Question mark over Banks’ role in spring tour, Wallabies curve ball for Aus A and Gilmore’s huge wrap for an unsung hero

Tom Banks says he’s still up in the air about what role he can play on the Wallabies Spring Tour.

While Banks is officially under contract with Rugby Australia until the end of the year – and should therefore be available for all five matches – he suggested ongoing talks with new Japanese club Honda Heat, which he joins for a two-year contract in the New Year.

Rugby Australia had to endure an awkward dance with the Japanese clubs a year ago when they thought they had negotiated the passage of Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon for a tour of Europe, for everything to fall in one fell swoop. grace.

“I’ve been open and honest with Honda,” Banks said Tuesday. “If I’m lucky enough to be selected, they’re very happy for me to play, but I guess that’s an ongoing thing at the moment, so I’m not too sure what’s going on yet. I think it’s just a week-to-week thing.

Banks, who said he thought his Wallabies career might be over when he broke his arm against England, made it clear he was “still very much looking forward to playing for the Wallabies if that opportunity presented itself.

Tom Banks. (Getty Images)

“Right from the start when I signed for Honda, Dave and his coaching staff were good to me and they left that door open. It’s just up to me now to play like it always has been.

His contract situation calls into question whether his new club has a say in his availability for the Spring Tour. Although they probably won’t, Dave Rennie was politically aware and proactive in building good relationships with Japanese clubs last year. Whether that is still his position, after late withdrawals a year ago, remains to be seen.

Banks was named the starting fullback for Australia A’s game against Japan on Friday. The tour allowed him to get some high-level playing time behind him before a Spring Tour call-up.

“[Australia A coach Jason Gilmore] and the coaching staff has been unreal, the way they’ve approached the brand we’re trying to play and the culture we’re trying to build. I’ve had nothing but the utmost respect coming here and it’s been an unreal journey so far and we want to finish strong.

With the Wallabies tour squad set to be named later this week – although no official timetable has been set – Gilmore acknowledged it could drown out Friday’s game for players who missed out. .

“I’ve heard about different days when it’s going to be announced and I’m not sure if it’ll be before or after the game,” Gilmore said.

“If it’s before that’s something I’ve talked to the staff about because there’s no doubt you’re going to have some disappointed boys who might not have the trip they were hoping for.

“There are also two ways to go. You can drop your lip and play at a level that’s not worthy of a Wallaby, so you just justify the decision, or you can get some courage and then motivate yourself to play well and show them what they miss. on.

“I’ll just see that when it’s announced and make sure we get around the boys who might be a little disappointed and make sure they’re still playing for something on Friday night.”

Five players left the tour – including development pick Max Jorgensen who has his HSC exams. Harry Hoopert suffered an ACL injury in Game 2 while Nick Frost, Jock Campbell and Matt Gibbon were released early to rest ahead of their likely Spring Tour calls.

NRL rookie Suli Vunivalu has been given a third game in a bid to bring him up to the intensity of Test matches.

“The first game he attacked very well. Defensively he was building well,” Gilmore said.

“And then the second game, I thought it turned around. He defended really well. He had three turnovers in his chain, even had a jackal turnover, which was really good for his confidence. And then in terms of offense, I just think it was one of those games for every player.

“We just couldn’t get the pace to send them a decent ball. And you can say, well, you can go get the ball, but when you only play two phases before the whistle, it’s quite difficult to go get the ball.

“He probably had a few moments where he would be disappointed with his ball security. But I think for Suli this game is all about combining his attack and defense to finish the tour well.

There have been several success stories out of the trip, and none are more inspiring than the efforts of Rebels backrower Brad Wilkin, who starts against No. 7.

“Wilko is a gun. Coming out of school, he was the best open side in the country. He was designated a long time ago,” Gilmore said.

“He certainly would have, if he had put his head down and continued to develop, would have been the seven Wallabies.

“It’s just lucky he’s still playing the game. He’s had two shoulder rebuilds, two knee rebuilds, his hammy was ripped from the bone. Few guys would keep playing after all those injuries. , and I think that just shows the caliber of the guy he is.

“He’s so tough, he loves it. And I’m so happy that he can finally show at international level that talent potential that we saw probably eight to ten years ago.

“How far can he go? This is obviously one of the most contested positions on the openside team. But if he can just stay on the pitch for the next four or five years, his skills and ability to play are certainly good enough. It’s just that he’s able to stay in the park to show what he can do.

The match will be broadcast on Stan Sport and kicks off at 8:30 p.m. AEDT on Friday.

Australia A

  1. Tom Robertson (Western Force)
  2. Lachlan Lonergan (ACT Brumbies)
  3. Pone Fa’amausili (Melbourne Rebels)
  4. Ned Hanigan (NSW Waratahs)
  5. Ryan Smith (Queensland Reds)
  6. Rory Scott (ACT Brumbies)
  7. Brad Wilkin (Melbourne Rebels)
  8. Seru Uru (Queensland Reds)
  9. James Tuttle (c) (Melbourne Rebels)
  10. Ben Donaldson (NSW Waratahs)
  11. Mark Nawaqanitawase (NSW Waratahs)
  12. Hamish Stewart (Western Force)
  13. Isaac Henry (Queensland Reds)
  14. Suliasi Vunivalu (Queensland Reds)
  15. Tom Banks (ACT Brumbies)
  16. Billy Pollard (ACT Brumbies)
  17. Richie Asiata (Queensland Reds)
  18. Archer Holz (NSW Waratahs)
  19. Cadeyrn Neville (ACT Brumbies)
  20. Ollie Callan (Western Force)
  21. Ryan Lonergan (ACT Brumbies)
  22. Tane Edmed (NSW Waratahs)
  23. Dylan Pietsch (NSW Waratahs)


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