Jones in search for props, pivots - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jones in search for props, pivots

By Paul Mulvey 13/11/2004 12:28:39 PM Comments (0)

Operation prop and five-eighth is on top of Eddie Jones' agenda as the Wallabies coach plans for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

While Jones is satisfied with the back-ups emerging for halfback George Gregan should the captain not last until 2007, he remains concerned by the lack of depth in Australian rugby at five eighth.

And the front row has long been a problem area.

Jones is confident the current crop of individual brilliance in Matt Giteau, Stirling Mortlock, Lote Tuqiri, Clyde Rathbone and Chris Latham in the outside backs will gel into a major force in time for France 2007.

Included in his plans are Elton Flatley, Mat Rogers and Wendell Sailor, who were all on the bench for this week's Test against France.

"You look at the backline, all of them should go through to the next World Cup, the only question marks would be Stevie and George," Jones said.

"From No.12 out, they're all young guys who are either going to be at their peak or approaching their peak at the next World Cup."

Jones said Matt Henjak and Josh Valentine were emerging as viable options to put pressure on the injured Chris Whittaker as Gregan's back-up.

But at five-eighth, while Flatley and Giteau can adapt from inside centre to cover for 30-year-old Stephen Larkham, Jones wanted to find another specialist No.10 who demanded national selection.

Henjak and Valentine have a chance to prove themselves when they are expected to play 40 minutes each for Australia A against the French Barbarians in Paris on Tuesday.

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