Eddie Jones delivered a stern jab at Australia’s highest-paid rugby player – mega lock Rory Arnold – when he announced his Wallabies squad for an upcoming training camp.
Arnold, despite raking in a whopping $1.5 million a year from Japan’s Hino Red Dolphins, is not actually playing at the moment after the club pulled his team from the popular conservative league following allegations stemming from a rowdy night in Oita on the island of Kyushu.
Since it’s a World Cup year, playing minutes is vital for both fitness and selection.
But rather than looking for another deal, Arnold chose to stay in Tokyo, where the club is based, and collect his check while keeping fit in the gym.
The 32-year-old has 32 Test caps for the Wallabies and has 128 caps in his football career which includes French powerhouses Toulouse and the Brumbies. But his 208cm frame and 120kg count especially for the traditionally small Australian pack.
Eddie Jones’ Wallabies squad Rory Arnold has been left out at upcoming camp as the coach makes it clear he doesn’t pick guys who make trucks over play rugby
Jones, pictured taking notes at Melbourne’s Super Round in round two of the Pacific Super Rugby season,
Jones took a very dim view of Arnold’s choice to stay in Tokyo, where the Hino truck company, which owns the club, is based.
There’s no picking on potential alone when it comes to Jones and the World Cup – and he’s out of the metaphorical cattle to get Arnold into action.
“I think he works on the factory line in Hino?” Jones joked when referring to Arnold’s absence from the squad, which includes seven overseas players who will join training camp via Zoom.
I think he makes those trucks, because he doesn’t play rugby at the moment. To get picked you have to play rugby, you have to play rugby, we don’t get to pick the guys that make Hino trucks.
Rubbing salt in Arnold’s wound is the fact that his twin brother, Richie, was called up to the team.
Jones reserved some high praise for the traveler’s lock, which the Wallabies mentor is clearly very invested in given that he met with the Toulouse coach to check out how he travels.
Jones may not have picked Rory Arnold, but he did pick his twin brother Richie, who he lavished praise on as the centerpiece of the Toulouse package
“He (Richie Arnold) is a very tough player,” he said in the team’s announcement.
Toulouse built its collection around Richie Arnold. I went and met the coach of Toulouse (Ugo Mola) and we talked about him, what he brings to their team and his development as a player.
“He’s a very young player with experience and coaching experience.
“So I feel again, he’s one of those guys who’s got a lot of development and a lot of growth in him.”
This meant he was a young star ready to explode, but Richie-Arnold is only making his debut for Toulouse at France 15 when he was just 27 years old.
He has since become a staple in the Red and Blacks’ forwards pack, and his twin brother may be regretting the day he left France for the money and shimmering lights of Tokyo.
One clear winner and one loser in the WhatApp family chat – but what other players have experienced similar fortunes?
1 – Max Jorgensen
Max Jorgensen, who was photographed after dodging a tackle in the Waratahs’ loss to the Brumbies on Sunday, has been called up to his first Wallabies squad aged just 18.
Waratahs Wonderkid Max Jorgensen is only 18 years old but his talents have been drooling at Australian rugby for years and Jones wasted no time in picking the youngster after a solid start to his Super Rugby career.
He will (hopefully) have a very long career as a useful generational talent at the back line, and at no point did he look haggard in his debut season – underlined by the fact that he became the first ever Waratah to score a try in each of his seasons. First matches ever.
He’ll fill in for more, but his pace and agility really stand out, and the fact that he’s gritty and tough defending, despite his slender frame, will enable him to make waves in Test rugby sooner rather than later.
2 – Sulisi Funifalou
Solisie Funifalo didn’t have a strong start to the Super Rugby season with the Reds, but that didn’t stop Jones from picking him up
Suliasi Vunivalu has been a sensational machine across his 111 appearances for the Melbourne Storm, but he has never delivered his apparent potential since switching to the Etihad in 2021. Jones is, of course, an unabashed admirer of the league’s players, which has clearly worked Vunivalu’s favor on this occasion.
The Flying Fijians have been in very poor form at the start of the season and seem completely bereft of the Reds’ confidence. Jones has admitted there are “holes in his game”, but he is clearly keen to take a chance on someone who could be a World Cup difference-maker – if he has a drastic turn in form.
3 – Blake Shop
Blake Schoupp has made a rapid rise from Shute Shield to Super Rugby spot
Nuggety Brumbies propagandist Blake Schoupp earned his first national call-up on the back of the stunning climb from the Shute Shield to Super Rugby after just five matches in the ACT.
And Jones — who had a long career as the Randwick hooker in Shute Shield — is a huge fan of the fiery one-time PE mentor.
‘It (Shop’s) is built like a brick house, isn’t it?’ He’s perfectly designed as a prop, he’s very mobile, he’s tough with the ball and he’s one of those guys who came the hard way, and I feel like we have an opportunity that we might get a little bit more use out of him,” Jones said during the team announcement.
1 – Noah Lolisio
Noah Lolisio has promised a lot to rugby fans but will need to work his way through the Brumbies after missing out on selection
Twenty-three-year-old flyhalf Noah Lolesio has caught glimpses of his talent and potential throughout his burgeoning career, but has been overlooked in favor of Carter Gordon and his brilliant tackles Ben Donaldson, with vets Quad Cooper and Bernard Foley also in the squad as overseas players.
It’s not often that he’s done anything particularly wrong with the Brumbies this season, but behind what is clearly Australia’s most dominant group, he hasn’t been scruffing matches. He needs to show that perseverance and prove Jones wrong; Because he undoubtedly can
2 – Korean Tulle
Corey Toole moved on in place of the match-winner against Waratah on Saturday – although it wasn’t enough to earn him selection for the Wallabies
What a revelation Sevens Cory Toole’s conversion was for the Wallabies! In form, it’s baffling to understand why Funifalou was chosen ahead of him, who is one of the hottest players in the game right now.
Watching him blast down the wing is a sight to see, and the pint-sized pocket rocket evades nothing on defense. Winning the match on Saturday against the Waratahs and scoring (and setting up another) try on debut wasn’t enough to get him over the line.
Guess Toole is just a victim of the depth of the backline. It’s hard to imagine we won’t see him in green and gold at some point.
3 – Harry Wilson
Harry Wilson was overlooked for Jones’ team, despite a strong start to the season with Queensland
Poor Harry Wilson. The back rower spoils his intuition every minute of every game he plays for the Wallabies and Reds. The latter had an incredibly poor start to the season, but Wilson still shone, and the fact that he often agreed to play out of position for Australia must have hurt his chances.
He has not signed for the dotted line Rugby Australia and Reds yet. Is that counted on him?
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Wallabies training camp squad
- Allan Alatwa
- Ben Donaldson
- Pone Fa’amausili
- Josh Fluke
- Lalakai phuket
- Nick Frost
- Langie Gleeson
- Carter Gordon
- Ned Hannigan
- Reese Hodge
- Michael Hooper
- Jed Holloway
- Lin Iketao
- Max Jorgensen
- Andrew Kellaway
- Lachlan Lonergan
- Ryan Lonergan
- Fraser McCreight
- Mark Nwakanitawase
- Caderine Neville
- Jordan Petai
- David Borecki
- Tom Robertson
- Samo’s house
- Blake Shop
- James sleeper
- Darcy Swain
- Jordan Ulysses
- Rob Valettini
- Solisie Funifalou
- Nick White
- Brad Wilkin
- Tom Wright
Overseas players to join via Zoom: Richie Arnold, Tom Banks, Quad Cooper, Bernard Foley, Marika Korobet, Samu Kerefe, Will Skelton.
Al Rehab Group: Angus Bell, Rob Liotta, Taniella Topo.