Australian Wallabies team squad vs South African Springboks Brisbane 2009
Rugby

The Wallabies Changes: Robbie Deans explains

The Wallabies Changes: Robbie Deans explains
Bungo!

"er.....the blokes."

Maestro Deans has made sweeping changes to his team to face the Bokke this Saturday with the biggest changes being Will Genia and David Pocock getting their chance to start this week. After sniping at the heals of Burgo for a few weeks Genia takes over from the wayward incumbent while Bam Bam gets his chance to step out of the sizeable shadow cast by George Smith and Phil Waugh.

Deans explained his overall reasoning for the changes in typically cryptic fashion and gave the followers of Dingo Bingo something to get excited about.

“We tend to approach it (team selection) more from a squad perspective to be honest. We clearly believe in all the blokes we pick, this is by nomeans tokenism, nor is it a stick (to the players dropped).”

“We all work hard for the team to thrive, we’ve got some blokes who aren’t pulling on the jersey who have helped the blokes who have an opportunity – and that’s the way it’s got to be.”

“The blokes who are starting have earned their right, we are also mindful that there are no guarantees in the future. We are chasing some solutions (with selections) and the rest remains to be seen”

On Luke Burgess “Luke is still a big part of our future, the fact he doesn’t have number 9 on his back doesn’t change things, he’s still a big part of the Wallabies and he is working hard to that end”

On Will Genia “We can provide opportunity for a player and Will is a bloke who has really made the most of every opportunity that has come his way and he has overcome adversity with his injury. He has shown the he’s got the discipline and the habits to deal with that sort of challenge, and that’s a good trait”

On the Mitchell replacing Hynes “Drew made the most of his chances at the end of last week’s game so he deserves another chance. We thought that Hynsie didn’t perhaps make the most of his opportunities”

On the Barnes and Giteau combination “The numbers on their back aren’t that relevant to be honest, you’ll see them in both roles during the game. It’s not a big deal, we only put numbers on their back to help you blokes (the hack press) out actually”

On Al Baxter “The whole front-row work hard with each other with each other so if one thrives it is on the back the work of the others around him. Al will play club rugby this week and as with all the players who play club rugby this week, without going into detail, selections have been influence by club performance. We want him pulling on the reins”

On Pek Cowan playing at tight head – Jim Williams explains “We are definitively confident (he can make the switch to tight-head), the background work we’ve done with Ben Alexander we have worked on with Pek and he has been putting in some work playing tight head (in the club competition) so certainly he has worked hard. He’s brings athleticism around the park, he’s got a great work ethic and has certainly helped and enhanced the squad from that perspective. He deserves his opportunity and we’ll see how he goes”

On David Pocock “He’s a blend those two (George Smith and Phil Waugh) in many ways, he’s a very strong player and his build is ideal for that position. His ability to keep going and also to impact on events while he is going is good. He’ll enter the game looking to impose himself on the game in an area that’s really going to be important to us”

On Nathan Sharpe’s non-selection -

  • Jim Williams “It was one of those things where we didn’t want to push it too much. We are trying to build depth in that position so Mark and James did well last week and it is just one of those things”
  • Robbie Deans “Sharpie was non contact today (Tuesday’s training). We could have pushed him on Thursday to see if he was able to get through the session but we just don’t see the point. He’s important to us in the long run, it is an area where we don’t have much depth and we didn’t want to break him particularly when we have a couple of blokes who are fit and are rearing to go”

On the mid-field defensive lapses “It was a team failing, there’s no excuse. I can’t guarantee it won’t happen again, but it was certainly an awakening. I really can’t lay blame, there’s no point, it was a team failing. We came up short in an area that we should have mastered”


The teams

Australia: James O’Connor, Lachie Turner, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Will Genia, George Smith (capt), David Pocock, Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, James Horwill, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: Stephen Moore, Pek Cowan, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Peter Hynes.

South Africa: Ruan Pienaar, Odwa Ndungane, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Heinrich Brussow, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, John Smit (capt), Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Res: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Jannie du Plessis, Danie Rossouw, Schalk Burger, Ricky Januarie, Adi Jacobs, Frans Steyn.


  • Scarfman

    He should have been an academic. His sentences are so carefully constructed towards avoiding saying anything.

    • Davey

      Or a politician

      • Or a civil servant, Sir Humphrey would be proud of that effort

  • Noddy

    On the Mitchell replacing Hynes “Drew made the most of his chances at the end of last week’s game so he deserves another chance. We thought that Hynsie didn’t perhaps make the most of his opportunities”

    I gotta watch the game again, because neither of those statements breath true to me.

    • Lance Free

      Hynes is the last one they should have dumped. He’s creative, got a good boot, a great defender and the strongest player amongst the back three under the high ball. Mitchell is a flake and doesn’t deserve selection ahead of him.

      Still undecided about the loose forward balance. Bam Bam is going to be a great player down the track but I think I’d have preferred the aggression of Waugh or Palu at the breakdown this week. I guess they’re looking for another Brussow.

      • El Dommo

        agree Lance. ynes dumping is a fkn farce.

        O connor being kept is a fkn farce

        Tafy in for Moore, is a fkn farce.

        No Phil Waugh (considering the breakdown is where Australia have been severly brutalised) is a fkn farce…and let it be known im not a Phil wuagh Sueprfan, but for playing like a real 7, he is the ONLY one who did it and still does it in Aus rugby at Super and Int level.

        Brussow will school Bam Bam, probbaly because Bam Bam wont have the support Brussow has (to be fair), in Spies and Smith. Sure Bam Bam will have Rocky, but at the moment, the way the backrow of the Boks are playing, they will dominate the Wobblies.

  • On Pek Cowan playing at tight head – Jim Williams explains “We are definitively confident (he can make the switch to tight-head), the background work we’ve done with Ben Alexander we have worked on with Pek and he has been putting in some work playing tight head (in the club competition) so certainly he has worked hard. He’s brings athleticism around the park, he’s got a great work ethic and has certainly helped and enhanced the squad from that perspective. He deserves his opportunity and we’ll see how he goes”

    Hasn’t Cowan has been playing loosehead in the Shute Shield?

    On Al Baxter “The whole front-row work hard with each other with each other so if one thrives it is on the back the work of the others around him. Al will play club rugby this week and as with all the players who play club rugby this week, without going into detail, selections have been influence by club performance. We want him pulling on the reins”

    How about Dunning then? Matt was in the EOYT and played well in Europe until an ankle injury, and since has been tearing it up in the club comp. Plus he has club, super and international experience at tighthead.

  • Seb V

    im happy with the line-up, when i look at it i think our centres AAC, barnes are better then theirs, plus i rate giteau over steyn. They got better wingers tho, both fullbacks have some spark, and then u get to the forwards…. ouch!

    • El Dommo

      Im not convinced anyone with any authority could say at the moment that the Wobblies centres, are better than the boks centres.
      As for teh comparison with teh Fullbacks, Steyn adn Pienaar are both a light year, maybe multiple, ahead of O’connor, and will remain that way for some time.

      O’connor refused to take kicks on Saturday just gone. A fb…refusing to take kicks. please.

      The fact is the Safa team is better, more cohesive and plays better rugby.

      the only player i think you could say Aus have better is Giteau at 10, purely because steyn is a different sort of 10, and doesnt have as much experienece. But then when you compare kicking games, Steyn shits on Giteau. so even then there are elements of ambiguity to the comparison.

      I do however disagree with the dropping of Hynes. Ridiculous. If you want Drew in there, drop fumbleitis Turner. An international winger dropping taht ball that led to habanas try…it was lowly contested, should have been caught. I appreciate Deans talking about seizing opportunity, but when it comes to Fuck Ups…evidently Deans doesnt consider that a reason to drop someone.

      • Did I imagine it or did Turner create and score one of our 3 tries?

        • El Dommo

          When the game was gone. Fk Mr Squiggle could have taken advantage of that defensive lapse 79 minutes in.

          I do understand the point Gagger, but to be honest, that try at the death (to ensure the Wobblies yet another VALUABLE bonus point) doesnt make up for some lapses throughout bthe last couple of games.

  • Seb V

    im happy with the line-up altho du preez kicks ass over genia (or burgess for that matter) but when i look at it our centres AAC, barnes are better then theirs, plus i rate giteau over steyn. They got better wingers tho, o-connor at fullback has some spark but is still unexperienced plus i rate pienaar. So the backs are pretty evenly matched but then u get too the forwards…. ouch!

    • Epi

      Du Preez kicks ass over any half in the world to be fair…

    • Springbok

      AAC and Barnes better than De Villiers and Fourie…

      I can recommend a good doctor for you – he may be able to help.

      • El Dommo

        Here Here.

        AND (referncing above post by myslef)

        Comparable Fullbacks…i think someone should be committed for that.

    • um, Seb V…. AAC and Barnes better that JDV and Jaque??? (the best centre combination in the world at present) I think not old chap. Try again though….

      • Ed

        Best centre combination??? JDV isn’t nearly in the same form he was in a couple of years ago.

        And don’t forgot that was when everyone was touting Giteau and Mortlock as the best centre combination in the world.

        If you’re gonna talk about the springboks strengths don’t talk about their centres.

        Best centres in the world, huge claim to make considering the boks forwards are carrying them to their wins right now. The boks centres have been rather quite till they took a couple on the weekend against a fresh midfield with AAC an inexperienced 12.

        • @Ed, why don’t you tell me who you think the best centre COMBINATION in the world at present is then?
          As good as Mortlock’s career has been, he is old and lacks real pace these days. Jaque Fourie above him any day of the week. Fourie makes an average of 3 turnovers per game, breaks the line prolifically and is the only player in world rugby to have scored a try against every nation he has played against. O’Driscoll is old and nearing his end. There isn’t another world class #13.

          JDV is back to near his best form, even at his curent form, no one comes close at #12. Perhaps Yuzion, who isn’t even playing atm is his closest contender.
          Berrick Barnes is still geting there, hasn’t really done anything great yet in his career.
          Nonu is a wrecking ball, but is so obvious in his body position when he isn’t going to pass. McAllister isn’t anywhere near where he should be. No one else in the NH stands out either, so who then?

        • El Dommo

          Hodges and Inglis i hear are the best centre pairing in the world. HA! fkn mungos

          It could be argued the french centres are the best pairing. Perhaps the Irish with Gorodn D’Arcy and BOD.
          But if you were to talk about those 2 nations, i would definitely discuss the Bok centres.

          Its is no secret that the forwards are dominating which are allowing the centres (in particualr) to perform at a high level.
          Its rare you would tout any player as the best in his position if his team isnt playing really well (Rupeni Caucau comes to mind, BOD when Ireland were in the “rebuilding’ phase)
          But there are plenty of times the BEST player in the world has been in that spot beacuse he has had some shoulders to stand on. Young Dan Carter (the poresence of Aaron Mauger), Bernie (the threat of Horan and Herbert/Little), Johnny Wilkison (his forward pack AND Tindall/Greenwood)

          So in the context of the Boks centres, we arent ignoring the fact they have some help…..but fuck…unless you are a freak of nature, you need some help being the best.

  • Robson

    I’m just happy that they got Brown and Burgess outta the way.

    I would have liked to have seen Phil Waugh there too, but I’m also looking forward to what Pocock can do with his er, um, ah ……… opportunity.

    I also like the idea of Palu on the bench. If he gets a run it will be interesting to see whether the sleeping giant has awoken yet. What gives with TPN coming in to replace Moore? I didnn’t think he had done anything to disgrace himself. On the other hand TPN has got a presence around the paddock and it will be interesting to see if he can bring an impact to the scene. If he is able to I hope it’s not his wonky lineout throws.

    Finally Pek covering for both TH and LH in the front row shouldn’t cause too much of a prob with the Boks, but would be altogether different if it was the ABs.

    I think there is a bit to get excited about here and I’m definitely not going to write these combos off until I see the match. Hynes and Mitchell – don’t know. Hynes needed to keep the ball under his wing when he made that break down the touchline, but he showed some toe and if the kick had stayed in……….!!

    • El Dommo

      I feel sorry for Burgess. Copping a lot of flak for his pass, when the wallabies are clearly getting dominated at breakdown, hard to be a 9 in those conditions.

      Woul have loved to see Phil Waugh on the paddock for the above point. Better breakdown. Better ball. more security and better platform for the the attack.

      TPN…he will get picked off 10 times when it comes to L/O’s. and i expect the scrum to NOT be as effective since he is going to be leading it this weekend. Squeaky is a good Set Piece rake…TPN, less so.

      Hynes did not deserve to be dropped. End of Story.

      • Davey

        Hynes is most certainly the most hard done by player in Aus rugby (although Waugh would argue the point!). Not sure what photos Turner has of Deans and / or JON

        • Patrick

          Ioane???

    • Patrick

      I agree. I think ALL the wingers should be dropped for Israel Folau and Greg Inglis, or if poaching is off the agenda then what about Marc Gasnier and SBW?

      Of course up until not long ago both Tuquiri and Ioane were in the country, but…

      • I thought Ioane was in the country, just injured

      • Juan Cote

        Diggers has kept the faith but is not playing due to a shoulder reco earlier in the year.

        He will be fit for the spring tour apparently

      • Seb V

        they would be classy winger

        • Bobas

          I want Hayne and Ioane on the wings

  • Noddy

    Moore deserved to be dropped for mine. He was pedestrian in the first half. There was the cade when Chis won a lineout ball against the throw and Moore was flat footed and then went ambling after the ball. He was really off the pace.

    • El Dommo

      Although i disagree with his dropping, yeah, he wasnt at his full game, that last year had him touted as the Best rake in the world (larf). To be dropped for that performance, a bit iffy. But maybe this is the ONE instance where Deans actually is lighting a fire under his arse to get some different results from him.

      a rest to think about his game, come in and focus for 20 minutes or so, rather than think, 80 minutes (morelike 60-65 with Deans TACTICAL replacements) he can focus on high output over a short amount of time.

    • Bobas

      I think moore has been rested not dropped as his nose is getting worse.

  • CanadianRugby

    TPN for Moore is a bit of a mystery. Mitchell for Hynes is just ridiculous.

    I think people who are saying Brown just can’t play at the international level are being unfair. He was good in Hong Kong and has been good in other tests. He’s just absolutely crap right now. And since there are only two 8s in Australia, its a problem (I actually really like Hoiles as a player, but I dont’ think anyone believes we need another light loosie around).

    Also, there is NO WAY that the Australian centers are better than the Boks centers right now. None. But please don’t tell me that Frankie Steyn is and always will be a better fullback than O’Connor. He’s such a moron. He makes terrible decisions and people love him for his size, speed and haircuts. Size and Speed are nice, but you actually have to use them correctly.

    Anyway, back lines don’t make a difference unless the forwards start playing. One more ruck that sees Wallaby forwards watching their 9 as the ruck gets blown away and I might throw stuff at the TV.

  • Joe Blow

    If Mortlock is there alongside Barnes then one could suggest that they are equal to or maybe even superior to the Bok centres.
    After claiming that it would not be wise to make ‘mass changes’ Deans went ahead and made 7 positional chnages.
    Thats almost half the run on side and in my book would qualify as ‘mass changes’.
    Am a little concerned about TPN starting as we did make some progress in the lineout last week and if he starts badly in that area in Brissy then it could go out the back door fast.
    Hope Smith can give the base of the scrum some direction and enable us to use ball from that phase more productively.
    Brown has a lot of energy but it is often not well directed. Ditto for Bam Bam. Both need to refine their games to really have an impact against the top sides.
    Think we will see Le Fuse back on the bench for the ABs as their scrum is considerably stronger than the Boks’ right now.

    • El Dommo

      I would say mortlock and Barnes are a little closer to JDV and Furious, however at the moment, still not even par and definitely not superior.
      The bok midfield is probably benefitted by the fact their wingers and FB are also class acts, so they can rest easy, but the cohesion and play of the boks centres at the moment, is definitly top drawer stuff.

      agree anout WHOLESLAE changes. Deans probably sees parity between the single forced change the Boks had to make, and the 7 he has made to the Wobbly camp. in the future he should be pulled up on it….no spin please Dingo.

      Spot on ith Brown and Bam Bam. energetic kids who have a lot to offer, but a little misdirected at the moment.
      Whoever mentioned Hoiles, perhaps he should be an option for the NZ test. I wouldnt see why not, i like Hoiles, i think he offers a different dynamic to the backrow, and with say rocky and Waugh with him, sure sure, if you want to put Smith in there replace waugh with Curious George, i think the backrow would be much more effective.

      Bring on Shpeherdson or something i say…give him another crack at the 3 spot.

      • Robson

        Shep might be an option for the EOYT to England, Wales and Scotland, but I don’t think I would introduce him to the mix just yet.

        Brown was really the only one who was dropped entirely, in that along with big Al he didn’t even make the bench. There were only two other demotions from run on side to benchside and they were Moore and Burgess. The other changes were positional ones. So I don’t think that Robbie was talking with forked tongue really.

    • Bobas

      Stop kissing Barnes, in my book he aint done shit yet.

      Would prefer to see Gerrard, Tyrone Smith, Hoiles, Fainifo coming into this wobbally team and giving them the spark they need.

      This is the first time in my life that the foreward in the wallabies are out playing the backs.

      Our Scrum is good, lineout okay, ruck matches up with the best in the worlds.

      We get huge a huge amount of possesion, just cant break the line and get over the chalk…

      • Davey

        Our fowards have been getting OWNED at the breakdown by both the AB’s and Boks. Nowhere near matching up with the best in the world, they lack size and aggression at the breakdown.

        • El Dommo

          Thanks Davey..i was hesitating on repeating what i had said previously, the the Wobblies ball is horrible.

        • Agree, breakdown has been way under par

        • Bobas

          did you see the possession stats?

          If Larkham had that much ball we would win every game by 50 points.

          The problem is with the backs passing skills, fixed when Quade (formally not a fan of, but now a facebook friend)Cooper came on and threw it wide and accurately.

        • El Dommo

          Possession doenst elude to the quality of the ball. If you are getting front foot ball, qucikly thats a different story, but i saw minimal occurences of that in most the Wobblies games.

          Sure Aus might have the ball a bit, but if it takes 5 minues for it to come out of the ruck, you would be running at a pretty set defensive line, and your offensive line would lose a bit of momentum havng to wait.

          NBut you do have a point there Bobas…in international rugby, you have to turn possession into points.
          But my reference was to the Quality of the possession, which has been poor, slow, and disrupted.

        • Bobas

          I understand your point.

          Just think the backline is more to blame for the loses at the moment.

          A good backline should be able to slice up a well set defence with slow ball sometimes.

          And if the ball is too slow should be able to hit the ball up in the centres, recycle it quickly and hit the wingers on the burst.

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