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England clarifies ongoing support for George Furbank in the full-back Position

Steve Borthwick has explained his decision to stick with George Furbank as England’s full-back for their upcoming match against Ireland, despite the availability of Freddie Steward. Furbank, who made a surprise appearance against Scotland last month after two years, started well but faced challenges during the game, including errors leading to opposition tries.

While Steward and Marcus Smith were potential options for the position, Borthwick opted for continuity in selection, citing Furbank’s strong performances this season. He praised Furbank’s capabilities, particularly his ability to carry the ball and make decisions, and emphasized the value of players getting to know one another on the field so that they can better understand one another’s games.

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Key points from Moana vs Rebels: Kellaway’s brilliance and Savea’s milestone

Despite all the talk and speculation surrounding the Melbourne Rebels, the players have silenced critics with their strong performance at the start of the season. While they faced a significant defeat against the Brumbies to kick off their campaign, they bounced back with a win at home last week and continued their momentum with a 23-29 victory over Moana Pasifika in New Zealand during Round Three.

As the team’s playmaker, Carter Gordon was important, but the forwards should also take the credit for laying the groundwork that made it possible for Gordon and his colleagues to succeed. However, the spotlight of the match was stolen by Super Rugby legend Julian Savea, who scored a crucial try about 10 minutes into the second half, securing his place as the all-time leading try scorer in Super Rugby Pacific. This historic moment occurred in Hamilton.

Carter Gordon is emerging as Australia’s top fly-half in the current rugby scene. His special way of playing brings elegance to the Rebels team, similar to Stephen Larkham and Dan Carter. Despite facing challenges following the Wallabies’ World Cup disappointment, the 23-year-old from Queensland has responded impressively in the early stages of Super Rugby Pacific. Gordon showed his aggressiveness and adaptability during his matchup with Moana Pasifika—two attributes that are essential for a playmaker.

An example of Gordon’s skill was evident in his quick and accurate pass to set up Andrew Kellaway’s try. His ability to take advantage of opportunities, especially when they come up fast, suggests that he is ready for more challenging opponents. While other contenders like Noah Lolesio, Ben Donaldson, Tom Lynagh, and Tane Edmed are vying for Wallabies starting positions, Gordon appears the most suitable choice in 2024.

Andrew Kellaway, initially positioned at fullback for the first two rounds of the season, transitioned to the wing for the Rebels’ Round Three encounter against Moana Pasifika in Hamilton. Kellaway was one of the best performers in Super Rugby Pacific in terms of carries, linebreaks, and defenders defeated before this game, as was shown in his stats. However, coach Kevin Foote made the decision to move him to the wing, despite his prior experience in this position.

Having made a mark as a try-scoring winger during his early years with the Wallabies, Kellaway showcased glimpses of his past success in the recent match. He displayed agility and strength, notably evading defenders to score a well-executed try. Former All Black Aaron Cruden praised Kellaway’s evolution into a top-notch finisher, emphasizing his ability to ignite momentum for the team.

While Kellaway performed admirably on the wing, there’s speculation that he could have an even greater impact if he returned to the fullback position. Jake Strachan, who filled in at fullback, provided a solid performance but it’s evident that Kellaway’s versatility and skills add significant value to the team when he plays in the fullback position.

Julian Savea has achieved a significant milestone in Super Rugby Pacific history. After sharing the record of 60 tries with former Waratahs fullback Israel Folau for some time, Savea now holds the title as the leading try scorer. Playing in the inside centre position for Moana Pasifika, Savea scored a pivotal try in the match against the Rebels in Hamilton, a moment of both game-changing significance and historical importance.

During the game, wing Pepesana Patafilo’s movement drew attention away from Savea, leaving him open on the right edge to receive a pass and score the record-breaking try. Savea’s accomplishment was acknowledged by Mils Muliaina during the Sky Sport broadcast, highlighting the significance of achieving this feat, particularly for a player with 54 Test appearances for the All Blacks. Savea’s achievement places him among esteemed company, including Folau, TJ Perenara, and Doug Howlett, who have also excelled in try-scoring. This remarkable accomplishment deserves recognition and celebration.

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