Do Do Run Run: Wallaby Player Ratings
Rugby

Do Do Run Run: Wallaby Player Ratings

Do Do Run Run: Wallaby Player Ratings

Kurtley on the fly

And the winner is? History. This is the 12th loss in a row on the highfeld since we last beat the Bokke three months before President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas in 1963.

Our execution last night by the Springboks extends this less than impressive record but there were a few positives to it.

What were those you ask? Well, if you actually paid to get in you certainly got your money’s worth.

Tries galore, full-on running rugby from both sides (more from the Wallabies actually) and a pretty exciting spectacle, despite some empty seats in the stands.

You can see the potential in this Wallaby side but it’s frustrating that they have yet to develop a temperament that allows them to win those pressure matches.

The first half was a tryfest with a bonus point achieved before oranges. The attack looked terrific but we let them back in by some poor defence.

In the second half we were overcome by Springbok pressure, especially in the forwards, where we couldn’t maintain a decent flow of possession.

Crucial turnovers at the set piece took the sting out of our attack and that was that.

Player Ratings:

Kurtley Beale – 8 Best Wallaby player on the park. There were a few minor glitches but in attack he was just superb. He generally took the right option and chanced his arm a bit. It worked. His footwork and ability to beat a man were great. Missing 4 tackles is a bit high, though. Has cemented the No 15 position.

Mitchell – 7 Shmoo made a couple of defensive errors but was always dangerous when given a bit of space. He’s hard to bring down when he turns on the gas and he had a hand in a try or two.

O’Connor – 6 Scored two tries by being in the right place at the right time. Benefited from Habana dropping a ball cold but had to do a bit of work to close it out. Wingers should be finishers so I guess he’s learning.

Ashley-Cooper – 5 Didn’t do much wrong but he was strongly marked by Jacque Fourie all night. In fact, Fourie had the better of him in their exchanges. Needs to be left in this position to keep developing.

Giteau – 6 Contributed to the backs expansive play and a settling influence on those around him. Cooper’s cut out passes left him a bit dry but Gits injected himself well when required. His goalkicking was top notch: 5 from 5.

Cooper – 7 Looking very accomplished after his enforced rest. He’s a ball player extraordinaire and this type of game plan really suits his style.  He controlled the match well and is always a danger taking it to the line. His wide passes are just so accurate. Missed 6 tackles – can’t get away with that in league. Sign that contract son….

Genia – 7 Improved from his last start and looks like getting back to his best. His combination with Cooper was a highlight. Quick ball allowed for quick, accurate passing. Dangerous around the edges of the ruck and scrum, which resulted in a try. Made a heap of tackles as well so it’s no wonder he looked tired towards the end and probably should have been substituted.

Brown – 6 You can’t fault this guy’s effort. Nor can you blame him for our lineout woes. However, it’s probably his effectiveness where there seems to be a question mark. I thought he played quite well this week although he was under all sorts of pressure at the back of the scrum.

Pocock – 7 Typical Bam high octane performance. Topped the tackle count with 15 and had involvements all round the park. Didn’t get too many opportunities to steal Bokke ball even with our ‘fetcher’ advantage.

Elsom – 5 Stats don’t always tell the full story but something’s wrong when the blindside flanker only makes 3 tackles in a match (and misses 2 others). Didn’t have his best game but had a few dabs along the way. Good to see him getting along with Alain.  

Sharpe – 8 Sharpie was the best of the forwards and when he went off with an ankle injury in the 65th minute it all fell apart. The lineout turned into a shambles and we lost our momentum completely. If he’s not right next week we’re f*cked.

Mumm– 6 Toiled away and certainly didn’t let the side down. Scored his first try for the Wallabies. He doesn’t have a presence like Victor and we need more than just solid toilers. However, this was an improved performance.

Ma’afu – 5 Started well and in the scheme of things probably had his best game in a Wallaby jumper. That doesn’t say much based on previous performances. Held the scrum up initially but that deteriorated with tiredness. Like Cowan, he’s just not going to last. Substituted after 55 minutes.

Faingaa – 5 Saia had a mixed sort of day. He made some good tackles and was aggressive around and about. Unfortunately, he was part of the lineout shambles and didn’t cover himself in glory. Gave away a few penalties also. For the life of me I can’t see why he wasn’t substituted earlier – Squeeky Moore is experienced and suited to this type of match. In fact, why isn’t he back in the run-on side?

Robinson – 6 Robbo’s been a bit slow in returning to top form from his injury break. He had plenty of involvements in the game and gave Dr Duup a hard time in the scrum. Couldn’t do without him though.

Reserves worth mentioning:

Slipper – 5 Looked OK for the 25 minutes he was on. Seems more assured than Ma’afu at tighthead and is a lot more active around the field.  

McCalman – 6 His 20 minutes were full of running and aggression. He only knows one way and that’s forward. I’m not sure that he should have been covering for lock (before the Higgers injury)?

Simmons – 4 Yeah, he might have been eating a pie in the stand when Higgers went down in the warmup. It’s not his fault that he wouldn’t have been prepared.

Moore – 6 In the 10 minutes that Faingaa was in the blood bin Squeeky made more tackles than the Rock in the whole game, threw a few accurate balls in the lineout and generally looked the goods.

If our backs were behind their forwards we would win most games. My overall rating for the Wallabies last night was 6.

10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke

  • DPK

    I’m much more inclined to agree with these ratings than some of your previous ones LF, but very well done here. Hit more than a few nails squarely on the head.

  • andy g

    what happened to higginbothom ??????????

    • Lance Free

      Back spasm in the warmup

  • Brando

    Deans and co should be rated for their continued questionable use of the bench. Thought burgess or sook might have made an impact in the last 10.

  • spaceman

    yep i agree, everything is spot on.
    Beale has done amazingly well and should be given the 15 spot the rest of the way to the WC.

    • Garry

      Lance, I’m more inclined to go with Dwyer on this one. KB’s weaknesses are the highball and tackling, two prerequisites for the position, and although he may improve with age, at the moment a better option maybe outside centre.
      Git/Fingers & KB in the centres, Two dads back to fullback. Worth a run?

      • Seb V

        Why does everyone want KB in the centres? That would be a defensive nightmare! KB is most effective in broken play with some space, he gets that at fullback, he wont get that at outside centre. All he has to do to keep his spot at fullback is improve his ability under the high ball, which can be worked on, and cover defence at fullback would be easier to improve then the hard hitting defense needed at outside centre.

        • Garry

          Point taken.

          Back to the bench, and inject him when the opposition players are tiring.

  • Joel D

    Personally it’s probably better that Barnes and Faingaa were left on the bench. Neither are really impact players, both or more 80 minute, strong defensive, solid toilers. Which leaves the question, what does it offer the team having both of them on the bench, covering two positions where both the starters will play 80 barring injury?

    • sammy

      that is an #kn excellent question!!!!!!

      we seem to have all our utility eggs in the AAC basket

      what happens if AAC goes down – who plays 13? – Fainga i guess? Ok, might go ok though completely untested, but then if one of the back 3 go down what next? – anarchy – you probably have to move quade to 15, gits would probably go back to 10 with barnes at 12 – so now we have a nightmare backline with almost everyone except mitchell out of the right position. Or we get something worse. With this bench – it could happen.

  • MattyP

    Grade inflation somewhere in there Lance…. How can we lose by two scores and yet still give everyone passing grades? You summed it up right in the last line. The forwards aren’t cutting it, but your grades don’t full reflect that. Come on toughen up, point fingers and name names. These guys lost a test match from a very strong position FFS that was a capitulation in the end! Grade as a pack – 4. We lost.

  • dbla

    I think the sentiment that we need more than solid toilers is spot on, ma’afu scrummaged better this time but was lazy around the ruck and his lateral movement is terrible even by prop standards. Mumm and Brown continue to work hard but physically aren’t capable of getting to let alone over the gain line as well as being pretty useless in the lineout.

    Its rough when you can see that those three are trying their guts out but they simply arent up to it. I don’t mean to say that the performance of those three lost us the game, it was schoolboy errors that lost us the game. I would just like to see others start ahead of them and see what that does to the team dynamic, I doubt it will happen but next game it would be nice to see players like McCalman, Slipper and Simmons start.

  • Skip

    the boks once again looked pretty tired for the last 15 but I thought Deans needed to make some subs. You guys calmed down about the kiwi hacks yet – that was a classic! Must have touched a nerve or two.

  • amrussian

    Ma’afu is hopeless. Only ref’s incompetence allowed him escape several penalties in the scrum – look at his binding in the second half.

  • Ham

    Very generous scores. -1 to everyone except Beale and Sharpe.

    • Lance Free

      Geez Ham you’re a hard marker? I thought there were some promising signs given that our expectations these days are fairly low.

  • Lee Enfield

    Hopefully Sharpe is good for next week and so to Higginbotham. Elsom needs to be benched, a loose forward who only makes 3 tackles and seems to always be in the backline isn’t pulling his weight. He was playing in the wing position more than O’Connor was.
    As for the backs, I would make one change to the bench, the run on backs deserve another shot, even though I would still prefer Barnes at 12 and Turner at 14. We need a high octane back on the bench, maybe McCabe instead of A.Faingaa. The forward pack needs some changes, the backs deserve to continue building their combinations.
    This week tackling practice and Defensive line work should be conducted at training, as well as secure ball holding when running and catching the high ball.
    Bar injuries I would go with
    1. Robinson
    2. Moore
    3. Slipper
    4. Simmons
    5. Sharpe
    6. McCalman
    7. Pocock
    8. Higginbotham
    9. Genia
    10. Cooper
    11. Mitchell
    12. Giteau
    13. Ashley-Cooper
    14. O’Connor
    15. Beale

    16. S.Faingaa
    17. Mafu (under sufference)
    18. Mumm
    19. Elsom
    20. Burgess
    21. Barnes
    22. McCabe

    • Thomas

      Agree re: Elsom. He’s a Nudgee boy. Sloppy and dumb.

      • Seb V

        and a poor captain! However I do think he deserves his spot in the starting 15, at least until higgenbothom starts performing well. Also he doesnt deserve the captaincy, he’s no-where near the best player or most valuable in the team. Let alone his poor leadership skills.

    • suckerforred

      Swap 8 & 6, Beal to bench, AAC to 15 and Barnes / McCabe to 13, and you’ve got yourself a side

    • what if…

      1. Robinson
      2. Moore
      3. Slipper
      4. Simmons
      5. Sharpe
      6. McCalman
      7. Pocock
      8. Elsom
      9. Genia
      10. Cooper
      11. Mitchell
      12. Faingaa
      13. Higginbotham
      14. Turner
      15. ashley-cooper

      16. S.Faingaa
      17. Mafu
      18. Mumm
      19. Brown
      20. Burgess
      21. Giteau
      22. Beale

      Higgers was a back and 5/8 until he got really big and he’s as quick as you’d want in a 13!

  • RedsHappy

    Lance:

    If we look back and do a trend line through your recent player ratings, the pattern for Elsom is a serious worry.

    You would expect a new captain to be getting, say, a consistent average of at least 7+ for his personal performances (you don’t rank captaincy per se).

    I agree – as many would – with your game rating of him from Saturday. This was a crucial game where we would absolutely expect excellence of personal performance from our captain, especially in helping consolidate a points leading position. ‘A few dabs along the way…’, that’s a shocking indictment.

    The rationality of an argument that says Elsom was the wrong choice is, sadly, building up quite strongly based upon both Elsom’s personal performances and very uneven captaincy skills.

  • Homer J

    I missed the game and now do not wish to see it.

    However, how did the scrum hold up?

    Kepu and Alexander are both fit for the end of season trip, hopefully we will not see Mafu again.

    • MattyP

      Watch the game mate. Criticisms aside, it was a cracker of a test.

    • saulih

      Watch the game. To me it was the most entertaining of all the games this 3N series Australia has been a part of… even the one they won in.

  • ozrugbynut

    I agree generally with the ratings but I do think they’re generous for some players:

    – Genia – made some poor decisions at dummy half which put the attacking player under pressure or directly led to errors. Service was OK. Agree that he should have been subbed. Burgess has showed excellent work rate since coming on, and his running from dummy half has been good this season (England game 1). I believe he could have helped continue the attacking style which worked in H1.

    – Mumm – some good work but let down by the error from the restart which led to the try. Still doesn’t get involved enough in attack. Simmons to start in Bloemfontein.

    – Ma’afu – reasonable day but not up to it. Slipper to start in Bloemfontein.

    – Moore – made several silly errors when he came on for S Finger’s blood bin. Should have replaced him in the last 20. Must be recalled to the starting 15 or at least get 30 mins in H2.

    One of the takeouts for mine was that we just don’t have the size to match it with the Boks in defense. We were going backwards in D each phase and they were able to recycle very quickly, which is unacceptable. Needed one or 2 more players at the breakdown to slow it down.

    Rocky’s performance and captaincy was very beige. Has the patience of a saint, considering some of those calls by Alain. At least have a chat mate!

  • Garry

    Any correlation between are forwards falling away in the last quarter, and the decision on when to travel to the high veld?

  • Bradley

    “Brown – 6 You can’t fault this guy’s effort. Nor can you blame him for our lineout woes. However, it’s probably his effectiveness where there seems to be a question mark. I thought he played quite well this week although he was under all sorts of pressure at the back of the scrum.”

    That is way too kind. The guy spent most of his time standing back watching others at the break down. He looked confused and like a lost little boy. That guy has the build but not the game smarts to play at this level. It is too quick for him and Brown not to bright and stuff.

    “Pocock – 7 Typical Bam high octane performance. Topped the tackle count with 15 and had involvements all round the park. Didn’t get too many opportunities to steal Bokke ball even with our ‘fetcher’ advantage.”

    I thought they kept Pocock quiet. He was working hard but wasn’t able to be his usual effective self. I thought the Boks were the first team this year to keep Pocock from playing his usual standout self. Keep at it Pocock like we know you will.

    “Elsom – 5 Stats don’t always tell the full story but something’s wrong when the blindside flanker only makes 3 tackles in a match (and misses 2 others). Didn’t have his best game but had a few dabs along the way. Good to see him getting along with Alain.”

    You are shitting me!? I knew the guy did hardly anything (like usual)…but 3 bloody tackles?!!! What the hell. Robbie needs to take that guy for a one on one and blast his ass. He is shockingly lazy and just not doing his damn job as a player, let alone a captain. Bench him. And if he does nothing when he comes on, drop him all together. Pathetic Rocky. I think McCalman made more tackles than you and he was on for 20minutes! Shame.

    One small glimmer that he is thinking like a captain is that I actually saw him have a conversation with a ref! I know! Amazing. Now I’m not sure how articulate it was but the ref seemed to speak Rocklish so that’s a start! But he has a LONG way to go.

    Shame that Hodgson is still out (groin strain). It would have been great to see Rocky benched and have Hodgson, McCalman and Pocock inject some fire into the break down by working together as they did and will during Super rugby. Hodgson get better soon mate, we need you. Hodgson’s defense is second to none and boy did we need it on Saturday night. Any news on if he is close to coming back? Any chance he’ll be right for next week or even Sydney?

  • Thomas

    Nothing will change for the next match. The Wallabies coaching staff have made it clear that they stick with players no matter what they do wrong or right. Ma’afu will start. Faingaa will start. Mumm will start. Brown will start. Positions won’t change. Use of the bench will remain limited. We’ll lose. Expect the same formula until the world cup and expect a quarter finals exit. The future is looking very poor for Australian Rugby. The smothering effect of the ARU board and theit lack of creativity and foresight will restrict the Wallabies success until a completely new culture is adopted.

    • Seb V

      Your right that the coaching staff wont change and keep picking poor players! But dont thikn the future of Australian Rugby is looking poor. For me im just getting ready for when our full strength team can run on with the likes of TPN, Palu, Horwill, Alexander, Digby, and maybe even Vickerman. TPN n palu on the same feild will add so much go forward and strengh, horwill will add much needed mungral, and Digby is just a freak!

    • Stev0

      Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  • Joe Blow

    Why is John Muggo not working at the moment and has signed for the Canucks through to the RWC?
    Jesus, he had the Wallabies front and centre on defense for an eternity. Give him a call and if it’s not in the budget let Jim Williams go…..our breakdown work is atrocious.

  • KWarrior

    2 more games to go for the Wallabies

    1 against SA and 1 against the AB’s

    If Wallabies can win both this games it will be really a confidence boost for the team.

    Seriously Elsom is not a Captain and by far is just not up to expectation. Why can’t Sharpe be Captain and hasn’t he played tremendously well this season.

    One big factor for the Wallabies a “TOTAL MENTAL BREAKDOWN” with 7-8 min to go there were 2 penalties given to the Wallabies and what did they do about it kick for touch and the rest is history.

    One thing the wallabies should be smart about is to figure out when they need to play fast pace and when they need to slow down. Its all about preserving energy especially at high veldt and especially when the team coaching panel does not make use of the reserves……only time will tell…

  • Mart

    Bradley… good point about Rocky and the ref. It’s the first time i think i’ve seen mutual respect. Even if his actual opinion was well hidden. Maybe he’s been learning from Mccaw.

    Is it me, or does anyone else get sick of seeing the Ref’s schooling the frontrowers. Reset the scrum if you have to, but don’t pull out the front rowers and have a d’n’m. They are international players, the best in their country, you think they’d know what they’re doing by now..just get on with it.

  • JTM

    Too lenient Lance mate. They just weren’t good enough. Apart from those first 15 minutes they played bloody awfully. Too many 1st up mistakes that you couldn’t count them. How many times were even basic inside short balls from Cooper put down by JOC and the likes? Too bloody many.

    The Wallabies scored 3 points in the last 60 minutes of the game. They were given a 14 point head start. Going off of that dock every player 1 point bar maybe Mitchell, Giteau, and Pocock who deserved the scores you gave them.

    Admittedly though I didn’t see the last 15 mins as we were kicked out of the pub because my mate couldn’t stay awake.

  • Robson

    Beale had some really good moments on attack, but some very poor moments under the high ball and on the tackle. International rugby players are meant to be able to do the basics consistently well and for a fullback that does mean dealing with the bomb. It does mean that their tackling has to be better than just efficient.

    The bottom line is that a fullback is the last line of defence which means that he has to be capable of barrelling someone out in the corner or stopping a rampaging lock forward dead in his tracks with a head on tackle; and he has to be as safe as a house under the bomb on his own goal line

    I’m not saying that Kurtley can’t do these things, but I am saying that he’s provided no consistent evidence of it yet. He’s had a couple of good games at fullback, but he hasn’t put as many all round good performance out there as AAC has yet. In my opinion two swallows don’t make a summer and two good attacking performances do not a top line international fullback make.

    To me AAC is still the best fullback the Wallabies have – in all departments of the game. He is not an outside centre and his performance there in the last couple of games have proven that.
    Unfortunately nobody else is available to play there just now, but it’s foolhardy to think that he is the answer at o/s centre and that Beale is the real deal at fullback.

    If people think that, they are clutching at straws. But maybe so are the selectors.

  • Roland

    Giteau does not like being told what to do. He looks like a manager at work who has been dropped for a younger more productive counterpart who he now has to work for. Being stubborn, not listening to his “new boss”, he just looks like a disgruntled pig headed employee who tries his best to do everything exactly the opposite his superiors are telling him out of spite.

    Why is noone talking about Laurie Weeks. Was actually the standout THP of the Australian teams in the S14’s (and i challenge someone to name me one who was better. Whats that? No comments. Point proved).

    Also, Beale was horrible. We’re we watching the same game. Can’t tackle, cant take high balls, nuff said, shouldn’t play fullback. Teams will just pepper him with high balls and big outside backs and i would say of his missed tackles and dropped high balls last week, that led to 14 points. you want to know where the point of difference in the two teams was, I just found it. In your “Wallaby of the Match”.

    Stop playing favourites Lance.

    • Lance Free

      I’ve never actually been a Beale fan Roland but over the past few games he’s shown the potential to be a really good fullback. I mentioned a few missed tackles in the post and that’s not good enough but he’s got to be given some time to prove his worth. Couldn’t be faulted on attack but needs more work on those other aspects.

      Go over to the G&GR Forum and into the MOTM 3-2-1 Wallabies v Springboks Ratings post. Of the 31 ratings, 28 include Beale in their top 3 and he actually finishes No 1 in 18 of them. And if you look at the names of the posters you’ll see some very knowledgeable rugby folk amongst them. Nuff said?

      • Roland

        Yeah but Lance the greater majority are fooled by flashy running here and there. A 40M dash is negated by a dropped ball in my book, so I have him in the red. I mean really, a 40M dash and a dropped ball is really equal to kicking the ball to the opposition 40M down the park. His dropped catches were crutial to reversing momentum and he failed every time.

        Anyway, In my eyes he has a lot to prove. lets face it he’s no Latham.

  • Toadman

    Missed a rating on Deans. I give this bum 3. This guy is a myth. 2 years watching the wallabies kick the ball aimlessly and this year watching a team who still can’t get their lineout right, awful at the restart and with no instinct to go in for the kill. Don’t mention his replacement policy (or lack of it). He oscillates from giving Wallaby jerseys away frivilously to not giving them at all like the weekend. All I know is after every loss I am hurting for a week but for this bloke it is a job. An Australian has to be at the helm. Finally having O’Neill giving out the jerseys made me bloody sick. Administrators should administrate.

  • suckerforred

    I was actually so excited for the first half – running rugby, brillant work by the back combinations, more then one pass before hitting the line, and wasn’t it just great! And then out came the teams after half time – and what!!! Who stole the Wallaby team that played the first half?

    Having said that there was improvement and considering the issues that have been plaguing the WB’s this year this has to be seen as a positive.

    Just a few things that I would say (you don’t have to agree):

    Slipper – I am impressed! Love his work. When will he get a go at the run on side? I know he is a great replacement as he can play both sides of the scrum, but he really needs to be given a go to see what he can do. Bet you he is the fastest prop going around.

    Beale – Never been a big fan, and still aren’t. High balls and defense are his down fall and I just much prefer AAC in the 15 jersy. However I will say that KB does have some speed and step there – perhaps comming off the bench into wing? (Just putting it out there). Agree with all of those before me – broken play specialist, so off the bench migh be where he is most effective.

    AAC – I feel really sorry for him, not knowing exactly where he is meant to be playing. First pick at full back but can play anywhere (just a bit short for the locks), so gets shuffled around the park to which ever position is available. Are there any outside centres out there?

    KB, JOC & QC – Perhaps need to be taken aside by George Gregan and given a lesson on how to tackle and how to change tackling styles to suit the player that you need to get on the ground. (Case in point – low and fast if you need to get them over the touch line, yep ‘that’ tackle, and being one of the few guys who could actually get Lomu on the ground). Hell, send the whole squad to that session!

    Deans – Mate, why have guys on the bench if you are not going to use them? What have Moore, Barnes and Ant done to deserve sitting down so much? I grant you that Barnes did not have a very good Super14 season, and at times I have wondered if he head is in the right space, but he is the definition of a confidence player (he picture is in my dictionary under that very phrase, want to see?) and sitting him on the bench is not helping, but he can tackle.
    – And a few more things about the bench – tired players miss tackles and allow the oposition to score (see last Bok try). Players get tired early and easily at altitude, unless the live there. Perhaps turning some of your backs over in the last 20 mins may help.
    – And a word on head injuries (because even if it is only a ‘knock’ it is still an injury in relation to the brain) – if a player gets up off the ground and doesn’t know which side he needs to run to with out looking at his jersy (AAC a few weeks ago) or goes to the blood bin and sits staring at his hand for 5 mins trying to work out what it is (Saia on Saturday), they probably should not be on the field. IMO Saia was playing to standard until he coped a hit and went to the blood bin, and nearly had to stay off he was there that long. At that point Moore should have been put on and left on. A half knocked out player does neither himself or the team any good by continuing.

    Well there goes my trying to be calm, rational and to the point. A new conspiracy theory – Deans was put into coach the Wallabies to give the AB’s their best shot at winning RWC2011. They haven’t got a hope otherwise.

  • matty dee

    Lance,

    On the ARU site Beale coming second to Rocky who has 40% ( over 300 people out of 800 odd ) of the vote.

    Go figure.

    Maybe you and some of the others offering comments above about the Rock are seeing a different game.

    Matty

    • Garry

      Is that true? Can he do no wrong?

  • Bullrush

    Thoughts from an All Black fan living in Aussie:

    Quade Cooper: Overrated. The guy has to prove himself over time against quality opposition. He’s had a good game vs England and one vs SA. Went missing in the last test in my opinion. Could be great in the future but defensive definitely needs work. Hasn’t even played the ABs yet. Ask Giteau about how different is playing the ABs to most other internationals.

    Kurtley Beale: Could be a FB if high-ball skills are worked on as per prev comments. Perhaps he needs to be also looked at as a contender for 1st-five to put pressure on QC. He has got a nice step and some real gas. Dunno about decision-making though.

    AAC: Pick of the bunch in the back-line. I felt sorry for him missing that try on the weekend but that shouldn’t define him – look at Jeff Wilson. He is a guy who I think the ABs need to be very wary of every time we play the Wallabies.

    Faingaa and Maafu: I love seeing these guys picked to play the ABs. We are almost certain to dominate at the scrums and around the park, these guys bring little ‘mongrel’. Maafu still looks like he’s not sure if he should really be there.

    Palu & Ioane: I think these are the two guys the Wallabies miss the most. They provide the ‘hard-man’ edge missing in the forwards and backs respectively. Palu is hard to dominate in the the tackle and will put in a huge hit in defense and Ioane is just so strong in running. Has good swerve and step but can straighten the attack as well.

    Deans: So glad the NZRFU stayed with Graham Henry and Co.

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@@LanceFree

Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

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