When Michael Cheika named his squad to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, there was no doubt about the identity of his two main hookers. Sports fanatics from all over the world can now grab Rugby World Cup Tickets online to enjoy most exciting rugby matches.
Captain Stephen Moore was on track for his third Rugby World Cup and had nearly a century of caps for the Australian National Team. It was a reliable, if not an explosive choice that had won the job of hooker starting for several seasons.
Tatafu Polata-Nau, meanwhile, provided an explosive impact and, with 53 selections, was also not completely wet behind the ears.
The Wallabies had at their disposal a dynamic double, tied with the best teams of the tournament. Many things have changed since 2015.
The 2019 demonstration tournament will begin at the end of September. The first Wallabies team of the year should be unveiled in just one month. All the certainty centred around the positions of hooked in 2015 has disappeared. And the one that Cheika chooses among the Wallabies this year is no longer to guess.
Moore retired from international rugby at the end of 2017 after scoring 129 caps for the Wallabies. Polota-Nau aged 33, left Australia the same year and has been representing the Leicester Tigers for the past two seasons.
Polota-Nau is still eligible for the Wallabies for playing more than 60 games for Australia and will likely be selected for this year’s matches. The fact that he is fighting for the first leg against Leicester.
You can see why Cheika could opt for a guy like Polota-Nau, however, when you realize that the other options available only cut teeth internationally.
Since 2015, the Wallabies have given fire to four new hookers: Tolu Latu in 2016, Jordan Uelese in 2017 and Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Folau Fainga’a in 2018.
Latu has won 11 caps since his debut and toured with the Wallabies in the UK at the end of last year. Now he has more than 50 Waratah selections and has probably been the most successful Super Rugby player compared to recent selections.
Unfortunately for Latu, 2019 has not been an exceptional year. The hooker was suspended for six weeks after the second round of Super Rugby for having recklessly attacked the back of a maul during the victory of the Waratahs on the Sunwolves. Latu made his comeback against the Sharks at the end of last month. But he now faces new disciplinary measures.
Just a week ago, Latu was charged with drunk driving and is now being prosecuted. The hooker is now closed for two weeks and is waiting for a new punishment.
The Waratah still have a small chance to qualify for the final, but they have only four regular-season games to play this year. Although Latu is back on the field before the end of the competition, Cheika will have great reservations about the selection of a player who missed most of the year because of bad discipline.
Jordan Uelese is yet to make his appearance at the Rebels in 2019. Uelese suffered a break-up of the ACL shortly before the test series in June of last year, which excluded him from all the international season.
All this assuming that Polota-Nau is a given team – but Polota-Nau has been shaken by an injury lately and may have trouble qualifying for the World Cup in Japan.
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