Rogers: Let’s talk

Dual rugby international Mat Rogers is under no illusions about the enormity of the task facing him if he is selected at fly-half for Australia in Saturday's Tri-Nations showdown against the All Blacks in Auckland. [more]

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Dual rugby international Mat Rogers is under no illusions about the enormity of the task facing him if he is selected at fly-half for Australia in Saturday’s Tri-Nations showdown against the All Blacks in Auckland.

Although he has made only a couple of appearances in the number 10 jersey at Super 12 level for the Waratahs, Rogers is seen by national coach Eddie Jones as the best man for the pivot’s role in the absence of the injured Stephen Larkham, Elton Flatley and Matt Giteau.

Rogers is the first to admit his performances at fly-half have not hit the headlines with NSW but Australia’s injury problems mean Jones is likely to prefer the nuggety fullback-cum-winger at first receiver rather than the uncapped Lachlan MacKay.

"It’s a massive change to playing fullback where I just ran around doing what I had to do, coming and going where I pleased," Rogers told The Australian.

"You’ve got to make all the calls. You’ve got to do a lot of talking. You’ve got to call the lineout plays, the scrum plays. You’re directing everyone.

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"It’s a lot tougher standing at first receiver, waiting for the ball, not knowing who’s outside you. If they’re not talking outside you, it can make life real tough.

"It’s going to come down to a lot of communication by the blokes on the field this week, whoever they (the selectors) go with."

The downside of playing Rogers at fly-half, however, is that it means taking him off the right wing, where he represented probably the Wallabies’ best hope of minimising the damage done by Joe Rokocoko.

Unless Jones decides to fight fire with fire and switches Lote Tuqiri to the other wing, it probably again will fall to Mark Gerrard to try to contain the man who has scored 30 tries in just 26 Tests.

Rogers’ superior kicking game, however, is likely to gain him the nod over MacKay, especially as Jones feels the recent negative refereeing of the tackle contest could make this final Bledisloe Cup Test for 2005 more physical than fans expect.

Saturday’s encounter, which the All Blacks must win if they are to pip South Africa and regain the Tri-Nations crown, will be refereed by England’s Chris White.

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