Adam out to shine in gold

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - JIM TUCKER

ADAM Coleman will proudly wear Wal­laby gold into tonight’s in­tense pack fight against the Spring­boks in Perth yet his clos­est fam­ily will all be wear­ing Western Force blue in the grand­stand to protest against the in­jus­tice dealt his Su­per Rugby club.

Noth­ing bet­ter sums up the swirl of emo­tions that are per­co­lat­ing through this in­trigu­ing Test at nib Sta­dium where blue jer­seys and in­flam­ma­tory ban­ners seem cer­tain to out­num­ber those in the colours of rugby’s na­tional team.

“The ARU ... Anti Rugby Union”, “Stop The De-Clyne” and “The Force Was My Dream ... The ARU Stole It” are just a se­lec­tion of the emo­tive mes­sages to the ban­ner di­plo­macy al­ready seen in the west.

Se­cu­rity will be sub­tly raised a notch around the ARU’s top of­fi­cials Bill Pul­ver and Cameron Clyne, who will watch the Test from an ope­nair area of the main stand and are hardy enough to be ex­pect­ing a few barbs.

Western Aus­tralians see the ARU as the arch vil­lain of the Force ax­ing but Wal­la­bies coach Michael Cheika has done ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to dif­fer­en­ti­ate his team so they cop no mis­guided fall­out.

He sup­ports the wear­ing of blue jer­seys, along­side gold, in the crowd as “a great thing” and the sym­bol­ism of a big per­for­mance “from us as Wal­la­bies to show how much we want to play for WA on the field and for those (Force) lads in our team.”

Lock Coleman stepped up bril­liantly a year ago in Perth with 18 big tack­les and the shrewd tail-of-the-li­ne­out call for a set-play try when his hour of power against Ar­gentina stamped him as a ter­rific Test prospect.

He will have to again com­pete against Eben Etze­beth, the new Spring­boks cap­tain and en­forcer who is one of the few world locks who can look Coleman di­rectly in the eyes at 2.04m.

“Play­ing a Test in front of Force and Wal­la­bies fans for the first time was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and there’s ob­vi­ously go­ing to be ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion in my home town for this one,” Coleman said.

“The first thing, al­ways, against the Boks is the phys­i­cal­ity of their for­wards and you’ve got to take it to them, not shy away.”

Back-row great Imanol Hari­nor­do­quy fa­mously wore his Basque colours un­der his French Test jer­sey but Coleman’s sup­port for the Force will be slightly dif­fer­ent.

“My part­ner, my un­cle ... they’ll be in the stands wear­ing blue and sup­port­ing the Wal­la­bies,” Coleman said.

It’s a shame tonight’s crowd turnout won’t reach the 25,718 level when the Boks last vis­ited Perth in 2015 be­cause two rugby heavy­weights fight­ing to re­gain sta­tus should be an ab­sorb­ing spec­ta­cle.

After eight Test losses in a dis­as­trous 2016, the Boks have re­bounded with more tries (nine) in their two re­cent wins over Ar­gentina than they scored (eight) in the whole Rugby Cham­pi­onship last year.

Pic­tures: GETTY IM­AGES

Adam Coleman (top) is lifted high in a li­ne­out for the Wal­la­bies and (above) cel­e­brates with Western Force team­mates in Su­per Rugby.

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