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|
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 %|
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.