Coleman a last-minute withdrawal for Wallabies

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Adam Coleman's Bledisloe withdrawal came as a surprise to even his teammates, with a shoulder injury ending the lock's chances of playing in Dunedin.

Coleman trained for the bulk of Thursday's session and captain Michael Hooper said the lineout caller was still going through set piece drills this morning  

Coleman aggravated a shoulder injury in training on Thursday but coach Michael Cheika had given him until the last-minute to prove his fitness, something he couldn't do.

"He trained yesterday and pretty much completed the session but then afterwards he was still complaining about his shoulder so we put him through fitness tests this morning," he said.

"If he can't do his job properly on the field it's going to be a little bit difficult for him to play."Izack Rodda will make his Test debut on Saturday night. Photo: Getty ImagesIt wasn't until moments before the Wallabies team photo at Forsyth Barr Stadium that Rodda learned he would be thrown into the Bledisloe fire, coming onto the bench, with Rory Arnold promoted to start alongside Rob Simmons.

Coleman's withdrawal is a major hit for the Wallabies, with the 25-year-old among the first-picked in the national side in the past year, but Cheika said it simply gave Rodda a chance.

"It's a blow for one guy but it's an opportunity for another isn't it?" he said.

"First of all for Arnold stepping up into the starting team and then of course for young Rodda who has impressed since he's been in camp.

"And sometimes when the opportunity comes you have to take it with both hands so he's got to take it on Saturday."

Coleman has had an unlucky run with injury at Test level, with a knee injury ending his Spring Tour last year, before a calf injury curtailed his Super Rugby season in 2017.Cheika has opted to pick the 21-year-old ahead of his Queensland teammate Kane Douglas, who is the fifth lock in the squad, and his explanation for that was simple.

"I just think Izack has been doing better over the period of time we've been together, thus giving him an opportunity," he said.

"Also (we've picked him) with a bit of an eye to get him that experience now."

Captain Michael Hooper was confident the late reshuffle wouldn't hurt the Wallabies.

"Cheik keeps us on our toes all the time," he said.

"We're chopping and changing Monday (and) Tuesday in particular to see where our positions are going to be.

"He does that for a reason, I guess he does that for times like this."

Simmons will take the reins at lineout time in Coleman's absence, a role he held throughout the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Lopeti Timani will take the final bench spot, picked ahead of Jack Dempsey after overcoming an injury concern this week.

Australia takes on the All Blacks on Saturday night, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.


Wallabies team to take on the All Blacks

IN:, Dane Haylett-Petty, Izack Rodda

OUT: Samu Kerevi, Adam Coleman (shoulder)

1. Scott Sio (33 Tests)

2. Stephen Moore (121 Tests)

3. Allan Alaalatoa (13 Tests)

4. Rob Simmons (72 Tests)

5. Rory Arnold (13 Tests)

6. Ned Hanigan (4 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (69 Tests)

8. Sean McMahon (16 Tests)

9. Will Genia (79 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (46 Tests)

11. Henry Speight (13 Tests)

12. Kurtley Beale (61 Tests)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (48 Tests)

14. Dane Haylett-Petty (17 Tests)

15. Israel Folau (56 Tests) 


16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (72 Tests)

17. Tom Robertson (10 Tests)

18. Sekope Kepu (81 Tests)

19. Izack Rodda*

20. Lopeti Timani (8 Tests)

21. Nick Phipps (53 Tests)

22. Reece Hodge (14 Tests)

23. Curtis Rona (1 Test)