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The Pierre Spies clone who may change the sport for the Wallabies

Within the days of worldwide coaches selecting fetchers in the back of the scrum, Joe Schmidt has gone again in time by selecting Charlie Cale at quantity eight.

After Michael Cheika almost introduced again ‘Invoice’ with Michael Hooper and David Pocock at openside flanker and No.8, enjoying twin fetchers has change into the brand new norm.

From Ben Earl to Kwagga Smith and, in fact, Ardie Savea, it’s change into frequent observe for flankers to be performed out of place with the battle of the breakdown important.

Earlier than that, the Wallabies turned to massive, ball-running forwards like Wycliff Palu and David Lyons to dent the road.

However nearly twenty years after Pierre Spies emerged out of Pretoria and blew the world away together with his velocity and dynamism, one other softly-spoken back-rower has sprung to life following the rise of Cale.

It was solely 5 years in the past that Cale was enjoying GPS 3s at The King’s College in Sydney.

Charlie Cale will begin within the No.8 jersey for the Wallabies in simply his second Take a look at. (Picture by Cameron Spencer/Getty Photographs)

Now, after an eye catching maiden season with the Brumbies final yr, the 23-year-old has rocketed into the No.8 jersey to tackle Wales at AAMI Park after a breakout season in Canberra.

In some ways, he cuts the identical ripped determine as former Springboks flyer Spies.

It’s what first drew the eye of returning Wallabies assistant coach Laurie Fisher, whose eyes lit up beneath his Brumbies bucket hat when he first noticed Cale’s uncooked velocity and explosiveness.

Standing at 194cm, Cale is similar top as the previous Boks No.8 and at 105kgs is an analogous weight to the South Africa too.

But it surely’s his fast tempo that’s most much like Spies, who famously was clocked at 10.7 seconds over 100m at college, with Cale in a position to pump the legs at 9.8 metres per second.

It’s that fast tempo that allowed the loose-forward to burn Lachie Anderson – the previous Australian Sevens star – within the opening spherical of Tremendous Rugby at AAMI Park.

There Cale obtained the ball on the fringes, noticed house in behind the defence and put the ball to toe and sprinted greater than 50 metres to edge out the Rebels winger like Phar Lap on the surface at Flemington.

A month later in opposition to Moana Pasifika, Cale burst onto an inside ball from Noah Lolesio on Moana Pasifika’s 10 metre line and burnt a number of defenders to attain.

A fortnight later the Waratahs’ season was spiralling uncontrolled when Cale obtained on the top of a backline motion and by no means regarded like being touched.

But it surely’s not simply Cale’s potential to seek out the tryline that has seen Schmidt flip to the Brumby to switch Wallabies skipper Liam Wright, with the back-rower’s effectiveness on the lineout and on the ball a function of his recreation.

Certainly, Cale’s 15 turnovers in Tremendous Rugby in 2024, 13 of which had been on the lineout, has showcased his potential to spring up from nowhere to catch opponents napping.

And whereas Schmidt gained’t essentially mood Cale’s potential to play off the cuff, it’s his work on the defensive of the ball that impressed the skilled coach on Thursday.

“Yeah, each time he scores off these I’m delighted,” Schmidt mentioned.

“I feel Charlie brings that bundle. That bundle may also help destabilise a defensive system that Wales might need on the similar time.

“What actually impressed me with Charlie in the present day, even at coaching, he labored actually arduous on the opposite facet of the ball. Having that athleticism to attach and assistance on the sting when he’s defending that vast.

“He truly obtained on tight and obtained good and sq. in his contacts and labored arduous.

“One of many issues about Take a look at footy is you possibly can’t simply play one facet of the ball. I’m not saying that Charlie did throughout the yr however I feel his software to the defensive facet of the ball was actually good in the present day.

“If we will free him up, we all know these different elements with the ball shall be a energy for him.”

Charlie Cale reacts after scoring in opposition to the Waratahs at GIO Stadium on April 06, 2024. (Picture by Mark Nolan/Getty Photographs)

Schmidt may have turned to any variety of gamers for the rematch in opposition to Wales however opted to shift Rob Valetini to blindside flanker to accommodate Cale.

Certainly, Tom Hooper, who performed on both facet of the scrum final yr beneath Eddie Jones, may simply have slotted in.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto has worn the No.6 jersey for the Wallabies, whereas World Cup Wallaby Nick Frost and Pressure captain Jeremy Williams have frolicked at blindside flanker too.

Waratahs No.8 Langi Gleeson, who additionally went to the World Cup after making his Take a look at debut on the Spring Tour in 2022, too may have been promoted however as a substitute will come off the bench.

However Schmidt mentioned Cale had earned his alternative after his Tremendous Rugby season, however thought the rising back-rower would profit by beginning somewhat than having to shortly rise up to hurry by coming off the bench.

“Clearly a little bit of fortune with Liam being injured however you earn what you get and he’s earned it on the again of Tremendous Rugby kind,” Schmidt added.

“He was comparatively quiet when he got here off the bench final week and I feel to provide a younger participant actual confidence to get the coaching week, to get the readability early within the week, as I discussed earlier with Liam stepping out on Tuesday morning, it simply meant that for Charlie it’s good readability for him and he can get his head across the necessities.

“Inevitably if you’re coming off the bench, you don’t get the identical reps within the workforce and so for lineout readability, the place he’s so fast into the air, for the readability round his position within the defensive system, or within the attacking form or these parts of the sport, I feel for him it’ll be a pleasant runway into Saturday’s recreation.”

On Hooper and Frost, who’ve gone from first-choice choices to back-ups, Schmidt mentioned the Brumbies duo had been placing themselves within the choice body.

“Hoops was actually a prospect for us and has educated rather well,” Schmidt mentioned.

“Nick Frost is getting higher within the setting as nicely.

“There was a good bit across the desk so far as these choices had been involved.

“On the similar time Langi most likely gave us the most effective cowl, at [number] eight particularly and that was vital for us. In any other case, you will have a number of adjustments.”

Jamal Ahmed
Jamal Ahmed
Jamal Ahmed is a dedicated sports journalist covering baseball and rugby. Jamal’s player profiles and game analyses are widely appreciated by readers. He enjoys playing rugby with his local club and organizing community baseball events.


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