Rogers pleads for No 10 shirt

Mat Rogers believes he deserves a chance to prove that he has the aptitude to play Test rugby at flyhalf.

The Wallabies play Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Saturday in what will be their most testing encounter of their end-of-year tour and Rogers is adamant that despite an indifferent showing against Italy, he deserves a chance to prove his worth at pivot.

Rogers is part of a new-look 9,10,12 combination, where Matt Giteau and Stephen Larkham complete a trio who have been heavily criticised for their dire performances on the tour thus far.

“It’s funny because I actually felt that I went better [on Saturday] than I did the week before,” Rogers told Greg Growden of the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Personally, I felt a lot more comfortable. Speaking to Stephen, he also feels the same way. Last week was the first time we had played in nine weeks, and for anyone to believe we will immediately play the house down is a bit presumptuous and unrealistic.

“I thought we worked better together, although we didn’t have the go-forward we probably would have liked. It can only get better and, with another opportunity, the team can only perform better. You have to give a team a chance to gel in different situations. We’re not that far away.”

Larkham echoed Rogers’ sentiments saying: “I’m sure the three of us would like another crack at it.”

Coach John Connolly however is known to be keen to make changes to his backline. Sterling Mortlock and Lote Tuqiri are hotly tipped to play in midfield, which would mean that Larkham shifts back to flyhalf and Rogers loses his place altogether.

“The selectors are split on who should be No 10 and No 12,” Connolly said. “It is undecided, but there is a lot of discussion about playing Mortlock and Tuqiri as our centres.”

He called for better execution and sharper decision-making than they showed against Italy, ahead of the Dublin Test.

“The area this team has to improve is what we do with the ball and when we do it,” he said. “Maybe the players thought they just had to turn up and win the game. That was a problem.”