Dwyer's View: back to the drawing board
NSW Waratahs

Dwyer’s View: back to the drawing board

Dwyer’s View: back to the drawing board

All of our hopes and aspirations for the world cup have suddenly been put into disarray as our two best teams were dished up, well and truly. The Waratah pack was demolished everywhere bar the scrum by a team that has not a single All Black in the forwards.

Clearly we realise NZ are the world’s leading team – in terms of IRB calculations and observation – but we still think we might just give them a shake. Until Saturday night.

We now have problems nowhere more significantly than in Wallabies team selection.

A month ago I sent a text to a mate asking how do you throw passes that consistently miss the target by 3 metres? The answer: “Join the Waratahs.”

I would say on Saturday night Nick Phipps played Genia into the Wallabies starting halfback position in one swoop. We’ve seen Nick have these wild moments in terms of his passing and then we’ve seen his technique corrected. But it’s happened far too often recently and so many times when the pressure’s really on which means we can’t afford to pick him.

This is all about the application of perfect technique under pressure, and how it goes on uncorrected is beyond me. There is applicable technique that must apply.

Nick may get a few runs in  the Rugby Championship and he may put things to rights but you can’t have a player when he can’t execute the fundamentals of his position. For the halfback that means he can get the ball away from the part of the field with a lot of people in a tight proximity, to a better position. If he can’t do that he can’t play there.

bernard foley scores try waratah vs crusaders

I feel a bit sorry for Bernard Foley but to some extent the same thing applies to him. Phipps’ bad night didn’t help but it seems to me the obvious choices at the moment are Genia and Giteau.

Polota-Nau’s position in the team has to be in extreme doubt and Latu played better for his part.

Equally Will Skelton’s place is also called into question when I’d thought that the obvious choice would have been him and Jones in the Wallabies second row. But it’s clear that if you play Will you somehow have to find three other prime line-out jumpers.  You can find two others in Fardy and Jones, but who’s your third?

The only possibility would seem to be Coleman, but he’s very inexperienced. Eales’ first year in international rugby was in 1991 and he was a strong performer, but you wold have thought Coleman would have been showing more by now. Maybe Arnold also comes into the reckoning?

Who we can pick at number 8 is a mystery – I don’t see a world class one available to us.

So we are in a bit of a pickle and we need to do some creative thinking and to trial people – across halves of matches – in the course of the Rugby Championship if we’re going to stand any chance.

We’ve had a few positives. I thought that Nic White played much better – not that he’ll get picked. Sio continues to scrummage very well and has to be the second choice loose head.

361_DSC_6265_2013_06_18_2143

Folau’s been playing exceptionally well – although he could pass more and understand he can make space for others. Ashley-Cooper is playing quite well. I also still want to see Kuridrani at inside centre – not that he setting the world alight currently.

That backline with Speight and maybe Tomane or Horne could work (although is Rob likely to score a try out of nothing in a World Cup?). I like Naiyaravoro but you sure get some negatives with him.

Phipps, Foley, Toomua, Beale are also around and pretty good players so the backline squad seems OK, but once we get past the front row in the forwards we really start to struggle.

We’ve got three or four great sevens, but at 8 we’re adrift. Fardy is good but not a world beater and the second row is a total mystery. It’s looking like risk taking time.

Back to the match at Allianz.

Without a threat at 12, the Highlanders targeted Foley knowing he was the only playmaker and Tahs were found out. But who wouldn’t get found out if half a dozen passes missed by 3 metres and your line-out didn’t work?

The Waratahs have a line-out in which pretty much all of the options are not class jumpers. Dennis lacks height (there’s a reason why the great jumpers tend to be very tall or have very long arms). Skelton by a fault of his genes is not going to be able to get off the ground quickly himself and someone else isn’t going to be able to get him up either. Palu also can’t get up quickly and neither can Potgeiter. Our best line-out jumpers were Hooper and Hoiles.

It also seemed to me that the Highlanders worked out the Waratahs calls (as the 91 Wallabies also did for all of our opposition – the toughest to crack were the New Zealander’s). It’s just not that easy to get a man in front of the jumper that many times.

Jacpot lineout

We’ve always talked about how important it is to win your own scrum ball, but against a team that works so well on counterattack you’d like to get then ball into touch and attack their line-out. We couldn’t do that and if we’d even managed to pressure their counter to put the ball out, we then only won 50% of our ball and even that was scrappy.

The rest is history. The Waratahs may have been close on the scoreboard until the penalty try, but that was it.

So, two New Zealand teams have completely dusted our top two.  From this I can draw only two positives.

First, if we’re worried, think about South Africa! Their one team who made the qualifier was dreadful and the Brumbies ripped them apart. What must they be thinking?

Second, we certainly won’t be going into Wallaby camp over-confident.

  • P

    Thanks bob. Good article. On Latu though, he came on and took a swing at one guy and then connected with another. That after coming back from a ban. Seems like a massive liability

    • Nick

      I saw that and couldn’t believe it. I’m a Tahs fan and think we can’t take him to the Cup unless he can show discipline in the RC.

      • ForceFan

        In addition to the discipline issue, for all of the KPIs that count Latu is 5th in line behind TPN, Moor, Hanson and Leafa.
        Latu makes marginally more rucks than the others (5-10%) and makes double the Handling Errors)

        • Nick

          It will be interesting how he develops with the Tahs next year with Potgieter and Palu gone. I expect he will have to lift his game.

  • “Who we can pick at number 8 is a mystery – I don’t see a world class one available to us.”

    I agree we don’t have a world class 8 but we aren’t world class at a lot of positions (1, 2, 7, 13, 15 would be our only “world class” players IMO).

    As much as Bob would hate to admit it, there is an obvious choice for number 8 who also just so happens to be an excellent line out jumper…

    • Bobas

      Love the subtlety.

      If Genia can find some 2011 world class form or even some initial 2013 form in time for the world cup then we have another player up there in the top 3 in the world. Mind you Aaron Smith has moved the world class bar another foot higher in recent times.

    • Masher

      Who?

      • Bobas

        Scottiganbotham, Dwyer will delete the comment if his name is mentioned.

        • COMMENT DELETION PROTOCOL ACTIVATED

        • Spank

          Agree with all the comments above. IE – 1,2,7,13 and 15 we are good. Plus as you say if Genia can play to his best that adds another. Also agree Higginbotham is our best 8 and when he is in the groove he is great.

        • Masher

          I think Higginbotham is probably the best option at the moment. He’s finally learnt to channel his aggression and not be such a cock and his rugby has improved because of it.

        • Stin

          You mean Hoeganflurtenbathom don’t you?!!!

    • Jumbuck

      Not really sure why Bob has never rated Higgers.

      • jamie

        Queenslander/melbournian?

    • TheMountain

      Yeah go Ita Vaea right?!

      • sugarwookie

        I love the guy and I hope he gets a go, but probably not our starting 8…? :)

        • TheMountain

          the joke was about the lineout no.8… I’d have Higgers any day

        • sugarwookie

          I now see my silly misinterpretation and have given myself a slap in the face. Apologies =)

    • willie anderson

      You don’t mean TK do you? Hasn’t anyone noticed he’s lost pace and can’t tackle anymore?

    • loghthorse

      Best choice is Higginbots,can jump but lose a player at the breakdown which is skeletons game that should balance it out.

    • Nipper

      I guess you all think its prudent to not select the form Aussie #8 in the comp (McCalman) and go with the “other guy” who shall remain nameless? That’s who you want spearheading the tough stuff in the tight combat of a test match? Not to mention the handbags between Hooper and Higgy (oops…) over who gets to play on the wing. It seems to me that having Hooper and Higgy in the same backrow is a recipe for disaster.

      • I rate McCalman highly but my preference for Higgers is mostly his lineout jumping. Skelton is all but a certainty to be one of the locks so you need to have that 3rd lineout option available and Higgers is a very good one. I would also have Pocock over Hooper as starting 7 and bring Hooper on late to run around some tired forwards.

        • Masher

          Yeah like when you’re already 20 points up against a tier 3 team so he can look good in the back line and not have to worry about doing his actual job as a 7

      • Stin

        Check out the GAGR No. 8 analysis!

  • muffy

    It was totally depressing seeing the huge gulf between the nations. Especially through the backs. Whenever the Kiwis made a break, there was support either side, but when the lone breaks came for the Aussie, not a soul to be seen. Its almost like we don’t expect to break the line!
    I think if someone gets into Genia’s ear and tells him he may have to actually occasionally clean someone out himself instead of pointing and waiting for the ref or someone else to do the job, then he has to be the starting 9.
    If we are to play Skelton, we can play Higgers, (Bob just spat out his tea). He’s not the top try scoring forward for nothing. he has the skills, but as has been said 1000 times – its about balance…

    • Grant

      Skelton definitely needs to be trialed at test level, to see if he has the goods, so many players say the jump from Super 15 to Test level is a big one. Just because he has performed for the Warratahs doesn’t mean he will at Test, plus he has the ability to lose the game as well.

  • Duvstar

    Surely we go Higgers at 8. Granted, he’s not world class in that position, but he’s a handy, proven player who also happens to be a great lineout jumper. Helps to solve the Skelton dilemma.

    • Pedro

      Yeah. I think you’re right. If you have Fardy/Jones, Higginbotham, Hooper/Pocock then you’ve got two good back row jumpers and you just need one in the second row.

      Then have Palu/Vaea type on the bench. So if you end up with only 2 jumpers it’s only for a quarter of the game.

      • sugarwookie

        Are you saying Vaea can’t jump? :-D

        • jamie

          He doesn’t jump, he just pushes the earth down

    • jamie

      Also, he’s the leading try scoring forward in super rugby history. He’s an excellent player, and the fact he’s toned down his aggression this season makes him all the more better

      • muffy

        I quite liked his aggression – the Saffas and Kiwis complained that he was a thug – that’s good enough for me!

  • BDAUSSIE

    “But it’s clear that if you play Will you somehow have to find three other prime line-out jumpers. You can find two others in Fardy and Jones, but who’s your third? The only possibility would seem to be Coleman, but he’s very inexperienced”. — WTF? Rob Simmons has been statistically one of our best locks this season, and is one of our most experienced but according to Bob he’s not even an option.

    • Bobas

      I know right, and Latu over Sean Hardman, has this guy even watched recent super rugby.

      • AJ

        He’s seen enough to note Eales is playing better than Coleman.

    • Bob did talk about Simmons but it didn’t make the edit. He felt Rob didn’t have the ball carrying impact.

      • BDAUSSIE

        Fair enough. cheers

      • Joe Blow

        If we don’t go with Rob Simmons then it would be good to see a Coleman/Skelton second row. Higgers would be at 8(sorry Bob) calling the lineout and Fardy and Pocok could round out the back 5.
        Not much experience there but they would be surrounded by it.

      • Aron

        With Skelton at lock and either Fardy or Jones at six I would have thought that would be enough impact to allow for our best LO jumper. Is he that much of a mug with ball in hand? I haven’t seen much of him this season but I’m certain he’s no Carter.

      • Jimmydubs

        Discussion about who should start at lock for the Wobblies and Rob doesn’t ‘make the edit’. Wow, Just wow, especially after the Tahs lineout performance.

        Perhaps the Meat, Potatoes and Gravy argument needs a comeback!

    • Simon

      If one lock is Skelton, the other lock has to be Simmons IMO, regardless of his lack of ball-carrying ability, because you need to cover for the lineout. He’s been the best lineout caller not just in Australia but in all Super Rugby this season. The stats put up in a previous article showed that a lot of the criticism levelled at him (penalty magnet, lazy in rucks) has been unwarranted this season. His only real weakness is that lack of force in attack but that’s why Skelton is there.

    • Robson

      Yes, I was so surprised by Bob’s ommission of Simmons that I wondered if he was on the injured list.

  • Pedro

    For all his past brilliance I haven’t seen Genia play well at all this season. I feel like everyone expects him to put on the gold jumper and suddenly be 2011 vintage. Since White returned from injury he has been among the best preformers for the Brums but everyone seems to think that if he pulls on a gold jumper he’ll just kick the ball away.

    • Simon

      Genia had flashes of form this season when he ran the ball (the Bulls game stands out in my memory, and the second Rebels game), sometimes he’s briefly looked a vague version of 2011, but for most of the season he was either passing or kicking. It’s hard to know how much of that was due to Graham’s coaching and how much is a vestige of his ankle injury. I do think that Genia in gold under Cheika will improve just through getting away from Graham’s execrable coaching and game plans, but how much he’ll improve is the question.

      • Pedro

        We all hope Genia gets his mojo back, a return to form would boost the whole wallaby squad.

    • Dud Roodt

      Everyone thinks that because his primary aim in a football game is to look to box kick. And while I’m a huge fan of the game plan revolving around giving possession back 5m from where you kick it, whilst spending the rest of the game walking around bow-legged and looking p*ssed off while getting bounced by anyone who runs at you, I just dont think it can get it done against the AB’s.

      • Antony

        Yeah I’m not trying to be slack to White here, but he runs out of ideas at the top level.

        • brumby runner

          The salient issue is that he has ideas. He can pass the ball and pick out runners, run himself, grubber kick and kick long both in open play and for touch. Unfortunately, he has earned a reputation for poor box kicking which is on the mark, but he has put that away more in later games.

          Will also plays with ideas but has been well off the mark in recent years. Nick Phipps is a one trick pony, and as the last game shows he is often very poor even at passing skills.

      • brumby runner

        Nic is a better one-on-one defender than any of the No 9 options. Some of his recent tackles include bringing Sam Whitelock down when he had a head of steam up (and remember Whitelock scored a try against the Tahs from about 60m out and just dusted 5 or 6 defenders along the way), and the No 8 for the Stormers very early in the Quarter Final after which that player was out of action for quite a while. He missed Jul;ian Savea in the semi, but he’s in very good company there.

        He is often the tackler after others have missed, and is a reason why the Brumbies had the best defense in SXV this year.

        Neither Phipps ot Genia can defend as well as White although all are pretty good cover defenders.

      • Pedro

        Looking pissed off its part of the scrum half remit. Also white is a superb defender, he’s not huge so he can get bumped but it’s a rare occurrence.

    • sugarwookie

      Exactly my thoughts, Pedro. He has been fantastic this year.

      Everyone is still blaming him for that loss against the AB’s where he did fluff his box kick at the end, but all night our forwards were getting hammered and all we had was rubbish/slow ball. He was hardly entirely responsible for that loss. Name me one scrumhalf that can play well when your forwards are getting destroyed for 80mins? #hatersgonnahate ;)

    • Davo

      Actually the Tahs would have really benefited from a few Nic White style grubbers in behind the rushing (aka offside) defence of the Highlanders. They would have appreciated his precision of passing too. Unfortunately no-one benefits from his constant box kicks or antagonism of the ref.

    • Older I Get

      I wish it wasn’t so. Genia is not on his game. Don’t know why – it can’t all be about the coaching at the Reds. Phipps was brilliant all season but inexplicably fell away in form for the last three matches. His passing was positively parabolic against the Reds but his defence is usually dependable. Stirzaker is a heckova lotta fun but he needs more development. White is a whinging, whining complaint factory that has a strong boot but has been caught out in defence too often. He seems to lack capacity to see where the game could go and makes hasty decisions that don’t fit the opportunity in front of him. Usually that is a box kick that leaves the best backline idling.

      I think Phipps needs a bit of a break for a few weeks and then he may be back to form after the rest.

      • Pedro

        So who do you go with?

        • sugarwookie

          I’d take Genia and White… I think even though Genia hasn’t been brilliant, he has the experience of playing in a RWC which I believe is invaluable. On form as far as my biased opinion goes, White has been better than Phipps overall this season.

          If there’s a chance, I really hope Stirzaker gets a decent a run in the RC, see how he goes. I think he’s got so much potential… hoping the Brumbies nick him for next season to replace White!

        • Older I Get

          Phipps. Genia with the splinters from the bench. But Phipps to run on.

  • Bobas

    I kinda want to know if Dwyer has Genia in 9 and Foley in 10, who is he playing in 12? Considering Kuridrani will not get picked there this year does he change his 9 and 10 or is it the same with Toomua, Lilo at inside centre?

    • Who?

      Bob doesn’t have Foley at 10, he has Giteau… Without a second ball-playing option. Which we’ve seen before (Samoa, 2011), and it didn’t end well. I like Gits, but he’s not a solo 10. But Bob wears blue glasses and players never change his perception of them, hence why the Rebels’ 8, the Reds’ lineout general and the Reds’ 10 weren’t mentioned.

      • Bobas

        You’re most probably right upon re-reading it but I initially read it as Giteau being Genia’s back up scrum half. Expectation bias on my behalf… Giteau shouldn’t be fly half, let alone anywhere starting currently.

        • Who?

          I definitely read it the other way. Otherwise the reference to Foley is irrelevant, other than to say he doesn’t want Foley without nominating an alternative.

      • sugarwookie

        Gits has always been a far better 12 than 10 (IMO =) ). If he plays, surely that’s where he’d have to go?

        For me it’s gotta be between: Phipps/White (or even Stirzaker!), Toomua/Foley, Gits/Lilo, Big TK

        • Who?

          I agree Gits is a 12, not a 10. But who knows what Cheik’s thinking?
          I’d have Genia – Cooper – Lilo/Gits – TK. Haven’t seen enough of Phipps this year to be certain whether or not it should be him or White on the bench. Foley doesn’t offer enough of a threat on his own, and his boot is too small. Plus, I’ve great confidence that Cheik is a better coach than Richard Graham. The Tahs’ attacking systems, especially in the forwards (when they’re working), are what’s made them a good attacking team, not individual brilliance at 9/10/12. Cheika can get the same results or better with other players – be it Toomua, Cooper, or Debreczeni.

        • sugarwookie

          I think you are a better coach than Richard Graham… ;)

          Agreed about Foley’s boot, it’s odd how some as small as White or Mogg can kick the ball so much further than others…

          Happy with all of that, actually!

        • Who?

          You’re right – I am – my team won more games at a carnival this weekend than Graham’s team did all year! :-D

        • sugarwookie

          Congratulations! =D

  • Ringo Star

    Bob I love reading your opinions thanks for writing them down even though you left out all my favourite players. Keen to find out who you would pick at 6 and 7. Another article from you next week would be great
    Looks like there are three Kiwi S15 teams right now who could beat most (all?) test sides in the world, based on Crusaders end of year form.

  • Grant

    Great review, well done. I think we can come back, one bad day at the office is not reason to throw in the towel. Personally I think the Warratahs got arrogant and they paid for it on the weekend. The big concern I have is Jamie Joseph handed Cheika his arse on a plate – he was out coached and he and his players had no answer. Joseph went into the game with a plan and his players pulled it off. Rather than blame Joubert and everyone else, hopefully Cheika can acknowledge he lost to a better coach and team on the day, watch the recordings, learn a few things, grow a bit of humility and move on smarter and wiser for the World Cup.

    • Masher

      Absolutely spot on. The trouble is I think the arrogance comes from the top and if that’s true then I don’t see any changes occurring and another inglorious year ahead of the Wallabies

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Arrogance? I saw none. We took the kicks for goal instead of opting to try for 7.
      We were out played, those lineouts are a prime example, but that’s it. We lost because they were better, not because we were arrogant. End of story.

      • Mart

        Apart from when Phipps took the quick tap!?!? ;)
        That kills me.

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Still feeling crap after the game, so I’ve not been able to face a replay of the tape.
          I’ll go back and have another look. When was that quick tap please Mart?

        • Mart

          I think it was the first half..scores were pretty close. Would’ve been an easy 3.
          This really bothers me. It’s a bit of a lack of respect for the captain.
          Wallaby captains have to be Pocock and Moore in my opinion.

        • Spank

          Agree they HAVE to be! I would also add Hodgson as a VC option IF he is in the squad but that unfortunately seems unlikely. He leads from the front.

      • Mart

        Also I don’t think I’ve seen a team kick as much as the Highlanders did.
        Every play they pretty much kicked it.
        They gave us possession, sure not territory But a better side retains that possession.

        • the ardent b’stard

          Would that be the team that had
          – 53% possession
          -62% territory
          – scored 5 tries
          – and had 10% more run metres than the Tahs

        • the ardent b’stard

          oh, and missed 15 points in kicks

        • Mart

          Thanks for the stats.
          Could you come up with 5/8 kicks out of hand overall kicks?
          Then compare to any other team and it felt like they kicked a shit load
          From memory they went for 2 drop goals as well…with no penalty pending

        • the ardent b’stard

          Highlanders did kick a lot, have done all year but that has translated into 59 tries for the season
          For this game
          – sopoaga kicked 10 times out of 27 touches
          – a smith 16 out of 85
          – ben smith 6 out of 21
          For the Tahs
          – Foley 14 from 47
          – Phipps 1 from 68
          – Folau 2 from 20
          Field position just killed the Tahs.

        • RobC

          Read the stats before the semi

          Landers kicks from hand 130 more than Tahs.
          4 successful drop goals

          It was clear the Landers were gonna belt the leather out of it. Well maybe not to the Tahs coaches

        • TheMountain

          The Highlanders always banked on blasting the Tahs ruck, goddamn didn’t they? the most underrated pack in the world after that showing

    • AB

      I think he was pretty clear after the game on that issue – he joked that if it wasn’t his last game he should have been sacked anyway for stuffing up as a coach in that game. I don’t get the cheika description as arrogant – he is straightforward and passionate about his players, which has been a breath of fresh air at the tahs…

      • harro

        If he coached any other team except the Waratahs people on here would love him.

  • Hitcho

    I believe the quote is “A Champion team will always beat A team of Champions”. Problem we’ve got is the All Blacks are both.

  • Moo Magic

    Not an ideal outcome this weekend. But this is not disarray for the WC. Both our teams were beaten by statistical strength (two top teams by points and the two leading try scoring teams) and they will compete for the title. Rightly so. I think under Cheika the mental edge is there to do well at this WC. We may or may not take the title but I think we’re a better team than in recent years where we know cohesion ratios need to be high to get the best results. Looking forward to a cracking international season.

  • idiot savant

    There’s no need to panic. Phipps is the most important cog in the Cheika ball wheel. He should start as the WB half if we are any chance against the top sides. Cheika has asked Phipps to pass as quickly as possible. He will miss and have off days playing under that instruction. But the speed the ball gets from the breakdown together with the speed it is taken over the gain line into impact is the linchpin of Cheika’s philosophy. Forget scrums and lineouts (Cheika clearly has). If you get over the gain line from phase ball for the majority of the match you’ll probably win. Gain line rugby has delivered Cheika results almost everywhere he has coached. Compare the results of the outstanding set piece rugby and slow gain line football of the Reds to the Tahs shit set piece and outstanding gain line rugby these last 2 seasons. I know which one Id choose.

    So Australia’s best chance in the RWC is not to re-invent Cheika’s wheel. That means Phipps has to be halfback. I was stunned that Stirzaker didnt get a call up as he looks like he could play under the quick ball instruction as well. But if we go back to Sanchez’s post 2011 delivery speed, we will get smashed behind the gain line and that’s the hard way to win a game. If we are going to have Sanchez, we need to kick like the Highlanders to have any chance.

  • moaning expat

    Well the one benefit of an all NZ final is the hope that they will kick the shit out of each other and leave a trail of injured bodies behind them…

  • bullock

    Skelton for number 8 leaves option open for 3 tall line out options?

    • jamie

      Skelton in his actual position and a #8 that can jump in the line out and take his place like Higginbotham?

  • TouchFinderGeneral

    I like Higgers. There, I’ve said it. He has the athleticism & the skills to be a contender at 8. Give him a run. So Simmons, Fardy, & Higgers means 3 genuine options in the lineout.

    Frankly I don’t see much choice unless we don’t play Skelton. Which would be a shame, as far as I’m concerned.

  • RobC

    Thanks Bob. Nice article, again.

    Abject lesson in evolution. Doesn’t matter if it’s Rugby business politics war or marriage:
    – If one is too one dimensional and don’t move with the times, you will lose.
    – Doesn’t matter how good one is (was).

    Sth Africa don’t have too much to worry about. They’re going through some major painful changes to increase their depth and should reap rewards before long. More importantly a good part of their national team don’t play SR

    The result though still ok imo. Two Oz teams made it to the semis. One lost due to travel. The other had half a coach.

    Slightly off topic. Im pleasantly surprised about how well Blake Enever went this year. Locks are getting unlocked.

    Not too worried about RWC, as my expectations of winning is v low (0%). Not worried about Big Willy as there are some decent locks, including Will himself. The key challenge this year imo is:
    – returning to top 3, using the depth
    – the scrum
    – what is the new base game? Cos the Tahs base game, as the Landers have demonstrated – has fatal weaknesses

  • Angus

    Is Quade Cooper injured/not eligible for selection? (Not sarcasm just an Ex-Pat who doesn’t have access to all the news). I thought he was in the current training squad selected from the reds/rebels/force. I only ask because I think if you really don’t want Foley starting it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to put in someone new this late so Cooper would be the safest bet (and he wasn’t mentioned at all in the article so I didn’t know if I missed some news somewhere).

    • Canuckruck

      Bob hates Cuade Qooper as far as I can tell…..

  • Piers

    It seems like that at the International level we roll out the latest *star* who is quickly targeted by the opposition. The Wallabies don’t seem to be a bunch of interchangeable combinations but a team that if one guys goes there is a gap.

    This isn’t new. It happened with Loti, Wendal, and onwards from there. A few world cups back I didn’t understand why Ben Tune wasn’t in the mix. We seem to have a reactive culture that wants to ditch the mature, seasoned players to make International Rugby dance to the tune of the Super series.

  • Langthorne

    The other positive is that the Highlander forwards showed that a well drilled team can overcome bigger name or more fancied opponents.

  • PB

    George Smith at Number 8?

  • PiratesRugby

    I love that Dwyer can’t even utter his name. Hilarious.
    Bob’s right about Phipps though.

  • idiot savant

    Agree with the lack of options under pressure. The Tahs arent blessed with great kickers at wing or full back.

    But im not sure you can have great set piece and play gain line footy otherwise everyone would be doing it. If you are going to pick a pack with the set piece ballast of England say, its unlikely you’ll win the gain line against a more mobile side. Ive seen All Blacks sides get beaten in the scrum but not one the score board. Consistent gain line advantage is more important unless its wet and the track is slow.

  • Who?

    ABs are rarely demolished in the scrum. Points losses are different to what the Wallabies wheeled out last year. Similarly, you never (these days) see the ABs dominated aerially.
    And Phipps isn’t the only one who can play quick ball. Any scrumhalf can, provided they’ve got the right structures around them.

  • idiot savant

    Agree the ABs dont get demolished but they have been pushed back in scrums by England and the Boks in recent times. The point is the ABs would rather have a mobile pack getting over the gain line than pick carcasses that just dominate scrums (a bit like Cheika).

    Ive seen some quick ball on occasion from halfbacks other than Phipps this season but not consistently. And that is the point of Cheika ball. He will put up with errant passes provided the ball is leaving the breakdown quickly all game. Its a percentage philosophy. Repeated gain line advantage creates pressure, forces penalties and angles and holes appear because the defensive line doesnt have enough time to reset. Thats why Cheika loves Beale. His acceleration can take advantage of this.

    I love Genia, and think in the slower French league he will be an absolute star. But hes just not quick enough for long enough to start in test rugby. 25 mins off the bench at the end is more his speed now.

  • Who?

    I think the difference between the ABs and Wallabies at the set piece is that the ABs might get shunted occasionally, but they rarely walk away at the end of the game not having fixed things to a point that they’re close to even. The ABs rarely have a pack that isn’t capable of dominance, it’s just that scrummaging for a long time isn’t the Kiwi way. They too see it as an opportunity to restart the game, though they still look for more dominance there than Aussies traditionally do.
    The ABs have mobile packs, but they’re not full of small guys. I don’t think that anyone would describe Whitelock and Retallick as small locks! Mobile doesn’t necessarily equal small or weaker.
    I really genuinely think that any of our 9’s will do fine under Cheika. Each has issues. White’s probably the most fixable – his form’s ok, and if he’s told – as Phipps was 2 years ago – that he’s not permitted to box kick (which he doesn’t do badly, but does more often than we’d like – in line with the Brumbies’ game plan), then he’d be fine. He has a great pass. As does Genia.
    Genia’s speed is still more than fine, he just needs to have his forwards organized. The Tahs pack has been much better at knowing its role than the Reds pack. Which is coaching structure. With a target, Sanchez is our most threatening option, running more from the base than both Phipps and White, and with a better pass than Phipps.
    I LOVE Phipps’ energy. I think he matured a lot into 2014, and while I maintained my concerns about the quality of his pass, I thought he was the right selection given availabilities/form/injuries. But if he’s not 100% on his game, he’s not my first choice, and his pace isn’t an irresistible or unmatchable quality.

  • sugarwookie

    I’m thinking we need to surgically remove Mogg’s legs, and attach them to Foley…?

NSW Waratahs
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If you don't know Bob Dwyer is the world cup winning coach of the 1991 Wallabies, then give yourself an uppercut. He did a load in between, but he now runs Bob Dwyer's Rugby Workshops, which you can read more about on his site.

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