Updated: Jul 28, 2020
It seemed for years we talked about when Michael Cheika would be fired, then there was the Israel Folau saga, he got fired by Raelene Castle who herself wasn’t popular from the start and recently fell on her sword. Cheika and Castle didn’t like each other and Cheik’s assistant coach who he fired, Stephen Larkham, yeah they didn't get on either. From all reports, we’re in a shocking financial position with no broadcast deal secured beyond 2020 and the Wallabies have fallen to 7th in the world rankings.
You keeping up? The soap opera that is Australian Rugby continues to roll on.
'We will still be, friends for forever', Raelene Castle & Michael Cheika.
Source: The Australian
But despite the doom and gloom, there is optimism so put all the shenanigans aside and let’s hope we survive and we can think about what we might look like come the 2023 Rugby World in France. Let’s say we can get our best team on the park, the Giteau rule is revoked and we can just pick the best 23 players, wouldn’t that be nice.
There is some great young talent, mixed in with what will be some experienced older heads come 2023. Australian Rugby’s pathways and junior development is working, the Under 20’s last year were runners up at the World Cup in Argentina and the Under 18’s knocked over the Kiwis for the first time since 2012.
Here's my thoughts on what the Wallabies will look like come 2023.
Scott Sio – Shown up time and time again for the Wallabies, Sio will be in his third world cup in 2023 and in all likelihood, his last. Sio will be a leader of this Wallabies outfit.
Jordan Uelese - Plenty of upside in Uelese, he will have matured and established his position as Australia’s premier Hooker by 2023.
Taniela Tupou – From a young age the Tongan Thor has shown that he is up to any opposition and another three years will only bring his game along further. He will be a force to be reckoned with for many more years, I just hope the Wallabies attack shape gives him plenty of ball carrying opportunities.
Isack Rodda - Has shown he is able to play in this type of arena time and time again. Only very young (23) and will always bring his best to the table, a recent falling out with the Reds and the ARU shouldn't bother us by 2023, should it?
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto - Hardworking forward that plays for the team and will only continue to mature over the next few years. He was given plenty of opportunities by Cheik, not sure he lived up to the hype, but I am backing him to repay that faith.
Sean McMahon – Please! Abrasive and powerful! Let’s hope the Giteau law is gone and we can get McMahon and the great energy and mongrel he brings on the field!
Fraser McReight - Australian Under 20’s captain in 2019, McReight is the closest thing to David Pocock and is one of the brightest up and coming players. His on-ball skills are exceptional and the more time he gets with the Reds in Super Rugby, the better.
Harry Wilson - Debut and breakout season with the Reds in 2020 and quickly became one of the most dominant players in the competition, scary to think how good this young man might be and is destined for the Wallaby gold.
Tate McDermott – The number 9 jersey is up for grabs, McDermott’s rise has been stalled on a couple of occasions with Brad Thorn opting for other options at times in the Reds. This young man has a great work ethic and I’m backing him to make the 9 jersey his own come 2023.
Will Harrison – Another of the U20 brigade from 2019, Harrison had a slow start to his debut Super Rugby season but will continue to grow as a player and displayed great maturity toward the back end of the shortened Super Rugby competition in directing his Waratahs side around the field.
Reece Hodge - Not your traditional high-speed finishing winger, rather known for his great versatility and has often filled that utility back role. Boasts a massive boot which comes in handy as well.
Samu Kerevi – That Giteau rule is gone right? Kerevi has shown time and time again that when he pulls on the jersey, he is out to do a job. The strong ball carrying centre continually provides his team with front football allowing them to play off it. No doubt will be among the first picked in 2023.
Jordan Petaia – The young talent has incredible skill and is amazing with ball in hand. If he is able to stay injury free, it will be tough for opposition sides to stop the pairing of he and Kerevi.
Marika Koribete – Continuing to prove himself at both international level, Koribete is a handful for oppositions in both attack and defence. He is still on the rise and will be ready to go again in 2023.
Tom Banks – Banks was unlucky not to get a run in 2019 but 2023 will be different. He continues to blitz the Super competition and is ready to make the step up to Wallaby 15 jersey.
Folau Fainga'a – Fainga’a has already made his debut for the Wallabies and will continue to grow as a player in the following years and will no doubt be in the mix come the World Cup.
Angus Bell – Still only 19 years old, Bell has a long way to go but he’s future in the green and gold is inevitable. He will be a big contender to be in the match day 23 by the time the Wallabies touch down in France.
Harry Hoopert – Hoopert has been a regular in the Reds team for the past two years but cemented his spot in this year’s side. He’s still got some development to come but by 2023 I think he’ll be in the mix to grab a Wallaby bench spot.
Isi Naisarani – Naisarani is one of Australia’s best forwards and will no doubt be in the Wallabies squad. He just isn’t as good as Harry Wilson.
Jack Dempsey – Dempsy has already shown what he can do while wearing the Wallabies jersey. He will be in a fight for the starting jersey against McMahon, but if the Giteau law isn't dropped he will have the jersey more than likely wrapped up.
Micheal McDonald – Another youngster in the side would have hopefully developed more in the next couple years to be around the team. Showed his impressive skill set in the recent Junior World Cup where the Junior Wallabies made it to the final.
Noah Lolesio – Lolesio has been very impressive to watch in his breakout season with the Brumbies. His ability to play both Flyhalf and Inside Centre will come in handy off the bench and he has a knack of creating something out of nothing.
Mark Nawaqanitawase – Remember the name, Nawaqanitawase is an impressive young talent and is still only 19 years old. 2023 might come around a bit quick, but he has tremendous potential and is an exciting prospect.
There you have it, there’s plenty to be excited about in Australian Rugby. That team can win a World Cup, let’s just hope we can afford to get there!