Michael Cheika named his Wallabies squad last week with some selection decisions that may have surprised fans. One particular issue became particularly apparent as it became clear the selection of just two hookers in the squad could result in the Wallabies being docked points during the pool stages of the World Cup.
Based on the below law, there is a risk that should one of the Wallabies hookers pick up an injury with less than 48 hours until a game is due to be played, they would be in breach of law 3.5.
“1.1.7 Compliance with Law 3.5
Compliance with the relevant World Rugby Laws and Regulations is critical in the conduct of the Tournament. Should Teams be found to be in breach of Law 3.5 (suitably trained and experienced players in the front row), the matter will be forwarded to the Tournament Disputes Committee for consideration.
In the absence of any mitigating circumstances this will result in:
-Forfeiture of all Match points for that fixture (including bonus points)
-Possible financial penalties
In terms of the provision of front row players to comply with Law 3.5, the necessary number of reserve front row players must be included in the Tournament Team to cover last minute injuries to front row players selected in the Match Team within the 48 hour replacement timeframe set out in Section 4.5.”
Should the Wallabies find themselves breaching law 3.5, as stated above they will be forced to forfeit any match points earned, in addition to running the risk of financial penalties. Now just imagine the Wallabies beat England or Wales in the group, but Stephen Moore is ruled out before kick off and then Tatafu Polata-Nau picks up a knock during the game – even if the Wallabies hammered the opposition, they still would not earn any points for the result.
The full Wallabies squad;
Hookers Stephen Moore – C (96 Tests) Tatafu Polota-Nau (53 Tests)
Props Greg Holmes (17 Tests) Sekope Kepu (56 Tests) Scott Sio (9 Tests)* James Slipper (66 Tests) Toby Smith (uncapped)*
Locks Kane Douglas (15 Tests)* Dean Mumm (36 Tests) Rob Simmons (52 Tests) Will Skelton (11 Tests)*
Backrow forwards Scott Fardy (24 Tests)* Michael Hooper – VC (45 Tests)* Ben McCalman (40 Tests) Sean McMahon (3 Tests)* Wycliff Palu (55 Tests) David Pocock (50 Tests)
Scrumhalves Will Genia (59 Tests) Nick Phipps (31 Tests)
Flyhalves Quade Cooper (55 Tests) Bernard Foley (17 Tests)*
Inside backs Kurtley Beale (52 Tests) Matt Giteau (95 Tests) Matt Toomua (25 Tests)*
Outside backs Adam Ashley-Cooper – VC (108 Tests) Israel Folau (33 Tests)* Rob Horne (26 Tests) Drew Mitchell (65 Tests) Henry Speight (3 Tests)* Joe Tomane (15 Tests)* Tevita Kuridrani (24 Tests)*