Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Connolly warns Gregan's position is not guaranteed

AFP , SYDNEY

Coach John Connolly has warned George Gregan his position in the Wallabies' team is not guaranteed after the skipper's decision to miss Australia's rugby tour of Europe in November.

Gregan, the world's most-capped international player with 127 Tests, said this week his decision to miss the tour was based purely on having the opportunity to get ready physically for next year's World Cup in France.

There has been debate in the domestic media this year that it is time for 33-year-old Gregan to stand down and give a younger scrum-half an opportunity to get game-time in the year leading up to the World Cup.

Connolly, writing in his column in the Sun-Herald newspaper yesterday, said: "Knowing what he wants to achieve, I can understand his decision to rest from the Wallabies' tour to Europe so he can freshen up for the World Cup campaign. However, George understands that his position in the team is not guaranteed."

"As I have maintained from the start, the team will be picked on form and we will select who we think is the best for each position for each Test," Connolly wrote.

But Connolly speaks highly of Gregan, who is Australia's most-capped Test captain.

"Before taking charge of the Wallabies [this year], I wondered if George Gregan would be the No. 1 halfback in Australia," Connolly said.

"It wasn't until I started as head coach that I fully understood the player and the person," Connolly said.

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