A spoonful of Wallaby stew - Green and Gold Rugby
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A spoonful of Wallaby stew

A spoonful of Wallaby stew
Necks on the block

Necks on the block

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?

  • justin

    agree 100%

    • Robson

      Can you send this to Robbie Deans? Serious question.

  • Disagree with Genia, reckon he was again too loose in his defence. His pass was OK, but not with the same speed of clearance as Burgo’s…

    • CanadianRugby

      Yep, I’m with you. Burgess still runs more, defends better and gets the ball away from the ruck, which is good considering how bad the Wallabies are at ruck time right now.

    • Ed

      As brilliant as Burgess can be, he doesn’t exactly instill confidence into you, does he?

      I think that’s the crux of the situation. Noone’s disputing his ability to run, he’s probably the best attacking halfback in the s14. As said, his defence is solid. But his goofs are still numerous.

      His passing is debatable and it’s hard to find a irrefutable argument on either side. My gut says one thing, statistics say another, but they are after all just statistics.

      He has a distinct habit of getting caught with the ball. This is not because he’s running it either. Either he manages to get pulled back into a ruck, or picks up the ball to early, realises he doesn’t have any runners and is forced truck the ball up without any support. One of his supposed qualities is his quick service. While this is all well and good when the team is organised and has momentum, but it falls apart rather quickly when there aren’t any runners to recieve the ball. Whilst the blame could lay with the rest of the team for not being ready, burgess actions don’t exactly help the situation. If your obsessed with quick service, and you’re not bothering to look if your playmaker is ready then it really defeats the purpose.

      It maybe an unfair observation, but i feel that half the reason that ben robinson is seen at halfback so much is because burgess is at the bottom of another pack.

      • louie

        bang on ed.

      • El Dommo

        Does anyone in the wallaby team instill confidence at the moment?

        • Seb V

          I have confidence in berrick barnes and george smith… that is all lol

      • Cameron

        Burgess has a better all round game. What he offers in defence is quite underrated as well. His cover defence is excellent behind the ruck and when the breaks are made he can often pull them down without the full back having to get involved.

        though i do like Genia, i like them both, and apart from one goof which i can remember i thought burgess was basically okay. Just as people are saying the backline isn’t flowing because of his service, so too his service isn’t flowing because we are not dominating the breakdown. If we had supremacy there, which we don’t, this would not be an issue.

        Dominate up front – simple solution, theoretically, harder to achieve in practice.

  • Mick

    Al Baxter got yanked because he was a liability. You can’t have a loose unit donating penalties to the likes of Carter. Obviously it stung him at the time. Despite his obvious abilities he seems to have a lack of perspective and it trips him up. I have never been a real fan of Snarling Al.

    Until now.

    ”This has given me a kick up the bum to perform better at training and make sure I perform better when I get into the game,”
    Baxter said his problems with referees in All Blacks matches ”wouldn’t be an issue if I was performing better”.

    That is a manful self appraisal. No excuses, just commitment to do better.
    Good for you Al.

    A hat tip from this kiwi dyed-in-the-wool All Black supporter

  • El Dommo

    thanks Cote for a frank dispassionate comment on the state of the Wobblies.

    At no time, have the wallabies looked like winning the 3Ns…even before the 3Ns. Sure they have ability, compared to Cootamundra under 12’s….
    Sure they have intensity, but then again so do those dickheads on that So you think you can dance show that dont even fkn make it to the top 1 million.

    Changes are necessary.

    Le Fuse. Gone. He allows himslef to be played. Woodcock is an itelligent prop, and half those penatlies would have been suckered out of the ref. Fuse extends his legs to much on impact and therfore, pancakes over.
    Bring back someone like Shepherdson or something, at least his technique was ok. Or give Big Ben a shot at starting.

    as for the Genia Burgess talk….who gives a fk. the forwards are having trouble giving the 9 quick ball anyway, so the backs (even with a Whitaker like 9) wouldnt have the best front foot ball.

    Did rocky impress….no
    Moore and taffy…not really
    Kev…probably outshone by Sharpe
    Smith or brown…certainly not

    Maybe Sharpe, Gits and AAC are the only players i would be confident in saying stay in there. oh and fat cat, who i have to say i am now convinced is shaping to be a good prop…still not the best but he has his moments where his working in the scrum is exemplary

    And ifnally…..great call on Waugh. In the 14s he was the only aus province 7 working as a 7. i think yeah, as much as Bam bam may promoise to be good, at the moment he isnt. And you can bet…with Waugh on the park, the AB’s wouldt have kept lying on the ball. im no waugh Superfan, however even i know, if he is there and you are lying on the wrong side, if the ref doesnt start penlising you for it, Wuagh wuld take it into his own hands andyou awould have some 21mms coming your way. especially Cowan….even i started salivating when i saw him lying all over the ball after Shrpes case of Mudfoot before the try-line.

    Aus to win maybe 1 game. Whih wil be when either the AB’s or the Safas “rest” some of their frontliners….what a fkn joke

  • Lance Free

    Pretty well spot-on JC. And people believed all the crap being bandied about by the coaching staff where early on they said a lack of success in the Super 14 was not relevant to international form. Bullshit.

  • owen

    yeah that was their chance. that being said, next week’s match will be a really tough. a desperate wallabies vs a bok team looking for blood.

  • Daniel

    South Africa:
    World Cup Champions
    Super 14 Champions
    IRB Sevens Champions
    No.1 on the IRB Rankings
    and soon to be Tri-Nations Champions!!!

    There’s only one team that’s worth being called the Green and Gold (and its definitely not u aussies).

    • Hambone

      it’s odd that you like the green and gold. as the rainbow nation, I think you should wear rainbows. with

    • Hambone

      a unicorn on the front.

  • Daniel

    Oh yes and the first rugby union team to get an Opus!!!

    undisputed to say the lease if u ask me!!!

  • piggies 7

    This is the first time I have really missed Lote Tuqiri. It is only now that I, and hopefully other Wallabies fans, realise that he fucking owned his left/right side (whichever he was playing.) rockococko and snivellysnivellyvatu had all the fucking time in the world to run the ball and make easy metres.
    And get Waugh on the bench, we beg you Robby. Maybe with more leaders, like Phil, Lote, and Stirling, we would of taken that drop goal.


    Look guys just sit back and learn from this. Deans IS a great coach and there are some good players in this team.

    In fact i would get rid of Sharpe and even Smith right now from the starting 15. let them contribute their knowledge at traning and from the bench.

    The 3N is dead but you could use all the remaining games to build experience. Us saffers had our 2006 era and you will have 2009, but stick with the coach and the young guys.

    Let the league pricks watch their little game and bitxh and moan but the Wallabies are in good hands and will soon be Ozzies real pride.

  • boogieblunt

    Unfortunately we need you dickheads to do well otherwise our game will suffer here in Australia,i did enjoy giving my aussie mates shit down the Waverly bowlo on sat night though…the best,thought ya had us …NOT,anyways i’ll be going for ya thus weekend,some-one smash bakkie put a few fingers in his eye then one up his bum hoppa style.

  • Daniel

    we have a saying in South Africa that says “LOSERS MAKES EXCUSES”!!!

    and im hearing to much from u guys…:-)

    • A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
      – Nelson Mandela

      In other words, be smart and be a good bloke…people will respect you.

    • Robson

      Easy to say when you’re winning and btw that saying is universal – I’ve even heard it in Dublin! You guys shouldn’t be too cocksure of yourselves just yet.

  • Mick

    A wooden head and a heart of stone make for a more formidable Springbok foward, though.

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