Dwyer's View: first glimpse of the Cheika Wallabies

Dwyer’s View: first glimpse of the Cheika Wallabies

Dwyer’s View: first glimpse of the Cheika Wallabies

The first match for the Michael Cheika Wallabies – even though it wasn’t quite what he would have wanted on the scoreboard – showed a lot. Indeed, the last game under McKenzie showed a lot. There were some real positives and plenty that appear to be a hallmark of Cheika coached teams.

I thought that we had a massive change in the work rate of some of the forwards – its the best I’ve seen Horwill play for years. We continued with much better ball carry, with Sam Carter continuing to be much improved. It looked to me everyone knew that unless they produced the goods in terms of work rate they weren’t going to get a start next week.

The choice of second row is tricky – it looks like Cheika wants two of Horwill, Simmons and Carter starting and Skelton on the bench. My problem with Horwill and Simmons on the field at the same time is the number of penalties they give away.

I can add in Scott Higgenbotham for praise in his time on the field with his contribution and carries in close. We all know what talent he’s got and if he can keep this up we may see the best of him yet.

In what must be one of the best Wallaby debuts of all time, Sean McMahon was outstanding. He has the pace, acceleration and power of Hooper, as well as the work rate – I’d have him on the bench. He was terrific and I believe he won a couple of line outs to boot. With his power from the ground, one decent lifter will make him an option.

When Nic White and Bernard Foley came on there was a massive lift in our attacking threat. This came from swift and accurate ball distribution straight off the ground (even though Greg Martin was pleased with Genia’s running – it hampered our attack). Foley was very flat, threatening the close-in defence. This made a huge difference in the shape of our game and created our period of real dominance.

In terms of other individual performances, Toomua’s work rate was outstanding. I don’t think he’s quite good enough to be a starting player in a World Cup winning team, but that may come. He certainly showed he wasn’t in the slightest bit hampered by any descent bouts of concussion. Rob Horne was excellent and has to get a start in the test team.

Let me say it for the 400th time – we have to have Kuridrani at inside centre. If we have Foley, Kuridrani and Ashley-Cooper in the inside channels we will seriously threaten and make space for our back three.

Speight wasn’t seen very much but it was his first game for a while and Checka might want to take a punt with him. With Speight and Horne on the wings you could have the centre pairing I’d advise. You need good defenders on the wing because the Welsh wingers are a threat.

We need to do something about increasing Folau’s speed over a distance. His acceleration and agility are great, but anything over 30m and he gets pulled in. This can be worked on, but not on tour (I certainly would’t be dropping him).

What would I have said to the team? Fantastic, but you don’t have to score every time you get the ball. You have to question the defence and keep the play going. It doesn’t have to keep going with the pass, but with the ball recycled off the deck.

All in all that was a pretty good start to the tour but Nathan Grey has a lot of work to do in the next week. The Barbarians certainly threatened with their attack, but so will Wales.

PS – Can any of G&GR commenters come up with a solution for how we get Jaco Peyper removed from the international panel of referees? He totally ignored the laws of the tackle contest. He never required the tackler to release the ball carrier and then would penalise the tackled player for non release. He was bad all through the match, but diabolical in the last 10 minutes.

  • bob

    I guess there’s no comments yet because Bob’s praised Higgers??

    • It’s just a more twisted form of hate

    • first time long time

      Perhaps damned with faint praise… I think he gave him a thumbs up for leaving the field early.
      Just kidding Bob

    • Tahs_Man_Fan

      See I didn’t get his praise for Higgers. I reckon Higgers is awesome, but he doesn’t do enough grunt work and we haven’t seen the top form he showed in 2013. How can a forward make 1 tackle in 20 months minutes!? If there was any game Higgers could come in for criticism, it was this one. just my opinion though

      • Bob

        That’s not true. I watched second viewing last night. Huggers made at least three

      • matt james

        “How can a forward make 1 tackle in 20 months minutes”.
        Someone else, I am not sure who, addressed this in the forum. If a player had the option of running at Hooper or Higgers who would they run at. Obviously the much smaller Hooper. As such a player like Higgers will always have far less traffic running his way.
        Well that’s the theory anyway, not sure how big an impact it makes but it must make an impact.
        Given he seemed eager to run the ball on the pitch I think any criticism of his work rate is misplaced in this instance

        • Tahs_Man_Fan

          You know, I never thought about it that way. Maybe that’s why my tackle count is so low in subbies, cos I’m a big fat bastard haha.

          I’ve re-watched the game, and will concede that he did get through a load of carries early on, and spent much more time in close than he has in earlier games

      • Tip

        He made 3 tackles in his 18 minutes on the park, two back to back in the 8th minute.

  • Hambone

    i dont think kuriandrani needs to be moved, apologies bob but he is killing it in the 13 channel, let him run free where he knows best.

    • I don’t think the world would end if we tried it. AAC isn’t going to fail at 13

      • Christopher Kerr

        Disagree. Need to stop the constant tinkering around of the backline, and let the guys who are already performing to accumulate much needed time to build combinations. LInk should have kept the same backline against the All Blacks from France series which he basically reverted back to at the end of the series. AAC killed it on the wing but was much less effective at OC at the top level. He simply doesn’t have the physicality of Kuri. Bob needs to let go of his two running centers. Like Link, Cheika prefers a second ball player.

        • DrewB

          Your last line is the clincher – Cheika kept Beale at 12 all year. Horne had shown he was a decent crash ball 12 but they didn’t use it. But, I wouldn’t be surprised, and would love to see, some variation where TK would come in to IC for certain plays.

        • Rob G

          There was a moment in the baa baas game when folau, TK and speight were all standing in midfield off a set piece. That is a combo I wouldn’t want to be staring at as a defender!!!

        • Apples and oranges I reckon.

          While all and sundry were saying Beale shouldn’t play 10 (I wouldn’t call this a tinker but a crazy last minute roll of the dice) the fear here is more over TK doing so well at 13, rather than being a clanger at 12.

          Think of what worked so well with Lilo at 12 vs the ABs – it wasn’t him throwing long passes or provide a kicking game it was him being able to straighten the attack and hold up the defence. That’s exactly what TK would do, but more so.

          And you’re remembering a match that I can’t where AAC didn’t play well at 13

        • Dogman

          I believe the biggest concern with TK at 12 is his lack of distribution. Lilo was an excellent all round 12 against the ABs, including some beautiful passing. This is the only area that I still have concerns with TK. However given his massive improvement in the last 12 months, I would think he could add some solid distribution in the next 12 months.

        • idiot savant

          AAC plays well all the time. He is a hard runner to be sure but awareness of support runners is not his strength. TK has less ego and is better at offloading. Against the ABs in a RWC final popping the pass might just be the difference.

          And over 60 mins a 12 needs to have first receiver skills. I think TK might make us a bit one dimensional in that role, more Geoff Shaw than Lynagh.

        • Bill

          AAC is a good player, but he’a subtle knife not a bastard sword and Kuri is a good big bastard…certainly worth a look but I suspect on balance I’d end up keeping him at 13, but Bob has far more pedigree than I do picking these guys.

        • Joe Mac

          Until AAC learns to pass- he has to be on the wing. AND he has to be on the left wing, where he can fend with his right arm. I would say that over 95% of his tries have been on the left side of the field where he can fend with his big right arm.

        • Seemed to work for the Waratahs this year….

    • Rex Munday

      The fear that AAC will be pushed out of the starting side is palpable.

      Is there a push for AAC at 13 because people are scared his mummy might take to the airwaves again?

      • Bill

        Well I guess we really don’t want to consider Alan Jones as a plausible forum. Regardless of my own thoughts about the matter I’d hope we’ve moved beyond allowing anymore oxygen to him.

    • Robbo

      I agree. Let’s stop switching players around. It is like a chip kick. Sometimes it works but normally a high percentage of failure. For every Larkham you have multiple failures… e.g. JOC at 10, Bergamasco at 9, Leon McDonald at 13, Christian Cullen at 13, Matt Rogers, Giteau at 9, Alexander at THP, Dunning at THP etc… do it at club rugby. not tests.

      • Pedro

        Gits was a good nine. I think he just didn’t want to pay there.

  • Sambo

    Dear Bob….
    I understand your point regarding TK and AAC in the centres… direct purposeful running to get over the gainline. But do you think Folau, Speight and Horne would see any ball then? Both would also be guilty of spoiling an overlap in offence and our kicking game would suffer.
    I also think Lilo deserves more game time in the 12 jersey after his last 2 showings.

    • Lol

      What kicking game?

    • Luke Amasi

      I thought the team looked more balanced with Lilo and Foley coming on. I think Lilo despite his injury, form and kicking problems this year can still play himself into some good form.

    • DrewB

      TK at 12 would be like a young Nonu, who also didn’t have a complete game. But from memory he regularly had a world class 13 outside him (Umaga / Smith) so the backline still worked. But it would be good for TK to develop a passing and kicking game, as Nonu has (he’s still not the greatest, but can do it now).

  • Biffo

    great article from the great man.
    i can never disagree with him … well, almost never

    yes, McMahon made a superb debut.
    however, i saw Mr George Smith’s first game for the Wallabies.
    anyone else on this page see that?

    • Hitcho

      Yes, Yes I did see George Smiths debut. The man was outstanding (and still is)

      • Biffo

        i, by some luck, was sitting next to a bloke who had coached the young Mr Smith as a schoolboy.
        he told me i would be seeing something special and added that i would see a great Wallaby of the coming ten years.
        he was right.

  • trent

    I can add in Scott Higgenbotham for praise in his time on the field with his contribution and carries in close. We all know what talent he’s got and if he can keep this up we may see the best of him yet.

    Bob do you think that it is acceptable for Higgers to have only made 1 single tackle in his 20 minutes on the field?

    Also I was surprised that at the other end of the spectrum you ignored the top tackler and first time captain Hodgson. You were his first coach at the Tahs so surely you know who he is.

  • Bobas

    Sorry Bob, when Sarel Pretorius runs down your winger its time to get a new one that can back up the sprints for the entire game. Horne is too good and covers too many positions to be dropped from the 23 but ideally he’ll be starting on the bench next week.

    • Wallas

      im fairly certain for a while Pretorius was one of the fastest players over 30 or so. He’s no slouch…

      • Bobas

        the play had moved more than 30m before Horne received the ball in space.

    • USARugger

      Sarel Pretorious is fast as hell, man.

      • Bobas

        he’s no Mogg or Davies

        • Rob G

          You’re right……he can tackle.

      • Warateam

        Correct me if I’m wrong but from memory this is pretorious, http://i.imgur.com/eqMoM9T.gif
        So yes, the guys damn fast!

        • USARugger

          Actually, I think that’s Piet van Zyl – not sure what happened to the bloke though. That clip always makes me go a bit slack-jawed.

    • Tahs_Man_Fan

      Bobas I really don’t get this “Horne was run down by Pretoriys” argument. I’ve watched the replay, and you can see that Pretorius was already tracking back. Horne gets the ball and Pretorius is already within 10 metres of him, and takes him down. I just don’t see how that is someone being run down. If Horne made a clean break down the wing with nothing in front of him or close by, and was then run down, I’d agree. Don’t get me wrong, it’d be good if Horne had more pace, but I don’t think he’s a slouch

      • Stray Gator

        Is it just me or do others worry about Izzy’s apparent lack of sustained pace, around the 40 metre mark? He seems super quick in the initial 20 to 30 metres but, unless he’s already over the try line, gets caught fairly easily more often than not.

        Not stirring the possum – just a thought while we’re talking outside backs.

        • Bobas

          if you read the article you would realise that it isn’t just you.

        • Stray Gator


        • Stray Gator

          Read the article THEN the commentariat. Got it.

      • Bobas

        I don’t think Horne is a slouch, I just think he may not be able to back up his top sprint speed for the full 80m. I know from personal experience I can sprint faster than someone at the start of the game be more aerobically fit than them during and at the end of the game, but not able to be able to match their top end pace.

      • Pedro

        Because they’re already running three quarter pace you would expect a winger to be able to accelerate away from a half back.

  • teh Other Dave

    I wonder if a solid season in Super Rugby could see O’Connor in with a show at 12 (I’m thinking long-run, rather than against Wales). He’s not a 10, but he can run straight and distribute the ball, but can also run support for Folau breaking. His defence is still fairly strong, but we need a rock next to either Foley or Cooper. I’d rather see AAC stay on the wing, I quite like his ability to finish, and he’s a good defender against some classy outside backs, of which there seems to be a bounty at the moment in world rugby.

    My biggest concerns are still our props coming off the bench, and what to do about 4-5. Horwill is still not the player he was from 2010-11, and Carter is improving but is not near enough to world cup contender. We need a solid tight five to win this shooting match, and we need options off the bench, unless we want to become accustomed to being overrun as we were several times this Winter. At least Skelton is one (very good) option, but we need a couple of props to go and prove theirselves on the high veldt and down in Otago in February.

    As for Jaco Peyper, the best way would be to have South Africa lose another QF. Of course, Peyper would not be presiding over such a loss, so perhaps we need another Susie to serve lunch to the All Blacks and… too far?

  • Rugby Tragic

    I completely agree about Horwill. I thought he was great but so many people have given him a rap, and I dont understand why.
    I think the first halves pairing and the second halves pairing were about equal. Genia certainly came long in leaps and bounds, and I dont him him having a run as long as it keeps the option open. May not start cooper, but would be worth playing foley and genia.

  • Drew

    Honestly Bob what are you on about. I’m watching the replay now and White is dishing up absolute garbage.

  • Hambone

    bring back the badge, sign up and lets get the badge back where he belongs and bring back bill to our southern shores… https://www.change.org/p/australian-rugby-union-bring-back-the-badge-2015?just_created=true

  • Who?

    Haven’t seen the game (no Foxtel here), but it’s fascinating that every other review I’ve read – both Australian and Kiwi viewers – said both Genia and Quade were rusty, but eased into the game well, and particularly praised Genia for his service off the deck…
    I do love a 9 who can deliver ball off the deck, and while Genia does run the ball a bit, he’s the only 9 I’ve watched us play at Test level who doesn’t HAVE to take a backswing (which Phipps does – and that’s in spite of an exceptional game in the third Bledisloe match – and White does, and Burgess can’t pass, and…). So it’s fascinating to see the same constant complaints that he doesn’t deliver the ball off the deck, when his pick and run is often no slower than a backswing pass from our other 9’s.
    And others are right about TK – he can’t play 12, he can’t pass. Instances like 65 minutes into the 3rd Bledisloe (i.e. bad passes from TK bombing opportunities – forgiveable because we don’t want him passing it at 13!) are too common. As pointed out, Nonu survived at 12 because he had Conrad outside him. AAC’s a good 13, but he’s no Conrad/BOD. A playmaking 13. Then again, Bob, you always advocate sticking the turnstile Beale in at 13… Foley can be a ball hog, and he can’t throw a big enough cutout to get past both TK and AAC. And if you had them both in the centres, then a cutout would be the only way the wingers would see any pill! MUCH better to run Lealiifano/Godwin/Toomua at 12, and TK wider.

    • “I didn’t see the game but…..” classic start!

      You really should watch it – will help you with your halfback misconceptions

      • Who?

        Hey Matt, I’d love to see it, but I’m part of 2/3 of the Australian public that was denied access to the match.

        When someone starts an article by jumping on and resuming their standard howling about a player – in direct contrast to every other report I’ve read, from both commercial and non-commercial providers – then the reporting loses credibility. Every other source I’ve read has praised Genia for clearing from the deck, though some noted he made exceptions when there was no forward presence at the breakdown (which was also noted in other reports – that our breakdown presence wasn’t as strong as it might’ve been, that our tight five and particularly starting props this game were poor), at which point he took a couple of steps to avoid being caught in possession – the modern equivalent of the now almost extinct dive pass.

        And where’s the misconception? I’ve watched enough rugby to know that, even at his firey and frantic best, Phipps takes a backswing. He masks this by being – unquestionably – the fastest to the ball of all the Aussie 9’s. Phipps even has a backswing in his passing warm up drill (off the deck, no pressure), whereas Genia doesn’t. Does Genia always deliver off the deck? No. I’d argue he often doesn’t delivery off the deck enough. But at least his passing technique allows him to do that, unlike our other 9’s… If you disagree, you might like to point out where Phipps and White have consistently passed without drawing the ball back and away from the recipient… And my critique of Burgess’ passing is one shared with Mr Dwyer – heavily influenced by him, in fact.

        • Known Rugby


          There you go mate, have a look.

        • Who?

          Thanks! :)

        • Bill

          Up until the 45 min of that I cant see any justified criticism of Genia’s ruck passing , the first few, yeah, there was a bit of a skip step, but the rest? Just have a look. The only times he didn’t clear it quick was either aggressive ruck defence or aggressive outside defence cutting the option off. Most people would call that in the first instance good pressure, in the second, good vision.

        • RobC

          I think Genia’s game is different. He often has a look at the situation after picking it up. Phipps generally assesses before he picks up and clears.

          I believe if Genia is told to speed up the game, and he has willing forwards to take up the gainline – his life will be much simpler and easier. Depends on the game plan too I suppose.

        • Ruckin Oaf

          The other thing with Genia is he often takes a few steps from the ruck before passing. Which can slow the ball down but it means there’s more bodies in motion for him to pass to or he can go for a run himself. It can be quite effective.

        • RobC

          100%/ that has been well documented also. Genia can do more than Phipps. But sometimes doing less, is more. As Phipps has demonstrated

        • Bill

          Fair point. I guess that would be what Bob would call urgency in realignment. In that respect I would prefer he looks first, but in this game it seemed like there was a bit of clutter at the breakdown.

        • Whig

          And if you can’t find the games on YouTube, they usually turn up on torrent within a couple of days after the match too.

        • moaning expat

          couldnt find it anywhere on a torrent- only the really big games will be torrented and they are usually shown- happy to be corrected if you know of a particualr site

        • moaning expat

          mate- how do you find these? Im one of those wallaby tragics who will watch them play anyone anywhere but thanks to whoever the genius is that doesnt want my money i cant see some of the games (Setanta didnt play this one). I am happy to pay but will pirate if i can’t do it legit. (and i need it recorded) I saw the NZ utube copy and the quality was abysmal. I googled for a copy but thats the only one i could find. Matt Rowley gave me a link for the Scottish game last year that wasnt played here so assume from the same. Any specific i should look for? As i clearly note. I only want this when my paytv doesnt show a game which happens for some tests. Cheers

        • Known Rugby


          Someone normally posts a link as soon as one is available.

          Sort of sucks that there is no match archive subscription.

        • Cry Me A River

          You weren’t denied access to it, you decided to be a cheap bastard and not pay the less than $2 a day cost of Foxtel. 2 options pay up or stop whinging

        • Who?

          So you want me to pay $14/week to watch 90 minutes of TV? There’s nothing else on Foxtel worth watching, and I don’t have time to watch more Rugby than that. Too busy managing the local club and the regional competition. But thinking that’s good value, clearly you live in the bubble that is the old boys club that believes Rugby should be for the ‘elite’, rather than shared with the wider public. Thinking that Rugby should remain the least accessible of the winter codes… There’s better access to the NFL in Australia than Rugby!!!

          $14/week for 90 minutes of TV is only good value if you think that $$,$$$ p.a. is a fair rate for an education and the opportunity to play Rugby. Meanwhile, everyone in my club thinks $150/year is too much to ask for 16 rounds of junior Rugby, including carnivals, plus trial matches, the odd inter-regional match, think around 50-80 hours of contact time (depending on the team).

        • Pedro

          Fox could charge one off fee to stream rugby but they’re insistent on their outdated subscription method. Plus Murdoch is afraid of the internet.

        • moaning expat

          And those of us who can’t even pay for it when we want to?????
          Somethings wrong when (as GAGR said) the ARU have no money even to go to a game and they wont take my money. and dont give me any shit about they sell the rights to XX station and its up to them to show it. SImply put- if you wont show a game it goes out free/next bidder to someone else or a a legitmate free stream.

  • Hambone

    sign up and help bring back the badge to bring bill home 2015


  • Pivo

    I think Foley’s best position is coming off the bench against tiring teams. I still can’t forgive him for becoming the invisible man in the final 30minutes of the 3rd Bledisloe. Any half worth a pinch of salt would have taken the reins and directed us into a win, But neither of our halves did, Foley was particularly poor (I don’t think he took a pill at first receiver in the last 30 leaving it up to TK & 2 dads to take first receiver ball & White to box kick) and we have to lament another loss.

    • RubberLegs

      Too true; Foley and Phipps play with great urgency but they cannot pace themselves to last the whole match. After 60 minutes they have run out of steam and ideas. More experienced players can do good things all game by conserving energy when they get the chance.

    • Robbo_76

      I partly agree with this – Foley was associated with our best attacking period (as stated by Bob) which coincided with the arrival and better running from Kepu and Slipper compared with the 2 Bens. But then he was also on the park when the Baabaas came back and nearly snatched the win, so was this then our worst defensive period? (i don’t think it was his fault those tries necessarily, but you can’t believe in one without considering the other)…my fear is that i don’t think Foley can close out games (I agree with Pivo here as well). He has been on the park for most (if not all) of the games where we have been leading late, only to lose/draw. I hope he learns better game management, because we are losing these games with him controlling these aspects. He is still in better overall form than QC, but is yet to play at a standard of controlling a game like QC did on last year’s Autumn tour….i guess he has the chance to do it this year.

  • sorrybob

    Kuriandrani @ 12 and AAC @ 13 = wrong! Both can’t pass to test standard. I can’t recall ever seeing AAC pass at all! Have either got a kicking game? Pressure on 10 will increase 100%! Limits the options to bring 11/141/15 into play! Kurinadrani is not going to be as effective in the 12 channel with less space.

  • RobC

    Thanks for the article.

    Kuridrani on 12: may work, if he get the ball early enough to avoid rush defence. But its high risk.
    – Firstly, he works well with opposing backs in more space in front of him. At 12, he will be in running through much narrower channel – backs, backrow and the odd guy from front five – many of whom will be in position to have a go at him
    – Secondly, he’s never been at the position before. A key risk is the need to judge when/how to move ball effectively at speed, if he is covered. Unless he becomes an offload specialist eg SBW. which he has not been trained for
    – Thirdly, He will tire early due to heavy tackle duty – and not be an effective attack weapon that he is now. AAC, or anyone else for the time being, cannot deliver the same damage as him.
    – Finally, the reason I believe WBs have a 2nd five instead of someone like Kuridrani, is that the halves are generally have not been well protected around the rucks in the past – except Brisbane, JBurg. So until that is sorted out, the 12 needs to be a player who poses a diverse threat.

    • Avid

      I like Bobs sentiment (centrement).
      Two players capable of adapting the charging centres mould of Horan and Little, are JOC and Folau, with Beale at 15. Cheika is the best person to make this call on Folau. Yes its tinkering, yes Kuridrani was MOTM … but its creative.

      • Parker

        I would love to see that in action. It’s a great idea and hope that it would work as well as imagined.

        • Avid

          We are the only major team not doing it – otherwise TK and IF as is, but use JOC at 12 for more options. Cooper kicks for the chase, and perhaps KBs the super sub. Anyway I hope Cheika never talks about ramping up for the RWC. I want consistent results, not every 4 years!

        • RobC

          One player to look out for is Samu Kerevi:
          – Was a ball buster in SR14 tail at 13.
          – Played 12 for the full NRC comp, which was surprising initially.
          – But he moved and kicked the ball pretty well – mostly to his buddy Chris K, along with the same gainline punishment.
          – He look a lot of pressure of the halves. Then when he got attention, the ball moved elsewhere for points.
          – Not bad, but its NRC not international

          Early days yet, but will be interesting to watch. next year. Where / how he plays

        • Avid

          You bet thats an really good midfield power attack for the Reds. JOC covering midfield from the wing seems an excess? Good luck to them tho.

        • Avid

          Just hope Woody makes good use of what looks an unstoppable Reds backline next year.

        • RobC

          Im v keen to see the last forward picked and how they hold up SR15
          And their defence. They were the best in th com for SR13. Then v close to the worst this year

          But set piece was good

      • RobC

        yup, doable. I think though the priority is the pack:
        – backup props
        – pack’s defensive rucks, specially in the 2nd half
        – counter rucking in attack

        Days of relying on centres/os backs for gainline advantage and to backfoot competition is gone, as demonstrated in this year’s TRC. Unless we’re satisfied with winning against mid-tier EU teams. Its all about the pack

  • RobC

    So, its about the pack. Which was not good:
    – The bench continues to be the perennial problem. In this case, they started the game. They could not backfoot the defenders. They were isolated and turned over. One occasion leading to a try
    – Until they were replaced, WB front foot generally came from the backs: First try from a Speight break. 2nd from a wide pass to Speight, then inside pass to Ben Mc
    – Some improvement in offloads and leg drive, not to great effect. But it will most probably change considering this is Cheika trademark
    – The scrum was atrocious. Lineout was worse.

    Anyway, I think the expectations are lower for that match – for various obvious reasons.

  • RobC

    For EOYT, WBs starters should prevail. But bench scrums and defence will be a big risk.

    There will be pain, as Cheika mentioned. I just hope he realises that 90% of his performance relies on SR coaches – the stock that he receives, their playing styles, their form, the team base game. A ‘my way or the highway’ approach may work for a team, but a national role is vastly different. That is another topic and will play out undoubtedly

  • markjohnconley

    Only query is why would you work on Folau’s ‘distance speed'; surely he’s a line breaker, not a finisher, why possibly muck up his change of pace? the finishers should be there to finish?

  • Lindommer

    Totally agree about Peyper, Bob. In my 50 odd years of watching rugby I’ve seen fewer whistlers who look like they have a bloody clue what they’re doing than our man, Jaco. His play acting with the quick, straight arms are a dead giveaway, the important aspects of the game don’t seem to matter to Jaco, or he doesn’t see them. What good referees do is make an accurate, and quick, judgement of the material effect of a player’s digression. Joubert’s very good at this, Owens is good, Walsh is OK but the best was beaming Bob Burnett from Brisbane of some years ago. Sometimes officious refs should realise rugby’s a game, not a court case.

  • david baldwin

    I am not a fan of moving TK to 12. I don’t think he has the skill set (yet) so I would be looking elsewhere.

    I am surprised that more people have not suggested it, but why not look at Hunt for 12 – if he has a blinder there for the QLD Reds. Gogin off his exploits in League, he is a very strong defender, strong, hard and straight ball runner, is very smart and tactically astute, has great footwork, is a good communicator, can act as a second play maker and has a strong kicking game. To me, he seems like the perfect fit for 12. Plus he is quite aggressive in the way he plays which will suit Chieka. He reminds me a bit of Tim Horan (potentially) in that he is primarily a strong ball runner who can also play the role of link man between loose forwards and outside backs.

    Playing Hunt at 12 would also add maturity into the backline. For me, if Genia can continue he respectable form from the weekend and get better and Quade likewise, I think we can head to the RWC with a backline (and team) of:

    1. Slipper
    2. Moore
    3. Kepu
    4. Simmons
    5. Horwill
    6. Palu
    7. Pocock
    8. Higginbotham
    9. Genia
    10. Cooper
    11. O’Connor
    12. Hunt
    13. Kuridrani
    14. Speight
    15. Folau

    16. Sio
    17. Alo Amile
    18. Polota-Nau
    19. Fardy
    20. Hooper
    21. Phipps
    22. Foley
    23. Ashley-Cooper

    The reasoning behind my choice of Palu at Blindside is because he actually plays like one and if you look at the most successful team on the planet, they play their “hitman” (Kaino) at 6, tighter to the rucks to just smash people and play their more skillful loose forward (Read) out wide, which is where I think we should be playing Higgers. The Welsh and French do something similar with Lydiate/Faletau and Dusatoir/Picamoles respectively.

    Palu is physically the same as Kaino and it would allow us to fully maximise Higgers enormous skills out wide, in the same way as Read does.

    That team, with the exception of Hunt, Speight and Folau are all then sitting around 50+ caps and have leadership, experience etc. Plus I dont see small caps being an issue for players like Folau or Hunt, or Speight for that matter, with the former two so experienced from State of Origin etc.

  • Wallabies#1

    Bob great article – I completely agree with your analysis – but particularly on Jaco Peyper, if the rules are not properly observed then you cannot play running rugby. Not a political statement but a fact – the ARU / Hawker & Pulver needs to lift their game and get on to this issues. Otherwise we will never have a chance.


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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