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‘Almost two of me’: Carter Gordon’s brother primed to take on Hurricanes

By AAP
Carter Gordon of the Rebels reacts after the Rebels loss to the Brumbies during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park, on February 23, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The unbeaten Hurricanes might have made a stunning 14 changes to take on Melbourne in their Super Rugby Pacific clash on Friday, but the Rebels also have a special new face in Mason Gordon.

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The younger brother of Melbourne’s star playmaker Carter Gordon, 21-year-old Mason has been included on the bench for the first time.

Mason played at fullback for the Junior Wallabies last year but is equally at home in the halves, with Rebels coach Kevin Foote excited to give the youngster a chance after a four-year apprenticeship in Melbourne.

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“Mason covers us at 10 and 15 and he’s got a lot of strengths,” Foote said on the eve of the challenging away match in Palmerston North.

“He’s always had the ability to move the ball and to communicate well and be an attacking player.

“But I see huge growth in his defence, his kicking and his back-field coverage.

“Obviously he’s worked hard at his physical attributes;he’s grown now. He’s a fantastic tackler and defensive player, just like his brother, so it’s pretty like for like now in how they play, and I think that will be good for us.”

World Cup Wallaby Carter, who is repeating his impressive Super form after a breakout season last year, says the siblings have a special brotherly bond.

“The small amount of games we’ve played together have been really enjoyable and we do have that brotherly connection,” 23 year-old Carter said.

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“Even at training, I think getting out with Mason and being on the same team, I feel like there’s almost two of me, or two of Mason out there.

“We know what each other are thinking, around calling and things like that.”

Only prop Tyrel Lomax remains from the Hurricanes’ starting line-up that downed the Crusaders for a fourth straight victory, with All Black Jordie Barrett returning from suspension in the centres.

Foote felt the Hurricanes’ overhaul was more about resting players and rewarding others than taking his team lightly.

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“I don’t really look at it like that – everyone’s got some sore bodies and they deserve to rotate some guys around,” he said.

“I’m not looking too much into the changes and why they’ve done it.

“With the changes we’ve made, we’ve done it to give people an opportunity who have trained well and deserve a chance.”

Ominously for Melbourne, the Hurricanes have won the past 10 meetings between the two sides stretching back to a shock loss to the Rebels in their first-ever encounter in 2011.

The Canes are averaging 43 points a game during that run and are enjoying their best start to a season since winning their first seven in 2015.

The Wellington outfit are also chasing a 17th consecutive win against visiting Australian opposition.

After an admirable two-from-two start despite their uncertain future in the competition, the cash-strapped Rebels are gunning for successive victories away from AAMI Park for the first time since 2021.

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1 Comment
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Peter 119 days ago

9.5 is very very high.
Earl does look as good as any 8 just now though.

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Jon 10 minutes ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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f
finn 8 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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