Changes……Why change now. International rugby teams named

Changes......Why change now. International rugby teams named
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Change can sometimes be a constant. As in, selections and in rotating and fine tuning of International rugby teams. But a couple of teams have concluded ‘changes…..why change now’.

Two of the leading International rugby teams have gone ‘against the grain’ of the common theme. New Zealand and Australia have run with the same starting teams – in moves not seen since the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Changes……Why change now. International rugby teams named

New Zealand have mirrored a policy that resulted in back-to-back World Cups (in staying with a winning side) while Australia have named an unchanged selection, for the first time in head coach Michael Cheika’s tenure. He, and Steve Hansen may buck the trend, and some may conclude that it is an experiment worth trying [in the year before another RWC].

So with the full International rugby teams calendar still offering a ‘plate full’ of matches, the first of the major, three-Test series is New Zealand v France.

It still surprises, when you see an International side name an unchanged side. Bold, and little bit confident while still acknowledging the All Blacks want to find their form XV.

“As we have a big focus right now on developing our game and working on our skill sets, connections and combinations, it isn’t beneficial to be making wholesale changes, if any at all, to the playing 23,” Hansen said on

There must be a strong sense of purpose, with an amount of controversy after the last test match, a second test can offer both sides the chance to work on the positives, as well as the negatives.

Head coach Jacques Brunel might feel that his hand is forced, but in losing Remy Grasso and in wanting to include form players, he has gone with the regular International rugby teams naming trend – changing forwards and backs. But with five changes, it can have either a positive or negative influence.

French rugby fans will be hoping for the former when the teams run out onto Westpac Stadium at 7:35pm (NZT) Saturday night.

One will work with their changes, to look for an improved combination. The other will rely on the same group performing even better. Two opposing theories, yet the same goal.


Across the Tasman Sea, and in a similar move to the All Blacks, head coach Michael Cheika has written down the same names. Obviously satisfied by his teams victory last Saturday, and is giving his confidence in the team that matched Ireland.

The group are far from settled, with retirements and changes in form, yet by forgoing ‘change for changes sake’ the Wallabies are placing a mark down for how they performed as a team. And it might find them again playing to their strengths.

However, the pundits are still assuming that a reversal will see Ireland come back with a more thorough display. A more convincing display, rather than to ‘expect the result’. And if that requires change, then head coach Joe Schmidt has grasped it with both hands.

Ireland ‘roll with the Changes’

Shoulder to shoulder! That is the fundamental of team sport, although in a side who are as ambitious as Ireland, then ‘changing’ the man standing next to you is part of the bigger picture. And Ireland have big plans, which were (to a degree) upset last Saturday.

To claim the important test win, Schmidt has brought in some of the experience and tested players, as well as changing his combinations in the halves and midfield. Changes in the loose forwards and in the replacements. He has done it before, and may well do it again – with some success too.

So what is the different between the two coaching groups? Most rugby fans would think that a more confident team might make ‘less changes’. That seems apparent, and the majority of International rugby teams will want to play a winning side…..yet, if the choice is to win, then selection changes might very well be a positive.

If Ireland can improve their deflection of Australian attack, use their own tactics and be a coordinated attacking unit, then on Saturday night at AAMI Park in Melbourne change will have been for the better.

So even if the All Blacks and Wallabies stick with the same squads, there is nothing to say that France or Ireland will have any less fortune by making change. It is how that change is embraced and used. That is the key.

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