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'Hard work, discipline and character' help former Grammar students to rugby's big stage

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Two former Sunshine Coast Grammar School students are set to be the starting halves for the Wallabies in their Rugby World Cup opener.

Carter Gordon, 22, and Tate McDermott, 24, have been selected at flyhalf and halfback respectively, for the team’s clash with Georgia in Paris on Sunday morning.

Gordon is a relative newcomer to the national side, having made his debut earlier this year, while McDermott has been a regular since he first played for them in 2020. He was selected to lead the team against New Zealand recently.

Former Grammar coach Dan Robotham recently told Sunshine Coast News that the school community and Grammar club members were proud of the two men.

“Both players have worked tirelessly from a young age to achieve their goals and this is proof that hard work, discipline and character are the pillars of success”, he said.

McDermott said he wouldn’t be satisfied with anything other than a third World Cup title, with the Wallabies also winning in 1991 and 1999.

“I’d say to go all the way,” he said.

“We’re not here to scrape out of the pool stages. A pass mark, and it should be for all Australians, is that we’ve got to win it.”

Tate McDermott is now a senior player in the team. Picture: AAP

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones said the Wallabies were firing on all cylinders ahead of the Cup.

“We’re ready to go mate. F1, whatever car you like in F1, the fast one, we’re just about ready to take off mate,” he said.

“We’re at the starting line now and everyone starts on the same spot now.

“It’s been a really good progression. We went through a period where we had to almost restructure the team to get ourselves in a position where we think we can win the World Cup.

“This is the first step against Georgia – a very important game.”

Carter Gordon has rapidly emerged as Australia’s first-choice flyhalf. Picture: AAP

Australia are looking to improve on a quarter-final showing in 2019 in Japan.

With a total of 343 Test caps in the team and 17 World Cup debutants, it is the fewest for Australia at the quadrennial tournament since the 2003 fixture against Namibia in Adelaide (283).

Jones wasn’t bothered about caps and said it was the “best team” available to attempt to end a five-game losing streak.

“It’s 20 years since Australia’s picked a young team like this, and it shows a changing of the guard,” he said.

“This is a new team that wants to take Australian rugby forward. We want to play a game that enthuses people in Australia to want to follow the Wallabies again.”

Wallabies: Angus Bell, David Porecki, Taniela Tupou, Richie Arnold, Will Skelton (c), Tom Hooper, Fraser McReight, Rob Valetini, Tate McDermott (vc), Carter Gordon, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Jordan Petaia, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Ben Donaldson. Res: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Zane Nonggorr, Rob Leota, Langi Gleeson, Nic White, Lalakai Foketi, Suliasi Vunivalu.

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