With two rounds left, the Super 14 is down
to sorting out the finishing order of the top four teams for home-ground
advantage in the finals. But the sub-plot for Australian players – winning a
Wallaby jersey – remains as intriguing now as it was in February.

(Oh, there are a few sub-sub-plots – might
the Force yet win a game; will the Reds be able to field a side at all next
year; could the Force bid for the ARU itself if their knuckles are rapped over
player poaching; is ING going to use Laurie Fisher in its ads as a cheaper alternative to
Billy Connolly – but we’ll ignore them for now.)

The big swing in selection sentiment is
nailed in the first item of Greg Growden’s column this morning. Two weeks ago, the Fairfax press was
running stories about an all-Waratah front row for the Wallabies amid
expectations that the top Australian side would dominate selection. But now:

Only two
Waratahs are certain of making the starting XV – second-rower Dan Vickerman and
winger Lote Tuqiri. The most the Waratahs can expect in the starting team is
four – with hooker Adam Freier and back-rower Rocky Elsom strong chances, while
second-rower Al Kanaar is borderline. Phil Waugh and Mat Rogers appear destined
for the reserves bench. Instead, the team to play England
will be Brumbies dominated – especially in attack, where ACT are expected to
hold down five of the seven spots.

Let’s say they get the four out of 15,
that isn’t so flash. You might think a team would need more than that to have a
decent chance playing the Crusaders when they get serious again in the Super 14

The Brumbies are assured of five places –
open flanker, half, in and out centres and a wing. The Force has one – lock
Nathan Sharpe – and the Reds two – fullback Latham and quite possibly prop Rodney

That ads up to 12 with a prop, lock, and
number eight yet to be decided. Hands up who wants to be a Wallaby?

Peter Fray

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