Oita (Japan) (AFP)
Opener George Ford replacing English side and promising Jordan Petaia, 19, holder in center with Australia: coaches Eddie Jones and Michael Cheika have built surprise back lines for the quarter-finals of the World Cup Saturday in Oita .
Should we favor speed and fluidity in attack or strength and robustness in defense? Obviously, the two breeders turned around the question when they put their team on paper.
XV side of the Rose, Eddie Jones has clearly opted for defensive safety by sacrificing opener George Ford (1.75 m, 87 kg), aligned in the first 3 games, to return to the formula proven during the last tournament of six nations: Owen Farrell (1.88m, 96kg) in N.10, paired with two "physical" centers, Manu Tuilagi (1.85m, 114kg) and Henry Slade (1.91m, 96kg) .
"It always looks like the choice of horses for a race, but we are still trying to match the right team for the good game," said England coach Eddie Jones.
Obviously, the strengthening of the English midfielder aims to contain the first center Samu Kerevi (1.86 m, 108 kg), Australian wall-piercing. But also to cause damage in attack.
"Australia are defending in a certain way, and we think that with these players we can pose problems for their defense, and defensively we think this combination 10-12-13 (opener, first center, second center) is solid, "said Jones.
- Petaia "as good as gold" -
In the small game of team compositions, revealed 48 hours before the start of a match, the Australian coach Michael Cheika, old friend of Eddie Jones, has also innovated.
He chose him to entrust the opening half position to Christian Leali'ifano, preferred to Matt To'omua. And above all, he offers the young prodigy Jordan Petaia, 19, a first tenure at the post of second center (N.13), associated with Kerevi.
A regular Queensland Reds winger, Petaia became Australia's youngest ever World Cup qualifier in his Uruguayan debut (45-10) on 5 October.
Author of a try for his first match, Petaia (1.90 m, 98 kg) who beats almost all records of precocity then chained against Georgia.
And obviously, his first steps conquered Cheika. "I trust him so much," said the coach, "He's as good as gold, it's going to be a quick and aggressive game and I know he'll be up to it, I feel it."
"I'm really excited about Jordan," said Kerevi, his partner at the center, "he's got his head on his shoulders, he's writing his own story and he'll be one of the greatest."
Petaia even received a strong tribute from her future opponent, the Englishman Henry Slade. "He's a young player, and he's very strong, he's fast and agile on his legs, and he's comfortable on the outside (...) He was chosen because it's a pretty good player, we need to have an eye on him. "
The bet Petaia seems to boost the confidence of the Wallabies. "The fear in us is dead," says Cheika, "we are not afraid, and I'm sure it will be a great match".
Nothing goes, the games are made ...
© 2019 AFP