Brian Smith's Analysis - Balance & Power - Green and Gold Rugby

Brian Smith’s Analysis – Balance & Power

Brian Smith’s Analysis – Balance & Power

The Wallabies have been searching for an effective combination behind the scrum and after their performance in Perth they must feel they’re close to bullseye.

What was impressive in this performance was the mix of balance and power. The Wallabies six-try blitz showcased a wide range of attacking threats and we’re going to have a look at a few of them here.

The Missing Link

James O’Connor was the perfect link between Christian Leali’ifano and the talented Wallaby back three. This first try shows his brilliant vision and skill set.

Remember this pass was made with his left hand and he’s a right-handed player. Only an incredibly confident player even attempts this play so early on in his come back game.

We need more Wallaby backs with the talent and freedom to express themselves.

The Master Blaster

Samu Kerevi plays rugby like Sir Vivian Richards played cricket – with splendid power. His centre of gravity is so low that almost nobody can tackle him side-on or front-on.

His Super Rugby stats have been incredible for a few seasons now. He breaks tackles for fun and offloads for kicks. He truly is a world class centre.

This try illustrates perfectly the power running skills of Samu Kerevi.

The Congo Eel

The late great Scottish rugby commentator Bill McLaren once said that Irish internationa Simon Geoghan was more slippery than a Congo Eel. When I see Kurtley Beale running off Will Genie it reminds me of that description.

Kurtley has started running off Will Genia late in games and he’s scoring tries. What’s most impressive about this wriggly run is that it’s a second effort. He carried the ball in the lead up to the bust.


The Wallabies backline is really looking sharp but they will have to repeat their Perth efforts this weekend in Auckland to demonstrate their true quality.

In this column we looked at the X-Factor skills of O’Connor, Kerevi and Beale. We haven’t even mentioned the speed king Marika Koroibete.

So the Wallabies certainly have plenty of strike power and the great thing is there’s still room for more speed if they go with another flyer ahead of Reece Hodge.

  • maxxlord

    Koroibete’s contribution was immense. The man loves the pick and drive. He is good at it and he does it at odd times which means it completely bamboozles the defence. His own try and the break and offload to Kerevi for White’s try are prime examples. He has improved and that is credit to the Rebels group. Mmmm Imagine if Folau was in the 14 jersey….. But Hodge has a steadiness about him and his boot is a point of difference, he is certainly not a passenger.
    The big difference was the front foot ball provided by the forwards, it gave these backs the extra half second to make the passes stick. In the Hodge, White and Beale and LSL tries there were some passes that would have been dropped in the past with defenders coming up fast but the quick front foot ball provided meant the defenders were on their heels and couldn’t disrupt. The slight bobble was there but the catches were taken and the rest is history.
    Wallabies need to be brutal and mean at Eden Park the All Blacks will try to be and Sam Cane will be coming with his filthy high tackles at White and Lealiafano. Wallabies must dish it out before they receive, Ireland learnt the hard way in Dublin and since then have not looked back.

    • OnTheBurst

      Yes agreed, the ABs will try to bash the Wallabies out of the game, there were signs of it with Cane and Savea going high in the Perth game.

      WBs need to get fully stuck in very early and lay down a marker that they will not be bullied

  • Greg

    Thanks and welcome back. Great to read you analysis.

    Something I just noted watching the Kerevi bust down the line was how White slowed/stopped to make sure he stayed in position to receive the final pass. It is obvious when said out loud… but it is the basics that make the difference.

    • Who?

      It’s a great observation, and one that still can’t be made of all players. Even in the clips on here. Look at Beale’s first break in the lead up to his try, and consider Toomua’s positioning. If Toomua slows before Beale is tackled (i.e. before he needs to come behind and clean out), he becomes a receiving option for a Beale pass, and we’re maybe another 5m downfield before that first tackle off the break.

    • numpty

      On this point too in regards to Kerevi. He has been (rightfully) criticized for not passing the ball earlier a few times over the last few weeks. But in this instance, if he doesn’t take the contact first before passing to White the WBs don’t score.

  • Anonymous bloke

    Hodge chased and took White’s box kick in competition with Ben Smith which is pretty decent, and despite his lack of pace I think is improving his positioning on the wing. I have been critical of him and also want to see a proper winger or someone with real pace (like Banks) on that wing but I think he’s earned his place for now.

    • numpty

      Hodge and MK both shut in on their wings in the first half allowing breaks. They slid and held in the second half, not making the same mistake.

    • cm

      Not sure about Banks at this level. That said, he hasn’t had much chance.

  • numpty

    When you describe JOC as a link man to the back 3 I better see his value Brian, thank you. Do you think that maybe rather than whose better out of TK/JOC this is more a case of JOC forcing the coaches to get the 13 playing a different role? Do you think TK could play this role in attack? Also, I can’t make up my mind whether Hodge created half chances with the breaks etc he made from nothing (positive impact), or whether he turned full blown chances into half chances (negative)… He looks so labored in his running, but he surely cannot be as slow as he looks because no one really got close in that break he made for the first try. His kicking for touch was good except one that he put over at the 22 that should’ve been <10m from the try line. The forwards then made 10m with the maul, could've been a try scoring opportunity. Banks is fantastic at these kicks but he didn't look comfy on the wing. Banks is 15 or nothing from what I've seen.

    • maxxlord

      Hodge has an awkward running style which makes him look slow but he is tall and eating up ground with his stride. Nowhere near as slow as is touted though his acceleration is not that quick.

      • Who?

        Agreed. The only times he’s genuinely slow (other than accelerating) are when he’s limping loping. If he’s just loping, given he’s got a massive stride length, he’s actually got decent top end pace. Though sometimes he lopes with a limp, an uneven stride (thinking of a chase he put on last year in particular), and he looks horribly slow then.

      • numpty

        Yeah this is what I figure. He is also bigger then people think, so he is actually quite physically imposing. Considering he seems stuck in fullback or wing these days, it’d be nice to see him improve his acceleration, footwork going forward.

      • onlinesideline

        I think hes deceptively fast off the mark as well

    • Cornchips

      I am a big fan of TK, mostly because I do think he has been very successful at evolving his game and developing his skills, he has drive which is invaluable. Do I think he could be a link player? Yes. Can he be now for the RWC? Probably not. He would need a year at the Brumbies doing that before I think it would be appropriate to try it at test level


Brian Smith is a rare breed who has both played and coached international rugby and doesn't mind telling it as he sees it. He's currently putting his Oxford degree to good use teaching Commerce and coaching rugby at the Scots College, Sydney.

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