Home » The ‘real reason’ for Wallabies gun not touring

The ‘real reason’ for Wallabies gun not touring

Wallabies assistant coach Dan McKellar has elaborated on the reasons for omitting young guns Noah Lolesio and Harry Wilson from the Spring Tour while applauding Rugby Australia’s decision to relax its eligibility laws.

Six overseas-based players are in Dave Rennie’s squad of 37 with France-based stars Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu joining Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon.

The Wallabies open their four Test tour against Japan in Oita on October 23.

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“I think it’s a good thing,” McKellar said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio.

“It’s two-fold, isn’t it? It allows us to leave some of our young, developing players back in Australia and give them a chance to get a preseason under our belt.

“Three months of good, solid training which will help us out with long-term development and it also brings in three quality players, experienced players.

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“Three big men who bring a real edge about how they play and we all know that forward play and the physicality in the northern hemisphere is going to be an important part of our performance and they’ll certainly help.”

Rennie has asked five-eighth Lolesio to put on some muscle in the off-season in a bid to improve his defensive capabilities.

McKellar also coaches Lolesio at the Brumbies and was confident the benefits of staying home would outweigh the negatives.

“Guys like Noah Lolesio and Harry Wilson are young men and their careers have accelerated really quickly,” McKellar said.

“They were part of our under-20s team a couple of years ago, went straight into Super Rugby off the back of one preseason, performed well and then found themselves on the international stage pretty quickly.

“So we think for their long-term benefit they need a good few months to focus on developing physically and obviously on their individual skills and core skills that they need to improve on.

“So that’s the real reason for Noah not touring and then obviously Quade’s come back in, had to earn his spot and performed well on the training field and then performed well on the big stage.

“Along with that James O’Connor has recovered from injury so all of a sudden we find ourselves in a position where we’ve got two experienced 10s and an exciting young talent who’s developing and just beginning in his career, which leaves us in a good spot.”

After going 0-3 in the Bledisloe Cup, the Wallabies found their mojo and peeled off an Australian record four straight wins in the Rugby Championship over South Africa and Argentina.

Australia is now ranked third in the world behind the Springboks and All Blacks but will be tested in different ways in the northern hemisphere.

“We’ve built some good performances off the back of a lot of hard work that’s gone in since the middle of June,” McKellar said.

“Even against the All Blacks I thought the scorelines probably didn’t suggest how tight those encounters were.

“But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we know first up we’ve got a very tricky opponent in Japan who play very differently to how South Africa and Argentina play.

“They’re always dangerous at home and then we head north – Scotland, England and Wales – which is a really exciting challenge for us.

“But our challenge is to keep building momentum for this team and obviously for the game and just keep adding to the positive stories.”

Returning stars combine for slick try

McKellar also stressed the need to box clever on the training paddock over the next five weeks.

“You’re playing four Test matches on the bounce so just limiting your load and training smart and just doing what’s required to perform, that’s the key.

“Not a whole lot of requirement at this stage of the season for a lot of contact training and limiting the kilometres that we put into the boys from one day to the next.

“It’s about training with high intensity but making sure that we’re training smart so we’re ready to go and feeling as fresh as possible come Saturday.”

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