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‘I love them all already’: Coleman excited by flyhalf prospects as battle for ten jersey begins

Wed, 17/11/2021, 12:20 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Super Rugby Pacific will be full of action, featuring the best of the Southern Hemisphere

Waratahs coach Darren Coleman couldn't hide his excitement at his new flyhalf options, believing they have the potential to push for Wallabies selection heading forward.

As the Waratahs look to rebound from a disappointing 2021 campaign, Coleman has had a major selection battle on his hand in the halves.

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Incumbent skipper and Wallaby Jake Gordon looks set to be the scrumhalf, likely retaining the captaincy despite the return of Michael Hooper.

However, who will partner him is a different story, with three different prospects offering different qualities battling out for the position:

  • The incumbent Will Harrison - the "tough as teeth Rugby nerd" who started the year in the position after impressing state and national selectors in 2020.
  • The breakout star Ben Donaldson - "the 'Larkham-esque floater" who made the position his own when his good mate went down with injury towards the end of Super Rugby AU.
  • The rising talent Tane Edmed - the "tactically astute" playmaker eager to breakthrough for his first start.

Coleman has no reservations about their talent, believing they all have the potential to push for Wallaby selection with a solid and most importantly, a winning 2022 season.

How and where they will feature next year is still an unknown for the former Giltinis boss.

What he does know is whoever gets the gig will be given ample time to shine.

“I definitely think anyone of our three guys if they get a clean run at the jersey for us and we start winning, they’ll obviously be one of five in the mix and we get winning, they’ll definitely come into (Wallaby selection),” he told reporters.

“Between Tane, Donno and Will, if you could melt them into one player, you’d have the perfect player… I really don’t know how it’s going to play out. I have five games, two before Christmas and then three in January/February to decide.

“What I don’t want to do at this point in my mind is chop and change too much. I think whoever we decide on, you’ve got to give them a run at it and build at it.

“…I love them all already. They're really dedicated kids who train so hard, so dedicated to the cause so they are all going to go on and be good ten-year professional players.

"Where that is and what order, I don’t know yet. The next few months will sort it out.”

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This will be played out across the next couple of months as the Waratahs look to get some valuable game time after the cancellation of the Shute Shield.

This starts with a pair of trials in December, starting with an internal game before facing the Rebels.

They will then go into a more traditionally pre-season format in late January, facing the Brumbies, three different Shute Sheild sides in a single game before ending with the Reds

However, Coleman didn't rule out playing two or more in the same side, pointing to the success England have had with Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell.

“Whose to say two can play together. It could be at 10-12, 10-15 dependent on how we play," he suggests.

“I noticed England did it with Smith and Farrell there. It depends on the make up of the other players, if I have a running fullback, I probably won’t a ball playing 12 and vice versa.

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