Rugby league fan Eddie Jones will use an NRL-style tactic at the World Cup – as telling clue emerges that star won’t play opener against Georgia
Wallabies coach Eddie Jones is poised to implement an NRL style tactic in Australia’s World Cup opener against Georgia.
Wingers Mark Nawaqanitawase and former Melbourne Storm star Suliasi Vunivalu are both outstanding in the air, and NRL star turned assistant coach Jason Ryles admitted it is likely to be a gameday tactic against the Lelos.
‘That’s certainly one of their strengths and that’s one of the things you would have seen in the France game … that Suli and Mark had opportunities in the air, one-on-one in those contestables,’ he said.
‘That’s something that we moving towards and building on.
‘Again, it’s a strength of ours and it’s something that when the time’s right we want to give them the opportunity to show what they can do.’
Wallabies coach Eddie Jones is poised to implement an NRL style tactic in Australia’s World Cup opener against Georgia
Wallabies fans can expect to see plenty of high balls aimed at wingers Suliasi Vunivalu (pictured) and Mark Nawaqanitawase
Vunivalu was renowned for his aerial prowess when on the books of the Melbourne Storm – where he won two NRL premierships – while Nawaqanitawase played junior rugby league before turning his attention to rugby as a teenager.
Jones has made no secret of his high regard for the standard of play and athletes in the NRL.
The former England boss has been open about his desire to poach stars from the rival code, and brought in former league star Brad Davis as part of his coaching staff in addition to hiring Ryles.
With Jones to select his team for the World Cup opener on Thursday, there was a big clue that Samu Kerevi isn’t likely to feature in the squad due to a hand injury.
Suliasi Vunivalu (pictured left) was always an aerial threat when playing for Melbourne Storm in the NRL
The star centre sat in the dugout and watched the Wallabies train without him at their Saint Etienne base.
Lalakai Foketi looms as his likely replacement, with other options being Jordan Petaia and young gun Max Jorgensen, who has recovered from a knee injury.
Petaia has no doubt the teenage flyer – who was impressive for the NSW Waratahs this season before he was sidelined – would hold his own if handed an opportunity.
‘I hope he does debut,’ Petaia said. ‘Max is elusive, he’s a quick learner and a good player.’
After facing Georgia on Sunday, September 10 at 2am (AEST), the Wallabies face Fiji (September 18), Wales (September 25) and Portugal (October 2) in their pool matches.
Catch every World Cup match ad-free, live and on-demand in 4K UHD on Stan Sport.