Deans has faith in rookie frontrow
WALLABIES coach Robbie Deans has kept faith in his starting forward pack for tomorrow night’s second rugby Test against England in Sydney.
Tweed Daily News columnist Ben Daley and fellow prop Salesi Ma’afu (Brumbies) will partner Reds hooker Saia Faingaa in an inexperienced but unchanged frontrow set to tackle an English pack widely regarded as the world’s best.
The trio was dealt a lesson in scrummaging by the British boys in game one, conceding two penalty tries that made up the majority of the visitors’ points in their 27-17 defeat.
Daley, though, was exceptional with the ball in hand, proving his worth as one of the most mobile props in the modern game, getting to the breakdown with speed and aggression, and getting up a head of steam with several lengthy, barnstorming runs.
Gold Coast youngster James Slipper will again be providing front-row cover from the bench.
However, Deans said the 1, 2, 3 selection was easy compared to his backline dilemmas.
“It was one of the hardest selection processes I’ve been involved with, mostly concerning the 9, 12 and 15,” he said. “But it is a good problem to have.”
Deans dropped Waratahs pair Luke Burgess and Berrick Barnes to the bench for the ANZ Stadium clash, with Will Genia returning at halfback and Matt Giteau regaining the No.12 jersey after being ruled out with a hip injury in last weekend’s first Test.
The mentor said having to drop two of his backline stars was one of the toughest selection calls he’s had to make, particularly given that both Burgess and Barnes played strongly in Perth. Runaway fullback James O’Conner retained the No.15 jersey while last year’s regular No.15 Adam Ashley-Cooper replaces Kurtley Beale on the bench.