Wallabies told not to hold back
RUGBY: Oz name 5 new players
SYDNEY — Australia captain James Horwill will tell his team to trust their instincts and “have a dig” when they face world champions New Zealand in the opening match of the Rugby Championship today.
Horwill and the Wallabies are desperate to put the disappointment of last month’s British and Irish Lions series defeat behind them and get new coach Ewen McKenzie off to a winning start at the Olympic Stadium.
McKenzie has named five uncapped players in his matchday squad and Horwill, who played under the former Test prop for four years at the Queensland Reds, said his final words of advice would be for the rookies to back themselves.
“I’ll tell the new guys it’s just another game of football, as big as it is,” the lock told reporters yesterday. “You got yourself here because you’re good footballers so you’ve got to go out there and back yourself.
“Don’t think twice and if you think something’s on, have a dig because I’ll never criticise you for having a go and having a crack and neither will Ewen.”
Horwill has played New Zealand 10 times and ended up a winner only twice, the first time in previous coach Robbie Deans’s first match in charge in 2008.
McKenzie has said he will encourage his side to play “the Aus- tralian way” with ball in hand and has picked a potent, if inexperienced, back three of Israel Folau, James O’Connor and Jesse Mogg.
Winger Folau will be playing his fourth Test after exploding onto the international scene in the Lions series, highlighted by his two-try debut in the opener.
Scrumhalf Will Genia said he had been highly impressed in training by fullback Jesse Mogg, who made his debut as a replacement winger in the third Lions Test.
Today’s match is the first of three against the All Blacks over the next few months with another Rugby Championship match in Wellington next week and a third Bledisloe Cup Test in Dunedin in October. — Reuters.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie is looking to transform Australian rugby into the powerhouse that it once was, starting with victory over the All Blacks today.