Drowning in Pool D: how the Wallabies lost to 16 men - Green and Gold Rugby
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Drowning in Pool D: how the Wallabies lost to 16 men

Drowning in Pool D: how the Wallabies lost to 16 men

Wales won because they were playing with 16 men.

But before you jump to conclusions – that 16th man wasn’t Romain Poite. It wasn’t Ben Skeen either, or Brett Gosper.

The sixteenth man himself

The sixteenth man himself

It was Warren Gatland.

The Wallabies were out-thought, out-coached and out-played by a Welsh team they should have beaten. It’s been the tale of this team since Michael Cheika took the reins, and it will see us depart the World Cup well before the final.

The try to Gareth Davies was the game-breaking moment and the perfect summation of what I am talking about. And before I go any further, I reckon he was onside too.

Wales had spent their last few months wisely, clearly watching game tape of the Wallabies. They noticed two things – firstly, the Wallabies like to play a flat attack with forwards hitting up in the fourth or fifth channel off the ruck. Secondly, Will Genia has developed the ‘Gregan two-step’ where he holds the ball for half a second too long before passing.

So they devised a plan to exploit this weakness. A plan that I’ve never seen any team ever try against the Wallabies. And a plan that worked to perfection.

They tasked Davies with reading the play and trying to pick off Genia when he attempts one of these longer, flatter passes. It was a relatively safe strategy because if he missed then there were bigger forwards behind him to cover the gap he created in the defensive line.

He didn’t miss. He scored the crucial try, and he should have scored another. It was rugby genius, plain and simple.

Well devised, perfectly executed

Well devised, perfectly executed

It begs the question – while Wales were studying game tape, what were we doing?

To my untrained eye, it seemed our tactics last night were the same as last game. And the game before. And the game before. And practically every game of the Cheika era.

Did we do anything to suggest we were targeting a weakness in the Welsh game? I don’t think so. We just come out and play our game as always, and let the chips fall where they may.

Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. We had our moments last night and created enough chances that we could have maybe won the game. But in reality Wales were always one step ahead of us, and it starts and ends with Gatland.

Already this World Cup we’ve seen a number of games where we’ve heard the phrase ‘[TEAM X] has been targeting this game for over a year’. The implication being that smart teams work out their key match-up, and develop strategies to give them an advantage.

This was our key game: win and we face a winnable path to the World Cup, lose and it’s almost impossible. It was as much of a binary outcome as you ever see in these tournaments. One team did their homework, and the other did not.

That fact makes this defeat particularly hard to swallow.

Michael Hooper and MIchael Cheika press conference

 

Barring a miracle run, the Michael Cheika era will finish with a whimper. This team has the talent to achieve plenty and they will be a far better side with a new man at the helm. Some may point to selection as the primary issue, but to me it’s a distant second to the tactical ineptitude we display time and time again.

We are stuck in the black-and-white era, while other teams are playing in full technicolour.

It’s time for a change.

 

 

  • Twoilms

    Lets be honest though, if the technicolour era is box kicking and a rush defence, who will even want to watch?

  • I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard Cheiks or another key figure say our plan is to “play our game, and trust it”. While you do need that as a base, it results in players being unable to change game plan should things not be working out. Case in point, Wallabies.

    • Bobas

      The beauty of his game plan is that it’s so vague that when we’re playing well its working and when we’re not its because we’re not implementing it.
      A few people on the forums are saying Cheik should be commended for his use of the bench. A broken clock is right twice a day, 3 times if you set it to 1 O’clock the whole year and wait for daylight savings to end. He should resign before the next pool game.

      • Keith Butler

        I found it more than ironic that Cheika’s ‘finishers’ came on 5 or so minutes into the 2nd half. All part of his cunning plan that nearly won the game.

        • laurence king

          There is very little that is cerebral about our play. And that problem is at the heart of everything concerning Cheika

      • Simon

        Yep, it’s the Cheika version of the No True Scotsman fallacy. “We just need to stick to our structures” and then “We got flogged, we obviously didn’t stick to our structures.”

        The No True Structures fallacy?

      • Who?

        Cheika’s the clock that’s set to 3:30 on the day the clock moves forward. :-P

    • David Creagh

      I think that works at club level where you need to set a pattern of play and don’t necessarily have a view of how your opponents play (especially lower grades), however at test level you need to have a deep insight of your oppositions strengths and weaknesses. Play away from their strengths e.g. don’t kick to the All Black back three and starve them of possession. Exploit weaknesses e.g. running big, hard ball carriers at a poor defensive 10.

      We don’t do that. Famously, Cheika once said I don’t watch the other teams.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Hugh, good write up. I was worried when I read the headline, but after the first para I was sold. Our coach sucks ass. Our game plan is not much better. We are unable to play what is in front of us, because that has been coached out of the players.

    • Timbo

      I agree with you and its beyond frustrating but the question is what happened in Perth? What was the game plan or was that just an off day for the darkness?

      • Bobas

        NZ played more than half the game with 14 men. We were the better team before the card, yet behind on the scoreboard.

      • Brisneyland Local

        High tide mark for us. Low tide mark for them.

        • From NooZealand

          Part of the plan man. See what they could do if. Part of the plan. I still think that the Wallabies could have won the game.

      • Who?

        As the others have said, plus it was Bledisloe 1 in a RWC year. We had fired up forwards and the backs did enough. Then our forwards were slaughtered at Eden Park, and we suffered on the scoreboard. It’s exactly the same thing that happened in 2015.

      • From NooZealand

        Part of the plan man

      • I’m going to go out on a limb and say – given how tired they looked in the last 20 or so which you almost never see from the AB – they were doing heavy S&C for some other tournament that they thought was more important. Hansen did say a third RWC was ahead of the TRC this year after all, although he wanted to keep hold of the Bledisloe Cup.

        So, train like crazy through TRC, foot off the pedal before Eden Park. Bledisloe retained. TRC, well, this year who cares… if they bring the WWEC back to Auckland again, only the real stats nerds will remember that SA won TRC. Oh, and in 4 years time we’ll be reminded that no one has won both TRC and RWC in the same year…

  • BigNickHartman

    Good piece Hugh. You’re exactly right it’s same old same old with Cheika and that’s where a lot frustration comes from.

    I would love to know one thing. And this is my huge frustration with rugby media, who have the best guess towards the answer but never show it.

    But is that 2nd half because of Cheika or despite him?

    That type of play – again I’m not sure where the credit goes – is what put Wales helplessly on the ropes.

    And helped the Wallabies put a record score on the ABs.

    The ABs – a side Wales hasn’t even beaten

    • idiot savant

      Good point Big Dick. You may have answered your own question in part. The changes in personnel and game style forced by the new selectors in the RC resulted in the record victory over the ABs in Perth. But on Sunday, Cheik made a Captain’s call and went back to the old firm who have been mainstays in Cheika’s sub 50% record. Whats that old saying about insanity? Keep doing the same thing and expect a different result?

      So I think because the way Cheik wanted to play the game was failing, the second half was also because of him. If that makes sense? I dont think anyone else has the power to neck Foley so Cheik made that call. But did he instruct Toomua to play the game differently or did Berne or someone else?

      In the first half Foley spent most of it in the pocket behind the forward pods so when he got the pill he was deep and he went wide with long passes. Never his strong point. Toomua flattened up and threw short passes directing traffic straighter and less lateral. Toomua said in interview after the game that they went wide too early without earning it through the middle. Was that him or the coaches? Its a good question you ask.

      • laurence king

        That definition of insanity goes for the Board as well. They should be removed along with Cheika

        • Patrick

          I tend to agree. Renewing his contract was insanity at the time and history has not improved it.

        • Patrick

          I tend to agree. Renewing his contract was insanity at the time and history has not improved it.

      • Patrick

        Maybe Toomua just did what made sense.

      • Patrick

        Maybe Toomua just did what made sense.

    • laurence king

      Wales won 3 of their first 4 meetings. last was in 1953.

      • BigNickHartman

        Doesn’t dilute my point at all but ok, I was technically wrong

        • laurence king

          Not trying to correct you, that long ago it might as well be never. Just for information and absolutely agree

      • From NooZealand

        Love to read about those lads:
        When Wales last defeated New Zealand their players arrived in Cardiff from
        various parts of the country on public transport less than three hours
        before kick-off. They had a quick lunch at a hotel near the Arms Park
        and then walked down Westgate Street, mingling with supporters, to get
        into the ground.

    • Who?

      I think the Rugby Media showed a little bit last year, but then he (Nick McArdle) had his career curtailed…
      Gee Rob’s questions in the presser were just so inane.
      .
      Oh, and I thought Wales had beaten the ABs? I thought there was still controversy after the 1907/8 tour (where the Kiwis feel they were dudded by the ref), and their last win was 1953.

  • Missing Link

    I just can’t fathom how any player could be behind the offside line when the scrum half receives the ball and end up where they did without being offside.

    In all 3 occasions where Webb attempted an intercept, he waited until the ref had his back turned to him. it wasn’t even reviewed by the superstar TMO Ben Skeen who managed to pick up many other indiscretions during the 80 minutes. complete joke!

    • Timbo

      Oh he was offside for sure, and was offside every other time he was out of the line rushing our 2nd/3rd receiver BUT why didnt our tactics change? cheeky inside ball to put someone though that gaping hole? Or start deeper and draw and pass? even a chip and chase to get Davis to stay in the line? Get Samu to run at him?
      And considering that within 35sec Biggar took a drop goal, we could have worked out how Wales were going to play! Im a poor 4th grade player and even I can see the forrest for the trees.

      • lu99ke

        BUT why didnt our tactics change?””

        And there it is…whilst we complain about an off-side call that, really could have gone either way, we cloud the fact that it was the 3rd or 4th incercept / almost intercept in the game… and yet we did not change tactics… ( and how many intercepts, especially against Nth Hemisphere, teams have we given up in the last 4 years…??? )

        Good coaches see that and address it… Better coaches prevent that from being a weakness by cutting it out and developing another style of play….. the best coaches? Well they spend so much time poring over tapes and looking at the opposition that they predict that is what the other coach is going to do… and then formulate a plan to not only stop that, but exploit the hole in the defence that opens up with 1 man rushing…

        But we don’t have the best Coach…

    • Hugh Cavill

      He timed his run perfectly, but more importantly Genia takes too long to pass the ball. He clears the ball, has a look and then winds up to throw his pass. It gave Davies enough time to come up like he did.

      At worst it’s a 50/50 call, so it’s a risk worth taking.

      • Bobas

        You’re right, it doesn’t help when they are playing off the 9 and your 10 is deliberately in a position you can’t pass to.

      • Missing Link

        It’s just frustrating that Skeen seems capable of reviewing every puff of wind coming from the back of a Wallaby player’s shorts, but couldn’t give us the dignity of reviewing Webb’s try.

    • HK Red

      I hear you, first instinct is “he’s offside”. However, after the match they showed a freeze frame of that try and at the moment Genia lifts the ball, GD is onside. It’s very close, but it’s legal and brilliantly done.

      • UTG

        But lifting the ball doesn’t mean the ball is out, he lifts the ball and it’s still under Pocock’s arse. There’re many times where the halfback has to reach into the ruck and pick it up, the ball is not out until it’s cleared the feet of the last defender.

        • HK Red

          But when you lift the ball clear and the opposition player is onside, then you do a little loop with your hands, take a step and then pass,…….the problem is your delivery, not the officiating

        • UTG

          Is he onside when Genia lifts the ball clear? You originally said Genia lifted the ball now you’re saying lifted clear. Which is it?

        • HK Red
        • Keith Butler

          Looks pretty conclusive but remember it is Kearns.

        • UTG

          What is that orange line meant to signify? It sure as hell isn’t the line of the last feet line. That image shows nothing.

        • HK Red

          Hahaha, okay Phil.

        • UTG

          Ok, if you don’t want a legitimate discussion why bother posting in the first place?

        • HK Red

          In the land of the blind, even the one-eyed man (or you) is king!

        • UTG

          Yawn, these lame quotes don’t really distract from the fact you can’t answer my question.

        • HK Red

          Yawn. Nothing to answer, you have nothing to discuss. That orange line isn’t last feet, but to completely dismiss that image is naive. It’s very simple to redraw the line and at that point I would say GD is bang on the last feet line, at the same time as Genia is at least a foot clear of the ruck. Wind it back a fraction and GD would be behind the line. As majority of people can see, it was brilliantly timed run and the issue is not Poite, but Genia’s extended delivery.
          In regards to Pocock’s arse, if the ball had remained on the ground, Genia could place his hands on the ball for as long as he wants unless the ref orders him to “use it”, in which case he has five seconds to do so. As soon as he lifts it (and he’s clearly not digging the ball out here, the ball is clear and available), it is deemed to be clear of the ruck.

        • UTG

          Why did you present an image as if it was conclusive proof if you now admit it is misleading? I’m skeptical why whoever drew that line would need to draw it there when, if you’re what you’re saying is correct, it’s so simple to draw it at the last feet and show the 9 is onside.

        • HK Red

          Sigh, I clearly didn’t draw the line, nor did I reference it. I only presented a link to an image, you chose to concentrate on the orange line as gospel, without looking at anything else. So as I’m a nice guy, I’ve tried to help you see a bigger picture. When I first looked at that image it was clear to me that the orange line was incorrectly drawn, but I can still interpret from that image where that line should be.

        • UTG

          I’m not saying you drew the line. You directed me to an image which you said ‘blind Freddy’ could see he was onside from. Now you’re telling me I need to interpret from the image where the line should be drawn and that I need to ignore a deliberately misleading line. How is that in anyway consistent with what you originally said?

        • HK Red

          Is he onside when Genia lifts the ball?

        • UTG

          Not in my opinion (and that’s putting aside the discussion of whether lifting the ball constitutes the ball being out), the image you showed me hasn’t done anything to convince me otherwise.

        • HK Red

          As I referenced, majority seems to think otherwise and that ball was clear and available and as soon as Genia lifted it, it was out.

        • UTG

          I’m not really going to be persuaded by appeals to the majority when I don’t know who the people are in the majority or if there even is a majority.

        • Parker

          What’s that Spin Doctor’s lyric, “Little miss, little miss gotta be right”? I suppose UTG you’ll want to fight about the placement of the comma, or something similarly trivial. Go for it, at least it will break the flow of the banality of your trolling.

        • UTG

          Ugh, the placement of the line was pretty important to the discussion at hand (and we both agreed it was wrong at the time and it was corrected by stuff.co later so it was hardly trivial) but I wouldn’t expect you to realise that if you’re in the habit of parachuting yourself into conversations a day later with nothing of substance.

          If having a different opinion is trolling then sue me but I can see why long time posters like Adrian have been driven away if the response to any dissenting opinion is to label them a troll rather than engaging in discussion.

        • Haz

          I think it’s pretty close whether he’s onside or offside based on the photos I’ve seen. He certainly wasn’t egregiously offside.

          The bottoms line is that the intercept doesn’t happen if Genia doesn’t take 2 steps and an age to pass the ball against a defence that is fully set and going to come flying up. Take it out of the hand of the referee.

    • Keith Butler

      The ref does not, usually, have eyes in the back of his head that’s what the ARs are for. They should be accountable as well. Still not clear to me from the videos if Davies was offside when Genia picked the ball up.

      • Brumby Runner

        Ah, but KB you are assuming that Genia picking the ball up constitutes clearing the ruck. I have to say I agree with you, but in truth it is only the referee who knows when he has judged the ruck to be over. It is his discretion, and no TMO or AR or onlooker can have an insight into that moment.

        • Keith Butler

          There’s a link on the Ratings thread with a screen shot that looks pretty incontravertible to me. Genia is shaping to pass and Davies is not offside. The Genia two step was the problem.

  • Tim

    I don’t think we played badly. I agree we never have a plan B. In saying that I thought we were dominate most of the game and just didn’t get the luck of the green. I would have liked the try to be reviewed I think he was onside but considering they stop play for 4 mins with Samu Kervi huge punch to the face its the least they could have done. Our scrum was dominate and only got one pen from it and I thought we got two clean steals which we got penalized for. We lost the game because of our 9 and 10. That was the only real difference in the teams. Wales had a better 9 and 10 which controlled the game.

  • HK Red

    Just bloody sad seeing these players go to waste, simply because we have a stubborn, one-dimensional coach and an administration to weak to make the tough decisions.

    • formerflanker

      Got to feel for Foley. It’s not for a want of trying, training, commitment and dedication that he’s not the world’s best 5/8.
      Just a decent rugby player and a good man. The look on his face after being hooked showed how much he wanted to succeed.

      • Nutta

        And thats a very fair point to make. Our criticism is on the basis of rugby and must remain so. I well recall the pasting Dean Mumm used to get. No matter how much i disagree with a selection it’s not as though the bloke woke up that day and said ‘Right, how can i fkup 4yrs of my life tonight?’

  • idiot savant

    Great clarity of thinking Hugh. “This was our key game”. According to Cheik, the halves combination had been planned for the key game before they got to Japan. So Cheik did prepare for this key game by as you clearly point out, going back to the old plan. The one that’s worked so well for the last 3 years.

  • Nutta

    Morning Cobbers

    Everyone knows Ginea skips twice when fatigued particularly to the left. Everyone knows Foley’s first two paces are always sideways when against a rushing defence which means his 12 must either crash-unders or go straight to sliders. Why do we know this? Because we’ve watched it for 6yrs now. I actually say it’s a poor reflection on opposition coaches if, given we wrote a letter 6 fkn years ago and posted it to everyone, that we haven’t been intercepted into oblivion before now.

    I still say L’fano is our best 10. It wasn’t his fault he got bashed by Fiji and needed a spell. That was on his teammates plus a shite game-plan who gave him somewhere between zero & fkall protection by failing to create other men-in-motion on a narrow front to draw the heat of the Blitzers. But even if we do say Too’s and Whitey instead of L’fano and Whitey, at least it’s a different look to the ineffective same ol’ same ol’ we dished for the last 6yrs.

    And then there is Beale’s continued demise into shitdom vs DHP who BEAT THE FIRST DEFENDER EVERY SINGLE TIME HE TOUCHED THE BALL. But I’m tired of talking about that too.

    I thought the pigs played well. Scrum and lineout sound. Breakdown work was accurate enough – we had to put more men in the breakdown than desired but that was because they were too. Hats off to Wales in their management of Poet.

    All up we reaped what we sowed. We served the same boiled-until-dry corned-beef with white-sauce like my Gran used to massacre and got pasted for it. Whilst the Samu and Ginea-intercept incidents plus the blatant time-wasting were all just terrible for so many reasons, WE put ourselves in those positions with idiotic selections, no realistic game-plan to challenge a good side and a poor first half.

    Congratulations Wales for playing the game.

    • UTG

      Can you tell me how we had no realistic game plan to challenge a good side in a match that was 29-25? Where we scored more tries than them, created far more opportunities etc. Sure tell me we had no game plan to challenge a side after NZ have given us a 30 point drubbing but to say we had no game plan to challenge them is ludicrous…

      • Nutta

        I say we had no realistic game-plan to apply because we went in against what we knew would be a well-researched and prepared opponent with the same game-plan dished up for the past 6yrs.

        By realistic I mean one that would actually challenge an opponent with originality and creativity whilst negating their defensive structures and that is likely therefore to create the circumstances to lead to a win – not one that is eat, sleep, rave, repeat of grand sweeping pod-to-2nd-man-sweepers that opponents have had half a decade to prepare for.

        The fact we got within Coo-ee of them in the 2nd half was because we – via a change in personnel who applied a different game-plan – started playing penetrative flat-ball across a narrow front characterised by short-passing. This approach succeeded because it negates a rush-defence structure and leads to both to breaking the line but also ant-hill flooding the break-point which allows ground being made with ball in-hand among close-proximity support-runners.

        This was not the game-plan envisaged as was clearly demonstrated by both the actual personnel originally selected and the way those lads then played throughout the 1st half.

        • Seaweed

          You’re on the money there. Not much else to say. Also agree with Hugh’s summary.

        • UTG

          How was it the same game plan we’ve dished up for 6 years? There’s a comment further down the page about how our game plan has shifted to playing in the tight from playing out wide.

          We were making plenty of metres in the first half, we just made costly errors on attack and when we tightened those up in the second half we started getting pay.

          What an overreaction, how you can throw out rubbish like “got pasted for it,” after such a close game is beyond me.

        • Nutta

          Dude, after 4 insults in 2 comments insuating my level of thought is so bereft of worthy content so as to be beneath your level of understanding, if my thinking is ‘beyond’ your ability to comprehend, then simply don’t engage me and save yourself the grief.

        • UTG

          What insults? You can’t throw out ridiculous hyperboles like “we were pasted” and expect someone not to call it them what they are, ludicrous.

        • RF

          Nutta is just venting UTG don’t lose sleep over it

  • Keith Butler

    Saw the headline, was about to explode and then read the article. Nothing but good sense. Could be wrong but I thought i’d read somewhere that Cheika does not look at match tapes. If so then that explains a lot. Questionable team selection and poor games plan seems to be his order of the day. Nothing seems to have changed even with a selection panel.

    • Ryanno

      “I’d read somewhere”. You probably read it here amongst all the the other nonsense.
      How many times have you heard players in the interviews after the games say something along the lines of we will look at that when we review the tape of the game?

      • Bobas

        November 22, 2016 5:00pm by Jamie Pandaram Source: News Corp Australia

        “MICHAEL Cheika has revealed he does not watch footage of opposition teams…”

        Ryanno, literally the first line.

        • Ryanno

          At least include the whole quote if you are going to cherry pick. You are leaving out a key part of the quote. “The Wallabies coach will only look at edited clips of footage the week of a Test against rivals”

          “MICHAEL Cheika has revealed he does not watch footage of opposition teams, instead leaving that research task to his assistant coaches.
          The Wallabies coach will only look at edited clips of footage the week of a Test against rivals, by which time his assistants, Stephen Larkham, Nathan Grey, Mario Ledesma and Mick Byrne, have formulated plans on their opponents.
          “It’s just the way we decide to work. The lads I’ve got with me coaching they’re really clever — they take the time to look at the opposition,” Cheika said.
          “I don’t think there’s any point in me looking over all the same things, to second-guess them? Because I don’t trust them? I believe in those coaches.

        • Bobas

          hang on, he said he read somewhere, you took offence, I showed you where he could have read it…

        • Ryanno

          I’m not offended, I expect it on this site that the Cheika outrage club will find ways to twist his words for maximise negative impact. This is a perfect example.

        • laurence king

          Well, don’t have to twist his words, he’s a dud coach. Worst we’ve ever had. Four years since the last WC and I’ve seen maybe 3 good performances. Most, even the wins have been tedious to watch. The sooner we are rid of him the better.

        • Who?

          That’d be useful if he either trusted his assistants or had trustworthy assistants. Given Larkham found out on the Tuesday when the team sheet was released that Karmichael Hunt was going to play 12, and given our defensive record under Grey’s tutelage, I’d argue that the assistants watching the tapes was irrelevant. Because their input was either of questionable impact (Larkham), or their analytical ability was of questionable value (Grey – because surely he’d have figured out faster that his systems weren’t working)…
          And, this year’s attacking game plan is Cheika’s – he presented it to the players at a Wallabies camp in Brisbane before Shaun Berne was appointed.

        • juswal

          Fake news.

  • Ryanno

    Bullsh1t. TMO took an eternity to review the Kerevi penalty and then doesn’t check the offside in the very next play. Unbelievably bad calls back to back. That’s 10 points right there and the game.
    Everybody knows that Australia V Wales is always tight. I don’t buy into this Gatland is a genius and Cheika is a dope. It took Gatland 10 years to get a win Vs the Wallabies, he ain’t that clever.
    Sadly the TMO was the difference last night.

    • UTG

      I agree, the Wallabies look like a better coached outfit imo. Our attacking structure was superior, our setpiece was superior, and, for all that was made about the Welsh defence, I think ours was also better–we broke their line with ease yet they scored off a couple of intercepts and piggback penalties.

      Of course, being better coached doesn’t win you a game of rugby, ill-discipline, costly errors, and not converting opportunities will torpedo any team.

    • lu99ke

      Mate… since Chieka took over, his win % record against ALL tier 1 teams except France and Argentina has been worse than history ( and in most cases MUCH worse ). It is CLEAR he is being out-coached by most coaches around the world – most especially in the last few years as the “surprise” of the last WC faded and people started to look at how we played… the records look decidedly worse in the last 2 years. Clearly our team has the capability to dominate games – but we do not win them – and THAT is down to coaching, not talent.

      Wales
      – Chieka = 3-2 (60%)
      – Pre Chieka = 26-10 (72%)
      = -12% Check Score
      – Note – Wales have won the last 2.

      Scotland ( Australia to Scotland )
      – Chieka = 2-2 (50% )
      – Pre Chieka = 19-9 ( 67%)
      = -17% Check Score
      – Note – Scotland have won the last 2 and almost won the 3rd last – funnily enough, with 2 intercepts and losing all key metrics of the game….. remarkably similar to last night…

      Ireland ( Australia to Ireland )
      – Chieka = 1-3 (25%)
      – Pre Chieka = 21-10 (67% )
      = -42% Check Score – including an historic first win in Australia.

      England
      – Chieka = 1-6 (14% )
      – Pre Chieka = 24-18 (57%)
      = -43% Check Score
      – Note – England have won the past 6 … ALL of the Games eddie Jones has coached… including 3-0 in Australia!!!

      South Africa
      – Chieka = 3-3 (2 draws) (37%)
      – Pre Chieka = 34-45 (42%)
      = -5% Check Score
      – Note – Aus have won only 1 of the last 5 games against SA…and both losses were against Rassie Erasumus… which everyone concedes is a far superior coach than Allister Coetzee.

      New Zealand
      – Chieka = 2-13 (13%)
      – Pre Chieka = 34-88 (27%)
      = -14% Check Score

      Argentina
      – Chieka = 8-1 (88%)
      – Pre Chieka = 17-5 (77%)
      = +11% Check Score
      – Note – Argentina won their FIRST ever game in Aus in 2018… shoudl have won it… but Folau bombed a try in the last minute… again… well coached teams don’t do that.

      • UTG

        And in the same period we’ve had the worst Super Rugby results we’ve ever had, declining interest in the game, declining funding etc. I would expect us to lose more given those circumstances.

        • lu99ke

          Yeah, sure…our Super Rugby has been poor… and whilst you say there has been declining interest in the game – that has been at Super and International level ( in part, due I am sure, to the wallabies performances ) … but NZ and SA face that too…and club rugby in Bris and Sydn has seen the biggest crowds in decades…. that is not lack of interest in the game – it is a disconnect ebtween levels of the game… but that is another story.

          The simple fact remains…with our talent, Chieka should have vastly better numbers….

          Look at the basket case SA was up until 2 years ago under De Villers & Coetzee…. and look at them now under Erasmus… same cattle… VASTLY different team.

        • UTG

          South Africa are in a completely different position to us in that they have far more cattle and depth. Both their A and B teams could beat most top 5 teams in the world. We still don’t have a 6, a flyhalf, struggle for strike wingers (and I appreciate that we left guys like Speight and Naivalu at home when we should have taken them but they are far from locks in the starting side) etc. Last year the problems were even worse and in the years before that we didn’t even have blokes who could win their own line outs and scrums. I don’t think Michael Cheika is a perfect coach by any means but I don’t think changing him will magically right all the problems in Australian Rugby.

        • Brumby Runner

          Chr**t UTG, do you really think the Cheika critics are saying that all the problems in Australian Rugby will be magically put right when Cheika goes? For over four years there have been obvious problems associated with the performances of the Wallabies, and in most cases they have deteriorated over time.

          Cheika is the man at the helm over that period in which the national team has achieved the worst winning record in living memory, maybe forever. He is a serial offender when it comes to poor selections, poor game plan and tactics and failure to see any development in the individual shortcomings of players. He clearly is a poor coach at this level and has to wear the great bulk of criticism and blame for the continuing poor performances by the Wallabies.

        • UTG

          In a time in which we’ve had the worst historical record in Super Rugby and declining participation rates and funding you would expect this to translate to the worst winning record in living memory. I’m yet to see a single post acknowledging this.

        • Brumby Runner

          Maybe because the events take place in the opposite direction. Poor performances lead to declining participation rates, not the other way round.

        • lu99ke

          Regardless of cattle available – my point is the same. SA have had VASTLY different results from the same cattle with 2 ( 3 if you include De Villiers ) different coaching set-ups. The coaches had the same players to choose from…it’s how they have been used that has made the difference. The same CAN ( and should ) happen with the Wallabies. A better coach would achieve better results because it is CLEAR that Chieka has been worked out by international coaches and is being out-thought EVERY game…

          The issues with set piece are coaching related… we have the same forwards – tight 5 especially – in the last couple of years… they gave developed, sure, but that is the 1 area that I think our coaching set-up has actually improved. Look at how we take lineouts now vs 2 years ago.. it has changed….. and the results show… look at our backline… and we are doing the SAME thing now as we did on 2015..

          We do have #6’s that are worthwhile… we just don’t pick pick them… we spent 3 years trying to develop Ned Hannigan… and got no-where…. he is massive… yet cannot deliver impact… same could be said for Lotu….. they need to be COACHED…. look at Rob Valentini under Dan McKellar… superb… Lachie McCafferey… game breaker… – I am a Waratahs supporter and STILL would prefer them in the national team ahead of Hannigan…

          I don’t think Chieka will right all the problems… but I sure do believe that we would be getting more from our players than Chieka does.

        • UTG

          I agree the coach can make a difference if you have the significant depth that SA do. My point is that the problems in Australian Rugby are structural and start from a place below the coaching level such that changing the coach won’t deliver the results that so many expect.

          I disagree we’ve had the same cattle for Cheika’s tenure. Rodda and AAA were selected first in 2017, Arnold has only come into his own in the past two years although clearly talented. I agree, Hanigan was a tried and failed experiment but Valetini and McCafferey weren’t around when he was being trialled. I’m not exactly sure I’d call them gamebreakers yet but they have a lot of promise, Rob in particular should be an 80-100 test Wallaby but he’s only 21.

          For me, the 2016 series against England was a clear low point. We were completely trounced and couldn’t win a single metric across the park. When I compare that to yesterday’s performance against the grand-slam winning, recent number 1 side in the world and see that we were dominant for most of the game I can’t agree that Cheika has made the same failures for 6 years. There’s been improvement over the same period Australian Rugby has struggled at all levels. For people on here to come out and call it a pasting completely undermines the effort that I’ve seen from players like Arnold, Rodda, Latu, Koroibete, and AAA to improve their games.

        • Who?

          We won a good number of metrics against England in 2016. Metres run, possession, territory. We just had absolutely no clue with what to do with any of those winning metrics. We played a lot of one out, league-style rugby.
          .
          I agree we’ve seen changes in game plan over the years. Thankfully! But we’ve seen the same inane mindset of, “If we do what we want to do well, no one can stick with us.” A mindset that completely disregards the intelligence, strengths and weaknesses of opponents. That’s what’s been consistent. Put it this way – it took until the last offseason for the Wallabies’ coaching staff to recognise that the defensive pattern which ABs players saw was ineffective and was preventing any attacking spark (by exhausting the players) in 2015 was a problem. That’s three years, from guys who spend their time looking at one team, compared to guys who’d faced the Grey defensive system ‘only’ three times.
          .
          I think most everyone would agree with you that the players you’ve listed have improved – most of them significantly. Arnold and Koroibete are well worth noting for their improvement in the last 12 months. But with the talent available, we should’ve won that game. Wales were playing their concussion-prone third choice 10 for most of that game. They only have North left from the era of Gatland-ball, so they can’t overpower us anymore. We had the team to win that, but

        • UTG

          I absolutely agree we had the team to win. There is a lot of shop talk about “trusting the systems” and “if we do what we want to do we will win,” and I agree to an extent this may not be as helpful at times as an honest review of why we lost. I will say that there is some truth to the statement “if we do what we want to do well, no one can stick with us,” in that at their best last night the Wallabies were clearly a superior team. That’s the most frustrating thing about the Wallabies, they do look like world-beaters when it clicks but they also cost themselves so many times with poor execution. Definitely there is a case to be made for the game plan being too complicated for the personnel or the conditions, good examples are our relatively poor play in the wet and the over-complicated defensive system we ran for too long. On last night though, I felt it was more on the players than the coach and game plan. The first intercept was bad from Foley and obviously smarts from Wales to realise that we were vulnerable in that early. I’d expect Genia to be smarter than to throw that second intercept. It’s happened once, it’s clearly a tactic, play it safe and don’t give them that chance again.

        • Who?

          It’s one thing to say, “If we do want we want to do well, no one can stick with us,” and another to realise that the other team knows what you want to do and will have a plan to prevent that. It’s basic stuff – don’t kick to Kiwi backs in space, because that’s a path they want to attack. We want to run the ball, we don’t want to commit lots of numbers to the breakdown. So they figured out they had to slow the tackle, slow the breakdown. They did that well. They know Pocock’s going to contest everything hard. So they were disciplined in getting players over the breakdown, and they also ran at him a bit, too.
          .
          I don’t think the game plan’s too complicated on attack. It was in defence, it’s better now. On attack, we have plan A, and that’s it. Just like the Rebels……. Because, let’s be fair, Toomua didn’t change much other than put himself in positions where the forwards were. Foley stayed back, Toomua played flatter, tighter, and challenged the line. That used to be Foley’s strength. It’s what the forwards were doing all night. It’s what the Rebels did this year (including Cooper there). But we just didn’t secure our ball well enough.
          .
          There was one point in the second half where White and Toomua made a break, and through a couple of tackles and maybe 5 seconds there was absolutely no support for them. Which was what happened with the Rebels. I think our game plan often puts demands of workrate and physicality on our forwards which are just a bit unrealistic. You can’t expect our best players to physically dominate other nations for 80 minutes each week.

        • UTG

          Well, I thought the Fiji game proved we had multiple attacking plans. Even if one was clearly dumb, it was proof we could revert to a plan B.

          I don’t think it’s really fair to say that Cheika doesn’t respect the opposition and doesn’t worry about what they have planned. For instance, he clearly went away and worked on how to unlock the rush defence. From what I’ve seen, he’s had as much success as anyone this year in that department. You’ll no doubt have some valid counter-examples of some of the areas he hasn’t appreciated but that’s footy you patch some holes but leave others gaping open.

          Interesting on your last point about dominating for 80 minutes. This year we’ve been performing better as the game goes on, when you’d expect us to fatigue if we were trying to dominate for the whole 80. For me, the issue is that we’re making too many nervy mistakes early on and it takes us too long to get into our patterns of play.

        • Who?

          UTG, just worth noting that, ‘the year before that’ – 2017 – we were basically playing the same props as the last two games (the exception being Robertson for Slipper, when picking the full strength 2017 team), the same locks (except with the addition of Simmons, who’s strength is set piece), and the hookers were swapped out for Squeaky and Taf. With Ledesma as forwards coach. I think describing them as a team who couldn’t win their own lineouts and scrums is underselling that team?

        • UTG

          Maybe I’m getting my 2016 and 2017 confused but I remember pretty clearly the horrors of Bledislode I in 2017 where we couldn’t win our own throw.

        • Who?

          That wasn’t about our talent levels, though. That was the new system Cheika had imposed at the time. I’ll admit having an inexperienced Coleman calling didn’t help (compared to Simmons), but it was strongly related to systems and loose forward selection. Squeaky wasn’t a poor thrower, and by 2017 Taf was more than serviceable.

      • Ryanno

        Mate…. I’m ready for Cheika to move on as well but I just don’t agree that Gatland is some sort of super coach and nothing that happened last nights changes that. His record against us is very ordinary and if not for a couple of dud decisions last night the Wallabies would have beat Wales again.

        • lu99ke

          He won the game that he shouldn’t have won… with some pretty clear tactics… and a supremely less talented team.

          We lost a game we should not have lost… we won all the metrics…..we WON the penalty count!! We WON it!!! And we STILL complain about the refs??? Seriously???

          “if only the ref got this call right… if only we they had got that call right…… ”

          It’s precisely that attitude that let’s us lose games we should’t…

          We failed to kick in to touch with a penalty that would have given us the chance to attack 15m out to win the game….. why aren’t we talking about that??

          We beat 31 defenders to 15…but could only score 2 tries… why aren’t we talking about that?

          We had 11 turn-overs against us? ( we only got 3 ) – why aren’t we talking about that? That’s about good coaching… setting defensive structures to be able to capitalise on the predictable attack lines we run – look how many times they held us up or almost held us up as we run too high… they were looking for that.. that is coaching..

          We had 63% possession but could only score 25 points… why aren’t we talking about that?

          Gatland out coached us… and the more we try to pin it on the refs the more we accept mediocrity and lack of accountability.

        • Ryanno

          It was always going to be a very close game. Unfortunately those two dud calls cost us 10 points in a matter of minutes. If there was consistency and Wales had 10 points worth of shit calls in the second half I would see your point but they didn’t. Shit refereeing in these tight games makes a big bloody difference.

          Wales slowed the game down and managed to squeeze out an undeserved win. Wallabies scored 3 tries, Wales scored 2.

        • lu99ke

          Sure, the dud call cost us 3 points.. but in the same breath, we got a very dud call go our way and got 3 points for it – scrum penalty that SHOULD have been given to Wales was given to us and we kicked the goal to take it to 1 point….

          The intercept, regardless of offside, was like the 3rd in the match… we should have adapted and realised what they were doing…… we didn’t… we played the same long pass to a stationary forward play we have been playing for 4 years… and they picked it… don’t blame that on the refs… blame it on our poor structure and execution.

          Still.. even with those dud calls… we had chances to win it and we didn’t… THAT is the same old story… THAT should be the headline, not this rubbish about refs. We are just kidding ourselves if we continue to think it is down to refs calls all the time.

        • Ryanno

          “We are just kidding ourselves if we continue to think it is down to refs calls all the time”

          Not all the time, JUST THIS TIME ffs.

          Offside is offside, whether you invite it or not doesn’t make a difference. If the TMO is going to be overly officious and ping Kerevi then do the same to check the offside 1 minute later. Dud calls happen but game changers like that are easily avoidable. There would not have been a single person watching who didn’t shout at the TV for that to be checked by the TMO. Mind boggling that it wasn’t.

        • lu99ke

          Umm no.. every time we lose, we find reasons why we were dudded and nearly all of them are about refs. It is every time – just watch a Chieka interview where we lose… any one… and see.

          The offside is at least close enough to cause debate… and thus, even if it was reviewed, i don’t think it’s 100% it would have been called back. So.. it really doesn’t matter. We had enough other “game changing” moments that we didn’t take that we should have.

          Pick 15 players form the 2 sides to form a team and I think Wales are lucky to have 5. We literally SHOULD be winning those games by 20 points. I think if the teams were reversed, Gatland wins by 30.

        • Ryanno

          I don’t know who we is?? Speak for yourself.
          I’m not defending Cheika’s performance in this post game or any other.
          I’m only talking about the stupidity of spending 5 minutes looking at a tackle and then 1 minute later not looking at what looked for all money to be offside. Any TMO worth his salary should be checking any intercept for offside, many are a near thing and this one turned the game.

        • Patrick

          Ryanno, the refs did not cost us that game. Full stop.

        • Ryanno

          Thanks for clearing that up for me. I’ll sleep soundly now that Patrick the rugby oracle has put a full stop on it.

        • Who?

          Ryanno, I’m pretty sure I’ve got a fairly solid name on here for whinging about refs. I watch refs very closely – I find it enjoyable. Some refs are ridiculous, some are mercurial (Jaco, I’m looking at you!). One day you’ll get a French ref who likes you (maybe he’s been reading about Villers-Bretonneux that week?), the next you’ll get a French ref who’s just not interested in listening to you. I’m not a huge fan of Romain. But he’s not biased, he’s significantly improved over the years, our efforts working with him have consistently improved (both he and Hooper were very polite to each other, quite patient and cordial), and he was far from terrible last night.
          .
          Now, if you wanted to whinge about Bin Skeen, I’d be on board! He’s a terrible TMO, often crusading, intervening without need or cause and without consistency. But even there, he didn’t cost us the game. It goes back to simple things like not securing the first breakdown of the game and being 0-3 down. We were chasing the game from literally the first minute.

        • Ryanno

          I don’t think he’s biased and I actually wasn’t all that upset about his performance, I don’t mind him as ref.
          The TMO on the other hand had a shocker. Overly officious for alleged rough play then doesn’t check the offside on a game changing intercept try, madness. I was hoping he would get accosted by a gang of ninjas on his way back to his hotel who would take revenge on behalf of all rugby fans.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Or he checked and there was no offside so not called. I thought he was fine, it was the slow delivery from Genia to a stationary player that cased the intercept

        • Birdy

          The problem is, Ryanno, he was onside.

        • Ryanno

          Was he? We’ll never know because they didn’t review it. A game changer vs 5 minutes review for penalties against Kerevi and Hooper. What do you think was more important to check??

        • Birdy

          Yes, we do know. He was onside. How do you know it wasn’t ‘reviewed?’ The camera shot we all watched in the U.K. (from which the still shot is doing the rounds in the SH) clearly shows he was onside. That still shot doesn’t do it justice. Genia has already got the ball up by his waist and is beginning to move sideways. Davies is in full sprint. You have to take it back a frame for when the ball actually leaves the ruck and then Davies is a full metre onside. The TMO would see that in the truck. What do you want him to do? Stop the game to confirm the bleeding obvious with a ref who hasn’t asked the question because it was so…bleeding obvious?

        • Trev

          Hhhmm, i’m fairly certain we are watching the same feed in the S.H. I went frame by frame when watching it. Looked offside in my opinion. If it was reviewed by TMO and ref then we weren’t privy to the conversation. That’s the problem, we don’t know. No transparency. Add to which both the ref and the touchy were watching Genia and were not paying any attention to Davies. They wouldn’t have known for sure if he was offside or onside.

          Compared to Kerevi incident 1 minute prior. Ref didn’t ask for that to be checked either, the TMO asked for the check, same with the Hooper tackle. If the TMO is going to get that involved then surely he needs to for 50/50 tries too.

          What do you want him to do? Stop the game to confirm the bleeding obvious with a ref who hasn’t asked the question because it was so…bleeding obvious?

          If it was so bleeding obvious we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Even the Kiwi media was asking the question and saying it was odd not to review.

        • Who?

          “Australia’s not allowed to have a good scrum” – we got done once, correctly (Sio dropping it – first scrum of the game), and dominated it the rest of the game – with Romain’s support! You’re absolutely on the money. :-)

        • RF

          Wales aren’t a less talented team. They are a more talented team. We need to get over this notion that 15 players are gifted a superior skillset because they don the green and gold shirt.

          Our game has been on the slide for decades and this is the price we are paying now.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          You make some great points mate

        • I agree with a lot of those points.

          I’ll make an exception for that kick to touch. Yes, Toomua should have kicked slightly shorter and made 100% sure instead of taking that extra 5m and being only 99.9% sure. But that defensive play by Adams was fracking outstanding. I’ve seen people pull it off on near misses before, but that far out – never.

          More beaten defenders and outscored isn’t great. Losing the turnover battle with the Pooper on the park isn’t great. Two intercepts in a game, and almost a third is really poor. A number of turn overs by tackling and making mauls…

          Gatland and Edwards have plotted the downfall of the Wallabies and it came together. That’s helped with a chunk of players who play well as a team. There aren’t many there that most would put into a world XV or 23. Alun Wyn Jones maybe (there’s a lot of competition at lock though). Jonathan Davies. NH pundits would put Liam Williams up. SH pundits would strongly disagree I think. After yesterday Gareth Davies might make a few lists, so might Tipuric. Navidi would possibly interest people on the subs bench (like Ardie Savea he plays all three back row positions at test level). But they do that old cliché of teamwork – they are more than the sum of their parts. And that made a difference yesterday too, IMO. The core of that team had 30, 40 tests together, some had more. When a player was out of position, or executing something, like a choke tackle or whatever, everyone knew the plan and adapted to the current circumstances.

          The Wallabies back row was in their second test together. The centres in their fourth I think? Fifth maybe? The back three certainly haven’t played together this year, if ever. Have Foley, Kerevi, JOC ever played together? (I think so, but once before?) Are we really surprised that, under pressure from a team playing coherently it didn’t all work out brilliantly? And that’s down to the coaches, on both sides too. One set planned and built depth, built combinations, one side threw mud at the wall and stuck fingers in his ears…

      • RF

        Don’t confuse correlation with causation

  • numpty

    I’ll preface this comment with the statement that Gatland (and many others) are clearly superior tacticians and coaches then Cheika. But, Cheika and/or his coaching team have introduced both a new defensive and attacking system this year. Ever heard of the term ‘soak defense’ before 2019? So, rightly or wrongly they are at least trying something new. Secondly, this game plan is designed to beat the currently in-vogue rush defense of teams like Wales. The second half (and Perth) is evidence that when enacted, it is effective. The problem is, as has long been the problem, the WBs seem unable to execute for 80min week in week out. But, I do think you are right that rarely do we see the icing on the cake moments, where a particular individual’s weakness (Genia’s step away) is specifically exploited by the WBs in some way shape or form.

    • Who?

      ‘Soak defence’..? Isn’t that just what we’ve done for ages? New name for an old scheme? Back in the old days, when Nick Bishop and Scott Allen wrote on here, there was a great article about the way the Wallabies defended under Link on the 2013 EOYT. It was probably Scott, he showed a clip where the Wallabies ‘jockeyed’ backwards for 25m. Horwill and Mowen were out wide, facing a 5 on 2. They drifted and gave ground, drifted and gave ground, waiting as the attackers passed amongst themselves and fell out of the play until they’d corralled the ball towards the sideline and been joined by supporting defenders, improving the odds in defence and avoiding giving up a line break at all costs.
      .
      Calling it a ‘soak defence’ is just in contrast to the rush defences pushed by teams like the Hurricanes (first to introduce it to SR in 2016), Saracens, England and Ireland. This is a massively rushed defence, but it’s still not massively different to the past in concept, only in execution (which is only down to increased fitness due to professionalism). Wales defended outside in. A decade ago, that was a bull’s rush, used by SA.
      .
      Reality is there’s very, very few new concepts in defence, only new names for slight variations on old concepts.
      .
      Oh, and I should note, people advocated constantly through the season for retaining old players because, “They know the systems.” When we’ve had new systems in both attack and defence this year.

      • numpty

        Yes, you are correct the ‘soak’ or jockey isn’t a new system, but it has only been re-implemented by Cheika this year. 2013 the WBs weren’t coached under Cheika. Pre-2019 we had a mix of musical chairs and sending shooters (often hooper) in a rough form of out and in to try and stop the ball getting wide. Similarly, the attack structure and exit strategies have changed. Its almost solely off the 9 making decisions based off of what is in front of him going to the blind and down the tram tracks much more often and not afraid to run it. Here is your man, nick bishop, discussing the WBs new structures in match one of the rugby championship, “The coaching group, with newly installed assistant coach Shaun Berne, had a different plan of attack to the scheme under Stephen Larkham. There were also clear signs that Nathan Grey had finally abandoned the ‘musical chairs’ defensive structure from lineout, with everyone in the backline defending in their natural spots.” https://www.theroar.com.au/2019/07/24/why-the-wallabies-were-caught-short-in-johannesburg/

  • Nicholas Peacock-Smith

    Why can’t people just cop it that we got outplayed in the 1st half, some dubious calls went against us that made it hard to win from halftime. The players, with some good (and needed) subs gave it a serious crack in the 2nd half, just missed the killer instinct in the final 10mins. Killer instinct comes from confidence and a constant winning mentality. That’s what we need.

    • Ryanno

      The Kerevi tackle and offside intercept was just prior to half time.
      Without that BS Kerevi penalty and the offside try the score at half time would have been 13 to 8. One try each and a couple of penalties the difference. Wallabies came out in the second half and put on 17 points, the Welsh put on 6. The Welsh were marginally better in the first half earning those extra penalties but the Wallabies were significantly better in the second half.
      Those couple of minutes of TMO idiocy were all the difference.

      • Mica

        Don’t know if it was or wasn’t onside as there wasn’t a replay to confirm or deny. That’s my biggest issue. It seemed like it should have been reviewed, but maybe the refs were in great position and could confidently make the call. Still a decent replay could have put this to bed and maybe have us talking about some fantastic anticipation rather than questioning the legitimacy of the score. Is there some sort of thinking about not showing replays of close calls plays down questioning refs? If so I reckon it does the opposite.

        • Birdy

          I can only assume that there is different tv coverage. In the UK, after the match (with Michael Lynagh as one of the pundits) they showed a wide angle camera shot that had both Genia and Davies in shot. He was clearly onside. I videoed the match and re-watched the incident 3 times. He’s at least half a metre onside when Genia lifts the ball.

        • Mica

          Thanks for that Birdy. Good to know. Didn’t see any after game footage. Did they show the wide replay at the time or was it just in the post match review?

        • Birdy

          It was in the post-match review. Fortunately, I’d recorded the game so I was able to wind back and replay a few times.

        • Birdy

          I can only assume that there is different tv coverage. In the UK, after the match (with Michael Lynagh as one of the pundits) they showed a wide angle camera shot that had both Genia and Davies in shot. He was clearly onside. I videoed the match and re-watched the incident 3 times. He’s at least half a metre onside when Genia lifts the ball.

    • GO THE Q REDS

      I don’t think they lacked the killer instinct at all! As soon as Toomua came on the Wallabies had direction……theres only so far you can catch up when ya get so far behind such a good team! It was a case of too much damage done early….. Either player mistakes or Reff interruptions!

    • Patrick

      Because it isn’t true, we need decent selections in the backline??

    • Patrick

      Because it isn’t true, we need decent selections in the backline??

  • Simon

    I find it interesting that over the course of Cheika’s tenure, the Wallabies have changed from a running rugby side to an in-tight side – despite Cheika talking up the running rugby for most of that time. In 2015, they were definitely a backline-driven side. But over the years, the opposition have got better at shutting it down due to Cheika’s oft-mentioned single predictable game plan, the key halves players are almost exactly the same but four years older and slower, and the handling skills of all the backs have declined significantly. This reached rock bottom last year as we plunged to 7th in the world rankings, but this year IMO a glimmer of light has appeared in the forwards.

    When the Wallabies have looked threatening this year, it’s been due to sustained forward pressure. They showed it against the ABs in Perth and again last night. They are playing like a traditional Boks side but without the kicking game, either tactical or at goal, to back it up. Last night Wales started to weaken in the second half and the Wallabies forwards were grinding more metres than I’ve ever seen under Cheika. They used to hammer away for 12+ phases, making zero metres or even going backwards, before coughing up the ball or getting turned over. But last night they were able to make a lot of metres in tight, recycle for many phases, and score two tries from sustained pressure. They could have even quite easily have won if they’d had more luck at the maul, fewer errors from Genia or a few ref calls had gone differently.

    So there’s some hope for the post-Cheika era. I expect a quarter-final exit this time, but if the incoming coach can rebuild some basic skills in the backline, introduce some flexibility to allow the game plan to change when things aren’t working, and keep improving the tactical kicking (which has improved slightly, from dire to merely below average), then I think this forward pack could be the building block of a really dangerous, if thoroughly un-Australian side. Albeit minus Pocock, who of course will be impossible to replace.

    • Andy

      Agree. Our future needs to be focused up front. There is so much potential in that area.

  • ballymoreburning

    with regard to the cheika legacy, I have always felt that he was not of international standard. his high tide mark was quite literally one match against an England in disarray, 4 years ago. people got so excited about him and his coach of the year, but we never looked like winning the final, should have lost to Scotland, and kept the now 10th ranked pumas in the match till very late. his teams have never played to the standard of the 2013 EOYT, despite having Pocock, and better front row and lock personnel at his disposal.

    To me, the watershed moment of his era was the prematch interview of the first England test in 2016 with Eddie Jones. when asked what his team needed to do to win, he offered the usual platitudes about the nature of the challenge that presents, but then couldn’t help himself, and suggested there might be an opportunity to attack “if space presents”. he was then asked to clarify. he just smirked, and repeated himself “we’ll attack where the space presents”. Australian rugby has been on a steady horrific decline ever since.

    the reality is that opposition coaches have always known which spaces present with the wallabies. the Waratah championship was tactically built on a forward dominance that no wallaby team has ever asserted. put simply, his methodology for success doesn’t translate to international rugby. he’s done a stellar job of developing forwards (despite losing many by choosing his favourites). he has never displayed any real acumen for attack in the international game.

    the staunch belief in physicality as more important than skill, even in back line players is remarkable. just think of how many cheika stalwarts in the backs have been criticised for their passing or lack of. AAC, TK, Folau, Kerevi, Foley, Phipps, the list goes on.

    its not that they can’t pass or pass well (in Phipps case a quick pass to no one remains superior option to an accurate pass) , its that they’re coached to do it secondarily to other choices. this team asks less cerebral questions than any tier one nation, and poses physical ones in their place. this simply doesn’t fly at international level.

    • Andy

      He is a good coach, no doubt. But i’m convinced he is a culture changer/change manager sort of coach. He did it at 2 highly regarded clubs and did turn them around. But he was only there on a short term basis for both clubs and the blueprint was the same. He built the foundations by tearing them up. In Leinsters case, they built on top of that and have since been the most successful team in Europe (in modern times). The Tahs lost the plot and a large part of their playing squad without adequately replacing them. And they showed too much faith in his replacement who wasn’t up for the challenge. But that wasn’t his fault.

      At international level he did the same within the fist 12-18 months. And we did markedly improve in that time. But his use by date came after the world cup when we had to mix things up at the selection table and on the park. And I say that more in hindsight. I wanted him gone last year when it was obvious he couldn’t turn the ship around and/or couldn’t get the team playing more that 1 style. We were constantly losing games from stupidity and that stupidity started at the top.

      I think he definitely has a future in coaching but I would suggest it will be at clubs that need a complete rebuild. Ironically, the Tahs could use a guy like him for the next 18 months…..

  • Andy

    Yep, agree on the major points. We were outplayed upstairs, again.

    Bring on the next generation with some new thinking. And not the fall back to “if we don’t win its the ref b.s.”. At our best we are definitely better than Wales. But that’s the problem. The Coach has not been able to get us to our best on a consistent basis. And I agree, I think the tactical approach, along with selections (at times) has been the reason for this.

  • Hitcho

    Regardless of if the calls were right or wrong, Michael Cheika’s behavior when being interviewed was cringe-worthy and embarrassing to me as an Australian Rugby supporter.

    Clean up the mistakes like being driven off our own ball after the kickoff before saying the ref lost us that game!

    • lu99ke

      Agree – what a brat throwing a tantrum!

      ” Do you think Wales have a chance based on this performance?”

      ” Not for me to talk about… they won… we are on to the next game”

      How about… ” Wales were strong… they out-thought us… and in some aspects out-played us and deserved to win. Of course they have a chance… they were not ranked #1 in the world a month ago by accident… on their day they could beat anyone”

      Really… would it be that hard?

      • Hitcho

        Yep 100%. That would have made me feel better about the loss.

  • juswal

    Tactical Ineptitude™. Since 2016.

  • mark conley

    eddie jones noted sitting in the stands
    i bet all the money i won backing wales halftime/fulltime & match winner that he’d rather england face wales than a slightly re-jigged Australia …

    • Dud Roodt

      As an aside, how does “halftime/fulltime & match winner” differ from “halftime/match winner”?

      • Greg

        I think that half-time/full-time is to do with how many shots you had playing foley bingo.

        Match winner…. after a lot of years, I am not familiar with that :-(

    • Haz

      I’m not entirely sure. Wales have a much better coach and are on a pretty serious roll success wise.

      They also have an irritating habit of beating us in crunch matches whilst Cheika has beaten Jones’ England 1 time in 8 (or 9) games.

    • Wales have a good record against England. Really wouldn’t like to call that one on neutral territory.

  • Simon Powell

    Didn’t Michael Cheika reveal during a Green and Gold Rugby Podcast that he doesn’t watch any match film of any opposition as part of his preparation?

    • Haz

      Surely that can’t be true?

      Presume you noticed Jones in disguise watching this game?

      • Who?

        Gordon Bray noted how he was roundly booed by both the Welsh and Aussie supporters when he (Jones) was shown on the big screen. :-)

        • Haz

          Ah they’re just jealous ;)

        • Patrick

          I’m ashamed to admit that I am.

  • Gipetto

    I have seen Phipps throw fast passes from the base of the ruck without giving the defence a moment of doubt about where the pass was going – same pace, angle and length over and over again. It doesn’t work; defenders hit the recipient at the same moment they get the ball. Genia looks for the best option and passes the ball to the person he has been trained to give it to and his passes are 99% accurate.

  • lu99ke

    I agree – it would appear that we have ZERO adaptability when it comes to over-all game plan. This is what we do… and if it does not work, we just need to blame the ref… blame the administration… blame the ref… oh and blame the ref.

    However, we DO need to also look at the players and their inability to ( or perhaps they are just not allowed to.. ) actually play what they see. Perfect case in point was early ( I think ) in second half, camped in their 22… we had 3 or 4 phases of quick ball with the forwards rumbling it forward… we got the overlap and flat footed defensive line we wanted out wide……. but no… we went again in the forwards…. the ball got slowed down terribly… it comes out… and what do we do? KNOWING the defensive line had had the time to re-set and were ready to rush, we send it out the backs, trying the same old “out the back, second man” play… and surprise surprise, we drop the ball under immense pressure, having lost 15m… even the clowns on Fox called it.

    Why oh why do we continue to go through with that set play when we lost the opportunity and we know the defensive line had re-set…. is that down to coaching or the players? We just do not do on-the fly calculations well… we have been so over drilled with “3 phases this way… with this pod… then 2 phases this way with this pod… then out the back second man plays… that will work! Every time, that will work!”

    It is the best thing about Nic White in my mind… he does play very good heads up Rugby…

    • idiot savant

      Good points. Its a sad reflection on the Cheika era. Sexton once said in interview his memory of Cheika as a coach was that he was intimidating. It is also his reputation as a player at Randwick. But you can’t have it both ways. You cant intimidate players and expect them to be leaders on the field. If you intimidate them you will get yes men who will stick to the rehearsed plays and won’t be game to think for themselves. McQueen is the opposite of Cheika. A man who empowered his players to take control on the field. Cheika made a point of driving out players like Fardy and Higginbotham who were not intimidated by him. In life you cant beat desire. The person who wants it the most usually gets it. Cheik wants power and control the most. He has got it. No Wallaby coach has ever had more power. Unfortunately that’s not the same as winning.

  • David Creagh

    Well summed up Hugh. There does not seem to have been any evolution in the way the Wallabies have played in the last four years, we have improved some things (the scrum and lineout) but our non set piece play is still essentially the same patterns. It is the same old same old. We have yet to climb out of the oceans whereas other sides like Argentina and the all blacks have evolved their games to the status of homo sapiens and taken Rugby to a new level.

    There seems to me to be too much focus on weights and fitness and not enough on core skills. To paraphrase “Jake the Muss”; “Too many weights, not enough ball work”. We still have simple passes missing the man, dropped ball, poor carries, poor tackle technique. In the Bob Dwyer, Rod McQueen and Eddie Jones era there was the concept of “train perfect” – do it till you get it right 100% of the time. I believe Rod McQueen also planned for when a move would break down so that players knew what their role was if and when it did. Where is that these days? Where is the creativity and innovation? In the last four years, IMO, nowhere to be seen. A cynical person might say that it seems that some of the players (and coaches, Cheika’s comment on Fa’inga for instance) are more focussed on how their rig looks then being able to catch and pass at speed.

    • GO THE Q REDS

      What do you mean it’s nowhere to be seen? Didn’t you see Cheika running plays with the schoolkids? :/

  • Cameron Rivett

    I agree that the 16th man was not the ref, though Ben Skeen made a good effort. On rewatch, while the Kerevi penalty was obviously stupid, the other decisions were sound.

    The Welsh scrumhalf appears to have scored his intercept try from an onside position. Beale’s forward pass was indeed marginally forward. Hooper was not the first man to the ruck he was penalised for pilfering and was warned to release the ball. Wales never earned a yellow card in the build up to the 60th minute try (conceding only 3 penalties, only 2 of which were within 20m of the line and which were all for different infringements). Though I would have liked to see Kepu’s mistiming go unpunished as he did his best to recover and it was a perfectly innocent mistake with no effect on play.

    • lu99ke

      I do agree with the Kepu penalty… ridiculous that was called… BUT we did get 3 points from the scrum penalty not long before that that was CLEARLY should have been blown the other way.

      • Patrick

        No they have to be called. I recall the “lazy defenders” walking back at 2kmh in the 90s.

    • Who?

      I was really impressed with the AR’s positioning on the Beale pass. The fact that Beale threw it as he started to fade into the backfield just exaggerated it. But it was on a kick return – impressive the AR got back.
      I think that, if Wales hadn’t conceded that try, they’d have copped a YC. But we’ll never know.

    • joy

      Davies 3rd intercept attempt was clearly off side. In my screen shot Davies (in lime green irridescent boots) was turning to make the intercept as Genia picks up the ball. That was his last step backwards.
      Your edit won’t let me add the screen shot?

    • joy

      Davies 3rd intercept attempt was clearly off side. In my screen shot Davies (in lime green irridescent boots) was turning to make the intercept as Genia picks up the ball. That was his last step backwards.
      Your edit won’t let me add the screen shot?

  • UTG

    I’ve responded to the evidence provided, you’ve agreed with my criticisms. Unless you provide me with some evidence that isn’t misleading and doesn’t require extrapolation to arrive at your point of view I don’t know why you’d expect me to change my mind. When you start all guns blazing with statements like “blind Freddy can see” and then walk that back to vague sweet nothings like “well the majority says” it’s hardly convincing.

    • HK Red

      He was offside, should have been a penalty and yellow card.

      • UTG

        Now you’re speaking my language

    • Brumby Runner

      Just had a look at the pic. In my version it is a blue line and it looks to be drawn in the correct position and in the right direction parallel to the field markings. Davies has his foot on the line when the pic was taken but Genia has the ball clearly in his hands at least 60cm off the ground and 30 cm behind the last Wallaby player in the ruck.

      I am satisfied that the evidence that he was onside is more compelling than the opposite.

      In any case, what good is it demanding the TMO have a look at it. He would be just as constrained as anyone else looking at it in deciding if the ball has cleared the ruck. That is a matter for the referee to decide and is not a black and white fact. The TMO can no better read the ref’s mind than any one of us.

      • UTG

        They’ve added that blue line since our conversation a couple of hours ago. If we take that as last feet, and I’m not sure it is because the pillar defender always stands at last feet and in that picture he’s behind the line, he’s still ahead of it.

      • Andy

        It’s marginal so I’m not bothered either way. Worst part was Genia actually passing it even though the danger was apparent

  • Red Block

    I’ve got a special bottle put away for the day that Cheika is officially gone, unfortunately I won’t have to wait much longer to drink it but boy will it taste good.

  • Haz

    I think that’s a fair stance to have.

    Baffling selection and baffling tactics. RE the Genia 2 step it’s probably something that’s specifically coached and that he’s asked to do. I remember Ben Youngs copping a load of criticism for always doing it and it came out that the England coaching staff were specifically asking him to do it so I imagine it’s the same with Genia. I think the argument is that it opens up the fringe defence slightly for your forward runners.

    Having said all that, it’s 100% not for using if you’re throwing a long, flat pass to a forwards pod (and I think we all noticed why).

    Gatland is a very canny coach and under him Wales have had a lot of excellent success with a very limited pool of players. Day and night between him and Cheika I’m afraid.

  • skip

    Bad selections, poor tactics and being out thought. The last 4 years in a nutshell and, the last RWC aside, the last 10, maybe more.

  • GO THE Q REDS

    Mix a coach who doesn’t even watch rugby, picks rubbish out of form 10s and it’s no wonder were saying there’s no tactics in the wallabies! For me, Foley(and Cheika by extension) cost us that game….

  • RF

    Not every game requires the Spanish Inquisition.

    Wales are a top class side, grand slam winners, recent world number one and real contenders for this tournament. It was a great game in which we played well and could have been on it. We showed tremendous qualities in fighting back in the 2nd half.

    We played well, we will learn from this and progress to the next round.

    • Who?

      But after 5 years, 31 losses, and a lot of frustration, that’s what you get.
      .
      Wales are a top side. They’re a well drilled side. Are they more talented than us? I’d venture not. I’d venture that they’re no more talented than the us going off the team that was selected, and that’s without thinking about others not in the 23 who may have been better selections (not specifically naming anyone there, just acknowledging that there’s always debate over selections).
      .
      So if we’re no less talented, arguably more talented, why did we end up needing to fight back? You say we played well, did we play to our potential? Close to it? I’m ok with losing if we’re playing close to our potential. If we’re seeing progress. But I don’t regularly see that. I don’t think that game was anywhere near the potential of that side. The players selected have comfortably more potential than was shown.

      • RF

        Your premise is fundamentally flawed in my opinion. There is no objective basis for believing that the Welsh players are less talented than their Australian counterparts.

        It’s the national sport there and they have double the participation numbers also.

        • Who?

          Yet you’re willing to argue that the Welsh (who were missing key players – their third choice 10 played most of that game, Cheika had his first choice) are more talented than the Wallabies? Because you wrote this:

          Wales aren’t a less talented team. They are a more talented team. We need to get over this notion that 15 players are gifted a superior skillset because they don the green and gold shirt.

          .
          I’d argue that, in the front row, we’re better. We dominated set piece, and all our front rowers (bar Kepu, and only because he’s lost a step or three) are more dynamic in general play. I’m not a big AWJ fan – never have been. I don’t think our locks as a combination are at a loss against Wales. Arnold’s been one of the form locks in world Rugby this year. Our loose forwards, I thought they did very well against a very good Welsh loose forward grouping. Our halves, pick the right ones and we’re at least equal. Hadleigh Parkes is a Kiwi discard, against a poorly used Kerevi, who was the form 12 in Super Rugby this year (where it seems he was better coached, because he passed way more under Jim McKay than Shaun Berne). JOC’s much smaller than Davies, but both are excellent players. Even the back three, they’re fairly equal (DHP was at least as elusive as Liam Williams, who’s understandably very highly rated)
          .
          The key difference between the sides was direction and tactics. We dominated many of the stats, so clearly we’re at least in the hunt on talent. But we lost. So clearly, what we did was ultimately ineffective, which is a question of tactics. We’ve worked hard for no reward.
          .
          And when I say we didn’t play to our potential… That performance wasn’t on the same level as Perth. The Wallabies team from Perth (i.e. in that mindset) wouldn’t have been turned over at the first ruck! The Perth performance – our best performance – would’ve destroyed anything Wales threw at us. I can’t think of a Welsh performance on that level.

        • RF

          I doubt that many outside of the bubble here would take any of the Australian options at 10 ahead of the Welsh who played there at the weekend, Biggar and Patchell

        • Patrick

          No, nor at wing, but at every other position yes I would take the Australians (but White not Genia).

        • Patrick

          No, nor at wing, but at every other position yes I would take the Australians (but White not Genia).

        • RF

          I doubt that many outside of the bubble here would take any of the Australian options at 10 ahead of the Welsh who played there at the weekend, Biggar and Patchell

        • Who?

          Yet you’re willing to argue that the Welsh (who were missing key players – their third choice 10 played most of that game, Cheika had his first choice) are more talented than the Wallabies? Because you wrote this:

          Wales aren’t a less talented team. They are a more talented team. We need to get over this notion that 15 players are gifted a superior skillset because they don the green and gold shirt.

          .
          I’d argue that, in the front row, we’re better. We dominated set piece, and all our front rowers (bar Kepu, and only because he’s lost a step or three) are more dynamic in general play. I’m not a big AWJ fan – never have been. I don’t think our locks as a combination are at a loss against Wales. Arnold’s been one of the form locks in world Rugby this year. Our loose forwards, I thought they did very well against a very good Welsh loose forward grouping. Our halves, pick the right ones and we’re at least equal. Hadleigh Parkes is a Kiwi discard, against a poorly used Kerevi, who was the form 12 in Super Rugby this year (where it seems he was better coached, because he passed way more under Jim McKay than Shaun Berne). JOC’s much smaller than Davies, but both are excellent players. Even the back three, they’re fairly equal (DHP was at least as elusive as Liam Williams, who’s understandably very highly rated)
          .
          The key difference between the sides was direction and tactics. We dominated many of the stats, so clearly we’re at least in the hunt on talent. But we lost. So clearly, what we did was ultimately ineffective, which is a question of tactics. We’ve worked hard for no reward.
          .
          And when I say we didn’t play to our potential… That performance wasn’t on the same level as Perth. The Wallabies team from Perth (i.e. in that mindset) wouldn’t have been turned over at the first ruck! The Perth performance – our best performance – would’ve destroyed anything Wales threw at us. I can’t think of a Welsh performance on that level.

      • RF

        Your premise is fundamentally flawed in my opinion. There is no objective basis for believing that the Welsh players are less talented than their Australian counterparts.

        It’s the national sport there and they have double the participation numbers also.

  • Glenn Krone

    We need a new coach and a new captain; hence a new culture of creativity in preparation, play and media management!

  • subfreq

    I’m stunned he keeps the players on his side to be honest. So much talent in the group and against Wales bodies were committed physically to the plan.

    The one thing that has been lacking the entire Cheika reign so its not coming in this WC is the ability to control a game. We win a few and we run around like its sevens but we don’t dictate and control a game. I am guessing from the Mantra of playing the Australian Way that running rugby was supposed to be the dynamic style that overwhelmed opponents.

    Last weekend until Toomua came on all I saw was our halves kick excellent ball to the Welsh back three aimlessly.

    We dominated all the major stats and the set piece.

    I totally agree with the article above. We played with 15 men and they had 16.

  • subfreq

    I’m stunned he keeps the players on his side to be honest. So much talent in the group and against Wales bodies were committed physically to the plan.

    The one thing that has been lacking the entire Cheika reign so its not coming in this WC is the ability to control a game. We win a few and we run around like its sevens but we don’t dictate and control a game. I am guessing from the Mantra of playing the Australian Way that running rugby was supposed to be the dynamic style that overwhelmed opponents.

    Last weekend until Toomua came on all I saw was our halves kick excellent ball to the Welsh back three aimlessly.

    We dominated all the major stats and the set piece.

    I totally agree with the article above. We played with 15 men and they had 16.

  • BarneySF

    Maybe not the time or place, but do we have a number 10 post-WC (a time that may be approaching faster than expected)? Or is it a matter of getting JOC back there from the Lions days or Hodge or someone from the heroic U20 team? The gap left by Kerevi will also be sad come next year. Oh the humanity

    • Neil Pocock

      And this is the perfect time too be sorting this out hey! During the actual WC……

  • Parker

    Well said Hugh.

  • donktec

    hear hear!

Rugby

Can't write, can't play. Tahs and Wallabies.

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