Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Australia Future Super Rugby Stars 2/4

Round 2 of (now) 4, Australia's future. The best of the Brumbies, Force, Rebels and Waratahs. Part 3 will be Queensland Reds.

Australia

Brumbies


Colby Fainga'a (age 21) Openside

The younger brother of the Fainga'a twins, Colby was ahead of Michael Hooper last season before he sustained an injury and Hooper took his chance all the way to starring for the Wallabies. He is a former under 20's captain, and yet another quality openside coming through the ranks at the moment.

Widely reported to be the most talented of his brothers, he is expected to challenge for the Wallaby 7 jumper when he is able to rid himself of injuries and claim a starting spot in a franchise. But when you have George Smith and David Pocock ahead of you that might not happen in the Brumbies. He is one to watch out for, but perhaps needs to bide his time a little more.


Scott Sio (age 21) Prop

Scott Sio has started to get a lot more gametime this season, and with the Australian front row not of their strongest, Sio has impressed. He is solid in the scrum and an impressive ball carrier from what I've seen. He featured in the GAGR best young XV:

"Played for Australia in the 2010 and 2011 JWCs and is chosen as tight-head prop [THP] because that is the position where he held his own for the Brumbies against Wales in a mid-week game last year. He is chosen ahead of another 21 year-old THP candidate, Ben Tameifuna, who is over-weight and spent too much time sucking in seagulls last weekend when he started against the Highlanders.

As a 20 year-old in 2012 Sio was in the Brumbies’ EPS and had to bide his time before he got a few games from the bench. Though fully contracted in 2013 he was still behind Wallabies Ben Alexander and Dan Palmer. Before the Brumbies headed to South Africa for their two match tour recently he had played only five games from the bench in two years.

In South Africa he started as loosehead-prop [LHP] and scrummaged well against current Springbok THP, Jannie du Plessis of the Sharks. He was also good against the Stormers but for one scrum when the Brumbies missed the hit and got smashed. Talk about a baptism of fire for the young man.

Scott has good rugby pedigree. Father David played for Western Samoa and was on duty at the 1991 Rugby World Cup when he found out that his son had been born. Instead of naming him “Sydney”, the place where the baby was born, he named him “Scott”, because dad was in Scotland when he got the happy news.
As well as being a promising scrummaging prop on either side of the scrum (and according to Laurie Fisher can play hooker as well) Scott is a powerful tackler and ball runner. He is young for an Aussie prop but as he accumulates more rotation game time with the Brumbies I don’t think it will take too many years before he interests the Wallabies’ selectors."

Christian Lealiifano (age 25) Out-Half / Inside Centre

If it wasn't for a horrible broken leg last year, Lealiifano would be a household name already. His form in the last Super Rugby competition was sensational as he lead an unfancied Brumbies side to the top of the Australian conference, only for his broken leg to cost them a place in the playoffs on the last regular game of the season.



His form last season was outstanding and would have been rewarded with a call up to the Wallabies. He is a live contender to play the Lions in either the 10 or the 12 jumper and his form has carried over into this season where he is goalkicking well and leading the Brumbies to the top of the table.

Other Brumbies to mention:


Sam Carter (age 23) Second RowMatt Toouma (age 23) Out-half
Siliva Siliva (age 21) Hooker (Probably the greatest name I've ever heard)

Force

Kyle Godwin (age 20) Inside Centre / Out-half




Kyle Godwin has had a storming start to the season. He is designated as an out-half in the fantasy league, and is one of the top scoring fly-halves, but has impressed everyone watching at inside centre.

From Courier Mail

"WHEN David Pocock labels you an exceptional young man, a future Wallaby and wait for it an "Adonis'', you know you're doing okay.

Meet the Western Force's newest rookie sensation, Kyle Godwin.

Godwin will line up at inside centre for the Force against the Waratahs on Sunday afternoon at Allianz Stadium, and based on the 20-year-old's eye-catching form so far this season, it might pay to get along for a glimpse of the future.

In his first full season, the skilful blond centre has already earned rave reviews and drawn comparisons with Matt Giteau for the Force.

Like Pocock, Godwin was born in Zimbabwe but emigrated from Harare to Perth in 2000 with his family when he was eight.

"My parents had a good look at the future of Zimbabwe and thought it was best for us to move to Australia. They did it to make sure we had a good upbringing as kids really, to have a brighter future,'' Godwin said yesterday. "I have some good memories of Zim. It is still a very passionate rugby nation.''


After playing for Australian schools, the WA-product joined the Force academy and debuted at Super Rugby level last year. Though quiet as a church mouse, his Force teammates knew they had a good one on their hands.

"Kyle is honestly one of the most humble guys you've ever met,'' Pocock said. "From the day he turned up you could just tell he was a quality bloke and had a tremendous work ethic. He is, actually, an exceptional young man.

"He has got the brain for it and he's very skilful. It was just a matter of getting training under his belt. He was probably unlucky not to get more opportunity last year, but it's no surprise he's starting to do well.''

Pocock, who revealed Godwin's nickname at the Force is "Adonis'' due to his genetic gifts, said talk about Godwin being a Wallaby in the near future isn't unreasonable.

"I definitely think he can be,'' Pocock said. "One of the better qualities he has is he's pretty cool under pressure, and doesn't ever get flustered. So that's a great asset to have an inside back, and as time goes on and he becomes more vocal, which he seems to be doing this year, he'll definitely get into contention down the line.''

Few people know Godwin turned down the competition-leading Brumbies to stay with the Force in 2013.

The youngster trained with Jake White's strong side in the off-season in Canberra, but instead of joining Pocock, chose stay with the team at the bottom of the Aussie conference.

"I was just there for the day,'' Godwin said. "Obviously I had the opportunity but I made my decision and I am very happy with the call to stay with the Force.

"I am West Australian, so to be around my family and friends was the motivating factor. Michael Foley and Chris Webb had a great plan for me and I decided the best way to improve my rugby was to stay with the Western Force.

"I am loving the opportunity and am very thankful for the coaching staff giving it to me. I want to just keep improving.''

Based on Pocock's already glowing appraisal, the Waratahs may hope any more improvement from Godwin comes next week."



and GAGR:

"A revelation for most Aussie fans this year but those of us that saw him in his younger days would not have been surprised about his current form now that he is free from injury.

Godwin’s family arrived in Western Australia from Zimbabwe when he was eight years old. I saw him play for Combined States at the Australian Schools Rugby Union Championships [ASRUC] in 2009 and he was like a swan amongst the ducks in the team. He played for Australian Schools that year and went into the Western Force system in 2010.

Before the 2011 season started he appeared in a trial match for the Force A team against the Australian Barbarians in Sydney. Playing in a heat wave, he looked like the man of the match at flyhalf but he suffered a serious shoulder injury and was not seen for the rest of the year.

In 2012 he was chosen in the Australian JWC team as its starting flyhalf. He also had an Extended Playing Squad [EPS] contract with the Force and came off the bench in three games.

At 20 years old Godwin is now a fully contracted Super Rugby player and has started for the Force in all games this year. He is playing in his best position, inside centre, and has had some commanding performances. He can sniff out a gap and unlike a majority of backs he works hard at such things as getting off the ground and looking for things to do."

Alfie Mafi (age 24) Winger

A winger in the mould of Digby Ioane, Alfie Mafi has already scored more tries this year (5) than he has in any other year in his short career so far. He is in scintillating form and will be close to a call up to the Wallabies.

At the best of the times Mafi is a devasting finisher and is getting better. That he is shining and scoring tries in a weak Force backline tells you a lot about his skills.


Other Force players to watch out for:

Sam Wykes (age 24) Lock
Tetera Faulkner (age 24) Prop


Rebels

Luke Jones (age 21) Lock

From GAGR:
"Was the first Aussie forward to get a full Super contract whilst still at school. He had shown his potential playing for Australian Schools in 2008 and 2009 and although he didn’t expect to get a game in his first professional year in 2010, he made his debut when he came off the Western Force bench late in a Super 14 game in Wellington to lock the scrum with Nathan Sharpe. How good was that for a young bloke?

He played for Australia at the 2010 and 2011 JWCs but didn’t get a lot of Super game time until 2012 after he transferred to Melbourne.

At the Rebels, Jones is happy to be in the starting XV but ask him what his preferred position is and he will say: the blindside flank. Indeed, with his aggression and work ethic he resembles Marcell Coetzee of the Sharks.

Jones owns one of the biggest engines in Super Rugby and has a high skill level for a big man. He is good friends with a team mate from his St. Pius College 1st XV, Michael Hooper of the Waratahs. If his performance curve prevails I think that Jones will be joining his old school mate in a Wallabies’ squad."

Jordy Reid (age 21) Openside Flanker

Jordy Reid made his run on debut against the Cheetahs this weekend, after coming off the bench against the Sharks last week, and was one of the best players in the team. Another Openside to look out for. He must have impressed last week despite the drubbing as he was rewarded with a new contract recently.

From Rebels website
"Jordy is a traditional openside flank, which many refer to as a hybrid version of George Smith and Phil Waugh. With his long dreaded hair, flair and aggression at the breakdown it’s hard to argue with the comparisons"

Other Rebels worth looking out for:
Cadeyrn Neville (age 24) Lock
Hugh Pyle (age 24) Lock
Paul Alo-Emile (age 21) Prop
Angus Roberts (age 22) Full-back / Out-Half


Waratahs

Tom Kingston (age 21) Winger / Outside Centre



Despite being only 21, this is Kingston's third year in Super Rugby. He's made quite an impression already, and is fighting for positions in a competitive Waratah back 3.

This article is after his first season:
from http://www.rugbynews.co.nz/newsarticle/?article=5864

"FOUR TRIES in 14 games, and all from the unfamiliar position of wing. It’s been an unbelievable full debut Super Rugby season for Tom Kingston, and could still get better for the hard-running Waratah, despite narrowly missing out on selection for the initial Wallabies side.

With the Australian team reeling from several injuries to backline stars, there was a thought that he would be in line for his first national cap as soon as this month. The meteoric rise is something the youngster is struggling to take in considering his first Super Rugby game for NSW was just 12 months ago, and he played all his junior rugby at centre.

“I hadn’t expected to be as involved this year,” Kingston says. “The opportunity to play 80 minutes every week, it’s really helped me.”

Kingston made his debut against the Blues at Eden Park in 2011, and played four games that year. His time in the blue jumper was restricted last year because of his selection in the Australian Under 20 side that went to Italy for the IRB Junior World Championship.

Kingston, who grew up in Hong Kong and moved to Sydney at the age of nine, remembers his 2011 debut at Eden Park fondly.

“It was amazing, I really enjoyed it,” he says. “It motivates you to play more and work harder, to get 80 minutes under your belt.”

This season, with long-term injuries to Waratah and Wallaby pair Drew Mitchell and Lachie Turner, Kingston has made the right wing spot his own. The 1.90m-tall St Aloysius’ College product has played in every Waratahs match and has impressed with his speed, ball carrying and ability to break the line.

Kingston has not looked out of place and has showcased an uncanny ability to sniff out a try, perhaps best highlighted by his 75th minute match-winning effort against the Sharks at Allianz Stadium.

Todd Louden, his club coach at Sydney University, describes Kingston as “extremely intelligent” and “really humble”.

“From a rugby perspective he has really good feet and some really good skills, he’s very athletic,” Louden says. “He’s a dream to coach, an absolute dream. He takes everything in and works extremely hard.”

Louden says he has been surprised in a “pleasant way” at Kingston’s quick rise.

“We knew Tom had it in him,” he says. “Tom had a contract with the Waratahs prior to playing first grade [with Sydney Uni]. We still haven’t seen the best of him yet. He’s handling himself well.”
For now Kingston is focused on improving his own game and helping the struggling Waratahs gain some respectability before season’s end.

“We need more consistency,” he says. “We want to put together a complete performance [because] we haven’t done it all year.”

The Mosman Whales junior has been working on his positioning and bulking up his 90kg frame, and admits his ultimate goal is a green and gold jersey one day.

“I need to improve my overall awareness of the game, both in attack and defence,” Kingston says. “I’d definitely like to have a crack at centre. I need to put on weight, [but] it’s where I would like to end up. I want to play for the Wallabies – the same as when I was 10-years-old. Become the most complete footballer I can be.”

Louden is adamant that a Wallaby jumper will be in Kingston’s future at some point, and the Sydney University coach should know. The former Randwick first grade player has coached clubs in Sydney and Japan, and was the attack coach with the Bulls when they won the Super Rugby title in 2007 and held the same role with the Waratahs when they made the final in 2008.

“Tom’s position going forward will be 13,” Louden says. “He’s got good feet and vision. He’ll become a Wallaby, with time. I don’t see a reason why not. You never say never… but he was only an Under 20 player last year. He has the athletic ability. Definitely a Wallaby in the future.”"

Ben Volavola (age 22) Out-half / Full-back

Ben Volavola impressed many people this year coming off the bench and rescueing the Waratahs from seeming defeats. He is a gamebreaker, and unlocks defenses with his flair.



From Roar.com.au

"He starred for the Under-20s at the IRB Junior World Championship in 2011 and has played for NSW A. He made his first grade club debut for West Harbour in 2010 when he was still at school. He won a second grade premiership with Southern Districts in 2011. He turned heads helping Souths into the Shute Shield first grade grand final last season. The Newington College and Endeavour Sports High School product further impressed with his dynamism in the Waratahs pre-season trials this year.

He was born in Sydney to Fijian parents but spent his early life in Fiji. Volavola returned to Australia in 2000 and looks to be a natural playmaker with silky skills, with dreams of becoming a Wallaby.

His emergence is another example that club rugby continues to develop good players, and that more jewels like him and Jesse Mogg are there waiting to be found."





From CourierMail.com.au

"In only his first year of Super Rugby, the 22-year-old has forced high-priced recruit Israel Folau onto a wing on the strength of cameos which sparked NSW to big second-half comebacks against Queensland and Melbourne.

In 2000, nine-year-old Volavola moved to Australia with mum Emma and his younger brother Milan.

The skinny Fijian kid - now wearing boots and a jersey - soon began showing up the local tackers.

He impressed for the Manly under 13s so much at a junior championships, Volavola graced his first magazine cover at the tender age of 11.

"Star of the future: Ben Volavola!" it declared prophetically.

Considering future NSW teammates Michael Hooper and Tom Kingston were in the same Manly team, it was a fair wrap.

Injuries to Bernard Foley and Berrick Barnes saw him used heavily in NSW's trials, including a run-on start at No.10 against the Crusaders.

Learning from opposite number Dan Carter - "he's so calm, it's like he's at a training run" - Volavola decided he would stick to what he knew.

"I think flair within a structural game works as well. You see a lot of Kiwi players have that, and a guy like Quade Cooper in Australia as well," he said.

"All the coaches and guys in the team gave me great support to play my game, although I have learned a lot about when to use it and when not to.

"Getting good minutes in those trials against quality sides helped my confidence definitely, especially against the Kiwi teams."

Volavola is not the finished product, by any means, but the traces of Fijian boldness on the field are hard to deny.

Not to mention genuine influence on far more seasoned teammates.

There can be no coincidence the injection of Volavola in the second halves of both NSW's games has seen them score 39 of their 48 points in 2013, and allowed Folau to find his best form against the Rebels on a wing."

Matt Lucas(age 21) Scrum - half

When the Auckland Blues lost in Sydney after being 2 tries up with 30 minutes left, Jonah Lomu pinned the reason on this little scrum-half:

"In both size and reputation, it was a compliment from one of the world rugby's biggest identities to one of the smallest.Which is why when a rap from Jonah Lomu was relayed to rising New South Wales Waratahs halfback Matt Lucas, it took a few seconds to sink in.

On Twitter after the Waratahs had snuck home over the Blues on Sunday, Lomu sent a congratulatory message to Israel Folau ribbing him about trying a goosestep for his missed try near the end of the game.


The legendary All Black winger added at the end of the tweet: "Where have you guys hid (sic) that new halfback?"

Lomu had been impressed with the pint-sized Lucas, who'd replaced injured Tahs No.9 Brendan McKibbin at the half-hour mark.

In his first year of Super Rugby, the 50-minute stint was Lucas' longest stretch on the field by a long way and the 21-year-old turned in a busy performance belying his rookie status.

"To get that from him (Lomu), that's huge. He's one of the best players to play our game. It's incredibly flattering,'' Lucas said when informed of the tweet."

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/nsw-waratahs-halfback-matt-lucas-flattered-by-compliment-by-new-zealand-legend-jonah-lomu/story-e6frfkp9-1226608170937#ixzz2PIFrX6Yz


Lopeti Timani (age 19) Blindside Flanker/ Lock