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Wallabies midfield confusion




All Black World Cup-winning flyhalf Grant Fox believes the Wallaby selectors are barking up the wrong tree by trying transplanted outside backs in the crucial No 10 position.

Fox told RugbyEnews that as an observer he was “a little bit bemused by the chopping and changing in the backline when it is more obvious the (real) problems are up front.”

Former winger Mark Gerrard has been thrown a lifeline in the unfamiliar pivot position for Australia A this week after a disastrous debut in the loss to Ospreys and Mat Rogers has publicly pleaded for another chance in the test against Ireland on Monday. Both transplanted No 10s have struggled with the technical skills expected of the position.

Fox believes that Rogers’ background as an outstanding wing/fullback in rugby league doesn’t mean he has the skills to play rugby’s most skill-intensive position: “Mat Rogers is a very talented rugby player, but it’s one thing to have talent and it’s another thing to run the show from No 10,” Fox says.

“In Stephen Larkham you’ve got a world class player, but with what’s been happening in front of him I think he’s had a bit of a tougher ride than he’s had previously. But form is temporary, class is permanent and he’s got class.”

Fox also questions whether Larkham has a long term future at No 12: “Second five (inside centre) is a hugely confrontational position. You could argue that there’s more physicality required at 12 than at 10 and Larkham is a bit injury prone he’s a very courageous man and he puts himself in traffic all the time.

“Is he big enough to deal with the crash and bash both with, and without, the ball in that position? I don’t think that best makes use of his talent.”


As reported in

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