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Thread: Qantas Wallabies named for 2009 Spring Tour

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    Qantas Wallabies named for 2009 Spring Tour

    October 09, 2009 - 10:00am
    Story by: ARU
    Rocky Elsom will captain the Qantas Wallabies for the 2009 Spring Tour


    Seven uncapped players have been included among the 35-man Qantas Wallabies squad announced today for the 2009 Spring Tour, among a travelling party which also includes a new captain, Rocky Elsom, and vice captain, in Berrick Barnes.

    The tour, which kicks off at the end of the month in Japan, will incorporate Australia’s first attempt at a Grand Slam of the four British Home Unions in 25 years.

    While Western Force flanker Matt Hodgson and NSW Waratahs utility back Kurtley Beale had been involved within the Qantas Wallabies set-up during the Bundaberg Rum Rugby Series earlier in the year, the tour will represent the first Qantas Wallabies’ involvements for five others.

    These are Queensland Reds halfback Richard Kingi, NSW Waratahs midfield back Rob Horne, Brumbies blindside flanker Mitchell Chapman, NSW Waratahs lock Dave Dennis and ACT Brumbies prop Salesi Ma’afu.

    The new leadership group is headed up by Elsom, 26, who has played 44 Tests for his country, having debuted against Samoa in 2005. He returned to Australia earlier this year in time to play four times during the Tri Nations, after a successful off-season in Ireland where he helped the Dublin-based Leinster club annex its maiden European Cup title. He now becomes Australia’s 76th Test captain.

    Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans felt that the time was right to adjust the leadership of the team.

    Stirling Mortlock was the incumbent captain when Deans took over last year.

    “Stirling has done a good job as Australian skipper, both before I became involved, and over the last 16 months. He also understands that this initiative has no meaning in terms of his playing future. He has indicated a desire to continue not only to play but also to lead and we respect that,” Deans says.

    For Deans, leadership has never been about title, but more about actions.

    Deans has also historically shown a preference for the captain to be in the forward pack.

    “Although George [Smith] did a sound job taking over once Stirling [Mortlock] was injured this season, we feel the role has never really sat naturally with him. Captaincy requires a big commitment both on and away from the field and we believe George is better served not being saddled with the additional responsibility. He still has the opportunity to contribute leadership within the group.”

    Deans says Elsom appealed as the best option for the position, both due to his certainty in terms of selection, and ability to lead from the front.

    “Rocky has the respect of his team-mates because of his approach and the total commitment he brings to the game,” Deans says.

    Twenty seven of the players selected today featured for the Wallabies earlier in the year, in either the mid-year Test window or during the Tri Nations.

    Three players who were members of the pre-tour training squad – lock Nathan Sharpe, uncapped winger Nick Cummins and flanker Phil Waugh, were not considered due to injury. Sharpe and Cummins both have injuries which ruled them out for the entire tour while Waugh was not going to be available for the first fixtures.

    The other player to miss selection from the Tri Nations squad is prop Al Baxter.

    “The nature of the playing schedules is such that we get few windows of opportunity outside of Tests in which to introduce players,” Deans says.

    “This tour provides us with a development opportunity, through our two midweek games. That is why we have opted to introduce some younger players, as opposed to taking along players whose capabilities we are already aware of.

    “Clearly players who fall into that category are the likes of Baxter and possibly Waugh.”

    Deans says the uncapped players selected today had all been closely monitored, both at state and club level and also through their involvement in national programmes; most recently during this week’s four-day training camp.

    “That was a valuable exercise,” Deans says of the four days spent together by a training squad of 43, earlier this week in Sydney.

    “Not only did it allow us an opportunity to work closely with a few players for the first time and observe their habits – both off the field and on the training paddock – we were also able to bed in a few standards ahead of the tour itself.”

    Deans says the fact that eight additional players not selected today were exposed to the camp may prove advantageous down the line.

    “History suggests we will suffer breakages, in terms of injured players, while we are away,” Deans says.

    “If that happens, we have some other blokes who have been exposed to the methodology within the camp that we can call on if required.”

    The Wallabies assemble in Sydney next week, before departing for Tokyo, and this season’s final Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks, on 24 October.

    The tour then moves on to the British Isles, with England first-up during a four-week period where the squad will face four Tests, alongside mid-week matches against English Premiership club Gloucester and a still to be confirmed opponent in Wales.


    The Qantas Wallabies Squad for the 2009 Spring Tour, incorporating Australia’s first Grand Slam attempt in 25 years, is:

    Player Position Super 14 Team Age Test Caps


    Ben Alexander Prop Brumbies 24 13
    Adam Ashley-Cooper Fullback-Wing Brumbies 25 32
    **Berrick Barnes Inside centre-Flyhalf Queensland Reds 23 21
    Kurtley Beale Flyhalf/Fullback NSW Waratahs 20 Uncapped
    Richard Brown No 8/Loose Forward Western Force 25 11
    Luke Burgess Halfback NSW Waratahs 26 19
    Mitchell Chapman Blindside Flanker Brumbies 26 Uncapped
    Mark Chisholm Lock Brumbies 28 43
    Quade Cooper Flyhalf Queensland Reds 21 7
    Pekahou Cowan Prop Western Force 23 3
    Ryan Cross Centre Western Force 30 15
    Dave Dennis Lock NSW Waratahs 23 Uncapped
    Matt Dunning Prop Western Force 30 43
    *Rocky Elsom Flanker Brumbies 26 44
    Will Genia Halfback Queensland Reds 21 6
    Matt Giteau Flyhalf Western Force 27 73
    Matt Hodgson Loose forward Western Force 27 Uncapped
    Rob Horne Centre NSW Waratahs 20 Uncapped
    James Horwill Lock Queensland Reds 24 19
    Peter Hynes Wing Queensland Reds 27 17
    Digby Ioane Wing/Centre Queensland Reds 24 4
    Sekope Kepu Prop NSW Waratahs 23 2
    Richard Kingi Halfback Queensland Reds 20 Uncapped
    Salesi Ma’afu Prop Brumbies 26 Uncapped
    Drew Mitchell Wing/Fullback Western Force 25 37
    Stephen Moore Hooker Brumbies 26 41
    Stirling Mortlock Centre Brumbies 32 80
    Dean Mumm Lock/Loose-forward NSW Waratahs 25 15
    James O’Connor Fullback Western Force 19 10
    Wycliff Palu No 8 NSW Waratahs 27 31
    David Pocock Flanker Western Force 21 11
    Tatafu Polota-Nau Hooker NSW Waratahs 24 18
    Benn Robinson Prop NSW Waratahs 25 26
    George Smith Flanker Brumbies 29 105
    Lachie Turner Wing/Fullback NSW Waratahs 22 11

    * = captain
    ** = vice captain

    Confirmed Tour Schedule

    DATEMATCHTROPHYVENUEKICK OFF

    Sat 31 OctQantas Wallabies v All Blacks Bledisloe Cup National Stadium, Tokyo5.30pm
    7.30pm
    Tue 3 NovQantas Wallabies v Gloucester Kingsholm, Gloucester7.45pm
    6.45am
    Sat 7 NovQantas Wallabies v EnglandCook CupTwickenham, London2.30pm
    1.30am
    Sun 15 NovQantas Wallabies v IrelandLansdowne CupCroke Park, Dublin3pm
    2am
    Sat 21 NovQantas Wallabies v ScotlandHopetoun CupMurrayfield, Edinburgh5.15pm
    4.15am
    Sat 28 NovQantas Wallabies v WalesJames Bevan TrophyMillennium Stadium, Cardiff5.15pm
    4.15am

    *all kick offs are in local times (Australian kick off times in italics, British games are the following morning, AEST). A midweek match in Wales is still to be confirmed.

    Grand Slam Tour Notes

    • This is the eighth potential Grand Slam tour of the British Isles to have been conducted by an Australian team since the 1928-29 NSW Waratahs, who beat Wales and Ireland but lost to Scotland and England.

    • Further Grand Slam attempts were made in 1947-48 (won three, lost to Wales), 1957-58 (lost all four Tests), 1966-67 (won two, lost to Scotland and Ireland), 1975-76 (beat Ireland, lost the other three) & 1981-82 (beat Ireland, lost the other three).

    • Australia finally achieved its maiden Grand Slam at its seventh attempt in 1984, beating England 19-3, Ireland 16-9, Wales 28-9 and Scotland 37-12. Flyhalf Mark Ella scored tries in all four Tests.

    • The 1984 tourists, who were the eighth Wallabies to tour the British Isles, played 18 matches during their two month visit, winning 13, losing four and drawing one. As well as the Grand Slam, the ’84 side also beat the Barbarians in the tour finale, 37-30.

    • Seventeen members of the Qantas Wallabies squad named today to under-take Australia’s latest attempt on a Grand Slam hadn’t been born when the successful 1984 tour was made.

    • South Africa has successfully achieved a Grand Slam of the British Isles on four occasions (1912-13, 1931-32, 1951-52 & 1960-61) from eight attempts, but has failed in its three most recent attempts – including 2004 when the then reigning Tri Nations champions lost to both Ireland and England.

    • New Zealand failed in its first four Slam attempts & had to wait until 1978 & the All Blacks’ seventh tour of the British Isles before a quartet of Test victories was finally achieved. The All Blacks have now achieved the Slam on each of their last three attempts – 1978, 2005 and 2008.

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

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    Last edited by travelling_gerry; 09-10-09 at 07:12.

  2. #2
    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    Wow - Rocky is captain - what a fantastic choice

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    61 years between Grand Slams Was the wait worth it - Ya betta baby

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    I reckon I'm pretty happy with that.

    Gits must be chewing nails right now with Berrick named vice captain before him! way I see it, this is the perfect time to give him one more crack at 10 in Tokyo. If he doesn't perform after that he never will. 40 minutes Gits at 10, if he's controlling the game well and producing points he can keep it, otherwise give it to Berrick in the last 40.

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    C'mon the

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    Something just doesn't sit right with me having Rocky as Captain, I hope he proves me wrong and I hope it helps him get his form back.
    I don't know how healthy a situation it will be having Stirlo still on the park looking over his shoulder either.
    On the flipside, I think it is a very good thing for George and I fully expect his impact to be far greater now he only has to worry about playing what is in front of him.
    I like Berrick as VC and think it is very telling that Giteau isn't seen as a long term leader by either Dingo or the playing group.
    The dropping of Trestle was always on the cards once Alexander showed how well the Wallaby Scrum could look. I hope Trestle uses the opportunity of having an off season to go back to basics and improve virtually everything about his game with some expert advice.
    Well done to Dunny in working his way back into the Squad, it is a different scene to when he was given an almost automatic selection pre injury with several good options now to compete with. Hopefully this will reflect on his season with the Force in 2010.
    Good luck to the rookies.
    I imagine the pecking order for 2011 will be sorted out amongst the Scrummies by the time they get home so should be some interesting performances to watch there.
    I think there would be a fair bit of pressure, for differing reasons, on Brownie, Hodgo and JO'C on this Tour and all three need to lift the bar.
    Over all, I would only think the leadership and Trestle would be the surprises here, once injury was taken into account.
    Interesting to watch it all unfold...or unravel...

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    Leadership is the key issue for the Wallabies - especially with both Sharpe and Mortlock injured - George Smith did not have fun as captain - we need leaders, hoping Rocky has the nounce to play to the ref and his players - if not him who else

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    61 years between Grand Slams Was the wait worth it - Ya betta baby

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    Very surprised with the Elsom decision as i have never really rated him but he has come on with maturity. Come the time, come the man hopefully. We have been going backwards, so a breath of fresh air is needed. The best thing is Elsom has a touch of the mongruel in him and this may work its way down into the rest of the crew. Christ knows we need a injection.

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    Champion Contributor sandgroperrugby's Avatar
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    Has anyone else watched the video clip on rugby.com.au with Salesi Ma’afu?? If not it is worth a watch to see a guy with the biggest infectious grin you will have seen for long time, good on him!

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    Champion Contributor tragic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    On the flipside, I think it is a very good thing for George and I fully expect his impact to be far greater now he only has to worry about playing what is in front of him.
    Yep, I'm hoping that this will be the case, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    I like Berrick as VC and think it is very telling that Giteau isn't seen as a long term leader by either Dingo or the playing group.
    Is that really the case? Does Gits even want it? What does a VC do, anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tragic View Post
    Is that really the case? Does Gits even want it?
    He didn't reject VC at the Force.

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    C'mon the

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    Champion Contributor tragic's Avatar
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    I'd say that's quite a different thing.

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    Success is not final, failure is not fatal:
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    Champion Contributor chook's Avatar
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    Who cares, Wallabies suck anyway so who wears the funny hat is irrelevant. Look at the games the stupid team is playing and there is really only 1 worth the effort to stay up for.

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    Champion Contributor tragic's Avatar
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    Aw, back to Grumpy Chook.

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    Champion Contributor chook's Avatar
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    I know, its tragic.

    But still, what a lacklustre line up of games. Maybe if they played Ireland 7 times and Wales 5 times and England once it might be interesting. The rest is fluff.

    Then a best of 19 series versus the Barbarians with each game featuring a different Baa Baas team. That would be worth watching.

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    "He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty." – Lao Tzu

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    I like the fact that Baxter's out but Dunning's back in. That's got to smart for Trestle.

    Also, why is Brownie listed as "No 8/loose forward", Hodgo listed as "loose forward" and Bam-bam listed as "flanker"?

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    a very young looking squad,I wish them luck,it will be a hard tour but all players will be the better for it.Will we win the grand slam,its possible but unlikely.Mind you with the tri nations and bledisloe you dont get much tougher opposition than that.

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