Wallabies confident in new lock Enever

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper isn’t sure what to expect from the side’s newest debutant, Blake Enever, this weekend.

Enever was catapulted into the Wallabies starting side to face England on Friday, with Adam Coleman ruled out at the team’s captain’s run.

Coleman suffered a thumb injury in Australia's 29-21 win over Wales last weekend, and had limited involvement in training earlier in the week.

A successful run through Thursday's session saw him named in the team for Saturday, pending his recovery.

Coleman ultimately failed a last-minute fitness Test on Friday morning, before Australia's captain's run, leading to the late switch.

Hooper heaped praise on the 26-year-old for his efforts in training, but admitted he wasn’t sure how Enever’s presence would change the dynamic without Coleman in the lineup.

“We're going to have to play it by ear aren't we?,” he said.

“I don't know a huge amount of Blake on the field and we're excited to see it.

“'Cheik' picked him (on the tour) for a really clear purpose.

“That was for his stuff around the line-out, being strong in the set piece and just working, getting a feel for the environment and he's taken to it very quickly, obviously with earning a starting spot from not even having a Test cap.”

Enever’s rise is a similar situation to that of Izack Rodda in August, who was thrown into the cauldron against the All Blacks with Coleman a late withdrawal, and Hooper said there was only one way to found out if their latest newbie had the mettle for Tests.

“I heard a good thing the other day - 'you're never ready, you're just ready enough,” he said.

“I think when it comes to Test rugby, that's the situation a lot of players are in.

“You've never played a Test before, you run out onto the field, you're ready enough.

“He's been going about his work really well, his voice around the field has been something that has really impressed me and that's something you'll definitely need out here (Twickenham) tomorrow (Saturday) going by our history, to be vocal and talking to your team-mates and have that trust in the system.”

Blake Enever is in the Wallabies squad. Photo: Getty ImagesHooper admitted Coleman’s loss was a blow for the team and second rower, adding to a year of injury setbacks, after Coleman missed the end of the 2016 Spring Tour and the second Bledisloe Test.

“He's being doing good stuff through the year, he's been a leader in the line out his physicality around the field has been fantastic,” he said.

“He missed the back end of the tour last year and missed a couple of games he would have love to have played in this year and the back end of last year.

Hooper backed Coleman to rebound from this latest injury.

“It's a little speed bump for Adam but seeing the way he came back from his injuries last year he's really taken on to a lot of good work with his leadership skills and his physicality around the field.”

Enever will become the 26th Wallabies debutant since the 2015 Rugby World Cup when he runs out onto Twickenham.

Lopeti Timani will take the eighth spot on the bench, with winger Henry Speight dropping off the extended lineup named on Thursday.

Australia takes on England on Saturday November 18, kicking off at 3pm local, Sunday 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.


IN: Blake Enever

OUT: Adam Coleman, Henry Speight

Wallabies team to face England 

1. Scott Sio (41 Tests)

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (80 Tests)

3. Sekope Kepu (89 Tests)

4. Rob Simmons (80 Tests)

5. Blake Enever*

6. Ned Hanigan (11 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (77 Tests)

8. Sean McMahon (24 Tests)

9. Will Genia (vc) (86 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (vc) (53 Tests)

11. Reece Hodge (22 Tests)

12. Samu Kerevi (16 Tests)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (56 Tests)

14. Marika Koroibete (6 Tests)

15. Kurtley Beale (69 Tests)


16. Stephen Moore (127 Tests)

17. Tom Robertson (17 Tests)

18. Allan Alaalatoa (21 Tests)

19. Matt Philip (2 Tests)

20. Ben McCalman (51 Tests)

21. Lopeti Timani (10 Tests)

22. Nick Phipps (60 Tests)

23. Karmichael Hunt (4 Tests)