This is exactly what I am thinking. Surely RA need to sign off on any additions to the squad, at it's not beyond reality that someone refused to sign off on Pietsch.
Ikitau has travelled to the UK to be with the BaaBaas.
This Dylan Pietsch "pack your bags... unpack your bags" thing has me thinking... either:
1) Someone in the RA hierarchy has pulled veto and told Jones not to substitute a rookie for a rookie; or,
2) Eddie really has lost his marbles and is at panic stations.
I can't quite deduce which one...
I doubt we would have been able to secure Eddie from 2024 in Jan 2023. He doesn't seem like the type to sit around and wait (even if we was on his cushy RFU pension). He was fielding high value offers from other unions (USA were interested, likewise Japan).
Who do we replace them with?
Blokes that aren't with the squad and would have 5 days to come up to speed and build connections? No thanks.
Let's stick with the flawed cattle we have and but the cattle prod in the fire....
Michael Hooper wouldn't have made an ounce of difference today. We were physically basted off the ball by the Fijian midfield and loose trio.
Michael Hooper was a bouncy ball against South Africa under similar circumstances - recoiling in defense over and over.
I quite like the idea of:
Pools - Phase 1: 24 teams - 8 pools of 3 - top 2 progress
Pools - Phase 2: 16 teams - 4 pools of 4 - top 2 progress
Quarter Finals: 8 teams - winners progress
Semi Finals: 4 teams - winners progress
RWC Champion - France
RWC Runner Up - New Zealand
RWC 3rd Place - Australia
RWC 4th Place - Argentina
Pool A Winner - New Zealand
Pool A Runner Up - France
Pool B Winner - South Africa
Pool B Runner Up - Ireland
Pool C Winner - Australia
Pool C Runner Up - Fiji
Pool D Winner - Argentina
Looks like Ikitau has completed his first contract training today. Video posted to his instagram.
He looks quite ginger and timid in contact. Good news that the injury is progressing and looks like he'll be ready if required.