Welcome to the Tuesday Top 5. Just a short, sharp one this week.
The Good Bits
So, what stood out? What were, in the opinion of MST, the best bits about Saturday’s match?
* Koroibete! I have to admit, for the first couple of years he was with the Wallabies I was dubious. But this game proved just how far he has come, his defence in particular has improved out of sight (thought as you will see below, he still has some work to do there).
* On the other wing, Wright had a fantastic debut. He showed no signs of nerves and never looked out of place.
* It was good to see Banks showing some form again.
* Recognising the importance of scoring points, no matter how they are scored. We scored 1 less try than the All Blacks, but it was penalty goals that got us over the line.
* We improved our lineout, only losing 1 on our own throw.
The Bad Bits
Just because we won doesn’t mean I’m going to look back on the game with rose coloured glasses. There were definitely things that fall on to the not so positive side of the ledger.
* The missed tackle count was still around 80%. In fact there were 3 players who missed 4 tackles (Koroibete, made 5 missed 4, Paisami, made 6 missed 4, and Hooper, made 15, missed 4). 3 of our bench players missed more tackles than they made (McDermott made 0, missed 2, Lolesio made 0, missed 1 and Daugunu, made 0 missed 1)
* Swinton’s red card. When I saw that a tweet saying the “Tah’s hard man” had been selected I had a feeling there would be trouble. Too much aggression, out to prove his “hard man” status. Is that what happened? I think this headline from Christy Doran last week sums it up pretty well – “‘Something New Zealand hasn’t seen in a Wallaby jersey': Wallabies want debutant to bring hit-man aggression” Well they got It alright. Perhaps they need to temper the aggression a bit instead of trying to play it up.
* Nic White was still very slow at the play of the ball.
Who played where?
There have been plenty of changes to the line-up over the 4 tests, so let’s just look and see how the team sheet looked over the course of the 4 tests.
The green indicates the same player was in the same position for all four matches. The orange indicates there was a change to the position from the previous week.
Looking at that we can see there were 5 positions where the same player was named in all matches. Slipper, Philip, Hooper, White and Koroibete were the only players to start all 4 matches in the same position each time. Wilson started all 4 but played both 6 and 8.
So which positions had the least consistency? 6, 10 and 12 were all played by 3 different players. 10 and 12 were as a result of injury, but are we struggling to settle on a number 6?
Which of those was our strongest team? Have we even seen our strongest team yet? 4 tests in to Rennie’s reign and I think it is a bit too early to have those answers yet. But I am looking forward to seeing here we go from here – provided we aren’t seeing this many changes every week. I think Rennie needs to work out quickly who plays best in which positions and in combination with who else.
Who do we want to see?
This is just a quick question for you all. Based on what we have seen so far, is there anyone you want to see brought in/back? What would your ideal team look like?
Personally I would like to see Fraser McReight given a shot at 7. I know it won’t happen because Hooper is the Captain, but I don’t think it would hurt him to have a seat on the bench. In the past 4 games Hooper has made 65 tackles. He has missed 12. He has won 3 turnovers (with 0 in each of the last 2 games) and conceded 3 turnovers. And there was only one match where he made more metres than Sam Cane.
Also I want Samu back. He is big, strong, solid in defence. Some claimed that when he was dropped for Hanigan it was for the lineout – but then why not bring Samu back for game 4?
I’d like to see Rennie stick with Wright for now, and would like to see Simone and Lolesio given more time. I would like to see McDermott given more time as well.
On the other side of the page, I would like to see less of Simmons. He didn’t contribute a lot in the last match and I think there are better options. I hope Rennie sticks with Philip, I think he has proved himself.
So, over to you. What do you think?
Los Pumas v Australia XV
For those who didn’t catch the streams of the 2 matches, here are the highlights.