Video: Wallabies Giving the Ball to the Opposition - Green and Gold Rugby
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Video: Wallabies Giving the Ball to the Opposition

Video: Wallabies Giving the Ball to the Opposition

So far in the 2010 season the Wallabies have given up possession 60 times (an average of 15 times per game) though forward passes, dropped ball, getting bundled into touch or chip & grubber kicks that have gone wrong.  That’s 30% of the times they’ve started a possession sequence.

When you watch the video you’ll see that a large number of these errors are really basic and shouldn’t be made by international players.  Having done so much of the hard work to get possession the Wallabies have been wasting far too much ball.

UPDATE:

I’ve added some more numbers  below in answer to questions raised by readers which provide some further detail.

Some will point out that the Wallaby coaching staff don’t have a lot of time with the players to work on basic skills such as handling but lifting the standards in this area would have a more immediate effect on results than most other areas.

Add in turnovers at the breakdown and the total possession given up by the Wallabies reaches 36%.  Those numbers include a season high of 55% against England in Perth and a season low of 26% against England in Sydney.

In the first game of the Tri Nations, New Zealand lost possession 28% of the times they had possession and 38% including breakdown turnovers.  South Africa’s numbers were 15% lost possession and 30% including breakdown turnovers.  The high rate of lost possession by the All Blacks was the only thing that stopped them racking up a much bigger score line.

The other thing that’s noticeable from the video is how many times the Wallabies have wasted really good attacking opportunities through poor ball retention.  Eliminate just some of those basic errors each game and the Wallabies results in 2010 so far would have looked very different.

If the Wallabies are planning to keep the ball in hand against the Springboks next weekend as the Reds did this season against the Bulls and the All Blacks did against the Springboks at Eden Park, they’ll have to dramatically improve their ball retention because that game plan will sink pretty quickly if they keep giving the ball back to the opposition so easily.

  • 25% of the Wallabies lost possession from forwards – 75% from the backs.
  • 37% of the Wallabies lost possession was forced and 63% unforced.
  • 57% of the Wallabies possession lost was from dropped ball with 44% of that forced in contact and 56% unforced. The rest of the possession lost was fairly even between forward pass, poor pass, pushed pass, being bundled into touch and poor grubber kicks.
  • 32% of the possession lost occurred in the first 20 mins of the games;
  • 23% occurred in the second 20 mins of the games;
  • 22% occurred in the third 20 mins of games;
  • 23% occurred in the final 20 mins of games.

Those numbers don’t support fatigue being the biggest cause of the errors as the most problems occur in the first 20 minutes.  That presents a whole different set of questions foe the coaches.

We don’t have the same range of measurements for Super 14 but what we do have for both Super 14 and the Wallabies in 2010 are number of attacking breakdowns and number of errors (both forced and unforced). That at least gives us a consistent measurement against the amount of attacking each side was doing.

In the 2010 Super 14 the Waratahs made 287 errors (avg of 22 per game) which represented 10% against the number of attacking breakdowns. The Reds made 282 errors (avg of 22 per game) which represented 9%. The Brumbies made 316 errors (avg of 24 per game) which represented 11% and the Force made 313 errors (avg of 24 per game) which represented 11%.

Last Saturday the All Blacks made 14 errors which represented 12% of attacking breakdowns whilst the Springboks made 7 errors which represented 9% of attacking breakdowns.

So far in 2010 the Wallabies have made 60 errors (avg of 15 per game)which represented 17% of attacking breakdowns!!!

  • Dogman

    Jesus that’s painful to watch. Make it stop!

    • Batmann

      All the misery together in the one place!

      • ula

        seeing digby drop it breaks my heart

  • RedsHappy

    Austin – your usual fine work that gets right to the heart of things, many thanks.

    The sort of skills you highlight are no more than the golden basics of the game. Anyone who uses the excuse of ‘the coaches don’t get enough time with the Wallabies for skills training’ for this sort of thing must be a blood relative of the coaches.

    After the debacles of the June Tests (and the Wallabies’ video analyst can hopefully do as you have here), I was amazed that the Wallabies did not resume intensive training within days of Brisbane’s Test so as to use every available period pre the fate-sealing Tris to work on multiple areas of essential improvement. There was just so much to work on, most of it obvious, such as generally poor handling. But no, they waited until July 12, some 14 days later. No doubt the apologists will trot out a wonderful-sounding explanation for this….I can hear it now: ‘top athletes in rugby need rest periods’.

    Where is the absolute dedication and utter determination in all this? Is it any wonder that we fear the ABs?

    The other aspect I’d welcome your opinion on: my impression is that the same error stats you rightly quote were in fact better for the 3 S14 Aus teams that got into the final 6 in the S14. I mean, I’m intrigued as to whether these high error rates are mirrored in the S14 teams that generate Wallabies, or whether we in fact find that these rates are, comparatively, Wallaby team specific (that is, not ‘carried upwards’ from the S14 player performances directly to Wallaby level). It”s often argued that Tests are so much more demanding than S14, but I never buy that as the full story when looking at these types of performance aspects.

    • Robson

      RedsHappy I stand to deliver an ovation to that, except that it’s not a clapping matter. More like a dose of the clap. In fact the same claptrap week in and week out.

      There are some very, very basic issues being flouted here. Bad handling of average to good passing is the direct result of poor vision. Not bad eyesight, but lack of vision on the ball. Professional tennis players watch the ball right on to the raquet strings so why is it that top international rugby players like Rocky Elsom still need to learn that you watch the football right into your hands?

      I also think that a lot of the passes were poorly timed and needed to be released a second or so earlier. As for ball retention in the tackle, that was abysmal. Dean Mumm needs a season or two of rugby league. No league coach would tolerate that level of ball retention in the tackle. However, I just don’t believe a lock forward is meant to be on the end of a passing movement and if he is, there is somewhere much more important that he should have been that he’s been awol from.

      And don’t get me started on that kick by Beale. People play Jingle Bell Rocks on how good they think this guy is!! It’s on occasions like this when the tide is out in the Kurtley brain that convinces me he is nowhere near test standard.

      There is also the crescendo of opinion on how Mitchell didn’t deserve to be dropped. Well his defence was one thing, but his atrocious handling on two occasions with the line beckoning would be enough to put him out of any international squad; except perhaps Scotland.

      But as appalling as these things are, there is something even worse, and that is the complete absence of a remedial campaign to sort it all out. What do the coaching staff think they are doing. In fact do they think? Can they think? They certainly don’t look like they can coach.

      • DPK

        Jesus, when’s the book coming out RH!!
        Only joking, love your work.

    • Austin

      RH – see the numbers re Super 14 in my reply below to Who?

      It is alarming that the Wallabies numbers so far in 2010 are worse than any of the Australian Super 14 teams by nearly 50%!!

      • Robson

        It’s also tragic and they call Deans the master coach. As far as I’m concerned he has the Tri Nations to redeem himself. He better start to deliver.

  • ru1906

    Austin, Any chance of some further breakdown of this video analysis to include a) forced and unforced turnovers, b) when the turnover occurred during the match (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th 20 minute period), c) what was the general situation (ie on restart, pass, running, ruck, maul, bad kick or penalty) and d) if it was the responsibility of tight five, loose forward, 9 or backs. I suspect there are some trends from which a cause(s) can be theorised.

    Thanks in advance.

    Thanks

    • Austin

      ru – there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the answers so I’ve prepared an abridged answer for you.

      First statistic – 25% of the lost possession from forwards – 75% from the backs.

      Second statistic – 37% of the lost possession was forced and 63% unforced.

      Third statistic – 57% of the possession lost was from dropped ball with 44% of that forced in contact and 56% unforced.

      The rest of the possession lost was fairly even between forward pass, poor pass, pushed pass, being bundled into touch and poor grubber kicks.

      It’s the unforced numbers that really concern me.

      32% of the possession lost occurred in the first 20 mins of the games;

      23% occurred in the second 20 mins of the games;

      22% occurred in the third 20 mins of games;

      23% occurred in the final 20 mins of games.

  • Garry

    Maybe this time I can say that, thankfully, I can’t see the video on my PC. But just reading the stats, something jumps out at me.

    Against the Poms, our turnovers at the breakdown were substantially higher in Perth than in Sydney. Higher in a game that we won. And a comparatively high turnover figure for the AB’s last week.

    Can these figures seem high due to having a larger amount of the possession on the day. More of the possession, means more opportunity to turn it over?

    • Watson

      Not if it’s a percentage.

      But I think in the Perth Test the Wallabies compensated for poor handling with an enthusiastic defence. That defence dropped away in Sydney.

  • Newb

    you know what all these lead to right? more scrums!!

    oh the humanity….

  • D

    “Some will point out that the Wallaby coaching staff don’t have a lot of time with the players to work on basic skills such as handling”

    If this is the case, send the players back to their U8’s coaches during the 4 week break they are having.

    This video makes me fucking sick. SICK I tell you. I support a bunch of goons!!!!!!! These so called “pros” need a foot up their arses.

    To the players, get your thumbs out of your arses, to Robbie Deans, get the magic fucking wand out of your arse that you were hired to use and get some results. Yeah I fucking said it. Sounds like a Mel Gibson voicemail doesn’t it?

  • RedsNut

    “That’s 30% of the times they’ve started a possession sequence.”

    It’s all very well highlighting the negatives. How many times (% wise) was possesion gained. And 30% lost possesion also means 70% retained.

    • D

      My sons report card shows that 70% is a C grade. Yes it’s a pass but it’s not the best you can do or are capable of doing. That type of grade isn’t going to get you to where you aspire to be if you are shooting for the stars.

    • Austin

      Not quite – 30% possession lost + 6% lost at the breakdown + 7% penalties against when in possession = 43% of possession given up involuntarily by the Wallabies.

      Opposition team figures were 23% possession lost + 10% lost at the breakdown + 5% penalties against when in possession = 38% of possession given up involuntarily by the opposition.

      So the Wallabies made more handling errors than the opposition teams but turned over more of the opposition ball. However the overall performance of the Wallabies at 43% lost was worse than the opposition at 38%.

      Then add 40% kicked by the Wallabies = 83% where the ball wasn’t retained by the Wallabies (there were no tries from those kicks).

      Another 10% of possessions ended with a penalty to the Wallabies and only 7% from which tries were scored.

      It’s clear to all that the Wallabies need to improve. Rather than highlighting negatives I see it as identifying what needs to be improved based on the facts.

      Then we can all put forward thoughts on how to fix the issues identified.

      • ru1906

        Thanks. Again would love to know when the errors occur as “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”. Related to this, although difficult to measure, I am note sure the ARU has well trained, elite athletes appropriate for each position on the field.

  • Joe Blow

    One would assume that basic passing and catching skills would be a prerequisite for professional rugby players….part of the kit as it were.
    It is in NZ and SA.
    So why does Deans(and did other past coaches) have to refocus on these core skills every time these blokes get together?
    It is odd and speaks volumes about what is going on in the top 2 inches and in the ticker.

    • Garry

      Or perhaps the the coaching staff will have the ticker to pull them from the field if funk-ups happen. Like what happened to Cowan when he botched that pass in last weeks game.

      Yes, we are supposedly low in depth, but one side effect of this is complacency. Nothing smartens ‘em up like the shadow of someone coming through.

      C’mon Dingo, show us your cahoneys. There are fringe players out there that are hungry for a start. Ahh…Perhaps not Kurtly though.

  • Who?

    What I would find interesting would be to see how the same players fared in S14. Now, against Fiji, some of the drops were always going to be from rusty combinations. But some of them… Individual errors that shouldn’t ever be made. Especially when they’ve had 13+ weeks of Rugby already.

    I do think some players probably were ordinary in S14 and carried that into the Tests, but I don’t think all of them were – certainly not that bad. I was a little surprised at how many times Ioane featured, but, then, I thought the Reds bombed at least 3 certain tries through poor handling against the Bulls. Maybe his impact when he holds onto the ball makes up for the drops. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t all be working on it…

    It’s also interesting to see how often poor passing created handling difficulties…

    • Austin

      Very interesting numbers! We don’t have the same range of measurements for Super 14 but what we do have for both Super 14 and the Wallabies in 2010 are number of attacking breakdowns and number of errors (both forced and unforced). That will at least give us a consistent measurement against the amount of attacking each side was doing.

      In the 2010 Super 14 the Waratahs made 287 errors (avg of 22 per game) which represented 10% against the number of attacking breakdowns. The Reds made 282 errors (avg of 22 per game) which represented 9%. The Brumbies made 316 errors (avg of 24 per game) which represented 11% and the Force made 313 errors (avg of 24 per game) which represented 11%.

      Last Saturday the All Blacks made 14 errors which represented 12% of attacking breakdowns whilst the Springboks made 7 errors which represented 9% of attacking breakdowns.

      So far in 2010 the Wallabies have made 60 errors (avg of 15 per game)which represented 17% of attacking breakdowns!!!

      • Who?

        Thanks Austin – much appreciated. It really does give a better indication of how bad the errors have been, too. You’d say that, going on the Super Teams, you’d have expected a figure of 10.5%, 11% for the Wallabies. And the average between the Boks and ABs gives the same number. So to be 50% higher… It’s just not good enough.

        As I mentioned above, you kind of expect it in the first game. Fiji, I remember we made quite a number of poor mistakes. You expect mistakes caused by players adjusting to new combinations. But even in that first game, a lot of the drops weren’t really that tough. Or the poor passes weren’t pressured. SO they didn’t feel like problems caused by new combinations, they looked like mistakes made by players who hadn’t played 13 weeks of Rugby – who hadn’t played in quite a while.

        And another problem was that, whilst it felt like our mistakes went down over the month, it still didn’t feel like we were holding the ball as securely as we should have been.

  • Shane Sullivan

    Never do that again. Oh the Agony!

  • Richo

    Ooof. Just brutal.

    I would think that if you are attacking hard at the breakdown and playing aggressive, running rugby then you can afford the lost possession because you’re succeeding with what you retain. This is what we saw last weekend with the Kiwis.

    Part of me just wants Deans and co. to splice this deluge of handling errors with some footage of the dominance of the ABs and make the squad watch it ten times in a row.

  • JJJ

    I’d forgotten just how inexplicable that Beale grubber was.

    Guys, if you’re going to splice together footage like this at least have the decency to add a zany soundtrack, or some Funniest Home Videos sound effects.

    • Garry

      esp. with a laugh track playing behind it.

      • D

        Or a vomit track

  • Gumby

    Awful but at least they were creating the opportunities to butcher. There are a lot of teams doing the rounds that couldn’t create that many opportunities in an entire season.

    Each segment was exciting to watch until the fumble or whatever and I still found myself expressing my angst with an appropriate expletive.

    Composure boys!

  • Henry

    Digby had a few shockers as well… CLub footy will do em all good

  • g man

    two names keep poping up Mitchel And Mumm how came Mitchel got the arse and mumm didnt

    • Joe Blow

      Dean Mumm has been consistently poor in his ball handling. At least several dropped balls in each test.
      Rocky has not been the best either with a couple of sitters going down.

  • Joe_Mac

    2 things,

    the amount of wasted ball might be because our team is too small. They get muscled around the park, tired out and then make the mistakes out of exhaustion. We need to add some muscle into the team… Bring on higgers

    The second thing i notice is Quade Cooper is just awesome and as frustrating as this was to watch for all us Wallaby fans, imagine how he feels dishing out all those amazing balls only to be wasted by the rest of the team!

  • flower power

    Too much time spent in front of the mirror and at the salon.. Also too much time in the Gym and not enough time on the basic skills such as pass, catch n kick. Can someone explain to me how the wallabies have been in camp 3 days yet the Irish test was 3 weeks back???? Wonder why our basic skills are so poor?

  • Who Needs Melon

    Sorry to whoever put the effort in – and it must have been a really painful job – but this is one G&GR compilation that just refuse to watch. I’ll concede the points without needing the visual proof.

    • Austin

      You’re right – it was painful watching it over and over again partcularly when I know how many clips I left out to keep the length down.

  • Robson

    Austin you’ve done a marvelous job yet again, but yet again you’ve cast us all into a snake pit of despair.

    Statistics like this really need to go to where they are most needed. To ARU HQ addressed to the Wallaby coaching staff. And yes I’m deadly serious about that.

    It is unthinkable that the national team has handling stats which are 50% worse than any of the Australian S14 sides. That really only means one thing. This is an attitude and skills issue at the very highest level of the game and it needs to be sorted at the same level.

    There was a time when the Wallabies were the best ball handlers in the world. What happened???

    • RedsHappy

      Robson – ‘yes’ will suffice to all above.

      The ‘50% worse at Wallaby level vs Aus S14′ is a compelling and, sadly, highly revealing, stat. Meaning that, overall, abnormally high handling deficiencies are not ‘carried upwards’ by the S14 players becoming Wallabies. Quite the reverse being true. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before when comparing provincial to national teams in any top sport.

      Just as you say, this is a sure indication – and a powerful one – of team fragilities and poor mindset within the Wallaby environment. That being obvious for some time now, the central peculiarity is the continuous absence of a cure.

      We don’t have long to wait to know if this poor situation will lurch from dangerous to terminal, or to some form of sustainable recovery. At present, there’s little rational grounds for optimism, bar the return from injury of a handful of better players.

      • Gumby

        Our greatest Teams have been born out of despair. Hopefully it will be the same with this team.

Wallabies
@ScottA_

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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