KSA Shark ©

Robbie Deans grants Wallabies licence to thrill against Barbarians

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Wallabies on 2 Dec 2008 at 10:19
Tagged with : ,

Robbie Deans has granted Australia a licence to thrill in Wednesday night’s Olympic centenary clash with the Barbarians at Wembley Stadium – and wonderkid James O’Connor is only too happy to oblige.

Darren Walton writes on FoxSports that three weeks after O’Connor became the second-youngest Wallaby ever to play a Test, Deans on Tuesday named the 18-year-old to start at full-back against the star-studded Barbarians.

“He’s a huge individual talent,” Deans said.

“I guess the purpose for getting him underway is to add to that the team skills, the ability to work with and off others, because talent gets you here but it doesn’t take you any further.

“As an individual, you’ve got to learn those team skills.”

With the Wallabies ravaged by injury after a gruelling schedule of five Tests in five weeks, Deans has handed several other rising stars an opportunity to shine, as well as giving the squad’s third-string half-back Brett Sheehan his first start of the tour.

With Stirling Mortlock concussed against Wales on Saturday, John Eales Medallist George Smith will captain the side in the historic match, which commemorates 100 years since Australia won the rugby gold medal at the 1908 London Olympics.

Such has been the influx of fresh new talent under Deans – and high attrition rate – during Australia’s 14-Test season that Smith and winger Lote Tuqiri are the only two survivors from the Wallabies starting side from their opening international of the year against Ireland in Melbourne in June.

Deans said the Wallabies had a free rein to play as they please.

“They’ve always got that when they’re out there,” he said.

“But they’re all well-versed in our game. I won’t be limiting them in any way.”

After a month honing his brilliant running game with the Wallabies, O’Connor said such tactics suited him just fine.

“I’ve been given an awesome opportunity and I can’t wait to get out there and have a go,” said the Western Force utility.

“I’ll play whatever’s in front of me and give it a really good shot.

“There definitely should be some exciting football.

“I’m pretty confident now. I’ve been training at full-back and in the Italy game I got a bit of time there.

“I’ve learnt so much. It’s been good and I can’t wait to just show what I’ve got out there.”

Deans has been impressed by O’Connor’s confidence on his first Wallabies tour.

“He would say his selection was five games too late. It’s great,” Deans said.

“He’s started to bring a bit of voice and giving a bit back in terms of chipping, which is good.”

Former Wallabies captain George Gregan has been named on the bench in a World XV-strength Barbarians line-up.

There is a strong South African flavour to the side with John Smit captain of the Jake White-coached outfit which also features fellow World Cup-winning Springboks Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger and Bakkies Botha.

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw will make his first appearance for the Ba Bas, alongside current and former All Blacks teammates Joe Rokocoko, Rico Gear and Jerry Collins.

Wallabies: James O’Connor, Lote Tuqiri, Ryan Cross, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Brett Sheehan, Richard Brown, George Smith (capt), Dean Mumm, Hugh McMeniman, Mark Chisholm, Matt Dunning, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu.
Reserves: Adam Freier, Ben Alexander, Peter Kimlin, David Pocock, Luke Burgess, Lachie Turner, Drew Mitchell.

Barbarians: Percy Montgomery, Joe Rokocoko, Rico Gear, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Francois Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Richie McCaw, Schalk Berger, Jerry Collins, Johann Muller, Bakkies Botha, Cencus Johnson, John Smit (capt), Federico Pucciarello.
Reserves: Mark Regan, Rodney Blake, Chris Jack, Nick Koster, George Gregan, Ollie Smith, Shane Williams.


  • That is not a bad Aussie side that.

    Baabaas by 15 plus

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.12.08 10:25:47 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • not a bad Aussie side at all.

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.12.08 10:28:42 by robdylan Reply
  • New Zealand father
    Oz mother
    SA grandparents

    This kid must have some issues.

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.12.08 10:47:51 by PJLD Reply
  • John Eales Medallist? Let me check…

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.12.08 10:50:03 by McLovin Reply
  • The John Eales Medal is awarded to honour the best Australian rugby union player each year.

    Voting for the John Eales Medal is tallied after each Test Match, with each Wallaby player awarding points on a 3-2-1 basis.

    You learn something new everyday. 🙄

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.12.08 10:51:29 by McLovin Reply
  • Would still have liked to see the Full strengh Wallabies playing to get a better picture:
    No Gitau….good news for Fransie

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.12.08 10:52:00 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @McLovin (Comment 5) :

    so who actally awards the points?

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.12.08 11:01:08 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Brad Barrit scored his first try for saracens against worcester

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.12.08 11:01:37 by Bok-Clyde-Kiwi Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 7) : Not sure. I guess after each test match every player picks 3 players scoring them 3-2-1. But have to admit I don’t have a clue. 😐

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.12.08 11:04:13 by McLovin Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 9) :

    That method would actually make sense. So it will then become a sort of “Players player” award.

    Good idea that.

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.12.08 11:09:36 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • 18.. And a wallaby.. His parents must be ashamed..

    Seriously though, what were you doing at 18?? What a good start to life this kid is getting, wish I had some sporting talent.. (or any talent really 😉 )

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.12.08 15:57:20 by beez Reply
  • Who’s this Kepu character?

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.12.08 22:52:37 by Villie Reply
  • @Villie (Comment 12) : I actually have no idea

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.12.08 23:10:57 by robdylan Reply
  • @Villie (Comment 12) :

    @robdylan (Comment 13) :

    We’ll find out tonight. 😎 But I suspect John will be able to crush him come S14 time. 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.12.08 07:10:48 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : Normally I know or have at least heard of all the players from Super 14 or other means. This guy has totally escaped me. Perhaps the Aussies have been “island nabbing” again? Won’t be surprising, especially at prop!! 😆

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.12.08 21:37:27 by Villie Reply

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