Coach backs Sevens rookies to shine

Wednesday December 2, 2009 by  

Australian Rugby Sevens coach Michael O’Connor says his youthful squad is eager to step out onto the world stage and perform when the iRB Sevens World Series kicks off in Dubai on Friday.

O’Connor’s 12-man team has an average age of just 20 and only two players – captain Patrick McCutcheon and utility back Brian Sefanaia – have previous experience on the eight-leg Sevens circuit.

Junior NSW Waratahs and Sydney University flanker McCutcheon made his debut on the Sevens circuit in 2007 and will look to the experience of fellow series regular Sefanaia during the two-day event as ten of their teammates make their international debut.

Despite his side’s inexperience, O’Connor is full of confidence his talented rookies will make the step-up at the two-day long tournament. Read more

Wallabies named to play Wales

Thursday November 26, 2009 by  

Digby Ioane, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu and Benn Robinson have all been cleared, and today named in the Wallabies side that will play Wales at Cardiff on Saturday.

The quartet were all previously in doubt due to injury, with Ioane being a late withdrawal from last weekend’s Test against Scotland at Edinburgh, while Genia, Palu and Robinson were forced from the field in that match.

Their roles were confirmed after they each successfully came through training at the University of Glamorgan today.

Ioane’s return at centre in place of Ryan Cross is one of three changes to the Australian starting XV from that which took the field in the Hopetoun Cup Test match. The others see flanker David Pocock and lock Dean Mumm gain starts, for George Smith and Mark Chisholm respectively. Read more

Wallabies deliver historic win over Cardiff

Wednesday November 25, 2009 by  

The Wallabies have thrashed Cardiff 31-3 to deliver Australia’s first ever victory over the Welsh club on an end of year tour to the United Kingdom.

Two tries in each half and a flawless goalkicking performance by fullback James O’Connor provided a morale boost to the Wallabies as they prepare for their tour finale against Wales at Millennium Stadium on Saturday night.

Utility back Kurtley Beale scored two tries, while centre Ryan Cross and replacement winger Luke Morahan – the 19-year-old on his Wallabies debut – also crossed for five pointers.

O’Connor landed four conversions and a penalty goal.

The Wallabies led 17-3 at half time.

AUSTRALIAN WALLABIES 31 (Kurtley Beale 2, Ryan Cross, Luke Morahan tries; James O’Connor 4 cons, pen goal) def CARDIFF CITY BLUES 3.

News Source: Australian Rugby Union

Wallabies named to play Cardiff City

Monday November 23, 2009 by  

Australia Under-20 and Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua will make his senior debut for his country after being named today in the Wallabies side to tackle the Cardiff Blues tomorrow night.

The selection of Toomua, 19, is one of three personnel changes to the starting line-up from the Australian side which won its opening midweek match of the tour at Gloucester.

The others see Pekahou Cowan included to start at loosehead prop, in the place of Salesi Ma’afu, after coming off the bench as a hooker against Gloucester.

Ma’afu is relegated to the bench, after featuring on the tighthead side of the scrum at Gloucester, with Sekope Kepu switching from loosehead to tighthead to accommodate the inclusion of Cowan. Read more

Rookies dominate Sevens squad

Monday November 23, 2009 by  

Australian Rugby Sevens coach Michael O’Connor has named 10 rookies in his 18-man squad to compete in the IRB Sevens World Series which kicks off in Dubai on December 4.

Australian rugby fans can catch the action close to home when Adelaide hosts the Australian leg from March 19-21. Full tournament schedule below.

Fresh talent has been injected into the Sevens program with the likes of fullback Zack Holmes, utility back Edward Quirk and playmaker Jacob Taylor set to make their debut at the Dubai tournament alongside series regular Brian Sefanaia and captain Patrick McCutcheon.

Quirk is the youngest member of the Australian squad at 18; he was snapped up by the Queensland Reds Academy after showcasing his talent in 2008 while representing Queensland and Australia as a Schoolboy. Read more

Wallabies named to play Scotland

Friday November 20, 2009 by  

There is one change to the Wallabies starting line-up, and two to the bench, after the combination was named today for Saturday’s Hopetoun Cup Test against Scotland in Edinburgh.

George Smith returns on the openside flank, in the place of last weekend’s man of the match David Pocock, who has been rested.

The 21-year-old’s place in the match day squad has been allocated to his Western Force team-mate Richard Brown, who will cover No 8 and openside flanker on the bench.

A further change among the run on reserves sees NSW Waratahs loosehead prop Sekope Kepu included, replacing Matt Dunning. Read more

Melbourne wins Super Rugby Licence

Thursday November 12, 2009 by  

Australian Rugby Union welcomes today’s historic decision to include Melbourne as the 15th Super Rugby team when one of the world’s premier Rugby competitions expands in 2011.

An independent two-man panel handed down its verdict after SANZAR requested a review – and a binding finding – on the applications received from ARU, on behalf of Melbourne, and the South African Rugby Union, on behalf of the Southern Kings.

The Expert Determination Panel, appointed last month when the SANZAR Executive Committee was unable to reach a unanimous position on whether Melbourne or the Southern Kings should be the additional team, consisted of 1987 All Blacks’ World Cup winning captain and former Fairfax Media CEO David Kirk, and retired NZ High Court Judge, the Hon Barry Paterson QC. Read more

Wallabies named to take on Ireland

Wednesday November 11, 2009 by  

The selection of David Pocock on the openside flank, with George Smith returning to a place among the run on reserves, represents the only change to the Wallabies starting side named today for Sunday’s Lansdowne Cup Test against Ireland in Dublin.

21-year-old Pocock, who started against New Zealand in Tokyo before coming from the bench during last Saturday’s 18-9 win against England in London, plays the 14th Test of his career, but makes just his fifth start.

Significantly though, this is the fourth starting role among his last five Tests, with the sequence beginning during Australia’s 21-6 win over South Africa at Brisbane in September.

The change to the back row aside, the Australian combination is unchanged from that which started last weekend at Twickenham. Read more

Wallabies named to play England

Thursday November 5, 2009 by  

The return of George Smith to the starting XV, and the selection of an entirely new midfield combination featuring Digby Ioane and Quade Cooper, are the key changes to the Wallabies starting line-up that has been named today for Saturday’s Cook Cup Test against England in London.

Smith, the game’s fifth most capped player, has swapped roles with the Western Force 21-year-old David Pocock from last week. He will play in his 107th Test.

Ioane plays his sixth Test match, but his first at centre, after making a successful return from injury on the wing last weekend against the All Blacks.

The powerful 24-year-old converted to the midfield for the Queensland Reds this year, making 10 appearances at centre before his efforts were curtailed by a shoulder injury that required surgery to correct. Read more

Wallabies down Gloucester

Wednesday November 4, 2009 by  

The Wallabies have opened their tour to the UK and Ireland with a comfortable 36-5 victory over English club Gloucester at a packed Kingsholm this morning (Australian time).

A capacity crowd of more than 16,000 was on hand as the Wallabies crossed three times in the final 20 minutes to finish with five tries to one.

Five-eighth Quade Cooper collected a 16-points haul from a try in the closing stages, along with four conversions and a penalty goal. Read more