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The players set to profit from Wales' new gameplan

With the Pivac era now a distant memory, Warren Gatland has a rich seam of talent to select from in the Six Nations

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'It's tracking okay': Wallabies 'not far off' after thrilling tour

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)

While the Wallabies didn’t win as many Test matches as they would’ve liked or deserved to throughout their thrilling spring tour, the men in gold showed glimpses of their potential ahead of next year’s World Cup.

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The wounded Wallabies began their international season with a thrilling two-point win over England in Perth, having overcome the loss of Darcy Swain to a red card to win an epic clash against their rivals.

But Australia went on to lose six of their next eight Test matches, before heading to Europe to test themselves against some of the best teams in the world.

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After winning their opening Test of the tour against Scotland at Murrayfield by one point – with flyhalf Blair Kinghorn missing a late penalty attempt – the Wallabies lost their next three matches.

It was undoubtedly an agonising series of games for Australian rugby fans, who woke up in the early hours of the morning and watched their team lose by three points or less in each Test.

Australia’s toughest defeat was arguably against World Cup hosts France in Paris, with the visitors having led until about 75 minutes in.

The Wallabies then lost their first ever Test against Italy the week after, before suffering a three point defeat to World No. 1 Ireland.

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But true to the character of the team, Australia saved their best performance of quite possibly the year for the final 20 minutes of their last match against Wales.

The Wallabies overcame a seemingly unconquerable 21-point deficit to stun the hosts at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

Speaking on The Platform earlier this week, Australian rugby legend Tim Horan said the team isn’t “far off” from matching it with the best.

“When you look at the way the Wallabies probably should’ve beaten France in Paris, a little bit unlucky in Dublin against Ireland. We’re getting close, we’re not far off but in some respects we are,” Horan said.

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“Think we just need to have a good look at especially the injuries that the Wallabies have had, they’ve used 50-plus players this year.

“Some key injuries. You look at Samu Kerevi, Quade Cooper, Rob Valetini in the last Test match, so some really big names that have been out.

“I think it’s a good time to test those younger players, try and create some depth 10 months out from a Rugby World Cup because you’re going to pick up some injuries through Super Rugby and there will be some key players out.

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“At the moment the Wallabies (are) probably struggling a little bit to work out who’s their best number 15, who’s their best number 10, and a couple of other positions as well. But I think it’s tracking okay.”

The Wallabies had quite an impressive end-of-season tour when you consider how many key players were ruled out of Tests with injuries.

Star flanker Michael Hooper, halfback Nic White and centre Hunter Paisami were among the players deemed unavailable for the crunch clash against the Welsh.

Horan added that a “review” into “why all these injuries are happening” is needed at the Wallabies.

“One thing he probably does have to review is why all these injuries are happening to the Wallabies,” he said.

“Some of them are just unlucky, some of them are through contact, but three or four Achilles (injures), a couple of ACLs for key members.

“You probably just need to look at the review and go ‘okay how’s our strength and conditioning program? Why is this happening? Is it just unlucky?’

“Other teams are getting injuries as well but not as many as the Wallabies at the moment.”

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