Dwyer’s View: Wallabies End All Blacks’ Winning Run

Bob Dwyer October 22, 2012 60

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The Bled

I thought it was a pretty strange game. Sure, the Wallabies ended New Zealand’s long winning streak and they must get credit for this, but neither side played much quality rugby. Certainly, neither side created much. Neither side constructed any continued attacking play – not with well executed ‘starter plays’ nor quality support play that could open up opposition defences. Consequently, no tries were scored – and this was the first time the All Blacks had been held tryless since 2004.

But the game is not just about attack and we can certainly give credit for committed defences on both sides. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing such defence from this All Blacks team, but it was here that I thought the Wallabies took a big step forward. We’re clearly not short on courage or commitment – that’s been clear for some time now – but our speed off the line in defence was world class last night. I reckon that was the major contributor to what was a less-than-clinical All Blacks performance.

All teams, and New Zealand are no exception, are vulnerable when the pressure to win is off them. Sure, they went into the game with high aspirations of continuing their winning run, but without the pressure of having to win. Nevertheless, I’m sure that the speed and intensity of the Wallabies defence was the major cause of the lack of finesse in this All Blacks performance.

Our attack similarly lacked any finesse, but this is not unusual. We haven’t produced a quality attacking performance for a long, long time. One of you readers complained some time back that, in this analysis, I say the same things over and over again. There is some truth in this complaint, but I only comment on what I see in the match and the same faults and omissions continue to be repeated by the Wallabies week after week.

The number of overlaps that we ignore, in every game, is disgraceful. Sure, slide defences can cover extra numbers sometimes – even a lot of the time – but there are ways of making this difficult for any defence. For whatever reason, however, we just ignore the opportunities. I’m not sure if we fear getting the ball too wide – indeed our support play is so bad that we should worry. Second touches, or the potential for second touches, have disappeared from our game – such support lines also serve to limit the capacity of sliding defences – and Mark Ella, Michael Lynagh and Steve Larkham must just shake their heads.

While I’m reminiscing, I shudder to think what Des Connor, Ken Catchpole, John Hipwell and Nick Farr-Jones (to name a few) must think of the quality of our scrum-half play. Such deficiencies are not hard to fix – of course, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear – but they do require some attention to detail on the part of both the coaching staff and the player. As an exercise in judging my opinion here, take a look at the telecasts of the NZ provincial rugby currently on display. I have not seen one scrum-half, from any of the divisions, who is not superior in his ‘scrum-half craft’ to Nick Phipps. Phipps has qualities, for sure. He has pace and courage, but our number 9 has to play scrum-half and that requires the accurate execution of certain fundamentals required of the position. There are many such fundamentals that need attention in our game. There is no point of going over them again!

We had some pluses:

  • The result. But we should never be blinded by the result.
  • Mike Harris’s goal kicking. He’s not a bad player either.
  • Our front row went well/OK, but TPN is making a habit of losing the ball in contact.
  • Sharpe, Timani and Douglas are right up at the required level and the latter two have plenty of improvement in them.
  • Wycliff Palu’s return.
  • Hooper continues to impress. Hopefully he will learn that there are laws to the game.
  • We didn’t have any near our recent numbers of chip or grubber kicks.

On the downside:

  • We gave away numerous senseless penalties. Sharpe is a serial offender; Hooper should come back down to earth and Kepu’s final lazy, useless belly flop on the tackled player probably cost us a win. None of this is acceptable.
  • Our restart receptions were still under pressure, but the All Blacks are exceptional in this aspect of play and, something new, we put them under pressure with a few restarts of our own.
  • Our depth, alignment, spacing and support are still way off the pace.
  • We never run any unders lines. This is much more direct, makes it more difficult for the tackler and, dare I say it, for a sliding defence. And, by the way, it makes it easier for support play.
  • In many aspects of our play, the key principles of accurate technique remain absent.

Admirable qualities though they clearly are, we cannot continue to rely solely on courage and commitment to win – or even draw – our matches.

Discussion

  • Chunderstruck

    Restarts are killing us. The one after Beale’s long penalty was a turning point I thought, NZ clawed it back from then on.

  • Red Kev

    I notice that you avoid all talk of Beale at 10 … is that because there isn’t really any other option at the moment or because you don’t want to criticise him?
    Personally I thought he had a shocker. He tackled really well, but everything else about his “flyhalf craft” was poor. Dropped balls, forward passing, kicking out on the full, running across field and taking up space rather than creating space for runners, he made one break (that he subsequently grubber kicked away), he created zero opportunities with his passing game. Oh and let’s not forget he had somewhere between 3 and 5 phases with the ball on the 20m line between the 15m lineout marks and didn’t call for the ball to drop kick it.
    If Cooper had played that poorly the press would be crucifying him right now.

    • Lee Enfield

      Not just the press, but the coach and more importantly, 50% of GAGR posters.

    • Drop kick

      No need to crucify Cooper, he’s crucified himself.

    • Ads

      He didn’t mention Higgers either Kev

      • Skip

        don’t worry about Higgers, players like him “get sorted”.

        I presume that means by the impartial, not-to-be-swayed-by-the-coach’s-comments disciplinary process

  • 30mm tags

    Red kev is. Correct but if you can only play the selective Dan Carter style when you don’t have the pressure that you have to save Australia. Carter just has to tell one of the Smith boys, thats any one of Aaron, Ben or Conrad ,Ma ‘a Nonu or Israel Dagg , etc to turn on a bit of magic and the focus is off him. kurtley has no such luxury. When he has some developed time with Cooper or O’Connor in the team ,that may change. at present the weight of expectation is on him.

  • The Rant

    KB ain’t the finished article, but he’s gonna get there I think. Just needs to build some combo and chemistry with the other guys. And the other guys have got to step up. I just rewatched John eales last game on youtube. amazing how the backs all know and trusst each others game. (they also grubbered and kicked a lot of possession away funny enough). It felt like watching a game in fast forward. So much speed in the attack from all quarters. The pressure is evenly spread with all putting yheir hands up to test the line and change the play, not just hoping Larkham will make something happen. Hoping we can get there again. As Bon says, our defense was fast. Just need the attack to follow and execute cleanly.

    • Goldie

      I believe a large part of the reason the Eales era was played at a fast rate & more importantly, the players trusted each other, was down to consistent team selections. They did not have the horrific injury burden forcing them to play a different team every week. Still not a pretty game and was it a game plan to not lose rather than win that nullified (very effectively I think) the AB game. Time for these boys to stand up now. I predict an unbeaten NH tour now.

  • Guy

    I agree with everything you have said, and especially comments on ‘speed off the line’ …

    I think that the backline attack, while not clinical, and possibly still not effective, was 4000% better than what we have seen over the last 5 or 6 matches. The backs appeared to be making on-the-fly decisions and adjustments on running lines and timing, which, while they did not tear up the opposition, was a far cry from the totally inept park rugby we have seen in recent times.

    The other key thing i think needs highlighting is Mongrel. Again, maybe not perfect, but i was very excited to see 15 men putting their bodies on the line… and the result was the all blacks shell shocked.

    It is fair to say the all blacks mentally were not prepared for all the reasons you provided, but it was the wallaby attitude to the collision that did the job

  • http://www.bobdwyerrugby.com Bob Dwyer

    Red Kev. I didn’t specifically refer to Beale – or to any other back outside of Phipps. I though that our attack was totally individual, both via backs and forwards. Don’t let’s allow this to degenerate into a ‘persecuted Reds’ v The Rest argument. I think that both Beale and Cooper are massive talents, but they both need work on the fundamentals that underpin whatever position they are playing. Neither of them have that, although I give full credit to Jim MacKay for helping Cooper when he’s with the Reds. I can’t see that either player gets any similar assistance with the Wallabies.

    • Red Kev

      Sorry, I didn’t mean it to turn into a rant about Cooper v Beale (it seems to be my hobby horse today). I was honestly curious as to why you didn’t mention him. I agree with you on the Wallaby attack being individual rather than team focussed, I’ve seen you make such observations before. Our impotency in attack is very frustrating.

  • http://www.bobdwyerrugby.com Bob Dwyer

    I liked Rants comments. He was actually describing accurate “ensemble attack” (a term coined by an excellent old rugby journo Evan Whitton ), something we used to be very good at – even long before Steve Larkham – with support players, forwards and backs, available as additional options. This makes things more difficult for defenders and easier for attackers. We have the talent to play like this again.

    • http://lachlancathy.com/ Lachlan Payne

      Bob, I think you’ve touched on something here in your comment that I’ve thought for a long time: We have the talent.

      I firmly believe we had the talent to win the 2011 RWC and even with an injury crisis we still have the talent to beat the All Blacks and win back the Bledisloe but we can’t. Could it be that the players, coach, management, ARU don’t truly believe we can beat them?

      Either way, when a team or an organisation fails to produce their desired outcomes over a period of time, I think it’s time for a change. Nothing against Deans as a man or a coach but I think the Wallabies need a change because they appear to be mentally (and tactically) stuck in a rut.

      • BloodRed

        Nail on the head there LP. After the second Bled game Deans openly stated that he didn’t believe any team on the planet could beat the ABs and had several senior players parroting the same rubbish. It’s no wonder we are not seeing a great deal of coordinated attack, it’s hard to do any damage when you’re playing damage control rugby. There was some fantastic aggression in defence and for once we won the breakdown collisions. Now the wallabies need some of the same aggression in attack and a strategy beyond pick and drive or crash ball from McCabe.

  • fletch

    I just get the impression that this whole group of 45 , over last couple of years, have made the absolute most out of a situation where they just aren’t being coached properly at all. Its pretty amazing really.Can you imagine if indeed they were coached properly – ie a la Bob taking the reigns for a while just how less strained their play, strategy, approach, would be.It feels sooo much effort is required to keep up with ABs when if they were coached properly all that talent and guts could be redirected so that they would achieve so much more.It looks from a spectators POV they are being tortured in some way, one hand behind back kindof thing.Hard to explain.Im no technician but you dont have to be Eistein to see Deans, as gritty as he is, he just does not have the goods. Its a real shame the old boys, Horan , Poidevan, Eales, Gregan and others dont have the gonads to orchestrate a change – whats wrong with everyone – ppl talk about the wallabies not having mongrel at times, wheres the mongrel in the corridors of power ??

  • johnny-boy

    A very very good, first class realistic summary Bob. Your best ever. Merlot Dwyer.

    Based on the form of both sides leading up to this game I expected the Wallabies to get spanked by at least 30 points. The fact they didn’t means we have learnt several things ;

    1)Paul Cully doesn’t know shit.
    2)the All Blacks are not the super amazing incredible unbeatable demi gods the soft c…. in Australian rugby ( including
    Robbie Deans ) think they are. In fact when a referee finally grows some balls and decides he’s not going to give them a free
    ride on their obsessive cheating to avoid mass suicides and violence in NZ, they are f…. legless and it just goes to show what
    a weak captain McCaw really is as he goes to water when he can’t con the ref and the pressure’s on. 2007 world cup revisited.
    It was amusing watching him give Woodcock a mouthful for offending as he went for 10 mins. Hypocrisy personified

    3)Australia has no shortage of depth or talent despite what the soft c… in Australian rugby think. It’s ironic that it’s not until Deans has a few romneys injured that they get a go and deliver. One thing I do agree with JON was that it was more important to get 5 Super XV teams up and running first to develop that depth rather than a third tier. He and I might be alone on that
    but don’t get too comfortable JON. It’s why the kiwis whine about us having 5 super teams so much because they are shitting themselves that the depth is coming, at a higher, tougher level than their glorified touch footy ITM comp.
    4)based on criticism of previous flyhalf error rates, Kurtley Beale is a no good useless, self absorbed idiot scumbag who should piss
    off to league or some similar evil purgatory. How stupid do you look now you S.O.F.’s. Actually he’d better pray he gets his
    assault charge sorted or he won’t get a visa for the northern tour.
    4)if the Wallabies had a smart coach and Cooper at flyhalf when the forwards ‘turn up’ like they do at Suncorp, then the Wallabies would be giving the not so f…… amazing All Blacks a regular spanking. Unfortunately Michael Hawker’s businesscareer doesn’t indicate he has the fortitude to make the important decisions
    5)All other stadiums in Australia except Suncorp should be demolished and replicas of Suncorp should be rebuilt
    6)it’s worth watching sam whitelock. He’s the cunningest dirtiest bastard going round. His head high shoulder shot on TPN
    was far worse than Higginbotham stumbling while McCaw was trying to unbalance him or curling up to avoid another cheap shot or a
    knee in the nuts by McCaw and accidentally making contact with his forehead ……

    • skyeblue

      yeah righto johnny-boy… we’ve lost 14 of the last 18 games to them,they’ve won the blesdisloe for the last 10 years and the now the rugby championship? gee they must really suck..they win the games that matter jb that’s the difference between us and them.we’ve had plenty of chances to give a spanking even with your beloved QC and haven’t.so you carry on blowing wind up in this team. And we’ll get another lesson again next year bledisloe 1.Lets beat em back to back before we can say our depth problems are solved huh.

      • johnny-boy

        It’s the coach, stupid

        • Chur22bro

          You have NO idea do u Johnny BOY! Some in fact most o your comments are rubbish! The only comment I’d agree with is that Suncorp is a fantastic stadium… But that’s it!!! To imply that the ITM cup is touch footy… Wow!! If that is the opinion of the rugby community in oz no wonder it has struggled over the past 6 yrs to be a consistently great team!! The ITM is a great breeding ground for young men to learn a higher level before being exposed to super 15, IMHO I believe Australia needs this sort of comp, I know it s been attempted before, and this is for smarter men to decide what the best approach would be but it is desperately required and it would enable young Aussie guys an added pathway and much needed experience before super 15 level! An added benefit would be in honing basic skills?
          I am a AB supporter till I die but I love the game in general, and I can sit back an appreciate a feisty, gutsy performance by the WB when I c one without blabbering moronic dribble!!
          Apart from SHB brain explosion it was a marked improvement in the right direction. A lot of the AB mistakes were a direct result of pressure from the WB! Well done Wallabies, shame shame Scott Higgin Botham that garbage is not needed in our wonderful game, from anyone in any country!

  • DC

    I don’t get why Pocock is being rushed back for the EOYT, surely Hooper could do with some experience against the guys he will be facing next year for the Lions Tour, and Gill deserves a run on debut sometime over the 4 games.

    • The Rant

      Couldn’t agree more. But Deans has a track record of selecting returning injured players immediately.

  • KingofDubai

    Johnny – boy: I will not have you piss all over Beale like that! But I do agree Suncorp should be the precedent for all future stadiums that play rugby. I just don’t know how the following players will fit into a WB back row:

    Pocock, Hooper, Palu, Radike, Higginbotham & Liam Gill

    Higginbotham needs to be found guilty. As a spectator and proud WB supporter I was embarrassed by that knee and head butt. It was nothing short of cowardly.

    On the topic of a 3rd tier comp, why dont they just spruce up Premier Rugby in QLD, NSW and ACT, force clubs to qualify to play and relegate those who dont like the EPL. Those clubs that don’t make it simply join a revamped subbies comp .

    • bill

      We’d need a professional environment at that level and subbies level though. Some of the bigger clubs are ok, but I can’t see many of the subbie clubs fitting that bill.

      Do we have a aus wide (knock out home and away) club cup? maybe top four from qld and nsw and top two from wa etc at the end of their premierships or fed into the mid next season, needs money wouldn’t it, can’t see the aru finding the revenue stream to fund it.

      • bill

        More I think of that relegation promotion idea the better I like it, if the model could survive it ought to promote better teams and environments.

  • Nick

    This may by a bit of a side-track-rant… but something needs to be said about Australia’s inability to score points by drop goals. Australian rugby pundits rightly go on and on about how running rugby is the best way. It is. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t play within the rules to win matches in all kinds of ways. The fact that we wang so much about running rugby and bag other countries when they use good forwards’ technique and clever positional play to then gain points via a sharp-shooter drop goal, means that we are incapable of doing it ourselves when the situation actually calls for it. Neither South Africa nor England nor France nor Ireland nor Wales nor Scotland(!)… would have lost from the position we were in with one minute to go.

    • Bobas

      we didn’t lose… we just went for a try or penalty instead of risking a drop goal.

      Retrospectively the wrong decision, but I would be hoping that unless there’s an extra time the wallabies make the same decision next time (hopefully with a more positive result).

      • The Rant

        No we didn’t lose – but we came within 2metres of been given an absolute lesson in the difference between good sides and champoin sides.
        If Carter had nailed that imagine our reaction. They showed us what great teams should do – take your chances. They didn’t fk around in front of the posts for 20 phases – they just got to where they needed to be and went for it. A lesson for beale which I think he has taken on board – he said in hindsíght he knows what he should have done.

    • bill

      I think drop goals are a skill, and they’re fun…but I loathe seeing them in any other context than tie breakers. If they were only allowed in time on fine, any other time and I’d subscribe to the welsh view of them from Gareth Davies era I believe..”.wonderful, don’t ever do that again”.

  • Nick

    …yeah – your attention to detail is right: we drew. The point is, a drop goal shouldn’t be a risky option. For teams who know how to use them, they’re a no brainer.

  • johnny-boy

    And congratulations to Pat McCabe for learning to pass a bit

    • Brumby Runner

      And generally good passes they were too. But he has never passed the ball previously under Robbie Deans, so who is encouraging him to do so now. Is it Nick Scrivener? If so, all accolades to him.

      Now all that needs to happen is for Tapuai to move to 12 and Pat (or someone better) to 13. The backline would look like a more effective and functioning unit in that configuration.

  • http://BigFella Big Fella

    Welcome back Bob.
    Another great summary that accurately identifies what’s working and what’s not in the Wallabies.
    Looking for improvement in our technique, I see a concerning habit coming more and more into our game.
    That is players going to ground too often and easily in attacking phase play.
    We sometimes have half of our team on the ground (out of play) when pick and driving and it really limits attacking options, the pace of play and momentum,
    Having so many players off their feet also sucks in our back line and narrows the width of our attack, as well as making us very vulnerable in the event of a turnover.
    Seems like we’re struggling to secure possession when attacking but surely we should be able to do this with less players committed or more of those there staying on their feet.

  • Stin

    This has nothing to do with this article but I’ve just read Deans saying there’re no wingers left in the country. If Diggas doesn’t get up for EOYT, Deans could do worse than give Peter Betham a ticket! He’s been very impressive in the ITM.

  • Dally M

    Why are we so slow comapred to the All Blacks?

    At the ruck, they seem to go to the ground, the ball is placed & out in an instant, however it takes forever for us to get the ball available & then even longer for the halfback to decide what to do with it.

    With a bit of pace, even with the limited attack plan we have, we would score some more tries.

  • idiot savant

    I agree Bob, we are very ‘one out’ in attack. This is not helped by having centres like McCabe and Horne who are either coached to punch it up or lack the vision to pass. I seem to remember the only reason McCabe passed to Horwill for his try against South Africa in the RWC was because he stumbled and fell with his back to the opposition and suddenly saw gold jerseys in support. He probably wondered what they were doing there. I think these days the Australian forwards pop more balls to support runners then the backs.

    The whole crash ball runner philosophy (Almost the only page in Deans back move book) needs revisiting. Although Barnes has a legion of haters, I would be surprised if Australia hasnt scored more tries with him at IC then McCabe. I think it only works if the full back works very hard and comes up into the line every time as a second man option. Otherwise its telegraphed and easily defendable and frankly just wasting fuel. As much as i love McCabe’s spirit, I havent seen him run through a Black or Bok opponent yet. Deans is too worried about the size of opponents. Horan was a little fella, never missed tackes and put on a lot of tries. Barnes never misses a tackle either.

    Tupai is a very talented and elusive runner but he hardly saw the ball. Thats what happens with an IC who isnt a ball palyer and a full back who because he was new perhaps stayed back a lot and didnt provide the constant second ball option. But then I think the ball rarely gets to out centre against the All Blacks anyway due to the way Nonu uses his positioning to often deter inside playmakers.

    But its the forwards who stood up on Saturday. Great ‘ensemble’ performance there.

    • beeza

      Agree that Mcabe hasn’t been too effective with the crash balls, but I think you need someone direct to create opportunities (real and imagined). Having to potentially commit more than one player to take down a player like Nonu, SBW or Mortlock in his day makes a huge difference to the freedom/space given to outside and support players. When the Oz backline is full of smaller less direct players we end up crabbing to the far touch line. I think the long term solution is to find a bigger/more elusive version of Mcabe who can break the line from set pieces.

  • Danny

    Gee, no tries scored in a Wallabies v New Zealand test. What is the rugby world coming to?

    • Luke

      It really irks me when mungos say that the game was terrible because no tries were scored.

      Both sides had plenty of endeavour to play and go for tries when the opportunity arose but defences kept teams from going the extra 5 metres.

      I was on my feet in the pub in the last 10 minutes; it was a bloody exhilarating match.

  • Gary

    The scrum-halfs have plenty of work to do.
    Do they spend any time on individual development?????
    Constant passing practice using the correct technique would help as would the development of muscles of the stomach or lower body.
    Jason (I think) Hart has a great technique with his delivery and I’m a reds supporter. He also has a run as a surprise.
    The spring tour would be great for him.

    • Dally M

      Instead of giving one of those guys some experience, they are trying to get Burgess in…

  • bill

    A good effort by the wallabies, but until they start ripping off runs of wins I wouldn’t look at this as a new dawn. There’ve been a few false ones during Robbie’s tenure. And until they address the points Bob has raised I think it’s going to be a little hard for them to achieve any consistency.

  • Dave G

    The scrum-halfs are a waiting game for Deans in Genia & White, whilst Genia will have top billing back, White is a class act for backup, Deans knows this so will only take Phipps & Sheehan on the EOYT, the other 2 will be back for 2013.

    • bill

      I thought Phipps did justify his position this year, not sure if Genia has at test level. Phipps fell away a bit this game though. No need for Burgess in the context of their attitude to ring ins.

      When I watch league i always think league hooker equals union half, league half equals union 5/8… simplistic to consider league is a delite version of union I guess but that’s mostly what I see in the two at high levels.

      • Skippy

        Possibly dumbest comment ever. Genia is world class. The only criticism of Genia… is when he slows down the play at the back of the ruck. He is no idiot and appreciates quick ball… as he does at the Reds. He slows the ball down to allow the platform to rebuild, as Deans wants him to do. Change the coach… Genia like others will thrive even more.
        To suggest Genia isn’t world class go back and watch him take apart NZ in Brissy last year before the WC. Or when he took apart SAfrica.
        Other than that to suggest Phipps is anywhere near Genia is laughable at best.

        • bill

          Im happy to be the biggest donkey ever if Genia improves his game but there was a world of difference between his service and Phipps when Phipps got his first start this year at test level, and you can’t say Phipps had inferior opposition.

          I can remember Genia looking at his players at the reds this year in one game, like, what rubbish am I playing with, step up your game, I can’t carry all of you. He had every right to, they did, and the reds won the game. Genia for mine is our first choice, but he needs to justify that.

        • 30mm tags

          Skippy I am with you. Genia is a mile ahead of Phipps who is a club level avg quality scrum half. Sheehan came on and in no time flat attacked , got his forwars rolling gave hard go forward in the face of desperate AB defence. He even assisted Joubert make his mind up to give teh Wallabies a penalty just in the last few mins of normal time. Totally superior to Phipps. ( slow pass predictable direction of pass and doesn’t pass in front of the man to allow run on, and does appalling box kicks without the organize follow through. All round He is Australia’s seventh best halfback . Ben Lucas who contested with Genia before Genia got the nod is an infinitely better 1/2 but not as durable as Sheehan and not as physically dominant but better in attack.

  • beeza

    After a good effort I was really disappointed that the Wallabies were playing for a penalty to win them the game.

    Firstly they should know that in that situation no ref wants to make a call that will almost guarantee a side a win (see world cup final). Secondly they should have the fortitude to do what they can to ‘win’ the game themselves without the refs help. Hopefully this was just inexperience, but it was pretty avo.

    • bill

      That’s a really good point, after the world cup and this you’d have to hope the coaches are raising this issue in the prematch stuff. Human nature being what it is it’ll take 10 succesful demonstrations of the principle in a row for it to sink in.

  • boutbloodytime

    I think we’ve definitely shown what we can do with guts & ticker…now let’s see what we can do when we add well worked drills, better skill execution & intelligent play to the mix…

    We have the players to do it, as shown by our 2nd/3rd XV sticking it to the ABs. It just seems obvious that we are lacking in the brains trust department, and I’m not referring to on the park.

    It’s obvious these players will do whatever is asked of them for their team & their country, and with a well structured, well drilled team & intelligent gameplan, this team definitely has the potential to tear it up against all comers.

    The problem being, this potential has been there for the past 4+ years & hasn’t been realised. That for me is where the biggest problems with the Wallabies is coming from.

    • bill

      It’s questionable if the wallabies coaches think the two go hand in hand though.

      • boutbloodytime

        Bill, I think it’s beyond any reasonable doubt that he doesn’t think they do, which is why I don’t believe the current Wallabies coach should be the Wallabies coach…he’s been proven wrong & lacking on too many occasions.

        No disrespect to our players but a 2nd/3rd choice Wallabies starting XV took the supposed untouchable ABs (unbeatable in Deans’ eyes) to a draw, while executing poor skills & with very impotent attacking structures…and I don’t think it was Deans employing a reverse psychology masterstroke either.

        The attitude, just a month ago, that the ABs were untouchable/unbeatable etc was defeatist & goes against everything Australian & our Wallabies have proven him wrong, despite his repeated coaching screwups…and before anybody lauds him for blooding new talent etc, so many on this post have been calling for the promoting of certain players (Cummins, Slipper, Tapuai, Harris, Shipperley etc) way before injuries forced Deans’ hand.

        It’s time to bring back intelligent play, the historical USP of the Wallabies!

        • bill

          I’d sort of disagree, I’d say Deans is a fairly intelligent guy who values toughness and hard yakka, Unfortunately he trusts it a bit too much and has come into a different culture that has more of a polarity between power rugby(nsw) and skill(Qld) in terms of their approach.

          Leaving aside that little bon mot, I’d say one of his remits was inculcating skill into our rugby culture so I guess it appeals to the ego to try and make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear out of some of our guys.

  • Vladim

    Yes a draw, but the one chasing the game were… the AB! What a change!
    What was the difference?
    The WB were hungry, irrespectful (hence infringments, but really, i don’t care, do you?). They came to punch the ab when the ab tried to choke them. That’s the spirit!

    Mike Harris: finaly someone bringing composure in front of the posts.
    Pack: they did what they should, they absolutely disturbed the ab’s pack (have you seen they influence the game, except for Read and McCOw?)
    Backline : they completely shut down Carter and Smith (the most dangerous ab’s back: without him, they struggled to create tries opportunities with Nonu alone).

    Big minus: 9 and 10 play, slow slow slow. They had balls, scrambling back and front lines, but poor play and no real audacity. I wish it were Harris 12 (to take kicking duties when underpressure and relieve the 10), AAC 13 (rock-solid AND huge dynamite).

    Where to improve? This team has hunger. They have cool heads (Harris, AAC, Pocock, Horwill, Genia), dynamite (Beale and the rest of the backs), hard-workers (props).
    1) They have problems to keep composure when over-loaded with duties. They should have one, simple role each. Dynamite players should not have ‘cool head’ duties (Beale especially when you can have Harris behind him).
    2) And then, they just need stamina, they were exhausted after 50min.
    They play!

    • Goldie

      The wallabies have shown they are worthy holders of the no. 2 tag. With more cohesion that they will probably get from the NH tour, they could start next year as a real contender. Just don’t phaff around with “blooding” new players now. Stick with your winning combination & bring in the big guns when they are fit & ready. Aus could be on the verge of something big. Of course, it could all go to their head and they get done like has happened too many times in the past.

  • Ross

    Agree the WB were a lot quicker off the line in defence, actually played like they thought they could win, Harris had a good one with the boot and the players followed their Captain. But after one drawn game can we really boast and be so happy and confident we are going to progress any further much faster then we have of late?

    We were lucky to get a draw and this is a game the ABs lost more than we won!

    Some positives but lets not start masturbating each other over it!

    Bring on the Bledisloe Cup next year because anything less than a grand Slam on the EOYT would prove we still have some way to go….

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