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Thread: Wallabies v South Africa 8 July 2023

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    Wallabies v South Africa 8 July 2023

    Alaalatoa set to add starch to Wallabies pack for Boks
    Tue, Jul 4, 2023, 6:08 AM
    Melissa Woods - AAP


    Allan Alaalatoa is set to add some much-needed experience to the Wallabies pack after declaring himself fit for the daunting task of facing South Africa in Pretoria to open their Rugby Championship campaign.

    The tighthead prop missed the Brumbies' Super Rugby Pacific semi-final loss to the Chiefs last month with a calf injury but the 29-year-old said there were no lingering issues ahead of the Test on Saturday (local time).

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    The match will be the first under returning Wallabies coach Eddie Jones.

    "It's going really well; I'm in a good place at the moment," Alaalatoa said from their training base in Johannesburg.

    "I've come into camp last week and I've done all the training so I've been ticking all the boxes and if selected I'll be ready to go on the weekend."

    Alaalatoa said fellow props Taniela Tupou, who is returning from an Achilles injury, and also Angus Bell (toe) looked like they would be in the selection mix to tackle the Springboks formidable scrum.

    "Those two have been unreal," Alaalatoa said.

    "They've been running amok at training with their ball carries and you can tell they've had itchy feet to play.

    "They've been involved in live scrums as well so they've been ticking all the boxes so far."

    Just seven of the 34-strong touring squad, as well as centre Samu Kerevi, who has travelled to Pretoria in the rehab group, were part of Australia's last Test in South Africa in 2019.

    Alaalatoa, Michael Hooper, Taniela Tupou and Jordan Uelese remain from the forwards, with the Wallabies losing that Johannesburg Test 35-17.

    Some of the current crop have never previously even been to South Africa, given the country's split from Super Rugby when the 2020 season was abandoned after seven weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    It makes the task of breaking through for their first ever win at Loftus Versfeld even more difficult.

    But 64-Test Alaalatoa said the senior players had addressed the enormity of the challenge and excitement was the predominant feeling amongst the players.

    "It's a great challenge, it's something that we're all excited by," he said.

    "Being a part of the first team to beat South Africa in Pretoria, that would be awesome and a memory that we will remember forever.

    "We've spoken about that, having that belief, and what underlines that is making sure that we're doing everything necessary through our day to day and getting our process right throughout the week.

    "The connection between the players and the coaching staff has been awesome so we're in a good state."

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/alaala...or-boks-202373

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    Veteran Vermeulen to lead South Africa against Australia
    Wed, Jul 5, 2023, 6:49 AM
    AFP


    Duane Vermeulen will stand in for injured Siya Kolisi as captain of Rugby World Cup title-holders South Africa when they face Australia on Saturday in a Rugby Championship first round match.

    Kolisi suffered a serious knee injury last April and will be available only in August, when the Springboks play three warm-up games before the World Cup kicks off in France the following month.

    Vastly experienced No. 8 Vermeulen has been a caretaker captain before and is given the honour again in what the 36-year-old says will be his final season before retiring.

    "We had a few options as potential captains and we have two good leaders in Duane and Lukhanyo (Am), who has been named vice-captain for this match," said coach Jacques Nienaber.

    "They are both quality leaders and they will have a lot of experience around them on the field, which is fantastic for us as coaches."

    Apart from Kolisi, fly-half Handre Pollard, lock Eben Etzebeth and scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse could not be considered due to injuries.

    Manie Libbok starts as playmaker, Cobus Reinach partners him at half-back and uncapped Jean Kleyn and Marvin Orie are the locks.

    Johannesburg-born Kleyn is named after switching allegiance from Ireland -- a country he represented through residency, playing five times including at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

    South Africa make nine changes from the team that beat England convincingly when they last played, in London last November.

    The survivors are full-back Willie le Roux, winger Kurt-Lee Arendse, outside centre Am, and the entire front row of props Ox Nche and Frans Malherbe and hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

    - Nche injured -
    But the number of changes could rise to 10 by Wednesday as, less than two hours after the team announcement, Nche suffered a chest injury in training.

    If the loosehead has to withdraw, Steven Kitshoff will be called up, either to the starting line-up or on the bench if Nienaber opts to promote current substitute Thomas du Toit.

    Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus have decided to split a 42-man squad, sending an advance party of 13 players, including unavailable Kolisi, to New Zealand this week.

    New Zealand time is 10 hours ahead of South Africa and the move is designed to combat jet leg as the world champions prepare for a clash with arch rivals the All Blacks in Auckland on July 15.

    "Our plan from the outset was to select a squad that we believe has what it takes to beat Australia while, at the same time, selecting a group of players that could travel to New Zealand to give us the best possible chance to do well in both matches," said Nienaber.

    Turning to Australia, the coach said "this will be the first time we see them play under his (coach Eddie Jones) leadership in a while".

    "Our focus is mainly on our game and what we would like to do in the match.

    "This game is very important to set the tone for us this season, and we know that regardless of what style of play Australia dishes up it is going to a physical and hard match."


    Springboks (15-1): Willie le Roux; Canan Moodie, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Kurt-Lee Arendse; Manie Libbok, Cobus Reinach; Duane Vermeulen (capt), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Marco van Staden; Marvin Orie, Jean Kleyn; Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche

    Replacements: Joseph Dweba, Thomas du Toit, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Evan Roos, Deon Fourie, Grant Williams, Damian Willemse

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/spring...ionship-202374

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    Jones shows faith in Vunivalu against Springboks
    Thu, Jul 6, 2023, 4:38 PM
    AAP


    Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has seen enough of winger Suliasi Vunivalu in three minutes of Test rugby to name the NRL convert for his first start against South Africa.

    Vunivalu was one of the surprises in the first Wallabies team of the year with four players in line to make Test debuts in the Rugby Championship match in Pretoria, where Australia have never won.

    Co-captain James Slipper has overcome a knee injury and been named alongside young Brumbies utility Tom Hooper, who will start at blindside flanker.

    Five-eighth Carter Gordon, lock Richie Arnold and 21-year-old prop Zane Nonggorr will be on the bench for the Loftus Versfeld Test.

    Hooper will play alongside co-captain Michael Hooper (no relation) with No.8 Rob Valetini rounding out the backrow.

    Vunivalu switched codes for the 2021 Super season but hasn't had the same impact with Queensland as he did as a premiership winger in 111 games for the Melbourne Storm.

    His only Test appearance came last year in the final minutes of the Wallabies clash with England, who were then coached by Jones.

    Despite being overlooked from that point by then Australia coach Dave Rennie, Jones saw potential just as he did previously with other code-hoppers Wendell Sailor and Mat Rogers.

    He joked during squad selection earlier in the year he would use a cattle prod to get the speedster moving.

    Jones said on Thursday the 27-year-old had shown enough to earn selection ahead of NSW winger Mark Nawaqanitawase.

    "I've seen him develop some really good habits in Super Rugby and when he's come in and trained with us for the last two or three weeks, every session he's got a bit better," Jones said from South Africa.

    "He's an exceptional player, strong in the air, big guy, got good pace.

    "I've got no doubt he's going to do a good job for us on Saturday."

    Jones said what he liked about 22-year-old Hooper was he "rips in", with physicality a key ingredient in trying to topple the Springboks.

    It's a massive challenge for Reds prop Nonggorr, 21, who got the nod with Taniela Tupou requiring more training minutes after his Achilles injury.

    Slipper was in doubt after a training mishap but will make his 128th Test appearance alongside Waratahs hooker David Porecki and Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead prop.

    "It's been a challenging week, had a bit of mishap on Tuesday but I get to run today make sure it's all good but I'm pretty confident I'll be playing," Slipper said.

    Nick Frost and France-based Will Skelton are the starting locks.

    Nic White will reunite with Quade Cooper in the halves while star inside centre Samu Kerevi will return from a hamstring issue via the bench, leaving Reece Hodge to combine in the midfield with Len Ikitau.

    Marika Koroibete is on the left edge and Tom Wright at fullback.

    The Springboks have sent a number of their big names to New Zealand to prepare for the upcoming clash with the All Blacks but Jones said whomever they fielded at Loftus would present a massive challenge.

    "We're really only worried about ourselves, we're focused very much on ourselves," he added.

    "We're a new team, we want to play our style of rugby, and we know whatever team that runs out at Pretoria on Saturday is going to play with the pride of South Africa behind them and we need to meet that challenge."

    Wallabies (1-15): James Slipper (co-capt), David Porecki, Allan Alaalatoa, Nick Frost, Will Skelton, Tom Hooper, Michael Hooper (co-capt), Rob Valetini, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge, Len Ikitau, Suliasi Vunivalu, Tom Wright.

    Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon, Zane Nonggorr, Richie Arnold, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Samu Kerevi, Carter Gordon.

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/wallab...e-jones-202376

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    cooper at 10? WTF. i hope i eat my words, but holy shit what a crap selection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by palitu View Post
    cooper at 10? WTF. i hope i eat my words, but holy shit what a crap selection.
    Really? He's looked our best option at 10 by far in the Kat few years. Gordon looks very promising also, so hopefully gets some time.

    Vunivalu and Hodge starting are the more concerning selections for mine

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    Quote Originally Posted by palitu View Post
    cooper at 10? WTF. i hope i eat my words, but holy shit what a crap selection.
    I wouldn't have thought it a surprise, has been mooted since Jones became Coach?

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    (Previously WFDS) WFDom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiraag View Post
    Vunivalu and Hodge starting are the more concerning selections for mine
    Eddie loves a utility back with a big boot. He used Elliot Daley 11, 13, 14 & 15

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    With little time to prepare for RWC, seems like Eddie has opted for known quantities in Cooper and White. Their job to justify keeping the spots, and to prove they're not quite ready for the geriatric ward.

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    Anyone know of decent pubs/bars in Perth that'll be showing the game? Looks like most close at midnight

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiraag View Post
    Anyone know of decent pubs/bars in Perth that'll be showing the game? Looks like most close at midnight
    The bar in the casino used to stay open late and put various sports on the screens if you asked for it, but I haven't been there in years so couldn't tell you if they still do. (Plus, it might fail on the description 'decent'!)

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    Casino sports bar has Stan (is it still Carbon?) and if I had to guess the only options tonight are the Rugby, The Ashes and Wimbledon.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Casino sports bar has Stan (is it still Carbon?) and if I had to guess the only options tonight are the Rugby, The Ashes and Wimbledon.
    .,.and Le Tour.....if quality of screens defines "decent" then they are the decent-est in the SH apart from stadium screens. They usually prioritise Wallabies over everything - even AFL.

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    Don't know how accurate, but this might help?
    https://www.fanzo.com/en-au/bars-wit...Override=Perth

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