Former Wallaby Morgan Turinui believes Australia can reach the Rugby World Cup semi finals at least next year if they scrap the controversial Giteau Law.
The current rules state that Wallabies coach Dave Rennie can pick three overseas-based players but Turinui is calling for open slather in a World Cup year.
The injury-riddled Wallabies, ranked eighth in the world, take on Wales in Cardiff on Sunday (2.15am AEDT) in their final match of another rollercoaster season.
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Wales have slumped to ninth in the world following their historic loss to Georgia.
That result adds further intrigue to what shapes as a highly competitive Pool C at the World Cup, which features Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji and Portugal – who knocked the United States out with a dramatic draw at the weekend.
“I think the Wallabies will play on the last weekend of the World Cup (either final or bronze final),” Turinui said on Stan Sport’s Between Two Posts.
“There’s enough there in that content on this tour to show that. If Taniela’s (Tupou) out that hurts. It’s not like a 75kg halfback, getting back from a ruptured Achilles, because it’s not easy for a man of his size.”
But Australia’s advantageous draw gives them a real shot at going deep into the tournament if they can navigate a tricky but not daunting pool.
“The run through a World Cup will never be as good as it is this time,” Turinui said.
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“They will never do the rankings as early as they’ve done it this time. You will never avoid the current big four (Ireland, France, New Zealand, South Africa) until a semi again.
“The prospect of Wales in a pool and then England or Argentina in the quarters.
“It is not a gimme, but it’s manageable. You can go in with some confidence and if you bought your tickets and you’re landing for the quarters you can be hopeful of seeing the Wallabies play the back end.
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“They make semis and it’s a toss up. I can see a red card deciding one of the three big games (semi finals and final). I want to look at that sunrise. I want to see that little light at the end of the tunnel there.”
Turinui added that it was “important” that Rennie was retained as coach and he was granted access to all of the country’s best players.
“I don’t want to change the coach. We’ve got to do a lot of things right. We’ll have to open up the Giteau Law, we cannot have only three. We need to get them all back for every single game and camp and whatever we can because they need time together.
“We need better luck and management around our high performance. A new S and C (strength and conditioning coach) will come in. There’s been I think 43 injuries to players that have resulted in missing games this year. Never seen so many, so there’s bad luck.
“But if you’re self aware enough as a coaching group and a program you’ve got to know that there’s ways you can influence that, to minimise that.”
Turinui believed the top three Giteau Law picks were obvious.
“It’s going to be (Quade) Cooper, (Samu) Kerevi and (Marika) Koroibete straight away, done, right? Then you look at the (Will) Skeltons and there’s a couple of other bodies around the place that you want to be having a look at.
“Does (Bernard) Foley go as a backup, in case Cooper with his body issues doesn’t get through it? We’re going to need more than that (three overseas-based players).”
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan has continued to publicly back Rennie but indicated he would be guided by the advice of former Wallabies and board members Daniel Herbert and Phil Waugh during a thorough end of season review.
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“Processes need to be put in place to give Dave Rennie, Dan McKellar, Scott Wisemantel and Laurie Fisher the support and structures required to be able to execute.
“I don’t like the idea of an independent selector. If you want to be an independent selector for the Wallabies, you have to watch every Super Rugby game.
“Every single Wallabies training session, 20 hours of footage a week on the job. If you want to be fair dinkum, It’s a full on job. So if you want an independent selector, maybe a Waugh or a Herbert who are already part of that process, or you’ve just got to pick and stick and back this coaching staff.”
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