Aussie flyhalves to duel in Japan

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Two Wallabies flyhalves will go head-to-head in Japan this weekend, when the Panasonic Wild Knights take on the Ricoh Black Rams.

In form Wild Knights 10, Berrick Barnes, will be up against Australian incumbent Bernard Foley, in his first start for the Black Rams.

Foley’s World Cup teammate, backrower Ben McCalman, will be his opponent on Sunday as well, starting at number eight.

The Rams will go in as underdogs, searching for their first win in the Top League, against the undefeated Wild Knights.

Mark Gerrard will come off the bench for Toyota Industries Shuttles in their derby against Toyota Verblitz this weekend, as they look to rebound from a 43-0 loss against Yamaha Jubilo.

Fellow Aussie, Bryce Hegarty, will start at flyhalf for the sixth-placed Shuttles.

Former Wallabies winger Digby Ioane will be injected off the pine for the Honda heat for the third week in a row, while lock Hugh McMeniman has not been named for the Heat, who are sixth in their pool.

Scott Higginbotham will look to help the NEC Green Rockets to their first win of the season, starting at number eight in their match against the undefeated Yamaha Jubilo.

Winger Nick Cummins has not been named for the Coca-Cola West Red Sparks in their match against the Canon Eagles.

The French Top 14 and English premiership competitions are back in action this weekend after a fortnight’s break for the Champions and Challenge Cups.

Toulon’s star-studded back line will be close to full-strength when they take on Clermont Auvergne, welcoming back Wallabies stars Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau.

Giteau’s inclusion at flyhalf comes at the expense of another Wallabies playmaker, with Qaude Cooper set to miss the match.

Former Wallabies back James O’Connor will play his first game after knee surgery, coming off the bench.

Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu arrived in Bordeaux this week but will not play in their match against Pau on Saturday.

Four Aussies featured in Montpellier’s team that beat La Rochelle 25-20 on Saturday morning (AEDT), coached by former Brumbies mentor Jake White.

Former Wallabies captain Ben Mowen scored Montpellier’s only try in the 70th minute, playing at openside flanker, while Jesse Mogg played on the left wing.

Halfback Nic White and former Queensland Reds back Ben Lucas were injected in the back half off the game, coming on in the 65th and 71st minutes respectively.

Stade Francais is yet to name its team to face Grenoble on Monday morning (AEDT) but Wallabies halfback Will Genia is expected to return from injury to make his French debut.

Former Wallabies captain James Horwill will start for the Harlequins against Exeter in a blockbuster second vs third match up.

Wallabies veteran George Smith has missed out on the Wasps’ 23 as they face Leicester, while Peter Betham will also be sitting out the clash despite recent good form in the European Champions Cup