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Jake Gordon positive about Wallabies’ new-look halves combo with Lolesio

By Finn Morton
Jake Gordon poses during an Australia Wallabies Portrait Session on June 26, 2024 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images for ARU)

After a sensational return to the Test arena in the Wallabies’ drought-breaking 25-16 win over Wales, halfback Jake Gordon has expressed a desire to continue working with flyhalf Noah Lolesio in their new-look halves combination.

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Gordon hadn’t played at the highest level since facing the Welsh in Cardiff back in November 2022, so he was a somewhat surprising selection in Australia’s first team of 2024. Incumbent No. 9 Tate McDermott was named on the bench while Nic White was left out altogether.

But the NSW Waratahs skipper made sure to repay the faith shown in him by coach Joe Schmidt and the selectors with a masterful performance. Towards the end of Saturday’s thrilling clash at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium, Gordon was named Player of the Match.

It was an accolade that could’ve gone to multiple players in Wallaby gold, with the likes of Rob Valetini, Tom Wright and captain Liam Wright also impressing. Wales’ Aaron Wainwright was probably the pick of the visiting side in his 50th international cap.

Following the Wallabies’ first win over a Tier One opponent since that famous comeback win at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, which was more than 590 days ago, the Aussies appear to be tracking in the right direction under coach Schmidt.

“It was special. It’s been a challenging 12 months and obviously haven’t had too many wins this year, so it was a great feeling,” Gordon told reporters on Monday.

“I was also happy for everyone in the group. I think we had seven debutants and individually to be able to play and start a game like that at home is pretty special.

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“We’ve got a really exciting 12 months ahead of us. It feels pretty good.”

But days after the unforgettable roar of victory from the Sydney faithful, and the Wallabies’ recovery session in Coogee on Sunday morning, the focus has already shifted to another Test week. Australia will take on Wales in the second Test of their two-game series on Saturday.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
3
3
Tries
1
2
Conversions
0
0
Drop Goals
0
130
Carries
104
3
Line Breaks
2
9
Turnovers Lost
19
7
Turnovers Won
3

Melbourne’s AAMI Park will host the intriguing clash between the two traditional rivals, with the visitors still searching for their first win of the year following a winless run in the Six Nations and a defeat to South Africa at Twickenham last month.

The Wallabies’ team won’t be announced for another couple of days yet, but Gordon is hoping to line up alongside Lolesio again after impressing last time out. But as the halfback acknowledged, that decision is “out of my control.”

“We had a pretty short run into the first game and I think the expectation was that it was never going to be perfect,” Gordon said.

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“Rugby’s never perfect but I thought for the majority we played at the right ends of the field, our distribution was strong. I’ve enjoyed playing with Noah and I thought he was strong.

“The one thing with Joe, he doesn’t give too much away. The first week, he had us picking our own teams at one point.

“I’d love to play again and play with Noah, but that’s out of my control and I’m not too sure what he’s going to do there.”

All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Wonton 3 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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Nick 4 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

15 Go to comments
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FEATURE How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp
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