Last night to prepare these statistics I watched the game for the first time since seeing it live and I have to agree with those that have posted on the site after re-watching the game – the Wallabies weren’t terrible.
They were outplayed on the night by a better team but having watched it play by play, the gap between the teams isn’t as large as it appeared to me watching the game the first time.
Robbie Deans has said there were a lot of little things that spoiled any chance the Wallabies may have had. I wouldn’t classify them as “little”. I think basic would be a better word because things like not kicking the ball out when you have a penalty and the opposition only have 14 men just shouldn’t happen at this level.
The first yellow card for Drew Mitchell was clearly wrong and the IRB obviously weren’t impressed with the work of the assistant referee that made that call as he’s been demoted for this week’s game. I don’t understand how Kaplan wasn’t also demoted because his call of a shoulder charge by Franks was also wrong. I think in the context of what had occurred in the game and the warning Joubert gave both captains, the second yellow card to Mitchell was justified and basic errors like that have to be eliminated.
The Wallabies started with the ball 29 times compared to the All Blacks with 37. However the Wallabies held the ball for 128 phases compared to 114 for the All Blacks. The ball in hand strategy was clear with only six kicks by the Wallabies and 9 by the All Blacks.
The Wallabies held their own at the breakdown retaining 96% of their ball compared to 94% for the All Blacks. David Pocock was superb and his work rate was incredible. Richard Brown also did a lot of work and I didn’t think he had a bad game. Rocky was a little quiet as was Ma’afu. The rest of the pack were good.
The basic things that have to be fixed if the Wallabies are to be competitive this week are clearly re-starts and defence.
The Wallabies only regained possession once from the seven kickoffs by the All Blacks. Five of those six kickoffs the Wallabies lost came immediately after the Wallabies had gained some momentum by scoring points but the momentum was quickly reversed by not securing the ball from the kickoff.
The Wallabies defence lacked the intensity of the week before against the Springboks – only 17% of tackles were dominant compared to 23% the week before and the successful tackle percentage was also down at 82% compared to 87% against the Springboks. The backs were responsible for 18 of the 30 missed tackles with Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley-Cooper both missing four each. Rocky didn’t have a great game in defence and the Wallabies need more from him in this area.
|1st Half||2nd Half||Match||%|
|Tackles – Dominant||17||7||24||17%|
|Tackles – Completed||66||51||117||83%|
Ball retention was much better this week with only 28% of possession given up compared to 54% against the Sprinboks and 41% given up by the All Blacks in this match.
|1st Half||2nd Half||Match|
|Times in Possession||13||16||29|
|Possession Lost – Breakdown||3||1||4|
|Possession Lost – Other||1||3||4|
|Total Possession Lost||4||4||8|
|Possession Lost %||31%||25%||28%|
Most of the basic errors made by the Wallabies have been seen before and that’s the main issue for me. There’s no consistent improvement with the gains in one area being offset by regression in another area each game. I’ve said plenty on this topic in other posts so no need to keep going on but this fundamental problem must be addressed by the players and the coaches.
The bounce of the ball didn’t go the way of the Wallabies but that, and refereeing blunders are part of every game. If you take the Mitchell and Franks yellow cards away I still think the All Blacks would win but it would have been much closer.
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