The Australian Conference Preview

Our final conference preview is the Australian conference. In this blog we look through each of the five Aussie or Japanese teams to list out all the must no facts! Keep an eye out for our Draft Rugby Podcast as well where we will delve a bit deeper into the ins and outs of each team. Fingers crossed we can get a couple of special guets for the pod as well! Check out our podcast at the links below when they are avaialable:


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Brumbies

Full squad:
Props: Allan Alaalatoa, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Harrison Lloyd, Tom Ross, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Shambeckler Vui
Hookers: Folau Fainga’a, Lachlan Lonergan, Connal Mcinerney
Locks: Murray Douglas, Blake Enever, Nick Frost, Caderyn Neville, Darcy Swain
Loose forwards: Jahrome Brown, Tom Cusack, Lachlan McCaffrey, Will Miller, Pete Samu, Rob Valetini
Scrumhalves: Issak Fines, Ryan Lonergan, Joe Powell
Flyhalves: Bayley Kuenzle, Noah Lolesio, Reesjan Pasitoa
Centres: Len Ikitau, Tevita Kuridrani, Guy Porter, Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Solomone Kata
Outside Backs: Tom Banks, Mack Hansen, Andrew Muirhead, Toni Pulu

New Faces:
Harrison Lloyd (Western Force), Shambeckler Vui (Waratahs), Lachlan Lonergan (Aus U20s), Nick Frost (Crusaders development), Cadeyrn Neville (Toyota Shuttles), Will Miller (Waratahs), Issak Fines (Western Force), Noah Lolesio (Brumbies academy), Reesjan Pasitoa (Nudgee College), Guy Porter (Sydney University), Solomone Kata (Melbourne Storm)

Losses:
Vunipola Fifita (released), Angus Wagner (Western Force), Josh Mann-Rea (retired), Maile Ngauamo (Brisbane City), Rory Arnold (Toulouse), Sam Carter (Ulster), Ben Hyne (Sunwolves), David Pocock (Wild Knights), Matt Lucas (Black Rams), Christian Lealiifano (Shinin Arcs), Wharenui Hawera (Kubota Spears), Jordan Jackson-Hope (Sunwolves), Lausii Taliauli (Southland), Chance Peni (Red Dolphins), Henry Speight (Reds)

Best 15:
Scott Sio, Folau Fainga’a, Allan Alaalatoa, Darcy Swain, Blake Enever, Rob Valetini, Tom Cusack, Lachlan McCaffrey, Joe Powell, Noah Lolesio, Toni Pulu, Irae Simone, Tevita Kuridrani, Tom Wright, Tom Banks

Stocks are rising:
Darcy Swain – Captained the Canberra Vikings NRC team, he is likely to get a lot of game time in 2020.
Noah Lolesio – The man most likely to hold the #10 jersey. The twitter account “Aus next flyhalf” has big wraps on him.

Stocks are falling:
Joe Powell – If the NRC is anything to go off, then the Brumbies are serious about giving Ryan Lonergan game time. Powell is likely to start, but shouldn’t have the mortgage on the jersey like he did in 2019.

Smokies:
Nick Frost – Former Wallabies coach Matt Williams says he is the “most talented 20yr old lock since John Eales”. He returned to the Australia with the Brumbies and Australia U20s midway through 2019, after being a member of the Crusaders development program. He will most likely compete with Blake Enever for a starting jersey and may well supersede him throughout the season.
Solomone Kata – The Tongan born player played Rugby Union for Sacred Heart College in Auckland before switching to League in 2013 for the NZ Warriors and finally for the Melbourne Storm. With one wing still very much up for grabs he could be a real star.

Rebels

Full squad:
Props: Jermaine Ainsley, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Gibbon, Cameron Orr, Ruan Smith, Cabous Eloff, Mees Erasmus, Fereti Sa’aga
Hookers: Anaru Rangi, Jordan Uelese, Declan Moore,
Locks: Ross Haylett-Petty, Luke Jones, Gideon Koegelenberg, Esei Ha’angana, Trevor Hosea, Matt Philip
Loose forwards: Angus Cottrell, Richard Hardwick, Boyd Killingworth, Rob Leota, Isi Naisarani, Michael Wells, Brad Wilkin, Josh Kemeny,
Scrumhalves: Frank Lomani, Ryan Louwrens, James Tuttle,
Flyhalves: Andrew Deegan, Matt To’omua
Centres: Tom English, Reece Hodge, Campbell Magnay, Billy Meakes, Semisi Tupou
Outside Backs: Dane Haylett-Petty, Andrew Kellaway, Marika Koroibete, Harry Potter, Asaeli Tikoirotuma

New Faces:
Cabous Eloff (Blue Bulls), Cameron Orr (Western Force), Ruan Smith (Reds), Declan Moore (Sydney Rays), Gideon Koegelenberg (Sharks), Josh Kemeny (Sydney Rays), Ryan Louwrens (Kintetsu Liners), James Tuttle (Reds), Andrew Deegan (Western Force), Andrew Kellaway (Northampton Saints), Harry Potter (Melbourne Rising), Asaeli Tikoirotuma (London Irish)

Losses:
Ben Daley (retired), Tetara Faulkner (Waratahs), Sam Talakai (Suntory Sungoliath), Robbie Abel (Waratahs), Hugh Roach (London Irish), Adam Coleman (London Irish), Sam Jeffries (Green Rockets), Will Genia (Kintetsu Liners), Harrison Goddard (Randwick), Michael Ruru (Bayonne), Quade Cooper (Kintetsu Liners), Stuart Dunbar (Australian Sevens), Sione Tuipulotu (Yamaha Jubilo), Jack Maddocks (Waratahs)

Best 15:
Matt Gibbon, Anaru Rangi, Ruan Smith, Matt Philip, Luke Jones, Angus Cottrell, Richard Hardwick, Isi Naisarani, Frank Lomani, Matt To’omua, Marika Koroibete, Billy Meakes, Reece Hodge, Andrew Kellaway, Dane Haylett-Petty

Stocks are rising:
Frank Lomani – Fiji’s first choice halfback is an excitement machine that could be near the top halfback if he holds onto the starting jersey.
Ruan Smith – He needs to hold off Ainsley, but we expect him to get much bigger minutes. When he plays he scores!

Stocks are falling:
Anaru Rangi – Surely this is the year that Wallaby Jordan Uelese overtakes Rangi as the first choice hooker. Having said that, we still listed Rangi as our starting hooker.

Smokie:
Pone Fa’amausili – A tighthead prop that can also play 8! Sounds liek an absolute dream for any Draft Rugby manager!
Andrew Kellaway – Now that Maddocks has left there is one less man standing inbetween Kellaway and the 14 jersey. Yet to fulfill his potential, there have long been big wraps on the winger.

Reds

Full squad:
Props: Feao Fotuaika, Harry Hoopert, JP Smith, Taniela Tupou, Josh Nasser
Hookers: Alex Mafi, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Sean Farrell
Locks: Harry Hockings, Izack Rodda, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Blyth, Michael Wood
Loose forwards: Fraser McReight, Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright, Tom Kibble, Seru Uru, Harry Wilson
Scrumhalves: Scott Malolua, Tate McDermott, Moses Sorovi
Flyhalves: Bryce Hegarty, Isaac Lucas, Hamish Stewart, Carter Gordon
Centres: James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia
Outside Backs: Jock Campbell, Filipo Daugunu, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Henry Speight, Jack Hardy

New Faces:
James O’Connor (Sale Sharks), Henry Speight (Brumbies), Josh Nasser (Brisbane City), Sean Farrell (Brisbane City), Michael Wood (Brisbane City), Tom Kibble (Queensland Country), Seru Uru (Brisbane City), Carter Gordon (Queensland Country)

Losses:
Samu Kerevi (Suntory Sungoliath), Scott Higginbotham (Bordeaux), Sefa Naivalu (Stade Francais), Duncan Paia’aua (Toulon), Caleb Timu (Montpellier), Ruan Smith (Rebels), Gavin Luka (Queensland Country), Efi Ma’afu (Queensland Country), Adam Korczyk (Brisbane City), James Tuttle (Rebels), Matt McGahan (Ricoh Black Rams), Teti Tela (Brisbane City), Seb Wileman (Southland), Will Eadie (Released), Liam McNamara (Brisbane City), Aidan Toua (Honda Heat)

Best 15:
JP Smith, Alex Mafi, Taniela Tupou, Harry Hockings, Izack Rodda, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Liam Wright, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, Isaac Lucas, Henry Speight, James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Bryce Hegarty

Stocks are rising:
Liam Wright – The 22 year old flanker has been named as captain, he should play huge minutes and has a massive engine.
Tate McDermott – 2019 was his breakout season, he ranked 5th in scrum halfs and could well continue to improve this year. Wallabies honours await him at the end of this year.
Jordan Petaia – Is there anyone in world rugby with bigger wraps on them? We don’t think so! Now that Petaia is fit again he could be absolutely anything.

Stocks are falling:
Hamish Stewart – Will most like shift out one to inside centre after falling out of favour last year. No guarantee he will get much time with JOC also jostling for the jersey. Will most likely sit on the bench.

Smokie:
Harry Hoopert – Harry has huge potential and scores big points when starting. An off season neck injury that could delay his season could make it very difficult for him to get game time. See his injury and all others in the Casualty Ward.
Fraser McReight – The Aussie U20s captain is touted as future wallabies captain. He will struggle for time behind now captain Liam Wright but if the door is left ajar he would most likely take it with both hands.

Sunwolves

Full squad:

Props: Sione Asi, Jarred Adams, Conraad van Vuuren, Chris Eves, Hencus Van Wyk, Kaku Bunkei
Hookers: Leni Apisai, Jaba Bregvadze, Mamoru Harada, Efi Ma’afu
Locks: Tom Rowe, Michael Stolberg, Corey Thomas, Kotaro Yatabe,
Loose forwards: Brendon O’Connor, Mitch Jacobson, Jake Schatz (c), Onehunga Havili Kaufusi, Mateaki Kafatolu, Justin Downey, Tevita Tupou, Shunsuke Nunomaki, Ben Hyne
Scrumhalves: Naoto Saito, Rudy Paige, Takahiro Kimura
Flyhalves: Garth April,
Centres: Jordan Jackson-Hope, Ben Te’o, Siosaia Fifita, JJ Engelbrecht, Alex Horan
Outside: James Dargaville, Burua Inoke, Keisuke Moriya (c), Tautalatasi Tasi

New Faces:
Sione Asi (Manawatu Turbo), Jarred Adams (Auckland), Leni Apisai (Blues), Ben Hyne (Brumbies), Brendon O’Connor (Leicester), Mitch Jacobson (Chiefs), Jake Schatz (London Irish), Onehunga Kaufusi (Exeter), Garth April (Shining Arcs), Jordan Jackson-Hope (Brumbies), Ben Te’o (Toulon), Conraad van Vuuren (Bulls), Michael Stolberg (Kintetsu Liners), Corey Thomas (Brisbane City), Mateaki Kafatolu (Wellington), Rudy Paige (Cheetahs), JJ Engelbrecht (Stormers), Takahiro Kimura (Toyota), Kotaro Yatabe (Panasonic Wild Knights), Tevita Tupou (Panasonic Wild Knights), Tautalatasi Tasi (Waratahs), Efi Ma’afu (Reds)

Losses:
Shota Horie, Wimpie van der Walt, Michael Leitch, Uwe Helu, Pieter Labuschagné, Grant Hattingh, Craig Millar, Hendrik Tui, Hayden Parker, Gerhard van den Heever,

Best 15:
Conraad van Vuuren, Jaba Bregvadze, Chris Eves, Michael Stolberg, Tom Rowe, Mitch Jacobson, Brendon O’Connor, Jake Schatz, Rudy Paige, Garth April, JJ Engelbrecht, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Ben Te’o, James Dargaville, Keisuke Moriya

Stocks are rising:
Mitch Jacobson – The older brother of current All Black Luke Jacobson, Mitch has huge potential having played 3 years with the NZ U20’s and captaining them in his final year. He could be a real weapon for the Sunwolves, and a possible captain.
Jordan Jackson-Hope – A young Brumbies player we have had our eye on for a few seasons now. Never really got his chance in Australia but has real potential. Good footwork and a decent passing game could make him a solid Draft player.

Stocks are falling:
Ben Te’o – How this team is anyones guess, but one thing that most people agree on is that the English international may well be here for a holiday at the end of his career. I would hold off picking him until really late in the Draft.

Waratahs

Full squad:
Props: Tetara Faulkner, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Rory O’Conner, Tom Robertson, Chris Talakai, Cody Walker, Angus Bell
Hookers: Robbie Abel, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Horton, Andrew Tuala
Locks: Ryan McCauley, Rob Simmons, Tom Staniforth
Loose forwards: Jack Dempsey, Charlie Gamble, Will Harris, Michael Hooper, Hugh Sinclair, Lachlan Swinton, Carlo Tizzano, Ned Hanigan, Pat Tafa
Scrumhalves: Jack Gordon, Michael McDonald, Mitch Short
Flyhalves: Will Harrison, Mack Mason, developement players
Centres: Kurtley Beale, Lalakai Foketi, Tepai Moeroa, Joey Walton
Outside Backs: Cam Clark, Karmichael Hunt, Mark Nawaqanitwase, Alex Newsome, Jack Maddocks, James Ramm

New Faces:
Tetara Faulkner (Rebels), Robbie Abel (Rebels), Tom Horton (NSW Country Eagles), Charlie Gamble (Sydney Rays), Will Harris (NSW Country Eagles), Carlo Tizzano (Western Force), Michael McDonald (Sydney Rays), Tepai Moeroa (Parramatta Eals), Joey Walton (NSW Country Eagles), Mark Nawaqanitawase (NSW Country Eagles), Jack Maddocks (Rebels), Pat Tafa (NSW Country), James Ramm (Sydney Rays), Will Harrison (Sydney Rays)

Losses:
Sekope Kepu (London Irish), Shambeckler Vui (Brumbies), Tolu Latu (Stade Francais), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester Tigers), Le Roux Roets (released), Will Miller (Brumbies), Michael Wells (Melbourne Rebels), Nick Phipps (London Irish), Bernard Foley (Kubota Spears), John Folau (released), Curtis Rona (London Irish), Israel Folau (released), Adam Ashley Cooper (released), BJ Edwards (released),  JP Sauni (released), Rory Suttor (released), Tautalatasi Tasi (released)

Best 15:
Tom Robertson, Damien Fitzpatrick, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Rob Simmons, Jed Holloway, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Jack Dempsey, Jake Gordon, Mack Mason, Alex Newsome, Karmichael Hunt, Tepai Moeroa, Jack Maddocks, Kurtley Beale

Stocks are rising:
Jack Maddocks – The young flyer is a solid fantasy outside back but struggled for game time at the back end of last year. At the Waratahs he should start every week at either wing or fullback. I’d be very surprised if we saw him at 10 like some articles are saying. Keep in mind Maddocks will likely miss some time during the season playing for the Aussie Sevens.
Jack Dempsey – The young Waratahs loose forward is widely expected to push for a starting Wallabies jersey this year. With Michael Wells moving to the Rebels and Dempsey fit again, he should hold down a starting spot all season. His turn of pace and ability to break a tackle make him a really solid outside pick.

Stocks are falling:
Cameron Clarke – Clarke will have significantly more competition this year with Maddocks and the talented youngster Nawaqanitwase joining the Waratahs ranks. Any loss in game time would make Clarke a very average fantasy choice.

Smokies:
Tepai Moeroa – The 24 year old centre was a schoolboy sensation and has now logged 6 years in the NRL, he has returned at an age young enough to still make a real impact, his biggest issue will be finding a place in the starting side. Beale’s role in the side will probably dictate his fortunes.
Mark Nawaqanitwase – A future Wallabies prospect, the question is when, not if, he will start to make a name for himself in professional footy. If het gets game time, he has all the skills to score heavily.

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