Five observations from Auckland - Green and Gold Rugby

Five observations from Auckland

Five observations from Auckland

At least there is the World Cup to come. After copping it from all sides the All Blacks … pumping of the Wallabies shows they are still the best team in the world. Although, what are the key talking points from the match?

One more year

After a week of slamming the Kiwis is it really that surprising they came out strong? The likes of Smith, Barrett, Mo’unga, and Savea showed why they have been so brilliant for the All Blacks for the last few years, and why they will be so strong come the World Cup. Although the All Blacks seem to be a different proposition at home compared to when away, they know how to turn up when the pressure is on, which is the greatest compliment a side can get. Despite what everyone has said this week, they are still the best side in world rugby and will be for a number of years.

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Wet weather

Although Australia’s game plan needed to change in accordance with the weather their kicking was poor. Folau may be gone but this doesn’t mean Australia isn’t a threat in terms of contested kicks. Aaron Smith’s try was a classic case of New Zealand’s brilliant counter-attacking abilities thanks to a lack of pressure from Australia. If Australia is to be a threat at the World Cup they must appreciate the advantages a contested kick has over simply pumping the ball down field for metres gain, compared to challenging the opposition for territory.

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Australia’s body height was poor throughout the game. After last week’s demolition job, Australia looked arrogant at scrum time. The scrum height looked high, simply expecting to run over the top of New Zealand after last week. To conceded two scrum penalties against a seven-man scrum is poor. Although Australia has made immense ground in terms of scrummaging they must learn to be more consistent in order to be a dominant scrum. Hopefully this is an important lesson learnt in Eden Park for the World Cup.

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Five weeks out 

With only 35 days till the World Cup how is the side looking? It is always harsh to judge a team after a trip to Eden Park, but after a crushing defeat to New Zealand is this our best team? Plenty still have questions over Lukhan Salakaia-Loto at blindside, while Beale has failed to replicate the same form he showed off the bench. Nic White in the last two weeks has shown he is far and away the best number nine in Australia, with Genia’s stint off the bench littered with poor kicks and a lack of direction. The Aussie’s taught the Kiwi’s a lesson last week. However, the Aussie’s where taught a great lesson this weekend by the Kiwi’s. Consistency. To go deep in this year’s World Cup, it will need more than just a brilliant performance once in a while. It will take discipline and maturity. Whether this side has that will be seen over the next few months.

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Naisarani the goods

One of the few positives for the Wallabies was the performance of Isa Naisarani. Twelve carries for 76 metres in Eden Park is a fine performance from the four test veteran. Australia has been calling out for a strong, ball carrying backrower and that is exactly what Naisarani is. His form will be crucial in determining how the Wallabies go this World Cup.

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  • HomerJ

    Agree with the body height aspect. It was even worse with the rolling mall attack and defence. George Gregan is assisting the team, why the hell isn’t Laurie FIsher part of the forwards coaches for the WC? The Brumbies scored a thousand tries from rolling malls, and the Wallabies got belted every time.

    Have to say though, from the overhead shots it looked like Joe Moody was boring in on a huge angle into Sio. The Japanese touch judge was too scared to call it, or anything else for that matter.

    • Who?

      Moody wasn’t contesting Sio, he was contesting 7A’s. Moody was LHP, Sio was LHP. Sio contested Laulala (THP).
      Further, Moody wasn’t boring on an angle on 7A’s. From my viewing of the overheads, both were setting up at a slight inwards angle (which is natural), but on the set, 7A’s was getting turned in. He was at 45º to his hooker. Now, for a LHP, this means you’ve got a great angle at driving through the opposing THP – if you get away with it, that’s a good thing. However, if you’re a THP, it just means that you’re exposing your ribs to the opposing LHP. Which is what 7A’s was doing.
      The net result was 7A’s ribs were exposed, Moody was then able to drive straight ahead under 7A’s ribs, and fold 7A’s up and backwards onto Latu and Rodda. I don’t know why 7A’s wasn’t able to fix this issue – because the change in angle from just off square to 45º happened throughout his time on the field. Tupou fixed it, and wasn’t folded. He was pushed back and up – but he did much better against what was by then a scrum that was clearly on the up, a scrum that was better channelling the power from its locks.

      • Keith Butler

        Now that overhead cameras a part and parcel of the game, I wonder how much feedback, if any the TMOs give the refs at scrum time?

        • idiot savant

          I hear refs occasionally penalise for the front row ‘not staying straight’ and wonder if they get a call from the TMO. But only a few venues have spider cam, so I doubt its been used for scrums yet.

        • Who?

          And some try not to use it too much. ;-)

        • Keith Butler

          True. Maybe a warning before the game that the cam is watching their antics.

        • Huw Tindall

          KB they shelved the spider cam after the first scrum where Moody was boring in at a seriously acute angle. Brought it back out when he went off.

  • Missing Link

    Naisirani is a great find and will be rookie of the year

  • Brumby Runner

    My additional observations to go with yours Hamish :

    Koroibete still doesn’t quite know what to do when he runs into trouble. Has improved a lot this year, but still looks like a league player when under pressure;

    Wallabies are still lacking a player who consistently threatens opposition ball at the breakdown. Latu cannot do what Pocock does;

    There are still two or three players in the starting lineup who are more suited to coming off the bench later in the game. Specifically, Coleman, Hodge and Beale had too many bad moments to be in the starting side, especially against the best in the world of rugby;

    Similarly, there are a couple of bench reserves who contribute little when they come on, Specifically, Simmons and AAC. Has anyone forgotten that in Perth the Wallaby lineout dominated when Simmons wasn’t even on the bench?

    LSL needs to take the bench spot currently occupied by Rob Simmons. He has not stepped up as the No 6 required to play top ranked teams;

    Questions still need to be asked of JOC’s inclusion in the side, especially at No 13. The centres combination is still one of the suspect areas in the lead up to the RWC, particularly in Samu Kerevi’s apparent inability to set up or use support players. This is a crucial area for the coaches to rectify.

    • Missing Link

      Koroibete knows exactly what to do…. wait for the tackler to get off him before rolling the ball back to the dummy half hahahahahha

      • Brumby Runner

        Ha, but seriously, he is a bit of a light weight and despite his furious running style, when caught near the sideline it seems that he is easy meat for the defense to just take him over it. Otherwise, as soon as the defense gets to him, he just passes hail mary style in field where it is just as likely to be picked up by the opposition as by one of his team mates.

        I do think he has improved quite markedly this year, but there is still a lot of room for further improvement.

        • I kind of agree. He’s not used to the ways you can be tackled in Union, so he doesn’t look to protect against being pushed out, and he doesn’t offload smartly because League defences are a different beast so I assume he’s used to being able to pass back more loosely and still hit a teammate.

          Not convinced he’s not the best choice I’ve seen though, more work needs to be done picking the best guy on the other wing for mine.

    • idiot savant

      Agree with all of this except for JOC. I dont think we have had enough time to get the combo working and the loss certainly wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t a night for outside centres.

      • Brumby Runner

        True, but I’d still like to see how he goes at 12 in the game against Samoa.

        • Who?

          I’d rather see him shielded against Samoa. Don’t need our little guys injured…

        • I don’t object to that particularly, it just didn’t seem to be what you were asking for above.

        • ozrugbynut

          Same. Plenty of promise in that combo for mine.

    • Packy

      Maybe ask the front rowers if Simmons offers nothing when he comes on. He might have great value in scrum and lineout. And when I watch him in defence, I see the opposition direct the ball away from him. He doesn’t smash the ball carrier but maybe they know they won’t get past him either

      • Brumby Runner

        Simmo is a myth. The legend about how good he pushes in a scrum was promulgated when the only TH prop he’d packed down behind was Kepu and he was hardly likely to “bag” his Tahs team mate was he? Even so, on many occasions I asked those who made this claim to name the THP (even though I knew it must be Kepu because no-one else at that stage had had the pleasure of Simmo behind them) but no one obliged.

        Then, more lately, the claim was being made that he was the best (perhaps only efficient) lineout caller, but hark back to the win over the ABs in Perth. I believe the Wallaby lineout operated at 100% and Simmo wasn’t on the park at all.

        His tackling capability isn’t as good as mine, and I have one foot in the grave. He frequently gets pushed off in his tackle attempts by players much smaller and lighter than he is. And similarly, when he attempts a cleanout, more often than not he simply falls off the side of the breakdown without budging an opposition player over the ball even an inch.

        But apart from those few deficiencies, he’s a good bloke and an average sort of rugby player.

        • idiot savant

          I believe the prop who said it was Benn Robinson. And Rodda claims that Simmo taught him how to call line outs and it was Rodda who called in Perth. I do agree that Simmo’s future is behind him though and that our match day locks should be Arnold, Rodda, and LSL.

        • Brumby Runner

          IS, Robbo was always a LHP while, if I’m not mistaken, Simmons played as TH lock. Seems odd if the comment is attributed to him.

        • Who?

          Simmo’s played both sides. He always wore 4 in the early days (Horwill in 5), and even worse 4 when Douglas joined him. Until he swapped sides in a game in SA, and the scrum stopped rapidly retreating on the TH side as it had previously done.

        • idiot savant

          My apologies. Got the wrong Ben. It was Ben Alexander!

        • Who?

          The stories I heard about Simmo being the best pushing lock in the country are over 4 years old, didn’t come from the Tahs (not Kepu, not Robinson), were while Kevvy and Dougy were still around, and from a Wallaby prop. I won’t divulge who the prop was.
          How he compares these days to Coleman, Rodda and Arnold, I don’t know.
          That said, I agree with the Savant – Simmo’s role now is handing on knowledge. Which he’s doing by staying in Australia, with the Tahs, when he could be off overseas. It’s great that Rodda’s saying he learned from Simmo – it means Simmo was doing his job with the Reds. I think his service to the game has been undervalued, his skillsets undervalued.
          But I’m not saying he should be there over Rodda or Arnold. Coleman, I’m not as certain. Coleman gives a much better bench impact, and if I had to pick between Coleman, Rodda and Simmons, I’d half wonder about starting Simmo and telling the other two they get a half each to go hell for leather. Because they both work way better as an impact sub than Simmo ever could.

        • Huw Tindall

          Apparently Simmo is one of the more cerebral players too and actually thinks about the game and discusses tactics with the coaching staff. Great Super rugby mentor and club man but his time at internationals is over I think.

    • Not sure I agree about JOC. With the way the forwards got smashed in almost every facet of play, the pressure heaped on the half backs, getting the ball out to 13 was always going to be challenging. He had a quiet game but you could have put anyone in that 13 jersey and they’d have had a quiet game because 1-8 were being smashed and 9-10 were feeling the pressure.

      In a more settled side – in the ABs facing the BIL say, Barrett looks to offload to SBW, Crotty comes in to take off some pressure sometimes, Ben Smith does too. It worked ok in one match, so-so in another. But you’re looking at a side where those players had dozens of tests playing together. Naisarani – White – Lilo – Kerevi – O’Connor as an axis, 1 test… it’s going creak and groan like anything under the kind of pressure it was under on Saturday. And it did.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    It’s not as if Moody’s habit of packing at an angle is news – he and Taidgh Furlong do it every scrum, every match. What the actual F was our scrum doing to counter it, and what were our scrum coach’s plans?

    I do not understand the love for Latu (on field). Our starting front row had its heads shoved up its collective arses on Saturday, and we only looked like getting parity when the subs came on. His breakdown work was ineffective, and he was blown off the contest, Hooper-like, a couple of times – Thor had a much bigger pilfering impact, and he’s not hyped as an on-baller the way Latu is. In my view, Latu as a jackal is a complete myth. And there were two wayward lineout throws – not even close to the jumpers.

    I’ve banned Latu from selection in my team on moral / discipline grounds, now I’m thinking he’s not the on-field lock I’ve been hearing he is either.

    Moves to bring Skelton home are dumb – we have depth at lock, and the last thing we will need, when Cheika inevitably resurrects the Pooper, is a non-jumping (and non-pushing) lock.

    So Cheika was asked who else apart from Skelton could come in from outside the current squad – and he mentioned Robertson and Dempsey. Jeez – what about Matt Philp, or Brandon Pangae-Amosa, or Damien Fitzpatrick, or Alex Mafi???? You know, players who actually do the basics of their position well.

    • Who?

      First time I’ve seen someone accuse a THP of packing at a deliberate angle. If Tadhg does it, then he must be an even better prop than I thought, given he’s giving away a free shot for any LHP.
      In terms of Moody, see my other posts – he wasn’t the one packing at an angle, he was channelling 7A’s to change from setting up (mostly) square to finding a 45º angle on the ‘set’, which gave Moody a clear drive straight ahead through 7A’s ribs…
      Good call on Tupou’s jackalling. Second week in a row he’s had an impact there. Had a very good game running against the tide.

      • Greg

        An old THP trick is to go in on an angle at the point of engagement to try and disrupt the binding between the Hooker and LHP, but for that to be successful you have to turn out and chase the LHP. I haven’t played under the modern engagement rules but I don’t think you’d be able to get the amount of force you need in the engagement now for that to work.

        • Who?

          Thanks Greg. :-)

    • Huw Tindall

      Simmons off the bench is not my definition of depth at lock. Arnold goes down and we are back to Simmo who is a fine Super player but not a force at international level. Locally Matt Phillip would be a better pick than Simmo but his form dropped off in the second half of the season. Refuse to pick Jones at lock as he played most of the season as a 6 and is a bit in the Hannigan mould as a 5/6 hybrid – i.e. great at neither.

  • I can’t add much to this discussion because I stopped watching at half time after my wife threatened to lawyer up because I was yelling at the TV. To me, it was obvious several of the Wallabies were not bothering to have a go. Like days of old, I saw a lack of contest in the contested moments, a lack of support runners during the few line breaks and, the worst of them, no plan B when it was clear the kind of game the AB’s were going to play. Why is it so hard for us to change tack during a game ? Positives are few, but I agree White is a stand-out as is Naisarani. Beale, IMHO, is great player, but like Cooper, JOC and the rest of that crowd only seems to shine when the team around him is on fire. I think he has to take some of the blame for the lack of inspiration in the backs on this one. FWIW, In the forwards, I think Salakaia-Loto is close to being great and worth persisting with for set-piece play.

    • Who?

      I’m sure my (league-loving) neighbours were wondering who Jaco was…..
      Think your comment on Beale is harsh towards JOC and Cooper. JOC had a go, and was pretty secure. Beale was consistently insecure, lacking confidence. He’s a downhill runner.

      • onlinesideline

        Neighbours : Oh Peyp down will ya !
        You: Yeah Exactly

        • Who?

          Pay that. :-)
          He didn’t cost us the game, but when you see one team consistently getting the rub of the green from kick off… And even moreso when it’s not your team! :-)

  • Nutta

    Hello All. I walked out of the pub I was watching from when the AiB scored their 2nd 2nd half try. My thoughts for what they are worth:

    1. At a strategic level, coming off a couple of years we would best forget than remember with fondness, let’s get one a good victory over the undisputed best in the world and then talk ourselves up a storm for the next week before playing them in their heartland. Say that out loud in the office this morning and you will realise just how fkn stupid it sounds.

    2. At a tactical level, let’s play the best counter-attacking team in the world and give them some easy return metres with loose kicking right from the start. I mean clearly we should help their confidence a bit by giving them the very thing that has created 75% of their points over the past 10yrs of dominance right? Yeh? Let’s throw in a couple of penalties to help to yeh? Again, say that out loud in the office this morning and you will realise just how fkn stupid it sounds.

    3. At the same time, how about we take that thing that got us on the front-foot for that one-off win – forward body-height – and lift it up 6inches or so just for fun to see what happens then to everything else…

    4. Then when we get an otherwise game-shifting crucial advantage, let’s do everything we can to NOT use it.

    5. Congratulations All Blacks.

    • idiot savant

      Yeah our lack of strategic coaching was laid bare. It amazes me we dont expect the unexpected when we play them when they are hurt!

      Once agin we have done them a RWC favour by beating them in the RC. They have refreshed their side, addressed weaknesses with more speed and better scrummaging and reminded them that relentless intensity and pressure is their biggest weapon. Before the next RWC I think we play dead and let them thrash us on purpose!

      • Nutta

        What’s the name of the muppets who play the Harlem Globe-Trotters? I’m reasonably certain all those guys are better than average basketball players who undoubtedly train really well…

        • The Washington Generals are handpicked (and highly paid) to look like idiots. They’re the wider Harlem Globetrotters staff in fact, often Globetrotters in training…. More like the AB’s probables and young pretenders.

        • Nutta

          Cheers. To clarify:

          Handpicked – groomed from early-on for unclear reasons to the exclusion of others whom are discarded for no obvious reason

          Highly-paid – a comparative statement implying over-paid or at least paid likely beyond worth

          Expected to look like idiots – self-explanatory.

          Damn. Sounds like a group I know…

    • Who?

      Nutta, I’ve said a few times on here that 7A’s was changing from setting square to driving in at 45º on the hooker at the engagement, which gave Moody a free drive through his exposed ribs. That was my take from the overhead shots. Was I wrong? I seem to be the only one who’s called it that way.

      • Nutta

        Certainly Moody isn’t the borer that The Croc was (Woodcock). But like all half-decent No1’s he will take an invitation if it’s given. And the offer was certainly there…

        That said, having the likes of LSL as the TH Loosie makes sense inasmuch as if you (No3) are ever more likely to attack the 2 it’s with bloody good pressure from your outside hip. And with someone the size of him behind you it’s as good as it’s likely to get. So the core ingredients to do it were there.

        But again, for whatever reason, I’m sure we trained well but then didn’t actually do it.

        • Who?

          I absolutely get the idea of trying to attack the 2, I just couldn’t believe that 7A’s was giving such an invitation, leaving so much of his flank exposed. I don’t have near the experience you have, but it just looked like such a glaring weakness. Especially on the overhead shots.
          And I thought Woodcock was The Myth?
          And the Globetrotters play the Washington Generals (I think).

        • Nutta

          In terms of showing your hand early, in any environment I would discourage writing someone a letter and mailing it prior to the event. The line-up was pretty obviously telegraphing the intent and at that level, any margin of benefit is telling. I’m no Wobbly nor anything remotely close, but I would still suggest lining up ‘straight’ even if to just not attract attention from the Ref and then soften the left knee a fraction and pull out/sideways with the right/binding arm on the engagement so you can redirect at the No2 as opposed to so obviously telegraphing intent so early. But again that’s just me and I was not ever remotely scrumming at that level.

        • Funk

          You may not have scrummaged at that level, but I’m pretty sure you will have packed down in more scrums than 99% of us on here, so your opinion on the dark arts is always welcome (well by me anyways) and insightful.

        • Nutta

          I’m still scarred by the Matt Burke Defence.

    • ozrugbynut

      Faark we are a dumb side.. Add to the list that we play high risk footy in the wet at a ground we haven’t won at since the 70s, give the ABs not one change to ponder and you can’t tell me the weather was a complete surprise and yet we have one of the slowest wingers around defending outside one of the least hard working loosies going around – as an AB outside back that’s what you’re hoping you see in front of you, right? Where is Samu and do we really need hodge? Haven’t used his strengths for a while now..

    • Huw Tindall

      I was shouting angrily at the TV all game about point #2. Both kicking then our dropped ball from trying to play expansive rugby in the wet it was just frustrating to watch. We won last week because our possession based game could be expected in perfectly dry conditions. Relying on dry conditions is not a long term winning strategy! If the Tahs managed to win a tactical kicking game against the Crusaders at the SCG this year with Foley and Beale kicking then surely the Wallabies can have a go. In that game the Tahs gave the Crusaders no counter attack opportunities in their half. Made the Saders try and play out which they couldn’t.

      • Nutta

        For me the lessons of last week were to control the ball (many elements to that), have plenty of attack options so their defence is continuously questioned and can’t settle. Lastly, play rugby where you want to – not where they let you. That is built out of body-height and strong set-piece allowing all else to flow from there. Most of all, do not give someone that strong uncontrolled/uncontested free possession.

        What we saw on Saturday was contra reinforcement of those same principles.

  • idiot savant

    Thanks Hamish. Agree about Naisarani. He, along with White have been success stories of the RC. One of the things Cheik has done right has been to blood forwards early by introducing them to the culture on tours etc. Naisarani, Tupou, and Wright are all good examples of this.

    I was only able to see the game on Sunday afternoon and made these notes as I watched:
    1st half
    • We missed 2 kickable goals
    • Beale appears frightened of impact and nerves under high ball may be back
    • 2 tries came from Wallaby errors.
    • Nothing much between sides except the kiwis have better rugby nouse
    • Our back 3 poorly positioned at times
    • Scrum was shocking – and poorly coached about key moments. Of course the kiwis were going to come out with a plan to attack our scrum.
    • Coleman poor in scrum and average workrate
    • White is a good halfback
    • CLL passive
    • Cane tackled a WB around the neck and stripped the ball while lying on the ground – Jonkers ignored it event though it was replayed.

    2nd half
    • Poor decisions continued – After Toomua break he needed to find touch near their line not pass infield. Genia twice kicked into kiwi backs.
    • Kiwis scored their first try from play they made (rather than turnover counter attack) after 54 minutes. We were in the game for that long.
    • Scrum much better with replacements, kiwis allowed to get away with 2 collapses. Tip for referee: when they keep their scrum up and steady on their own feed and collapse to prevent opposition drive on opposition feed they are playing you.
    • Hooper passive as captain
    • No senior leaders on field (a hallmark of Cheika’s culture) – compare to half time huddle of kiwis where there was no coach in sight and the senior players did the talking.
    • Wobs flat so there are question marks over preparation.
    • Best patch for Wallabies around 63 mins with lost of offloads and go forward running.
    • Dumb plays going wide and isolating wingers.
    • Kiwi chips well executed, Genia chips poor
    • AAC is now too slow for test rugby now. Beaten twice by Reece and ALB.
    • Kiwis disrupted after cleanout and rolled away slowly and were allowed to get away with it. Wobs have to learn this technique.
    • Wobs couldn’t take a trick – flat pass called forward.
    • Genia slow to breakdown
    • Bridge try from turnover – kiwis endless pressure theory is most effective strategy in world rugby.

    In summary I thought we were better than the scoreline suggested and agree with Cheik that we have improved since 2018 (not difficult!). The ABs were not only too intense but also too clever – attacking our perceived strength (scrum) either legally or illegally, pushing all the boundaries – offside, disrupting breakdown, playing ball on ground etc. I would start the replacement front row after that performance – just to send a message. We could still go a long way in RWC.

    • Who?

      Great point about Sleeping Kiwis. It happened all game. A perfect example was Read’s turnover where Beady lay all over the tackled player, having rolled onto the wrong side of the tackle and impeded access by the cleanout. This is an area which was first notably policed by Saffa refs, and any other Saffa ref would’ve pinged Beaudy for not rolling.
      It goes to the point about differences between referees, and Jaco being ‘geographically aware’. He’d have penalized that most other weeks.
      And you’re not wrong about transferring pressure and shuffling the ball to isolated wingers. It was back to the bad old days.

    • Tim

      Our kicking is terrible and our back three were caught out multiple times not being back. Our biggest concern is letting the opposition get fast ball. We lacked direction when we had the ball and nobody looked like they knew what they were doing. We went back to the good old one out running style which ended up in multiple turn overs. Our night can be summed up when Toomua made a break and the closed person was Thor. 135kg prop was the fastest person there compared to 5 all blacks who chased harder to ensure no damage was done. Most of our Wallabies watched the game instead of getting involved.

      • Hoss

        Just on that how good were the big boppers hands! 135 kegs, at full tilt and picks it up off his shoelaces like Bobby Simpson – clean as a whistle. The kids got some chops.

    • Brumby Runner

      Good post IS, but you seem to have missed where Genia stood at the back of a tackle and watched an AB lean over and pick up the ball. IIRC that turnover led directly to a try by the ABs.

      • Keith Butler

        If Sanchez had had his latex gloves on he would have gone for it.

        • Hoss

          The myth of Sanchez has far exceeded the reality for many years now

        • idiot savant

          Hopoate style?

      • Hoss

        Or Nearlies prop arm on the deck (Thor was monstering him) in the scrum immediately prior to Money-Bills try. Penalty all day long. Having said that no one decision cost us the game we were capable of doing that ourself. But the week before when a ref looks for that stuff and acts on it, well……

        • Huw Tindall

          From the first scrum where spider cam showed Moody boring in at an acute angle for which we were penalised I had a bad feeling about the game. Would rather a French scrum aficionado that Peyper flipping a coin at scrum time. It was so f#cking obvious on that angle they shelved the spider cam for all future scrums until about 70 mins to show a replay of Ardie packing packing on the side next to the 6 to create a 5 man second row (actually a clever bit of play that).

        • Hoss

          It’s usually a Matt Todd special he slides up on the loose head side and jams in with the prop on our tight-head. Although he must be a Jedi Knight because no penguin ever sees it.

        • Who?

          Huw, go back to 1:50 on the game clock and look at the angle on 7A’s. Moody was straight, pushing directly through the line provided by Read and Tuipoloto, whereas 7A’s spine was at 45º to the line of engagement.
          Go back to 1:47 on the game clock, you’ll note Moody’s at the same angle, with just enough room for Tuipoloto’s head between his hips and Coles’ hips. Whereas Rodda’s head has heaps of clearance in the gap between 7A’s and Latu’s hips. 7A’s also clearly has his right hip further forward than his left hip, with Salakaia-Loto’s shoulder further forward than Rodda’s shoulders.
          All of this is viewed on Spider Cam. Spider Cam is again used at 26 minutes (Australian feed, 7A’s again at an angle to Latu, whereas as Sharpie pointed out, the ABs were all pushing to the same shoulder, their front row not at angles to each other). At 41:51 there’s no Spider Cam, but you again see far too much of 7A’s side, allowing Moody to get under that side, sliding his feet and you can see the moment that Rodda’s back gives out. In the same scrum, at 42:23 (game clock during a replay), you can see how straight the alignment behind Laulala iscompared to the alignment behind 7A’s. The ABs didn’t change their angles all night, but the Wallabies didn’t adapt. Look at the angles of the back five. Look at their feet, their hips, their shoulders. They’re already aligned a little bit towards driving through Sio rather than 7A’s. The 7 man AB scrum is much straighter in the back five, and there’s less angle between the hooker and props.
          At 44 minutes, Tupou’s on, but Moody’s still there. We get another Spider Cam shot. Look at where Naisarani’s feet are compared to his hips and shoulders at 44:20. This is Tupou’s first scrum – he gets turned in a little bit, but Smith doesn’t get the timing of the feed right to take advantage. But look at what Tupou does – he fights hard to keep his inside shoulder up. As Moody tries to drive under his ribs, he forces Moody down, but maintains his feet while doing it (both break their bind, Moody’s hand goes to ground just before Savea claims the ball). At 50 minutes, Tupou again has the pressure on his outside shoulder trying to turn him in. He gives away two small steps, but he’s desperately trying to hold Moody down (he gives steps when Moody manages to force him up) and keep that outside shoulder square (rather than ahead of his inside shoulder). This buys enough time for Genia to clear the ball.
          At 54 minutes, Moody’s gone, but the tactic clearly is still to drive through the THP’s outside shoulder. 59 minutes, Tupou prevents any drive by holding his body height lower. The drive forward and right is consistent from the ABs all game, but only one of our props adapts, and our back five NEVER adapts to drive square. The ABs are driving forward to the right, we’re driving to our left, but they’re doing it from a stronger starting point, driving straight then edging right, where we’re starting on an angle.
          Nutta and Greg have pointed out that attacking the bind between the hooker and the LHP is a valid tactic, but as I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions, you don’t do it so aggressively that you open up your ribs to the opposing LHP. Moody, ultimately, was driving more square than 7A’s. And the problem with boring didn’t end with the replacement of Moody – it ended when Tupou entered the field. He stayed more square.
          Trust me – I was looking for AB indiscretions, but this failing was self-inflicted. :-(

        • Huw Tindall

          This is very persuasive Who. I guess the good thing is it should be easy to fix for 7As if it’s his fault for setting himself up to be driven through.

        • Who?

          I think it’s something the scrum coach should be able to sort out pretty quickly. I had picked up the angles that 7A’s was getting into live, but I didn’t pick up the back five until checking the scrums whilst typing all that out. 7A’s can sort himself, but that alignment, that’s something for the coach.

    • Huw Tindall

      Top note IS. Some of the same mental notes I was making. I’d add two more comments, which are inherently linked.
      1) Needed a different game plan for the wet. We tried to go again with the exact same possession run it out ball in hand game. Just wrong to go in without a slight change. Tahs showed how to do it against the Saders earlier in the year at the SCG. Smart kicking game kept them pinned in their half and not allowing them counter attack from within our half.
      2) Handling was dog sh!te which gave them all the turnover opportunities which they duly converted as only the ABs do. Partly a result of the above point by going in with a possession game plan. So many unforced errors it was killing momentum. I believe Japan in Sep/Oct is glorious rugby weather on great pitches so hopefully this is less of an issue but that’s not a long term strategy.

  • Gipetto

    When Genia came on, the game was well and truly lost. It was time to try something; He was playing behind a dominated forward pack with a dysfunctional backline.

  • Mart

    Five observations.

    1. In the words of Ben Askren after suffering the quickest knockout in ufc history…

    “Well that sucked”

    That is all

  • Crescent

    So, it has taken a little bit after daring to hope that the lads would at least stand up and be counted. Instead, a return to norm. Poor body height. Poor support running. Stuttering decision making on the draw and pass.

    The loose forward problem is still apparent. LSL skinned around the outside, not as effective with ball in hand. Naisarani needed to go after the pill when the scrum was getting smashed. Hooper can’t do everyone’s job – I would settle for him doing his own job on the field well.

    We can try and mask problems by getting frustrated by Jaco, but at the end of the day, the men who take the field need to be able to sustain high quality play game to game – not on one night and off the next.

    Again, credit to the All Blacks. Worked on where it went wrong in Perth, came out harder and smarter. Aided and abetted by poor Wallaby decisions, with the skill level to finish off any opportunity offered, which they ruthlessly completed. Whilst I was expecting a brutal bounce back, it did not make it any more enjoyable to watch.

  • All excellent points and it does seem Beaale is better off the bench. He also covers three positions -fly half, inside centre, and full back. Maybe DHP is the better run-on player. He is the one whp could match Falou and he has the experience. Is Kerevi best inside or outside. Perhaps better to have a ball player (like O’Connor) inside. Alternatively a go to man like Carmichael Hunt. Pity that Jordan Petaia has not been sighted as he and Kerevi are an awesome pairing.

    Aside from all this, seems unbelievable that in the World Cup, in our pool, we will play the world’s new (in theory) number 1 team in Wales. A position they have gained after drawing the series with England!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My bet is they won’t be number 1 after the World Cup.

  • Andy

    Discipline and maturity. We are effectively asking players who have never shown these characteristics to some how develop them in 5 weeks……

    We just have too many guys who don’t know how to play smart and execute under pressure. Hopefully the next gen of Australian players somehow Aquire this skill themselves as they really have nobody to look up to


    Hamish Cole……. I do not agree with your comments regarding Folou and Beale. Beale is about the flakiest 15 under highballs in world rugby yet some want more contestable kicks……. Yet while Folou was around we suffered through YEARS of inexplicable ignorance to the fact Folou was the best player under the highball. Even the Tahs this year finally slapped Foley in the back of the head and made him kick across to Folou more…. and shock horror it worked and out comes all the dribble about using that tactic more…….. as if it was never an option before!
    Anyway my point is that anyone who belittles Folou and claims Beale offers more is a joke and not worth listening too! “Beale is a better BENCH player”….says everyone! Something NEVER said about Folou…… Ever!

    • Hoss

      Anyone who belittles Folau and claims Beale offers more is a joke and not worth listening too….so I will read the article in full and respond to them anyhow – is this some Qld circular logic used to entrap the unwary?

      As an avid Tah’s fan can you enlighten me as to just how successful said kicks from Spanners to Dusty were again?? I must have missed our finals appearances due to said attacking prowess ?


Aspiring sports journalist with a passion for all things rugby. Currently studying journalism at the University of Wollongong.

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