Big Tane Questions Joe Needs to Answer, and Most of the ‘Trending’ Players He Named

Former Wallaby No.10 Matt To’omua says Joe Schmidt needs to answer several key questions about Waratahs flyhalf Tane Edmed when he watches him up close at Wallabies training sessions.

Edmed is one of 16 players asked to report for a Wallabies training squad this week. The players come from the Waratahs and Western Force following their elimination, with more to be added as the Australian franchises finish their Super Rugby commitments.

To’omua, speaking about The Roar Rugby Podcastbacked the decision to bring in veteran Kurtley Beale after his return with the Force and for Schmidt to ignore Wallaby winger Mark Nawaqanitawase, who may have played his last game of rugby before heading to the NRL.

“I think it’s smart to bring in a guy like Kurtley, what he can bring to the group,” To’omua said.

“I think Joe Schmidt might just set his sights on Kurtley and think ‘can I get more out of him?’ and make some decisions there.”

To’omua said the new coach has big questions to answer about Edmed in particular.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“It’s hard. I think he and Tom Lynagh are probably in a similar group where they haven’t played for Australia yet, but they could be there,” To’omua said.

“Once again, I really think Joe Schmidt wants to take a closer look, see what it’s like,” To’omua said.

“Was he, in quotes, a victim of the poor performances of the Waratahs as a whole? Was he carrying too much of that burden? Was that where he saw some parts where he maybe didn’t stand out as much as he would have liked, or was it another explanation?

“I don’t think he’s on my depth chart. He’s not ahead of guys like Carter Gordon, Ben Donaldson or Noah Lolesio, but I think he’s a good football player.

“He can clearly lead a team quite well. “I think yeah, that’s probably enough for a guy like Joe Schmidt to take a deeper look.”

The selection of Bayley Kuenzle also caught To’omua’s attention.

“The trend now, particularly off the bench, is for guys who can cover multiple positions,” To’omua said.

Bayley Kuenzle… (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“So if you’re picking a 6-2 bench and one of those back positions is a midfielder, you need someone who can really step in Adam Ashley Cooper style from the 12th position.

“Kuenzel, we saw him at the Brumbies play a little more in midfield and now he is a little wider. He is clearly a very skilled footballer and I think paths are beginning to open in that sense.

“I think Eddie Jones talked about that last year, about having these guys who can play in the back row and in the centre, but he didn’t really back it up in the selection.

“But I think we could start to see that in the next few years.

“I really think Joe Schmidt could put an emphasis on the group and then some running backs who can cover everywhere.”

To’omua was also intrigued by the inclusion of Charlie Gamble.

“You talk about your players and Fraser McReight stands out a lot, but tactically you’re probably starting to look at Gamble,” To’omua said.

“You’re starting to see some of the Brumbies guys who can be good players, but you might be starting to see where Joe Schmidt realizes that he needs some balance in that back row and that it can’t all just be brute force.”

Meanwhile, To’omua said Marky Mark’s omission “makes sense.”

“If Mark were here in 2025, maybe you would see it would be worth it. If he was playing his tail off, then you’d see him on that team too. But I think, unfortunately, it’s been a year where he hasn’t been in his best form.

“We’ve seen him lose and I think that makes sense.”

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