Video & Analysis: Wallabies Defence 2010 - Green and Gold Rugby

Video & Analysis: Wallabies Defence 2010

Video & Analysis: Wallabies Defence 2010

Over the last few weeks in the build up to the Wallabies first Tri Nations game we’ve looked at various aspects of the Wallabies performances so far in 2010.  Today it’s time to look at defence.

Over the first four games of the season the Wallabies have attempted 534 tackles and missed 66 of those.  That’s an average of 134 tackles per game with 17 missed tackles each game.  Whilst the number of missed tackles against the Irish was the lowest for the season so far , the success rate at 85% was the worst.  In fact the success rate has fallen each game the Wallabies have played in 2010.

Wallabies v Fiji England England Ireland 2010 YTD
Tackles Attempted 152 161 153 68 534
Made 135 142 133 58 468
Missed 17 19 20 10 66
Successful % 89% 88% 87% 85% 88%

There’s always room for improvement but the Wallabies 88% average success rate is pretty close to the average for top level games today.

  • On their end of year tour in 2009 the Wallabies missed 51 tackles and averaged a success rate of 88%.
  • In the 2010 Super 14 the Waratahs missed 211 tackles and had a success rate of 88%, the Reds missed 201 tackles and had a success rate of 88%, the Brumbies missed 170 tackles and had a success rate of 89% and the Force missed 214 tackles and a success rate of 88%.
  • In the first two games of the 2010 Tri Nations the All Blacks have missed 18 tackles and had a success rate of 92% and the Springboks have missed 60 tackles for a success rate of 85%.

The All Blacks defence so far in the Tri Nations has been aggressive and taken time and space away from the Springboks and by attacking in defence their successful tackle percentage is currently 92%.  As for the Springboks, any team that only makes 85% of their tackles against the All Blacks will leak a lot of points.

The Wallabies need to be offensive in their defence and lift their success rate from their average of 88%.  I think that anything less than a 90% success rate will lead to a poor Tri Nations record for the Wallabies in 2010.  Certainly a repeat of their 85% success rate against Ireland won’t be good enough against the Springboks or All Blacks.

The Wallaby forwards have made 69% of the total number of tackles in the season so far with David Pocock leading the way with 54 and Rocky Elsom on 51.  In the backs Rob Horne leads the way with 28 and Luke Burgess is next best with 24.

The Wallaby backs have missed 62% of the total number of missed tackles with Quade Cooper topping the list with 11 missed tackles and Rob Horne next with 8.  In the forwards Dean Mumm has missed 7 and Rocky Elsom 3.

The lowest successful tackle percentage belongs to Kurtley Beale with 50% but he’s only made 2 tackles and missed 2 tackles.  Not surprisingly Quade Cooper has a success rate of only 62% with 18 tackles made and 11 missed.  Adam Ashley-Cooper only has a 70% success rate with 7 made and 3 missed.

Player Total Tackles Made Tackles Missed Successful Tackle %
Ben Alexander 8 - 100%
Huia Edmonds 5 - 100%
Salesi Ma’afu 29 1 97%
Dean Mumm 26 7 79%
Nathan Sharpe 34 1 97%
Rocky Elsom 51 3 94%
David Pocock 54 2 96%
Richard Brown 41 3 93%
Luke Burgess 24 5 83%
Quade Cooper 18 11 62%
Adam Ashley-Cooper 7 3 70%
Matt Giteau 13 3 81%
Rob Horne 28 8 78%
Digby Ioane 14 2 88%
Kurtley Beale 2 2 50%
Saia Faingaa 26 4 87%
Pekahou Cowan 6 1 86%
Mark Chisolm 7 - 100%
Matt Hodgson 9 1 90%
Drew Mitchell 18 5 78%
James O’Connor 7 1 88%
James Slipper 9 1 90%
Ben Daley 18 1 95%
Will Genia 6 - 100%
Berrick Barnes 8 1 89%
Total 468 66 88%

Look for the Springboks run a lot of their attack at Quade Cooper this weekend, particularly early in the game, not only to exploit his poor defence but also to tire him out.  That tactic will hardly surprise anyone so Cooper will be expecting it – the question is whether he can step up and confront the challenge?  To do that he’ll need to be aggressive in defence, hitting with his shoulder, not some of the arm grabs you’ll see in the video.  The Wallabies will also need their back row to get in position to cover Cooper and ideally intercept some of the attackers running at Cooper.

  • DIdn’t realise Schmoo was qute that bad. Needs to commit, that man.

    As for QC – isn’t really trying at all, is he? Just trying to distract them for a second until another Wallaby comes along.

    But if you take a couple of guys out of that list, the Wobs are doing pretty well.

  • Batmann

    I know the result is the same, but i wouldn’t like to categorise the ones where they get their arms around the guy, but slide off as they go to ground (Shmoo & Horne are two in the clip) in the same group as the ones where they simply wave their arms at them, tap them and then let them through.

    • Bay35Pablo

      “the ones where they simply wave their arms at them, tap them and then let them through”

      So Beale then? :)

  • ozrugbynut

    Don’t worry about Cooper – Who is covering Dean Mumm in defence?!

  • Bay35Pablo

    Muum is the clear gaping hole for the forwards. What’s the story there?

  • AndrewWA

    Hodgo’s played only 6% of the possible game time yet has ~17% of the tackles of Wallabies top tacklers (Pocock and Elsum) and 22% of Brown’s tackles.

    Happy for him to be on the bench/in the mix but we need him to be used to good effect during the last 20-30 minutes. Hodgo’s shown that he can be effective anywhere across the back row and is a better option in lineouts than Richard Brown.

    Wallabies went through the motions against Fiji, looked great (apart from scrum) aganst England in Perth and then everything just went flat.

    ALL of the Wallabies need to get hungry for the ball.
    Would love to see some intensity maintained in all aspects of the game.

  • Pedro

    Doesn’t really mean too much at this stage, we’ve defended (with regards to missed tackles) pretty well so far, but you only need to miss one tackle to let a try in.

    The stats mainly point out how much traffic is aimed at Quooper, if we can cover for this great, if not, it will be easy for other sides to make easy meters next to the ruck.

    How does Quooper’s short comings compare with other international pivots? He must be pretty low down, Larkham just became the Brums assistant coach, surely he can be also employed to randomly run at and tackle cooper. He’s 36 so Cooper has no excuse.

  • Old Weary

    Not sure how much can really take away from the numbers… Would be interesting to see them against a relative measure like meters gain after the tackle was missed, in what context was the tackled missed (ie a missed tackle from a wing chasing a ball through a full pelt is more acceptable than a flyhalf missing a 1-on-1 from a set piece) or the area of the field the tackle was missed.

  • #1 Tah

    Lachie Turner.

  • Reddy!

    To me, it seems like alot of the missed tackles are due to a lack of aggression and commitment. Just lazy tackle. Players need to dominate the tackle and stop doing half arsed attempts.

  • Joe Blow

    That’s pretty telling about Dean Mumms game right now.
    Cooper and Giteau seem to come up out of the line and slow the oppo. down giving the cover a chance to get there.
    Ma’afu makes a lot of tackles and obviously Elsom is doing a lot more than what we see at first glance.
    Hope Simmons can make his mark when iven a chance against the Boks.,

  • Ben

    Quade Cooper is clearly a targeted man, but surely his attacking flair counteracts his frailties. In modern defensive systems, can this not be accounted for?

  • Thanks buddy. Not bad submissions you got going on here. Got some extra links to point to which have more information?

    • Austin

      There’s been a fair bit we’ve written since July when this was published.

      Go to the home page http://www.greenandgoldrugby and scroll down to see recent articles. Click on the “Older Entries” button to see more.

      You may also want to look at the statistics from the 2010 Tri Nations which included defence statistics for all three teams and the Wallabuy players – see


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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