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Thread: Connolly backs second-stringers

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    Connolly backs second-stringers

    Connolly backs second-stringers

    PA Sport
    Sunday, September 23, 2007 - 09:54 AM (AEST)


    Wallabies coach John Connolly does not believe the World Cup's credibility is being undermined by the likes of Scotland and Fiji naming second-string teams this weekend.

    Fiji has made 11 changes for the clash with the Wallabies in Montpellier, essentially to ensure it can be at full-strength for a potentially decisive showdown with Wales next weekend.

    And Scotland, with one eye on its own winner-takes-all encounter with Italy, has taken the same approach for its game against tournament favourites New Zealand at Murrayfield.

    The idea of prioritising Tests is more practical than it is romantic - but Connolly insists it is exactly the right move from both Fiji and Scotland.

    "The World Cup is a wonderful celebration of rugby and the goal of the teams is to make the quarter-finals. You do whatever you have to do to make it," he said.

    "Scotland obviously feel the big game in their pool is the Italy one. If they win it they go through so you can understand it."

    "If we get out of this game I think we will make some changes next week, even though we have full respect Canada."

    If Connolly needed reminding how much of a banana skin Fiji could be for the Wallabies, one glance at the television coverage of South Africa's narrow escape against Tonga did just that.

    "Rugby has evolved over the last 10 or 12 years. Everyone has good coaches, analyst coaches and so forth," he said.

    "And if you don't turn up in the right frame of mind to play the game you can get beaten by anyone. We have seen that during this tournament."

    Encouraging that mindset falls to Gregan this week, who captains Australia for a record-equalling 59th time after Stirling Mortlock was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

    In Mortlock's absence, Adam Ashley-Cooper returns from injury to start in the centres.

    The only other concern in the squad is scrum-half Sam Cordingley, who missed training with the flu but is expected to be fit to take his place on the bench.

    Fiji coach Ilie Tabua fiercely rejected the idea he had named a side to be sacrificed at the Stade de la Mosson.

    "On paper you may think that this is a weaker side, but gentlemen these people are representing Fiji," Tabua said.

    "This is a World Cup it's not some Mickey Mouse game. This is the best team that we can name at this moment."

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    If they are playing second stringers because they don't think they have a chance to win and they fear injury, than I hope Scotland & Fiji lose both games and don't make the quarters. Play your best players, unless you have already made it.

    Go Italy & Go Wales!

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    I dunno Larry...i can understand it. I mean the minnows know they're not going to win but they still want to get the best result they can.

    "And if you don't turn up in the right frame of mind to play the game you can get beaten by anyone. We have seen that during this tournament."
    That really seems to the one of the main points - if fiji fielded their best team against australia today they're still likely to get hammered....that is completely demoralising and doesn't put them in a good frame or mind to tackle wales whom they have a better chance against...

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    Veteran Contributor LarryNJ's Avatar
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    But what if they put on a decent showing even in a losing effort? Than they go into the Wales game flying high. I don't agree with quitting before the game has even started. Soft Scots

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    I don't see it as quitting...i see it as choosing your battles

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