VIDEO: The Wallaby Backline Must Do Better - Green and Gold Rugby

VIDEO: The Wallaby Backline Must Do Better

VIDEO: The Wallaby Backline Must Do Better

The Wallaby backline had plenty of try-scoring opportunities in the recent Test series against Wales but poor decision-making and execution meant they didn’t convert enough of those opportunities — as shown in this video.

[youtube id=”2Sp1UFSkYOg” width=”600″ height=”350″]

The All Blacks won’t offer as many opportunities so the backline will have to make significant improvements to be ready for The Rugby Championship.

  • Joe Mac

    Barnes doesnt have the pass either. That’s why we need Quade back…

    • Seb V

      after watching this, we definitely need Quade back! He is superb at creating width in the backline, which is pretty much what the entire video about.

    • Thats the biggest take out. Quade has the vision to see those opportunities out wide and get the ball there. Barnes maybe doesnt see the opportunity quick enough. He also seems to decide the play before and not play whats in fro…OMG I cant bring myself to say it.

  • Patrick

    Quade’s got to learn to tackle….or at least get caught up in someone’s legs as they try and run past.

    Also Quade’s tendency to take low percentage options in attack at test level will continue to cost us…. chip kicks in our own 22, blind flick passes etc… when they work they are incredible – when they don’t it puts the entire team under a heap of pressure and nullifies the forwards work in getting the team to an attacking position.

    Patience and the building of phases and pressure through ball in hand attack. The gaps begin to open up. Just watch the AB’s, it’s literally the same process every time. How often do you actually see Carter kick for the corner in attack hoping the wing will take the catch and score? That’s a 5th tackle league last chance move we need to flush out.

    • Patrick

      Not me again. don’t agree either

    • JimmyC

      Totally agree apart from QC tackling. He gets rubbished but the thing you can’t teach is heart. He gets run over all the time but you never see him not try. So that tells me it is a technique issue. That is something he can be taught. I also think he tackled extremely well last week. Maybe (hopefully) he worked hard on this while he was out injured.

      • Dave

        How long’s it going to take though? Sure he did well last week if you compare it to his past tackling efforts but it’s still not really good enough.
        I agree totally that he has heart and it’s a technique issue but he just seems unwilling (or incapable) to try a different technique. Why?

        Don’t get me wrong the WB lineup, for the sake of the back line needs him in the No 10. but gone should be the days of hiding him at full back while defending. I really do hope he’s turned a corner in this aspect as it was getting embarrassing.

  • qwerty51

    Oh dear.. another video analysis of “what-ifs”.

    • ash

      Not “what-ifs”, but rather how the Wallabies had opportunity for more width resulting in 2- or 3-on-1s, but instead chose to play it tighter.

      I thought it was interesting analysis.

    • murph

      Why? Because it reveals Deans’s backline to be as useless as all of have been saying?

  • What happened to the art of running fast and straight, good short passes through the hands and playing with width.
    The poor option taking you demonstrate often comes from slow ball and also the wrong runners intercepting mid field pass or getting in the way.
    Whoever plays No 10 needs to be ruthless in directing those inside and outside him and making plays.
    Barnes is too nice and runs across field too much and Cooper needs to focus for 80 mins.

  • mark_s

    Another great analysis Scott. It wasn’t all tahs players taking bad options in your analysis but Barnes and Horne had their fair share of mentions. There does seem to be reluctance to use the outside man.

  • A. Fox-Russell

    Great stuff. Thanks Scott, and to all who put work into this site. It’s a ball-tearer.

    I missed the test where Horne failed to pass the ball outside him for that sure try and heard and read a tonne about it. This is the first time I actually have seen the footage. That has single handed made me convert from a Horne hopeful (he’ll come good), to an anti-fan.


    • Patrick

      It had the same effect on me, although I was pretty sceptical already. I think Faingaa needs a better run, or perhaps Cummins. What happened to Tyrone Smith?

      We also have to have either Beale or QC at ten, or possibly Lealifano. Beale especially really attacks the line even when he passes it, as does QC, and they find the wide option first-up, QC better than anyone.

      Ideally they would alternate five-eighth and fullback.

      • Antony

        I’m big on Cummins. Obviously his form at 13 started to tail off, but he was exceptional on the wing against the Brumbies a couple of weeks ago. Give him a shot for sure.

  • Ath

    I recall thinking repeatedly we were trying Digby on the inside too often, and this analysis does highlight that point nicely.

    It also appears to cast into question some of Barnes decision making but 3 minutes of video for 3 games is pretty selective. Easy to be 20-20 in hindsight.

    I think Scott made his point about us not going wide often enough well. Particularly relevant to T2 and T3.

  • James

    head of the nail – you hit it.

  • Robson

    VISION or lack of it is the issue here. The plays look to me like they have been predetermined ie going through the motions of a set plan with next to zero awareness of the opportunities the Welsh were offering.

    Are these the results you get when you “play what’s in front of you”. Bah, humbug.

    But here is a thought. The Welsh defence as correctly observed is narrow on several occasions. Does this mean that they have actually identified that the only play the Wallabies backline have is turning the ball back inside?

    The worrying thought about this is that the Wallabies continued to launch impotent backline attacks in all three tests against the Welsh. Clearly nothing was learned from the first test and even more lamentably remained frozen over in the second and third tests.

    • Scott Allen

      Robson – agree with all of your comments.

      They did seem to be playing pre-planned plays rather than keeping the options open.

      Good point on the Welsh defensive response. They do generally play narrow with Davies trying to cut teams off at the #13 channel by rushing. Maybe when they planned for the Wallabies they saw no need to change as they had an expectation of narrow play from the Wallabies.

      I share your worry about the lack of development over the series. I didn’t put the video together to focus on any particular player – you’ll see Genia, Barnes, Horne and Ioane featured so it wasn’t directed at players from any particular province either.

      In the limited time available in the video the same errors are repeated across all three tests. These weren’t the only instances of these issues and they are primarily decision making issues (to pass or to run correct lines), not issues of the players needing time together to better execute set plays.

      There are 10 missed opportunities in the video – convert just three of those, say one in each test, and we don’t have to rely on our goal kickers to win tests.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen

      ‘Lack of vision’ sums it up nicely. Berrick seems somewhat robotic or programmed to me and unaware of opportunties as they unfold, for a really good 10.

      That inside ball seems a reasonable play to try and prevent turn over ball but all in all I don’t get why we don’t pass the ball more often to where the gaps are. I want to see the ball passed for players to run on to it at pace and for the wings not to have to go looking for work because it just doesn’t get past 12 or at times 13.

      Like it or not Quade’s the man at 10.

  • Joe Blow

    Quade has to be there. He has great vision and the ability to execute quickly under pressure.
    BB is very solid and is a great option to have at 12 or on the bench.
    The video really illustrates that the Wallabies made extremely hard work of winning a series which should have been sealed convincingly with relative ease.
    The good news is that we did win with a fairly impotent backs division and that there is much improvement to be made with a few tweakshere and there.

  • rossco

    Pre RWC we seemed to be decent system of having a couple of distributors in the backline but inexplicably, just before the RWC, Deans picks McCabe, Horne and Finger, 3 of the least likely centres to pass a ball. I don’t get it. Bash it up the middle (or turn it back inside) has never worked particularly well for the Wallabies ……why bother ??

    • Mart

      Spot on!

  • I’m not disagreeing that he should be there, but I don’t think you need someone with an outrageous long pass like Quade’s to take the options Scott’s pointed out – just the decision to make make the pass.

    In fact, my beef with Quade has been him throwing the long cut-out ball when in fact all you actually need the players to soak up the defenders with simple catch and pass.

    Great vid Scott.

  • Mart

    The one at 1min 44secs is woeful.

    Even had Vuna off screen?!? thats a serious overlap.

  • Tim

    Green and Gold Rugby have a great video of our very attacking back line between 2002-2005. I really miss those days.

    You can watch it here:

  • Graeme

    I miss Bernie. That was probably his greatest strength, the ability to pair off players and see where the tiniest hole or mismatch was appearing in a defense.

  • Nick_Brisbane

    Every time I watch the ABs I am struck by how off loads in tackles to back up runners break open defences. Cant we teach this?

  • MaxT

    Wow, Horne almost blew both try opportunities with his selfish running. Des the man know how to pass to an unmarked outside player?

  • CraigB

    did anyone notice the lck of looping to support from inside players? A simple skill that creates many opportunities.

  • chuntsah

    Wow, great stuff Scott, amazing how much space there was out wide and how often the Wobs ignored it.

    @MaxT, totally spot on also. Horne did a good job of (almost) botching both chances. Luckily – for us and him I reckon – he didn’t.

  • Phil

    Some interesting footage, and great description. It’s really odd that Genia ALWAYS seems to look for Digby Ioane- it’s verging on an unhealthy obsession. The Wallabies penchant for the inside ball might okay to keep the opposition defence scrambling, but this “line-of-scrimmage” style play doesn’t score tries!

  • bludge

    “vunas in the corner to score”…

    apart from the sweeper waiting to nail him easily into touch.

    normally high standards scott, come on mate. if it’s worth pointing out, its worth being correct?


Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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