Player Ratings - Bledisloe 2 - Green and Gold Rugby
All Blacks

Player Ratings – Bledisloe 2

Player Ratings – Bledisloe 2
KB bags a try

"Actually" fast Beale gets away from Carter and Jane to score

When I sat down to write these, I made a conscious decision to approach them more positively than Lance Free did last week. As the game wore on, that proved very difficult. All in all in was another wallaby performance that was well below were it should be.

No, not below what we have been conditioned to expect, but below what it SHOULD be. There were a few bright spots, some performances that were up to standard, but until there is more players putting in, we will continue to see the Bledisloe living on the wrong side of the Tasman.

It was good to see Dingo use the bench when the players on the field weren’t doing the job, though no backs were replaced.

All in all, a below average, though that average is dropping with every outing, performance that only rated a 4 for the team. We got the result we deserved.

Player Rating Comment
Beale 7 Showed his pace to outrun Dan Carter and Corey Jane to score a great runaway try. Positioning was good and defence a pass. Will look good with a couple more games in 15 at this level.
O’Conner 5 Came up short positionally again, it is not a co-incidence the ABs push most of their attack down his wing.
Ashley Cooper 6 Solid as always, moving back into 13 will take a little time to adjust to, but was defensively sound against an ABs team that asks a lot of questions. He won us the first kick off, a big up on last week, so that was worth a point on its own.
A Faingaa 5 Probably won’t look back on this game and remember it as a highlight other than for first run on. kicked one his first touch, not the game he is known for, so perhaps a sign of nerves? Got better as the game went on.
Mitchell 6 Shrugged off the problems of last week with a few very good runs, kept himself busy.
Giteau 4 Another game in 10, another example of why he is not a 10. Didn’t create, or do, enough. Defence was sound.
Genia 5 Seemed slow to the ruck and slow to clear. Some of that can be blamed on the forwards, but. Not his greatest performance in gold, and not what we have come to expect.
Brown 4 Very active, but not effective. He seems to have lowered the rate of stupid errors, but nothing has replaced them in his arsenal. Got subbed fairly early.
Pocock 8 Champion, turned in another performance worthy of the hype. Was everywhere and into everything, without him, the forwards would be nothing.
Elsom 6 Spent a good part of his game doing the work the forwards should be doing, so wasn’t spotted much. Would be acceptable if ‘c’ wasn’t next to his name.
Sharpe 5 Questionable pushing in the scrum. When he was running the ball, looked good, was subbed halfway through the second half.
Mumm 6 Nothing flashy, but plenty of work in the tight. It wasn’t his side causing the scrum issues.
Ma’afu 3 The scrum got stronger this week as the game went on, unfortunately for Salesi, the improvement came AFTER he was subbed off. Very poor.
S Faingaa 6 Played the whole 80, even with a rib tickler from Woodcock. Enthusiastic and willing.
Robinson 6 Getting his match fitness back slowly. Plenty of work in the tight and his side of the scrum held up nicely.

Reserves that got a run

Player Rating Comment
Hodgson 6 Busy as always, it was good to see him getting some time. Didn’t let anyone down, but was involved in the tight.
Slipper 6 Sured up the scrum immediately. Busy around the park.
Simmons 6 Did his job in the tight, will have benifited from the run.

10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke

  • Joe Blow

    Pretty fair ratings although I thought AAC possibly could have been a 7 and Sharpe has been a bit hard done by.
    AAC pulled off a couple of miracle tackles after Faingaa.A. had missed his man.
    Sharpe was again our main go to man for metres up the middle. I agree he seems to be a problem in the scrum and Maafu looks worse than Big Al because of it.
    Is it time to recall Big Al? Put Simmons behind him and we then have a pretty handy scrum with Moore starting as well.
    If not then start Slipper with Baxter on the bench as he can also cover both sides.f

  • Skip

    Among the smarter things Deans has done, not making Gits skipper was one of the smarter. Watching him at fly-half dictate such dull, mungo-like bash ups all the time was pretty ordinary.

    Pockock future captain. Got to be.

  • Old Weary

    thought it was interesting Moore did’t get a run…

    A little Deja vu when squeaks shot to the top and kept his spot, when Paul was injured…

    • Groucho

      And when Polota Nau shot to the top and kept his spot, when Moore was injured.

  • Robson

    I don’t necessarily disagree with your score on Gits, but his re selection at 10 just when he was starting to settle and show some of his true skills at 12 leaves me totally exasperated with the current selection policies. I think Barnes would have been a better bet at 10 with Gits remaining at 12; even though Barnes performance at Melbourne had some tarnishes. It wasn’t nearly as tarnished as Brown’s was and he got re selected. With Gits at 12, I think the ABs might have been asked a lot more questions on defence than they were. Can we play this poor talented guy in the right position pleeeeeaaaaassssseeeee? It might also have been an option to play O’Connor at 10. I don’t think he would have come to any harm at all.

    Anway we’ve got Quade back again next time and that just might alter a lot of things. He will have been chewing on the rope too.

    Brown scores 4 and but for a stroke of Robbie tunnel visionism he was damned lucky to get back on the park at all. Brown gets no more than 2 from me and that is just for making up the numbers. Deans finally pulled him and replaced him with Hodges. It seems that there is a long journey (six and a half test matches in fact) from what is right in front of Deans eyes to that part of his brain which sends back a metallic message of “no good – replace”. I blinked in utter dismay that this didn’t happen at Melbourne.

    O”Connor is not a winger. He’s not a fullback either just quietly. So his score of 5 is probably a little generous. But he has some talent. It just aint on the wing though.

    Sharpe’s score is fair, but why this man mountain doesn’t push in the scrum is beyond me. As a former front rower I would be getting pretty filthy with a lock who was shirking his duty in the scrum. Ma’afu needed to give him a mouthful, but then again Ma’fu’s own work was fairly dismal. His score of 3 is indicative. Another whose work is apparent to the Dean’s brain by way of country road detour.

    Mitchell looked to have a vastly improved attitude and maybe could have got a 7, but I wouldn’t be too picky about this one.

    Anthony Faingaa got overawed by the occasion and didn’t come right for a while, but he will probably benefit from the experience. I wouldn’t be unhappy to see him get another start.

    Pocock was immense and deseves something approaching a 10, simply because this man re produced the same effort this time as he did in the last two test matches. He’s got consistency with a captial “C”, and man do the Wallabies need consistency now. Likewise AAC deserves a 7. Always there, always asking the opposition hard questions. Never failing to produce his very best. Another Mr Consistency.

    Also good to see Robinson gettting the measure of Owen Franks and holding up under some very stern pressure. Pity about the other side of the scrum. Change the personnel in the front row and we will see Benny give his opposites some scrummaging lessons.

    At last we saw some changes come off the bench where and when they needed to come. We all need a long suffering medal waiting for that to happen and the Wallabies are the poorer for it. A bit sad really.

    Finally, and I can’t resist this, Deans is on record as saying that had Ioane and Cooper been available they would have brought a different set of dynamics to the game. Spot on. There would have been a different set of dynamics in the game if there had been some coaching too.

  • DPK

    Hodgson did let me down by giving a red-zone full arm the minute he came on.

    • Scoot

      Thank god some one made this point. I think it’s a shared consensus that Brown has hit the ceiling if his ability but in terms of discipline he was totally switched on. Hodgson gave away the peno only minutes after coming on effectively sucking what little air was left out of the game for the WB’s.

      • Who?

        Didn’t Hodgson come on around 55 minutes..? And the (stupid, completely unnecessary) penalty he gave away which Carter kicked was at 70 minutes. That’s 15 minutes… It doesn’t make the penalty less unnecessary, but it does show at least he was in the game before he did it. Maybe he’d done other silly things and gotten away with them..?

  • Slim 293

    I’ve been saying since the EOYT that the return of Sharpe would weaken our scrum.

    There’s no doubt that Australia’s best scrummaging performance this season was against the Irish when Sharpe was out injured.

    • fatprop

      It was also the worst scrum we have been up against, Ireland has more wounded props than we did

      • Slim 293

        The worst scrum we were up against was Fiji… and that was a really poor showing…

    • slim 294

      agreed. Chisolm is the best scrummaging lock we have, unfortunately doesnt assert himself around the park as Sharpie does ….

      • Rocky Elboa

        This might sound mental but why not put Sharp at 8
        He work around the field is fantastic, his ball skills are some of the best in the forwards
        Also Ma’afu has to go

        New Scrum for SA games

        Fat Cat
        Finger
        Slipper
        Mumm
        Simmons
        Rocky
        Bam Bam
        Sharp

        Bench
        Moore (should get at least 20 mins)
        Kepu (would start but needs time)
        Higgs
        Hogs

  • Nabley

    O’Connor had an awful game and you are quite right his wing was succesfully targeted. He was the worst of the backs. For some strange reason Deans seems to be saying that he thinks the right wing is O’Connor’s best position. I am not certain when he said that, but I hope for it was before this game.

    The backline lacks any real attacking talent. Yes we have individuals who can shine, but a team at this level needs talent that attacking moves can be built on, that have both depth and redundancy. We did not see any of that. Giteau is one of those players, but he can not do it from 10. The best game that Giteau has played this year was at 12 against the Boks.

    I agree that Genia is too slow at this level. The contrast with the speed he achieved in Super Rugby is just confusing as to why he has slowed so much. I noticed this morning one scribe in a National Daily was complaining about ABs slowing the ball. Typical yadda yadda yadda. My recollection was that Genia was slow, spending his time organising the backline rather than siezing the speed advantage of quick ball that was sitting there waiting for him.

    Finally, everyone is crowing about Pocock which just goes to show how close some people follow the lead of the media rather than what was in the match. He started well, but played the last quarter without using his left arm, having got injured in a clean out against McCaw that went wrong. The surprise to me was that he played on and Brown was replaced. While I agree that Brown did not have a good game, he could not have played worse than the contribution Pocock made in that last quarter.

    • RedsHappy

      Nabley – re RD’s assessment of JO’C at wing. The media reports today quote RD as affirming how pleased he is with JO’C in this position, defensive-wise and how he seems to ‘have found his position at wing’ etc. The way the reports are written, it certainly appears as though these comments were made just yesterday, post-game.

      Strange indeed, but true.

      • Robson

        Yes, insanely strange and true.

    • Rocky Elboa

      I think Pocock is a great player who will only get better
      But I agree he should have been replaced, if for no other reason than keeping him out there was too much of a risk as he could have meant further injury
      Just as stupid a decision as allowing TPN to play prop again England for Australia A

    • Who?

      Deans is right about O’Connor not playing badly on one level – his effort. His effort was good. He was involved, he played one of his less error ridden games against the ABs (not a huge achievement, last year he was good against most countries, but a genuine rabbit in the headlights when the ABs pressured him). I don’t think he can be blamed for a coach deciding that the place to have him learn a new position is against the best team in the world. O’Connor’s poor performance – which is generally down to poor positional understanding of the wing – is completely Robbie’s fault.

      The backline has attacking talent. What it needs is direction. It needs to run set plays. How many times did we see the ABs with runners in motion, and how many times did we see the Wallabies with multiple runners..?

      I think it’s interesting that, as ABs attack coach, Deans relied heavily on Carlos. Now, as Wallabies coach, he’s relying on Cooper – a similar player – in much the same way. To give his team direction – more direction and unpredictable direction than the vast majority of 10s could ever provide.

      Genia? The ABs definitely slowed the ball well. I didn’t see quick ball all night. He was also exhausted by the end – I’d love to know how far he ran, chasing the ball from side to side, while the ABs comfortably slid in defense and regularly picked us off behind the gain line. There’s no doubt – once he was tired, he should’ve been subbed. No question. Another mistake by Deans. Genia was organizing the backs..? Then that’s Gits’ fault. Genia, in the last two games, has had occasions where he just hasn’t had anyone to pass to. So there were several reasons why the ball wasn’t being cleared as quickly as we’d like. Certainly, a tired 9 was one of them, but it wasn’t the only one, and all of the reasons are fixable and should be fixed.

  • fatprop

    Tough on Sharpe, he was the best tight forward we had, cleaned out well, consistently made ground and won his lineouts

    • Rocky Elboa

      his scrummaging is his achilles heel, perhaps with a better front row we could live with this but with Ma’afu there it only makes it worse

  • youngun

    i really can not wait untill some of our injured players are back. namely horwill, ben alexander and diggers. Coopers return will cause robbie some selection problems because anthony has what the wallabies backline needs. excellent defensive skills (perhaps not quite on display on saturday) and the size and strength to make CONSISTENT metres. Gits should have been used for what he was brought onto the scene as, not someone who creates opportunities but the person who has the acceleration to capitalise on those opportunities and sadly he has lost a lot of his acceleration because of age and injury.Think about it cause we can not blame him every time we dont win. And for christ sake we are the third best team in the world so can we have a little more positivity here?

    • let the smuggness grow…

      You do have to wonder how that test would have evolved with the benefit of Cliffy Palu, TPN, Horwill, Quade, Hynes, Digby etc available. Add to that perhaps a bit of “rub of green” – i dont want to be that guy complaining about the ref – but if it is good enough for the ususally cycloptic NZ commentators to identify AB offsides in wallaby kicking range, question forward pass rulings against OZ on attack, questioning why a certain AB prop was allowed to stay on the field (was that a more dangerous (and intentional) hit than Quades 2 match tackle ?), and risking the charge of Heresy in the isles by suggesting Mccaw entered rucks offside on more than one occasion – then i can at least make a comment too…

      At the end of the day though, injuries happen and you should at least be able to expect guys that step in to do themselves proud…

      Happy for now to let AB smuggness grow – its the perfect cancer from within that usually develops along with their peak 12 months from WC. They are miles in front of everyone now, but i still hold hope for a full strength wallaby team next year…

    • And for christ sake we are the third best team in the world so can we have a little more positivity here?

      My expectations have been re-evaluated back to a time when we DID beat the All Blacks, not set by a time where we could, maybe.

    • Rocky Elboa

      If Fingers get selected at 12 before Gits I will eat my hat

      Fingers.A needs yes but I don’t think he deserves selection based on a below par performance on Saturday. He did have good Super Rugby form but that counts for nothing it you can’t produce at international level

      Leave Gits at 12 with AAC outside him

      Then fake injury and leave Gits at home for spring tour

  • Ham

    I agree with most except O’Connor, Giteau and Genia. Move them all down to a 3.

  • Good stuff Timmsy

    I think we’re all hopefull that Sanchez is going to play like he did last year and in the S14. But he isn’t. Has been a 4 for me the last 2 weeks.

    And didn’t A Finger let Nonu through a coupla times in the second half as well? Another 4

  • RedsHappy

    Mr T – tough task, done well. Not much to argue with here.

    Pleased indeed that you are using the ‘absolute standards to win’ scoring method, not the ‘relative to Wallaby average this year’ method.

    Comments:

    I am on record as saying that A Faingaa should have been blooded much earlier, in Australia, in a (relatively) lower risk, lower pressure Test. I fear his performance in Christchurch bore this out and he contributed to a cost of AB points that we could scarcely afford. I don’t think any debutant can be meaningfully assessed (+ or -) until we see them in, say, 3 sequential Tests against good teams. Same sort of issue with Hodgson, except he’s got caps prior, but he would have been an enhanced player for these Tris if he had had far more time on field in June.

    I think I’ve said before that I’d ideally like to see an ‘effectiveness of captaincy’ score on top of the captain as player score, plus a score for ‘markers of coaching excellence’ that tracks observable improvements (or otherwise) in, for example, scrum capability, cohesive and effective back line play, general attack effectiveness, etc. But perhaps this would be hard to mark in practice in discrete scores?

    One final thing: gee, if Pocock gets injured (quite likely, as he’s having to do too much to carry the burden for others with low scores), we’ll surely pay big time in the Tris if these scores for the other forwards are fair, which I think they are.

    • Robson

      A Faingaa showed his immaturity and naivety at test match level on Saturday, but I wouldn’t strike him out on that performance alone. He’s a beginner at test match level and a lot of really good test match players have international starts similar to that. The way he bolted out of line to create a gap for the ABs to exploit is as much a coaching issue as it is something which he personally has to address.

      Players don’t do that in a well coached defensive line. They maintain their line. He doesn’t do it in the Reds because he knows better. But a new environment creates nervousness and defensive and attacking plans have to recognise and anticipate that by working towards eradicating it before it starts. He missed tackles because the pace of the game confused his timing and he lost his sense of deliberate execution.

      That’s my long winded way of saying that I agree with Reds Happy on the score of blooding him in a lower risk environment. I think he will come right if he gets another chance. But with Quade back he probably won’t get it unless someone gets injured.

      The captaincy seems to be troubling Rocky. But I can’t think of anything demonstrably clear that showed he wasn’t really up to it. A bit borderline maybe in some areas, but maybe he would play better if he wasn’t the captain.

      • Who?

        When did Ant bolt out of the line and cost points..? If you’re referring to the second ABs try… It was AAC who bolted up past Ma’afu after Carter. Carter stepped both of them, which created fast ball and the Wallabies were outflanked. Ant charged up to get to Nonu because he could see that the 2 on 2 was irrelevant with the AB support having 5m of width on the Wallabies. Beyond that, our defense was, generally, too slow off the line all game. We should be complaining about the blokes on their heels, not the blokes moving forwards.

  • Cookie

    Great assessment on the scores.

    Fingers show me enough defensively and running penetration late to give him a pass for the early nerves. The way he straightens the running is going to further suck in the AB in the compressed defensive style. They can not compress on a hard to tacklecommitted runner and slide wide at the same time. He has to be given another shot. Someone said earlier a backline that can work together is better then a group of talented stars. Gits to the bench. O’Conner to full back.

    Sharpe was always going to let us down. He only played good in super 14 because he got drop from the Walla’s and was embarrased. That motivation was never going to last.

    Please somebody ring Browns mum and get here to hook him from the field for the sake of the country.

    Simmons lock and higginbotham at the back.

    I am only dissapointed because we lost. I am not sure the AB’s can play much better than their last 4 games. They have been brilliant. But I am dam sure we can. More then that ….using that game plan with coopers creation i think we win……… That is super positive.

  • Bones

    Mortlock used to say that a good international backline was always thinking and organising three phases ahead. Applying this concept to the team in general, this is where the AllBlacks killed us. They as a group knew what opportunities were building in the play and responded accordingly. Eg Aussie runner solid, with good close support, ABs bring him down, try to slow but don’t commit many; next phase Aussie runnertakes the blind, a little away from his support, but still plenty of protection; next phase they deliberaty hAng back a little in defence, Aussie runner runs into a trap and support too far away, ABs flood the ruck and turn it over; Carter or Mils are in Position and belt it downfield over the head ofwhichever winger is up on the line etc.

    It looks to me that the Aussies don’t spend enough time in blackboard sessions and then group planning and communication sessions preparing as a team to react in the field as the game unfolds, again 3 phases ahead.

  • realist

    To me the ALL Blacks looked tired after 4 games on the trot but the Wallabies were still unable to gain a victory – yet the team and coach reacted in the press as if they had won. The Wallabies will never be dominant against the All Blacks and Springboks away from home while they persist in picking teams containing 4 or 5 sub-standard defenders. Every RWC winning team has had very strong and committed dominant defence as well as good set piece play. Having a few arti-farti little steppers who fluke the occasional try against the run of play but fail in defence and under the high ball, and happily kick away possession when pressured may look good to the coaches but will bring us no trophies against this world class opposition.
    May be time to start watching the mungos again.

    • Croke

      Blacks have played two on, one off and two on. A better schedule than Aus (or SA) who both have to play three (twice) back-to-back. The WBs looked as if they were running on fumes five minutes into the match and they probably were, with no bench to relieve many of the players.

      NZ have a dream run in this year’s draw, god help the lads in Sydney after two away in SA then having to back it up against a well-rested kiwi side.

      Sorta hoping the Blacks matchup over there turns into a scene from Zulu Dawn.

  • Lance Free

    Just a snippet with the stats (Austin will probably be posting the full monty):

    AAC and Mumm made the most tackles – 12 & 13

    Mumm and Sharpie hit the most rucks/mauls – 16 & 14

    Mumm and Sharpie the most runs – 16 (64m) & 13 (85m)

    Ma’afu went missing everywhere, in fact Hodgson made twice Ma’afu’s tackles in 25 mins.

  • hillston hog

    I have watched the game a couple more times and while he wont post this game in his highlights clip book, JOC did bugger all wrong. Looked elusive with ball in hand, and the 2 tries he is being blamed for – the first one – he had to come in a and make a tackle, the Bird (Centre Finger) slotted on to the wing, as a centre should and then proceeded to mark no one and tackle a ghost. The 2nd try was a 3 on 1 thanks t,o the Bird rushing up.
    He may be the future but if he gets picked ahead of Gits next week its a massive step backwards.

    Any news on Bam’s shoulder ??

  • Chris

    You know what never ceases to amaze me with this site? the amount of idiots who think someone can just move to a different position…. put sharpe at 8, giteau to 15 or 13, lets try higgers at 13 and so on. Come on guys!!! you lose all credibility when you offer up stupid suggestions like that. These guys are professionals and it generally takes years to learn a new position and to do so at the highest level?… its just not feasible or the place where you ‘learn’ a new position.

    Higgers won’t understand the subtle running lines or have the deft touch of a backline player. Sharpe won’t have the skills or speed to play at the back of the scrum…. and so on.

    Come on people. This isn’t Joeys 3rd XV or 5th grade at club rugby where you can perhaps get away with moving a big backrower with a turn of speed into 12 for a few games to bash and barge or a fat backrower into prop for a season. Because to be honest, I thought this was a rational, objective and intelligent forum where knowledgeable rugby people posted… but when I read that sort of crap, I am forced to think again.

    • Rocky Elboa

      Look no one is suggesting that changing position is an easy thing and some changes are easier than others, Wing to Fullback,Tight head to Loose, etc

      But in some cases it is worth the investment and trialling it as that person is too valuable to not have on the field RE: John Smit

      IMO Sharp currently falls into this category, however Simmons, Mumm and Horwill are all better scrummaging locks and deserve their place before Sharp and at the moment we don’t have a decent back up for Palu. IMO Sharp should be given the chance at 6 or 8, I only say 8 as playing Rocky and Sharp out of position doesn’t make sense

      Also we are talking about people who are meant to be professional sportsman, not a couple of snotty nosed rich kids, changing and develop new skill as styles of play change is meant to be there job.

      Therefore if a team lacks depth in a position and someone shows skills and abilities that could be developed then it would be the rational and intelligent thing to do

      • Chris

        Sorry mate, but I can’t agree with you logic. I mean with the exception of Richard Harry… irrespective of someone being a profressional or not, it is ridiculous to suggest when we can’t even beat the All Blacks etc with our best players in their ‘best’ positions to try them in positions they have no experience with. It’s like saying to the fat kid who turns up to training in under 12…. oh, you look like a front rower.

        I understand your arguement, as I personally beleive if someone took Phil Waugh aside 8 years ago and said ‘look, we’ve got Smith and are always able to find open siders…. move to hooker’… and Waugh went away, did the work for 2 seasons in club rugby he could have come back and been a world class hooker (with a backrower workrate and mobility). So, whilst I accept your point, I personally cannot envisage Robbie Deans or any Wallabies coach for that matter making the ridiculous positional changes suggested on this site this season. There is no logic to moving Sharpy to 6 or 8 because in your opinion he’s not cutting it at second row. Our best 6/8 can’t match it with the All Blacks etc, how would a fish out of water/learning/development 6/8 fair any better?

        Let’s digress for a minute and look at some facts about the Wallabies.

        1. We have a ridiculously small player pool. Imagine the strength of Aus if there was no AFL, League etc competing for the best players.

        2. I personally beleive a lot of responsibility for Australia’s problems lies with the ARU. They simply haven’t done enough to tap into the western sydney market. There is still too much focus on the Sydney GPS player pool (how many current Wallabies are from the GPS???? Not many). And not enough focus on identifying and developing the plethora of sportsman aged 18-21 (from other codes etc).

        3. The ‘product’ with the exception of how the Reds played this past season just doesn’t capture the imagination or inspire people to play/support the game. Case in point – the NSW Waratahs.

        4. I personally do not beleive the structure of the coaching team is good enough or strong enough. We don’t hire a specialist defensive coach (as far as I am aware). Nor a kicking coach (and note Giteau’s goalkicking woes and our pathetic mid field kicking game from all the players bar Quade) and the general level of skills or ‘hands’ is woeful amongst this bunch of current players in my opinion.

        5. Fitness – I dont feel we have the right balance of size/strength/speed/stamina and endurance. Our backs are too small and not muscular enough for the impact/contact at this level. I think we need to re-consider/address this area. I personally am glad rugby has moved away from the generic ‘all players look the same/can play anywhere irrespective of the number on their back’ mentality of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

        6. We have not done enough to tap into the Islander player pool and still too many players are moving from the Islands to NZ for school and then within 2-3 years and now aged 19…. they qualify to represent NZ on nationality/residence grounds.

        7. But in saying that… how many potential great future Wallabies are lost to the game and play soccer or AFL or tennis etc because at 14 and only weighing 45kgs they are not playing rugby anymore because they are expected to play with 110kg and 6ft 2′ islanders? Phil Gould talks about this problem in junior rugby league with the ‘small’ man (think Catchpole/Gregan etc) lost to the game at an early age due to size and injuries.

        8. Robbie Dean – great coach. Very talented. However I support the arguement a foreigner can’t or shouldn’t coach Australia. Playing for the green and gold was always about passion, taking on the All Blacks against the odds, representing your country with pride and fire in the belly. How can a foreigner inspire this in you?

        Deans is no doubt a great coach. And he has bravely, despite the plethora of criticism from every fat bloke in the grand stand who wear a polo shirt with the collar up and a cashmire sweater tied round his neck, whose greatest highlight was palying 4th at Joeys….who of course all know better than him – but Deans has come in with a job. Increase the player pool and try and improve the rugby playing ability of the players – i.e. learn how to play what’s in front of you, read defences, spot weaknesses and react.

        Has he achieved this? The jury is still out for me. Because I personally don’t mind taking the losses if there is a prize at the end of the rainbow. Let’s give Deans our support and see where we stand come world cup time.

        But I know one thing for sure – Deans knows more about rugby and coaching that anyone on this site and most journalists…. so as a country, as a group of people proud to be Australian and considering we all want success – we should all be encouraging Deans and his team and supporting them. Not sitting here and embracing the tall poppoy syndrome.

        9. Deans should however tap into more resources to assist him. Dwyer, Macqueen, Evans, McKenzie, Ella and even Andrew Joey Johns etc. Think England World Cup 2003 – most advanced and organised. They were fitter than anyone. They had a coach for hand eye co-ordination, kicking, tackling, lineouts, restarts, dieticians, motivational coaches and so on.. and Sir Clive just ruled over everyone and pulled the strings.

        Perhaps this is what Deans needs to do… embrace more of a management role and in bring in a backs coach and fitness coach and restarts coach and so on.

        10. One thing I am sick to death of with tihs site is the criticism of the players. Ok, for what it’s worth I don’t think Brown is up to test standard at 8. But the man is a full time paid proffressional, He probably trains harder than any of your fat pricks have ever trained for any job you’ve ever had… let alone in your rugby careers. He clearly, like all Wallabies is proud and passionate.

        But he is clearly a 7 or 6 at best. He struggles to adjust to the step up in size from Super rugby to test rugby.

        But…. lets be honest. Would he be there is Paul, Horwill or McMenimen were available? robably not. Deans isn’t stupid. But he is probably the best option at present. Clearly he is in Deans opinion the best option at present to keep the jersey warm and gain experience etc/try and learn and improve and therefore as Aussies we should support him and encourage him.

        For all those who suggest Elsom to 8, bear this in mind… one minute your all on his back about being out of form and a poor captain and then you want to burden him with no 8 also… I mean, come on people.

        11. This is a rebuilding phase is the Wallabies history. We must learn to live with that and deal with it.

        12. I fully agree that Aus rugby was always about being smart and running great lines and angles. We have lost our ability to play to patterns and set moves…. the hall marks of Aus rugby. I’m all for playing whats in front of you… but the balance must be right. Set plays and team moves initially and then the great players on the 9th phase read what’s in front of them and spot mismatches in defence or a tired defender and ‘play whats in front of them’. I personally think it’s a disgrace to see a Wallaby 10 simply drop off JOC on a switch 10m from the All Blacks line off a scrum/lineout. Where was the flowing backline play with decoys and angles? That’s Aus rugby…. we must return to this. Perhaps Deans is too blame for this? I don’t know. I am not in the team and don’t work for the Wallabies so I can only speculate but not form an opinion because I wasn’t there and don’t know… and perhaps most of your posters could be well served by following my rationale also.

        13. Now, for all our weaknesses and poor performances…. we are still no 3 in the world and capable of beating the All Blacks and Springboks…. and will do so in the near future. I personally believe we will get it right for the World Cup. I feel Mortlock will be back at 13 to bring size, straightening, penetration and physical presence out wide.

        We will be able to throw Horwill, TPN, Alexander, Daley, Will Chambers, Rod Davis, Fairbrother, Weeks, Palu, Horne and Ioane back into the squad when their injuries heal.

        Players such as Brown, Ma’afu, Simmonds, Cooper, Beale, Genia, Mumm, JOC and others will all in the future continue to develop and will be better and stronger players from their experiences during these lean years where they have had sharpe introductions to test rugby (whilst perhaps not ready physically and mentally)… and Aus rugby will reap the rewards from this in years to come. In 3-5 years when we’ve been on top of the world for 2-3 seasons, we will all be sitting here singing Dingo Deans praises and calling him a genius.

        Higgers has a long career ahead of him and will get there when his time is right.

        3 seasons ago we could’nt find a prop – now we have players like Slipper coming through and lets not forget Weeks, Daley, the Waratahs young front rowers and so on.

        I can see Rodney Blake, Luke Rooney and Mitch Inman coming into calculations for the larger squad. We’ve got McCalmum coming along and he will be better for this years experience.

        So, come on guys lets all get real.

        The problem with tihs site is there are just too many people with zero to minimal rugby or coaching knowledge outside of their man of the match performance in the under 14’s…. I envisage most of you are all the fat pricks type who stand on the sideline at your sons game and shout abuse and try and live your pathetic attempt at a career in rugby through them.

        Come on guys… I like this site when it’s intelligent. Good posts from Gagger and Lance etc that increase one’s knowledge and understanding about the game and moves/set plays/trends etc. I hate this site for the ridiculous and unintelligent thoughts of most comment poster who do nothing but bitch, whinge and moan and think they know more than Deans etc.

        This site is going to become a joke if it goes from a place for intelligent and knowledge thoughts to nothing more than a poor mans you tube where every idiot whose put on a pair of boots once in his life can write a stupid comment.

        • Rocky Elboa

          Look I am not suggesting I know more than Robbie Deans, I don’t think any one on this site can claim that (excluding Bob Dwyer) but just because I haven’t played for 10 years and was never any good anyway does invalidate my opinion.

          1. I refuse to bow my head and say Robbie and the ARU know what they are doing so I am not going to offer my opinion, NO I am a proud Wallaby supporter who pays to watch the Wallabies play on TV, owns wallaby merchandise and pay to attend games when I can, like a stockholder this alone gives me the right to my opinion
          2. This site was developed by and for rugby fans so they can express their opinion if you want to tow the line go read rugby.com.au
          3. What is your issue with joey’s??
          4. Three years of rebuilding and still no closer to beating the All Blacks, I am sorry I am a patient man but three years is enough time
          5. If a player like Karl Michael Hunt go from the top of league to play in the finals of the Heineken Cup, then someone can move from one position in a code to another
          6. Moving from 7 to 2 is another ball game than moving from 4 to 8. I am sorry it just isn’t the same thing
          7. the fact is players are injured and some of the players we have can’t cut it at this level, options need to be found otherwise all these players come back get injured in the first pool match of the RWC and our hopes are over.

          I don’t give a shit what experience you have that give you this holier than thou attitude, You don’t have to agree with me but this is a site for fans and in this forum no opionion or idea is more valid than another and if you don’t want to read what we have to say fine fuck off back to Rugbyheaven

        • Chris

          Im sorry Rocky… I won’t get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

        • Robson

          Chris I think that you can state your opinion more than cogently without calling everyone you share this site with, idiots and fat pricks. When you denigrate people in that way you denigrate the worth of your own opinion.

          And just for the record, I believe every follower of every sport has a sliver of expertise in their opinions from time to time that supersedes those who are supposedly the experts. If it wasn’t for that a site like this just wouldn’t exist.

          If you want to endure the current bout of losses stoically hoping for better days you are very welcome to. But there is an old saying that is generally true in almost any fiedl of endeavour that – “slow starters are no starters”. In my opinion Robbie Deans has had a very slow start to achieving success with the Wallabies. He might have been a great Crusaders coach, but we are not seeing that gold glistening with the Green and Golds.

        • Joe

          8. Robbie Dean – great coach. Very talented. However I support the arguement a foreigner can’t or shouldn’t coach Australia. Playing for the green and gold was always about passion, taking on the All Blacks against the odds, representing your country with pride and fire in the belly. How can a foreigner inspire this in you?

          Your point is a valid one, and I do agree to an extent. But then again you can’t argue that Quade Cooper representing Australia is ironic since he was born in Tokoroa, NZ, and has maori tattoos all over his arms.

        • Who?

          Chris, I understand a lot of what you’re saying, and agree with much of it (points 4, 5, 9, 12). But saying that Robbie wouldn’t just change a bloke’s position in the middle of the 3Ns..? What about JOC? He’d never played wing before! What about AAC – always shifting between fullback, wing, outside centre, and even inside centre (switched to inside last 3Ns). What about Gits – 10, 12, 10… Stick him at 10 and leave him there! What about Alexander..? Played all year – both years – at loosehead, and yet he’s the best tight head in the country..? I’m not saying he didn’t play very well – he certainly did swim (opposed to sinking), but it was a big positional switch.

          I’d normally agree that it’s a very silly idea to switch players to unfamiliar positions. I like picking the best player for the position, not the best players and finding them positions (as Jim Williams has publicly stated the Wallabies selectors – under Robbie – do). But I think you’ll see that Robbie’s history shows he’s more than happy to shift players willy nilly.

  • hillston hog

    Its been brought up before but I am yet to hear a reason why the following wouldnt work.
    Rocky to 8
    Mummy to 6 (where his best S14 is played)
    And Simmons into lock with Sharp. (although Kane Douglas is as good an option as either Mumm or Simmons IMO)

    If we are convinced Sharp cant scrummage – let him pack down as a blindside and mumm can push his heart out !!

    Until we have a decent backup to Cliffy at 8 – Rocky has to play there. (Higgers offers an alternative if/when fit)

    Dick is just another 7 trying to play big. Cant doubt his effort – but christ I play as hard as I can and I will never be a wallaby either !!

    • Stephen

      Rock DID play for the BaaBaas at 8 last year.

  • Larkhage

    And when you guys said Beale “isn’t of test quality”..

    • Scoot

      Hold that thought until after game one in the Highveld. Boks bringing Steyn back for the super boot at high altitude. The mortars will be dropping on Beale for a serious examination at test level.

  • Needs more Bam Bam

    Perhaps the most damning stat to come out of the game is Carter making 20 tackles. Shows how much traffic went one out all game from the Wallabies. Deans’ “play what’s in front of you” mantra doesn’t work when you have an crabbing flyhalf, a one-dimensional inside centre and slow delivery from the breakdown.

    What this game also showed is how valuable Cooper is to Sanchez. Cooper’s unpredictability (albeit with mixed results) forces teams to make a concerted effort to shut him down and that relieves a lot of pressure from around the base of the ruck.

    • Nabley

      There was once another unpredictable player by the name of Carlos Spencer that most NZers would like to forget. The parallels between Carlos and Quade are significant. At Test level can the Wallabies afford to carry such a high risk. Look at it another way, can the Wallabies afford to have two unpredictably brilliant but dangerously inept players in the one team with both Mitchell and Cooper.

      • Who?

        At international level, Carlos and Quade shared an attack coach – one Mr Robbie Deans… And when they lost in 2003, what was the story..? The Kiwi press went on about how there was no backup game plan. Sound familiar..?

        That said, how many mistakes did Cooper make this year so far for the Wallabies..? He created a good number of opportunities that were easy catches but were put down…

        • Nabley

          I read at about the time Deans came over that when he was Assistant Coach to Mitchell with the ABs and just before they ran on for the semi final, that he told Carlos not to cutout pass. Telling that sort of thing to instinctive players like Carlos or Quade means nothing. They will do what they do and then say to themselves “oh shit I shouldn’t have done that”. That’s the danger, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The cost of playing Quade is that you need a sweeper to pick up after, to fix up the mistakes where possible. That means one less person applying pressure. I like watching Quade, but I would hate to coach him.

  • Tommy

    The kiwi commentators raved about sharpie.

    • Robson

      The Kiwi commentators would rave about anything, although Justin Marshall was more articulate.

  • Stephen

    Save Giteau and Ashley-Cooper, I’d have the whole backline a Reds one.

  • Bangkokwobblybit

    Just some observations regarding the game on the weekend relating to defensive depth….. instead of the futility of battering the line again and again and again with no penetration as we did on the weekend, some kicking may have been justified, esp when the realisation of how little progress was being made with ball in hand sank in.

    Kicks could have been both as an attacking weapon (chip/grubber/bomb) and for field position. This isn’t just because of the value of what might arise from the kicks (breaks from regathers and/or field position) but also because of what these options put into the minds of the opposition, most significantly relating to defensive depth.

    The key to space out wide in attack with ball in hand (particularly off set pieces) is generally the possibility in the mind of wingers and the fullback that a kick for field position might be taken. The back three tends to hang back to cover the sidelines/provide a return kicking option inside the catcher, therefore creating space out wide for running attack. Similarly the possibility of grubbers/chips/bombs reemphasises this need for a second line of defense to cover such kicks (and therefore again a thinner front line of defence).

    Defensively, this is not just relevant to the back three. Forwards may also adjust their defensive lines as they leave set pieces/rucks/mauls either shallower or deeper (either intentionally or instinctively) depending on the likelihood of kicks.

    I might need to watch the game again but I would be interested in looking at where the All Black back three and loose forwards were positioning themselves defensively as the game wore on. When it became so clearly predictable that the Wallabies wouldn’t kick, I can imagine that the All Black front line defence would be generally strengthened with the back three creeping up and the forwards running shallow direct lines to cover attacking runners. This would have worsened as it became obvious the Wallabies just wouldn’t kick (a couple of exceptions from Beale which were quite poorly executed in my opinion – compared to Carter’s sheer class anyway). But we just kept battering in again and again.

    Compare this to defending when Carter is playing for the All Blacks. You just know that the opposition back three (unless they want to look very stupid) just HAS to make sure the sidelines (both sidelines from a central field position) are covered from great depth given his kicking prowess (accuracy and distance). Carter also showed how dangerous he is at using the middle space between shallow (ball in hand) and deep (territorial kicking) defensive cover with his neat little chip and regather into the area in between these two – though from memory this was from broken play.

    All this emphasises to me that we need to be getting the balance right between kicking and running to keep the opposition guessing. I think the ABs got this balance probably about exactly right, and they pretty much do this week-in week-out. It also emphasises to me how bloody important a good kicker in general play is. Wilkinson and Carter have been showing us this for years. Its been a very long time since we’ve had a great kicker at five eighth, which is where you need your kicker to be to create this attacking uncertainty. I would say Latham was our last great kicker, but as a fullback, well, you, the rest of the world and the opposition knew what was going to happen when he went to first receiver, didn’t you?

    You can argue the Springboks have gotten the mix severely wrong in the other way. Bombs and territorial kicking is all they do and defenses can afford to hang back in terms of depth to cover them, without worrying to much about a thinner front line of defence which may be penetrated from out wide running.

    • Robson

      Yep, a chip kick or two was the first thing that came into my mind when I watched the backline shovel it to the touchline time after time with no gains being recorded either side of the paddock.

  • Corvus

    A couple of observations and ruminations.

    Could it be that Genia was deliberatly playing it slow so the team would would calm down and not spill the ball. He has done this in the past both for the Wallabies and the Reds when players were getting ahead of themselves. Maybe did it a bit too much on the weekend.

    Dean’s comment about JOC being suited to the wing spot might only be relevant when Cooper is playing. This way he can pop up Ioane style to take advantage of one of Coopers passes.

    Finally make Pocock captain sooner rather than later. Rocky’s needs to be free to play his game and not worry why the rest of the team is f*cking up. Bam Bam leads by example and is not afraid to give the team a spray to get em fired up. Sometimes it looks like he’s the only one who gives a shit out there.

  • Corvus

    And another thing.

    We need to find a good back up 5/8 quickly. Any ideas?

    Toomua? Beale?

    • Ham

      I think Toomua is the only person in the near future that has any hope of taking the 10 jersey off Quade and moving him out to 12. He now has experience of a couple of years in super rugby and a u20s world cup and he should be in the squad for the spring tour.

  • CJ

    Great comments guys… just wish I had more time to read them all (& process them)!

  • Sam Bananas

    There are some very educated and interesting views purported on this site but the negativity is over the top. Passion and pride are driven by a positive mind-set. The Wallabies were certainly lacking in many area’s in Christchurch, especially a lack of creativity but the effort was abundent.

    Pocock is a machine of determination and will inherit the captaincy in time.

    Sharpy produces more forward thrust by sheer physicality than any other Wallaby at present. ommented on moving Sharp to the backrow which simply would never happen in Test rugby. He’s a quality lock at international level but would fail as a flanker. He hasn’t the speed or agility.

    Brown doesn’t warrant a starting berth at present.

    Hodgeson warms the bench due to his backrow versatility. His tackle strength, break-down instincts and handleing skills warrant a first-15 selection at 6 or 8. He earned the Force’s player of the year and should be utilized by the Wallabies.

    Mumm’s improved his work rate. I’d prefer to see Mumm come off the bench for the last 20-30min and covers 4,5 & 6.

    AAC has the most impact at 15 but his talent extends to wing or centre. Sheperd, if fit and confident could rival Latham as one of the great Full-backs of the professional era. His size and power are desperately needed by a lightwieght backline.

    O’Conner has talent to burn in Super 15 but his size at Test level limits him to the wing. Possibly Fly-half in a couple years with more Super 15 experience.

    The Wallabies are a quaility side but they get stuck in poor patterns of play and don’t seem to adapt well if their opponent changes it’s stratagey. Also they persist with ineffectuale plays instead of mixing things up.Their arsenal of skill is huge but the last game were so predictable the All blacks weren’t threatened. They must learn to move the ball up and down the backline, chip over and pick moments to kick for the corners. Keep the opposition guessing and force them into mistakes,then gaps will appear and oppertunities created.
    I think they’ll best the Bok’s again. Many may disagree but I’d put Giteau on the bench and bring him on hungry in the last 30min. No player warrants automatic selection and coming off the bench will cause the opposition to change their stratagey halfwy through the match. Mix it up!

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@mrtimms

Steve Timms, He likes watching the odd game of Rugby, occasionally writes about it.. Proud member of the original Mudchooks.

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