Salem Radio Network News Friday, June 2, 2023


Rugby-Youngsters Jorgensen, Flook and Gordon in Wallabies training squad

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Eddie Jones included uncapped young backs Max Jorgensen, Josh Flook and Carter Gordon in his first Wallabies training squad in his second spell as Australia coach on Sunday, rewarding them for their performances in Super Rugby Pacific.

Teenager Jorgensen has impressed at fullback in his first season with the struggling New South Wales Waratahs, while centre Flook has been in fine form for the Queensland Reds.

Gordon is the most intriguing selection, named as one of two specialist flyhalves in the squad with Ben Donaldson after some fine performances in his breakout season for the Melbourne Rebels.

Uncapped halfback Ryan Lonergan was also included as one of two scrumhalves along with his more experienced ACT Brumbies clubmate Nic White.

There was no place for Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio, Waratahs captain Jake Gordon or Tate McDermott, the two halfbacks who have alternated with White in the scrumhalf role for the Wallabies for the last couple of years.

The other uncapped players included were loosehead prop Blake Schoupp and flanker Brad Wilkin.

Winger Suliasi Vunivalu has been called up despite continuing to struggle to be as potent an attacking force in rugby union as he was in rugby league.

Jones, who took over from the sacked Dave Rennie in January, said that while he had been impressed with individuals, he had not been overwhelmed by the performances of Australia’s five Super Rugby teams in the first six weeks of the season.

“It’s no secret what I’ve been looking for, and the players selected for this first camp they’ve delivered on work rate, effort and intent,” he said in a news release.

“What they haven’t delivered on in Super Rugby is winning, particularly against New Zealand teams. Competitive doesn’t cut it.

“We will build a winner’s mindset in the Wallabies players, and we will win games. That will come from confidence and belief that comes through effort and sacrifice.”

Jones also gave an indication of which overseas players he was interested in, including in his squad for the World Cup later this year, by listing players who would join the Gold Coast camp by Zoom.

Playmakers Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley were there along with Fijian-born centre Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete, fullback Tom Banks, as well as locks Will Skelton and Richie Arnold, the twin brother of former Wallaby Rory.

Jones is limited to three overseas-based players by Rugby Australia rules, but the former England coach has suggested he may look at having those restrictions altered.

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Pone Fa’amausili, Nick Frost, Langi Gleeson, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper, Jed Holloway, Lachlan Lonergan, Fraser McReight, Cadeyrn Neville, David Porecki, Tom Robertson, Pete Samu, Blake Schoupp, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Jordan Uelese, Rob Valetini, Brad Wilkin. Backs: Ben Donaldson, Josh Flook, Lalakai Foketi, Carter Gordon, Reece Hodge, Len Ikitau, Max Jorgensen, Andrew Kellaway, Ryan Lonergan, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White, Tom Wright.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by William Mallard)


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