Australia-born trio called up for Japan Test debut

Japan coach Jamie Joseph is hoping Australian-born trio Jack Cornelsen, Ben Gunter and Dylan Riley play like they have a point to prove in their Test debut against the Wallabies on Saturday. The son of Greg Cornelsen – who famously bagged four Wallabies tries against the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1978 – has […]

Australia-born trio called up for Japan Test debut

Japan coach Jamie Joseph is hoping Australian-born trio Jack Cornelsen, Ben Gunter and Dylan Riley play like they have a point to prove in their Test debut against the Wallabies on Saturday.

The son of Greg Cornelsen – who famously bagged four Wallabies tries against the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1978 – has been named at lock while 120kg Gunter will start at blindside flanker.

With star second-rower Wimpie Van Der Walt ruled out through injury, Cornelsen will partner another Australian-born player James Moore, who will line up for his ninth Test.

Winger Riley is in line for a potential Test debut at Oita after being included on the Brave Blossoms bench.

“For the Australian guys, this is going to be a special game for them, for obvious reasons,” Joseph said on Thursday.

“There was a wee bit of … is this the right match for them to play, but for us we’re building a new team and it’s important we look toward the future.

“They’re still young men who have come over here and have shown the right skills that we think we need so it’s a great opportunity to put them up against their countrymen and let them go out and prove a few points.

“I know they’re very excited about it and I’m expecting great performances from them.”

Cornelsen, 27, moved to Japan in 2018 after being overlooked by Australia’s Super Rugby sides despite starring in two Brisbane club premierships.

The trio were scouted by former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to join the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan’s Top League.

Gunter, 23, grew up in Gunnedah in country NSW, but also shifted to Japan after being unable to crack Super Rugby at home.

His inclusion at blindside means former skipper Michael Leitch drops to the bench, while new captain Pieter Labuschagne and Kazuki Himeno round out the back row.

“Ben’s a young man who has always shown the potential in the Top League,” Joseph said.

“He’s had some small injuries over the past 18 months but is fighting fit and ready to go.”

Former Australian schoolboys winger Riley, 24, received his Japan citizenship in 2019 and has played three Top League seasons.

Rikiya Matsuda starts at five-eighth with Yu Tamura, who started the matches against a British and Irish Lions XV and Ireland earlier this year, dropping to the bench.

Japan, who have have never beaten Australia, lost 28-10 to the Lions XV in June and 39-31 to Ireland in July.

Team: Semisi Masirewa, Lomano Lemeki, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Siosaia Fifita, Rikiya Matsuda, Yutaka Nagare, Kazuki Himeno, Pieter Labuschagne (captain), Ben Gunter, James Moore, Jack Cornelsen, Koo Ji-won, Atsushi Sakate, Keita Inagaki Yusuke Niwai, Craig Millar, Asaeli Ai Valu, Michael Leitch, Tevita Tatafu, Naoto Saito, Yu Tamura, Dylan Riley.

Source : The Roar More   

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Rennie backs Paisami in Wallabies return

Coach Dave Rennie is expecting the transition from Samu Kerevi to Hunter Paisami to be seamless as the Wallabies prepare for a fast and furious Test against Japan on Saturday. Kerevi failed to overcome an ankle injury to face the Brave Blossoms in Oita, with Paisami to play his first Test since August as he […]

Rennie backs Paisami in Wallabies return

Coach Dave Rennie is expecting the transition from Samu Kerevi to Hunter Paisami to be seamless as the Wallabies prepare for a fast and furious Test against Japan on Saturday.

Kerevi failed to overcome an ankle injury to face the Brave Blossoms in Oita, with Paisami to play his first Test since August as he returns at inside centre.

Paisami is one of four changes to the starting XV with lock Matt Philip returning, his Rebels teammate Rob Leota recalled at blindside flanker and Tom Wright named on the wing in place of Marika Koroibete, who opted not to tour.

Brumbies hooker Connal McInerney is in line for a potential Test debut after being a surprise inclusion on the bench with Rennie admitting the rake role is wide open.

The blockbusting Kerevi was Australia’s best player during the Rugby Championship and was key to their run of four wins over world champions South Africa and Argentina.

He is expected to be available for their next Test against Scotland on November 8, with England and Wales Tests to follow.

But Rennie backed 23-year-old Reds centre Paisami to perform well.

“He will play his own game,” Rennie said.

“What we know with Hunter, he’s explosive and powerful, he’s got a really good skill set so not a lot changes really.

“He’s slotted in really nicely and he’s had a full training week over here so we think it will be seamless.”

While Petaia started the last Test on the wing, Rennie felt he wasn’t up to 80 minutes in the warm conditions under the roof in Oita, which was the scene of their World Cup quarter-final elimination by England in 2019.

“He does give us a fair bit of versatility but we’re not convinced that he’d go 80 if he started,” Rennie said.

“Japan have picked six loosies (loose forwards) in their pack so we imagine it’s going to be a reasonably quick game from their mindset and so we’ve taken all that into account.”

Nic White will again partner Quade Cooper in the halves, while the front row of James Slipper, Taniela Tupou and hooker Folau Fainga’a will line up for their fourth consecutive match.

Slipper is set to surpass former teammates Will Genia and Sekope Kepu and join George Smith on 111 Tests for Australia when he runs on.

Rennie said they still hadn’t worked out if Cooper and fellow Japan-based Sean McMahon will be available for the UK leg of the tour due to club commitments despite the game falling within the international window.

“Our intention is to take them to Europe,” Rennie said.

“We’re trying to come to a resolution that suits everyone,.”

Wallabies: Reece Hodge, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Andrew Kellaway, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (c), Rob Leota, Matt Philip, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper. Res: Connal McInerney, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia.

Source : The Roar More   

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