Waugh waging at seven

Wallaby flanker Phil Waugh will have fierce rival George Smith in his sights when he makes his first appearance of the 2007 World Cup in Montpellier on Sunday.

The pair’s battle for the number seven jersey has been raging for almost a decade, with neither managing to take out a mortgage on the position.

Smith played in Australia’s first two Cup matches but will stand aside for his good friend and vice-captain when the Wallabies take on the unpredictable Fijians on Sunday.

Anyone with an interest in Australian rugby has an opinion on who is the best openside breakaway of the two, but Waugh insists the argument doesn’t eat away at him.

Asked what he had to do to see off Smith and make the number seven jersey his own, Waugh joked: “Take him out at training.”

“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing. George has been playing well – he played well the first two games – and it’s just important for me to play my own game and play as well as I can.”

“To be back in the starting line-up and to get hopefully a lot of game time will be very beneficial leading into the rest of the tournament.”

“I think all 30 players want to be starting and this is a good opportunity to get some good game time and hopefully put out a good performance and put some pressure on George.”

Wallabies coach John Connolly admitted it would be easier separating Siamese twins than splitting Waugh and Smith, who grew up just kilometres apart on Sydney’s northern beaches.

“They’re two great players and every time the selectors sit down to meet we always spend time talking about the merits of the two,” Connolly told Sportal.

“They contribute greatly off the field as well.”

Waugh comes into a Wallaby team buoyed by two sound performances – a massive win over Japan followed by a comfortable victory against Wales.

“At the moment we’ve got a very stable side. I think the squad of 30 is in a very good space of mind,” he said.

“Everyone is very confident in the way we are training, performing and preparing for games.”

 

365 Digital

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