Wallabies turn to Rogers to upset England's plans

Either that or Eddie Jones has his back pressed more firmly against the wall than the profit-loss ledger suggests. Giteau, groomed for some years now as the play-making successor to Stephen Larkham, and Sailor, a hulking great brute of a finisher who was lured from rugby league at considerable expense, may not have covered themselves in glory in the match against France last weekend, but they are central to the coach's planning for the next World Cup in two years. Jones must be in dire straits if he feels obliged to give them the heave-ho at this precise moment, desperate as he is for any sort of win.

Mat Rogers, sufficiently flexible to play in any of six positions behind the scrum but a full-back by instinct, takes over at No 10 - a role performed by enough Wallaby legends, from Phil Hawthorne and Mark Ella to Michael Lynagh and the sublime Larkham, to sink the proverbial battleship. Rogers is some footballer, but his rugby league background raises questions over his grasp of union-specific duties, of which there are more at stand-off than anywhere else.

On the wings, the 23-year-old Mark Gerrard from Warringah and the 22-year-old Queenslander Drew Mitchell have been paired together. Mitchell played three Tri-Nations matches at full-back during August, caught the eye in each of them and even contrived to put a try past the All Blacks in Sydney. Gerrard also knows what it is to score against New Zealand, so it can be assumed that he is nobody's fool either.

All the same, Jones had some explaining to do yesterday. "Wendell was disappointing in Marseilles last Saturday - he didn't give us the go-forward we needed," said the coach, who has also awarded a first Test start to the 22-year-old lock from Brisbane, Hugh McMeniman, who is seen as the new John Eales by some of his more expectant countrymen, heaven help him. "As for Matt, it was a difficult decision. He's still coming to terms with the outside-half position and just at the moment, we see Rogers and Morgan Turinui as our best 10-12 combination."

With John Roe replacing the more substantial Rocky Elsom on the blind-side flank, this is not the Wallaby side England expected to meet. Perhaps that is the point. As Rogers said yesterday: "We just want to win a footy game." The element of surprise being as valuable as it is, Jones may just have struck gold. There again...

Over in Wales, a rugby nation plunged back into widow's weeds by the rampant All Blacks last weekend, the new generation of World Cup wannabes - the Llanelli Scarlets full-back Lee Byrne, the Cardiff Blues loose-head prop John Yapp and the ridiculously tall Newport-Gwent Dragons lock Luke Charteris among them - have a chance to make a point or two against Fiji at the Millennium Stadium this evening. The islanders are not the most enthusiastic of travellers, but they do have one or two remarkable players, not least the New Zealand-based No 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, and if they get through the first half-hour they may just give the home XV a work-out worthy of the name.

That would have been the case in dry conditions but the Welsh, having closed the Millennium Stadium roof against the All Blacks, opted to leave it open for this game. "We talked about the roof during the week, so we're quite surprised," the Fiji coach Wayne Pivac said ruefully.

Australia Test team

v England (Twickenham, tomorrow, 3.0pm):
C Latham (Queensland); M Gerrard (ACT), L Tuqiri (NSW), M Turinui (NSW), D Mitchell (Queensland); M Rogers (NSW), G Gregan (ACT, capt); M Dunning (NSW), B Cannon (WA), A Baxter (NSW), N Sharpe (WA), H McMeniman (Queensland), J Roe (Queensland), P Waugh (NSW), G Smith (ACT). Replacements: T Polata-Nau (NSW), G Holmes (Queensland), M Chisholm (ACT), S Fava (WA), C Whitaker (NSW), M Giteau (ACT), L Johannson (Queensland).

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?