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'He's here for a reason': A Carter Gordon debut in South Africa is sounding likely

By AAP
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Steering the Wallabies around a stadium they’ve never won at, in a country where they haven’t tasted victory in 12 years, might daunt some but uncapped five-eighth Carter Gordon says it only excites him.

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Fronting the media alongside No.9 Nic White – perhaps as Australia’s new-look halves duo – 22-year-old Gordon looked far from scared at the possibility of making his national team debut when the Wallabies face South Africa at Lotus Versfeld in Pretoria on July 9.

Gordon revealed he’d never experienced training standards as high as coach Eddie Jones is generating from his Wallabies squad and that he’s loving working with veteran White, with the World Cup just over two months away.

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“It’s been awesome so far, just connecting with all the boys. They’ve really brought me in and I’ve had a really good time and we’re training hard together,” he said.

“I’ve been training with Whitey the last few days and I’ve really enjoyed it. He’s actually getting into me a little bit on the field, which I love.

“It’s just more opportunity for me to learn and he’s been on me about that, so I’ve really enjoyed playing 9-10 with him.

“It’s extremely exciting. The boys have been training really hard the last few weeks to obviously get over there and have a crack at it.”

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Gordon is battling veteran playmaker Quade Cooper and utility backs Reece Hodge and Ben Donaldson for a starting gig against the Springboks, but appears a genuine chance to at least make Jones’ bench in Pretoria.

“If I was to make my debut against the Boks, obviously I’d be extremely excited. I couldn’t wait to get out there really,” Gordon said.

“The training levels have been really high … I probably haven’t experienced anything like it and it’s awesome to be a part of boys testing their skills and executing on demand.

“(Jones) just comes to me with little things to work on, little things I’ve done well.”

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White said he and Cooper knew the leadership role they needed to perform, particularly guiding younger and less experienced halves like Gordon (22 years old, uncapped), Tate McDermott (24, 21 caps) and Ryan Lonergan (25, uncapped).

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“For us guys with a little bit more experience, it’s letting guys like Carter know he’s here for a reason,” he said.

“He’s had a hell of a season. The way he plays is what we need and he needs to bring it.

“We’re just trying to bounce off each other, but we’re going to need each other as a tight little nines and 10s group. We’re going to need each other’s knowledge.

“We’re going to need (Gordon’s) energy, and we’ll all see things a little bit differently around the game and the quicker we can get onto one page the better.”

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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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