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    Latham: no Munster regrets

    Irish Examiner

    17 November 2006
    <br style="font-weight: bold;">@@@@SPAN style="font-weight: bold;">Latham: no Munster regrets@@@@/SPAN>

    AUSTRALIA full-back Chris Latham is back in the country he almost called home three years ago.

    The Wallaby superstar might have a Heineken Cup medal in his trophy cabinet now, but he turned down a move to Munster just weeks before his planned arrival. Instead, he’s looking forward to winning a World Cup medal next year.

    Latham was given an international lifeline following the appointment of Eddie Jones as Wallaby coach, and he decided against signing for Munster at the 11th hour, a source of great annoyance to then coach Alan Gaffney.

    “It was a very close call. I even had a passport for my young daughter to travel, but I have no regrets now,” said Latham yesterday.

    No wonder — when Munster came calling, Latham was out of favour and out of sorts. He wanted a new challenge and wouldn’t have left Australia for any other team but Munster, he stressed. Since then, however, he has gone from strength to strength and with 70 caps — and 34 tries — he’s the most seasoned full-back in Wallaby history. The John Eales Medal is awarded each year to the best and fairest Australian player of the season, as decreed by all members of the squad, and last season Latham became the first back to win it.

    Latham is preparing for a different challenge this weekend. “It’s no surprise to learn we play most of our footie on hard ground, but it’s going to be a lot different this weekend.

    “Also, we know that Ireland will have their strongest side on the pitch; the atmosphere will be huge, particularly after beating South Africa, so all those factors have to be taken into account.

    “I don’t think you can compare this game with the one in Perth a few months back; it’s a different time, different place, different occasion. We’re coming off the back of a long season; they’re starting out on one, so they will be looking forward to teeing off the season with a couple of good wins.”

    Latham says it’s difficult to judge Ireland’s performance last weekend, given the team fielded by South Africa, but he praised Ireland for the display and the win.

    “I think they showed a lot in their defence, and a lot in attack when they got the opportunity; they’re a very well organised side and showed a lot of promise, so we have to make sure we can put a stop to that.”

    Coach John Connolly has rolled the dice with a new midfield partnership for Lansdowne Road. Stirling Mortlock will captain the side from inside centre, partnering Lote Tuqiri for the first time.

    It could be a risky move, especially as they face in-form Ireland centres Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy – a fact acknowledged by Connolly.

    “It will be a good challenge for our centres to face O’Driscoll and D’Arcy,” he said. “We’ve been looking for the right combinations and it has been difficult. But we’re confident of Stirling’s ability to adapt to inside centre. He can play the ball as well as attack it.”

    Stephen Larkham moves back to out-half at the expense of Mat Rogers, but Wallabies attack coach Scott Johnson has warned he may soon be on the move again.

    “Larkham is an intelligent kid – he’s been around the block – but this is not the end of the experiment at fly-half,” said Johnson.

    The selection doesn’t come as a surprise, given Connolly’s determination to try new combinations in the build-up to next year’s World Cup. There are just two changes in personnel from the team that defeated Italy 25-18 last week, Phil Waugh coming in for George Smith at open side flanker, and Mark Gerrard filling the vacancy on the wing.

    Connolly has admitted his surprise the pack has become settled quicker than he expected.


    #2


    "The John Eales Medal is awarded each year to the best and fairest Australian player of the season"


    [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img][img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]


    Is it April 1st already?

    Comment


      #3


      Latham may not have regrets, but munster sure do.


      he would have ben a lot more effective than cullen has been on the injury list for the last 4 years
      If The Flintstones has taught us anything, it\'s that pelicans can be used to mix cement.

      Comment


        #4
        he would have been some player for munster

        Comment


          #5
          Would he? If he can change his mind thatlate on a done dealhow do you know he'd have settled in, fitted in, not got itchy feet and done a runner the second he got a sniff of Australian selection again etc? Is this just another excuse for some people to have a dig at CC?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by gelly


            Latham may not have regrets, but munster sure do.


            he would have ben a lot more effective than cullen has been on the injury list for the last 4 years


            and who'se to say latham wouldnt have gotten injured?


            and like the above comment if he's willing to back out of a deal at the last second we might not have had him for long anyway
            "Some people don't know their easy lives... I wouldn't be so ungrateful" - Fiacre Ryan - #AutismAndMe

            Comment


              #7


              He didnt get injured in Oz so why would he have got injured in Munster


              cullens injury list is sickening to see


              Latham baged what 34 tries for Austraila He probley would have got more than that if playing for Munster


              I agree him backing out of the deal was bad, we probley would have had him for the year and then he would have went back just like holwell [img]smileys/redface.gif[/img]did at leinster
              If The Flintstones has taught us anything, it\'s that pelicans can be used to mix cement.

              Comment


                #8

                Originally posted by gelly

                Latham may not have regrets, but munster sure do.


                he would have ben a lot more effective than cullen has been on the injury list for the last 4 years
                At the time Cullen was by far the superior player. Capital 'M' for Munster by the way.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by gelly


                  He didnt get injured in Oz so why would he have got injured in munster


                  cullens injury list is sickening to see


                  Latham baged what 34 tries for Austraila He probley would have got mare than that if playing for Munster


                  I agree him backing out of the deal was bad, we probley would have had him for the year and then he would have went back just like holstead did at leinster


                  holwell and he was made leave by the PAG
                  The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
                  - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Just to nit pick, Holwell wasn't made to leave by the PAG, Leinster approached the PAG to get agreement to a foreign player taking up a key position within Irish rugby on a new contract and they (correctly for once) said no. Holwell didn't have a contract at that point so had to leave.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I'm more than happy with the contribution Shaun Payne has made to Munster Rugby.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Consider the nit picked, but the point was that holwell was not a mercenary as Latham is being made out to be above. He was excellent for leinster and really wanted to stay.
                        The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
                        - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

                        Comment


                          #13





                          Latham hasn't been injured in Oz, ergo he wouldn't be injured here.


                          This revelation of the efficacy of residence in Australia in forfending physical harm could cause another huge influx of European migrants.


                          "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                          "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                          "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

                          Comment


                            #14
                            yea i agree id choose Shaun Payne ahead of them both
                            If The Flintstones has taught us anything, it\'s that pelicans can be used to mix cement.

                            Comment


                              #15


                              Originally posted by Point
                              I'm more than happy with the contribution Shaun Payne has made to Munster Rugby.

                              A quality player. One of our best ever signings.[img]smileys/thumb-up.gif[/img]


                              My computer thinks I'm gay
                              What's the difference anyway
                              When all the people do all day
                              Is stare into a phone

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