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Thread: Qantas Wallabies named for Tri Nations Opener

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    Qantas Wallabies named for Tri Nations Opener

    July 14, 2009 - 12:45pm
    Story by: ARU
    Wycliff Palu is starting at No. 8 for Saturday night’s Bundaberg Rum Tri Nations Series opener against New Zealand


    The return of Wycliff Palu is the only change to the Qantas Wallabies starting XV for Saturday night’s Bundaberg Rum Tri Nations Series opener against New Zealand, from the combination which started in the 22-6 win over France in Sydney last month.

    Palu is included for the trip to Auckland after successfully negotiating without further injury problems, two club matches for Manly in recent weeks, coming back from a hand injury.

    The 26-year-old No 8, who will be playing his 29th Test, broke two separate bones in his hand while playing for the NSW Waratahs during the Investec Super 14. He was brought back into Australia’s squad for the Tri Nations after missing the Wallabies’ opening four matches of the year.

    Palu takes the place of utility forward Dean Mumm, with the Western Force loose forward Richard Brown switching from the back of the scrum to the blindside flank position, from where he will start a Test match for the first time.

    Mumm is included on a bench that features a five-two split, with Queensland Reds halfback Will Genia and 19-year-old James O’Connor the only backline replacements listed.

    The forward-orientated make-up on the bench allows for the inclusion of two openside flankers, David Pocock and Phil Waugh.

    The 21-year-old Genia, who is a newcomer to the Qantas Wallabies squad for the Tri Nations, will become the 835th player to have appeared for Australia in Test matches should he be required to take the field at Eden Park.

    Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says the selection represents the strongest combination available for what is shaping as the stiffest Test Australia has faced to date in 2009.

    “We have made good progress, and the relative consistency of our selection reflects that, but no one is getting ahead of themselves. Playing New Zealand at Eden Park is going to be a major step up on what we have faced so far,” Deans says.

    “You only have to look at the history – in terms of the All Blacks’ outstanding record at Eden Park – and their current circumstance, to appreciate the size of the task that is in front of us.”

    Deans noted that the All Blacks’ current circumstance, both in terms of the level of expectations around the game and the personnel who are returning to the team, made for an almost identical pre-game scenario to last year’s corresponding match at the same venue, where New Zealand bolted to a 21-10 halftime advantage and forged on to win 39-10.

    “We were simply not good enough and got found out in a big way during this match last year. Saturday night, returning to the same venue, offers us an opportunity to see how much progress we have made as a group in the time since,” Deans says.

    Significantly 12 of the players who have been named in the starting line-up today also started for Australia on its most recent visit to Eden Park. Five of the seven players from Australia’s match night squad who were not involved in this game last year are on the bench.

    The Wallabies cross the Tasman Sea having dispatched the Barbarians (55-7), Italy (31-8 & 34-12) and France (22-6) so far this year.

    Australia has not conceded a try in its last 197 minutes of play since Italian winger Kaine Robertson cracked the Wallaby defence in the 43rd minute of his team’s 8-31 loss in Canberra.

    One of the central figures in Australia’s strong start to the international season is flanker George Smith, whose selection today sees him named to play his 100th Test match on the same day that he celebrates his 29th birthday.

    “It’s an outstanding achievement,” Deans says of his openside flanker.

    “Hopefully we can do the occasion justice as a team.”

    The Wallabies depart for Auckland tomorrow ahead of the match; the opener to the 14th edition of the annual three-nation tournament, which the All Blacks won for the ninth time last year.

    History underlines what a demanding start to the competition it is as Australia last won at Eden Park in 1986.

    New Zealand has won the last 10 trans-Tasman Tests in Auckland, and has not been defeated at Eden Park by any country since France prevailed 23-20 in 1994, 20-matches ago.

    The Auckland visit also heralds the start of the annual Bledisloe Cup rivalry, which for a second year will stretch beyond the Tri-Nations tournament, concluding with an historic trans-Tasman Test match in Tokyo on 31 October.

    The Wallabies must win three of the four Tests against the All Blacks to relieve the New Zealanders of the trophy, which Australia hasn’t held since it was surrendered to an All Black team co-coached by the current Qantas Wallabies mentor in 2003.

    The Bledisloe Cup was first contested by Australia and New Zealand in 1931.

    The Qantas Wallabies team to play New Zealand in the Bundaberg Rum Tri Nations Series at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday 18 July, 7.35pm kick off, (5.35pm, AEST), is:
    15. Adam Ashley-Cooper(Brumbies)14. Lachie Turner(NSW Waratahs)13. Stirling Mortlock(Brumbies, captain)12. Berrick Barnes(Queensland Reds)11. Drew Mitchell(Western Force)10. Matt Giteau(Brumbies)9. Luke Burgess(NSW Waratahs)8. Wycliff Palu
    (NSW Waratahs)7. George Smith(Brumbies)6. Richard Brown(Western Force)5. Nathan Sharpe(Western Force)4. James Horwill(Queensland Reds)3. Al Baxter(NSW Waratahs)2. Stephen Moore(Brumbies)1. Benn Robinson(NSW Waratahs) Run on reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau(NSW Waratahs)17. Ben Alexander(Brumbies)18. Dean Mumm(NSW Waratahs)19. Phil Waugh(NSW Waratahs)20. David Pocock(Western Force)21. Will Genia(Queensland Reds)22. James O'Connor(Western Force)
    Australia v New Zealand – Historical Notes
    • Australia hasn’t prevailed at Eden Park since 1986, when an Andrew Slack-led side won 22-9 to claim the Bledisloe Cup after a 2-1 series win.
    • The last example of an Australian win on New Zealand soil was in 2001, when the Wallabies scored 23-15 in Dunedin. George Smith, who started, and Phil Waugh, who came from the bench, are the only players from either side who remain from that day. The All Blacks have won the eight games that have been played between the two teams in New Zealand since that match.
    • The first Test between Australia and New Zealand in Auckland was played in 1925, with the home side winning 36-10.
    • There have been 22 Tests between the two sides in the city, with New Zealand winning 18 of those contests and Australia four.
    • Australia’s wins were achieved in 1949 (16-9), 1955 (8-3), 1978 (30-16) and 1986 (22-9).
    • New Zealand has won the last 10 Tests it has played against Australia at Eden Park, and has not been defeated on the ground by any country since France prevailed 23-20 in 1994.
    • The All Black winning sequence at Eden Park stands at 19 matches, while they have been undefeated in 20, with the run starting in an 18-18 draw against South Africa in 1994.
    • George Smith will play his 21st Test against New Zealand, and the 100th of his career, becoming just the 10th player in history, and the fourth Wallaby, to reach a century of Test appearances.
    • In playing his 21st Test against the All Blacks, Smith matches the career tally of appearances against that nation achieved by the Wallaby legends John Eales, Nick Farr Jones and Simon Poidevin. Only five players from any country – Australians David Campese (29), George Gregan (27), Tim Horan (23), Stephen Larkham and Phil Kearns (both 22) – have played more Tests against New Zealand.

    http://www.rugby.com.au/news/wallabi.../section/21893

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    11. Drew Mitchell(Western Force)10. Matt Giteau(Brumbies)

    Ballzy move going into this one with a 5-2 Bench.
    Hopefully it indicates a clean bill of health for all the Backs going in.
    Dunno if it is as reliable as TEF's waters but I got a good feeling about this one, first win in 23 years here we come

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    The bench is a clear sign that it is all about the breakdown and set piece. No real surprise there though.

    Forecast is "North Island, In the north and west, fine at first, then showers with strengthening west or southwest winds. Max 15°C, Min 8°C"

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    5-2 is a brave move & the backline could be exposed if a couple of knocks are suffered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JediKnight View Post
    5-2 is a brave move & the backline could be exposed if a couple of knocks are suffered.
    Yes, but the All Blacks would never put a bounty on the head of any player. (Well, not quite so obviously as BoD anyway.)

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    Payback time as Wallabies return to killing ground

    Greg Growden Chief Rugby Correspondent | July 15, 2009

    THE Wallabies head for Auckland today believing they are better prepared, smarter and more resourceful than the team that was humiliated at Eden Park a year ago.

    After the selectors yesterday named 12 of the same starting XV thrashed 39-10 by the All Blacks in Auckland last August for Saturday night's Test, coach Robbie Deans yesterday stressed his squad had learnt from that embarrassing experience and would be primed for the New Zealand onslaught.

    To win the four-match Bledisloe Cup series this year, the Wallabies have the demanding task of defeating the All Blacks at least three times, and at least once on New Zealand soil, with Australia returning to Wellington in September.

    Shortly after announcing the team, with the only changes to the starting XV being Wycliff Palu regaining his No.8 spot and Richard Brown moving to blindside breakaway, Deans said his squad, compared to the 2008 team which went to Auckland, was "in better shape".

    "We will be better, and believe we're a better side … but whether that's good enough remains to be seen," Deans said. "We're a different side to what we were 12 months ago, but so are the All Blacks. The key now is adapting to the All Blacks."

    It all revolves around the Wallabies being able to handle an opposition that is revitalised by the return of skipper Richie McCaw and which is so proud of its extraordinary record at Eden Park. There it is unbeaten since 1994, with 19 Test wins.

    The Wallabies discovered the brutality of the All Blacks last year when an intense opposition, widely criticised in the days leading up to the game, bit back.

    "Last year we were caught on the hop," Deans said. "At that point, they [the All Blacks] had lost two games, and back at Eden Park we experienced the response. While we went into that game hopeful and thought we had prepared effectively, the ferocity that night is exactly what we will experience this weekend. The circumstances are identical. And ultimately we still have to bring something that makes us deserving."

    To be better equipped, Deans has bolstered the back row by including Palu, and having two openside breakaways - Phil Waugh and David Pocock - on the bench. This emphasises that Australia are aware the game will be won at the breakdown, and the more Wallaby scavengers they have at their disposal the better.

    Fast, effective replacements late in the game will also be crucial.

    "We've obviously gone for athleticism at No.6, but in the end, the number on their backs doesn't really matter," Deans said. "Richard is familiar with playing on the side of the scrum, while the inclusion of Wycliff provides us with a real physicality.

    "We get the ability to carry the ball, and both blokes have high work rates. We've also got a lot of fresh, keen blokes on the bench."

    When asked why both Pocock and Waugh were on the bench, Deans said the tackle area would be the prime "contest".

    "It's going to be physical and it will be fast. And where we didn't play 80 minutes last year in Auckland, we have to play 80 minutes this time around. What makes up that contest, we don't really know, but we believe we've chosen a group of players that will serve us well on the day.

    "Blokes who are good over the ball are good at any stage of the game. There is the chance now for players who claim good position first for greater reward, through the changed law interpretations at the tackle."

    AUSTRALIA: Adam Ashley-Cooper; Lachie Turner, Stirling Mortlock (c), Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell; Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess; Wycliff Palu, George Smith, Richard Brown, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Res: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Ben Alexander, Dean Mumm, David Pocock, Phil Waugh, Will Genia, James O'Connor


    http://www.rugbyheaven.com.au/news/n...337111294.html

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    Crikey!!! A full article without any mention of outside BS!!!
    Must have changed pie brands or something!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    Crikey!!! A full article without any mention of outside BS!!!
    Must have changed pie brands or something!!!
    Or someone else wrote it for him!!!

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    Robbie Deans adds finishing touches to Wallabies

    Bret Harris | July 15, 2009
    Article from: The Australian

    WALLABIES coach Robbie Deans has selected a reserves bench for the opening Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks on Saturday designed to finish the game stronger in the area where he believes it will be won and lost.

    After splitting the first two Tests against the All Blacks in Sydney and Auckland last year, the series was decided in Brisbane and Hong Kong.

    In the final two Tests the Wallabies put themselves in match-winning situations at the 60-minute mark, only to lose the games in the final 20 minutes.

    For Saturday's Test in Auckland, Deans has chosen a five/two split between forwards and backs on the bench, which means, if you count reserve Dean Mumm as a lock/flanker, the Wallabies will have six backrowers in their squad of 22.

    As expected, Deans recalled number eight Wycliff Palu to the starting line-up and shifted Richard Brown to blindside flanker to partner openside flanker George Smith in the backrow. But Deans can also call on two openside flankers, David Pocock and Phil Waugh, to increase the tempo of the game in the latter stages and continue to combat hard at the breakdown.

    It is a deliberate, strategic move to minimise the All Black threat at the end of the game and strengthen a point of weakness in the Wallabies' play.

    "You can only put 15 blokes on the ground at a time," Deans said.

    'It's where we expect the contest to be. It's going to be physical. It will be fast and where we possibly didn't play 80 minutes last year, we'll have to play 80 minutes this year."

    The return of Palu, who has recovered from a broken hand, will provide the Wallabies with go-forward with his hard-running and skilful off-loading.

    There is a question mark over whether Palu, who has played only two club games for Manly since the end of the Super 14, will last 80 minutes, which may also explain why there is so much backrow cover on the bench.

    "Physically, these All Black Tests are always pretty tough," Palu said. "But I think the mental side is going to get us over the edge. I'm definitely ready for it."

    In the absence of the injured Rocky Elsom, Brown becomes the Wallabies' fourth blindside flanker in five matches with Matt Hodgson, Peter Kimlin and Mumm (twice) having worn the No6 jersey.

    The aggressive, combative Brown is the closest thing to Elsom the Wallabies have had at blindside flanker so far this year.

    Brown was not concerned about the change of position, having played two Super 14 seasons at blindside flanker for the Western Force. "My role does change, considering the new lineout responsibility I have and also the way the patterns are played around the field, there will be new roles, but nothing that will be too much," Brown said.

    The five/two split on the bench leaves the Wallabies with their least experienced backs reserves, four-Test teenager James O'Connor and debutant half Will Genia.

    "We've got great versatility through the backs," Deans said. "We don't see a lot of risk.

    "It's been seamless for Will. To be honest, the way he has performed in training, he looks like he has been here for some time, which is great. That's what you want.

    "You don't want those young blokes fazed in any way because if they are they are not bringing what you have identified them for."

    Deans said the Wallabies would enter the Test at Eden Park, where they have not won since 1986, in similar circumstances to last year after the All Blacks had dropped two games in a row, including a loss to Australia in Sydney the previous week.

    "Last year we were caught on the hop to some extent in terms of the response of the All Blacks," he said.

    "At that point they had lost two games, back at Eden Park, and we experienced a response ... while we went into that game hopeful and thought we had prepared effectively ... the ferocity of that response is exactly what we are going to experience this weekend.

    "We'll be better. Whether it's good enough remains to be seen."

    The team: A Ashley-Cooper, L Turner, S Mortlock (c), B Barnes, D Mitchell, M Giteau, L Burgess, W Palu, G Smith, R Brown, N Sharpe, J Horwill, A Baxter, S Moore, B Robinson. Reserves: T Polota-Nau, B Alexander, D Mumm, P Waugh, D Pocock, W Genia, J O'Connor

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...015651,00.html

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    Better hope Giteau doesn't get injured/taken out early. Can't see JOC stepping up to Bliedisloe level at 10, Mortlock could move in and see how the boy goes in the centres but on a whole I don't think he's up to that level.

    Ballsy move Aussie Bob.

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    Barnes would step into 10 if Giteau got injured. They probably then shift AAC into 12 against Nonu and have O'Connor back at fullback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JediKnight View Post
    Or someone else wrote it for him!!!
    "Chief Rugby Correspondent found to have enlisted Ghost Writer!"

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