Here is the 30 man squad chosen by Robbie Deans for the upcoming “team planning” session ahead of the Lions Tour:
Mogg, Folau, Ioane, Tomane, Ashley-Cooper, Tapuai, McCabe, Leali’ifano, Barnes, O’Connor, White, Genia, Palu, Auelua, Hooper, Gill, Dennis, Higginbotham, Mowen, Simmons, Horwill, Douglas, Timani, Palmber, Slipper, Alexander, Robinson, Sio, Moore, Polota Nau.
Are you kidding me Robbie Deans? They are the best 30 players in Australia right now? I assume that you must be serious otherwise you would not have selected these 30 players instead of significantly more qualified and in-form players.
Some numbers to consider:
10: This is the number Waratahs in this squad. This from a team that has won 3 of 7 games this season with a net points differential of -38 points. Enough said!
07: This is the number of professional rugby union games played by Israel Folau. Somehow he is in the fullback/wing frame for the Wallabies. You can not tell me he is a better player AND is in better form than Dom Shipperley, Mitch Inman or Alfie Mafi.
25: This is the number of tackle busts for the season from Alfie Mafi. In a team struggling desperately in attack he has just been a standout. For some reason he is outside the top 30 players in the country.
Those numbers aside one of the most glaring travesties in this 30 man squad is the omission of James Hanson. Robbie Deans has gone with his old favourites in Stephen Moore, who has been playing off the bench, and Tatafu Polota Nau who is injured instead of a player in the form of his career who has stepped up to lead the Reds forward pack in the absence of much more storied and injured compatriots. What more did he need to do Mr Deans? Move to NSW seems to be the only thing he has not done!
Back row staples Dennis, Douglas and Timani get their customary call up again without any semblance of form and despite being in a forward pack that has been under-performed, out-muscled and out-enthused for the basically the whole season.
The positives in this team come from the selections of Brumbies Jesse Mogg, Christian Leali’ifano and Ben Mowen who wholeheartedly deserve their selections. However that is where the positives end.
On that note, I have one last number for you: 0. This is the number of test matches Australia will win against the Lions if Deans sticks with his plan of picking out of form players from under performing teams and rookies with little experience in top flight rugby.
The positive in that is the ripping up of Deans’ contract that must necessarily follow such a pasting. The obvious negative is the undervaluing of the Wallabies jersey with the selection of a sub par and out of form team.