Tuesday 9 April 2013

Queensland Reds Future Rugby Stars 3/4

After researching the Reds for this series of articles, I decided to have an article all for them, because they have some quality talent coming through.

Liam Gill (age 20) Openside Flanker

Perhaps the most impressive of the Reds youngsters is Liam Gill. A quick glance at his age there will remind you that he is only 20, which completely goes against all logic based on watching his phenomenal performances this year. 

In 2010 Gill became the youngest ever to player to compete in the IRB Junior World Championship during which his Australian side lost to New Zealand in the final. Gill was a member of the Australia U20s team that competed in the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship, along with fellow Queenslanders: Joel Faulkner, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Lucas, Simon Morahan, Eddie Quirk, Siliva Siliva, Dom Shipperley, and Kimami Sitauti. Some of those names you might recognise from Part 2

He leads the "turnovers forces" (3)category along with Geroge Smith, Michael Hooper and Deon Stegmann and has the most pilfers(7), according to fox sports fantasy stats.

He already has 8 Wallabies caps, but will full enter the public consciousness this summer.

From foxsports.com.au

Promoting Liam Gill and Dan Palmer is part of the pack makeover needed by the Wallabies to beat the powerful and tactically savvy British and Irish Lions.

The best Wallabies pack is good enough to win the first Test on June 22 in Brisbane, but key figures like prop Benn Robinson and backrower Scott Higginbotham need to snap out of poor form.

Lions coach Warren Gatland will bring a muscular pack that is fit, hard, committed and excellent at set-piece domination.

Wallabies boss Robbie Deans must pick forwards who can meet fire with fire.

Starting with the tighthead, the best scrummager is clearly Brumbies prop Dan Palmer. He has to be first picked, followed by hooker Stephen Moore.

The wonderfully talented Robinson is technically the best loosehead prop but his workrate is poor.

Lock is not a positional strength right now.

Queenslander Rob Simmons plays with a good workrate but his lineout work is average. Kane Douglas is tough but gives away silly penalties. Simmons will start and I would pick a tough-guy lock like James Horwill to get stuck into the Lions.

Don't discount Hugh McMeniman, who is starting to put it all together. He is an extremely powerful player.

Openside flanker is a massive issue without the injured David Pocock. This will be a Lions strength with Welshman Sam Warburton or Ireland's Sean O'Brien.

Both Lions options are strong fetchers as well as good ball-carriers so the Wallabies need a fetcher-type.

Unfortunately, the best is not eligible to play and seemingly not wanted.

George Smith's impact as a jackal has been quite unbelievable at the Brumbies.

Gill is quick, instinctive, works hard and has the potential to be a Test regular. He has a linking game that allows him to run and pass.

The Aussies will need to move the ball around to beat the Lions. That lifts Gill's stocks because 2012 standout Michael Hooper is missing the linking game.

Only Gill's lack of big Test exposure counts against him.

If Deans wants Smith, the Australian Rugby Union will need to approach my old Japanese club Suntory for an extension of his release.

Dave Dennis can run a lineout and carry well. He is my choice for No.6.

A real problem is filling No.8. Wycliff Palu, at his best, is a terrific player but injury and lack of focus has dimmed his performance.

Likewise, Higginbotham is an excellent player but he has been Rebel-ised in a non-performing Melbourne team.

Read more: http://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/eddie-jones-calls-for-wallabies-to-select-liam-gill-dan-palmer-against-british-and-irish-lions/story-fn5k35fo-1226613807434#ixzz2PzzViUnR
Chris Feauai-Sautia (age 19) Outside Centre / Winger

I've been watching Super Rugby for a few years now, and not many people get the commentators as excited as they were on this young man's debut. Listen yourself:

This season Feauai-Sautia has played a part in all but one of the Reds games. All this from someone who is sure to be a key part of the Australian under 20s team this summer. Scary.

Curtis Browning (age 20) Blindside Flanker

Curtis Browning made his Super Rugby debut his season. His entrance was almost as built up as Feauai-Sautia. He is the second most capped Australian schoolboy of all time, second only to Feauai-Sautia.

A lot is expected of this talent.

This article is from 2009, stating that in a 40 man squad, 22 lads are in the Australian schoolboys, with 2 15 year olds Browning and Feauai-Sautia in there. And to keep an eye on  Liam Gill, Simon Morahan, Chris Sautia, Paul Alo-Emile, Kimamai Situata, Curtis Browning, Ted Postal and Krisome Au’uva (a Melbourne Storm scholarship holder). These are very promising players of the future from the Australian squads who I’ve seen play in Brisbane this year and have impressed.


Browning was named in the Australian 20s training squad recently.

Jake Schatz (age 22 ) no.8

Despite only being 22, Schatz already has more than 30 Super Rugby caps to his name. He has been a feature of this Reds back row this season along with Gill and Quirk. Despite his age, he is considered one of the leaders of the group.

He is a tough uncomprimising back-rower, who gets through a huge amount of work.

Ed Quirk (age 21 ) Blindside Flanker

Quirk has broken into the Reds side this year, and the biggest compliment anyone can give him is that the Reds have not missed Wallaby Scott Higginbotham.

From ESPN Scrum.com
"Queensland Reds have shown the loss of Wallabies back-rower Scott Higginbotham is the least of their problems in 2013.

In fact, Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie doesn't even see Higginbotham's move south to the Melbourne Rebels as an issue as raw-boned youngster Ed Quirk filled the void with aplomb in Saturday night's 25-17 success over NSW.

Quirk was Queensland's unexpected hero, running through Kane Douglas and three more Waratah defenders to set up a sparkling match-winning try to Ben Tapuai at Suncorp Stadium for a fourth straight interstate derby success.

The 21-year-old flanker has taken Higginbotham's place and teamed superbly with fellow young back-rowers Liam Gill and Jake Schatz to win the breakdown battle against NSW's Test-quality forward pack.

"Everyone asks what life is like without Higgers but I've said `we're not worried about it, we're really pleased with the guys coming through'," McKenzie said. "Quirky showed exactly why we think he's a good footballer."

Gill was just as influential, outperforming Wallabies teammate Michael Hooper after also standing up well against David Pocock in the opening round loss to the Brumbies. "All of his teammates have a massive respect for what he does," McKenzie said. "He's just a pest - he's there at every ruck in attack and defence doing something."

Where the problems do begin for the Reds is with preparations for Friday night's third-round clash against the hungry Hurricanes outfit, upset 34-20 by the Blues on Saturday, at home.

Queensland will again be without captain James Horwill as his ankle injury continues to plague the Wallabies lock longer than expected, while halfback general Will Genia (knee) is still another two to three weeks away from returning.

In a short turnaround, McKenzie will only have his full team available to train together on Tuesday due to a Wallabies logistics and promotions camp in Sydney.

But he's set to have defensive linchpin Anthony Faingaa (hand) fit and available, making for a major selection dilemma following an exceptional first game at centre by teenager Chris Feauai-Sautia, as well as Luke Morahan's impact off the bench at fullback.

"That's a good problem to have," McKenzie said.

The Reds adopted the same run-and-gun strategy they use against South African opponents to tire out the big Waratahs pack on Saturday night but a lack of precision in finishing attacking forays allowed NSW to stage a second-half comeback.

McKenzie lamented his side only led 17-3 at halftime due to their poor option-taking in space but praised Queensland's aggression and intent to retain the Bob Templeton Cup.

"I thought some of our tackling was of the highest order - the best I've seen," McKenzie said."

Nick Frisby (age 20) Scrum-half

Luke Morahan (age 22) Full-back / Winger

Despite recently signed for the Force, much is expected of Morahan. This could be a great move for him, with a number of promising young backs coming through with the Reds.

Dom Shipperley (age 22) Winger

Another Reds youngster with a Wallaby cap, this winger has frightening pace.

Rod Davies (age 23) Winger/ Full-Back

Rod Davies came flying onto the scene in 2011. Still only 23, injuries and the talent coming through have curtailed his career somewhat.

"AFTER a season on the sidelines Rod Davies is doing everything he can to reclaim his Reds wing position.
Injured for most of the 2012 season he saw his place taken by Dom Shipperley who grabbed the spot with both hands, capping off the year with three Wallabies caps.
Davies had surgery on a knee ligament last April and more recently had a shoulder reconstruction which he said he's needed for some time.
"I'm feeling great, I probably needed to have the shoulder surgery for about a year," he said.
"I've had a full pre-season which is a great start."
Despite losing his spot after the injuries, Davies is making the most of the Reds pre-season trials.
He was named on the wing for the Reds first trial match of the season against the Blues in Toowoomba last weekend.
He made the most of the appearance and rekindled chemistry with returning flyhalf Quade Cooper, scoring a try off a Cooper offload.
He will again start on the wing in the Reds final trial against the Chiefs on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow.
Davies is using every start to remind coaching director Ewen McKenzie of what he can do on the rugby field.
"(My position) is definitely not assured," he said.
"Shipperley came in last year and really made it his own. He went on to bigger things with the Wallabies too."
It's not just Davies and Shipperley who are trying to stake their position on the side.
"There's about three or four guys fighting for that wing spot.
"I've been lucky enough to be named in the trials so all I can do is play my best.
"Every training session is a competition, which is a really good thing for the club. We've got some real talent."
Davies said the team is again aiming to be at the top of the Australian conference and trying for a title.
"We've had the same team together now for the past three or four seasons, so there are a lot of guys who know what to expect at that end of the season.
"I think we can definitely be there at the business end of the season.
"It's good to have Quade and Willy signed for this year. They're big parts of our team.
"Quade's fit and playing well and Genia should be back by round five."
The Reds will play their final trial this weekend before their Super Rugby season kicks off in Canberra against the Brumbies on Saturday, February 16.
Their first home game will be the following weekend at Suncorp Stadium against the NSW Waratahs."

Jono Lance (age 22) Full-back / Centre
Albert Anae (age 23) Hooker / Prop
James Hanson (age 24) Hooker
Jarrad Butler (age 21) Blindside Flanker/ no.8
UJ Seuteni (age 19) Out-half -recently named in the Australian 20s

And more to come from the Reds, who will carry on from McKenzie's lead and introduce these youngsters to the first team? http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/2012-national-u16-championships-review-team-of-the-tournament/

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