Brian Smith's Analysis: Good Start - Green and Gold Rugby

Brian Smith’s Analysis: Good Start

Brian Smith’s Analysis: Good Start

Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika will be happy with Australia’s first hit out of the Test Match season. The Wallabies scored 5 well-executed tries and their Attack Coach Steve Larkham will be delighted with the execution of their strike plays. Let’s take a look at the ties in sequential order.

1. Kick to Score

The Wallabies have a very good driving game but every team needs a Plan B if the drive gets sacked, or if the referee calls for the attack to use it or lose it. The Bernard Foley cross kick from left to right for Israel Folau was well thought out, as it gave Izzy a chance to jump off his preferred take off foot (his left foot). It was an excellent way to get the Wallabies strike player into the game early. Hats off to the coach and play caller.

2. Keep Going Sequence

Australia’s second try came hot on the heals of the first try and was a beautiful sequence play off a lineout around the half way. The Wallabies centres set a target in midfield, whilst Scott Higginbotham and Adam Coleman raced the Fijian back row around the corner. I think the ball was probably meant for Higginbotham but with Coleman receiving the ball he was able to use his long right arm to play Higginbotham through the line. This is one of those plays that every aerial forward will be asking their coach to include in the playbook. Again great thinking from the coaching staff as this play is designed to test the work rate of the opposition back row. That was something the Wallabies coaches clearly wanted to do.

3. Hooper’s 6Man Play

When you have a player like Michael Hooper in your team you can run shortened lineouts because he has the skill set on par with all the backs. There are plenty of back rowers who can only run decoy lines on short lineouts, Hooper is way better than that. The timing of this 6Man play was perfect. Ball players want their runners to all be live options. That’s exactly what happened on this play. Izzy hit the line at 100 miles an hour and their were live options out the back. Having the additional ball players in the form of Karmichael Hunt and Dane Haylett-Petty in the backline means the Wallabies can run these intricate plays. You can’t run these plays with a crash bang 12.

4. Drive to Score

Australia’s driving game gives them the ability to play an all court game. They are well drilled and they were very efficient throughout the match. Scoring from a drive strikes a massive psychological blow to the opposing pack. Mario Ladesma will be happy with the drive performance against Fiji and he’ll look to build on that in the next game.

5. Breakout Play

The Wallabies final try was scored from a breakout option as the Fijians set themselves to defend the drive. Tevita Kuridrani was used to bend the defence line and the Wallabies again raced the Fijian pack around the corner as the backline ran a simple block play to give Henry Speight his second try of the match. All of Australia’s tries were scored from set piece and all were scored within 20 seconds of winning possession. Impressive numbers that suggest the attack execution was clinical and precise. Well done team.


The Wallabies performance was very commendable considering they were only together for one week in preparation for the Fijian match. The comprehensive win will give the entire group plenty of confidence going into the Test Match v Scotland on Saturday. The Scots will be more disciplined in defence and their Australian Defence Coach (Mat Taylor) will be preparing his troops to stop the Wallabies plays that have been highlighted above. The Wallabies coaches in turn will be pouring over vision of the Scotland v Italy match looking for weaknesses to attack and strengths to defend. Scotland will be a sterner test but the Wallabies will be ready. Good luck boys the country is behind you!


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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