Wallabies set to unleash more new faces

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies' 2016 debutant list doesn’t look like stopping at seven, with coach Michael Cheika indicating more new blood could be added before the end of the Rugby Championship.

Australia has handed seven players their first Test starts this season and six of those had their first taste of an international win on Saturday night against the Springboks.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys and we’ve got to get them the experience they need, “he said.

There'll probably be a couple more before the Rugby Championship is out, as well, so we've got to get them up a level because I think we have to play up a level as well."

Allan Alaalatoa has been ruled out of this week's Test. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyThe Wallabies very nearly had their eighth Test rookie on Saturday night, with Lopeti Timani dropping off an extended bench, but the utility forward is right in contention for a spot against Argentina.

Timani is one of three uncapped players in the squad at the moment, along with Tom Robertson and Kyle Godwin.

An injury to Allan Alaalatoa could pave the way for Waratahs prop Robertson to earn his first Wallabies opportunity, coming into camp along with capped Wallaby Toby Smith.

It was the new faces in the side that gave the most hope in Australia’s win over South Africa, with that group of six looking right at home in the Test team.

Adam Coleman continued to bring some grunt to the forwards and has shouldered the lineout calling responsibility with ease, while Alaalatoa was solid in his cameo, continuing his smooth step up into Tests.

One who has epitomized a seamless transition into the Wallabies team is Reece Hodge and Cheika was full of praise for the 22-year-old again on Saturday.

“He’s just got a really good demeanour and every challenge he’s been given, he’s been stepping up to,” he said.

“A few little things tonight he can improve on but overall, the way he’s come into the team and imposed himself in his second match and first start, I think with that attitude he has he’s going to go a long way in the game.”

to have found his niche at 13, improving his defence and imposing himself as an attacking threat, a mix that teammate Quade Cooper says puts the world at his feet.

Samu Kerevi looks to have cemented the number 13 spot. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley“Samu’s just getting better and better with the more football he plays and I think that that’s with most young guys,” he said.

“You’ve got a guy who’s got a lot of talent and now he’s getting a lot of games in one position.

“When I first played with Samu he was playing 12, 13, he was shifting around a fair bit and now he’s cemented himself as a 13, as a world-class 13, it’s going to give himself confidence.

“When you continue to build and build and build, the world’s your oyster especially as a young guy like that.”