Thursday Jun 20, 2013

Wallabies and British & Irish Lions teams named for first Test on Saturday

Wallabies and British & Irish Lions teams named for first Test on Saturday
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All the talk is over and we now know who will take part in the first of the three Test series between the British and Irish Lions and the Wallabies. Both sides have been announced, with few surprises but much to look forward to in Brisbane this Saturday.

Captain Sam Warburton leads a side with a great mix of experience and youth, as eight new Test caps will start, with Brian O’Driscoll and Mike Phillips leading from the back. Paul O’Connell, Jamie Heaslip, Tom Croft, Allun Wyn Jones and Adam Jones all played in South Africa in 2009. 

“After six matches we have arrived at the 1st Test and have selected our strongest possible side with only Jamie Roberts,Tommy Bowe and Manu Tuilagi unavailable for selection,” said coach Warren Gatland ahead of the Suncorp Stadium clash.

“The Wallabies at home pose a huge challenge but the Test team contains 20 of the players that played against the Waratahs in what was our best match to date. We now have a couple of more days of match preparation to ensure we improve again on that performance.”

The Wallabies have three new Test caps as cross-code star Israel Folau gets his first start, while Brumbies pair Ben Mowen and Christian Leali’ifano are rewarded for consistent performances.

Perhaps the most vital, and talked about component of the Wallaby side is the halfback combination, where James O’Connor and Will Genia reunite, adding to the two Tests they played there in 2011, which resulted in wins over the Barbarians and Wales.

Out wide Wallaby fans will be pleased with the inclusion of dangerous winger Digby Ioane, who has recovered from a knee operation in time for selection. Lock James Horwill, who himself has had injury troubles, will return to captain the side and lead a forward pack that features the likes of star youngster Michael Hooper.

With the brilliant David Pocock and George Smith unavailable due to injury, Hooper is the heir apparent, and with Liam Gill on the bench, the Wallabies have natural talent in abundance to call on, including the outstanding Kurtley Beale, as he makes the cut following some off field troubles.

The Wallabies – 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson Reserves: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Pat McCabe, 22 Kurtley Beale

British and Irish Lions – 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4  Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero. Reserves: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sean Maitland.

Time: 1:44
Credit: rugbymedia

34 Comments

  •  drg
    drg

    That's the point, back when England beat NZ THAT game, Farrell was better than Hogg... NOW his form has slipped. Do you really think Johnny Sexton from an Irish team that got bashed by everyone a short while ago is better than Farrell that beat the NZ team?? It works both ways. Farrell's form has slipped!

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    I don't see why people are still talking about that England vs New Zealand match. The week before they lost to a pretty hapless South African team, and then even though the victory was impressive, it was against a team that had been sick all week. It's time to move on. Nearly a season has passed and things are different now. Farrell was also playing in the huge defeat against Wales in the Six Nations, and completely lost his head in the Heineken Cup match against Toulon, but I don't think those instances should be the be-all and end-all when assessing his talent. I agree with you in saying that Farrell is a better outhalf than Hogg, no question, but that one victory needs to be put to rest.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    I agree. Why not start O'Brien at 8 over Heaslip?

    Reply
  •  connachtman
    connachtman

    I think SO'B is being rested for 2nd test, Lydiate is tough and lets see how he gets in the Aussies faces. Heaslip hasnt impressed me that much he needs A BIG GAME as far as I can see. My big worry is front row, just does not seem that solid....I like Philips fo rquick ball, Sexton is dynamic and will pose problems, Should be a great series!!!

    Reply
  •  yupyupgup
    yupyupgup

    Corbisiero wasn't taken in the first place because Gatland though Jenkins would be fit for the first test! Jenkins can hold his own against any tighthead and is brilliant in the loose, he definitely would have had the no.1 jersey for the first test.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    @matt and conor.. I have more faith in Hogg than Farrell...

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    Farrel can play 12 as well which covers them against a centre injury, just.

    Reply
  •  conorl
    conorl

    There's no way he could do that. Hogg is an exciting full back, but he is nowhere near ready to be dropped in at outhalf into the middle of a Test match against the 3rd best team in the world. If, god forbid, Sexton got injured, would you really be comfortable with a 20 year old full back with only one senior game at outhalf (in which he looked way out of his depth) coming on and trying to steer the team to victory against a quality side like Australia? I'd have Hogg over Maitland as back three cover though, any day of the week.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    If he "needed" to have a Scot in the squad, he should have axed Farrell and stuck in Hogg who is a better utility back...

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    That game plan doesnt make sense if you're going to pick Croft at 6 to start. He isn't the long hard graft style 6. If you're going to strangle an opponent and win penalties then you start with someone like Lydiate who makes the quick tackles that allow other forwards to get in and steal the ball or win penalties or SOB to carry hard.

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    You've completely mixed up the defensive and offensive duties there, you don't slow the ball instead of carrying, you do both at different times of the game. Croft does all that slowing and disrupting work, except when he carries he does so more effectively than most 6s, and very often he does it down the middle of the pitch on a cut wide.

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    Ha ha Aussies, criminal...

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    I expect Ioane to make him look like the shaved gorilla that I suspect he is

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    I think Faletau has been a shambles, I was looking forward to being on a side with a dynamic no.8. But he's spent all tour running sideways and losing the ball, glad to see him left out. I think O'brien and Zebo should be on the bench, both have looked explosive and dangerous so far, which is far more than can be said for Lydiate and Maitland.

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt

    I would love to have seen Cooper play in this series, it would have been bad for the lions, but he is one of the most exciting players in the world and for him to miss out is a shame. However, that prat has no right to feel sorry for himself, if you open your mouth to the media and pointlessly criticise the national set up then you should consider yourself lucky to ever play again, never mind 9 months later.

    Reply
  •  conorl
    conorl

    Like most on here, I'm completely baffled by the inclusion of Lydiate. It just doesn't make any sense to me. The only reason I can come up with for his inclusion is that Gatland has opted for a VERY specific game plan. Lydiate is a tackling machine, so I have to assume the plan is to play a very tight, power game, have Halfpenny kick his goals, get their noses in front, and bring on Lydiate with 15 minutes to go to tackle anything that moves and close out the match. But what happens if they are behind with 10/15 to go?? Lydiate is a great defender, but if they are chasing the game he's not the guy to turn to. He can't win a key turnover like Tipuric, or make a line break like SOB. Also, what happens if Heaslip or Warburton get injured? The fact that SOB can cover all three back row spots should have been enough to warrant a place on the bench. Also, Zebo was obviously done in by the need to have a Scot somewhere in the squad. It's tough luck, but that's the way these things work. Sadly politics often has as much an influence on team selection as form or quality.

    Reply
  •  ando
    ando

    I disagree, I think Barnes is a balanced, level-headed and dependable 10, and not just a kicker. I concede he's not the electric runner with the ball that Cooper is, and doesn't have the what's-he-going-to-do-next attribute. I'd be curious to see what Australia's win % has been with Barnes at 10 versus others.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Think I'd rather have SOB as number 8 actually...

    Reply
  •  upthelowend
    upthelowend

    Equally I think as good as Faletau was playing, there were a few too many spillings of the ball etc. against easy opponents that kept him out of the side.

    Reply
  •  mrjmmlc
    mrjmmlc

    mr lif disagree with you. think heaslip has played better, is a leader and the great tour he had 4 years ago for the lions can only play in his favour. as for the bench, there is obviously going to be a flanker. warburton can cover 8 and i would have obrien who could cover as well.

    Reply
  •  mrjmmlc
    mrjmmlc

    totally agree with you especially about the centers and jonathan davies! best surprise on the tour no doubt! only disagree about gray, he could never overtake parling. but lydiate instead of obrien is really unfair and is the only change i would actually do.(considering warburton is the captain). maitland is debatable but no one nailed that spot, could be him zebo or hogg

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    Yeah, I don't get the Lydiate hype either. Even the tribute videos on youtube that show his best bits are just of him putting in fairly standard tackles that O'Brien, Ferris or any decent blindside would make. As you said, O'Brien offers so much more. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Gatland is biased towards Welsh players. Another thing I don't get is Conor Murray not being on the bench. I've only seen a limited amount of the tour, but from what I understood he was in excellent form, more so than Ben Youngs. The only time I heard people complain about him was after the last match, but I think playing badly in a last desperate 20 mins when there's no gameplan and when your teammates are a bunch of headless chickens is normal.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    I can't understand the Phillips appeal. Not the best kicking game and sloppy distribution. Will his size be useful against the likes of Hooper, Palu and Gill? Doubt it. Youngs hasn't been great in the warm up matches but his passing and kicking has been as sound as ever. A much more complete choice.

    Reply
  •  ando
    ando

    Really pleased with the Wallabies line-up, that's a damn solid team!! Only slight question mark/possible weakness is O'Connor at 10, but Berrick Barnes is out there at 15 and can step in to the 10 slot if it all turns pear-shaped. Bring it on Lions!

    Reply
  •  mastersa
    mastersa

    Its a well balanced team with what is available. I can see the point of Corbisiero with the strong AUS front 3 and he still has the bench option of VP. Its the reserves selection that is dodgy. Maitland makes a little sense as a utility back over Zebo, but if he wanted the token Scot, I would have gone with Hog for both reasons. Still, I'd let him away with that. But Lydiate over Sean O'Brien? He is obviously selecting to a game plan rather than cover. O'Brien has played at 6,7 and 8 and pretty decent in all of those positions. I hope there is no early injuries or Gatlands plan may be caught out. One has to say however, when it comes to dodgy selections Deans is king. The hatchet should have been buried with Cooper. Not to have him selected is criminal.

    Reply
  •  iluvyomumma
    iluvyomumma

    Surprised about people banging on about Faletau being unlucky. He's been terrible on this tour!!! Conceding turnover after turnover, he hasn't deserved a place. I think the side is pretty much spot on given the circumstances. Davies is obviously in due to injuries but to be fair to him he has played exceptionslly well on this tour and has made me rethink my oppinion if him. I would probably have had bowe over cuthbert but again, injury. The rest of the backs are fine. As a scrum half, I wouldn't dare try and pretend I know what I'm talking about when it comes to the front row so ill leave that up to debate but Corbisiero isn't the first and won't be the last lion to start a test having not been in the original squad. The rest is pretty much as expected I think. I still think Gatland shot himself in the foot by naming Warburton as his captain as the back row is such a hotly contested position that noone should have been guaranteed a start and as much as Gatland said anyone could be dropped and Sam was not guaranteed his spot, he was lying. Croft for me was a shoe in. He'd be in my world 23 if I picked one. Devastatingly quick, great in D and excellent in the line out. Subs: I don't know how Lydiate has wormed his way in!!! Sean O'brien is unlucky but Gatland does have his favourites and Lydiate is one of them. Maitland as well I wouldn't have had but I can only assume its because he wants a Scot in the squad. Richie Gray can probably feel a bit hard done by not to be on the bench but such is life. Anyway, long message so apologies but I think the lions will win the series. Also, whoever said Quade Cooper is the most unlucky to not be playing is so right. He is probably my favourite player in world rugby atm (thats coming from an Englishman!) was very pleased for the lions he wasnt involved. When the Aussies are down and need someone to ignite the game, they are going to regret not having cooper. He may be a risk sometimes but he'll create more than he gives away

    Reply

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  • I was with you for a bit there, but Tualagi is injured, and Hogg's good but behind Halfpenny, so battling Zebo, Maitland etc for only a bench spot. Maitland may have ousted Zebo only to have a token Scot. Cuthbert never seems outstanding, but his minutes-per-try stat is phenomenal. Whatever you think of it, when Gatland's in doubt he picks a bruiser, and it's an instinct that usually serves him well. He explained why he picked Corbisiero, and if you don't agree that you need to start your best scrummager, can I suggest you re-watch the 1st Lions test of '09?

    Reply
  •  welshosprey
    welshosprey

    Faletau, Tipuric or O'Brien not even on the bench? What more could those guys have done? Lydiate is just there to come on and make tackles near the end of the game... assuming we'll be ahead

    Reply
  •  rufio
    rufio

    Tipuric & O'Brien i think can feel hard done by. But no one can feel as hard done by as QUADE COOPER. Yes the guy has some issues and hes OBVIOUSLY rubbed Deans up the wrong way, but he is so unpredictable & has an eye for a gap/pass & that strikes fear into the teams that like to play an organised game (like the Lions & England). I cant wait to see what Hooper plays like. I think he could be a real thorn in Wales, cough cough, the Lions side, just as Mowan can do. All in all, i think Gatland has pretty much got it right with what he has available to him. I would PREFER to see Tuilagi or Roberts play alongside BOD, they would of kept O'Connor busy, but Davis is a good replacement!!

    Reply
  •  benjaj
    benjaj

    Gatland made a pretty decent team for this first test. Maitland can play winger or fullback, not Zebo (actually I'm not sure, but I've never seen him on fullback). Tough decision for flanker replacement, with O'Brien and Faletau. There will be competition for these positions.

    Reply
  •  mrjmmlc
    mrjmmlc

    good team, but cant believe he left obrien out

    Reply
  •  sharkie
    sharkie

    Sean O'Brian is soooo unlucky he has been in amazing form recently and i hope he gets to play at one point during the tests

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    No Zebo, interesting :/ Yeh pretty much as expected as ktrain said. Looks like a fairly strong Lions team, not sure it will stand up to a strong Wallabies team, but time will tell...

    Reply
  •  ktrain
    ktrain

    pretty much as expected. glad Youngs gets the start at hooker and that they didnt just go for Hibbard, Youngs has deserved it. Stong lions team, and what a battle North v Folau will be!

    Reply

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Wallabies and British & Irish Lions teams named for first Test on Saturday | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos