NRC: Semi-finals: Which Wallabies are in contention?

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by Beth Newman

The Wallabies are back in Australia but which Test players could be a chance of making a finals cameo in the NRC?

NSW Country Eagles

Tom Robertson

Tom Robertson could line up for the Eagles in Newcastle. Photo: Getty ImagesRobertson has fronted up for the Eagles already this season, before being called into the Wallabies squad after the Brisbane game. It was a whirlwind exit for Robertson in Tamworth, jumping in a cab at half-time to join up with the Test team on its way to Perth. He has already been a part of a local grand final this season, playing for Sydney Uni in the Shute Shield final. Hasn’t played a heap for the Wallabies, coming off the bench, and would be easily slotted in.


Tolu Latu


It was Latu's NRC form that earned him a seat on the plane to Pretoria and London, so you'd think the Eagles would be happy to have him back in the side if he were available. Even with Tatafu Polota-Nau unlikely to play in the third Bledisloe, Latu would be the third-choice Wallabies hooker, so a game of NRC can only be a good thing for him.


Nick Phipps

There has been some talk that Phipps could be one of those in the mix for the Eagles this weekend, having had limited minutes for the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship. If the point is for returning Wallabies to have more game time, then there's one major hurdle. The Eagles halfback Jake Gordon has been among the best in the entire NRC and it would be tricky for a team to gel around a new halfback who hasn’t trained with the side, though he’d know plenty of the Eagles through Super Rugby. The Waratah could be a chance for a bench spot in the Newcastle semi but it would be the longest of shots.

Sydney Rays

Scott Fardy

Scott Fardy played for the Rays earlier this year. Photo: SuppliedFardy played for the Rays earlier this season, after being dropped from the Wallabies’ 23, and will be in the conversation again for their semi-final against the Spirit. The cards could fall either way for the 32-year-old, after bench appearances in Tests the past month. He's a very strong chance og fronting up at Pittwater Park.

Perth Spirit

Luke Morahan

Luke Morahan has provided some NRC highlights for the Spirit. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyMorahan has been a semi-regular player in the Perth Spirit team this season and having played no Rugby Championship matches, would be a near sure thing to be back in the team this weekend. Michael Cheika has been keen to release his players to NRC sides for game time and match fitness, with Morahan among those. Expect him to be at Pittwater Park on Sunday.

Melbourne Rising

Sefa Naivalu

Sefanaia Naivalu has capped a rapid rise. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleySuper Sefa made his Test debut in Pretoria but dropped out of the 23 against Argentina in London. While he’s a big chance of earning more game time through the Spring Tour, another NRC outing wouldn’t hurt the speedster. The Rising would surely be happy to have him as well, with their tough assignment ahead.


James Hanson

Hanson has featured for the Rising once this season, copping a head knock in that match, but he’s odds on to line up for them in Newcastle this weekend, to try and topple the minor premiers. Has played just 10 minutes of rugby in the past two weeks so workload shouldn’t be too much of an issue.


Lopeti Timani

Timani has featured for the Rising this season but after two bruising Test matches, his chances of playing their semi-final this weekend might be a little stretched. The utility forward would certainly bolster the Rising’s pack but with the prospect that Sean McMahon and David Pocock mightn’t be available for the third Bledisloe, Timani seems more likely to be watching on from the comfort of his own home this weekend.