Video: Wallabies Attack Analysis Bledisloe Two
All Blacks

Video: Wallabies Attack Analysis Bledisloe Two

Video: Wallabies Attack Analysis Bledisloe Two

As Bob Dwyer says (here), there are only basics done well or badly. This is the same whether you’re trotting out for the local pub team or kitting up in the colours of your country; get your basics wrong and you will struggle.

New Zealand understands this, and they place the highest emphasis on all 23 of their squad getting them right. They play simple basic rugby that everyone the world over understands in both attack and defence. In contrast Australia over the last two tests have shown a distinct lack of understanding around the basics, and their decision making has been especially poor in attack, specifically in and around the half backs and midfield.

In the short analysis video below we look at a couple of examples that highlight the issues Australia are currently having in attack.

The two examples are from the first half when Australia were trying to work their way back into the game. We can see there is poor decision making from the half backs and midfield and that results in Australian ball carriers getting isolated and moves breaking down. Yes the ball comes back fast but it has done little to make the tackle line retreat or to actually pull in any defenders.

My old coach always told me never finish a session on a negative though. So, we’re finishing off with a third clip where I think Australia get it right, by challenging the New Zealand tackle line into making decisions under pressure, which they inevitably get wrong.

In defence New Zealand play a very simple up and out drift defence. To break down a drift defence you need one thing, to fix defenders, if the drift is negated the space is held. Additionally if you send the tackle line backwards it has to turn in and defend allowing you to exploit the space this then creates. This can come from a number of areas – kicking obviously turns a defence and makes it sit back on subsequent plays, but pick and goes around the fringes and carrying in pods/groups in the forwards will add momentum.

Playing with intent is admirable, and must be applauded, but for me good halfbacks know the value of keeping their team moving forward be it with kicks, pick and goes or simple one out runners. Australia play the wide pods looking for speed, they often get it, but at the sacrifice of sucking in defenders. If their ball carriers stay on their feet or go in 2’s and 3’s they will get momentum and create space for these talented backs to exploit.

  • Mica

    Just so lateral from first receiver. Defenders are not having to change direction/momentum or stop and this is allowing them to get a strong shoulder and win the contact. I don’t see the point in picking a first five whose strongest suit is footwork if his first movement isn’t forward to create some doubt. Running across field and then passing three or four meters before the defensive line just hurts the attacking side. I think the crux is that KB can use the space, he just can’t/struggles to create it at the highest level. For this he needs a foil and why he was more successful playing switcheroo with Foley for the Tahs. Then again this is a totally different level.

  • The Cheat

    I’m not sure what’s more impressive, the analysis or the fact someone was able to compress close to 80 minutes of Wallabies stuff ups into a 4:45 minute video.

    I find it funny how the last positive example includes Phipps and Foley. Both seem to have the intent to go forward instead of sideways or backwards. Beale is an incredibly talented Rugby player, is it simply a matter of complete lack of confidence?

    • Robson

      Beale is a talented “footwork” player, he is not a “directional” player which is what he needs to be for the flyhalf task. He has great vision, but doesn’t connect what he sees with what the lines of attack need to be outside him. In my very humblest of humble opinions he needs to play fullback with Izzie on the wing.

      • rebelpirate

        i think he should go play touch footy for australia…not tackle sports like rugby or league…the amount of times I saw him bumped off a tackle was frustrating…we need a 5/8th who can direct play, run straight and tackle….i would like to see Lilo given a chance to develop at 5/8th in the nrc but he’s playing 12 too! Maybe kyle godwin should be switched to 10….we need something…beale is tried…time to move on

        • Matt

          I would love to see lilo at 10 again and get his kicking form back… and I dont see why link is so obsessed with Toomua at 12… surely we can try him at 10 bit more In the gold jersey. Last year trial against AB wasnt really a fair go. I really want to see Kyle Godwin to jump into the 12 for the wallabies and Toomua at 10. He plays 10 for all s15 season and yet his playing 12 at test because of his defence and straitening the ball.

    • ash

      The last one has nothing to do with Foley, and everything to do with the halfback finding forwards at pace at the fringe of the ruck. Phipps uses short balls to forward runners at pace; they get over the advantage line, allowing the attack to get on the front foot. Once the defence is retreating they struggle to set their pillars and posts, creating more room to get over the advantage line and quick ball.

      Now, you wonder if that space would be available at the start of the game and not at the end with tired defenders and reserves on, but that’s academic.

      Foley actually follows the ball into the final ruck and gets caught out, leaving Beale at 10 to find Folau for the try.

    • One Eye

      Never mind the forward pass that created the gap and got in behind the AB line eh?

      But I guess they’ve always been allowed in Aus Rugby…

      • One Eye

        LOL, all the class I would expect from a convict, you should get to those beta blockers, the vein in the forehead must be throbbing by now…

      • Mike

        Even more so in NZ rugby. Don’t worry – we won’t claim your crown!

  • Dally M

    Nice work.
    A voiceover would work better than the screen shots of your comments.

    • Mica

      Not on public transport without headphones. ;)

    • No doubt although as someone who’s done it, timing and getting a VoiceOver right is more than twice as hard and lengthy as doing it this way.
      As it happens Graeme had to take time out of a family holiday to do this!

    • Dan Cottrell

      This is great analysis and timely. As Matt says, doing the voiceover would be further time consuming. Plus, I think we are just as well reading it as hearing it.

      Graeme has provided some excellent points but I would add (and standing on the shoulders of giants here), that the ABs reload into defence is so good, sometimes you are caught in two minds on what to do.

      Plus, sides like the ABs won’t run the same defence for every play. They will rush or slide or jockey and under pressure you may not know what to expect at that moment.

      What this excellent set of clips allows us to do is assess the SUM of the plays, and not just focus the plays in isolation. Measure yourself on a completed set of phases, not phase by phase. Both attack and defence can make a small system error and lose ground on one of the phases, only to recover it in subsequent phases.

      • Thanks Dan, appreciate you taking the time to comment!

        I agree about the ability of the AB’s on the reload and how responsive their defence is in reacting to the attack.They have structures, but they are a guidelines that allow the players to think and react.

  • John Tynan

    The old cliche “earn the right”?

  • JKB

    Outstanding presentation. Cheers.

  • Grandmaster Flash

    Final sequence shows why Higgers deserves a start. Bar maybe Hooper and Slipper how often has an Aussie forward charged that hard at the line?

  • Robson

    Very interesting stuff, but I agree that a voice over would have made an excellent presentation into a really great one. All the same there is some thought provoking issues in what has been discussed. For me – an ex front rower, so probably ignorant of the finer points – the ball needed to be taken right up to the line straight and at pace and then fired on to Toomua to take it in front of him on the burst, then an instant offload to someone on the loop. Toomua looked like he was at half pace in most of those clips and coming from too much depth. There was space to exploit gaps, but as Graeme says, it wasn’t used so the attack usually ended on the touchline.

  • Fxj

    Great analysis. Though McCabe was doing a good job out of bad situations when he got the ball in your clip. Reckon he could be much more damaging if he got good ball

  • Sam Scott

    Lesson learnt if it ant broke don’t fix it. (White & Toomua, Phipps & Foley) two perfectly fine halves. Stop trying to find the “magic” riddle and play what’s been working. People say but tests are different but this is crap just get what works and tell them to play harder. The All Blacks are just Super 15 players playing harder.

  • shop

    Thanks Greame, good analysis. I don’t think the Wallabies attacked all that badly however the difference is when they got close they made errors. This is the difference with the AB’s, when they get a sniff the whole 15 seem to switch up a level in intesity and thus make more of the opportunities.
    Besides this, I have a feeling that the Wallabies will be more concerned with defence before the Bok game though.

  • RubberLegs

    Captain Hooper should have some say about when the forwards’ pick and go work is done and the backs can have the ball. White should hit the ruck when possession is in jeopardy and trust a forward to slip into half back and take it forward again. The team needs a leader who understands the game.

  • Bobas

    Unfortunately this just highlights to me how silly we were playing Beale in 10.

    • The Cheat

      It sets a good precedent for Ewen to name Beale on the bench from now on without Beale throwing his toys. Unfortunately the Bledisloe is toast for another year.

  • mark conley

    Thanks Graeme, top article

  • idiot savant

    So presumably Link and his assistants have coached Beale to run across field all the time?

  • Hendo

    Great analysis!

  • Newter

    Not sure I agree with you on Beale’s early passing. The Tahs had great success getting their 10 and 12 to pass early most of the time. I see your point – it means the pivot doesn’t hold the defence. But this was solved at the Tahs by having lots of hard running decoys on the inside and flat on the outside.
    In fairness I think Beale passing early most of the time is a huge improvement in his game – he used to hog it and stall the attack before this year.

  • Drongo

    Good analysis sir! Wabs attack definitely looked lacklustre. What was odd was that we did seem to have a fair bit of ball and attacking platforms. But didnt do much with it. In addition to the points raised i would have liked to have seen some tactical kicking towards the corners and pressure lineout. Especially in the first 10-15 mins. Also when Simmo was off. Also some tactical attack kicks behind d line – ABs leave a lot of space behind the defence line (and fullback) and think some short attacking kicks could exploit.

  • TouchFinderGeneral

    Nothing incisive to add – just fanboy worship for great analysis and a great rugby site. Just wonderful.

All Blacks
@thedeadballarea

an Englishman living in France, Graeme runs the Rugby Analysis website thedeadballarea.com. He coaches in his spare time, is an IRB qualified coach and you can catch him on twitter lazily re-tweeting other peoples comments.

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