Sport Youth likely to put pressure on Rennie for Bledisloe tests
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Wallabies coach Dave Rennie looks set to be the main beneficiary of a decision by the country's Super Rugby coaches to invest in youth with several players likely to be pressing for starting positions against New Zealand's All Blacks next month.
Rennie will get his hands on the squad for the first time this week after the ACT Brumbies beat the Queensland Reds 28-23 to win the Super Rugby AU title in Canberra on Saturday.
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Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio was instrumental in his side winning the title and received a predictable vote of confidence from his coach Dan McKellar when asked if he felt he should start the Bledisloe Cup tests against the All Blacks.
"I think so," McKellar told reporters after the victory.
"If you surround him with experience, a good forward pack, which they'll have (in) the Wallabies, a good scrum, lineout, maul and he can play, if you get on the front-foot he's very dangerous.
"He's certainly good enough."
Lolesio is unlikely to be the only one of the 16-uncapped players pushing Rennie to throw them into the hot seat for the matches for the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy and which has been held by New Zealand since 2003.
The Brumbies' Irae Simone and Reds' Hunter Paisami showed on Saturday they could be destructive in midfield, while the Reds scrumhalf Tate McDermott has been superb all season.
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Tevita Kuridrani has left the Brumbies to head to Perth to join the Western Force for the 2021 season. Fresh off winning the Super Rugby AU title on Saturday, the veteran outside centre will link up with the Perth-based franchise for the next domestic rugby season. Kuridrani has been a Wallabies regular since his debut in 2013 but was a surprise omission from Dave Rennie’s 44-man squad for the 2020 Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship on the back of a season in which he was below his best. Still, at 29 years old he still has plenty of rugby left in him, and produced his best game of Super Rugby AU in the final.
The Reds' Harry Wilson also could be the hard running, hard working number eight that Rennie needs to combat the All Blacks loose forwards, who have a big, fast and physical edge to them this year.
Rennie's toughest task will be in the tight five, where experienced locks Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda and Rory Arnold have all gone overseas, although the uncapped Trevor Hosea looks to be a player with enormous potential.
The Wallabies scrum should be solid and while the ACT Brumbies' Folau Fainga'a appears to be the only hooker capable of consistent lineout accuracy, Reds coach Brad Thorn was optimistic.
"Everyone has talked about the talent coming through," Thorn said. "It's good for Australian rugby."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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