Dwyer's View: that's got me stumped - Green and Gold Rugby

Dwyer’s View: that’s got me stumped

Dwyer’s View: that’s got me stumped

At first viewing my total impression was that the Wallabies were terrible and that was the cause for our loss. But on second viewing I have to give a lot more credit to France.

Wallabies' fullback, Israel Folau, fumbles the high ball under pressure from France's winger, Yoann Huget

Certainly we made a lot of unforced errors, but one of the major contributors to our loss was that were were virtually never able to make the gain line due to very committed French defence: fast off the mark, making the initial contact on our side of the gain line. We weren’t able to match the power of their defence and leg drive in contact.

I mention leg drive in contact with real intent – it was present in pretty much all of the French performance and absent in pretty much all of the Wallaby performance. Even in people who normally have very good leg drive in contact – like Hooper – it wasn’t prominent. In some of our players who don’t have leg drive in contact – like Horwill and Simmons – in this game they were absent.

I thought what helped the French defence was that very little of our attack had enough options available to it to ask serious questions of them. All they had to do was get off the line fast with numbers and nine out of ten times they were going to not only halt us, but do it on our side of gain line. Add to that the number of errors we came up with  – straight drop passes or kick receipts – then it minimised any opportunity that we had to get across the try line.

Given that we didn’t do too much right for the entire night, we were still in the game virtually up to the 79th minute – which makes you think if we’d done just a few things right we’d have won it. In the first few minutes we dropped two balls and lost two line outs – it’s amazing we stayed in the game for so long.

Added to our lack of handling skills was our unbelievably poor tackling. I don’t say ‘defence’ because that would be talking about the structure and it was impossible to determine if this was a problem or not because we just missed so many straight up tackles.

The major problem is that we had no commitment, ‘shoulder’ or leg drive in our contact. Nearly all of them were arm and grab tackles in an upright position, enabling the French to step straight around us.

I’m not sure that France did a massive amount to win the game. They certainly performed well on occasion individually. Thomas’ try was excellent, but aided by some absent defence – starting by Leali’ifano not just missing Thomas but knocking Ashley-Cooper out of the way as well. Leali’ifano, Hooper, Foley, and Phipps were all ordinary and they’re all usually very good. What about those drop passes and high balls from Folau?

It was all out of the blue and has me puzzled. Was it poor preparation or playing at 9 o’clock at night perhaps?

Ben McCalman advances teh Wallabies towards teh French line.

It’s hard to pick a good individual performance. I suppose, McCalman, Slipper and Kepu worked hard and had some moments.

However, our line out struggled hugely, and these were supposedly our best two jumpers and strategy man in Simmons. It was made more difficult by the referee’s total neglect of the gap in between the lines, but that’s up to us to sort out.

We had consistently slow ball at the tackle, not helped at all by lack of leg drive past the ball on the ground from the forwards. It also wasn’t helped by the 5th, 6th and 7th forwards running past the ball laterally in order to take up their positions to run in the midfield. The threat and the opportunity is the ball – you have to continue to send people to the ball until that phase of winning the ball at the tackle is over.

If you get eight forwards at the ball to win it, no problem – because the last few there can pick up the slow ball and go again. You saw a number of occasions where forwards were dawdling across the park to pick up positions where they’d get smashed again behind the gainline.

I’ve said leg drive was missing in our performance – but this was even in our ‘driving’ maul! If you look at our individual players with the mauls you’ll see almost no effort, as if they were all saying “there’s no use trying”. We should be seeing all forwards in driving mauls working their very hardest with legs and bums to strive forward.

I don’t understand this performance at all, I’m hoping the coaching staff do. To stand a chance against Ireland and England we’ll have to move ahead smartly. Cheika is talking about changing the team up and they certainly couldn’t do any worse than last weekend’s lot.

Australian lock, Rob Simmons, grimaces in pain as his team mates secure the ruck.

There’s a tendency however for coaching staff to examine performances and say “this part of our game wasn’t up to standard, we better work on it this week”. I take a different tack and say there are six or seven aspects that must be up to scratch if we’re going to succeed and we’re going to have to work on them every week at least, if not every session.

If we say the scrum is going OK we don’t need to work on it, then I guarantee that your next scrum performance will be below par. For the most part we should work on scrum, line out, support play, realignment in attack and defence, tackle contest options, body position and leg drive in both attack and defence as well as defensive structure. If our performance in an aspect was 90 last week it should be 92 next and if it was 60 last week we want it to be 70 the next, and so on.

You would have to think we need an option ‘B’. It may be – let’s get quicker ball and find some holes inside the first defender. Option B doesn’t have to be a kicking game, although a good kicking strategy can force up to three players back out of the first defensive line giving you some room to move. On the weekend though the French open side winger was never back, perhaps there was just one man and the scrum half.

We also need to do more with attack from first phase – we’re not questioning the defence from it at all. What influences that hugely is how well we win first phase ball; if we can’t get a right shoulder then that’s a problem and our scrum ball was barely acceptable. Our line-out ball was unacceptable.

Overall I’m left asking whether we were psychologically and or physically ready for that match and if not, why not?

PS – I got quite excited at one stage when they started to ring the changes when they brought Rob Horne on and I thought Kuridrani could have gone to 12! But its wasn’t to be.

Photos by Tim Anger

  • Dogman

    They were very clearly unprepared psychologically. In addition to “we love scrums”, can we please add “we love catching and tackling”?

  • The Rant

    French tails were up which is hard for any team but we helped the French get their tails up with early poor defense and then what must be our worst high ball performance in a few years. the French crowd were on their feet from the start. could not believe we were being undone by jakeball.
    But I was pissed at the ref not being harder on the French for trying to start fights wherever possible. It was such a clear pre-discussed tactic to get them fired up and shake us. Ref should have seen through it. But it worked for the French so all credit to them. That really is what they need to do to win.

    • Cree

      Great to see the passion with which the French play. Australia need more of that. Hopefully next time we can be the intimidators.

    • Patrick

      But how many times do we need to let another team decide that they are going to play hard at us in our faces and we just roll over and let them??

      England have done it to us, NZ do it all the time, France did it to us last time they beat us and in Melbourne, etc… and you bet Ireland will be doing it to us just like they did 3.5 years ago. What I would give for a few Mortlocks or Herberts or Finegans or Cockbains out there.

      • The Rant

        Getting out-thused is pretty much been our biggest problem since deans came. We just don’t consistently fire up and hit other teams hard and hardly ever put a team to the sword.

        Also why it’s even more critical to develop our scrum – it’s not just the penalties and loss of posession – those scrum victories on the field give these northern teams so much psycological momentum and energy.

      • Damo

        What’s worse is that we know it’s coming. Let there be no doubt what Ireland will throw at us next weekend. Pretty sure we have a reputation with top tier international teams. Teams try it on the AB’s. They absorb it, give it back in equal doses, minimise mistakes and wait for the opportunities- which almost always come and they get the game momentum back. We absolutely must execute basic skills right and apply the mongrel.

  • Craw

    Not really related to the article, but how good do the new French jerseys look!? Outstanding!

    • watto

      better than their ones in June. new jersey, new team. better jersey, better team?

  • Gloss

    agreed Bob, get Kuridrani to 12 ASAP.
    I don’t think Phipps threw an inside pass all game, it became very predictable and easy to defend

    • Who?

      Think you’re meaning Foley..? Don’t think he’s thrown an inside ball all year other than the Welsh game, and two of those were forward (but at least they were inside balls).

      • Tahs_Man_Fan

        Which is what I don’t get!!! Inside balls were foleys bread and butter at the Tahs, and our general attack was pretty good all super season. Then he pulls on the gold and forgets how to mix it up – super frustrating

    • Hitcho

      Kuridrani has found his home at 13 and he should be changed to 12? I understand the sentiment but we have to stop the constant changing around period. How can any player develop any consistency?

      TK is a hard running centre that takes no prisoners. What he isn’t is overly confident when offloading. Not so long ago TK was coping it because of his loose carries. He has cleaned this up by better ball security in contact. Now people want to put him at 12 and limit the ball to the outside? Not a fan of the idea at all.

      For mine TK at 13 is one of the few things that is working currently, lets not mess with that.

      • brumby runner

        This is absolutely spot on.

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Yep. I was previously an ‘AAC at 13′ fan but TK has completely won me over. As far as I’m concerned ‘best man for the job gets it’.

        Frankly if it wasn’t Bob Dwyer constantly suggesting moving him to 12 I’d be throwing a flipping fit. So what’s his logic I’m wondering? Seems to be more minuses than pluses for me. Obviously Bob’s spotted something.

        • Avid

          TK or Horne can also open up the 12 channel with an inside pass or switching there themselves. Cheika wants to own the midfield.

    • Chris

      Gloss, who was Phipps going to pass to? There was no one there! Cheik looks for the changes in point of attack at the 10/12 channel, right or wrong. Forwards all running to poition were past Phipps and he’s quick with the ball.
      Also, Kuridrani is worth more at 13 than 12. I was more in favour of AAC getting the job but will fully admit that TK has really stepped up and owned the position.

      TBH I’m more worried about the forwards. The only position well covered atm is No7! Wouldn’t pick any of the bench as starters unless desperate.

      • Gloss

        I am not blaming Phipps just making the comment that the lack of any runners in that channel hurt us. Where is the blind winger in the mix, surely running a Joe Roff line would open them up or at least create more space for the pigs wider out.

        As for Kuridrani, I believe we simply need a 12 who can cross the advantage line.
        Our forwards (except for twinkle toes Slipper) lack grunt in attack and as such we need some big hard running centres to get us going forward and there is no-one else in Australian rugby who can consistently do that. Move AAC to 13 and Speight on to the wing and your back line starts to look like it can win you a game.

        If that doesn’t happen at least give us Horne at 12, he might not be big but he has good footwork at impact. Toomua is a quality 10 but an average 12 in today’s game and Lealiifano for all of his skills is not a strong enough runner. Let’s not get started on Beale’s deficiencies at 12…

        Are you having a laugh in saying we have 7 well covered? By who? Hooper is a 6 in a 7’s body, he has not attacked a breakdown all year. Awesome player but not at 7 please. I love Hodgson both as a player and more importantly for his strength of character but in reality he is not the player to win us a world cup and Liam Gill is too small in my view. That leaves Pocock – without him I don’t think we can beat NZ or SA at the World Cup.

        I agree re the concern with forwards though. We are desperate to find a couple of 200cm monsters with some mongrel..

        The only hope is that Skelton develops and improves very quickl,y but while I think he’ll get there I can’t see it happening in time for the world cup.

      • RobC

        LHP is the best player on the park imo

  • Nick Brisbane

    Cheika fired the attack coach – do we have one now? – didn’t look like it

    • Robson

      Perhaps he should whistle up the Tahs attack coach, Darryl Gibson. Only trouble is that he is a Kiwi, but he did an excellent job at the Tahs.

      • Geoffwho

        Who do you think is back in Sydney looking after the Tah’s preseason…

    • Rocky Elboa

      I think they wanted Bernie but it fell through

  • Bobas

    Lilo made a big error coming out of the line and not effecting a tackle on that winger as well as impeding AACs attempt. However the French winger didn’t make the line break through that tackle. He then stepped inside a gap between Horwill and someone else, the former had him within arms reach but decided not to try and tackle him… I couldn’t believe it too but it’s right there on the replay. Horwill shouldn’t play again this year, he’s getting worse by the appearance.

    • Robbo_76

      I bet he will play again because you are wrong. Horwill has been pretty good – not very good, but pretty good and has been getting better with each game. I agree that Saturday was a step backward, but how you can single him out is not fair. In that tackle, Horwill was trusting his inside man to make the tackle (as Cheika has been wanting them to) and was covering the other guy. If everyone just tried to attack the man with the ball, there would be gaps everywhere all match. The problem with that try was missed tackles by AAC x 2, Lilo, Phipps (can’t remember if there was another as well) – they all should have done better.

      • Bobas

        So I’m wrong due your differing opinion & somehow I’m also suggesting everyone should run out of the line?

        Trusting your inside man is important but it’s still a decision to make not a blanket rule. My opinions is that that after that initial bust that man was Horwill’s not the inside players.

        I bet he will play again too I just hope he doesn’t.

        • Robbo_76

          I probably was a bit too direct there Bobas – it is no doubt a difference of opinion…i just watched the replay and still think Horwill was right to cover the other guy, but its just my opinion. I actually thought Horwill and Simmons had ok games (Simmons in particular seemed strong to the end). When you consider how much the scrum and line out deteriorated when Skelton came on, it became more obvious what Horwill was doing at the set piece, although his running game was down on effectiveness like all the forwards (and backs).

        • mikeylives

          How did Horwill have a good game? Dropped ball that led to a try, 2 missed tackles, one leading to points, the other to their other try. Little metres gaines.
          Skelton was not much better unfortunately, but Horwill looked slow and passed it.

          Let me say that Horwill was really great before his injury and he continues to be one of the best leaders off the pitch. He just doesn’t cut it at the highest level any more.

      • brumby runner

        Saia missed him also with a desperate diving tackle, and Foley simply ran alongside him from about 20m out to the try line. Was the only real mistake I saw Saia make in the game.

      • Adams Mum

        Adam did yell “touch” but the player did not stop…..poor sportsmanship!

  • klaus

    God forbid Bob should mention that Quade had impact off the bench. That he showed he could direct, catch and pass a football and actually look threatening. Also our driving maul ensured one of our tries so to say they had no leg drive is pure drivel. Sorry Bob but you need thicker glasses it seems. I appreciate your columns but this one is waaayyyy of in many areas.

    • Rob G

      Sorry I must have missed him direct or look threatening. He certainly had one good catch and a brilliant offload. I agree he had a great impact off the bench in that one play, but lets not pretend he set the game alight otherwise. And it was foley who gave us a shot at winning it at the death with that break (and his brilliant goal kicking throughout)

      • dsb

        They did not bring the bench on early enough ,including QC to demonstrate impact in a team going backwards. It was obvious that Phipps and others were out on their feet and should have been subbed.

      • McWarren

        Rob was does giving QC some credit = bagging Foley. I think Foley had a decent game, not his best but good. I also reckon QC played well given his task. I am a dyed the wool Reds man but Foley is the guy to take us through a RWC tournament, along the way we need QC to be firing from the bench.

    • Joe Blow

      Bob is saying that we had little or no impact from 1st phase. That’s pretty close I would think.

    • sape

      We had one good maul which led to a try, but other than that, the maul was not overly threatening.

      Quade set up a nice try but as previously mentioned he did not set the heavens on fire.

      The most worrying part was that we looked unimaginary, mostly becouse we did not have lots of go-forward. Front row and McCalman maybe Kuridrani and Phipps gets good grades from me.

    • Scotty

      FFS I’m getting sick of this type of crap on this site.

  • AndrewWA

    Cheika has reportedly been working the entire squad very hard early-mid week since he took over.
    It’s almost as if he doesn’t believe that they are fit enough and is trying to fix it quick time. In my view not smart when many of these guys will be looking for their short break before returning to the SXV pre-season.

    It’s been a loooong hard year for many of his squad (Waratahs went through to SXV Final) and guys like Hooper & Folau have barely missed a game.
    The starting XV looked stale & tired even before the start of the game and it didn’t get much better.
    I s’pose Cheika will learn how to manage players at this level over time………….
    With a young and inexperienced Captain I wonder who is standing up for the squad?

    • bad ass

      If they tend to drop off late in the game (as they have) it does suggest fittness is an issue.

      • Milky Way

        Or perhaps overtraining

    • brumby runner

      To me, it does look like they were all physically tired and I am guessing that has something to do with the training mid-week. None of those who have been playing almost non-stop since the beginning of the Super comp would need hard work at this stage of the year surely. Work on skills and strategies rather than fitness. Cheika’s reputation is as a hard task master in terms of fitness training while having very little time (apparently) for scrum or lineout technique. If that is close to the mark, he maybe needs to adopt a different approach at this time of year. Certainly, over-training could be the reason leg drive is missing in contact.

    • Dane

      Its a tough gig for Cheika on this EOYT. On one hand he needs to train up the players as to his systems so they are well versed coming into next year’s international season in the lead up tie the RWC. On the other hand he needs to make sure that he does overtrain the players, after a gruelling season, both physically and mentally, the players are at risk of burn out next year if they are expected to front up for SXV training from early in the new year. This particulary applies to the NSW players who have barely had a rest since Feb.

      He needs to get the group playing in his style but needs to ensure that players will be at their optimum come Sept 2015. Its a very fine line to tread.

      Bob’s suggestion to train 7 or 8 facets before the Ireland test is a bit too much to ask at this end of the season. Especially seeing as though we saw quite a few of these factors working well in the last three games previous to the France test (Bris Bledisloe, BaaBaas and Millienium Stad). Given that the players have shown that they already have these skills at their disposal, training should focus on preparing them mentally as well ensuring the players are gelling to the new systems.

  • Who?

    No comment about runners receiving the ball standing still, or playing too flat to the gain line..? If you’re starting that flat, then you can’t run onto the ball, and so you have no momentum to carry into the tackle. Momentum which enables leg drive. If you’re standing still or going backwards after the initial contact, nothing you do with your legs (which are a good chance of being in front of you) will save you.

    The only times we looked threatening in attack we were running from depth. Think 32-38 minutes into the first half, think Simmons’ try. Folau ran onto it from depth, as did Quade, as did Simmons. If they’d had no depth, they’d have either overrun the ball (too close) or wouldn’t have been close enough (too flat, so standing start). I appreciate playing flat, the issue wasn’t playing flat, it was a failure to understand when to play flat and when to add a little depth.

    I knew you’d be keen on Kuridrani at 12 when Horne came on – but, when Quade came on, I saw him standing on a wing!!! I don’t want him at 12, but neither do I want him wasted on a wing!

    And we could do worse than this week’s lot. Horne had enough trouble bringing down Bastareaud – can you imagine Kurtley trying to do it?! Because you just know he’s going to be wearing 12…

  • Ben from the Bush

    I’d like to see Folau used somewhere other than Fullback for a match. Might just give him the freshen up he needs.

  • Nothing if not critical

    Bob Dwyer pretty much gets everything he’s been calling for all year and is surprised when it all comes to nothing. Same one-eyed nonsense I’ve seen on this site for too long. Phipps! Foley! Horne! (are you kidding?) Ashley-Cooper! (doesn’t deserve a cool nickname.) Beale! (yeah, let’s see how that goes.) I will be voting with my feet. Goodbye GAGR.

    • Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

      • Tahs_Man_Fan

        More like please walk into the door on your way out!! haha

    • Tahs_Man_Fan

      What does this comment even mean!? This suggestion that Bob Dwyer is some puppet master behind the scenes who pulls the strings, writes the GAGR columns and as a result gets the players he wants in the starting XV is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard. Bob, like most Australians, wants the wallabies to win. And each week out of his own time he writes a column for us to read and appreciate, and considering he has won a World Cup I’d say he has some notion of what needs to improve.

      Bob has said (1) we never got over the gain line (2) we never mixed up our 1st phase attack with inside balls (3) we never troubled the French with our kicking game (4) we lost the contact battle because no one has a good leg drive (5) we might have worked on our scrum, but were poor at some basics like catching and passing (6) our alignment in defence and attack was poor. Can you please tell me which of any of these 6 points was so hard to accept? because they were all spot on observations

    • Stray Gator

      And another thing … I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

  • idiot savant

    I thought the signs this was coming were there in the Wales match which we only just won. Both Wales and France played negative spoiling rugby concentrated on defence. Slowing the ball down in the rucks, pushing the off side interpretation by rushing up. This is the game style oppositions will use against us from now on to nullify the Tahlike quick ball flat pivot game style. Unfortunately it is very effective, particularly in northern hemisphere conditions and with their referees. Which is where we will be for the RWC.

    When we are ‘down in the legs’ as we were against France then this tactic is very effective. We usually have at least one match on a spring tour where we are down in the legs. You see this happen to AFL sides one game in every 5 or 6 because the demands of running and training seem to produce a low energy performance on a cyclical basis. This could be the physiological effects of the huge training Cheika made them do when they first got over there, I dont know but I agree with Bob they were down on leg drive and energy. A contributing factor to the huge mistake tally as well I think.

    The bigger issue is whether our game style can triumph over this negative approach at the RWC.

  • Simon_Sez

    Bob, I agree I would have liked to see Kuridrani play at 12. I would go one step further I would have Folau at 13 to bring him in closer to see more ball. We have a lot of good full backs, AAC and Beale.

    • moaning expat

      Possibly right but how much can you tinker with the team when they’re are only so many tests and not much time before RWC ? I think folau needs more room than a 13 posi can give him tho. As a winger he wasn’t getting the ball enough so I can see your point there however at 13 he’ll be doing a lot more defending and he’ll be a lot.more prone to injury considering he’s not built that way.

  • Lesley

    Helped a lot by Nigel Owens’ inability to tell when a team is (constantly) offside too

    • John Tynan

      I kept screaming at the TV that they were offside, but on replays or rewinding, I found that the majority of times, they actually weren’t – it was just good aggressive up and in line speed, amplified by our passing, catching and flat-footedness.

      • Lesley

        Yes they were very fast up to the line but there was some blatant offside – I guess if you’re coming up that quick you’re going to be offside some of the time. In contrast to our s-l-o-w response

  • Natman

    So, the Messiah has come, the dream team of Champions has been picked and the results have not changed. Hmmmm, really we should not be surprised. The Wallabies have over the past several years shown an inability to “close out games”, had losses where wins were expected over moderate oppositions, and had controversy on the sidelines. All this speaks to a lack of psychological preparedness to perform at the top level. Our golden children enjoy the hype and trappings…..far too much. They have advisers off the field feeding their egos perhaps?

    Having had my rant, I would make the following observations from the second half (I did not bother getting out of bed for the first half). Phipps game at half was too slow (come on Bob you are all to quick to point this out when other half’s are playing) often he stood for many seconds looking back to the back line to be in position, telegraphing the play to the defence, allowing the defence to be set. Perhaps Foley was having an off night getting stuff sorted? As Bob pointed out runners were catching the ball flat footed, and being slammed back by the French defence. This exacerbated the previous comments I made….so with possession there was no yards over the advantage line. The disturbing thing was that nobody had any clue how to break the pattern, well placed chip kicks to break the defensive line, angle runners or runners at varying pace close to the initial tackle….not even tried! The scrum was so unbalanced by the inclusion of Skelton it caused problems (watch the top down views especially at the end of the game) and how come the tallest guy doesn’t jump in the lineout?? Forwards standing on the side of a ruck like they are helping a mate barf after a night on the town are totally wasted on the field…imo. That’s probably enough. Obviously a long way to go!

  • Hambone

    anyone got a online link to watch the test, been trying to track one down and cant find any.. slept through

  • Realist271

    AAC had a nightmare in defense and yet poor Lilo gets a serve. Foley isn’t normally a good defender.

  • Rock Wallaby

    I find these forums a big negative. I reckon we played okay against a pharrking hard Frog team on their own patch. Shoulda, coulda, woulda? Sounds like all the jerks on this forum are ex Wallabies.

    I think we had a crack. I never count us out of any game – anywhere, anytime, against any opposition but the reality is we lose sometimes, however, we’re always up for it. I reckon we can still win against anyone, so that’s why I reckon we’ll tweak our game and win the next two.

    Buncha non believer jerks.

    • real

      agree. can’t underestimate how good the French can be when they feel like it.

  • Axemen

    We had a poor game, and amazingly were still in it up to the last minute – but good teams find a way to win when they play poorly.
    My issue is with Bob – in other losses he has been scathing on individuals and the coaching group. The coaches are new and deserve time, but the lack of a credible critique of a number of players ls a real concern. Bob, you are a RWC winning coach, a man who is considered one of the great minds of Australian rugby, I like your harsh critique of the team and performances – I don’t always agree with them but they are always food for thought. What I don’t like is the perception that certain players seem to escape the harsh criticism where others seem to be exposed to it for just running on the field. I don’t like this whole NSW vs everyone else shite, it is supposed to be the Australian team but your lack of critique of some players only fuels this perception – and perception is reality, so please start commenting on all the players in the same manner. How you can not mention Foley’s very poor game by name in the entire article is just mind boggling – how many chances is this guy going to get.

  • teh Other Dave

    “There’s a tendency however for coaching staff to examine performances and say “this part of our game wasn’t up to standard, we better work on it this week”. I take a different tack and say there are six or seven aspects that must be up to scratch if we’re going to succeed and we’re going to have to work on them every week at least, if not every session.” Sound.

  • Bob Dwyer


    I can’t be mouch more critical than ‘Leali’ifano, Hooper, Foley and Phipps (note three Waratahs) were all ordinary, and ‘I suppose McCalman, Slipper and Kepu (onley one Waratah) worked hard and had some moments’. or ‘What about those dropped passes and highballs from Folau’ (a Waratah).

    All of the above register criticism or at best ‘damning with faint praise’, for most of the squad.

    Perhaps a comprehension course might be recommended for some.

    Re: Kuridrani at #12. When attacking against a rush defence – indeed against any defence – there is great value in punching hard into the deepest area of the defensive line and having support players go with you on an unders line – viz Folau, then Cooper, then Simmons – or go on a looping support line. This causes hte outside (‘rush’) defender to over-run and open up a gap inside him.

    A bigger, taller man – viz Folau or Kuridrani – can often get his arms free and create opportunities. This in turn will cause oppositions to rethink their rush strategy and (i) give wider opportunities or (ii) create hesitation/confusion in the defensive ranks.

    Get it?!?

  • idiot savant

    Thanks Bob. I have long wondered why the second touch run around by the 5/8 has lost currency in the modern game.

    As regards the punch up strategy, I take it the key is to pick someone who can pass in the tackle as opposed to the microsecond before impact. The former needs a big man (I think Folau would be more effective than Kuridrani in getting his hands free) but the latter can also have the same effect and this where 12s like Barnes and Beale have been effective.

    I would love to see Folau at 12 because he is a natural offloader and takes a hell of a lot of putting down. My only note of caution in the pass in the tackle strategy is that a lot of the time a pass wont be forthcoming so variety in strategy is always needed. Deans tried the same straighten the attack approach but with absolutely no variety because sadly he picked a man who couldn’t pass or was told just to recycle. The drying up of Australia’s try scoring can be dated back to that strategy. So if we are to go back to punching up we must mix it up as well.


If you don't know Bob Dwyer is the world cup winning coach of the 1991 Wallabies, then give yourself an uppercut. He did a load in between, but he now runs Bob Dwyer's Rugby Workshops, which you can read more about on his site.

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