Australia's Set Piece Attack Needs an Update - Green and Gold Rugby
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Australia’s Set Piece Attack Needs an Update

Australia’s Set Piece Attack Needs an Update

In an earlier article, I talked about how Australian rugby traditionalism had kept the Wallabies running a playmaker in the 12 jersey while the other dominant rugby nations have all switched to crash ball runners. Even the Australian Super Rugby franchises have made the switch, preferring to select players like Samu Kerevi, Karmichael Hunt, Irae Simone, and Lalakai Foketi. With Kerevi’s form this year as well as Beale’s form at fullback it will be hard for Michael Cheika to justify the continuation of this policy during the World Cup.

Another area in which Australian rugby is still playing last year’s game is off the back of the lineout. In the traditional view, the All Blacks are experts at first phase tries – partially as a result of Australia’s impressive late ‘90s defensive structure, which was impossible to break once established. However, in the last couple of years we have seen a drastic decrease in the number of tries scored by the All Blacks from a set piece. I was unable to find any clear statistics on this, but they had scored only three set piece tries in 2018 at the halfway point in the Rugby Championship. The All Blacks had scored 37 tries in total by this point of the year. One of these was essentially created by referee obstruction, and if we exclude this we can see that only two from 36 legitimate All Black tries in their first 6 games last year came from a set piece.

One of the reasons for this can be found in the rulebook. Law 18.13 states that “the team throwing in determines the maximum number of players that each team may have in the lineout.” The only restriction is that there must be at least two players in the lineout in addition to the thrower. This gives the attacking team the ability to ensure that there are no forwards in the defending team’s backline by choosing a 7-man lineout. Some canny teams will prefer to put their scrumhalf into the lineout to free up a loose forward to defend in the flyhalf’s channel, but this can be avoided by simply choosing an 8-man lineout on subsequent occasions. This ensures that the backline is spread thin to remove the possibility of a gang tackle, and also removes most of the larger players from the picture.

The second reason is also found in the rulebook. Law 18.35 states that “players not participating in the lineout must remain at least 10 metres from the mark of touch on their own team’s side or behind the goal line if this is nearer.” In the case of the goal line being nearer, a driving maul may be preferred tactically. Otherwise, when an attacking team is receiving the ball off the back of a lineout, there is a vast 20 metre gap between the first receiver and the defending team (pictured in the World Rugby image below). Considering that the gap between teams in general play is usually between a few feet and nothing (the length of the ruck), the lineout creates an invaluable opportunity to get a charge-up.

Image 1

These two rules combine to create a superpowered opportunity: not only does the attacking player get a 10-20m charge-up before contact (depending on the speed of the rush defence), by choosing a larger lineout they can do so free from fear of being hit hard in contact by the opposing forwards or by multiple defenders at once. Having a scrumhalf with a solid long pass introduces the ability to select a weak defender to run at as well, by allowing the ball to reach the receiver further along the backline. Some teams will also throw the initial pass to the flyhalf before giving the ball to the crash ball runner.

This is why Sonny Bill Williams is still the best option for the All Blacks at 12 if he is fit. Ngani Laumape and Ma’a Nonu (who are still primarily crash ball runners rather than playmakers) have made good cases for selection, but having a crash ball runner with a strong offload ability means that even if the first defender makes the tackle, there will still be a hole for the support player to run through – and the support player will also have had a charge-up of their own. However, the only mandatory selection criteria for the original runner is that they should be difficult to tackle. Preferably, they should be both big and fast, but the ability to run a good line or wrongfoot defenders are high prized as well. This is also why Kerevi is the best option for the Wallabies at inside centre, why Hunt is probably his best replacement, and why a playmaker shouldn’t be selected in the 12 jersey in the current rugby metagame.

Sonny Bill Williams gets the offload away to Kieran Read

Sonny Bill Williams gets the offload away to Kieran Read

Even in an instance that the tackle is successfully made without an offload, usually there is a solid territorial gain from where the lineout occurred and the ball is usually recycled quickly due to the forward momentum, pre-selection of support runners who can clean out effectively, and the fact that the defending forwards are still tied up at the lineout. This means that the second phase will usually also yield good results on attack, because the second-best crash ball runner (usually the blind winger) can receive the ball quickly while the defence is still backpedalling and before the forwards have reached the far side of the field. This creates a similar set-up to the first phase, with the difference being that the defending team is closer, but this is offset by the fact that they should be going backwards which is almost preferable.

At this stage, the attacking team has gained a lot of ground and put the defenders on the back foot. They have also created good opportunities for linebreaking runs and offloads. Only one pass per phase was required, on both occasions from a specialist passer (the halfback), and the possibility of losing the ball at the ruck is minimal because the attacking team knows what the play is and can set the positions and abilities of the support runners. This setup creates a good platform for a team to exit from their own 22-metre zone. It works almost as well off the back of a scrum, and though the offside line is only 5 metres (pictured in the World Rugby image below), this can be compensated for if the attacking scrum goes forward and causes the defending players to backpedal. The bigger issue is that it’s more difficult for the scrumhalf to get the ball directly to the inside centre, but this is usually resolved with a simple 8-9 play off the back of the scrum or a more classic 9-10-12 sequence.

Image 2The more traditional Australian move off the back of a lineout or scrum is to keep the ball in play for longer and utilise the dual playmaker system to put doubt into the defenders’ minds. The other backs are usually running pre-determined lines either to confuse defenders or to create a genuine option for the first and second five-eighths. The fact is that defences have radically improved in the last few years and in a situation where all players are marked up defensively (such as from a set piece), it is rare to get past the defensive line. If this does occur, it is a result of a missed tackle or an offload to a support runner.

Starting with a crash ball runner targeting a weak defender is more likely to create one of these outcomes, and if the defensive line does hold then the crash ball runner puts you in a better attacking position. This is because the complex set plays tend to shovel the ball laterally, reducing the territorial gain and increasing the likelihood of a link player being tackled behind the gain line with no ruck support. These moves also introduce a lot of risk simply by including more passes and moving pieces. The inside centre crash ball is very easy to teach 30 players drawn from four different franchises in a short time, and this is why a similar style of play has been termed “Gatlandball” – because it is the go-to move of the British and Irish Lions coach when tasked with drawing players from four different countries. Gatlandball has the added connotation of attempting to draw in two tacklers on purpose in order to create an overlap out wide, which is a reasonable variation of this strategy when one is confident that the crash ball runner will still make metres and recycle quickly.

The Wallabies have been proponents of long, lateral plays off the back of lineouts and scrums for many years now. This was necessary at a time in the mid-2000s when the lineout was the only source of ball the forward pack was likely to win and the backline was potentially the best in the world. These moves should now be confined to set pieces on the opposing team’s 5 metre line, where the offside line is closer and the ball is likely to be mauled first. Across the other 95 metres of the field, utilising the rare opportunity to get go quickly recycled ball from across the advantage line with no opposing forwards in sight is a must. And as a consequence of this, having at least two crash ball runners – one of whom should be wearing 12 – is also a necessity.

  • Hi Cameron, Loving you articles mate.

    The dual play-makers at 10-12 is a recent phenomenon is Australian rugby. While NZ used it to train up the next fly-half Australia used it to hide their deficiencies. At least recently. Michael Lynagh started his Wallabies career at 12 and that worked out okay.

    • Cameron Rivett

      Recent is a relative term, but it has been the predominant Wallaby setup since at least Robbie Deans. Though you’re pretty much correct in my view that the use of the 12 as a playmaker has been to cover for the fact that our 10s have been flawed.

    • Max Graham

      Not sure it’s that recent. 2007 RWC had Gits at 12. 2003 Flatley. 1999, 1995, 1991 Horan. 1987 Lynagh I think. That’s 30+ years and reckon we could go back further. Until SBW, kiwis generally did the same – they often refer to 12 as “second 5/8” and most of the 12’s never moved to 10. England had Farrell at 12 until very recently. I could go on…. This debate is perhaps not of the highest quality. Basing the game plan and team selection on the crashball ability of the person with 12 on their back is hopefully the dumbest thing I read today.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        But it isn’t like there is nowhere between a crashballer 12 (like Roberts) and a second flyhalf (like Gits).

        In the middle, you’ve got guys like Horan and Nonu. Who could distribute, but definitely weren’t ‘playmakers’ in the sense of being a 5/8.

        The All Blacks haven’t put a flyhalf at 12 for over a decade.

        • Cameron Rivett

          A guy like Meakes could fit in this vein as well.

        • Max Graham

          He’s a very good player. Smart too!

        • Longer for the AB, at least as a regular thing. The last time they did it was Carter outside Merhtens. What they tend to do now is blood them at 15 – for some reason their young 10’s can all run fast enough to do that.

          Maugher outside Carter at the Saders lasted longer but I don’t think it was ever a regular AB thing, although he did play there sometimes. But it basically then went to Nonu, SBW, Crotty, ALB, Laumape and so on.

      • Who?

        Pretty sure Lynagh was at 10 in 87 – can’t think who else would’ve played 10 with Ella retiring in 84. Gits and Flats played more as 2nd 5’s (especially given Flatley was truly a 10 – Gits not quite as much), but Horan was a ball runner as well as a distributor – he was a true inside centre.

        • Max Graham

          I think you might be right about Lynagh.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    I really liked this article and agree with your opinion on the importance of a line breaking 12 to launch attacks off line outs. Let’s face it, the Wallabies lack the defence and kicking games to win an attritional game, so will have to outscore opponents with tries, which means we need to maximise tries off line outs.

    But I do take issue with a few things…

    Firstly, and most importantly, it isn’t actually true that most successful teams have not had a playmaker at 12. Scotland, Wales (since ditching Roberts in 2017), England (for their dominant 2016-17 period) and the BI Lions in New Zealand have opted for playmakers at 12. Now, I don’t think it’s necessarily the best option, but it is a legitimate one as these results proved, if you have the right team around the playmaker.

    Second, wrong wrong wrong to describe Nonu as a crashballer! Nonu was as complete of a 12 as Horan by the time he retired. He was a genuine run, pass, kick threat, and he could offload. In fact, he’s still the 12 in New Zealand with the best passing and kicking game. I think this is grossly disrespectful of one of the greatest players of the century if not all time. SBW has been used since the last World Cup, and never really performed.

    I don’t think Beale has the form of Banks, DHP or Hodge at fullback, but agree he will probably get the nod there, given the two Ks in the centres aren’t known for their distribution, and Cheika wants a second playmaker.

    Thanks for he article again, these add so much to this site.

    • Who?

      Only thing I’d question here is…..
      Has Nonu retired? I’m not sure he has. I’d pick him over SBW…

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Good point, I meant ‘retired’ from the All Blacks after the last World Cup. But I agree he’s looking for a World Cup squad spot this year, and is a far superior player to SBW. I think Nonu and ALB are the form Kiwi 12s this year.

    • Cameron Rivett

      Nonu has had a fantastic long passing game and even a kicking game now, but he’s still primarily a crash baller. You can view recent games where he has still fufilled this role for the Blues. As for the other successful teams not having a playmaker at 12, I’m really just talking about in 2018 and even then, there is obviously a lot of depth to this topic which is why I focused this article on the set piece attack thing rather than the playmaker/crashballer at 12 thing.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        How is he primarily a crashballer when he has a fantastic passing and kicking game? What does that even mean?

        • Cameron Rivett

          I think this is a semantic difference. That he is still used to hit the ball up on first phase by the Blues is all I meant.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think so too. When I think “crashballer” I think one-dimensional player who will only run hard and straight. Won’t threaten to pass or kick. A Bastareaud or a Roberts.

          Guys like Nonu are the ideal 12s. Can crash it up if required, but also have guile, can step, kick, pass and offload.

        • I think you missed “primarily” from the phrase. A crash-ball 12, I’d agree with you, primarily a crash-baller, I agree with Cameron. That’s the commonest thing he does, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t do other things.

          Since Roberts retired, they’ve got in Parkes a 12 in who plays a really mixed game, kicks, passes, runs, crash-balls, collects kicks through the line and tackles too. He’s not the best in the world at any of them, but he does do all them very well – as you might expect of someone brought up in Kiwi land and taught to do all the basics. Although their grand slam was based on defence having such an all-round talented player there certainly hasn’t hurt Wales’ climb back to the top of the NH tree.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I actually thinking Nonu passes more often than he crash balls.

          He certainly isn’t someone who primarily crash balls.

          Even when he does run, he often uses his feet to beat defenders, he doesn’t just smash into them like Roberts.

        • You might well be right, I’m basing my statement on impressions from a small number of games I’ve seen and some highlights. I could be watching with nostalgia and thinking “there’s the Nonu of old, smashing the ball up” and remembering an unreasonably high proportion of those cases. And, of course, even when we would both agree that’s what he did, he still passed the ball, probably quite a lot, but it would have been more a case of catch and pass on to Smith a lot, rather than anything fancier, which he’s now regularly capable of doing both mentally and physically. I don’t doubt he could have done it physically 10 years ago, I suspect he just didn’t look for it and think about doing it.

  • Who?

    Thanks Cameron.
    .
    If we stick with a 9-10 passing option from set piece, with the prospect of having Kerevi, Kuridrani and Koroibete all in that backline, there’s no reason not to go crashball, but crashball with guile. Give the ball to the 10, and let him – as you advocated last week – pick which one’s going to get farthest through that line. TK running an unders line (the old Mortlock line), Samu running straight, Koroibete for the inside ball, it’s a pretty appealing prospect!
    .
    And I don’t rate SBW. Too injury prone now, and even at his peak, well behind Ma’a. Even on this season’s form, with Ma’a being roughly 197 years old, Ma’a’s played more minutes and is the more complete footballer, so I’d have him on the plane first. I didn’t expect to be saying that 6 months ago…

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Koroibete has no guile whatsoever, in attack or defence. The question is whether his straight line running, power and speed is enough to pick him?

      I think that largely comes down to one’s personal preference in what they want in outside backs.

      • Who?

        I don’t disagree that Marika’s straight up and down, what you see is what you get. But if you’re talking about crashball, that makes him a real option.

      • Jason

        Koro has been really stepping up the last few games, I’d actually like to see someone more elusive and speedy like a Maddocks or Banks in that spot.

        I think especially if we are running big in our centers (although Kerevi has been much stronger with his ball playing of late) you kind of need the speed more than the bulk. But if you’re going with Beale & DHP as your two fullbacks you could go either way (assuming Beale isn’t playing like shit still).

    • Cameron Rivett

      That is how I see the backline attack working best as well. A flyhalf who can pick the best of several serious running options. You can really only get away with having one winger and/or the fullback not fitting this mould – and even then, if they’re not powerful runners they need to be elusive. Playmaking as your sole skill doesn’t really exist in the modern game, especially outside of 10. Beale at 15 can still work here though, and may need to if Foley gets the nod at 10 as expected.

    • Max Graham

      None is a freak. Best 12 I’ve seen and still going strong.

    • Jason

      If by ‘Give the ball to the 10′ you mean give the ball to Quade then yeah that would work; if you try this with Foley noting good will come of it. Foley doesn’t have the vision to actually pick out the player who has the opening, Foley pre-meditates most of his plays; Quade on the other hand will actually pick out the best player to pass the ball to and actually put them in a hole.

      • Who?

        My inclination is to agree with you, but I’m very aware I should give Foley the benefit of the doubt… He does occasionally come up with something decent off the cuff.

  • numpty

    No doubt Kerevi should be 12 and crash ball is a must. But, I think the WBs and some super teams have over used this and the rebels and Brumbies show what quality set piece can do, a former strong point of the wallabies. These more complex moves can still be done through the 10-12 channel to keep the far wing open for 2nd phase and get your forwards involved quicker.

    • Cameron Rivett

      The Rebels can run rampant over lesser teams like the Sunwolves, but when faced with quality opposition their point scoring ability diminishes massively. I think this partially reflects on these complex backline moves, and it’d be better to give Cooper at least a couple of phases of front foot ball off of set piece instead. To be fair, the Rebels do this sometimes, usually utilising Hodge as the crash runner though I’m not sure he’s suited for this role at the next level.

      • numpty

        Yes the rebels are poor against better teams, but I do not think this is the fault of complex set piece. I would agree giving Cooper (and Genia) front foot ball is always a good idea. Quality set piece though does not necessarily mean lateral movement, numerous passes or complexity. All that is needed is numerous ball runners hitting the gain line simultaneously. ABs do this well, just having 3-4 guys all running hard and flat. My problem is telegraphing that Kerevi (or whoever) is the only one getting the ball and giving it to him long before the gain line off the back of every set piece.

  • Mica

    Thanks Cameron.
    Your article also highlights the importance of having a strong defender at 10.

    Is this a bigger problem for the Wallabies?

    • Cameron Rivett

      This is totally correct, all 3 inside backs (10-12-13) in the modern game need to have a seriously good defensive ability or else they are going to be a liability for their team with the way the modern game is set up.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Most 10s for most teams are pretty poor defenders. Look at the tackle stays (not the be all and end all, but indicative) of Mounga and Barrett. Even Farrell has missed 30%+ of tackles for years.

        • Who?

          And another 30% aren’t legal. :-P

        • Cameron Rivett

          I agree entirely, which is why we often see 10s defending out of position, and also why we should be running guys like Kerevi down the 10’s channel.

  • Nutta

    Simple logical stuff – so shut your mouth you Heathen.

    But seriously, the task is to make the gain line and recycle possession. We make the gain line by either direct-access or creating a hole through which to access. If direct access is facilitated (like via the lineout example) we take it. Otherwise we need to create that hole. Generally, unless you are Jonah Lomu or playing in the U10’s you can assume your opponent will tackle you if all things are left equal. Therefore you increase your chances of creating the hole by creating pressure on defenders to force a mistake you can exploit. This is where the ball-player 12 came from; another distribution option to put defences under pressure and force them to make a choice you can read & exploit.

    So whilst I agree with your premise of a hard-running 12 to ‘take the space’, against ever-improving defences there is still a real need to run a 2nd distribution option to alleviate pressure on your 1st choice distributor and create doubt in defenders brains. For me that 2nd option is best your 15: someone who can chime in and take advantage of the situation as they read it. Naturally that leaves 12 to a more larger/physical player. So leaving Beale’s off-field stuff aside, it is why he should be a masterful 15 if-only he would address the lingering lack of confidence around defence and occasional high-ball security.

    L’fano at 10: smart and a solid defender
    Kevi at 12: for reasons as per above article
    K’drani at 13: best defending 13 we have and a handy attacker esp in-concert with Speight

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think it depends what one means by a second ‘playmaker’, do you mean a flyhalf playing in another position, or a player with good distribution skills?

      • Nutta

        Player who can double as a distributor; someone who can get it done to the extent it introduces an element of uncertainty to the defence. Not a 2nd Flyhalf hiding somewhere else. I haven’t seen enough of Banks yet to think of him of-such.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Hmmm I personally think it’s most important that you 11-15 are strong runners who can draw and pass.

          Since professionalism, the best sides have often only had one playmaker. ‘99 Wallabies, 2015 All Blacks. With the two K centres it’s probably more important that our fullback has good distribution skills, but i’d still say a DHP or even a Hodge would be a better option than Beale, despite him being more of a playmaker.

          Each team already has a 9 and a 10. You can’t have too many quarterbacks.

        • Max Graham

          2015 ABs was the only time they’ve won a RWC without a ‘second 5/8’. Horan played tests as a 10 – He could run hard but he was also an exceptional distributor. Like Nonu. Like Wally Lewis, who played 12 in rugby. What you are saying is fact is not backed up by evidence.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Horan wasn’t a 5/8 mate. As proven by how poor he was when he filled in in that position a few times. He was a true 12, in the vein of a Nonu.

          You just contradicted yourself, if Horan was a 5/8 “like Nonu” then the 2015 World Cup was won with a second 5/8?

        • Max Graham

          He wasn’t a good 10 but good enough playmaker to be selected as one at test level. Can you see SBW or Jamie Roberts ever playing 10? The point is, he wasn’t a crashball 12.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Totally agree he wasn’t a crash-baller. Horan was a complete 12 who threatened to run, kick and pass every time he touched the ball. But when he played at 10, it still looked to me like he was selected out of position.

        • Max Graham

          Agree. They should have done with Knox.

        • Nutta

          Hang-on didn’t Wally play 6 when still in rugby?

        • Max Graham

          He was in the backs in rugby and forwards in league. The rugby schoolboys team he was in must be close to the greatest we’ve had.

        • Nutta

          As an absolute I agree – ‘do you bloody job man’. For me though, put your power running Finishers on the wings and have Simone a bit more judiciously-creative at 15 to use them more effectively and just put that 10% of doubt into a defenders brain.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, maybe. I think your fullback needs to be able to run and to pass. I don’t need them to be a playmaker per se. Look how great Latham was, and absolutely not a ‘playmaker’ in the sense of the word that it is often used here.

          I think Banks will establish himself as the Wallabies fullback next year, but this year DHP looks the best option, if he can minimise the shit kicks.

        • Nutta

          Latham isn’t a bad example. It also clarifies why a power-runner (like Folau) is better on the wings.

    • Cameron Rivett

      You’ve nailed my thoughts on the matter when you say that the 2nd option playmaker is best at 15, and that Beale is suited for this role if a player like Kerevi takes 12. Also agree that Kuridrani is still our best 13, though I think Hodge probably needs to be in the 23 somewhere because of his utility (it also enables us to take a 6-2 split if that’s what Cheika’s thinking) and his placement depends on a lot of things.

    • Who?

      Agreed Nutta. And the best thing about Kerevi? He’s becoming like Nonu – in that, he’s developed a very good kicking game, he’s also elusive, and he’s developed a passing game. So whilst he can do the gain line thing – like few others on the planet – he’s evolving to become a secondary playmaker behind the 10 (and 15). He keeps putting support runners into space.

      • Nutta

        A little bit of footwork on a guy as hard-running as Kevi pulls a good +5 additional metres post contact.

    • T.edge

      Have you noticed how well L’fano crashes the ball up, that adds another element as the fastest person other than the halfback to receive from set piece and get over advantage line or execute set move. One sniff and he’s through.

      • Nutta

        Agreed. Fastest direct route stuff. He thereby keeps the 1st & 2nd (inside) Defenders honest. Also that fact creates a 1/2 second pause to ensure he isn’t crashing which then creates opportunity for those outside him when he does distribute. It’s something that both Foley and QC can’t contribute because Foley doesn’t have the size and QC would rather eat dirt then get caught like that therefore defenders are quick to slide off them.

        • Who?

          To be fair to Cooper, Nutta, he’s actually run some crashball on first phase this year. He’s not as good on it as Leali’ifano – who I think is more natural at 12 (but all 12’s want to shuffle in as they grow older – even Nonu’s doing more playmaking these days), and debuted for the Wallabies at 12 (I was there, and have a photo of Christian standing with my boy after his 52 glorious seconds!). But he’s increased his physicality under Wessels.

        • Nutta

          Fair.

  • Twoilms

    Good article.

    Small point, pretty sure Hunt is out for the season and so won’t be second choice 12 behind Kerevi.

    It should be Meakes, but will likely be Toomua.

    • Cameron Rivett

      Last I heard he was only missing the Super Rugby season, but if that’s the case I agree with you on both counts.

  • Patrick

    I’m going to be controversial and say that we don’t need a change in anything other than cattle:
    1. Beale: not a 12, not to be used there. Maybe a 15. Kerevi offers so much more at 12, it makes me cry thinking that we locked in our second-best 7 (and not even on the radar for a Wold XV) for years and for millions but let possibly our single best back and possibly our only world XY candidate in the backs go. I hope Kerevi comes back in 2021.
    2. Foley: not up to it at international level, works well when everything around him is going well but does not create enough and cannot distribute effectively enough against top level defences. I would drop him completely in favour of Cooper with Lilo on the bench, but I’d be open to the inverse or to Toomua coming in.
    3. Genia: definitely up to it but should be and must be under real selection pressure from eg White
    4. Maddocks/Koroibete: maybe, but like Genia need to know that Sefa and perhaps Speight or Clarke are just waiting for a slip up, and must be getting involved. But doesn’t really matter if we play either Foley at 10 or Beale at 12.
    5. FB: Folau is a huge loss notwithstanding his faults. For mine, DHP should be the incumbent and Beale should be forced to earn his way in, which I think he can do, but notably, should be taking high balls for an extra 30 minutes after training every day.

    • Max Graham

      Agree with almost all of this.
      Reckon Banks, Naivulu and Speight should be in the mix though.

      • Patrick

        Absolutely. I mentioned Naivalu and Speight, and indeed Banks should be in the mix at 15.

        • Max Graham

          Well then. Carry on….

        • Patrick

          :)

  • T.edge

    One thing the Waratahs have brought this year is options at the back of the lineout. With Fitzpatrick looping he has option inside (Hooper) or an option outside( Foketi) changing up the expectant driving maul and hitting runners flat to get over the gain line, freeing up the backline.

  • GO THE Q REDS

    Good read as ussual Cameron, I would be blown away if the ABs go with the very out of form and injury prone SBW of the extremely good ALB and Crotty! Add to that their great crash ballers and Nonu should get any “Experienced” WC slot if they so decide! SBW is waaaay down the list imho!

    As for Wallabies…… it’s easy….ditch the 2nd playmaker allowing another dangerous option for a dedicated PLAYMAKER to hit and get the guy whose set up more 1st phase tries(all tries for that matter) than anyone this year including the kiwis to run the attack……….

Analysis

Somehow still a Wallabies fan. Enjoys brainstorming ideas on how to fix Australian rugby. Waratahs/North Sydney/Country Eagles supporter. Ex-Kiwi with just a touch of love left for the Highlanders and Otago.

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