Tri-Nations Talent - Australia Part One

Discussion in 'Tri Nations 2009-2011' started by Getofmeland, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Getofmeland

    Getofmeland The Dorset Drinker

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    When perusing Australia’s 40 man squad for the upcoming Tri Nations tournament it’s difficult not to get excited about every one of the Queensland Reds 14 representatives and hope that they can show their Super 15 form on the International stage. That would make for a pretty dull blog though so I thought I’d only select the most exciting players of the last season and the players who could make a difference for the Wallabies over the next 5 months.

    Quade Cooper may not have been at his sparkling best in the recent Super 15 final, but he has been the outstanding player of the tournament overall. His counter attacking flair and combination play with flying Wingers Digby Ioane and “Rocket” Rod Davies have been key offensive weapons and crucial factors in the Reds successful season. Whether Australia’s management team decide to use Cooper in a similar defensive role for the national side as the Reds do and deciding if they should select Ioane and Davies in their back 3 to suite Quade would appear to be 2 important decisions facing the selectors. The only area where Cooper has been slightly vulnerable this season is kicking for goal, but this won’t be an issue for Australia as they can call on James O’Connor, Matt Giteau or Kurtley Beale in that role.
    Digby Ioane, like Cooper was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia as a school boy. In 2006 Ioane was nominated for the IRB U21 player of the year award but since then he has never managed to cement a place in the Wallaby line up and he has just 11 caps. This year as part of the second highest scoring team in the Super 15 competition he has benefited from the Reds’ bent toward open flowing rugby and he has been able to demonstrate not only his blistering pace, excellent foot work and broken field running ability but also his dancing.

    As with all fancy pants backs these 2 have only been able to perform as a result of an immense forward effort from the Reds this season and while it is difficult to ignore any of the tight five players one has stood out in particular this year. Captain James Horwill has lead from the front all season, in fact ever since he was first awarded the captaincy at the age of 22 and he was one of the most impressive players on show in the final. Last season Horwill played only 2 games of Super rugby before a devastating knee injury left him needing surgery. Horwill is extremely mobile for a huge individual, he stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs around 18 and a half stone (117 kg) and his ball carrying skills will be vital in drawing in defenders and providing Cooper and co. the space they need to work their magic in.

    One of the other outstanding players from the Super 14 final was Reds number 6 Scott Higginbotham he was many people’s Man Of The Match, even though the award was presented to Quade Cooper. Higginbotham produced 2 of the best grubber kicks of the season, one in each corner of the field and both that rolled into touch within centimetres of the Crusaders goal line. He demonstrated exceptional pace and ball carrying skills, often popping up in midfield alongside backs and not looking out of place despite being 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 17 stone 5 (110 kg). Higginbotham is uncapped, having missed out on selection in 2010 after suffering a high ankle sprain but I would be surprised if he doesn’t make his debut soon and become a permanent fixture on the International scene.


    Finally the player who impressed me more than any of the Reds this season, rugby league convert Beau Robinson. Robinson began his professional rugby career as a Canterbury Bulldog before signing for the Waratahs in 2007. As an Open Side Flanker Robinson’s ability to be the first to almost every break down in both defence and attack is uncanny, he won countless penalties for his team in defensive areas of the field won turnovers that allowed Cooper attack disorganised defences. There’s is just one monumental obstacle between Robinson and the Wallaby number 7 jersey, one named “Bam bam” or David Pocock. Pocock is widely considered the best Open Side currently playing the game, which could mean that Robinson and Phil Waugh will have more in common than just their hair styles.


    Blog By @Buck_Mitchell
     
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  3. Woldog

    Woldog First XV

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    You're incorrect about Digby Ioane being unable to cement his position in the starting lineup, he has started almost all of his 11 caps and it's because of two shoulder reconstructions at the beginnings of the International seasons that he has been unable to accumulate more caps.
     
  4. @buck_mitchell

    @buck_mitchell Academy Player

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    I think you just successfully disproved you're own point there. The fact he's been injured is WHY he hasn't cemented a starting spot. :-S
     
  5. Woldog

    Woldog First XV

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    Cementing a starting spot means there is no one who would be picked ahead of you if you were fully fit.
    Digby when he is fit is a certainty to start.
     
  6. @buck_mitchell

    @buck_mitchell Academy Player

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    Cementing a starting spot up here means you play in EVERY match, not "would have played in every match if fit". If you cement a few bricks together and leave a few gaps cos your arm hurt you can't call it a wall. What position would he start in anyway ? When every1 is fit the Wallabies best 2 Centres are Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley- Cooper (although McCabe looked like a good fit on Saturday and Fainga'a smashed a couple of Bok's when he came on) and the best 2 wingers are Drew Mitchell and James O'Connor and that's without even mentioning Giteua. Ioane's form over the last 2 seasons wouldn't have displaced many of those guys.
     
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