Bledisloe Wallabies squad: Talking points

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

There is plenty to digest after the announcement of Michael Cheika's Wallabies squad for the first two Bledisloe Cup Tests.

Here's what we are talking about.


There was some thought that Campbell Magnay would feature throughout The Rugby Championship but Cheika has left the young centre out of the squad.

He is the athletic, physical type of player that Cheika loves so his omission does come as some surprise.

Magnay was the only centre cut from the initial training squad but Cheika wasn't buying into the school of thought that his omission was directly related to his impending departure for Japan.There's no space for Campbell Magnay in the Bledisloe squad. Photo: ARU Media"The advice sometimes that these young fellas are getting that they have to get as much out of their body for my career now, as opposed to maybe getting some balance and goals for not just your rugby career but post rugby, are well and truly set," Cheika said.

"As disappointed as I am that he has chosen to do that, what he does when he comes back is up to him.

"We need players playing here in our competitions.

"We need to start setting that tone more and more - we want our players playing here.

"For young players, we need to have them here."


Richard Hardwick impressed in his June Test debut but there was no spot for him in this squad.

Cheika appears to have preferred the form of Adam Korczyk and Jack Dempsey, with the former able to cover all three back row positions and the latter able to play at both No. 6 and No. 8.

This is far from the end for Hardwick but given two similarly young backrowers have been preferred over him, it appears he has some work to do to climb back up the pecking order.


Kane Douglas is in the Bledisloe squad. Photo: ARU MediaEyebrows were raised when Kane Douglas and Rob Simmons were named in the training squad and that was no different to the reaction today when their names were on the list.

The pair have fallen out of favour at Ballymore, with Douglas struggling to get a game in the back half of the Super Rugby season and Izack Rodda and Lukhan Tui preferred over Simmons as the starting locks.

But Cheika has always had a soft spot for the pair and they remain in the squad, with Sam Carter the man missing out as a result.

Carter is clearly out of favour, having gone from a starter against Fiji and Scotland to missing the squad altogether.

Adam Coleman and Rory Arnold appear to be near certain starters for Bledisloe One but the bench spots will be up for grabs, with Simmons, Douglas and fellow Queenslander Rodda all fighting it out.

Lopeti Timani is the only other player in the squad that can play at second row so it appears both Simmons and Douglas will be a very good chance of minutes come Bledisloe time.


In his press conference, Cheika repeatedly emphasised that there are no project players in this squad.

He believes the likes of Jordan Uelese, Izaia Perese and Adam Korczyk are ready to play Test rugby, should they be required.

That trio are all big chances of a Test debut in 2017 and that can only be a good thing as the squad builds to a World Cup that is now just over two years away.