By Alan Dymock
THERE MAY just be one week of the RBS 6 Nations left but players are dropping like flies and suddenly we are reshuffling our pecking order of favourites for a summer tour.
However, it is perhaps now time to start seriously looking at those impressing down under. This is not to say that after a handful of rounds in Super Rugby we will know which gold-clad team will oppose the Lions in the first test, but we all like to be kept abreast of the situation.
The Brumbies full-back has been in exceptional form in the opening rounds. He has impressed with his lightning speed and his ability to run the length of the park, much like a Southern Hemisphere Stuart Hogg.
Pouring on tries; taking interception; striding out of broken play like a cheetah in a china shop. Mogg is not quite the finished article, but if he keeps this up, his ability to hurt opponents from deep will be utilized by Robbie Deans.
Oh looky here, another Aussie openside with an impossibly low centre of gravity and the flexibility of a contortionist holding down three jobs.
He is not quite the ingénue some Brits would have you believe but he is capable of going toe to toe with the best, and with Matt Hooper also performing a similar role for the Waratahs, Australia have a rich abundance of bloody nuisances on the flank.
Australia want a lineout option. Pyle waddles over with the Rebels. Australia may have a lineout option.
He still has a lot to prove – Robbie Deans will really, really hope his form remains and he proves himself to be hard enough for something other than digging out for a team losing more than it’s winning – and his inexperience may count against him.
The Reds centre is scoring tries. He is someone improving with time. However, he may fade while those more experienced players like Anthony Fainga’a may rise, and new flavour-of-the-month players like Christian Lealiifano may flourish
The immovable human tarp has finally been blown over, with fans of both the Lions and Wallabies saddened to hear he is out for a very long time, having damaged his knee (ACL) in the Brumbies win over the ‘Tahs.
It is the great shame, as players want the best of the best up against them, but at least with Gill, Hooper and possibly even the evergreen (and gold) George Smith in the mix there is no chance openside will be a Wallaby weakness.
Rumours swirl as police get involved and inquiries made about the wingers “conduct” in Melbourne. All we know is that he is banned by his union for the next game.
Can he overcome this blip? Probably, such is his mercurial talent. However, it is hard enough keeping the reins on some of the countries most wayward young balers. Is 2013 the year the Australian hierarchy, much like the nations cricketers, put their foot down?
Winless Western Forcers
Nick Cummins probably enjoys it when his back against the wall, but while he and Sias Ebersohn (a South African fly-half) are doing their best to bail the Force out, it is proving hard to shine in Perth.
So, when the likes of Hugh McMeniman and Richard Brown claim they want back in the Australian set-up they will only do so by grafting and hustling. Do Robbie Deans’ backroom team want players conditioned to slog it out? Maybe they do. Maybe they want players used to being on the front foot.