Barbarians, World XV make two changes each, Koroibete pulls out

The speedster, who last year won his second John Eales medal as Australia’s best rugby player, finished his second club season in Japan last Saturday with defeat in the final with Robbie Deans’ Saitama Wild Knights.

No exact reason was given as to why Koroibete had to withdraw following his left-wing start in the 15-17 loss to Malcolm Marx’ Kubota Spears in Tokyo, but his place in Hansen’s squad has gone to Kaminieli Rasaku of Bayonne and Fiji 7s. The other addition to the World XV is the retiring Ulster and Ireland back-rower Jordi Murphy.

Eddie Jones adamant Wallabies can be world beaters

Australia coach Eddie Jones is yet to finalise his staff or settle on his best squad but is convinced the Wallabies have more than enough time to transform themselves into World Cup winners by the time the tournament kicks off in France.

The Wallabies slumped to seventh in the rankings under former coach Dave Rennie but Jones said they could emulate South Africa, who became world champions for a third time at the 2019 tournament in Japan after years of struggle.

Koroibete clinches second John Eales Medal as Wallabies' best player

Japan-based speedster Koroibete became the sixth Wallaby to win the award on multiple occasions, having first won it in 2019.

Voted by the players after each Test match, Koroibete polled 202 votes to edge out backrower Rob Valetini (170 votes) and prop Allan Alaalatoa (168 votes).

The 30-year-old, who switched from the NRL to rugby union in 2017, was the stand-out in Australia’s losing Test series against England before also impressing with his work-rate through the Rugby Championship.

Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou to depart Reds for new Super team

Queensland Reds powerhouse Tupou has told his teammates he will leave for the Melbourne Rebels next season, the prop recovering from an Achilles tear and unlikely to feature in Super Rugby Pacific until then.

Tupou arrived at Ballymore as a teenager with a viral YouTube highlights reel but will depart as a 26-year-old father, just shy of 100 caps and among the club’s top-five tryscorers.

AAP understands there are no sour grapes at the Reds, who were aware Tongan-born Tupou sought a change of scenery after nine years in Brisbane.

Refreshed Michael Hooper ready to lead Wallabies again if needed

In what will be music to Eddie Jones’ ears, Hooper says he’d be open to leading Australia to the 2023 Rugby World Cup if the new coach comes knocking.

It was only less than seven months ago fans feared the champion flanker may have played his last test after dramatically leaving the Australian camp in Argentina on match eve to take a mental health break.

Even when he returned for the northern autumn tour of Europe, Hooper was making no promises and said taking back the captaincy from James Slipper was not in his plans.


Eddie Jones eyeing 'smash and grab' raid from Wallabies at World Cup

Jones took over from the sacked Dave Rennie last month but, despite the World Cup being so close, has brought on board no backroom staff since his appointment.

Reuters reports the 63-year-old, who was knocked back this week by former New Zealand rugby league coach Michael Maguire, said he was looking for specific skills for a specific task.

"In a lot of ways, we've got time because as a coaching team, we need to be together probably for the last six or eight weeks of Super Rugby, where selection is going to become important," Jones said.

Rugby Australia won't change Giteau Law this year

With Jones landing in Australia at the weekend after his shock appointment last week, RA chairman Hamish McLennan has revealed the Giteau Law, which allows a certain number overseas-based players to be selected for the Wallabies, will not be tweaked ahead of this year's World Cup.

"We're not going to destroy the Giteau Rule at all," McLennan told the ABC.

"It's there for a reason. We've made a commitment to New Zealand and Super Rugby. We have a new competition that will go through to 2030 so we are thinking long term.

Eddie Jones: 'Plenty of time' to make Wallabies a RWC threat

"I think we've got plenty of time," Jones said on Nine's Today Show after Monday's shock announcement of his return to coach Australia, at Dave Rennie's expense.

"(1991 World Cup-winning coach Dwyer) always used to say, 'if you can't change a team in a week, you can't coach'.

"We've got more than a week, so let's hope I can coach."

Still in England, Jones will return to begin in his role later this month and also run the women's Wallaroos program, the five-year deal set to carry him through a British and Irish Lions' visit in 2025 and a home World Cup in 2027.

Rennie confident he had backing of Wallaby players

In a bombshell move by Rugby Australia, New Zealander Rennie was peremptorily fired after three seasons in the post and replaced by Australian Eddie Jones, who was sacked as England coach in December.

In a statement Rennie expressed disappointment that he wouldn't be able to fulfil his contract and lead them to this year's Rugby World Cup.

"I'm disappointed I won't be able to see out my contract in the way I agreed to back in 2019 but leave knowing I had the full support of the playing group and the staff."

Pointers for NZ Rugby as Wallabies welcome back Jones

That was a few days before Jones's England side famously beat the All Blacks in a World Cup semifinal, dumping them out of the tournament.

Because of the All Blacks' and England's scarcity of fixtures, Jones didn't get another chance to have a dig at New Zealand till late last year, when somehow his side came back from 25-6 down with 10 minutes left to tie the scores at fulltime. Had Marcus Smith not sent one conversion wide, it would have been remembered as one of the greatest English victories ever.