving to his preferred position for the first time in the Gold jersey.

It’s a return to the Test arena for Brumbies winger Henry Speight who hasn’t featured for the Wallabies in over a year, after his stint in the Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens squad.

Speight scored a try in his last start for the Wallabies, dotting down in the 65-3 rout of Uruguay at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

In stark contrast, Cheika has named an unchanged forward pack for the first time in 2016 with Lopeti Timani holding onto the number 8 jersey after David Pocock proved his fitness late on.

Pocock will come off the bench at Eden Park in what will be his first Test since breaking his hand in the 36-20 win over Argentina on September 17.

The final Bledisloe Cup clash will be a special occasion for captain Stephen Moore, who will become the fourth most-capped Wallaby in history, overtaking George Smith when he runs out for his 112th Test.

It will be an historic night at Eden Park as the first-ever double-header, with the Buildcorp Wallaroos to face the Black Ferns at 3pm AEDT.

The Test between the Wallaroos and the Black Ferns will be screened LIVE in High Definition and ad-break free on FOX SPORTS 502 from 2.55pm AEDT.

The Test between the Qantas Wallabies and New Zealand will be screened LIVE in High Definition and ad-break free on FOX SPORTS 502 from 5.00pm AEDT and LIVE on Ten from 5.30pm AEDT for NSW, ACT and QLD viewers (on ONE in other Australian States and Territories). Fans can also LIVE stream the match on Foxtel GO (for Foxtel subscribers) and on TenPlay.

Qantas Wallabies team to play New Zealand in final Bledisloe Cup clash at Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 22 October, 7:35pm local time (5.35pm AEDT)

1. Scott Sio (24 Tests)

2. Stephen Moore (c) (111 Tests)

3. Sekope Kepu (72 Tests)

4. Rory Arnold (5 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (6 Tests)

6. Dean Mumm (52 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (60 Tests)

8. Lopeti Timani (2 Tests)

9. Nick Phipps (47 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (36 Tests)

11. Henry Speight (5 Tests)

12. Reece Hodge (5 Tests)

13. Samu Kerevi (7 Tests)

14. Dane Haylett-Petty (9 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (47 Tests)

Reserves

16. James Hanson (11 Tests)

17. Tom Robertson (3 Tests)

18. Allan Alaalatoa (4 Tests)

19. Rob Simmons (65 Tests)

20. David Pocock (60 Tests)

21. Nick Frisby (2 Tests)

22. Quade Cooper (63 Tests)

23. Sefa Naivalu (1 Test)

  • Brisneyland Local

    Wow Matt, the heading will certainly get the punters commenting!

    • We know it’s gonna happen, might as well reflect that!

      • Brisneyland Local

        Very true! But passion in your readers is a good thing! Personally I think it shows you guys have a strong readership, and know how to bring us all along for the journey! Hope you have a good venue and plenty of amber fluid lined up for Saturday arvo!

        • jamie

          If any idiot watches Chasing Great over the NRC Granny, I get the feeling a stronger substance will be required than Amber Fluid. Bring on the tequila compadres.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well personally I was starting with the Vodka Martinis! Which will get me numb enough not to feel the pain. Then transition onto a big ballsy Barossa red. Because the only thing big and ballsy from Australia wont be our result on Saturday arvo!

        • First time long time

          Is “NRC Granny” a porno? It sounds terrible but probably better than the Sir Ruchie tribute…. Too soon Ruch too soon

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Go you mate

      • Phil

        Hey,Matt,he could have left him out of the 23.That would have set the keyboards on fire!

  • Tim

    Why would Cooper get dropped? I thought he was a better 10. Interesting team i dunno what Mummm is still doing in the squad :(

    • Baysider

      He might have refused to play with Phipps, all he gets are hospital passes, passes behind him or passes at his feet !

    • Thomas

      Cooper will finish the game. I’m sure it was a close call. Evenly matched players.
      No real gripes with the XV.

      • Parker

        Evenly matched! Yes of course, they both wear gold jerseys and green shorts.

      • Joy

        Chalk and cheese.

      • Spank

        Overall I agree with you. Cheika has gone for a defensive backline in the sense that each of these guys can tackle. I think he has picked horses for courses and hope he will pull it off. Quade has three things against him in NZ: 1. He is vilified by the NZ public – he can handle that (but its a pity we never treat ABs that way); 2. He has a reputation for weak defence; and 3. He can be a magical match winner or a disastrous match loser (a la a certain David Campese!)

        Not sure about Mumm and Simmons. Think Fardy may have been a better option.

        • Ruddyright

          Not sure why you would ever think an Australian would be invited to play for the All Blacks, but the Wallabies are definitely welcome to Quade!

    • Jack

      Because Quade can’t hack the pressure against the All Blacks, he is a confidence player and once the crowd get into him he struggles.

      • jamie

        I remember him having one bad game against the ABs and it was 5 years ago. Last year’s hardly counts.
        This is “hacking the pressure” surely.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBBbHBSPZLg

        • Jack

          Surprised to see him even make a couple half-hearted attempts at a tackle in that clip.

          Why does last years one not count?

          I would refresh your memory with this clip. No-one wants to see this sort of debacle at Eden Park;

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBbbyjSgJ5w

        • Gottsy

          You could make a fail compilation about anyone, this proves nothing. I would rather see a 10 actually try to create things then just shovel one out all night.

        • chisel68

          I’d rather see a 10 shovel it out all night than one crab across the paddock all night plus regularly have 10mins in the bin.

        • jamie

          I’m trying to think of a 10 that has never missed a kick, thrown an off pass, been tackled and lost the ball, been intercepted or failed to find touch?

          Do you know, I’ll take DC for 500. Because I guarantee you can find as many fail moments from DC as that video shows from QC.
          Otherwise I take Foley for 100. (At least I think that’s how that game works)

          Nice joke with the “half-hearted” tackles, by the way. Anyone taking on a charging Liam Messam has respect in just about anyone’s book, and the try saver on Aaron Smith was marvelous: absolute passion right there.

        • Jack

          I didnt make the fail compilation but it says something that someone did. He makes enough mistakes for that to be put together.

          The blokes a complete clown, I can’t think of a ten that makes more mistakes

        • Gottsy

          There it is. I can think of plenty, but they just don’t get an entire thread written about them every time they throw an errant pass. Not throwing a pass can be considered a mistake too you know.

        • jamie

          It says that there are a bunch of sour kiwis that were so pissed off that he allegedly kneed mccaw.

          Thanks for your opinion. Got any facts to back that up?

        • Brad

          How about Foley for one!

        • First time long time

          I think we could make a pretty good fail compilation from your recent posts

        • Jack

          The proof will be in the pudding. Here’s hoping Quade gets a decent shift tonight and we will see how it goes.

          I struggle to see him being the man for the job when the all blacks are heating up in the last 30 minutes but I would be happy to see him play his socks off

        • jamie

          Also, quite frankly, the preview of him rolling around on the ground, is disgusting. He’d just done his ACL in the 2011 Bronze Final. If doing your ACL is a ‘fail moment’, then man there must be some shit athletes around the world.

        • Joy

          This is below the belt rubbish. How about showing Catchpole having his leg pulled off by Meads as evidence that he can’t handle pressure? Or Carter’s 2011 RWC groin injury? Surely he is a wimp for that?

      • McWarren

        This is what all Kiwi’s want u see to believe. Keep up the propaganda!

  • TheMountain

    Quade loves a shit performance in Auckland, the emotional baggage alone is cause to dump him, benching is a more diplomatic solution. don’t get me wrong, I want him to carve them apart but precedence makes me cautious

    • Baysider

      In fairness the service Quade gets from Phipps is so awful he is probably better off on the bench !

    • jamie

      2013 Bledisloe at Eden Park kind of disagrees with you? One of his best performances IMO. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBBbHBSPZLg

      • Bob

        That’s not eden park is it? Seems more like Dunedin.

      • Willem Labuschagne

        It’s true that Cooper was excellent in that game. Focused. But he did some silly things after that, and he’s probably not quite clawed his way back yet. He’s done a pretty professional job this season, so I’d reckon by next season the memories of the silly stuff will be buried.

      • Phil

        Happens to be at Carisbrook,though!

        • Mica

          Not Carisbrook – Forsyth Barr
          No more Carisbrook……

      • SuckerForRed

        That’s actually Dunedin….. If you look carefully I am actually in the crowd.

        • jamie

          Apologies. New Zallend is so small it’s all the same isn’t it??

  • Adrian

    I’ve got over Cooper not being picked….after a few hours. Glad he’s there somewhere.

    Glad Hodge is at 12, and glad Timani is still starting, and that Speight is starting.

    Really great that Coleman & Arnold are retained. I reckon they have the physicality to withstand attacked at lineout time.

    I reckon we are an outside chance, and if that eventuates, Moore can announce his retirement when he gives the winners speech!

  • The Big Lebowski

    With the exception of Mumm, it’s starting to look like a decent forward pack. Timani needs to have a big game though.

    And let’s hope Speight’s rubber-band hamstrings can hold up.

    • Kevino

      At least Sefa offers good cover if they don’t, should be the other way round with Safa starting and Speight on the pine. Hopefully on EOYT they can both start and Cheika starts playing players in position.

  • Kiap

    Tight five, tactical five, back five – don’t really see our mob getting ascendancy. Playing grinding rugby is not going to beat the ABs, but let’s hope the boys keep it tight in defence the first half. If the scrums and lineouts are functional and an exit strategy can be made to work, then maybe Cheika can roll the dice at the back end of the game.

  • Mart

    Replace Mumm with Timani and Pocock to 8 would be better.

    Otherwise pretty good.

    No room for simmons in the squad

    • Pclifto

      Simmons is on the bench, which I don’t understand… “oh shit we’ve got to face Simmons coming on at the 65 minute mark” said no opposition ever…

      Would have gone for Fardy

    • John Tynan

      Rather leave Timani playing a proper no.8 game. I reckon no coincidence Hooper had a great game last time with Timani at 8. Poey on at 6 for Mumm at some stage.

      • Joy

        2 minute mark.

      • Smith

        The Abs will fan out the attack and commit less players to the break down, without Fardy and Pocock, they will get lightning quick ball. Hooper will be thrown around like a doll, Timani is not a fetcher, and Mumm will be doing nothing but waiting around inanimately.

  • SickOfTheWallabiesShit

    How can you expect Quade to develop into the 10 we need in big games (against NZ, pretty much the only one there is) when you take him out of the pressure cooker? This is Cheika running scared of attempting something in, albeit, a nothing test match, when things should be tried and lessons learned. How can we honestly expect him to continue to get better if he is being used as a fill in until the NZ match comes around? He won’t learn to beat them if he doesn’t even get the chance to run out there in the shitstorm. You learn a lot more in tough times than when things are going well, and this is just weak from Cheika.

    • I reckon it’s more about combinations.

      Genia is out, and whereas he and Quade have a great understanding, Phipps and Foley have that.

      • Riddler

        You and your common sense and logic!!

      • AB

        Surely goal kicking comes into it also. I agree with many posters that Quade has been playing better than Foley but Foley has been kicking accurately. Even though I would prefer Quade at 10 I am pleased to see the end of the Quade/Foley 10/12 combination.

        • SickOfTheWallabiesShit

          Can someone please teach Hodge to kick it straight from within 40m and we can be done with that combination and keep QC – bonus

        • Smith

          Well, if Cheika thinks this will come down to kicking then he is sorely mistaken, first focus on getting the tries on board, rather than wastingf a spot in the team for an eventuality which won’t even occur. The match’ll be over by the 30th minute.

        • MalachyBernard

          To beat the ABs you need to be good everywhere, incuding kicking, especially place kicking. While Quade is exciting at times he is unreliable and card prone, and I would wager Foley edges him in the place kicking stakes.

        • Smith

          Marginally better at kicking, that’s it. And what’s the point of of good kicking if you are inept at scoring tries. Besides you can dominate other teams without great lickers. I mean just look at Barrett, hopeless kicking for goal, but the ABs get the job done because they can score tries. With Foley we’ll lose in the first 30

      • SickOfTheWallabiesShit

        Losing Genia has caused a much bigger problem than just a massive drop in passing ability. A team should never have to change their 10 and 12 purely as a result of the halfback (think Smith-Barrett-Crotty and now Perenara-Barrett-Crotty). If Phipps is a world class player (as a Wallaby should be) he should have no qualms with filling straight in and gelling with whoever he is paired with. I only note this from the Phipps perspective because Quade is the best 10 in the country, but Phipps is not the best 9 in the country, so he should be playing up to Quade’s standard and style.

        Nonetheless, intrigued by having two genuine running options in the Centres and how that might enable us to unleash Folau and Speight on some advantage line ball.

        • Real

          Mate the days of the Wallabies team being made up of world class players are long over.

        • McWarren

          Bugger off, there’s plenty of world class players in this team. We just ain’t a world class team, yet.

        • Willem Labuschagne

          Yes, I think there’s a tendency to overlook this. Given a leader like Nobody or Nick Farr-Jones, and/or a coaching team that gets its act together, there’s plenty of talent in the squad to make a dangerous team anyone would feel nervous about facing.

        • McWarren

          How many show go’s will Bernard throw though? Our running centres may be themost used decoys in test match history.

      • dsb

        Ahhh… that explains it but will they be effective?

      • Who?

        Cheika said it’s about combinations, and that argument has some credibility. But it does ignore that Quade’s played with Phipps for more years (if fewer games) than Foley. Given they played together in gold before Phipps moved to the Tahs. Phipps and Foley have a decent understanding, but I’d argue that Foley’s understanding with Beale is actually much stronger and more important. Quade and Kerevi have shown some promise this year, the real test in the backs will, for mine, be how Foley and Hodge combine in the 10/12 channel.
        But the bigger issue is back row balance… We have no one in the backrow to slow down AB ball, and the ABs already have the fastest clearance in the game. Without the ball being slowed even slightly, we’re going to be shadowing the ABs across the tryline out wide all night. I’m not saying simply “Drop Hooper!” I think Fardy/Hooper/Timani could work quite well – Fards and Hooper have played together plenty. Or it could be Mumm/Pocock/Timani. But I’m just not confident with that backrow’s balance…
        So, you got the headline wrong – if you’d wanted to maintain the rage, you should’ve made the headline “Mumm’s still in!” But that wouldn’t have played as much to the Qld bias that is often (incorrectly) believed to be behind all points of disagreement on this website… :-( Everyone – from WA, to Victoria (who finally have Timani in, but can still complain about Luke Jones being overlooked for so long, when he’s not a dissimilar player to Mumm), to Qld (who don’t actually have a state player that’s worth backing in over Mumm), to the ACT (Fardy!), and even some NSWelshmen and women could’ve jumped up and down, promoting national unity. :-P

      • McWarren

        Matt I think that’s a cop out excuse. What happens if Phipps is injured? Does Quade slot back in with Frisby? If Quade gets hurt do Frisby and Foley get dropped for Debs and Stirzacker? A quality international 10 should have no problem playing alongside any international standard 9.

    • harro

      Cheika benched Foley and played Cooper in the Bledisloe Cup decider at Eden Park last year. We got thumped 41-13 and Cooper gave away a yellow card and a penalty try. Cheika was then accused by some of wanting Quade to fail.

      • First time long time

        He also made 6 changes to the team that beat the All Blacks the week before… Why? More Cheika genius mind games?

        • harro

          Why, probably because he trusted his squad and wanted them all to play some tough rugby leading into the WC. Not rocket science

        • McWarren

          Yeah and then failed to take some form players from those games to the WC. Genius!!

        • First time long time

          You always seem to have a reason for something Cheika does, which would be great if what he was doing was working.
          What science was it? How did that spanking help us prepare for the RWC

        • harro

          Because there are reasons. It showed him who could and couldn’t play in high pressure situations. I understand we’ve been beaten three nil in a close series by a very good English side, and have been taught a couple of rugby lessons by possibly the best team to ever play the game. I don’t know who we could have put in charge that would have gotten different results. The only really poor match was against SA when we should have taken a drop goal to hit the lead late on but we didn’t

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah mate but I’d argue it wasn’t a very good English side. Time will tell on that as they have a few games to play this year but really apart from the one game you guys held them close for most of each match and also scored 9 tries which is only one less than the whole RC. I think they are an alright side, not good yet and certainly not very good. They fall of defence too much and apart if they lose one or two players then they’d struggle. I think they were lucky they had no major injury issues on the tour

        • First time long time

          Yeah sure Cheika had his reasons but I think they have been shown not to be sound.
          And subjectively, from my point of view we keep making bad decisions, not just Cooper.
          1 poor match this year???? That is a massive understatement

        • BloodRed

          Well he shouldn’t have trusted his squad, they failed. Continuing to build confidence, combinations and winning momentum would have made much more sense. It may not have anything to do with rockets but Cheika might want to pay attention to the Kiwis and learn a little about the science of rugby.

        • harro

          Maybe he’s learnt that lesson, he benched Quade after all

    • Warwick Todd

      The upside of Foley playing 10 is he’s not playing 12. He’s the worst Wallaby inside centre since Timana Tahu. Thank god Tom Carter retired, the temptation for Cheika would be irresistible.

      • onlinesideline

        while i domt like bagging individuals online, that is the plus side of foley being back at 10

  • Pedro

    I’m disappointed that Chieka hasn’t named an extended bench, changing that mainstay of his coaching technique could spell disaster.

    • Monk EyBoy

      bahahahahaha

    • Bobas

      he named the bench with no 6 replacement so no wallaby supporter knee-caps Mumm before kick off. Also why he delayed the team announcement.

    • Simon

      It’s okay – my faith in Cheika’s ability is such that I’m confident he’ll be able to pull off exactly the same result even without his extended bench.

      • Pedro

        Such is your faith that I will call you Peter from now on.

      • Willem Labuschagne

        Well put, sir!

    • Tim

      Im disappointed that Cooper didnt get moved to 6. Would be better at the line-out scrum and attack

      • jamie

        I reckon Cooper’s triple cut out passes would work very well throwing in at lineout time.

    • onlinesideline

      isnt it about time you got out of that hoodie ?

  • boris

    I have not seen one person on here agree with Mumm getting selected. At least if Cheika wont pick Fardy then he might pick Higgers instead of Mumm next year. Either that or we need one of Dempsey, Cottrell, Timani, RHP for example to step up and claim it.

    • jamie

      Timani is expected to play 6 and 8 at the same time now?!? Well, I spose he already does..

    • Smith

      I think the theory is that Mumm keeps the line-out strong, but then by that logic it might be a better idea to have our best line-out man there instead, ie Rob Simmons. Doesn’t matter that he doesn’t usually play 6,

      • jamie

        I remember Simmo playing 6 one game in 2013 when Fardy wasn’t available

    • mark conley

      Higgenbotham is getting on a tad, taking another step backwards surely?

    • Adrian

      Well….

      I wouldn’t select Mumm either, but from within this squad I would.

      Higgers isn’t in the squad, and has no recent form for Cheika to assess, even though he recently became eligible. The same goes for other guys who aren’t in the squad

      I think what Cheika sees in Mumm is a generally better footballer than some others.

      His plusses are:
      Adaptable in the luneout, not just a vertical jumper
      Lineout leadership, though not necessarily lineout calling.
      Our lineout has improved since he’s been a regular starter in recent weeks.
      General leadership, not just a robot.
      General athleticism (attack and defence) when compared to (say) Fardy or Simmons or Douglas
      His minus’s are:
      Not a hard scavenger
      Not a heavy tackler
      Not a high vertical jumper
      Not that big compared to Coleman
      Possibly a low workrate, looks lazy

      I think that Cheika’s issues with Fardy, Simmons, Douglas are about them not being able to adapt or innovate, whereas Mumm can.

      I know people in Sydney who are good judges, who see Mumm as a really good footballer, it just is that they don’t visit here

      • Who?

        I don’t see that any of his plusses put him ahead of Fardy, who equals all of them bar lineout leadership. Fardy’s jumping is Mumm’s equal – Fardy wasn’t the problem, the problem was the lack of a third jumping option, meaning that teams with four and even five genuine jumpers could easily contain us.
        I don’t think Mumm’s a bad footballer, it’s just that he’s a really good Super player. Not a really good Test player.
        I also would argue that going to Higgers would be a small step forward, as he has at least the same positives as Mumm when at his best, but he’s a touch younger.

  • Bobas

    I thought AAC would have come back for another chance to score a try and lose a game against NZ

  • Brian

    What an underwhelming side. For the 10th test match of 2016, one can only ponder what the reaction would be if this mid-match of talent and unproven combinations was the work of a foreign born coach. Maybe a Robbie Deans, a Jake White or a Stuart Lancaster? I fear it would have been punishing.

    This will go very badly tomorrow night. What a downfall from 12 months ago.

  • Rebel Yell

    What?? No Quade Cooper?? In a test at Eden Park?? Against the All Blacks??

    Seriously, who now is winning the All Blacks MOTM Award?

    • Tomthusiasm
      • The Big Lebowski

        …And. Got. His. Arse. Handed. To. Him. On. A. Plate.

        Knob.

        • First time long time

          Whether you think QC is a knob or not shouldn’t be the issue, there is plenty of evidence to support that point of view.
          But this is part of the problem with the way Aust rugby handled the whole Cooper Mccaw issues.
          Just before a RWC a lot of the vocal rugby public and a lot of ex wallabies turned on Cooper because they don’t like him and saw a chance to sink the boot in.
          Instead they should have called out McCaw and NZ for being precious whingers about a couple of trivial encounters and that’s all they were.

          The Wallabies should have seen it as getting under the ABs skin. Cooper was left to cop all the flack when the whole team should have said lets make them boo every one of us.
          Whatever happened to 1 in all in.

          Psychologically we are bullied by this great ABs team and have been for a decade

  • SuckerForRed

    While I would prefer Pocock in the 7 jersey I understand the logic of him being on the bench on his way back from injury.
    While I would prefer QC in 10, I understand the logic of having Foley at 10 when you have Phipps at 9. As other have said it is about the combination.
    I struggle with Mumm at 6 and Simmons in the squad. (There. See a QLDer can say it.) I didn’t think Douglas had played that badly or is he carrying an injury?
    Speaking of injuries – is TPN still injured? Not that I mind Chibba being on the bench just didn’t expect it.
    Will be interesting to see how Hodge goes at 12. And good to see Henry back.
    Despite the comment re Simmons above, I do think there is a good balance on the bench……. unless we lose 3 centres in the first half again…

  • Keith

    What an utter joke. The NSWU is destroying the game in this country.

    • first time long time

      +1. Cheika should be sacked.

      • Cheik Mate

        But he’s the current best coach in the world according to World Rugby.

      • first time long timte

        That’s not me

    • Bay35Pablo

      Pffft. Are you serious. Pappy and Poido doing best to be dickheads. NSWRU trying to soldier on. Do you know know what you are talking about? How is NSWRU at fault?

  • Kevino

    So last game before EOYT and we continue to see the same from Cheika. Honestly I am glad to be a Irish supporter when I look at the players the Wallabies persist with. The fact that this game is officially a dead rubber (I know it’s against the All Blacks) and at Eden Park so why not try something new to try break the Hoo Doo. It’s not like you have won there in my life time, you couldn’t even beat Ireland at RWC2011 cause of the Eden park curse.

    Front Row:
    Moore – Needs a Rest, would have been a good opportunity to start Hanson and Robertson.

    Second Row:
    No complaints, not even with Simmons on the bench.

    Back Row:
    Mumm – has some serious dirt on Cheika, no other reason for him to be picked. Would like to see McMahon get some time at 6 on EOYT with Hooper at 7 and Timani playing 8. Than have Fardy on the bench and you got a well balanced back row that will be around for a few years to come. Oh and Pocock is heading away for a year so give him an early rest.

    Scrum half:
    Phipps: No other choice has stood up this year, yes Frisby deserves some more game time but you can’t really tell me anyone else has demanded a shot on Super Rugby form this year. Meehan is unlucky Stirzaker is captain as he started the season well but was benched on NS return. Stirzaker just never looked the player of 2015 this season.

    Fly Half:
    Foley: Give him a rest, his done for the year. Needs some time off before doing a pre-season and getting back into form.
    QC: His the best 10 in the country and needs some selection consistency to find that confidence that everyone in World Rugby would love to see him play with again.

    Centers:
    No complaints, this could be the building of a great pairing for the Wallabies going forward. Hodge and Kerevi have the potential to compliment each others games quite well. Than with TK as your back up in the squad it’s a bright future in one position at least.

    Wings:
    Would love to see both Fijian flyers starting, nothing against DHP but his not a wing. Need to play players in their position or not at all.

    Full Back:
    I would be looking to rest Izzy after this test, his had a pretty full work load since joining union and needs some time to recover. Not looking as sharpe this test season and DHP should be given a chance in his preferred position. His done enough to deserve that at least.

    • Mica

      Nice assessment Kevino – can’t really argue with any of that.

    • jamie

      Agree with QC about everyone wanting to see him: When he’s on fire, there’s no one more exciting in world rugby. Sure, there may be better 10’s, but none that can single-handedly excite everyone at the stadium other than a prop making a linebreak.

      • Kevino

        Agree, unfortunately Sio and Kepu are not Robertson or Smith. So not going to see a line break from them.

        • jamie

          Bite your tongue! Kepu has wicked feet for a front rower.

    • Westo

      All fair points…PS Izzy will get two weeks rest until the Wales game…

    • McWarren

      Yep agree with all the above Kevino. The two most salient points for me are giving guys a rest, ala Moore, Foley & Folau, and playing players in there positions.

  • Hoss

    Got no issue with QC from the bench to hopefully close it out. You wont out razzle-dazzle the Dothraky for 80 minutes, but you might exploit some holes on their inside defence in the last 20, which QC can do better than any other in gold.

    I see the sense in the 9-10 combo from the Tah’s (as i did the Genia /QC combo from the reds) Foley probably offers a calmer head early and i sense that Chek may want Foley and co to keep us within range for 60 minutes for the finishers to have a crack at the last 20. I see Timani bashing them for 55 and some big carries, then make way for Poey to come own and with some pilfers, Foley to keep us in the Hunt for QC to work some magic, but for mine our locks will win or lose us this one – not through any flash play, but through shear workload in the grunt stuff.

    The Mumm issue has been done to death, but with two young locks an old head is needed – again i can see the value, maybe Fardy for Simmons on the pine, but i can live with it.

    I will always believe – therefore Wallabies 26 – Dothraky’s 24

    Hodge seals it with 55 metre bomb in 78th minute from Pocock penalty win at the breakdown.

    More pressure on the Blacks to win than on us, the longer we stay in the game the heavier that expectation weighs.

    Go you good things.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      gutsy call on the score mate. You guys do have a habit of breaking our streaks so who knows. I personally can’t see any significant improvement apart from Hodge at 12 which I feel may be nullified by Foley at 10 – unless he really steps up in a way he hasn’t so far this year. I like the lock pairing and so good to finally see some consistency there. I don’t see your loosies as a threat and I don’t think the AB’s will drop off enough at the end for your reserves to make a significant difference. I’m going AB’s by 15

      • Hoss

        KRL – call it blind, unrelenting faith. Certainly not based on form. I have very simple pleasures left in life – grant me this one.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’ll grant you the dream mate, but that’s the best I can do.

      • Gilbert

        Heck I am going to go by more i reckon 21 points at least.

      • Brad

        Doesn’t matter who’s at 12, 13,14,11 or 15, the ball won’t get past 9 &10 with their combined inept skills.

    • JET

      Mate this will be exactly like Bledisloe I in Sydney and will be all over as a contest by halftime. The best outcome will be the All Blacks empty their bench early in the 2nd half, their backline loses shape and we restrict them to 10-15 points in the last 20 minutes.

    • Fatflanker

      Talking a beautiful game there, Hoss, although I think the final winning try to the Wallabies will come from a bollocking 80m charge from Mumm after the ABs kick it back to us in the last 60 seconds of the game!

  • reggie

    One step forward two steps back

  • Joy

    I’m quite pleased Dean Mumm has been selected. With the Foley over Cooper fiasco god knows who Cheika would have dug up for Mumm.

    Cheika has sacrificed vision for short sightedness, reasonable for terrible field kicking and, with Foley’s restricted pass and the die with the ball Ashley-Cooper-esque Hodge next door, has virtually cut Kerevi out of the attack.

    Oh, and without Cooper the combined creative IQ of the side has taken a hammering.

    Arnald is OK but will be cut in half and wont last. Pocock on the bench is a waste of talent. If he is not fit he shouldn’t be there at all.

    If Australia get close it will require a massive defensive effort – like the last Wales game. But they wont and there will be no Emperor Waltz for Aussies at Eden Park. Thank God Andre Rieu is in town.

  • RugbyReg
    • Brisneyland Local

      Know how you are feeling Reg!

    • jamie

      Is that the ‘get angry’ or the more calm, more dangerous: ‘let’s do this’ clenched fist?

  • Kev

    I’m really scared to watch this match.

  • Frank

    I think the Wallabies win tomorrow night. I mean think about it… who the hell would want to have on their record they coached or played in the only Wallaby side in over 100 years to lose 2 series 3-0 in the same season?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Good point well made

  • Smith

    The ABs will fan out the attack and commit less players to the break down, without Fardy and Pocock, they will get lightning quick ball. Hooper will be thrown around like a doll, Timani is not a fetcher, and Mumm will be doing nothing but waiting around inanimately. The Bus will either plow right through Speight and DHP, or the defence will just be out run on the fringes by Dagg and Smith

    • Who?

      Whilst I think Cooper’s shown more than Foley this year, I’m far less concerned about him not being there than the complete and total lack of an onballer in the loose forwards. We needed at least one of Fardy or Pocock in there, your assessment is absolutely spot on.

  • AlanDownunder

    I have a sneaking suspicion that half the people now grousing about Cooper’s exclusion were grousing about his inclusion for last year’s Eden Park visit.

    http://www.news.com.au/sport/rugby/quade-cooper-is-public-enemy-no-1-after-a-horror-show-in-bledisloe-loss/news-story/38de12ab9e0c59231b552a47fc3f8569

  • Terry T

    I think everyone just needs to calm right down! I mean Rod Kafer has already told us this week on Rugby360 that the biggest story of 2016 was the Owen Franks incident in Bledisloe II in Wellington! Remember the one with no penalty, no card, no citing and no complaint from the impacted Kane Douglas. Whatever unfolds at Eden Park tomorrow can upstage that issue right?

    Oh my Lord, what in God’s name has come over Australian rugby in 2016. Exactly 1 year ago we were preparing for a World Cup final. Now we stumble from one act of stupidity to the next. This Wallaby team is just dreadful.

    • McWarren

      A bit harsh, ranked three in the world, 2nd in the RC. I know we’re a whinging bunch of mongrels here but dreadful is over the top. Disorganised maybe. Not many teams get to play 8 games against the top three Rugby nations a year after the World Cup. I wish now we’d had Wales tour and started the RC against the Boks or Argies. Yes I’m critical of Cheika, his selections and some players but I don’t think we are a dreadful laughing stock.

      • Terry T

        The great Hall of Fame NFL coach Bill Parcels always said “You are what your record says you are”. Sadly McWarren, I would suggest a Wallaby team that by Sunday morning will have a record for 2016 that shows Played 10, Won 3, Lost 7 is not good at all.

        For a team that just 12 months earlier was competing for the World Cup with the same coaching group (ex Mick Byrne) and same core playing group (13 of the 23) makes it worse.

        To be playing against the same team you met in the RWC Final who in the same preceding 12 months lost 6 key players but are unbeaten in 2016 and have exploded to a new playing level makes it worse still.

        To have the Wallabies out-thought,out-prepared and out-played in a home 3-0 whitewash against England in June is alarming.

        To be beaten by a combined 71-17 in the 2 Bledisloe Cup tests in August is worrying.

        To have your 5 professional franchises in an expanded Super Rugby competition this year finish (in terms of competition points scored) 7th, 10th, 12th, 15th, 16th is unimpressive.

        To have the Wallaby coach in April say he was not concerned by the form of the Australians sides in Super Rugby is just that – concerning.

        To have the former champion Queensland Reds further implode on the field with a fired coach and a Won 3, Lost 11, Drew 1 record is unacceptable.

        To have the former champion Brumbirs implode off the field with a Boardroom scandal, a Police forensic investigation and a legal dispute with the dismissed CEO is disturbing.

        To have a messy public spat brewing between disgruntled former Wallabies and ARU CEO Bill Pulver is poor.

        In light of all those issues, to have your lead TV analyst Rod Kafer on the final weekly Rugby show of the year cite a non-penalised incident involving All Black prop Owen Franks and Wallaby lock Kane Douglas as his Biggest Story of 2016 is to me – dreadful!

        • McWarren

          Mate with all that has gone wrong this year, including bad personal performances from individuals, after watching that game do you think they are still dreadful?

          You said this Wallaby team was dreadful, Despite all the things out of the control of the players that you mention above they still performed well enough to hold their heads up high tonight and finish second in RC. Sounds like the basis of a team anything but dreadful to me.

          Mate I might be critical of the coach and the players at times but I’ve never ridiculed them.

  • Gottsy

    Here’s my wallabies predictions for the game-

    Phipps will be erratic in his passing all night. Backing play from 10 will be one dimensional, but will be put under pressure by service from the back of the ruck.
    Hodge will have an impact at 12, but won’t get as much to work with as a debutant in the position would hope for.
    Dean Mumm will do fuck all again.
    Pocock will only be useful if he replaces Hooper. Simmons could replace Mumm but won’t, cheika will probably sub timani for poey and then we will be torn apart.
    Hooper will continue to run around like a headless chicken and throw our defensive line out. DHP will again toil hard but suffer on the wing, and izzy will be nullified at fullback. Arnold and Coleman will step up again, hopefully their tackles stay down though.
    I think it will be a close game, but somehow I don’t see us stopping their charge to the record.

    • jamie

      Why would we replace Hooper? He’s our most complete footballer and lead TRC in every stat that mattered as a 7

      • Gottsy

        That’s my problem, he’s just too good of a player to leave out. I actually don’t wish he would stop shooting out off the line, I wish the others would match his tenacity!
        My point (not very well made above) is that we need to pick our team for balance. Mumm at 6 is exposed by Hooper’s work rate, would be nice to see another terrier in there at six (like McMahon)
        While pocock is on the bench as the only back rower, the only person I foresee cheika putting him on for is timani, which the AB’s won’t mind, as by the look of the last three or four tests against them, they’ve well and truly figured out how to nullify the pooper

      • Gottsy

        Oh and I meant replace as in substitution, not replace in the team haha

  • Spank

    Hoping that Higginbotham is in top form next year for the Reds. Gives us a genuine blindside flanker and not a make shift lock. Unfortunately Cheika doesn’t like him. Alternatively McMahon who is all heart.

  • Manel Queiros

    I don’t understand why Cheik doesn’t have the balls to put Foley on the bench and put Quade out there at ten directing the attack.. When Quade was at his best, in 2011 he always played with hard running men outside of him, (faiinga, pat maccabe, even ben tapuai) and what he can do best is to put them in space. But with a ball player like Foley outside of him is like having a common n10 trying to play a game without making any errors but without spark anything on the attack as well! If Cheik wants to put Hodge at inside center (which I think is the best option for him) you have to play with Quade and not Foley. The only time Foley played without a ball player at 12 was against England and I remember the outcome of that… He is used to play with talented guys outside such as Beale or Gits or even Toomua, but having him alone at ten I think it is not going to be enough to spark sth in our backline, specially against NZ

    • Harry

      You appear to be making the assumptions that a/ Quade Cooper is the same player he was 5 years ago in 2011 and b/ he would play well tonight at Eden Park, a ground he has always struggled. In both cases I would dispute your views.

  • Tight head

    Remember to tackle. Always helps

  • onlinesideline

    The biggest fall since the RWC final is Kuridrani. No-one seems to be talking about it.
    Hes completely gone…incredible..what happened to the bloke ?
    Gone are TK, Fardy, Horwill, Carter, Mcalman, Slipper … who else ?

    • Harry

      I think like many Wallabies in 2016, never adhered to standards, never felt genuine competitive threat for his position and therefore never put in the work on training and conditioning and therefore lost his threat.

    • jamie

      I don’t even think he was that good during the RWC: 2014 was his best year.

  • Ruddyright

    Nice to see the best new player in Hodge get the opportunity, think this brings a bit more attack to the line (and the kicking cant hurt), moving Quade to be an impact player could be a good call, im sure the AB’s will be tired later in the game and will be dazzled by his skill and flare… The only player that hasnt been put in his correct place is Izzy….running off Hodge will be his forte.

  • Bozo

    I know Michael Cheika has received some criticism for not selecting Quade Cooper for tonight, but I want to thank him for making my life easier. This week we could not decide whether to spend Saturday afternoon watching a comedy movie, going to the circus, or seeing Quade Cooper play at Eden Park. Our choice is now down to 2.

  • st saens

    Just watched the women’s test. While Australia were well beaten, the quality of play was pretty damn good. Fun game to watch. The total crowd at the start of the game (national anthems, haka, kick off) was about six. WTF…this is a disgrace. If you are going to an All Blacks v Wallabies test and the curtain raiser is Wallaroos v Black ferns, for god’s sake get out there early and support your national team(s).

    • jamie

      People aren’t going to show up for what isn’t the best quality.
      Besides, I don’t support my national basketball team because it isn’t in my interest.

      • st saens

        Hi Jamie. Like you, I could not give a toss about basketball “it isn’t in my interest”…but I do support the Opals and Boomers when they are playing…national pride I guess. Kyle Chalmers would beat Libby Trickett by multiple seconds over 100m freestyle. Did I enjoy Libby’s success every bit as much as Kyle’s? Yes. Did I enjoy Kathy Freeman’s success as much as Ralph Doubell’s? yes yes yes. Nothing personal in this reply, but I would like to see a world where women’s TEAM sports were appreciated by us men as such as women’s individual sports. More power to the girls. You may as well inherit the earth, because “god” (whatever that is) knows, you could not do any worse than us blokes have.

  • RobC

    Good one Matt. QC = viral

    Mumm was the contentious one

  • Harry Webb

    Interesting that the article mentioned someone’s appearance in the “gold jersey”, and while this site is called Green and Gold Rugby, there is precious little green about the jersey, and hasn’t been since the ARU caved into South Africa many years ago.

    Fortunately the Kangaroos jersey remains predominantly green, and most Australian sporting teams are either roughly equal in colours or more green than gold.

  • Jy

    On a positive note, loving Reece Hodge at 12!

  • harro

    Plenty of them around, though. I believe I said the same as you but only in the opposite order. What was the yellow card for?

  • Adrian

    100% true TWAS

  • jamie

    High tackle, as Smith dived under the posts Cooper got him.

  • Irrelevant – it’s not White on Saturday, it’s Phipps

    Fucksake

  • Bay35Pablo

    Only loyal to backs, not forwards. Except Mumm.

  • Who?

    Deans was the same – first year they were great, second year…

  • BloodRed

    What you really mean is “irrelevant because you’re a QLD supporter and everyone who’s sharp enough to live in Sydney knows that Queenslanders all wear tin foil hats and think link was hard done by. Time to turn up the collar, slip on the deck shoes and crack open the chardy. Now how do we get Tom Carter out of retirement? He’d be the perfect foil to Foley”

  • Lee Enfield

    Foley barely plays at an acceptable level in a test anywhere.

  • TheMountain

    Just played a very acceptable test in Auckland, didn’t get carded either…

  • Willem Labuschagne

    Link was indeed hard done by.

    Now where’s that tinfoil?

Wallabies
@MattRowley

Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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