Wallabies Power Rankings: How every Test contender is shaping up one month into Super Rugby


With four weeks completed in the 2024 Super Rugby season, potential Wallabies players have been putting down their markers to impress new coach Joe Schmidt.

A year ago, The Roar launched our Wallabies Power Rankings which ran right up to the announcement of the World Cup squad.

With three and a half months until the Wallabies play their first Test of 2024, against Wales, we’ve done our first Power Rankings of the Schmidt era.

The coach has given little away in terms of his thoughts on individuals available to him for the make up of his side – and certainly was savvy enough not to get photographed writing names on a notepad while watching Super Round.

For us, there’s a slight change to last year’s approach, where we only named players who were fit at the time of writing. On this occasion we’re going to do a little crystal ball gazing and name the rankings with the Wales series in mind.

That means players like Allan Alaalatoa – who is a matter of weeks away from a return after his pre-World Cup Achilles injury – will feature.

Allan Alaalatoa. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

There is no great expectation that Schmidt will call up overseas stars for this series, so we’ve avoided the Giteau calls as well and just ranked those who are currently signed to Super teams.

After all, this is what Schmidt said earlier this week: “What I would say is that players who are playing in Australia will be a priority for us. If that is supplemented by a few players playing overseas, then that may well be the case. “I haven’t even asked around clarity at this stage. Yes, I am tracking the players who are playing overseas, particularly the ones who were at the World Cup, but my fullest focus is on the guys who are playing week to week in the Super teams here in Australia.”

Anyway, enough of the entree, let’s get to the meat.


1. Angus Bell, 2. James Slipper, 3. Blake Schoupp, 4. Alex Hodgman, 5. Matt Gibbon

After a frustrating and lengthy run with a toe injury, Bell appears to have overcome his fitness issues and ready to take his next steps towards his ambition of proving that’s he’s a world class talent. He was certainly one of the few highlights in a dismal 2023 for the national team, and has usurped Slipper as the Wallabies’ starting No.1.

A year ago, Blake Schoupp was an outsider but Eddie Jones’ favourite “brick shithouse” played at the World Cup. He’s injured but only a few weeks away from a return.

Alex Hodgman, the former All Black now with the Reds, is eligible for the Wallabies. He worked with Schmidt at the Blues and his experience, breakdown prowess and stability could be desirable to the new coach.

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)


1. Matt Faessler, 2. Dave Porecki, 3. Lachlan Lonergan, 4. Jordan Uelese, 5. Billy Pollard, 6. Mahe Vailanu

A year ago, Faessler wasn’t in our top five but he was picked by Jones for the World Cup and has started the season on fire under Les Kiss. He’s the competition’s joint top try scorer, with five, and his control at lineout time shows the benefit of hours of work that he’s put into the skill.

Dave Porecki is the incumbent Australian captain but has been unable to get on the field so far this Super campaign – he’s hopeful of a return in the next month.

Lonergan played eight Tests under Dave Rennie – the last against Wales in November 2022, where he scored the match winner – but wasn’t to Jones’ taste and needs a big rest of the Super Rugby campaign to restart his international career.

Uelese has his critics – especially of his lineout accuracy – but gave a sign of why he was picked for the RWC earlier this month when he was impressive in the Rebels win over Moana Pasifika.


1. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Taniela Tupou, 3. Zane Nonggorr, 4. Sam Talakai, 5. Pone Fa’aumasili, 6. Rhys Van Nek, 7. Harry Johnson-Holmes

Nonggorr has been arguably the most impressive Aussie tighthead in the competition this year with Allan Alaalatoa still recovering from his injury and Tupou being off colour. The Tongan Thor only managed 35 minutes last week before he was hooked with Kevin Foote trying to manage the big fella’s minutes and opting for the superior mobility of Sam Talakai, as the Reds opened the Rebels up around the ruck.

The big loser so far is Fa’amausili, who can’t get on the park. He told reporters this week he’d be happy to cut 10kgs in a bid to reshape himself as a backrower to get a start.

“People have forgotten that I did play at eight in 2019, I played three games,” he said.

“I’d 100 per cent be open to playing there again, but I think I’d have to lose at least 10 kilos – I’m 135 at the moment, so I just need to be disciplined and make the right choices with food.”

Rhys Van Nek has done a good job for the Brumbies, but he doesn’t appear an international scrummager yet.


1. Nick Frost, 2. Luhkan Salakaia-Loto, 3. Seru Uru, 4. Jed Holloway, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Josh Canham, 7. Jeremy Williams

Nick Frost’s value to the Brumbies can be summed up by one compelling stat – he has played every minute of all four games so far this season.

But his value goes far beyond the minutes players, with his safe hands at the lineout – he leads the competition with the most lineouts won with 28 (nine more than the next most productive players in the comp, Liam Wright and Josh Canham) – vital. He’s a top 10 player for turnovers won.

If there’s an area of his game he must improve though, it’s his physicality and leg drive through contact.

Seru Uru is likely a No.6 or Pete Samu-style bench option for the Wallabies if the 27-year-old is to break through for his first gold jersey this year, as tipped by Matt To’omua on The Roar Rugby Podcast. But he has impressed in the second row under Les Kiss, including a two try contribution in round four, and is sixth in the comp for lineout wins.

Luhkan Salakaia-Loto has been up and down in his return to Australian rugby but at his best is force to be reckoned with. He also provides some meat on the bones in a position where the Wallabies are light.


1. Ned Hanigan, 2. Tom Hooper, 3. Liam Wright, 4. Josh Kemeny

Rob Valetini and Rob Leota are also options for the blindside flanker role, depending on what Schmidt opts for in the No.8 jersey, where the options look more stacked.

Few players have as many detractors as Hanigan but the stats suggest he’s more Tah tough than powder puff. Case in point: Hanigan has made dominant contact in 71 percent of his 17 carries – the best rate of any player in the competition.

Tom Hooper had a difficult World Cup but appears to be getting on with it in good humour – his banter game is world class. Like Frost, Hooper needs to continue to work on denting the line and providing physicality. He’ll grow into his body more as the years go on.

Liam Wright has been impressive in the Reds early season charge, and will be hopeful of adding to his five caps from 2019-20.

Kemeny barely saw action in France and his Wallabies situation is complicated by his impending departure to Northampton at the end of the season.


Fraser McReight, Charlie Gamble, Luke Reimer, Carlos Tizzano

Two years ago there were fears that Fraser McReight might be lost overseas with his path to the Wallabies No.7 jersey blocked by Michael Hooper. McReight always showed confidence that his time might come, yet few could imagine it panning out the way it has with Hoops. Now McReight has claims to be the form player in the entire Super Rugby competition.

Fraser McReight. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

He plays with an irrepressible energy and stands out in the stats columns as much as he does with the eye test. McReight is ranked equal second for try assists with four, third for tackles (with 63, equal to Gamble), and top of the pile for turnovers won.

McReight was the difference in the Reds recent win over the Chiefs and his combination with Harry Wilson could well be one the selectors lean into when Wales arrive.

Gamble is the smokey. The New Zealand-born flanker is back in the No.7 jersey and fit and healthy and it shows. He has the physicality and strength in his legs and in the shoulders to be a force in the international agme.

Luke Reimer started the year on fire, but wasn’t able to influence the game against the Chiefs and missed the win over the Highlanders. Nonetheless, he’s one to watch.


1. Rob Valetini, 2. Harry Wilson, 3. Rob Leota, 4. Langi Gleeson

Valetini is the incumbent John Eales Medallist and a likely certainty in Schmidt’s first XV. But how the Kiwi coach opts to shape his backrow is TBD.

Wilson was disappointed to miss out on Eddie Jones’ World Cup squad but has returned powerfully under Les Kiss, who has made it a mission to restore the 24-year-old’s confidence. Those strides could be seen in the way Wilson targeted, and then dominated, Gleeson, when the Reds met the Tahs.

Wilson and Uru are the highest ranked Aussies in the comp for carries (fourth place with 50) while Wilson has more offloads than any other forward, and is ranked third overall.

Gleeson, meanwhile, needs to rediscover his hands because he has a unique ability to break the line.

No. 9

1. Tate McDermott, 2. Jake Gordon, 3. Nic White, 4. Ryan Lonergan, 5. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 6. Teddy Wilson

Ryan Lonergan has the superior pass but this contest still feels like it’s dominated by McDermott, who has been a prime mover in Queensland’s rise to the top two of the Super Rugby table in the opening month. McDermott has developed strongly as a leader, while Tahs skipper Jake Gordon is also hitting good form again after being overlooked by Eddie Jones.

McDermott has also had plenty of chances to work on improving that pass – his 334 passes in four games is a competition high and 88 clear of No.2 Gordon.

Seru sets it up, Wrongaz finishes it.

A great team try ????#ANewEraForQueensland #REBvRED pic.twitter.com/dBVPJFCNKM

— Queensland Reds (@Reds_Rugby) March 15, 2024

Nic White continues to show his class in a poor Force team, while Teddy Wilson’s continued omission from the Tahs surprises. The son of former Wallaby David is a gun but he’ll need to get chances quickly if he’s any hope of making a Wallabies squad this year.


1. Noah Lolesio, 2. Carter Gordon, 3. Ben Donaldson, 4. Tane Edmed, 5. Tom Lynagh, 6. Jack Debreczeni, 7. Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, 8. Max Burey

The age profile of this list must give Schmidt pause for thought. The Roar columnist Harry Jones this week summed it up beautifully when he said the Wallabies coach was in need of a “cold-hearted bastard” in the No.10 jersey. This array looks more boy band than wolf pack.

Matt To’omua, who has played in the No.10 for the Wallabies, said goalkicking must be taken into account.

“At the Test level, you’ve got to kick your goals,” he told The Roar Rugby Podcast.

“I remember when I used to play for the Rebels, we used to work off a pyramid on what wins games developed by Rassie Erasmus.

“You talk about set piece, blah, blah, blah. But one of the biggest ones was goal kicking at 80%. And that was a marker that we had to do.

I would pick someone who kicks at 80% versus someone who kicks at 70%. But he might be a little bit less physical or whatever else. And in this case, it’s Noah.

“Noah’s kicking very well. We saw on the weekend, he just didn’t miss and it took pressure off the team. I think that’s a huge feather in his cap when you’re on the selection table against someone else like Donaldson.”

Lolesio is kicking at 81.3 % to Donno’s 75%. Edmed is at 80% and Lynagh at 71.4%.

Debreczeni, 30, is due back in the next couple of weeks. After a strong 2023, he’s worth just keeping in the back of your mind.


1. Mark Nawaqanitawase, 2. Jordan Petaia, 3. Corey Toole, 4. Dylan Pietsch, 5. Suliasi Vunivalu, 6. Harry Potter, 7. Andy Muirhead, 8. Filip Daugunu

There are plenty of fans who’d prefer to see Marky Mark given his Wallaby marching orders this season after the “treachery” of quitting union for rugby league and the Roosters. But Schmidt, unlike someone else fresh in the memory, doesn’t grab you as a mad man prone to bizarre selection calls.

The Tahs star is still prone to concentration lapses, and is still waiting for his first try of the season, but is an undeniable X-factor star.

Petaia could play on wing or at fullback while Corey Toole has burst into calculations with a stellar start to the year – his five tries is equal top of the competition.

Corey Toole is one of the big movers in Australian rugby. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Vunivalu is another who is performing better this season than last while Dylan Pietsch is continuing to press claims.

Inside centres

1.Hunter Paisami, 2. Lalakai Foketi, 3. Joey Walton, 4. Hamish Stewart

There is a real depth issue in the No.12 position for the Wallabies and all fingers are crossed that Foketi makes a strong return over the next month after his scary training injury. Paisami was looked over by Jones for the World Cup after an injury-disrupted year but said his appearance for the Barbarians at the same time sparked his desire.

He is another who is talking up the impact of freewheeling Les Kiss at the Reds.

“Les has been a massive difference to my game and career this year. He’s given me a lot of confidence to go out there and play my game,” Paisami said.

Joey Walton is someone who just continues to do the little things well, and he offers a smart kicking game.

Outside centres

1. Izzy Perese, 2. Josh Flook, 3. Len Ikitau 

Perese is heading overseas to play after the Waratahs season so there is some doubt if he’ll be considered, but the Tahs flyer has been in strong form – his 16 defenders beaten is double any teammate.

Flook, who has represented Australia at under 18 and under 20 level, is just 22 and developing perfectly at the start of a World Cup cycle. His four tries are equal fourth in the comp.

Ikitau, who was upset to miss the World Cup after injury, has been ruled out for the next few weeks with a knee issue. It’s a frustrating blow as he looks to reassert himself as the nation’s top No.13.


1. Andrew Kellaway, 2. Tom Wright, 3. Max Jorgensen, 4. Jock Campbell

Despite the troubles at the Rebels, and his own future secure with his decision to leave for the Tahs in 2025, Kels is killing it so far this season.

Kellaway is entering his prime at 28 and he’s leading the competition for metres carried, is sixth for number of carries, and third for defenders beaten – on the way to four tries.

It’s still staggering that Eddie Jones left Kellaway out of his teams for the opening two games of the World Cup, including the loss to Fiji.

Tom Wright, also harshly treated by Jones, has started his recovery, while Max Jorgensen has shone in moments and is the most likely option as Kellaway backup, providing he can stay injury and NRL free.

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