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Ryan Lonergan to lead Australia A after being dropped by Eddie Jones

By Finn Morton
Ryan Lonergan of the Brumbies passes during the round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Chiefs at GIO Stadium, on May 27, 2023, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Halfback Ryan Lonergan will lead an impressive Australia A side into battle when they take on Rugby World Cup-bound Portugal in France on Saturday.

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Lonergan was picked in the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship squad, but was not called upon to make his international debut by coach Eddie Jones. Instead, Tate McDermott and Nic White started two Tests each.

There was no room for Lonergan in the Wallabies’ 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, with Western Force No. 9 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa getting the nod by coach Jones.

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This match is shaping up as a critical challenge for both teams. For the Australian players, their Rugby World Cup dreams may rest on this clash.

For the 23 players selected to represent Australia, it’s their final opportunity to impress Wallabies selectors. The World Cup squad has been named, of course, but injuries could open the door for a call-up.

As for Os Lobos, who will take on the Wallabies in pool play during the upcoming tournament in France, it’s their final hit-out before their World Cup opener against Wales on September 16.

Head Coach Jason Gilmore has named a star-studded outfit to take on Os Lobos at Stade Jules-Ladoumegue this weekend, with the backline boasting an impressive 178 Wallabies caps.

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Captain Ryan Lonergan will partner 76-Test veteran Berard Foley in the halves, and experienced playmaker James O’Connor sits just outside them at inside centre.

O’Connor will pair up with Queensland Reds teammate Filipo Daugunu in the halves. Daugunu was under an injury cloud when the squad was initially named, but has clearly overcome those woes.

Wingers Dylan Pietsch and Lachlan Anderson join dropped Wallaby Tom Wright in the outside backs.

As for the forwards, captain Ryan’s brother, Lachlan Lonergan, will pack down in a talented front row alongside Tom Lambert and one-Test Wallaby Sam Talakai.

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Josh Canham and Cadeyrn Neville have been picked ahead of Darcy Swain in the second row, and Lachlan Swinton, Pete Samu and Seru Uru make up a formidable loose forwards trio.

The match will not be televised, but fans can follow along via updates on the Wallabies’ social media pages.

Australia A versus Portugal gets underway at 8.00 pm on Saturday local time in Massy, or 4.00 am on Sunday morning on the east coast of Australia.

Australia A to take on Portugal

  1. Tom Lambert
  2. Lachlan Lonergan
  3. Sam Talakai
  4. Josh Canham
  5. Cadeyrn Neville
  6. Lachlan Swinton
  7. Pete Samu
  8. Seru Uru
  9. Ryan Lonergan (c)
  10. Bernard Foley
  11. Dylan Pietsch
  12. James O’Connor
  13. Filipo Daugunu
  14. Lachlan Anderson
  15. Tom Wright

Replacements:

  1. Folau Fainga’a
  2. Matt Gibbon
  3. Rhys Van Nek
  4. Darcy Swain
  5. Ned Hanigan
  6. James Tuttle
  7. Hunter Paisami
  8. Josh Flook
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finn 5 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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