Veteran second-rower Cadeyrn Neville finally gets his Wallabies chance against England at Optus Stadium
Veteran Cadeyrn Neville will become the third oldest Wallaby to debut for Australia since World War II when he makes the start that has eluded him for a decade against England at Optus Stadium on Saturday.
He will be 33 years and 235 days when he pulls on the gold jumper after coming close to a Wallabies start last year before suffering a shoulder injury.
The 202cms and 120kg Brumbies second-rower started his Super Rugby career in 2012 and after stints at the Melbourne Rebels and Queensland Reds — with a two year spell at Japanese club Toyota Industries Shuttles — moved to Canberra two years ago.
His form in the Brumbies push to last season’s Super Rugby Pacific semifinals saw him called into Dave Rennie’s 35-man squad. He has re-signed with the Brumbies for next year with an eye on the World Cup.
The Wallabies starting spot opened up when Western Force star Izack Rodda was ruled out with a long-term foot injury and a calf injury to Jed Holloway.
Rennie and England coach Eddie Jones will announce their squads on Thursday.
When he was first called into the squad Neville said: “It’s hard to sum up all the ways it would be special to me.
“I’ve had a taste of it in various forms over the years, but it’s good to just go through the season and be named in that squad and just come in the orthodox way. I’m keen to rip in.”
Only back-rowers Kenneth Yanz and Tiaan Strauss were older than Neville when they made their Wallaby debuts.
Meanwhile, former Wallaby and Force captain Matt Hodgson, who played in the 21-17 win over England at Subiaco 12 years ago, believes England will be given the chance to express themselves as Jones looks to stretch his unbeaten run against Australia to nine games.
“They will be chasing success in scrum and driving line-out to attack and with their backline, and the way their premiership teams have been playing, they will have a strong attacking mindset,” Hodgson said.
“They will be looking to play wide after dominance in the set piece. They have changed up their kicking game., not the number of kicks but the type of kicks, cross-field kicks, short attacking kicks, not always kicking for territory but for competition and 50-50 with the high ball.
Players will be allowed to express themselves a bit more, more ball-in-hand type of football. The first 20 minutes will be telling.”
“Whoever comes out of the sheds firing will probably hold momentum for the rest of the game.”
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