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World Cup dreams prompt Gill's 'non merci' to French clubs

Liam Gill turned back advanced from France to give himself a shot for selection at next year's World Cup.

Liam Gill turned back advanced from France to give himself a shot for selection at next year's World Cup. Photo: Franck Fife

Reds flanker Liam Gill spurned the advances of French rugby clubs to chase his dream of being Australia's first-choice openside in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The intriguing tussle for the Wallaby number seven jumper continues this weekend when Gill goes head-to-head with the man who has usurped him in the national pecking order, Waratah Michael Hooper.

Add the resuming David Pocock back into the equation and three doesn't go into one, ensuring there's a heightened focus each time two of the trio square off in an Australian derby.

Gill, who has 42 caps for the Reds at the age of 21, came to Ballymore as a schoolboy star in 2011 and quickly established himself as an elite competitor on the side of the scrum.

He rocketed into Wallaby calculations but it was Hooper that started in all five Tests on the Spring Tour, with Gill out of Ewen McKenzie's squad altogether for three of the matches.

Gill will remain with the Reds until 2015 but said there was interest from French rugby for his services. Instead, he returned to his native Queensland and has backed his ability to try and win the race to become McKenzie's first-choice ball hound.

"I was in touch with them [French clubs]. But I was more than happy to stay with the Reds and Australian rugby. I just backed myself to give it a shot," Gill said.

"I really do back myself to make it at Australian level and that's where I want to end up. I want to make sure I give myself that chance."

Hooper's running game stands out, as does Pocock's strength over the ball. But Gill is hoping his all-around package can help him rise to the top in what may be the most-competitive spot in the Wallaby starting side.

He concedes he has it all ahead of him, given Hooper's form for both NSW and the Wallabies, and wants to stamp his authority in the Super Rugby rounds. Against the Waratahs, that spotlight intensifies.

"I've still got a lot to prove. They've both been ahead of me in the pecking order and that has been the case. There's a lot that I need to go out and prove. That's what I set out to do. It's Super Rugby where I can show what I can do and influence the game," Gill said.

There's never a media conference where Gill isn't questioned about his battles with Hooper - and now Pocock - but he doesn't view his Wallaby aspirations through the prism of one-on-one conflicts.

If the Reds are winning, he says, the path towards selection suddenly becomes a whole lot smoother.

"If the team wins, it's so much easier. That's where everyone's head is at. They talk about individual battles but if the team gets up, that's enough said," Gill said.

The Waratahs sent up some impressive smoke signals with their romp over the Western Force but Gill said the Reds travel to Sydney full of confidence after knocking over the Brumbies in Canberra.

Winning two games on the road against their biggest Australian rivals would be a massive boost for Queensland before their first home game of the season against the Cheetahs.

"There's a lot of excitement here. Putting together a big win like that first up was really big. We didn't beat them [the Brumbies] last year," Gill said.

"That gives us a lot of confidence. It puts a fair bit of fire in the belly to try and keep that rolling."

3 comments

  • I really like Liam Gill and rate him very highly, but providing Pocock is fit, come world cup anyone would be hard pressed to get picked over him.

    Commenter
    Sammmmm
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 8:03AM
    • Except Hooper

      Commenter
      Nic
      Location
      Tahland
      Date and time
      February 27, 2014, 8:08AM
  • I too rate Liam Gill and he has been unfortunate not to be given a big enough chance to stake his claim. However, think of it this way: the hype is behind Pocock, who is an exception player: big and strong over the ball, but at this stage he is injury prone and needs to survive this Super Rugby season with strong consistent form while stayijg relatively healthy. The same can be said for Scott Higginbotham, whose overall worth ethic and leadership i also rate highly. If Gill keeps playing well and is fortunate enough to have either of these players fall under an injury cloud then he is a perfect player to sit in the bench/start and become an immediate impact. While Liam Gill may not be the most effective runner his strength is racking up tackles and pilfering the ball against tired oppositions. He is quick and strong.
    His decision to stay in Australia is a smart one. French rugby clubs will be there for the next 100 years so I say great call on staying here and keeping our depth at flanker strong.

    Commenter
    Mattty
    Date and time
    February 27, 2014, 9:51AM
    Comments are now closed

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    Super Rugby 2016

    Round 1
    Fri, 26 FebTimes shown AEDT
    BLU 0vs HIG 0 17:35EP
    BRU 0vs HUR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
    Sat, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
    CHT 0vs Jagu 0 04:00FSS
    Sunw 0vs LIO 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
    CRU 0vs CHF 0 17:35AMI
    WAR 0vs RED 0 19:40AS
    FOR 0vs REB 0 21:50nib Stadium
    Sun, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
    King 0vs SHA 0 00:00NMBS
    STO 0vs BUL 0 02:05DHL Newlands
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    Round 2
    Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
    CRU 0vs BLU 0 17:35AMI
    BRU 0vs WAR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
    Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
    CHF 0vs LIO 0 15:15FMG Stadium Waikato
    HIG 0vs HUR 0 17:35FBS
    RED 0vs FOR 0 19:40SS
    Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
    BUL 0vs REB 0 00:00Loftu
    CHT 0vs STO 0 02:05FSS
    SHA 0vs Jagu 0 04:10GpKP
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    Round 3
    Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
    BLU 0vs HUR 0 17:35EP
    FOR 0vs BRU 0 22:05nib Stadium
    Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
    HIG 0vs LIO 0 17:35FBS
    REB 0vs RED 0 19:40AAMI
    Sunw 0vs CHT 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
    Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
    King 0vs CHF 0 00:00NMBS
    STO 0vs SHA 0 02:05DHL Newlands
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    Round 4
    Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
    HUR 0vs FOR 0 17:35Central Energy Trust Arena
    WAR 0vs HIG 0 19:40AS
    Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
    BUL 0vs SHA 0 04:00Loftu
    Sunw 0vs REB 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
    CRU 0vs King 0 17:35AMI
    RED 0vs BLU 0 19:40SS
    Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
    LIO 0vs CHT 0 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
    STO 0vs BRU 0 04:10DHL Newlands
    Jagu 0vs CHF 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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    Round 5
    Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
    HUR 0vs King 0 17:35WS
    Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
    CHF 0vs FOR 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
    REB 0vs HIG 0 19:40AAMI
    Sunw 0vs BUL 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
    Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
    CHT 0vs BRU 0 00:00FSS
    SHA 0vs CRU 0 02:05GpKP
    Jagu 0vs STO 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
    RED 0vs WAR 0 16:05SS
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    Round 6
    Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
    HIG 0vs FOR 0 17:35FBS
    Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
    LIO 0vs CRU 0 04:00Emirates Airlines Park
    BLU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35QBE Stadium
    BRU 0vs CHF 0 19:40GIO Stadium
    Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
    King 0vs Sunw 0 02:05NMBS
    BUL 0vs CHT 0 03:10Loftu
    WAR 0vs REB 0 16:05AS
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    Round 7
    Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
    CHF 0vs BLU 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
    FOR 0vs CRU 0 21:00nib Stadium
    Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
    STO 0vs Sunw 0 03:00DHL Newlands
    HUR 0vs Jagu 0 17:35WS
    RED 0vs HIG 0 19:40SS
    Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
    SHA 0vs LIO 0 01:05GpKP
    King 0vs BUL 0 03:10NMBS
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    Round 8
    Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
    CRU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35AMI
    REB 0vs HUR 0 19:40AAMI
    Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
    CHT 0vs Sunw 0 03:00FSS
    BLU 0vs SHA 0 17:35EP
    WAR 0vs BRU 0 19:40AS
    Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    BUL 0vs RED 0 01:05Loftu
    LIO 0vs STO 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
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    Round 9
    Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
    HIG 0vs SHA 0 17:35FBS
    REB 0vs CHT 0 19:40AAMI
    Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
    Sunw 0vs Jagu 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
    HUR 0vs CHF 0 17:35WS
    FOR 0vs WAR 0 19:40nib Stadium
    STO 0vs RED 0 23:00DHL Newlands
    Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
    King 0vs LIO 0 01:05NMBS
    BRU 0vs CRU 0 16:05GIO Stadium
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    Round 10
    Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
    CHF 0vs SHA 0 17:35Yarro
    FOR 0vs BUL 0 21:05nib Stadium
    Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
    HIG 0vs BRU 0 15:15Rugby Park
    BLU 0vs REB 0 17:35EP
    RED 0vs CHT 0 19:40SS
    Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
    LIO 0vs HUR 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
    STO 0vs WAR 0 03:10DHL Newlands
    Jagu 0vs King 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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    Round 11
    Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
    CRU 0vs RED 0 17:35AMI
    BRU 0vs BUL 0 19:40GIO Stadium
    Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
    Sunw 0vs FOR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
    CHF 0vs HIG 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
    WAR 0vs CHT 0 19:40AS
    SHA 0vs HUR 0 23:00GpKP
    Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
    King 0vs BLU 0 01:05NMBS
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    Round 12
    Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
    HIG 0vs CRU 0 17:35FBS
    REB 0vs BRU 0 19:40AAMI
    Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
    HUR 0vs RED 0 17:35WS
    WAR 0vs BUL 0 19:40AS
    Sunw 0vs STO 0 21:45Singapore National Stadium
    Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    CHT 0vs King 0 01:05FSS
    LIO 0vs BLU 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
    Jagu 0vs SHA 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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    Round 13
    Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
    CRU 0vs WAR 0 17:35AMI
    Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
    RED 0vs Sunw 0 15:05SS
    CHF 0vs REB 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
    FOR 0vs BLU 0 19:40nib Stadium
    LIO 0vs Jagu 0 23:00Emirates Airlines Park
    Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    SHA 0vs King 0 01:05GpKP
    BUL 0vs STO 0 03:10Loftu
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    Round 14
    Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
    HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35WS
    WAR 0vs CHF 0 19:40AS
    Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
    King 0vs Jagu 0 03:00NMBS
    BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
    BRU 0vs Sunw 0 19:40GIO Stadium
    STO 0vs CHT 0 23:00DHL Newlands
    Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    BUL 0vs LIO 0 01:05Loftu
    REB 0vs FOR 0 16:05AAMI
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    Round 15
    Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
    CHF 0vs CRU 0 17:35ANZ National Stadium, Suva
    BRU 0vs RED 0 19:40GIO Stadium
    Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
    Sunw 0vs WAR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
    HUR 0vs BLU 0 17:35WS
    REB 0vs STO 0 19:40AAMI
    CHT 0vs FOR 0 23:00FSS
    Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
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    King 0vs HIG 0 03:10NMBS
    Jagu 0vs BUL 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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    Round 16
    Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
    BLU 0vs BRU 0 17:35EP
    RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
    Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
    LIO 0vs King 0 03:00Emirates Airlines Park
    CRU 0vs REB 0 17:35AMI
    WAR 0vs HUR 0 19:40AS
    FOR 0vs STO 0 21:45nib Stadium
    Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
    BUL 0vs Sunw 0 01:05Loftu
    SHA 0vs CHT 0 03:10GpKP
    Jagu 0vs HIG 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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    Round 17
    Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
    BLU 0vs WAR 0 17:35EP
    RED 0vs REB 0 19:40SS
    Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
    SHA 0vs Sunw 0 03:00GpKP
    CRU 0vs HUR 0 15:15AMI
    HIG 0vs CHF 0 17:35FBS
    BRU 0vs FOR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
    Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
    STO 0vs King 0 01:05DHL Newlands
    CHT 0vs BUL 0 03:10FSS
    Jagu 0vs LIO 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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    Round 18
    Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
    TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
    TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
    Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
    TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
    TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
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    Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
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    Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
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    Super Rugby 2016
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D +/- Pts
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    Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0
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    Overall standings
    Team P W L D +/- Pts
    Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Force 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0
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