Qantas Wallabies name side to play All Blacks and 2018 European Tour

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Qantas Wallabies name side to play All Blacks and 2018 European Tour
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 19: (L-R) Reece Hodge, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Izack Rodda arrive ahead of the 2018 Rugby Australia Awards at Royal Randwick Racecourse on October 19, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The Qantas Wallabies have named their side to face the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe Cup match, next Saturday in Japan. The named squad will then go on their 2018 European Tour, where they play four further matches, before the end of Australia’s season.

It will not be one to be overly-delighted with, however, a number of wins in Europe – and even one over their arch rivals New Zealand – could support Rugby Australia’s decision to support head coach Michael Cheika.

Wallabies name side to play All Blacks and 2018 European Tour

The senior men’s side will travel to Yokohama, for the October 27 fixture which begins a four-game end of year tour, that is designed to repair a less than impressive International season.

Jed Holloway is one of three uncapped players in the squad to head to Japan, along with Jake Gordon and Angus Cottrell. In a media release, Rugby Australia conceded ‘attitudinal change’ is needed inside the Qantas Wallabies squad after a poor season.

Removing the Wallabies’ mental blockages, and an occasionally admitted ‘fear of failure’this year, appears to be Cheika’s point of focus, given he believes there have been glimpses of the team’s A-game; namely the first half in Sydney and Auckland Bledisloe Cup matches, the Ireland series [lost 1-2], the second half of the side’s victory in Salta, Argentina.

Wins over New Zealand, England, Wales; et all, would be the best reward for the tour. It would suggest that Michael Cheika is the right man to lead Australia in its goal of winning a third World Cup crown next year.

2018 Bledisloe Cup and European Tour schedule:

  • Australia v New Zealand – October 27. Nissan Stadium, Tokyo
  • Wales v Australia – November 11. Principality Stadium, Cardiff
  • Italy v Aus – Nov 18. Stadio Euganeo, Padua
  • England v Aus – Nov 25. Twickenham, London

As well as the touring Qantas Wallabies, an Australian Schools side will visit Ireland and Scotland, on a development tour that will ultimately benefit the future of Australian rugby. The juniors will include under 18 boys, who have been handpicked by Australia Schools and U18s Head Coach, Andrew Moloney

He said in a media release, “This is a really exciting time in these young men’s lives, with tours to northern hemisphere a unique experience.”

2018 Australian Schools and U18s Fixtures: 

  • Australia v Munster Academy – November 30
  • Australia v Ulster Academy, December 4
  • Australia v Ireland U19s, December 8
  • Australia v Scotland Top Six Schools Selection, December 9
  • Australia v Scotland U19s, December 16

Taniela Tupou named Qantas Wallabies ‘Rookie of the Year’

Along with the debutant Qantas Wallabies selected for the end of season tour, it includes Queensland Reds prop Taniela Tupou (see main picture). The Wallabies prop was recognized for his bright future, and his contributions on the field during the Reds 2018 Super Rugby season.

At the annual Rugby Australia Awards, Tupou paid tribute to his late father, Malakai, after collecting two of the major awards – the Rugby Australia Rookie of the Year and the Super Rugby Player of the Year.

Tupou was emotional speaking about his family and his father, especially, who never had the chance to watch him play. “He passed away in 2005 and I started playing in 2006 ,so he didn’t see much of me playing footy.

“If I had one wish it’d be for him to watch me play.”

Tupou is a part of the future of the Qantas Wallabies – like the Schools team – and the recent signature of Michael Hooper adds the depth required heading towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and beyond.

National Rugby Championship (NRC) final next weekend

While the national team is selected to compete against the All Blacks on Saturday, back in Australia, the NRC grand final will be held.

The national rugby club competition is in its fifth season and the Fiji Drua team have underlined their credentials, with a semifinal win in Lautoka.

Their success is both a blessing and a curse for Rugby Australia. Recognition of the relationship with Fiji – where so many current Qantas Wallabies have ancestry – but also, a challenge for Australian national sides. Fiji Drua showed that the exciting, open-style of rugby was the equal of the Canberra Vikings.

They will face the winner of the Queensland Country and the Western Force semifinal, next weekend in the NRC final on the Gold Coast.

The senior men’s team and schools’ team members will each watch with interest, as the two teams showcase the national club championship before they each travel to Europe for their own challenge.

“Main photo credit”
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