“We won’t be stopping that,” Rennie said.
Foley wants ticket to Europe
With Bernard Foley back in the hotseat at No.10, Wallabies fans have been wondering whether the ‘Iceman’ will travel with the team to Europe for a five-Test tour across October and November.
The signs are looking good. The Wallabies had a handshake agreement with the Japanese franchises that pay the bills of Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete that they wouldn’t be called up for international duty, given their season gets under way slightly earlier than normal on December 17.
But Foley, and even Tom Banks, could still travel with the Wallabies for matches against Scotland, France, Italy, Ireland and Wales.
“My club [Ricoh] has been awesome so far,” Foley told the Cauliflower. “It’s not confirmed yet but the chat has been positive. It is a bit of a stretch given the season is a bit earlier. They’ve been completely supportive of me to come back here and be a part of this.”
The team has a break of about four weeks, after Saturday’s match in Auckland, before travelling to Europe.
Beale returns to the field – in Canberra
Kurtley Beale will be playing rugby on Saturday but it won’t be at Eden Park. Instead, he’ll make the trip down the Hume Highway to Canberra for a match in Griffith at St. Edmund’s College.
A Waratahs development side has been invited to take on a Brumbies XV to sharpen up before Super Rugby Pacific next year. Beale is likely to go on the spring tour but is yet to play a game of rugby since injuring his hamstring earlier this year.
Rennie says Vunivalu must bide his time
Speaking of high-profile players not getting game time… where is Suliasi Vunivalu?
The former Melbourne Storm flyer was hailed as Rugby Australia’s marquee signing for 2021. Injuries haven’t helped, but Vunivalu has played just three minutes of Test rugby. He’s fit and ready, but Rennie says he’s just not at Test level yet.
“He’s not far away, and it’s a very competitive spot,” Rennie said. “He needs to convince us at training around [his] high speed and repeat speed.
“He’s certainly got some attributes that we know he’d excel at this level, but it’s the whole package. When you look at people in the backfield like [Andrew] Kellaway, Tom Wright and Marika [Koroibete], who’ve got massive work ethics … I’m not sure that everyone appreciates the work that those guys do off the ball. The decision-making around starting those three is pretty straightforward.”
Blake joins Reds
The cross code flavour at the Reds will strengthen next season when former Manly and Souths halfback Phil Blake joins Queensland as defence coach.
Blake, who has forged a career in rugby coaching since his league days finished in 1997, will join the staff of Brad Thorn, taking over from Michael Todd, who has joined Edinburgh.
Blake has worked at Super Rugby level before, with the Western Force between 2011 and 2013, and was even on Robbie Deans’ Wallabies staff in 2010. Blake was at Leicester Tigers as defence coach in 2014 but left after receiving a six-month suspension for placing eight bets on Tigers games.
Blake has been back coaching Manly for the last two seasons.
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