Three Ki­wis se­lected in Bar­bar­ians squad

The Southland Times - - SPORT - RUGBY

The fake war has started between coaches Michael Cheika and Alan Jones ahead of the Wal­la­bies’ match against the Bar­bar­ians in Syd­ney.

Jones named an in­com­plete squad at yes­ter­day’s squad an­nounce­ment for the Oc­to­ber 28 clash, be­moan­ing how Cheika snatched a few of his play­ers at late no­tice.

Jones’ 24-man squad in­cluded eight play­ers from axed Su­per Rugby fran­chise Western Force, headed by cap­tain Matt Hodg­son.

Also in the squad are three Ki­wis - Coun­ties Manukau half­back Au­gus­tine Pulu, his pro­vin­cial team-mate, out­side back Tim Nanai-Wil­liams and Auck­land mid­fielder Ge­orge Moala.

For­mer Auck­land school­boy star Taniela ‘‘Ton­gan Thor’’ Tupou is in the side too.

There are seven capped Wal­la­bies in the mix to face Cheika’s charges, with the most no­table be­ing Bar­bar­ians cap­tain Quade Cooper.

Jones coached the na­tional side dur­ing a golden era that fea­tured the 1984 grand slam. More re­cently, he has been among the most-ar­dent crit­ics of the Aus­tralian Rugby Union dur­ing the Western Force bun­gle.

The talk­back pre­sen­ter en­gaged in a dif­fer­ent kind of slang­ing match yes­ter­day, putting his tongue in cheek while at­tempt­ing to halt the sport’s slide into ob­scu­rity in Aus­tralia.

‘‘This fake war between Cheika and Jones, if it cre­ates some in­ter­est, it’s a good thing,’’ he told re­porters.

‘‘We’ve had great dif­fi­cul­ties. Ev­ery day we pick a side, we then have to cross many of them out [be­cause Cheika wants them in the Wal­la­bies’ set-up].

‘‘There’s sev­eral play­ers play­ing for him who want to play for us. That’s likely to af­fect their per­for­mance, don’t you think?’’

Cheika quipped in re­sponse: ‘‘pos­ses­sion is nine 10ths of the law’’.

‘‘They’re play­ing on our con­tracts - we’ll keep as many as we can,’’ he said.

Jones con­firmed the one-off ap­pear­ance would be the ex­tent of his coach­ing come­back, re­gard­less of the re­sult.

‘‘I’m a can­di­date if Cheika keeps fail­ing like this,’’ he joked.

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