England crushed the Wallabies today in an awesome display of power, pace and passion.
There are ominous signs that this team is readying for a real shot at RWC 2011.
Their performance was so un-Pom-like it looked as though they’d detached from the Six Nations and taken up residence in the South Pacific?
The soft underbelly that’s Australian forward play has been exposed yet again.
The Wallaby forwards were completely vanquished by their robust opponents.
It would have been appropriate if the Remembrance Day two minutes silence had been repeated after the match in memory of Wallaby forward’s missing-in-action.
Apart from Squeaky Moore, who was my Australian MOTM, only Sharpie, Bam Pocock and to some extent Rocky actually stood up for this challenge.
Squeaky was into everything, carried the ball forward like a truck (10 runs) and his lineout throwing was top notch. He was also prepared to take on the Pommy forwards in defence and topped the tackle count with 18.
Some serious questions need to be asked about the commitment and wherewithal of some of these guys.
How can our so-called ‘world class’ backs conjure up a bit of magic if the forwards are unable to lay a proper platform? Our go-forward was average at best and we rarely got over the gain line.
Benn Robinson was effective in defence but he’s well off the pace of previous years and some serious consideration needs to be made about replacing him with someone who is in form, like James Slipper.
Some were calling him ‘the best loosehead in the world’ last year but sadly, there’s no sign of that in 2010.
Mark Chisholm is another who’s time has come. It’s a shame that someone with his experience and physical attributes just goes missing when the going gets tough.
It looked like we’d adopted the tactics of the failed Kangaroo mungo team. We just line up across the park and hit it up one off from the ruck. Consequently we got smashed every time by a more physical team and just didn’t get over the gain line.
There seemed to be many occasions when the opportunity presented itself to counter ruck and win turnover ball but what is it with these guys? Doesn’t Robbie allow that or something?
We just stand there and go into a defensive mindset, unable to react to the circumstances. We’re reactive, not proactive; or worst case lazy.
Where is our ‘pick and drive’ game? Surely that would suck a few opposition forwards in and create some gaps in their defence?
It’s no wonder the Poms sneer at our scrum and general forward play when we come to town, because it’s deserved.
The scrums were themselves a non-event as the game was relatively mistake-free and there were bugger all of them. The few that were set ended in free kicks or penalties anyway.
Moving onto our backs, they just couldn’t get any momentum going without the forward platform being set. And their defence was woeful.
I’ve counted 21 tackles missed by the backs alone with QC (5) and JO’C (5) the worst offenders (37 in total).
KB was the standout and featured with two tries. He was always trying to create something but was playing a lone hand.
Goalkicking again let us down with JO’C only succeeding in 3 from 7. I think if some of the earlier kicks had been successful a different complexion may have been put on the game.
You could say ‘bring back Gits’ but I’m not 100% sure he’ll be in the starting side next week?
As for the Poms, well they were simply outstanding. Their piggies completely outplayed the Wallabies and secured loads of quality possession, and one of the keys was that it was generally quick ball which didn’t allow the defence to settle.
Importantly, Toby Flood kicked 9/9, which was Wilko-like. Their backs threw caution to the wind and confidently attacked from within their 22. The last time we saw that was in 1991 and we all know how that ended…..
One of those attacks, after a Will Genia turnover on the English goal line, led to Chris Ashton’s first try. He scored a brace and looked every inch a Ben Tune in the making.
Mark Cueto, the other winger, was also elusive but helped to some extent by our poor tackling.
Foden at the back proved to be ‘a dangerous little bugger’ and the Mike Tindall/Shontayne Hape midfield partnership completely shaded the Wallabies pairing.
Ben Youngs at halfback was the official MOTM but I thought Ashton was hard done by there.
For me, their forwards set the tone and just killed it for them. Every one of them played their part with Coles, Sheridan, Lawes, Palmer and Easter prominent.
If this was supposed to be a foretaste of the RWC 2011 Final then it just might be business as usual…..