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O'Connor and Foley named in Australia A side to face Tonga

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australia A coach Jason Gilmore has announced his 23-man squad for the upcoming match against Tonga’s Ikale Tahi in Nuku’alofa.


The team includes local favorites Folau Fainga’a and Taniela Tupou, who will be joined by Tom Lambert in the front row. Lukhan Salakai-Loto and Caderyn Neville will start in the second row.

The back row partnership consists of Lachie Swinton, Brad Wilkin, and Seru Uru, providing a formidable presence on the field. Experienced playmaker Bernard Foley has been named captain and will team up with Jake Gordon in the halves. James O’Connor and Joey Walton will form the centre combination, while Corey Toole, Lachie Anderson, and Jock Campbell complete the backline.

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Coach Jason Gilmore expressed his satisfaction with the selection of a strong side for the match, and he noted the high level of excitement among the players leading up to Friday’s clash against Tonga’s Ikale Tahi.

“Preparation has been good, the boys have been excellent and I think we’re looking pretty sound,” Gilmore said.

“It’s great to have a few of our Tongan boys like Nela and Folau over here with us – we had a great reception at the airport and we’re looking forward to a really special game for all our boys, in particular those with Tongan heritage.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who have captained at Super Rugby level and a lot of natural leadership around the squad but we think Bernard is a great choice to lead.


“He’s got a lot of experience, played at Two World Cups and just led Kubota to a win over in Japan – he’s in form and will do a good job for us.”


1. Tom Lambert (NSW Waratahs)
2. Folau Fainga’a (Western Force)
3. Taniela Tupou (Melbourne Rebels)
4. Lukhan Salakai-Loto (Melbourne Rebels)
5. Cadeyrn Neville (ACT Brumbies)
6. Lachlan Swinton (NSW Waratahs)
7. Brad Wilkin (Melbourne Rebels)
8. Seru Uru (Queensland Reds)
9. Jake Gordon (NSW Waratahs)
10. Bernard Foley (c) (Kubota Spears)
11. Corey Toole (ACT Brumbies)
12. James O’Connor (Queensland Reds)
13. Joey Walton (NSW Waratahs)
14. Lachlan Anderson (Melbourne Rebels)
15. Jock Campbell (Queensland Reds)

16. Lachlan Lonergan (ACT Brumbies)
17. Angus Wagner (Western Force)
18. Sam Talakai (Melbourne Rebels)
19. Ned Hanigan (NSW Waratahs)
20. Harry Wilson (Queensland Reds)
21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa (Western Force)
22. Ollie Sapsford (ACT Brumbies)
23. Josh Flook (Queensland Reds)


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1 Comment
MitchO 369 days ago

Not a lot of size in that backline

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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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