Three Kiwis selected in Barbarians squad
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.