Dan Palmer to anchor Wallabies: Eddie Jones
April 6, 2013
Dan Palmer is the best scrummager in Australia, Eddie Jones believes © Getty Images
Dan Palmer must be the first name picked in the Wallabies forwards, followed by fellow Brumbies front-rower Stephen Moore, if Australia are to have a set-piece that can counter what is certain to be a hard, powerful and committed British & Irish Lions pack, Eddie Jones believes.
Jones, writing for News Limited's Rugby Gold, says Wallabies coach Robbie Deans "must pick forwards who can meet fire with fire".
Palmer is "clearly" the best scrummager in Australia and he "has to be first picked, followed by hooker Stephen Moore", Jones wrote in Rugby Gold. Jones would name New South Wales prop Benn Robinson as the third starting front-rower, with one caveat: he "is technically the best loosehead prop but his workrate is poor".
Jones would look to select the Queensland Reds second row of Rob Simmons and James Horwill, the latter "to get stuck into the Lions". Kane Douglas would be under consideration but he "gives away silly penalties", while Hugh McMeniman is an "extremely powerful player" who is "starting to put it all together".
Jones has major concerns about the quality of the prospective Wallabies backrow, however, writing that "openside flanker is a massive issue without the injured David Pocock" and "a real problem is filling No. 8". Jones describes Wycliff Palu as his first-choice No. 8 but "injury and lack of focus has dimmed his performance" while Scott Higginbotham "has been Rebel-ised in a non-performing Melbourne team".
Jones suggested that Liam Gill rather than Michael Hooper, in the expected absence of George Smith, would wear the No. 7 jumper to counter the strength of Sam Warburton or Sean O'Brien, whom he describes as "strong fetchers as well as good ball-carriers".
Gill and Hooper each are quick, instinctive and work hard, but the Reds backrower, Jones writes, "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."
Jones would select Dave Dennis at No. 6 because he "can run a lineout and carry well".
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