Wednesday’s Rugby News has the spring Wallabies, a new-look Wallaroos squad, new Reds coaches and the Force are builder towards the future with the signing of a local scaffolder.
Spring Tour Squad
Michael Cheika has named the Spring Tour squad for the upcoming games against Wales, Scotland, France, Ireland and England.
Marika Koroibete, the new NRL convert who hasn’t played a game of rugby in Australia yet, is a controversial inclusion in the squad. Though if he comes on late against England, scores a hat trick, and in his celebration somehow lobotomises Steve Hansen, the complaining would probably stop, or at least die down for a while.
Kyle Godwin and Tolu Latu are two debutants from the NRC named in the squad, while Will Genia also returns.
Meanwhile, Godwin has publicly sympathised with ex-Force teammate Luke Morahan, after Morahan was overlooked for the Wallabies squad.
“Obviously you feel for those players (who miss out),” Godwin said, reports News.com.au. “Luke Morahan has been pushing his case and had an unbelievable NRC and training the house down in the Wallabies squad. It’s unfortunate but it’s one of those things; it’s the nature of sport.”
Squad: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Quade Cooper, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Nick Frisby, Will Genia, Kyle Godwin*, James Hanson, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Sekope Kepu, Marika Koroibete*, Tevita Kuridrani, Tolu Latu*, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, Dean Mumm, Sefanaia Naivalu, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tom Robertson, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Will Skelton, Henry Speight, James Slipper, Lopeti Timani
Wallaroos coach Paul Verrell is ripping it up and starting again, making six changes to the side (which had twelve debutants) that were mashed up 67-3 by the Black Ferns on Saturday.
The Wallaroos are set to do it all again, facing the Kiwis later today in Auckland.
“We are very disappointed with many facets of our game on Saturday but we have owned up to our mistakes and have to move on to raise our standards,’’ Verrell said, according to Fox Sports.
“This Wednesday is a big game for us to restore some pride in the Wallaroos jersey and for several players to show what they can do less than a year out from the women’s Rugby World Cup. We have started a long journey to be at the standard that we want to play at and we must continue to make inroads starting with the second Test against the Black Ferns.”
Mollie Gray will go to number eight, with Ariana Kaiwai (openside) and Grace Hamilton (blindside) moving to either side of the backrow after impressive debuts from the bench. Sarah Riordan will swap #15 for #12, and she’ll have Katrina Barker on her outside. Chloe Leaupepe will make her debut for Australia at fullback.
Squad: 1. Louise Burrows 2. Alanna Patison 3. Hanna Ngaha 4. Alisha Hewett 5. Chloe Butler 6. Grace Hamilton 7. Ariana Kaiwai 8. Mollie Gray 9. Iliseva Batibasaga 10. Ash Hewson 11. Madeline Putz 12. Sarah Riordan 13. Katrina Barker 14. Cobie-Jane Morgan 15. Chloe Leaupepe
Finishers: 16. Ivy Kaleta 17. Emily Robinson 18. Danielle Meskell 19. Michelle Bailey 20. Liz Patu 21. Kirby Sefo 22. Nareta Marsters 23. Cheyenne Campbell
The Qld Reds are going all-in next year, appointing two highly-rated rookie coaches as Nick Stiles’ assistants next season. So says The West Australian.
Jason Gilmore and Shane Arnold are the names expected to help Stiles, with Gilmore looking after the defence, while Arnold will be teaching the squad how to attack.
While both rookies, it seems that both coaches are well-established in the Reds system and have a Gordon Bray-level of relationship with both the senior and junior squads. Both coaches have also previously sat in the hot seat for both NRC clubs with Gilmore looking after Country and Arnold City.
These promotions also mean that yogi and current contact coach for the Reds, Brad Thorn, will also now take charge of the u20s.
Meanwhile, the West Australian also reports that the Force have signed local/Kiwi Michael Ruru as a backup scrumhalf for next year. Ruru quit his job as a scaffolder to take up his dream job.
“I finish up work this week and then I start. Super Rugby was the goal, it was the dream. It’s a big step up but it’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Ruru said. “I’m looking forward to it, I like a good challenge…it’s got to be better than working.”
It also turns out Kiwis can still be dicks about Australian rugby even if it means one of their family members has got a new exciting job. As the article says:
Ruru still has family in New Zealand including younger brother Jonathan who is in his first year of the NRC with Otago. “They laughed for a little bit when I told them I had joined an Australian club but they are happy for me,” Ruru said.