Super Rugby


15 Queenslanders star in Bledisloe Warm Up at Leichhardt Oval



The Wallabies trial squad have run away with a 57-12 win over the Super Rugby Selection on Friday night.

As far as a tune up for the Bledisloe Cup, physically this match delivered and it was no walk in the park for the Test players, though they piled on the second-half points.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika laid down the challenge for some players to force him to say ‘Yes, that guy has to play’ and a handful did that.

Fullback Tom Banks was super in attack and defence, along with centre Billy Meakes and electric wingers Jack Maddocks and Marika Koroibete standing up, while Lukhan Tui was effective in the pack.

Matt Toomua played his first Australian game in nearly two years at Leichhardt Oval, a surprise late inclusion just two days after confirming his looming Australian return.

The playmaker was straight into the thick of the action as the starting flyhalf and he was solid in his comeback.

Cheika’s squad was on top early and a neat play from Banks put winger Maddocks over just two minutes in.

The Super Rugby selection didn’t back down after that, though, throwing their bodies on the line in the breakdown and heaping the pressure on their more-fancied opposition.

A Taniela Tupou break gave the Wallabies squad some handy momentum and speedster Marika Koroibete found an opportunity to slice through the defence and score his side’s second.

The Super side wouldn’t go away though, with a chain of slick offloads putting Richard Hardwick through on the left edge to narrow the gap, for what was his team’s only try of the half.

The tries kept coming the half ticked down with Banks adding his own score to his earlier assist.

Winger Koroibete was electric for the Wallabies trial group, an exciting sight just two weeks out from a Bledisloe Cup opener.

Though it was the Wallabies squad that controlled much of the proceedings, the Super rugby Selection were playing with desire and they went just short of two spectacular tries in second 20 minutes.

They didn’t have much issue scoring in the second half, tightening up their attacking approach and putting flanker David Pocock over in the 44th minute.

It was after that when the Aussie squad began to really pull away, with Lukhan Tui adding another score five minutes later.

Three in the next 15 minutes, to Jermaine Ainsley, Jordan Petaia and Caleb Timu, brought the Wallabies squad to the half-century.

Jake Gordon hit back for the Super side, after switching jerseys to help fill a gap for his opponents, before a second Timu try sealed it for Cheika's team.

Will Genia made a successful return from injury in the match and made an impact when he was injected in the second half.

While the Wallabies trial squad had plenty of contenders trying to cement their Test spots, the Super Rugby Selection had their own standouts.

Andrew Deegan and Duncan Paiaaua steered their team well and openside Hardwick was monstrous in the breakdown and a threat in attack.

Prop James Slipper put in a solid 27-minute to start the match, playing almost a half overall, in his first outing for close to three months after a drug suspension.

Wallabies prop Scott Sio was the only injury worry for Cheika’s squad, coming off early in the piece as a precautionary move for a shoulder injury.

The Wallabies squad for a pre-Bledisloe camp will travel to Cessnock on Sunday, with the Waratahs contingent to link up with their teammates.


Wallabies 57

Tries: Timu 2, Maddocks, Koroibete, Banks, Pocock, Tui, Ainsley, Petaia

Cons: Hodge 3 Toomua 3

Super Rugby Selections 12

Tries: Hardwick, Gordon

Cons: Deegan

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