The Wallabies are battered, bruised and winless – not a great combination. With no wins from three attempts the Wallabies face the very real prospect of not winning a single game in this year’s Tri-Nations as they confront an uncompromising South Africa over the next two weeks and then travel to Wellington a few weeks later.
It would not be the first time the Wallabies have failed to win a single game of a Tri-nations tournament. Just four short years ago the Eddie Jones coached Wallabies didn’t get off the ducks-egg, and with those results, Eddie’s fate was sealed. Time is running out for Robbie Deans to form a squad that will be capable of winning the next World Cup, but you get the feeling that most Australian rugby supporters would settle for him building a squad to win the next game.
Despite the constant talk of improving the disciplinary standards of the team and making better decisions under pressure, the Wallabies have not improved since their first game of this year’s Tri-nations four weeks ago.
There is no doubt that it wasn’t one individual who lost last night’s game for the Wallabies. It is also true however that selecting the same individuals who are struggling to make an impact or who are making the same basic skill errors week after week and expecting a different result defies logic.
Deans seems the conservative type so it is unlikely there will be the major changes however players like Will Genia and Peter Hynes deserve their opportunity to start a game. Luke Burgess continues to struggle to deliver an accurate pass and the difference in the way the backline flows when Genia replaces him is not hard to see.
Peter Hynes was one of the Wallabies best last year, but has dropped down the order due to an injury lay-off and a lack of rugby over the last eight weeks. He is a genuine attacking threat however he might not be up to full fitness given his reluctance to try and outpace his opponents last night.
Drew Mitchell is not at his best. He was poor in Auckland and again last night his decision making ability was found wanting.
Phil Waugh is another who must be included in the squad for the next game. As good as Pocock has the potential to be, he is not up to it yet and has not been able to take his Super 14 form into the International arena. More than once Deans has picked Phil Waugh in his 22 and then not used him during the game, this is strange. He must pick Waugh a play him next week.
Discipline was a key focus during the last fortnight however it clearly didn’t get through to some. Dick Brown was again caught with his hand well and truly in the biscuit barrel and his personal tally of yellow-cards now equals the Wallabies total points….nuff said.
Despite G&GR’s ‘Justice 4 Al’ campaign, the sight of him being dragged at the 30 minute mark suggests we may have seen the last of Le Fuse. Angry face or not, he is now a liability due to the perceived weaknesses in his scrum technique. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and Al blew his. The options at tighthead are limited but as Deans has often commented on the fact that Matt Dunning is doing well in club-land so he must be a viable option.
The current Wallaby squad is not close to beating its opposition – that is not a criticism, it is a reality. The season is fucked so what is there to lose?