MARK KEOHANE reports on the latest Super Rugby news from Australia.
Toua topples Harris
Radike Samo starts against the Canes, but Mike Harris has been relegated to the subs bench.
Harris was the goalkicking hero for the Wallabies a few months ago but he misses out on a start because of a settled home team midfield and Ewen McKenzie’s call to go with extra pace in the back three.
Aidan Toua, a former schoolboy teammate of Quade Cooper’s, will play fullback.
Reds: Aidan Toua, Dom Shipperley, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Ben Tapuai, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Eddie Quirk, Ed O’Donoghue, Rob Simmons, James Slipper (c), Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes. Subs: James Hanson, Albert Anae, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Radike Samo, Nick Frisby, Mike Harris, Luke Morahan
All’s not united in Aus
ARU CEO Bill Pulver admitted there was resistance from the Super Rugby franchises to rest leading players in the build-up to the Wallabies three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions.
Pulver, speaking at the 100-day countdown to the series, said the franchises had yet to buy into a national plan around Wallabies coach Robbie Deans’s squad preparations.
‘He is going to get all the support he needs in terms of getting that group together ideally three weeks ahead of the first game [of the series],’ Pulver said. ‘I have to go back and speak to the various Super franchises about that over the next couple of days, but we will be getting an announcement out imminently.
‘I am not sure we will get a consensus view on that. Clearly, they want to have their players available for every Super rugby game. My priority frankly is that Robbie has the right preparation in order to make sure we beat the Lions.’
James O’Connor captains the Rebels for the first time because of injury to regular captain Gareth Delve.
Kurtley Beale starts at flyhalf agains with O’Connor staying at fullback.
Rebels: 15 James O’Connor (captain), 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Richard Kingi, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson. Subs:16 Shota Horie, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Jordy Reid, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Angus Roberts, 22 Tom English.