Aussie back rower's bold 'number one' claim for Wallabies
Brumbies loose forward Rob Valetini has expressed his strong beliefs in the Wallabies side under Dave Rennie, explaining in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald that he believes this season could see the Australians reach the top of the rugby world.
Valetini, who has been a highly touted prospect in the Australian system for some time, has battled through injury setbacks to become one of the premier backrowers at Rennie’s disposal.
The Wallabies were able to beat the All Blacks 24-22 in Brisbane last year, something that has helped build belief in the squad he says. The France series is the first building block on the path to becoming the number one side by the end of the year.
“Being able to win against the All Blacks and to have that belief in our team that we can beat the best, that’s probably something new in this team,” Valetini told SMH‘s Tom Decent.
“I think it’s a great chance for us to be No 1 in the world if we win all these games.
“By the end of the year we could be No 1 in the world. That’s something I see and hopefully the other boys see. It all starts here.”
If they are to improve their world ranking status, they will have to put more games away after drawing three times in six matches last year.
They missed a chance to beat the All Blacks in Wellington after failing to take a drop goal when the chance presented, while a long range penalty from Reece Hodge also hit the post and rebounded back in field. The match ended in a 16-all draw.
Two more draws against Argentina in the Tri-Nations dampened what was overall a positive start under new head coach Dave Rennie.
Valetini highlighted the teams that are currently the best as France, the All Blacks and the Springboks, all of whom the Wallabies will play in 2021.
The Wallabies will get the chance to play the All Blacks in Perth again, where they belted Steve Hansen’s side by a record margin 47-26 in 2019. They will also host the Springboks at least once at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, a stronghold for Australian Rugby where they have won consistently.
The Springboks also have a dire record in Australia, winning just four of 21 matches there since the turn of the millennium.
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