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Thread: Suaalii in frame to make Wallabies debut next November

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    Suaalii in frame to make Wallabies debut next November

    Jonathan Drennan,
    Sydney Morning Herald
    November 29, 2023 — 5.45am


    Joseph Suaalii

    Joseph Suaalii could line up for the Wallabies in their November tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland next year after Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh confirmed that the deal to bring the Roosters winger to rugby will go ahead.

    “We’re committed to Joseph, he’s coming in in November, hopefully, for the spring tour [next year],” Waugh said. “We need to deliver on what we say we’re going to deliver on – and that’s a big part of it.”

    Mark Nawaqanitawase

    Waugh confirmed that talks were ongoing with Wallabies winger Mark Nawaqanitawase, who is off contract with the NSW Waratahs at the end of 2024 and has been linked to Suaalii’s current club the Sydney Roosters. Waugh said RA was hopeful of retaining the 23-year-old, who he said was a key figure in the future of the code.

    “The talks are continuing,” Waugh said. “I think Mark Nawaqanitawase has come on the scene in the last really 12 months, and he’s a world-class athlete and a world-class human being to be fair. Those athletes in our system as role models, to young boys and girls are critical for the growth of our game.

    “We’ll work through it with all our good athletes and good people and make sure that they feel genuinely invested in rugby, but as I’ve said, we’ve got to provide the confidence that we’re delivering the best possible high-performance environment for them to be at their best – and that’s been questionable over a period of time.”

    High-performance Director

    Waugh and new RA chairman Daniel Herbert have an overflowing in-tray to tackle, with the immediate priority to appoint a new high-performance director who will oversee the next Wallabies coach.

    Final interviews are currently taking place for the role. Asked when he would like the role filled, Waugh said, “Ideally, yesterday, but that’s not the reality.

    “I think as soon as practically possible really, because we know where we are in the cycle. You know everyone keeps talking about the golden decade but we’re going to be a long way into the decade before we start delivering if we don’t actually start making some pivotal appointments and change.”

    New Wallabies Coach

    Once the high-performance director position is filled, the successful candidate will help select the new Wallabies coach to replace Eddie Jones, who completed his last day at Rugby Australia last Saturday.

    Argentine newspaper Ole recently reported that Michael Cheika wants to stay with the Pumas until the next World Cup in 2027 and Waugh was asked whether assistant coach of the All Blacks Joe Schmidt could be a prospective candidate as Wallabies coach.

    “It could be, I mean, it could be it could be anyone,” Waugh said. “The head coach is really important, but probably more important is actually the head coach’s ability to attract the best talent into the coaching team and the management team.

    “So I’m probably more interested in the overall package and how we bring together the best culture and assistant coaches and management as I am the head coach.”

    Sponsors

    After RA’s deals with commercial partners Harvey Norman and eToro were not renewed, Waugh strongly refuted media claims that major sponsor Cadbury had expressed concerns about the health of the game in Australia.

    “We’re re-entering new agreements with commercial partners and we’ve got a really close relationship with our major sponsor Cadbury,” Waugh said.

    “I speak to Darren [O’Brien], who’s the president of Mondelez, the parent company of Cadbury, almost daily, and I’m very conscious as the CEO that we need to deliver and perform and add value to their product.

    “I think that the value proposition of our game and what we can deliver, both locally and internationally, is really compelling for strong brands.”

    This masthead reported last week that long-term supporter of Australian rugby Andrew Forrest will make his first foray into the NRL through a proposed sponsorship of the St George Illawarra Dragons by his renewable energy company Squadron Energy.

    Waugh said he was confident that Forrest would continue to provide commercial support to rugby.

    “I’ve been heavily engaged with Andrew and Nicola Forrest,” Waugh said. “Their ongoing investment is such a pivotal part of the overall national footprint of rugby in Australia.

    “I think this investment in the Dragons is just another one of their investments putting back into communities that they do so well around the world.”

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Wingers do not win test matches, the focus needs to shift from the five minute highlight reels to what it really takes to win test or other matches, or else we will keep getting the same results

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    I wonder how many more Sualii non-stories the Sydney gab-fest can dream up this off season. I'll be looking to see how much he improves at the Chooks next year. There's no doubt he's a talent but his initial hype was built on being a large athletic teenager running over or around smaller kids. International Rugby is a world away from that.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Is that a serious question Shasta.

    The Sydney Rugby media will look for an empty hype story every day, so the only thing that will stop it being a daily occurrence would be those days where a better empty hype story shows up.

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazzmania View Post
    Wingers do not win test matches, the focus needs to shift from the five minute highlight reels to what it really takes to win test or other matches, or else we will keep getting the same results
    True Tazz, but as much as it pains me as a (past) Forward, Wings do "win sponsors", that is provide the five minute highlight reels for the short-of-attention-span types.
    To be fair to Nawaqanitawase, the work he has done on the pitch has been far more than the usual sprint down the sideline and take the final pass type thing. In a pretty lousy season he provided a spark and often "made something out of nothing". He went looking for the ball similar to Koroibete pre 2023. He is definitely still a work in progress, but would be a major loss when we can ill afford any.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    True Tazz, but as much as it pains me as a (past) Forward, Wings do "win sponsors", that is provide the five minute highlight reels for the short-of-attention-span types.To be fair to Nawaqanitawase, the work he has done on the pitch has been far more than the usual sprint down the sideline and take the final pass type thing. In a pretty lousy season he provided a spark and often "made something out of nothing". He went looking for the ball similar to Koroibete pre 2023. He is definitely still a work in progress, but would be a major loss when we can ill afford any.
    I think the new thing that Marky Mark has learned is to not always take the high risk option, which was his real failing before. He seems better at reading the play and knowing when things are on.

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    I think the new thing that Marky Mark has learned is to not always take the high risk option, which was his real failing before. He seems better at reading the play and knowing when things are on.
    In a Force sense, Tiatia comes to mind...

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    IMHO Suaalii is a huge gamble …. I think to Roger Tuivasa -Sheck the ultimate All Blacks answer in the backline… 2 seasons back to League . Suaalii hasn’t played a union game in a number of years. What happens particularly to a young man’s confidence if he struggles with the fast track . They need to protect the investment and ease him into the 15 code with as little hype and pressure as possible. I fear they have already lost the opportunity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsetal06 View Post
    They need to protect the investment and ease him into the 15 code with as little hype and pressure as possible. I fear they have already lost the opportunity.
    To be fair, don't believe that was ever an option?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsetal06 View Post
    IMHO Suaalii is a huge gamble …. I think to Roger Tuivasa -Sheck the ultimate All Blacks answer in the backline… 2 seasons back to League . Suaalii hasn’t played a union game in a number of years. What happens particularly to a young man’s confidence if he struggles with the fast track . They need to protect the investment and ease him into the 15 code with as little hype and pressure as possible. I fear they have already lost the opportunity.
    the hype all comes from the press

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