The pecking order: Flyhalf

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Australian rugby has depth in a handful of positions but flyhalf is certainly not one of them.

The Reds-Waratahs clash three weeks ago was a big tick for Bernard Foley as the bonafide best option at flyhalf and he now stands head and shoulders above the chasing pack.

Here's how the pecking order currently looks.

1. Bernard Foley

Foley may not be Beauden Barrett but that's not uncommon - he is the reigning World Rugby Player of the Year, after all.

The Waratahs flyhalf has a very well rounded skill set that is acclimatised to the rigours of Test rugby.Bernard Foley has been a big part of the Wallabies set up for several years now. Photo: Getty ImagesHe has a good - if not great - general play kick and finds gaps in the defensive better than most.

He has the acceleration to pierce those gaps himself but he is also a superb passer on both sides of his body.

Add that to a solid defensive game and a cool head with the kicking tee and you have a flyhalf that provides reliability.

With so many positions up for grabs, reliability is just what this Wallabies team needs.

2. Quade Cooper

The Quade Cooper of 2017 is a very, very good player when he's on his game.

He was the difference in the Reds' win against the Rebels on Saturday.

It was an attacking masterclass.

When provided with space, he is still capable of carrying his team to wins with smart kicks, slick passes and solid organisation.Should Quade Cooper be the starting flyhalf in June? Photo: Getty ImagesBut when Queensland's forward pack is going backwards, Cooper has a propensity to push plays that can cost his team dearly.

Case in point - the loss to the Waratahs.

The Reds were scrambling amidst a flurry of penalties and a pair of unnecessary Cooper kicks out on the full certainly did not help the cause.

There is also his tendency to tackle high, which landed him a three week suspension at the start of the year.

That lack of reliability slides him below Foley on this list but one would imagine he will still form some part of Michael Cheika's plans.

3. Jono Lance

Could Jono Lance make his Wallaby debut in 2017? Photo: Getty ImagesWhere Cooper may come unstuck is that he offers a very different attacking approach to Foley and Lance.

Foley and Lance play a game that is more understated and are a like-for-like substitution if injury or suspension were to strike Foley.

That's not to say Cooper isn't adaptable, as he has shown over the years that he is more than capable of moulding his game.

But Lance is perhaps the best defender of the three options and it wouldn't surprise to see him part of Cheika's June squad, given the team's game plan would shift very little if he was to take the reigns in Foley's absence.

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