A team of Wallabies to put the cat among the pigeons



The performances by the Brumbies and Reds against the Waratahs and Force respectively were excellent and demonstrated something that had been missing in Australian rugby for a long time – neither team took their foot off the opposition and played the full 80 minutes.

That said, they weren’t playing New Zealand teams, but the Reds in particular have been very good against our friends across the ditch this year.

Rugby in Australia at the highest level is not in as dangerous a state as some would have us believe, perhaps with the exception of the front row.

With coaches who are good selectors first and, second, who can actually coach, then the Wallabies can get back into the top two or three teams in the world.

Fraser McReight is my clear choice for captain and not just because he’s one of a couple of automatic picks and plays a lot of minutes.

To put the cat among the pigeons, here is my first Test team taking on Wales.

Fraser McReight of the Wallabies celebrates (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

15. Ben Donaldson, 14. Tim Ryan, 13. Len Ikitau, 12. Hunter Paisami, 11. Corey Toole, 10. Tom Lynagh, 9. Tate McDermott, 8. Harry Wilson (if fit), 7. Fraser McReight (c), 6. Rob Valetini, 5. Izack Rodda, 4. Darcy Swain, 3. Taniela Tupou, 2. Matt Faessler, 1. Isaac Kailea (oh, Angus Bell in form)

Bookings: Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa, Seru Uru, Liam Wright, Jake Gordon, Noah Lolesio, Jock Campbell

The good thing is that there are some very unlucky players who have been left out. Nick Frost, for example, had his best game in a long time against the “Warastars” and if he maintains that form it would force a rethink.

The team will cause pain to the Tom Wright fan club, particularly the Stan Sport team, but the mistakes he still makes in his game seem to be overlooked due to his undoubted abilities in other areas. There is still a feeling that, in the heat of a clash against Bledisloe, a single mistake could prove costly.

In this “rookie” opinion, Donaldson is potentially a long-term 15 in the Matt Burke mold (solid, good pace, great start and first-choice goal kicker). Note that this does not suggest that he is in Burke’s class at this stage, but he has a similar style. There are already comments about Ryan and Toole being inexperienced and too small. But there is no substitute for real rhythm; The Springboks have shown that small wings can not only handle Test rugby, but can also be match winners or even World Cup champions.

So, let the fun and games begin, and let Wales come.

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