“Disappointed” Australia coach Mal Meninga reveals squad numbers been planned for two years

The World Cup starts this weekend with England and Samoa kicking things off at St James’ Park.

After that Australia take on Fiji at Headingley in what could be one of the strangest looking games we’ve seen.

This is because of the squad numbers Australia are set to wear culminating in a wing centre partnership of 8 and 9, a hooker wearing 3 and a scum-half wearing the number 2.

The decision to play with these squad numbers has sparked widespread debate in the sport and even Australia Head Coach Mal Meninga isn’t happy about them.

“We signed off on it about two years ago, so I have no real comeback on it… We had no idea when it was signed off on,” Meninga told SEN.

“We have 13 debutants on tour, so the jersey that they get to play in for the very first Test is their tour number, Isaah Yeo is number 24 mainly because of where he sits on the alphabet, he is the premier 13 of our competition.

“It takes away from the excitement of your debutants in particular, having their very first Test match jersey and it’s a number that doesn’t resonate with anyone, because it’s not the position he plays in.

“The supporters will be trying to understand who’s in the 24 jersey that’s playing in the middle.

“I’m just a little bit disappointed for the players from a positional point of view, because the first jersey they put on won’t be the one they play in.”

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IncensedFromSydney
IncensedFromSydney
1 month ago

He can’t have it both ways: claiming he is upset and admitting this scheme was signed off two years ago.

He is the national coach for haven’s sake. Well paid as a full time job (though God know’s what he finds to do). Did he not think to circularise the proposal and get some feedback two years ago? It’s not as if he was overworked and couldn’t find the time.