Australia: Ex-Wallaby believes side can reach the World Cup semi-finals if Giteau’s Law is abandoned

The Wallabies huddle during a Test match against France. Credit: Alamy
The Wallabies huddle during a Test match against France. Credit: Alamy

Former Wallabies star Morgan Turinui believes Australia can at least make it to the final four at next year’s World Cup in France if they abolish Giteau’s Law.

The law allows the selectors to pick three players who are based overseas for the Wallabies squad, which can be limiting given the Australian talent abroad.

The Wallabies face Wales this weekend, who will be in their World Cup group alongside Fiji, Georgia and Portugal at next year’s showpiece.

“I think the Wallabies will play on the last weekend of the World Cup (either final or bronze final),” Turinui told Stan Sport’s Between Two Posts.

“There’s enough there in that content on this tour to show that. If Taniela’s (Tupou) out that hurts. It’s not like a 75kg halfback, getting back from a ruptured Achilles, because it’s not easy for a man of his size.”

Friendly draw

Turinui admits the Wallabies were dealt a favourable draw and must do what they can to capitalise on what could be an easier run to the back end of the tournament.

“The run through a World Cup will never be as good as it is this time,” Turinui said. “They will never do the rankings as early as they’ve done it this time. You will never avoid the current big four (Ireland, France, New Zealand, South Africa) until a semi again.

“The prospect of Wales in a pool and then England or Argentina in the quarters.

“It is not a gimme, but it’s manageable. You can go in with some confidence and if you bought your tickets and you’re landing for the quarters you can be hopeful of seeing the Wallabies play the back end.

“They make semis and it’s a toss up. I can see a red card deciding one of the three big games (semi finals and final). I want to look at that sunrise. I want to see that little light at the end of the tunnel there.”

Turinui insists it will not be a good idea to change coach Dave Rennie, who boasts a poor win record with the Wallabies. Instead, they should consider opening up Giteau’s Law to allow more globally based talent and experience to join the set-up.

“I don’t want to change the coach. We’ve got to do a lot of things right. We’ll have to open up the Giteau Law, we cannot have only three. We need to get them all back for every single game and camp and whatever we can because they need time together,” he added.

“We need better luck and management around our high performance. A new S and C (strength and conditioning coach) will come in. There’s been I think 43 injuries to players that have resulted in missing games this year. Never seen so many, so there’s bad luck.

“But if you’re self aware enough as a coaching group and a program you’ve got to know that there’s ways you can influence that, to minimise that.”

Change the structure

At this stage, Turinui believes the three picks select themselves, although some considerations must be made.

“It’s going to be (Quade) Cooper, (Samu) Kerevi and (Marika) Koroibete straight away, done, right? Then you look at the (Will) Skeltons and there’s a couple of other bodies around the place that you want to be having a look at.

“Does (Bernard) Foley go as a back-up, in case Cooper with his body issues doesn’t get through it? We’re going to need more than that (three overseas-based players).”

Protect players

The former centre also weighed in on the hotly-debated topic of head knocks as Nic White suffered two head knocks in a row against Ireland and was still allowed to return to the field.

The following day the scrum-half was diagnosed with a concussion, sparking debates about how head injuries are dealt with in the sport.

“I think it’s a mistake in the chronological process,” Turunui said.

“It’s a great learning for HIAs because I think we need to be a bit braver in forgoing HIAs when we see some of the evidence that we think are concussions and suspected concussions. Don’t bother with the HIA, let’s just rule guys out. Let’s take all of those things out.”

Turinui suggested that World Rugby should consider having another doctor around so that all bases are covered around head injuries.

“Perhaps let’s have an extra doctor because the story is that the independent doctor and Sharron Flahive go off to watch the first incident because it wasn’t as clear, and then it looks like or sounds like Nic White has got another hit straight after as well that they haven’t even seen because they’re looking at the other one,” he added.

“There’s a bit around process there. It’s a great reminder that if there’s any doubt, if it’s a suspected concussion, if there’s one tiny little indicator, a stumble, those sorts of things, you know what? I’d rather us get one wrong, being over efficient in getting one wrong, than slipping one through whose had a knock.”

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