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Was Suliasi Vunivalu a costly mistake for rugby?


1. Was Suliasi Vunivalu an expensive mistake?

The Reds winger’s absence from the Wallabies squad does not bode well for his Rugby World Cup hopes. It’s not just that Mark Navakanitawase has improved his chances in Australia, or that Marika Karoibete will be back in the reckoning: Vunivalu may even be behind Dylan Pietsch.

The Waratahs winger has an underrated physical presence combined with a good rugby mind. In fact, he might consider himself unlucky on Sunday. That means Vunivalu is at the bottom of the pecking order, and while the Wallabies can still say the door is open, Vunivalu looks out of the race. He didn’t come cheap to rugby after a great couple of years in the NRL. The wisdom of this decision by Rugby Australia must now be up for debate.

2. Two tests that really matter

The Wallabies’ five-Test schedule increases profits, with the first and fifth Tests, against Scotland and Wales respectively, outside the World Rugby window. That means neither of those teams will be at full strength and it would be a surprise to see Scotland’s France No.10 Finn Russell against the Wallabies.

Suliasi Vunivalu has played just three minutes for the Wallabies since switching to rugby in 2020.credit:AP

However, Tests against France (November 6 Sydney time) and Ireland (November 20 Sydney time) are in the window. If the Wallabies want to make a statement, it will be in one of these two Tests. The French are struggling with a long injury list – defender Melvin Jamine was the latest to go down this weekend – but Antoine Dupont is still fit and they have been building their depth over the years. Paris and then Dublin will define the tour.

3. The main problem is the discipline of Vallarus

The Wallaroos-Scotland game was a cracker, if not a classic in terms of quality. The wind in Fangarea leveled the sides and the Scots took full advantage of this in the first half. With brilliant winger Bien Territto more involved in the second half, the Wallaroos deserved to win.


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