I thought the Wallabies’ first try on Saturday was a real cracker, one of the best we have scored in years.
Why? Well, I’m glad you asked.
It was intelligent rugby — attacking the Welsh in different channels at every phase. It showcased everything that Bob Dwyer loves to talk about: good support of the ball carrier, quick realignment, smart use of the football, great speed of execution and people running onto the ball at pace. It involved the whole forward pack and a couple of the backs too. I have broken it down by phase:
1. Barnes receives clearing kick after Horne drops the ball on the line. Passes it infield to AAC, who passes on to Digby. Digby steps one Welsh defender, takes the tackle and dishes a nice offload to AAC who makes another couple of metres. Pocock secures possession.
2. Genia clears to Barnes who gives a nice inside ball for Cooper Vuna. He beats a tackle and takes it well over the advantage line. Robinson and Kepu secure the ball.
3. Genia throws a pass to Sharpe standing flat about 3 off the ruck. He hits it up and the two Welsh defenders hold him up. However he is then hit from behind by TPN and Palu and driven forward about 5m. Kepu clears out Faletau and we have quick ball once again.
4. Genia continues down the short side to Higgers, who receives the ball at pace and drives into the Welsh 22. Pocock cleans out and it’s quick ball yet again.
5. Genia shapes to dart but then throws a long flat ball to a charging TPN, who steamrolls one Welshman and drives a few more metres forward. Sharpe and Simmons clear out.
6. Genia goes back to the blindside, and throws a cutout ball to Benn Robbo, who is once again running onto the ball. He breaks out of one tackle and is brought down only 10m from the Welsh line. Pocock secures.
7. The ball is slightly slower this time, and the Wallabies decide to spread it wide. Simmons gets a flat ball from Genia, and then dishes a nice pass to Barnes who is set behind the line. Barnes throws a long flat ball to Ioane, who opts to run back inside and takes the tackle just to the left of the uprights. Kepu cleans out.
8. Palu sees the lack of a pillar defender and goes himself from the base of the ruck. He makes 5m. The Welsh don’t contest the breakdown.
9. Simmons once again sees a gap next to the ruck and darts quickly, making another 2m.
10. Kepu picks up immediately after Simmons goes down, this time attacking to the right of the breakdown. He takes it to only a few metres from the Welsh line, with TPN cleaning out.
11. Higgers takes the ball quickly, and attacks to the left. He is taken low early but manages to stay upright, where he evades a high tackler to reach out and score. He is driven late by Sharpe.
A well-taken try indeed. But it also showcased a few pressing issues with the Welsh defence. Their poor line speed allowed our forwards to make easy ground, especially in phases 3 to 6. They rarely contested the breakdown, meaning Sanchez had quick ball at almost every phase. Lastly their pillar/post defence was seriously lacking in the final three phases, and this was capitalised upon by Palu, Simmons, Kepu and Higgers.
Here is the video, with the phases marked in the bottom left corner:
So my question to you is this: was the try due to the attacking prowess of the Wallabies, the defensive lapses of the Welsh or a mixture of both? I lean towards the first option myself.
PS. I must apologise for the poor image quality. My computer is what they refer to in IT circles as ‘a piece of shit’.