Wednesday’s rugby news has Cheika flexible with his halves, the Waratahs coaching staff solidified, some promising re-signings at the Brumbies and Warran Gatland trash-talk
Halves combination left open
Bernard Foley has hinted that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika may not settle with one halves combination during the World Cup. “I don’t know if it is ever going to be set,” Foley said on Tuesday after Wallabies training, where combinations were still being switched. “The way Cheik wants to play … I think it’s a bit of a horses for courses mentality.”
Foley also said that the squad’s preparations had further intensified as they grow closer to the World Cup. Saturday’s Test against the US is the Wallabies’ last game before their World Cup opener against Fiji on September 23.
Nathan Grey re-signs
Nathan Grey will stay on as assistant coach of the NSW Waratahs for the next Super Rugby season, working under new head coach Daryl Gibson. The former 35-Test Wallaby will work alongside new coaching recruits Cameron Blades and Chris Malone.
Grey said he was looking forward to shaping the next generation of incoming players after some senior departures including centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, prop Sekope Kepu, No.8 Wycliff Palu and halfback Brendan McKibbin. “There is a vacuum there, so we will be looking to our younger players to get stuck in straight away and really stake a claim with how they train and play,” he said.
Contract extensions at Brumbies
The Brumbies have announced that wing Lausii Taliauli and tighthead prop Ruan Smith have both signed contract extensions with the Canberra-based outfit. Former Australian Sevens representative Taliauli signed a new one-year deal while the promising front-row prospect Smith has signed a new two-year deal.
Brumbies CEO Michael Jones emphasised that the retention of both Taliauli and Smith adds great depth to the Brumbies squad, saying “Ruan is one of the best up-and-coming tighthead props in Australia,” while saying of Taliauli, “His pace and size make him a dangerous player to mark for any opposition.”
Gatland dismisses English chances
Warren Gatland has turned the heat on group rivals England, saying they have plenty of questions that must be answered heading into the Rugby World Cup pool of death. “We are much more settled,” said Gatland after naming his 31-man World Cup squad. “England have got the problem of which way they want to play and who they want to play.”
The Wales coach cited the uncertainties for the English team in the halves, midfield and backrow. Gatland still has some major concerns going into the tournament, with niggling injuries to Alun Wyn-Jones, Luke Charteris and captain Sam Warburton.