Brian Smith's Analysis - The Perfect 10 - Green and Gold Rugby

Brian Smith’s Analysis – The Perfect 10

Brian Smith’s Analysis – The Perfect 10

At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal the world witnessed the first ever perfect 10 by Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. In game 2 of the 2018 Bledisloe Cup series in Auckland we may have seen rugby’s version of “The Perfect 10″ with Beauden Barrett’s outstanding individual effort. The “World Player of the Year’ in 2016 & 2017 may also be on track to win the award for a third straight time in 2018. Here’s a reminder of the qualities Barrett displayed on Saturday…

The Bullet

Barrett scored his first try running a beautiful hard line off Aaron Smith 7 phases into a passage of play that had Beauden’s finger prints all over it. It started with the All Blacks winning a contestable kick and if you focus on Barrett’s involvements he touched the ball 5 times in a 45 second passage of play that showcased his awesome skill set. His final touch was a hard line off the scrum half called a “Bullet” back in the day when Joe Roff and George Gregan ran the same play for the Brumbies and Australia.

Run From Deep

Barrett’s second try started with his attacking instinct and finished with another hard line off Aaron Smith. Plenty of international 10s would have kicked the ball from their own 22m area but Barrett trusted his attacking instincts and passed the ball into space then backed up down the middle of the field. The desire to run from deep is part of this All Black’s team DNA and every time they did so he Wallabies were stretched beyond their defensive capabilities.

Show & Go

Beauden Barrett’s third try showcased his blistering speed. Michael Hooper had pushed up to shut down Barrettt’s forward runners so he took on the Wallaby defensive line and left Rob Simmons and Sekope Kepu grasping. Once through the first line of defence Barrett still had to beat the two Wallaby sweepers in Will Genia and Dane Haylett-Petty. When Barrett received the ball he was about 55m from the try line and it took him 7 seconds to beat 4 Wallaby defenders and score. He is a special player.

The Strip

The fourth of Barrett’s tries was a gift really. The Wallabies were stripped of the ball in the tackle and the All Blacks had a crack from deep despite the fact they were 10m from their own try line when Tom Robertson was turned over by Brodie Retallick. Damian McKenzie then terrorised the Wallabies scrambling defence and the All Blacks had launched another brave counter attack that was capped off with Beauden Barrett scoring his fourth try.


The Wallabies were again very competitive for much of this match. However they look well off the pace when they are transitioning from attack to defence or defence to attack. This is the job facing Michael Cheika and his coaching team. If they are to seriously challenge the All Blacks in game 3 the Wallabies will need to improve their transition game. It’s something that can be coached.

  • Greg


    Thanks for the detailed analysis. Congrats to NZ. The won well.

    We fixed much in this game with the lineout and scrum performing. We had some pretty woeful tackle stats. I am guessing that most of the missed tackles were in transition.

    I agree with you that we need to improve here…. but better yet, don’t give up the pill with strips and knock ons.

    • Adrian

      Exactly Greg
      We fix one one thing, and they find another.
      As a former back, I see a lack of communication and trust in the backline. We lack experience at 13.
      Still, we are up against the best team I’ve seen in 55 years

      • Patrick

        Yes agree, we lack a Mortlock (or if you like a Horan) but also a Larkham.

        • Patrick

          Or more to the point, a Toomua and not to forget a Fardy and maybe a McMahon :)

        • onlinesideline

          But really would any of these guys make a difference. Even if we had say Thor back and a Mortlock at 13, We keep on saying to ourselves what if we had this bloke or that bloke. It never seems to make a difference. Its delusional to think individuals or lack of, are the problem. We all know it. Look at the Saffas. For years one on one they looked bigger, tougher, more athletic but we beat them using our smarts. The Wallabies are clearly undervaluing smarts as we are as supporters, because our go to is always naming names not plays.

        • onlinesideline

          A Honey Badger – a face on chest high hard hitting mack truck. Why are these guys so hard to find in OZ these days.

        • Who?

          And a K-Train.

        • Adrian

          In defence, I think that all backline players need to be familiar with each other and trust each other. They need to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
          I used to know when I could shoot out, and definitely smash the guy, or take an intercept. It wasn’t guesswork, and the other backline players knew too.
          This comes with miles of practice, and has the fringe benefit of improving attacking confidence and communication

        • Brisneyland Local

          What worries me most Adrian is that they have had 5 weeks together now. A contested hit out against Wallabies B’s, and Bled 1 and still cant get the basics right. It’s not about the cattle its about the plan. they either dont know it well enough or cant execute it. Either way, it and they are failing dismally.

      • onlinesideline

        I agree with you on that statement re “best team in …. ”
        Its not even a question for me. This team is better than the 2015 team clearly. Their 2nd XV is bloody good too. Scary.

        • mikado

          Agreed – the NZ forwards are good at the traditional forward skills, but are also mobile, have great hands and good rugby brains. It’s all pretty scary.

      • Geoffro

        Thanks for saying that. Many people criticising the Wallabies and not enough praising this great team.I too haven’t seen a better AB side going back quite a few years.

        • juswal

          You can find plenty of places on the web where the great team will get its due praise. They’ll have in their addresses.

  • Patrick

    Great points and all fair. I rewatched that first try 10 times but sadly the pass was not forward – I needed some excuse! But there is none, the ABs are just so damn good.

    Lots of positives, indeed, the scrum, even the game management, the line out, some of the attack were all much better, in general the urgency and physicality were much better too.

    So things to work on, sure the transition game, but I think the key weakpoint is one on one defence – at least two tries came not so much from clever play (the first one, for example, was at least 50% clever play) but from either someone in the defensive line missing their man, either someone in the defensive line not trusting the next man to make his tackle and creating the gap by covering unnecessarily.

    I think they should drop the two players with the highest missed tackles when they were part of the defensive line (Tui? Foley?) no matter who they are, and make it clear that tackling is a siné qua non of selection. I would put those that didn’t trust their teammate to do his job on a warning list, too, as well as Hooper for shooting out to of the line. There were just too many for us to compete with the ABs, and, I’m worried, too many for us to compete with the Pumas or Boks either (but we might score more of our own against them).

    • Greg

      It might have been marginally forward. It looked worse because 10 had overrun but was anyway onside. Just imagine if he hadn’t had to reach back!

      Have a look at black 4 at the ruck before the pass. straight off his feet, from the side to make sure that he tied up a few players on the ground. We can probably see gold doing similar things – they were pinged 3 times for something a bit similar.

      Black 7 also looks to have a go at impersonating Hopoate in the same ruck! :-)

      • Patrick

        Yes they definitely did that all day, quite annoying that Barnes pinged us and not them. And Pocock was definitely targeted, I was very disappointed that nine of the ABs dislocated their shoulder on his head because then we would have seen the replay and they could have been yellow carded. Also the neckroll – honestly he maybe should have stayed down after that one to make the ref think about it more.

        • Archie

          Haha c’mon. Yet Pocock chokeholds B.B. around he neck (from an offside position I’ll add) as he scores before half time… yet no mention of that one?? Definitely deserved a card

          What about the other tries that were called back. One pass was back out of the hand and the other was definitely a knock… yet mid 2nd half Genia could knock on right in front of Barnes at the base of the maul and it’s play on. If you’re going to start nitpicking to play the ‘rotten luck card’, it gets pretty convenient if you simply ignore the luck you did have.

          Lucky the score wasn’t 50+


      Mate Foley has won the worst defender crown in most tests for years….. yet he’s still picked with no backup option in sight.. ….

  • Adrian

    Thanks Brian

    Yes, I believe the transitran can be coached.
    I think the pattern they use in defence is much simpler than in Bled 1 last year.

    Do you think it would be worthwhile having two pretty good defenders in the centres (eg Toomoua and Meakes), or at least a specialist 13 such as Rona, and moving Beale in to 10?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I’m not sure moving Beale in is a smart move as I don’t think he works well with limited space. I actually thought his defence at 12 on Saturday was quite good and certainly in the first half he shut Luamape down quite well. I thought he was pretty pedestrian in the playmaker role and didn’t actually have a hand in either try. Maybe it was a bad night for him but he was very quiet.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Mate I didnt think that it looked to bad til I read the stats. Beale Made 6 tackles missed 7.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think the missed ones must have come inthe 2nd half. What I did notice is that he never actually created anything in attack so not sure what his “play maker” role actually is.

        • Brumby Runner

          In a nutshell it is to put Folau through a gap. When Folau isn’t there, he is much less effective.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          And he didn’t do that in the first game anyway.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate both he and Foley didnt create bugger all, all night.

        • Habitual Offender

          Ignoring the fact that Barrett had a 10 on his back.
          How many of his tries would be considered as classic #10 tries, or were they scored in a support runner role?

        • Habitual Offender

          Well, the question made sense to me when I typed it…

      • Brumby Runner

        I don’t think there would be a noticeable difference in his play if he started at 10 instead of 12. ATM he shares his time between the two spots anyway. But, I have to say that Toomua looked more dangerous with the ball than either of Foley or Beale did when he came on in this game.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think he’d crab even more at 10 than he does at 12 as I think he does that to try and find space.

  • Who?

    Interesting to look at the tries. The first one, that’s terrible defensive organization. There’s no excuse for a gaping hole like that in front of your posts. So I looked back through the clip…
    First, Pocock’s down for ages after contesting the breakdown over Beauden. He cops a shoulder charge to the head. No attempt to bind, nothing. Clear targeting of the head. The next tackle, Hodge and Tui take a literal eternity to get up, given the mess of the breakdown. The two defenders on the Wallabies’ left side of that breakdown are Beale and Foley. Followed by Rodda. After the ball is cleared, Beale and Foley both look to get to a wing – Beale canters away to the right wing sweeping behind the defensive line, while Foley meanders towards the left. Rodda overtakes him, and gets to the next breakdown. Now, with Foley jogging to the left wing, the next two defenders are the still shaken and on his knees Pocock, and Coleman. Rodda ends up as the pillar at the next breakdown. This means that, to the Wallabies’ left side of the breakdown – which is to their right of the posts – we have Rodda, then Tui – who’s only starting to look to get back into the line when Beaudy receives the ball 1m closer to the try line than Tui’s standing… Coleman is another 5-10m behind him.
    I get that we need to have the wings covered, and we don’t want Foley and Beale tackling Brodie all day long. But if either of them had stuck around, I’d wager they could’ve at least slowed down Beaudy.
    And this isn’t transition. This is just general play.
    The other three, well, the second one was just poor drift and jockey, the third was Hooper getting too far past the ball (creating too much of a vertical gap for two tight forwards to cover – Kepu had to follow Hooper, but Simmons had to cover Ardie Savea before he could chase Beaudy, and by then the vertical gap was huge), the fourth was Retallick getting angry and transitional game. Though I thought Hodge looked half lame (maybe he was cramping?) and gave up the chase earlier than he should’ve done (i.e. if he’d gone hard the whole way, with Barrett slowing to get by Koroibete, Hodge might’ve had a shot).

    • mikado

      Great breakdown there Who (& thanks of course Brian for the clips and analysis). In the first example I was inclined to show some sympathy for the Wallabies – the ABs battered them through successive phases and any defence would be struggling by that point. However Tui was slower than I’d like for a loose forward and I agree that having Beale and Foley move to pre-planned positions was a bit dumb given the widening gap in the centre.

      The third try really shows the pros and cons of Hooper shooting up like that. I think he does it a lot, and I assume it’s intentional and coached. He is successful in shutting a potential passing move down the line, but of course Kepu is left in no-man’s land, halfway between supporting Hooper and maintaining a line with the rest of the defence. Of course halfway meant neither objective was achieved, and you have to give big credit to BB for spotting the gap and exploiting it. On that occasion, I think that if Kepu had slowed a bit to maintain the defensive line the Wallabies would have survived. More generally, having Hopper shoot up like that is risky and the Wallabies (& Waratahs) really need to look at whether it’s the right thing to do. Apart from all that, I thought it was disappointing that neither Genia or DHP laid a hand on BB as he zoomed through.

      • Who?

        Hooper’s shooting is absolutely part of the plan. And it’s not an uncommon plan anymore. In the SH, it was arguably pioneered by the 2016 (title winning) Hurricanes, and both Gustard and Farrell’s defences have used it. The tactic being to rush up straight and hit the second receiver at the same moment as the ball arrives.
        The problem there was that Simmons had to cover Savea, and Hooper was miles past the ball before Simmons could move off Savea. So the vertical stagger was pronounced early. Nick Bishop did some great analysis of how to defuse the second receiver blitz, I can’t remember which team it was that demonstrated it, but the tactic, basically, was to get the ball to the 10, running a slightly outside line. As the blitz nears him, he steps back inside the blitz (i.e. towards the ruck, because the line almost never comes downfield straight – it always staggers, generally having more pace towards the second receiver than the ruck), shrugs the first tackle, and then throws an easy pass to the second receiver, who, by this point, has seen the defenders rush up past him, and the second receiver is in the backfield.
        What Beauden Barrett did here (and I specify, because the dummy he threw was aimed at both of his brothers) was basically that, in that he held the ball longer than wise if he were wanting the ball to arrive at the second receiver before the defenders arrived. Cxcept he didn’t need to step back inside Simmons, as Simmons was forced to cover Savea initially, placing him two steps behind Kepu, creating that vertical stagger, and Beauden is lightning fast.
        So, the issue wasn’t Hooper not following the plan, it was lack of situational awareness and connectedness.
        Given Beauden went right through the middle of the line, I wasn’t surprised that neither Sauce nor Genia (think Hoss calls him Sideshow Bob these days?) got near him.

        • mikado

          Yes I’ve seen Owen Farrell do similar for England and the Lions. He’s not necessarily personally effective but the team has generally got away with it. I agree that if Kepu had held back the ABs might still have unpicked the Wallaby line; however it wold have needed great skill. I think Kepu pushing into no-man’s land made BB’s job easier.

        • Who?

          If Kepu hadn’t pushed with Hooper, Beaudy simply would’ve gone through in front of Kepu. Hooper just pushed too hard too early, because he didn’t follow Beauden enough. The Reds under Link had a term for when you could charge hard – it was when the pass had been thrown, and was known as ‘defensive free time’. Because, whilst the ball’s in the air, it can’t change direction. It’s got to be collected from somewhere along its flight trajectory. So you can charge any player looking to collect that ball.

        • Brumby Runner

          I agree, it is a matter of situational awareness. What this illustrates to me is the Hooper shoul;d only shoot up when he has essentially the backline defensive line around him, eg off a lineout. The risk is far greater than reward when he is surrounded by forwards, and in this case tight 5 forwards to boot. Hooper can be a detriment with his shooting defensive tactic as this instance shows.

    • Brumby Runner

      All great points Who. The last try by Barrett also illustrates why Koroibete has tackling issues that need to be addressed if he retains his spot. Koroibete has a ton of pace and he plays with great intent, especially when chasing a kick or restart. But he doesn’t have the smarts to size up a situation and adjust his pace and run when approaching the player with the ball. If he times the run to hit the catcher as he takes the ball, then Koroibete is very effective, but if he’s just a little late he doesn’t then adjust his run and his pace to be able to deal with the catcher who can simply avoid him by stepping one way or the other.

      The chase he put on Barrett was similar. He was at full pace aiming his run to catch Barrett if he (Barrett) continued in the same direction. The slight slow down and jink was all Barrett had to do to leave Koroibete clutching at thin air. In a situation like that Koroibete has to judge his run to get behind the player with the ball and if necessary be ready to slow a little to adjust to any change of direction by the attacking player. In other words, he has to force the ball runner to run where he (Koroibete) wants him to run. Doing that, he can hit the ball player around the thigh area from slightly behind him and the tackle is made.

      Koroibete offers a lot as a winger but he has to be smarter when he is chasing a high kick or a player who has made a break.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        To be fair, isn’t that what you get when you bring in a League guy who doesn’t understand the subbtlies of rugby. Why would anyone expect anything more?

        • Brumby Runner

          Precisely. But what are the coaches there for if not to iron out deficiencies in players’ skill sets?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Shouldn’t be needed at this level mate. Pretty shitty management all round

      • Archie

        Great analysis.

  • OeildeNuit Nighteyes

    Do you Australian people still believe in Genia ?I found him lazy in defence. And when the ab made a clean break, half of your team stops to play and it happens several times.

    • Patrick

      Yes he often did take too long at the bottom of the ruck but I think that was mainly the team taking too long to present him with valid options. Certainly our reaction time in general is 2-3 seconds slower than the ABs, with a few exceptions (Hooper, Pocock and, in fact, Genia – he is very often in the right place).

    • Mart

      Yeah him jogging just off the runner is not a good look. It’s happened a few times. For all of Phipps faults he’s not jogging beside him, he’d be chasing like a madman

    • HK Red

      How did Genia lose that ball in the maul?? Had his hands on it, does his usual prairie dog act, wasting time……next thing you know Retallick made a play at him and takes the ball, while Genia just looks at the ref. You reckon Perenara or Smith would allow themselves to be grabbed like that?? They’d be livid. Genia needs to be more aggressive and protect the ball at the ruck/maul. Too often he looks like he’s not that bothered.

  • Someone asked in last week’s post-match tears if the ABs were slow out of the blocks.

    I think this week’s match has answered that question. For about 30-35 minutes the Wobs can more or less live with the ABs. They’ll still exploit big errors of course but that odd slip, the cover defence is good enough, the effort is there, that they’re not running away.

    Then even the half chances turn into a black wave and a try. At half time, you expect both sides to come back refreshed, but it looks like the Wobs come back relatively tired while the ABs come back as if they haven’t played a half of relatively brutal rugby. And it shows on the scoreboard and their dominance in all phases of play.

    I wondered, I doubt we can get the data, but it looked to me by eye as if pretty much all the players who stayed on in black basically performed at the same level for all 80 minutes. They just didn’t look tired, didn’t look to slow down, didn’t look to stop and catch their breath. I’m sure that’s not actually true, but I wonder what their average speed and strength performance was at the end of the match and it how it compared to the Wobs?

    Do they actually have a 5th gear, or do they just play in 4th all the time, where everyone else in the world changes down sometimes? Add that to the fact that everyone can handle the ball, everyone can run, everyone understands the game. They’re really scary good and they’ve got a year to get better…

    • Kokonutcreme

      Valid question Eloise regarding the All Blacks conditioning.

      Assistant coach Ian Foster said at the start of the season that one area they were going to focus on this year was to play faster in the second half. If they could do that without compromising their accuracy then no team would live with them.

      To do that requires extremely high levels of aerobic fitness and conditioning.

      That’s been the pattern of their test wins so far, apart from the 2nd French test.

      Now that our attention switches to Argentina we’ll watch to see how they attempt to impose their gameplan and tempo on the All Blacks.

      In the past the Pumas have exploited the gaps around and behind the breakdown to beat the rush defence. They also love to offer fools gold to outside backs thinking there’s a gap between midfield and wing before they drift across using the touch line as an extra defender.

      • Very true.

        The fitness levels of the ABs are extreme, and no one seems able to match them. It makes me wonder what they do that’s so different. However, I don’t think there’s a quick fix, that kind of conditioning, to stay that fit for 80 minutes, takes a lot of time to build up – at least all of this SR season and I’m sure they’ve been working on it for years really. If you think of Hansen’s comments about new players coming in and their need to adjust to the pace of test rugby, I wonder how much that is about getting them into the AB’s S&C program for long enough to be able to maintain their pace for the full 80? Scary thought isn’t it.

        The way the Pumas played seemed to cause more problems for the ABs than any side except the BIL. It will be interesting to see if that continues under the new coach.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Eloise, I think it was me last week that mentioned that they were slow out of the blocks. The Crusaders are very much the same. It is almost like they dont really play for the first 30 mins so to speak. This week I watched a little closer, I am now convinced it is not that the are slow out of the blocks, it just takes them that long to find their collective rhythm. Their forwards tend to find it quicker, it is just with the forwards, centres and backs all click, that is when they have that ability to switch up the tempo and blow people out of the water.

      • muppet

        ‘rope a dope’, perhaps?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Nah, I dont think it is that Machiavellian, just think it takes them a a few plays to blow the cobwebs out and settle into their battle rhythm.

      • That makes it sound as if the other side have no impact. I agree there seems to be some adjustment period but I think it’s more that the ABs go out with their approximate positioning worked out from video analysis, playing against their opponents at Super Rugby level but they need to adjust to the actual play at test level – defensive lines are faster because the slowest person is a bit faster and so on.

        Maybe it does take them that long to fully adjust but I think it takes that long for the defensive structures to fully break down too – someone sliding off a tackle is not a disaster if everyone else can run hard enough to make a cover tackle, scramble back in defence, but once that goes, the floodgates open.

        • Brisneyland Local

          You might be right. I always equate it to fighting both in the ring and on the battle space. It takes you a few rounds int he ring, and a few magazines on the battle space, to get your rhythm down pat. ;-)

        • I think they definitely have that too. I just think that’s the first 5 minutes maybe, not the first 30-35.

    • Bernie Chan

      If it is an issue with fitness, then we really are stuffed….Cheika had the squad for 4 weeks before the first Test, and people still thought we ‘ran out of gas’ (Hooper was undercooked and Cheika made a mistake in giving him a starting berth…). The defensive alignment and constant shuffling to get Foley and Beale out on the wings doesn’t seem to help…and how can we take advantage of breakdown turnovers if the team’s two ball players (using that term a bit loosely…) aren’t in position to attack?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        mate that is so true and I’ve been banging on about this for ages. TBH I thought KB was good defensively when he stayed in the line in the first half but all this chopping and changing is just crap. As you say the biggest risk is you get a turnover and there’s no one around to take advantage of it

        • Bernie Chan

          To the outside observer, that is so bizarre. Who has responsibility for the team’s strategy…must be Cheika, as the defensive approach (the infamous Grey ‘system’…) appears to be at odds with any counter attacking (Larkham’s responsibilty…) mindset. Or is Larkham stuck in the period where the team used phase-play after phase-play. Evidence over a long period of AB dominance suggests that counter-attack off turnover ball is the best opportunity to score tries (Brett Harris referred to it in The Guardian..) but the Wallas brains trust (use that very loosely…) seems to have ignored this facet of play.

      • I think, as I’ve commented below, the kind of S&C fitness you need for what the AB are doing, if I’m right, takes more than 4 weeks. I know rugby isn’t actually constant, but for big chunks of time with phase play it maintains a high pace, especially against the ABs, only slowing for a little while when you get a set piece.

        So how do you train someone to basically sprint and tackle, then ruck and maul, then do it again for 2, 3, 4, 5 minutes, have a short break, if you’re a forward, scrummage, then do it again, and do that for 40 minutes? I definitely don’t know the answer, but I’m pretty sure the ABs do it better than anyone else, and I’m pretty sure it’s more akin to training for a marathon, where you get hundreds of km in your legs over months, than training for a sprint, where you get hundreds of metres in your legs in a few weeks.

        The defensive shuffle is a whole different issue. I’ve always thought it was a bit crazy for a lot of reasons. Lack of offensive smarts on counter-attack is just one of them. Arguably you gain someone who might tackle whoever is playing 12 for AB better and keep up with Barrett, but you expose Beale and Foley with their oh-so-sound tackling and aerial skills to those slow midgets the AB are known for selecting on the wings as well.

        • Bernie Chan

          Certainly in football/soccer (the Broncos NRL team sure has something similar…) the approach is to do do the major conditioning pre-season so players only need maintenance during the season. Doing a lot of aerobic work (the Reds did too much gym work we suspect…) is important but not long distance running. As you noted, it is sprint/recover/sprint/recover…and then ruck, maul, scrum as well. The output of players is measured via GPS trackers so the physiologists know when their bodies need a break. Cheika complained about this last season (?) and caned the squad to the point of fatigue leading up to the RC…he has had ample opportunity to get fitness sorted, that’s why I commented that if it is (and I don’t know…) an issue of fitness then we are stuffed, as it speaks to a degree of mismanagement. As for Grey’s defensive shuffle…god only knows!

        • I think at the tempo the ABs play, it more like sprint, sprint, sprint, sprint, those recovery times are too short, at least for anyone else to recover properly. That’s the issue.

          It looks to me like they tapped out the whole side’s (barring Pocock) … I’m not sure what the correct term is but “whole match reserves” is hopefully clear enough, so they couldn’t recover over the half-time break and were just on a downwards spiral thereafter.

          The reserves might have made a difference it had been all 8 at 50 minutes… 8 fresh players and 7 tired ones have fewer gaps, but with most of the team already tired, the odd one or two fresh ones don’t pose enough of a defensive wall, the others are still not making their tackles, covering back and so on.

          If Argentina remain competitive for longer than 35 minutes or so – over the last few years they’ve remained in it for more like 60 minutes – that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re hugely fitter. Their defensive system was different so they spend their energy differently. The ABs still wear them down but Grey’s defensive system (not withstanding the shuffles) is possibly just exhausting the players faster.

          I think you’re right – we’re looking at the signs of madness. The system seems to only work in part, or when the ABs aren’t paying attention (like Bled III last year). Keeping on trying the same thing and expecting a different result… well you know that they say about that.

    • Mike Mike

      The problem is teams need to go hard out to establish a form of parity, the downside is that just leaves the team expending a heap of energy, especially defending for long periods and then the gut busters when a break happens, the tanks 3/4 empty by the later stages of the half and into the second. Really hard to re-energise to the level required even after a 10min break, and this leads to mental fatigue, then drop in skills and decision making. The AB’s just play their own game at the tempo that suits and they are used to. Even if both sides employed the exact same fitness and conditioning regime, its still comes down to the cattle each side has, and i don’t think they have progressed from last year at all.

      • I certainly agree with the first two thirds of that. Advancing since last year is hard to judge. The ABs have progressed, the Wobs may have: we’ll see as we see them against other teams that are improving over the next few weeks which will give us a better measure I think. If the Wobs perform about like last year, or better, then there’s improvement, if they perform worse then there’s a serious problem.

        I have a bad feeling we’ll find out that both SA and Argentina will have improved past the Wobs this year but we’re not quite there yet.

  • Mart

    In every clip, Genia is jogging off the pace. Is his fitness no good? I hope he just gassed because if it’s a head space thing that’s not a good look. You should be busting a gut

  • Mart

    Wallabies fans after game 2

  • Footyyy

    Gee, how different would the game be if Hodge had put Beauden down during that first phase…

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    No I wasn’t talking about his whole game just that he initially handled Luamape quite well. His miss on Jordie was pretty shit and reminded me of his miss on Nonu at the RWC. Look I don’t rate Beale very much at all. I think he is very good at times and has scored some very nice tries when he has been in space. But in general his ability to manage a backline to kill an attack is poor, usually his defence is weak, he very rarely creates something for his outside backs – too busy crabb8ng across the ground to find some space and I don’t think he’d get a run in any of the NZ Super teams.


Hopes to play David Pocock in the inevitable biopic. Lifelong fan of whoever Jarrad Hayne is currently playing for.

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