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‘Is Eddie Jones brave enough’: Wallaby greats on bold World Cup call

By Finn Morton
Ben Donaldson during an Australia Wallabies training camp at Sanctuary Cove on April 18, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

With no room for Quade Cooper in the Wallabies’ 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, coach Eddie Jones has put his faith in two young playmakers with plenty to prove.


Rising star Carter Gordon, 22, was selected as the sole flyhalf in the Wallabies’ squad. Gordon has played four Tests under Jones, and started two of them in the No. 10 jersey.

It was a bold call from coach Jones, with Gordon set to play a key role in the Aussies’ pursuit of rugby immortality in France. But it wasn’t the only surprise.

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Utility Ben Donaldson didn’t play a single minute in Wallaby gold during The Rugby Championship, but has managed to score himself a promotion of sorts ahead of the World Cup.

“You would think that if Carter Gordon is the preferred No. 10, Ben Donaldson could have a mortgage on the No. 22 jersey,” Morgan Turinui said on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven.

“Is Eddie Jones brave enough to go into a Test match without a recognised No. 10 on his bench? Can Nic White do both? Probably not.

“Who else is in the squad that could cover No. 10 in case Carter Gordon goes down five minutes into the Georgia match.”


Donaldson, 24, has only played two Test matches – including just one start at flyhalf – but is expected to claim a spot on the bench during the upcoming tournament.

The Western Force-bound playmaker showed glimpses of promise during a stellar season with the NSW Waratahs in Super Rugby Pacific this year.


But Test rugby is a completely different beast.

As former Wallaby Justin Harrison explained, it’s a “curious” selection from coach Jones.

“It’s a curious category he’s put in; utility player. He’s one of the best tens, or can be one of the best tens – let’s qualify that – one of the best tens in the country,” Harrison said.


“He’s one of the most skilful footballers when he’s playing well. We know he’s had a bit of wobble, there has been some speed wobbles there.

“His job is to put pressure on Carter Gordon and not make him think he’s measured for the starting jersey already.”

The Wallabies take on France in Paris next weekend. For coach Jones and the new-look Wallabies, it’s their final match before taking centre stage at the World Cup next month.

Australia are 0-4 under coach Jones this year, and will be desperate to avoid a disastrous fifth defeat when they take the field at Stade de France.


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