WALLABIES TEAM CONFIRMED: Kerevi injury paves way for Paisami return, Brumbies hooker set for debut

Hunter Paisami will replace Samu Kerevi at No.12 against Japan as he returns for the first time since facing the All Blacks in August. Paisami was first choice earlier in the campaign before leaving camp to attend the birth of his child. With Kerevi, who suffered an ankle injury against Argentina, in storming form alongside […]

WALLABIES TEAM CONFIRMED: Kerevi injury paves way for Paisami return, Brumbies hooker set for debut

Hunter Paisami will replace Samu Kerevi at No.12 against Japan as he returns for the first time since facing the All Blacks in August.

Paisami was first choice earlier in the campaign before leaving camp to attend the birth of his child.

With Kerevi, who suffered an ankle injury against Argentina, in storming form alongside Len Ikitau, Paisami struggled to get back into the squad and he was reportedly close to knocking back a place on the tour to stay behind with his family.

Paisami is one of four changes to the starting XV with Matt Philip returning to the second row, his Rebels teammate Rob Leota recalled at blindside flanker and Tom Wright named on the wing.

The front row remains unchanged for the fourth consecutive game with James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a and Taniela Tupou.

Slipper will surpass former teammates Will Genia and Sekope Kepu and join George Smith when he runs on for his 111th Test.

Philip will reignite his combination with Western Force recruit Izack Rodda in the second row, with Leota joined by skipper Michael Hooper and no.8 Rob Valetini in the loose forwards.

Nic White is at No.9 Quade Cooper, in what’s shaping as his last Test of the season.

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Brumbies hooker Connal McInerney is set to become Wallaby no. 947, after being named on the bench.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “While it’s disappointing for Samu not to be able to play in Japan, Hunter started the first five Tests this year prior to the birth of his daughter and is chomping at the bit for another opportunity.”

“Connal’s strong set piece and all-around game has earned him a chance to represent his country, which is a proud moment for him and his family.

“We’ve got a huge amount of respect for the Brave Blossoms who are now competitive with the best sides in the world.

“We’ll need to be at our best.”

The match will be held in Oita, which was where they were beaten by England in the quarter final of the World Cup in 2019.

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Japan are ranked No.10 in the world and coached by Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown.

“Always brutal, always high pace, so I expect the same,” Rennie said about the pair last week.

“They’ve got Scott Hansen in the mix from a defence point of view, obviously a smart man who has worked a lot with the Crusaders.

“They’ve got a very good, astute coaching group.

“They fronted pretty well against the Lions (in June), went very close to beating Ireland, had a fantastic World Cup, they’ve got a lot of experience in the group now and a number of foreigners who have done their time here and are now eligible to play for Japan.

“They’ve got a really good mix and a lot of confidence in their game.”

The Wallabies last played Japan in 2017, winning 63-30.

Wallabies team

1. James Slipper (110 Tests)
2. Folau Fainga’a (21 Tests)
3. Taniela Tupou (35 Tests)
4. Izack Rodda (30 Tests)
5. Matt Philip (19 Tests)
6. Rob Leota (2 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (115 Tests)
8. Rob Valetini (14 Tests)
9. Nic White (43 Tests)
10. Quade Cooper (74 Tests)
11. Andrew Kellaway (9 Tests)
12. Hunter Paisami (11 Tests)
13. Len Ikitau (9 Tests)
14. Tom Wright (6 Tests)
15. Reece Hodge (53 Tests)
Replacements
16. Connal McInerney*
17. Angus Bell (12 Tests)
18. Allan Alaalatoa (50 Tests)
19. Darcy Swain (9 Tests)
20. Pete Samu (15 Tests)
21. Tate McDermott (11 Tests)
22. James O’Connor (57 Tests)
23. Jordan Petaia (14 Tests)

Source : The Roar More   

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Time to ditch the spring tour and embrace an enriching, epic series instead

As the All Blacks and Wallabies kick off their tours across the northern hemisphere, fans are preparing themselves for matches against several nations including Japan, England, the USA, Wales and Scotland. While plenty will tune in to follow the fortunes of their sides, the sad reality is that the spring tour is the poor sister […]

Time to ditch the spring tour and embrace an enriching, epic series instead

As the All Blacks and Wallabies kick off their tours across the northern hemisphere, fans are preparing themselves for matches against several nations including Japan, England, the USA, Wales and Scotland.

While plenty will tune in to follow the fortunes of their sides, the sad reality is that the spring tour is the poor sister of the Winter International Series and we all know it.

On the plus side, fans get to see their nation compete against a different opponent each week across a month or so with some of the matches having developed into ongoing rivalries like the England v Wallabies clash.

For the touring nation, it’s a great chance to see how they can adjust against a range of different styles and test both their game plan and squad depth. For the home nations they get to go up against most if not all of the big four and try and grab bragging rights over them until the next time.

But there’s something missing from these tours. With the growing global footprint of world rugby, these tours are now including other sides as well as some of the European powerhouses. As an example, on their upcoming tours, the All Blacks will play the USA in Washington D.C.

Growing the game is a good thing, and everyone should see the haka live at some point in their lives. But is anyone really unsure about how the Americans are going to go against New Zealand? The only question to be answered is how many more points the Kiwis will score than the 74 they managed against the USA when they played in Chicago in 2014. Wouldn’t it be better to see the All Blacks take on England at Twickenham?

The Winter International Series – now that’s a very different commodity. There is something so much more entertaining and rewarding about seeing two sides battle it out over a three match series.

Just think back to a few months ago when France came down to play the Wallabies. It was an enthralling series. Having stolen a last minute victory at Suncorp, France then fought back to tie the series in Melbourne and we went into the final match with everything on the line. After 240 minutes of hard fought rugby, only three points ended up separating the sides and fans were almost as emotionally exhausted as the players.

Fans and players from both sides got to know their opponents and it was intriguing to see how each coach adjusted as the series unfolded. Teams learned about each other and came up with new tactics on the fly to try and gain an advantage.

Even on those occasions where there is a dead third rubber, there is still so much for both sides to play for. When England toured Australia in 2016 and were 0-2 up with victory assured, both sides still put on a fantastic final Test in Sydney. The Wallabies desperately wanted to restore some pride and avoid a whitewash whilst England, newly under Eddie Jones, knew how important it was to get back on the plane without a single loss on their report card.

How exciting would it be now if the All Blacks were going to France to play them in a three match series? Seeing Antoine Dupont going up against TJ Perenara match after match. Or the Wallabies seeking revenge on the English for that 2016 tour as Eddie Jones tries to get his England ship back on course.

Some might say that with both styles of tours, we get a nice balance. A little bit from column A and a little bit from column B. But who wants balance?

In fact, if we’re thinking about gorging ourselves then why not add in some good old fashioned club games in there as well. So in the build up to the three matches against England at Twickenham, how about we see the Wallabies warm up against Harlequins, Exeter and Saracens. Now that sounds pretty wonderful doesn’t it?

The spring tour is fine. But the winter internationals are so much more enriching for fans and teams and the quicker we intorduce a northern series the better.

Source : The Roar More   

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