Alaalatoa to captain, Nawaqanitawase and Donaldson to debut in Italy
Allan Alaalatoa will become the 85th Wallabies captain when he leads the side out against Italy in Florence on Saturday afternoon (local time).
The Brumbies leader will skipper his country for the first time and returns to the side after missing last weekend’s one-point loss to current Six Nations champions France in Paris.
He’s one of 11 changes to the starting XV, linking up with hooker Folau Fainga’a and Alstonville product Matt Gibbon in the front row, who earns his first run-on at Test level.
NSW Waratahs speedster Mark Nawaqanitawase will cap off a remarkable year, set to make his Wallabies debut at Stadio Artemio Franchi on the right wing. He combines with Tom Wright and Jock Campbell in the back three.
The imposing Will Skelton earns his first Test start since June 2016 and will partner with Nick Frost who will be looking to continue his strong form at International level against Italy.
An all-new backrow sees Ned Hanigan at blindside flanker in his 27th Test, Reds star Fraser McReight at openside flanker and Pete Samu anchoring the scrum at number eight.
As forecast earlier by coach Dave Rennie, NSW skipper Jake Gordon returns to the number nine jersey and will connect with Noah Lolesio who will steer the team as flyhalf. Gordon making his international debut the last time the Wallabies played in Italy in 2018.
Queensland’s Hunter Paisami returns as the starting inside centre after injury to Lalakai Foketi in Paris and will partner Brumbies outside centre Len Ikitau in the midfield.
Ikitau’s club teammate Lachlan Lonergan will play his first Test in Europe as the finishing hooker, joined in the replacement front row by Tom Robertson who swaps to the finishing loosehead position and Taniela Tupou who was impressive against France.
Darcy Swain returns from a six-match suspension as the second row cover with Langi Gleeson in line for his second Test as the loose forward replacement.
Livewire Tate McDermott will be hoping to find space late in the game to showcase his running game as the finishing scrumhalf, while NSW Waratah and former Junior Wallaby Ben Donaldson has been named for his potential Test debut as the replacement playmaker. Jordan Petaia rounds out the matchday 23 in Florence.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “Allan’s a great man and an exceptional leader. There was a massive roar in the team room when he was named captain this week and that shows the respect and standing he has within the group.”
“Mark and Ben have both had outstanding seasons for the Waratahs and Australia A and they’re both excited for what’s an extremely proud moment for them and their families.
“We always knew a gruelling five-Test end of year tour would require a full squad effort. We made nine changes after the win over Scotland and planned a similar number for Italy but injuries have increased that by a couple.
“Kieran Crowley is an excellent coach and Italy have made significant progress this year. They’re coming off a massive win over Samoa last weekend and beat Wales in the 6 Nations, so we’re under no illusions of the challenge that’s in front of us.”
Every Wallabies Test from the 2022 Spring Tour will be ad-free, live and on-demand with extended coverage on Stan Sport.
Wallabies team to play Italy at Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence on Saturday 13 November, 2:00pm CET/12:00am AEDT (Sunday)
- Matt Gibbon (4 Tests)
- Folau Fainga’a (35 Tests)
- Allan Alaalatoa (c) (61 Tests)
- Nick Frost (7 Tests)
- Will Skelton (22 Tests)
- Ned Hanigan (26 Tests)
- Fraser McReight (8 Tests)
- Pete Samu (30 Tests)
- Jake Gordon (17 Tests)
- Noah Lolesio (15 Tests)
- Tom Wright (20 Tests)
- Hunter Paisami (22 Tests)
- Len Ikitau (23 Tests)
- Mark Nawaqanitawase*
- Jock Campbell (2 Tests)
- Lachlan Lonergan (6 Tests)
- Tom Robertson (28 Tests)
- Taniela Tupou (45 Tests)
- Darcy Swain (16 Tests)
- Langi Gleeson (1 Test)
- Tate McDermott (19 Tests)
- Ben Donaldson*
- Jordan Petaia (22 Tests)
2022 Spring Tour Fixtures
Wallabies 16 defeated Scotland 15, Sunday 30 October at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Wallabies 29 defeated by France 30, Sunday 6 November at Stade de France, Paris
Wallabies v Italy, Sunday 13 November, 12:00am AEDT at Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
Wallabies v Ireland, Sunday 20 November, 7:00am AEDT at Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Wallabies v Wales, Sunday 27 November, 2:15am AEDT at Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Scott Robertson appointed All Blacks Head Coach from 2024
Scott Robertson will become the All Blacks Head Coach from 2024.
The 48-year-old father of three was appointed following a robust interview process and will announce further key appointments to his coaching and management team in coming months before officially taking up his new role following the conclusion of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Robertson has been appointed for four years from 2024 through to the end of the 2027 Rugby World Cup and will succeed current All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster, who will lead the All Blacks through the conclusion of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. Robertson’s appointment was confirmed at an NZR Board Meeting on Tuesday morning.
“It’s an honour to be named as the next All Blacks Head Coach,” Robertson said. “It’s a job that comes with a huge amount of responsibility, but I’m excited by the opportunity to make a contribution to the legacy of the black jersey. To represent your country, as a coach or player, is the ultimate honour in sport and it’s humbling to be given that opportunity. I can’t wait.”
Robertson, who played 23 Tests for the All Blacks as a loose forward between 1998 and 2002, has compiled an impressive coaching resume. Following, retirement from the professional game in 2007 Robertson commenced his coaching career with the Sumner Rugby Club in Christchurch, before moving into an Assistant role with Canterbury in 2008 and then taking over as Head Coach in 2013, where he went on to win three Premiership titles between 2013 and 2016,. He has guided the Crusaders to six consecutive Super Rugby titles as Head Coach since 2017. Prior, to that he coached New Zealand U20s to a Junior World Championship crown, and most recently he coached the famous Barbarians FC to a win over the All Blacks XV last year.
“Having significant time to plan for 2024 and beyond is crucial to setting the All Blacks up for success during the next World Cup cycle. I have a job to do with the Crusaders and that will be my main focus through to the completion of DHL Super Rugby, but I will now have the opportunity to work with NZR to get some key appointments in my coaching and management team finalised, so we can hit the ground running next year.“
NZR Board Chair Dame Patsy Reddy said:
“We were very happy with the calibre and quality and quality of the people involved and would like to thank all of those who took part in the process. The decision to appoint the next All Blacks Head Coach ahead of the Rugby World Cup was not taken lightly, but we believe it was the right decision for New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks and will set the team up for future success.
“We congratulate Scott on his appointment and look forward to working together in 2024, but have also been clear that New Zealand Rugby’s full support this year will be focused on the current All Blacks coaching team as we look toward the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.”
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said:
“I’d like to congratulate Scott on his appointment. His coaching record speaks for itself in terms of success, but what came through strongly during the interview process was his innovative approach to the game, his passion for his players, and his desire to add to the All Blacks legacy. We firmly believe he is the right person to lead the team in 2024 and beyond.”
BIO – Scott Robertson
As a player Robertson was capped 23 times in Tests for the All Blacks as a loose forward between 1998 and 2002. He made his debut against Australia in Christchurch in 1998 and was a member of the 1999 Rugby World Cup squad, playing in a 101-3 pool win over Italy. He moved into coaching with the Sumner Rugby Club and quickly transitioned into the Canterbury NPC environment where he was part of the team that won five titles between 2008 and 2012. Robertson was then elevated to Head Coach where he guided the team to three NPC Premiership titles between 2013-2016. Even greater success followed in Super Rugby, where he has guided the Crusaders to six consecutive Super Rugby titles as Head Coach since 2017. In 2015, the New Zealand Under 20s won the Junior World Championship title with Robertson as Head Coach, and last year coached the famous Barbarians FC to a win over the All Blacks XV.
England side to face Ireland in Six Nations
Captain Owen Farrell will start at fly half, Manu Tuilagi returns to the side at inside centre with Henry Slade at outside centre. There is a first England start for Henry Arundell on the left wing, Anthony Watson is at right wing, and Freddie Steward is full back.
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In the forward pack Lewis Ludlam is named vice-captain and is flanker alongside Jack Willis. Alex Dombrandt is at No. 8. In the same front row that has started each game of the championship, vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler are at prop and Jamie George is at hooker. David Ribbans starts at lock with Maro Itoje.
Dan Cole is in line to make his 100th appearance for England after being named as replacement. Cole made his England debut in the Six Nations in February 2010. He has gone on to play in three Rugby World Cups and has won three Guinness Six Nations titles.
Nick Isiekwe and Joe Marchant return to the bench, along with Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell and Marcus Smith.
“We travel to Dublin to face an Ireland team on Saturday that has the chance to secure a Grand Slam Championship victory at home for the first time” said Borthwick.
“We know that after the bitter disappointment of the display against an exceptional France team last week, we will have to be much improved to meet the challenge of playing the side presently ranked number one in the world.
“However, I have witnessed an England squad determined to make amends for the defeat at Twickenham, and I am confident that the team announced today will once again want to show the sort of resilience and attitude that brought us victory in Wales.”
Team to face Ireland
15. Freddie Steward
14. Anthony Watson
13. Henry Slade
12. Manu Tuilagi
11. Henry Arundell
10. Owen Farrell (C)
1. Ellis Genge (VC)
2. Jamie George
4. Maro Itoje
6. Lewis Ludlam (VC)
7. Jack Willis
16. Jack Walker
17. Mako Vunipola
18. Dan Cole
19. Nick Isiekwe
20. Ben Curry
21. Alex Mitchell
22. Marcus Smith
23. Joe Marchant
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Ireland Squad Named For Guinness Six Nations Super Saturday
Ireland will take on England at a sold-out Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening (Kick-off 5pm) for the chance to claim the Guinness Six Nations Championship title, the Triple Crown and a fourth Men’s Grand Slam title.
World Player of the Year Josh van der Flier will win his 50th cap on Saturday. He lines out in an unchanged back row as Caelan Doris is named to start alongside him and Peter O’Mahony.
In the front row, Dan Sheehan has been passed fit and will start with Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong on either side of the scrum. Rob Herring comes in on the bench in place of Ronan Kelleher.
Ryan Baird, who came on for the injured Iain Henderson in Scotland, will partner James Ryan in the second row with Kieran Treadwell named in the replacements.
Captain Johnny Sexton will be partnered at half-back by Jamison Gibson Park and Robbie Henshaw comes into the centre to play alongside Bundee Aki. The back three of Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen and James Lowe start for a fifth consecutive Six Nations fixture.
Sexton equalled Ronan O’Gara’s Six Nations Championship all-time points scorer record (557 points) against Scotland and can become the outright top points scorer against England this weekend.
Jimmy O’Brien come into the match day 23 to join Cian Healy, Tom O’Toole, Jack Conan, Conor Murray and Ross Byrne who all featured last weekend in Murrayfield.
Ireland’s final game of the Championship will be broadcast live on VIRGIN and ITV television and RTE and BBCNI radio.
IRELAND Team (v England, 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Saturday 18th March, 2023, KO 17.00 (IST))
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 29 caps
14. Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians) 13 caps
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 61 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 45 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 19 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 112 caps (c)
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 24 caps
1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 52 caps
2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 16 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 64 caps
4. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 10 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 52 caps
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 93 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 27 caps
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 33 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 122 caps
18. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 8 caps
19. Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 10 caps
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 37 caps
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 104 caps
22. Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 18 caps
23. Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 4 caps
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
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