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By ARU Media Unit
There’s no doubting the performance of some of the Australian Rugby talent on show during this year’s Super Rugby tournament in the lead up to the DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour.
It’s certainly been an exciting season of Super Rugby so far and as the first 25 Qantas Wallabies were named for this year’s Lions Tour, fans were asked who they thought deserved a call up to pull on the gold jersey for the once in 12 year opportunity.
With so many notable contenders including, but not limited to, Peter Betham, Christian Lealiifano, Mitch Inman, Ed Quirk, Bernard Foley, Kieran Longbottom, Scott Sio, Jesse Mogg, Israel Folau, Hugh Pyle, Ben Mowen, Jake Schatz and Kyle Godwin, the recent weekly rugby.com.au poll question had to be carried out across two weeks.
In week one it was Israel Folau who topped the poll with 57% of votes. Considering the previous AFL and NRL star’s performance during his first season of Rugby Union with the Waratahs, it was little surprise the talented back was rewarded with a Wallabies jersey.
With 11 Super Rugby caps so far, Folau has scored seven tries during his impressive debut season.
His poll score however was surpassed during the second week of the poll by the Brumbies’ Christian Lealiifano who drew 66% of fan’s votes. Lealiifano’s Wallabies call-up is arguably well overdue with his Rugby career waylaid by a gruelling ankle injury in the dying seconds of a Super Rugby match against the Waratahs in 2012, just ahead of the international Rugby season.
The 25 year old has racked up 143 points for the ACT Brumbies this season, with two tries to his name in 2013.
Lealiifano and Folau were the clear choice for fans as the players they thought would be the surprise Qantas Wallabies debutant with their vote tally heavily exceeding the eleven other choices in the two-week poll.
And fans were right as ARU CEO Bill Pulver read out both their names during last Sunday’s official first 25 Qantas Wallabies playing squad for next month’s DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour.
The next highest contender in the two week poll came in well behind the two leading choices with 16% believing it would be ACT Brumbies player Jesse Mogg who would receive a surprise call-up.
Mogg was followed by the Reds’ Ed Quirk and Waratahs Bernard Foley, both on 10% of votes, very closely followed by Brumbies’ Captain, Ben Mowen with 9% of votes. Mowen was the only other player successfully named in the Qantas Wallabies first 25 with Folau and Lealiifano.
The Waratahs’ Peter Betham and Mitch Inman tied on 6% of votes with the Western Force’s 20 year old flyhalf, Kyle Godwin. Melbourne Rebel Hugh Pyle finished with 5% of votes, followed by Jake Schatz on 4%, Scott Sio on 3% and Kieran Longbottom with 2% of votes.
Now that the first 25 Qantas Wallabies have been revealed, this week’s rugby.com.au poll is asking fans which player they think should be handed the reins as the Captain of the Men in Gold against the Lions this year. All five contenders, James Horwill, Will Genia, Dave Dennis, Scott Higginbotham and Ben Mowen have had experience at the helm, so which do you think has what it takes to lead the Qantas Wallabies to victory this year?
Have your say in the rugby.com.au poll now.