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Ex-Wallabies captain backs McDermott to star against All Blacks

(Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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James Horwill believes Tate McDermott’s unteachable talent should result in him being retained as the Wallabies’ No 9 for Sunday’s Bledisloe Cup test.


But the former Queensland and Australia captain also knows the hosts must eradicate any “soft” moments to be any chance of avoiding a series clean sweep against the All Blacks.

The Wallabies’ delayed Perth encounter comes after 33-25 and 57-22 losses in Auckland last month.

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“There has been some good things, but the constant thing we say is the consistency [needs to be there],” Horwill said.

“In the first half of the first Bledisloe they played some really good rugby and forced the All Blacks into mistakes that you wouldn’t normally see them make.

“Eventually we take the foot off the throat and that’s the difference between Super and test rugby; you can’t have those soft moments.

“Cut them out and some of that comes in maturity of how you attack things and hopefully you see rewards.”


McDermott has started in the past three tests, forcing Nic White into a bench role that Horwill thinks works best against the All Blacks.

“Tate was really good in the last Bledisloe and definitely deserves another crack at the cherry [on Sunday],” he said.

“He is a bit more explosive probably, where Whitey gets you more control with the kicking.

“Tate’s learning in that but his X-factor ability is stuff you can’t teach and he has that running game and that exciting play is why I’d like to see him get another go.”


Wallabies coach Dave Rennie could shuffle his halves though with Quade Cooper an option to replace Noah Lolesio for his first test in four years, as James O’Connor (groin) still battles to be fit.

That appears unlikely though with Horwill instead calling for O’Connor to wear the No 10 once available, potentially against South Africa on the Gold Coast on September 12.

Tickets are now on sale for the four Rugby Championship double-header tests to be played in Queensland – with two dates on the Gold Coast either side of matches in Brisbane and Townsville.

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