Wallabies beat Los Pumas in Mendoza - Green and Gold Rugby

Wallabies beat Los Pumas in Mendoza

Wallabies beat Los Pumas in Mendoza

After the South Africa v New Zealand match this morning, the Wallabies can finish second in the Championship by posting a win.  And if that doesn’t totally reflect the state of Australian rugby (wing and a prayer friends, wing and a prayer) then I don’t know what does.  Actually, scratch that, I do know – the Australians are fielding the same starting line up for the first time in three years.  Whoop.

First Half

The Wallabies struggled to make any in roads in the early phases of the match, with our scrum being worriedly punished by Los Pumas and our mauls not having any mongrel.  Passes were forward, balls were dropped and we didn’t look particularly

In spite of that, with 70% possession in the first 15 minutes and no closer to a try, Michael Hooper elected to take the points for a penalty and Bernard Foley kicked his 19th consecutive goal.

19 and done.

And then wouldn’t you believe it, Foley misses the next penalty to end his consecutive run.  Ruh-oh.

The Wallabies didn’t let this phase them as they capitalised on the restart with Dempsey showing real go forward again to get over the advantage line and then Genia, Beale, Foley, McMahon contributed quick ball to Marika Koroibete who crossed for his 3rd try in 2 matches, showing masterful balance along the sideline.

Los Pumas aimed to return fire quickly with brilliant sustained pressure inside the 5m from a collapsed maul and their massive lock Matías Alemanno scored against the posts.    Sanchez converted and then successfully kicked a penalty to put the hosts in front.

Points left out there.

30 minutes in, twice the Wallabies have turned down points now, and missed a conversion and a penalty – a potential 11 points missing from the match already with Los Pumas really taking it to us.   Those 11 points and our missed tackles may yet make this a dangerous match for us.

Will Genia and Reece Hodge combined for a lovely try out wide, but the advantage was voided soon after with a missed conversion and a successful penalty kick to Los Pumas – locked up in the shadow of half time.

The Wallabies dodged a bullet because an absolutely brilliant Los Pumas try was disallowed because of a knock on – kind of a shame really, it was off a beautiful break by Sanchez who easily evaded our tacklers.

So, let’s talk about our tacklers.


Yes, exactly.

Second Half

The second half started in the same manner as the first half, with Foley missing a penalty.  But then he scored a try.  One step forward, one step backward.

Los Pumas didn’t waste much time leveling the score with a lovely little try to Gonzalez Iglesias off some great work by Sanchez.

In what appeared to be the continuing game of sharesies (they score, we score, they score, we score), Reece Hodge set up Will Genia for a try.  And the Argentinians dodged another yellow.

The elephant in the room.

I am not into blaming the referee because I am of the view that you should be good enough to not let rubbish be the deciding factor, however there is clearly some poor quality refereeing happening here – there should have been two, possibly three, cards in the match.

And freaking Jaco Peyper trying to card the Wallabies as an AR around a legal (and unfortunate) tackle from Marika Koroibete.  Peyper should have been put back in his box immediately.

Hodge scored the final try of the match, and his double, set up by Samu Kerevi who showed his class by holding on, drawing two defenders and then passing a split second before his foot hit the chalk.  Foley converted to take his success rate for the match over 50%.

So the Wallabies finish the Championship second on the table after two wins and two draws.  And apparently because we finished more than 16 points ahead of Argentina we move to 3rd in the world.

I want more.

And truly I know I should be pleased, but I grew up in an era when we could take it more convincingly to opposition teams.

I grew up in an era when I felt we had depth on the field and depth off the field.

I grew up in an era when we weren’t constantly blooding new players on a wing and a prayer.

I am cool with refreshing the team when the old guard are done, but I feel like a constant refresh isn’t a strategy or even a tactic, it is hunting in the dark.

I want to believe we are capable of great wins and gutsy losses.

Hopefully Cheika sticks with the young players he is blooding now – lots of potential, they just need experience.  I want to be watching Rodda and Dempsey playing in 5 years.

Bring on the ABs in Brisbane.


The Game Changer

The lack of recognition of ill-discipline meant that the momentum switched more frequently than one would expect if it had been held in check.  Translation.  Los Pumas got away with a lot that should have been carded.


Reece Hodge with two tries and setting up Genia’s was a class performance and I still feel he has lots more to add to his game.

Player watch

Jack Dempsey was much more impactful this match in attack – making it over the advantage line convincingly, running good lines.  Still needs to work on his defense, but progressing well.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Argentina: 20
Tries: Gonzalez Iglesias, Alemanno
Conversions: Sanchez 2
Penalties: Sanchez 2
Australia: 37
Tries: Hodge 2, Genia, Foley, Koroibete
Conversions: Foley 3
Penalties: Foley 2

Cards & citings

Yellow: Marcos Kremer

  • Will

    Good write up! I totally agree regarding selection of the same team bar injuries. Over the last few years it has felt like the wallabies selection has become a revolving door. I feel like Cheika might be finally zeroing in on his WC team. Pretty good game from the wallabies all up but I especially loved Missile Koroibete – explosive attack and defence. LOVE IT. The day will come his heat seaking missile tackle will miss and the wallabies will suffer from him coming out of the line – but when it works – it immediately changes the play in favour of the wallabies!

  • Greg

    Thanks for the write up.

    Lots of good stuff (again) but lots of slipped tackles and dropped balls as well (again). Overall, though…. progress continues.

    I thought the ref did well actually with the Assistant referee urging him to do more. No! The alternative was to hand over the whistle and wish him all the best.

    The yellow was fair enough but unlucky. Wonderful (I mean this in the nicest way) to see the young forward in tears being comforted by the blue 2.

  • onlinesideline

    Geezus these fijians blokes are make of concrete. Must be some sore bodies when playing Fiji. Who would you pick at the moment on left wing if both Sefa and Koribete available ?
    I think skills and reaction times are getting much better in forwards and they also seem to be much more mentally connected / unfiied in tasks or decision making.
    We have improved this season but we say that every season. Question is, have we improved against other teams, as all teams seem to improve each season. Comparing ourselves today with ourselves at beginning of season is not very informative. Watching the ABs and bokkes earlier (which I might add was a freakin bloody phenomeal test match) can we say we are any better than the bokkes or closer to the ABs as of today at the end of the RC ? Have we improved more than the Bokkes and ABs have improved this season ? I would say somewhat, marginally at best and we are building, genuinely building. We are obviously a hard team to beat which is good.

    • SuckerForRed

      I would actually be inclined to go with Koribete. He seems to have a little more finese than Sefa, but can still push a defender off. A nice problem to have though.

      • Bobas

        I wouldn’t mind playing 10 with this outside me:

        11 Koroibete
        12 Kerevi
        13 Kuridrani
        14 Naivalu
        15 Speight

        • jamie

          That backline is the definition of Run it straight.

        • Who?

          As long as you can kick, Bobas, as long as you can kick. ‘Cause none of them can! :-D
          Swap in Beale for Speight. ;-)

    • idiot savant

      I think we have improved this season, more than the ABs and more than the Pumas but not more than the Bokke because they were awful last year. Are we closer to the ABs? Definitely. Can we say we are any better than the Bokke? I think we are better but I don’t think our game plan and back row selection has allowed us to demonstrate that. Having said that some parts of our game plan have improved, like the fact that we kick more in general play now. We even played some territory football in Mendoza and made some well planned exits. So I think we are building. The bug challenge to go to the next level is to get real front foot ball from the forwards as our backs are looking lethal at times.

  • onlinesideline

    One little point – these French refs – WTF – they are the worst communicators. Was this guy on valium ? He seems like he was depressed or having a mid life crisis during the actual game. They seem to just miss the finer points / infringements at breakdown, are never consistent or its just the comme ce comme approach. Maybe it makes for more football but its definitely such contrast to the Anglo way. Latin minds, I just do not get these people and have no interest in trying. I have never connected with these people, ever on any level in all my travels. Like aliens to me.

    • Bakkies

      Reynal is usually fine but having Peyper as one of your ARs doesn’t help. That’s twice this year he has tried to talk the referee out of not following the IRB’s recommendations towards dangerous tackles. So called accidents are irrelevant as the referees were told by the IRB not to take that into consideration.

      Peyper also has a bad reputation of not punishing bad tackles within the guidelines as the main referee. It’s about time the IRB cracked down on him.

  • Antony

    Dempsey is such an effective runner. His footwork right after receiving the ball is so good, it seems like he always beats the first tackler and then just ducks back into the space where that tackler was.

  • Greg

    btw – did you see the take by Hooper in the lineout!! Don’t recall many (any?) of those!

    • Bobas

      lookout, cheika might change the locks again…

      • jamie

        Well if Hooper can take a lineout then we can run with 5 backrowers like the rebels have done…

  • Jason

    While I do think Hodge did have a very good game, and would probably be the popular pick for MotM; I think Hodge should be buying Will Genia a Seiko Watch because it was Genia who was constantly asking questions of the defence that resulted in most of the runs that Hodge had.

    • idiot savant

      Genia was brilliant last night. World class.

      • Douglas

        Genia is back to his best, so good to see.

      • Jason

        Yeah, I think Genia has been one of the biggest reasons behind the Wallabies being as potent in attack as they have been. He’s constantly asking questions of the defence and forcing them to at least hedge towards him it then means that Foley’s job is relatively simple, he only needs to get his outside man to half commit to him and they’ll have numbers wide.

        • jamie

          It’s funny. So many complain about Genia’s step at the ruck base, and how it delays his service, but IMO it makes a huge difference. It plants the seed of doubt in an entire defensive line.

          I can understand when the situation demands it why an (even slightly) delayed pass is an issue though.

        • Jason

          When it’s Nick Phipps for example any delay at the base of the ruck is terrible, and even when Genia is a little out of form it can be a major hindrance and it’s probably why Genia can be so hot and cold. Because if you get it wrong it’s giving the defence that extra time to setup. But if you get it right you are creating doubt in the defence, you are asking them if they think they can stop him one on one and then you get the cascade. But when he’s not on song instead of asking those kind of questions of the defence he’s simply delaying getting the ball out wide for no benefit.

          I think this is the biggest reasons that Genia is so often hot and cold.

      • Graeme

        He would be my MoM

        • Parker

          It has been very encouraging to see the Wallabies throw passes a little in front of the recipient who runs on to the ball. I think that starts with Genia’s rise to form (and likely Mick Byrne’s influence) and leads to much better gains and momentum. It used to drive me nuts watching standing start after standing start by almost every pass receiver. Based on the form exhibited by all four RC teams on Saturday, if the Wallabies can practice sending support runners to collect offloads we will show the ABs to be at least as vulnerable as the Boks did. Bring on Brissylo!

  • Adrian

    All good, very good, but all made a mistake or two.

    Timing a bit out in 1st half, and sliding defence misread a couple of times.

    IMO referee was good, but TMO annoying.

    Best: Hooper, Hodge, TPN, Genia, but Korebette, Dempsey…. if fact all others did well. Where to fit Hunt?, ….. probably bring back back Arnold

    • Andy

      I think Arnold has to be in there. I like what I see in Rodda but he needs a bit more time on the bench.

  • idiot savant

    I thought it all went pretty much to script. The Argies played very well in patches but again couldn’t string 80 minutes together. All the flair of the tango and none of the discipline! They appear to be playing a style completely the opposite of the 10 man football of the Hugo Porta era. I get the feeling that if they just reined in the Harlem Globetrotter stuff and moved back (not all the way) to the more conservative style they might start to win a few more games. Creevy is a beast.

    On the other hand, we were patient and stayed with them when they played brilliantly then took advantage of enough of the opportunities we created. Genia was outstanding again. Swab that man. Dempsey’s physicality proved what a joke Cheika’s selection of that position has been all season.

    We are gradually getting better at general play kicking and Hodge is proving to be a quality player, providing the right kind of selection headaches when DHP and and Hunt return. Save for depth at 9 and 10 our backs are looking mighty good for the near future.

  • Hoss

    A lot to like from the effort and the result – given the travel of the last two weeks i thought we did well.

    Dempsey was good, Rodda also, I love the look of Tui, big, carries with mongrel and always makes metres and a hint of homicidal maniac about him – stay tuned.

    Hodge was terrific and my MOTM, Koribete, wow – the guys a natural, that hit was a screamer. Agree 100% Kate that Dr Pepper was pushing hard for a card – it was a perfectly timed, legal hit, the Argies head hits K’s shoulder due to the impact and ‘snapping’ of his body – nothing illegal there. On that, i thought the Ref had a real good game. Calm, composed, consistent – what you want from a ref – please tell me Dr Pepper doesnt get Bled III though ??

    Our 2017′ not-lose ratio” soars to 66.66% and barring a 40 minute train wreck in Sydney there has been genuine progress and real depth coming through.

    Roll on Bled III and the Northern Tour – as a Wallaby fan its great to be excited again.

    There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow…………….

    • idiot savant

      Theres nothing like starting Sunday with a blunt.

      You’re right about the travel. It was a good strong performance in view of that.

    • first time long time

      “Not lose ratio” that’s better spin Warnie Hoss ; )
      Love it

    • Adrian

      Thanks Hoss
      Good comment on ref. Young ref did very well to withstand pressure from assistant refs, who I still call linesman. I still have my linesman ticket

      • Hoss

        Afternoon mate. Thought the ref (first time i have seen him) had a real solid game. No howlers, communicated well, showed common sense and leadership (Peyper was pushing real hard for a card for a perfectly legit tackle). I cant actually recall a poor decision ?? It would havce been easy for him to submit to ‘home ground pressure’ – the baying crowds, a touchie who wanted to be in the limelight etc. Nice to know there’s some quality coming through the ranks.

        • Adrian

          That was interesting re Korebette tackle. I remember many years ago, yellow carding a guy for a similar tackle, and not acknowledging it to the guy until after the game. It still causes my conscience to squirm.

          I noticed too, that both Cerevvy and Hooper helped to defuse things by mentioning the on the ground rake back, which provided the ref with an opportunity to do something, without doing something silly.

          Huge/strong, fast men with good timing are really scarry when they pull of this type of tackle We have to make sure that we don’t punish them because they did something that looked unbelievable.

        • Hoss

          You make a great point re Hooper’s leadership – it has gone unmentioned on these pages, but certainly he is evolving as a leader. We all forget he is still only 16 or something close to it. Still some ways to go, but Cheika’s ‘long game’ (you and i have spoken before re this) is baring fruit.

        • idiot savant

          Ah the long game. I guess if you shoot enough bullets you’ll eventually hit something.

        • Hoss

          Good point and it has frustrated me as well. But from a business point of view there is an old saying that you cant buy success and you cant fire your way to success you have to build a sustainable base to build from and for mine, that’s whats been going on under MC since the RWC 15, like restoring timber, you have to take it back to the base and start again to get the best result – like the AB’s after the 2007 RWC shambles and look at them now.

          Dont get me wrong, i bought a cat just to kick it after the 3-0 loss to the Soap Dodgers, i borrowed the neighbour’s cat (mine had inexplicably run-off with 10 to go) and gave it what for after the Scottish loss.

          I scratch my head at selections, bemoan and scream as loud as the next, but like it or not world rugby is purely about RWC ‘cycles’ and i reckon we are in good shape for 2019 and success long after given the base Cheika has given us. Look at the average age of the squad – there are bright times ahead.

        • Adrian

          I think Cheika is doing well with the rebuild. Especially after he more or less wasted the 1st half of 2016, when he brought out his Giteau rule group one too many times.

          Since then he’s blooded 20 or more, and we are developing depth across the park. Some positions require more work, but I honestly think we are on track for a good WC….and looking good to seriously challenge NZ in a couple of weeks

        • Hoss

          Good point mate – the Gitteau law worked for the RWC as we didnt have the depth to cover but it was time to bite the bullet in 2016. Just on that – look at the names that are ‘there-abouts’ to being in this Wallaby Squad – the mouth starts to water

          * Eulese
          * Latu
          * Slipper
          * Pocock
          * Cooper
          * Nasarini
          * Hunt
          * Perese
          * Douglas
          * Skelton
          * Mumm (just through this in to annoy people)
          * Godwin
          * Holloway
          * Arnold
          * Rodwick
          * Higgers

          Has Oz rugby ever been so healthy ?

        • McWarren

          Who’d have thunk it Hoss. We should probably cut two more super teams.

          Re Mum, consider me annoyed

        • Alister Smith

          yes Hoss – I think these blokes would get round em

          Andrew Blades
          Patricio Noriega
          Richard Harry
          Dan Crowley
          Phil Kearns
          Jeremy Paul
          Michael Foley
          John Eales (c)
          Owen Finegan
          David Giffin
          Matt Cockbain
          Jim Williams
          David Wilson
          Mark Connors
          Brett Robinson
          Toutai Kefu
          Tiaan Strauss
          George Gregan
          Chris Whitaker
          Rod Kafer
          Chris Latham
          Stephen Larkham
          Nathan Grey
          Tim Horan
          Daniel Herbert
          Jason Little
          Joe Roff
          Ben Tune
          Scott Staniforth
          Matt Burke

        • idiot savant

          I’d love to agree with you about Cheika’s real motivations but there are some obstacles to that for me. Apart from the fact that no coach in my memory (which goes back to Templeton) has had such a license to do as he pleases (and I could be wrong but I think his win percentage is the worst since the 1970s), there are holes in the argument that he has been building for the future as a deliberate work of genius.

          Following the last RWC, Cheika had an age with his charges in camp preparing his master plan for the evolution of Australian rugby. His first real shot to show his strategic and game plan brilliance built on his selections – because he was hamstrung to that point taking over from Link and not wanting to upset the national cohort by choosing the players he wanted. And I for one wanted Cheka to have a shot as he is clearly a very good coach.

          So it was ball in hand with severe limitations on other strategies (no kicking for territory for example). We lost 3 zip to an English side that was just adapting to a new coach who only asked them to play a basic kick for territory and tackle pressure game. Eddie himself described his easy strategic victory as ‘rope a dope’. Cheka being the dope. And Cheka was aggressively and humourlessly defensive throughout to the media and to game paying punters like myself.

          I also think Cheka thought that 2016 was the year he could win the Bledisloe because all those AB veterans were retiring and the kiwis would be inexperienced under pressure so he would tear all our own veterans away from their croissants to come home and beat them through sheer experience under pressure (by keeping ball in hand). Not a bad idea. But how did that turn out? Was this part of Cheika’s ‘long game’ for the next RWC? Now, I have to confess sympathy for Cheka because while he was planning his strategy over on the shaky isles hidden in clouds of mist the hobbits had been preparing something called ‘offloading at extreme pace based on incredible fitness’ that was about to make us all look so yesterday. Even their retirees would have trouble keeping up. But again, he was aggressively defensive throughout.

          So 2017 needed a new plan. Again it was enough time in camp to draft a chapter of War in Peace. And the secret ‘long game’ he was planning to take back the 2019 RWC? Fitness. Yep back to running up stairs again. Run the bastards into the ground so they can play his genius ball in hand strategy he devised to beat the English and the Kiwis ( which resulted in losing 9 tests straight to them both). And subscribe to a defence shuffle strategy that confused the players and delighted the opposition.

          With a litany of failed strategies behind him, rebuilding now seems a much safer bet. Pleasingly, things have changed this season. We are building depth (except in the 9, 10, and until 2 weeks ago, 6 jersey – why didn’t he try anyone else in those positions in June? What happens if Foley and Genia get injured?). Some players are now allowed to kick in general play. The back row are playing tighter and securing more offensive ball. Theres more common sense in the game plans. Less Keno in the defense. Theres some exciting talent entering the game. Cheka remains combative and defensive, supporting Grey’s failed methods 100%, denying Folau pulled hair, whingeing about referees, saying one thing and doing another etc etc. Building a wall (that doesn’t exist) for a siege and seemingly picking players that identify with a world thats against them so they will fight to prove their worth (That is really his genius game plan).

          He is a good coach no doubt. His record speaks for that. Turning around the side against the ABs this season was a extraordinary. But he has been given more rope than anyone I can ever remember. And received none of it graciously. I hope he wins the Bledisloe in the next 2 years and the 2019 RWC both of which are achievable. Even if he does, forgive me if I don’t queue with the other members of the cult for the Jonestown cordial. But then, I don’t think the worlds against me.

        • Hoss

          All well made, reasoned points – you are here-after banned from this site.

        • idiot savant

          Thanks Hoss. Free at last.

        • juswal

          That should be a GAGR headline article, not just a comment on a Test review.

        • McWarren

          And who are our backup/base/depth at 7, 9, 10, 15. I’m not sure I see the grand plan in amongst the revolving selection door.

        • jamie

          7 and 15 are easy. Hooper, pocock &McMahon will be back for 19. 15: Folau DHP, Beale, even foley if we find a gem of a Flyhalf.

          9-10 slightly more worrying. Cooper IMO is still world class. MC just doesn’t rate him. (Strange. Both foley/Cooper have similar downsides but cooper has a bigger upside)

        • onlinesideline

          maybe Cooper will force MCs hand after baabaas – hope he has a ripper. He should be in the squad at least.

        • jamie

          Ridiculous that he’s not. I don’t think anyone can dispute that he’s at least worthy of a place in the squad… But we all know what Cheika thinks of strong personalities.

        • McWarren

          Jamie I guess if you agree with MC’s first choices your right.

        • Alister Smith

          it may be simply that while Cooper is more skilled overall he doesnt necessarily combine as well with the players around him. While Foley might not be as good as Cooper he might get more out of Beale, Folau etc. Cooper is a dominant player but was criticised in the past for not getting the best out of those around him.

        • jamie

          2013 spring tour him and Folau were lightening together. Last time he had a regular gig at the Wobs injury free and he was a jet.

        • Who?

          And he never played well alongside Beale, did he..? Oh, hang on…
          I honestly can’t remember him getting criticised for not getting the best out of those around him. If you want to criticise a bloke for not getting the best out of people around him, you’d usually criticise someone who runs the ball all the time rather than distributing it. Which is why I criticised Giteau’s play in the 2015 RWC – because his role was to release the outside backs, but we didn’t score any tries on the wing in the RWC, other than the one he scored himself against England.
          Quade only seems to have issues with people around him when he’s asking intelligent questions that those over him don’t know how to answer…

        • onlinesideline

          “Dont get me wrong, i bought a cat just to kick it”


        • McWarren

          Hoss I liked his response when he was pinginged for going off his feet. He just said ‘ok fair enough’ and walked back to his team. He probably could have felt aggrieved, but just took it on the chin. I’m a well documented Hooper disliker but his captaincy last night showed he is learning.

        • Fatflanker

          No doubt, if you want to focus on meat and potatoes you have to bar fruit. Sorry…I’ll leave quietly.

        • onlinesideline

          Similar to when PNG played the Kangaroos in League a few years ago. Just one absolute belter after another. Aussies were rattled.

        • Adrian

          Remember that we’ll.

        • idiot savant

          I think we got the rub of the decisions overall, not that it changed the outcome of the game in any way. And yes hats off to the ref for being fearless in front of a home crowd. I assume the decision to give us the feed after Korobete’s great tackle was a call that the Puma knocked it on as a result of the tackle.

        • Alister Smith

          actually the ref didnt rule a knock on from the tackle – he said to Creevy “Australia were in posession when we stopped the game for the injury so the feed goes back to them”. Except with a thick french accent.

    • st saens

      ‘There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow’….
      certainly a big improvement from the mid year tests when…
      ‘All the cattle were standing like statues’

    • Ed

      We – Wallabies, and the ABs have a travel advantage with the current RC schedule compared with the Boks and the Pumas. Until the deal JON signed where the first RC match is a Bledisloe in OZ expires, this current advantage to us remains.

      I can see our ‘not-lose ratio’ deteriorating this season. Eddie Jones will have tactics to attack our weaknesses of lack of kicking in our 22 and defensive lineouts. Also, I would not be surprised if he tells his players they can give penalties away up to 35 metres from their posts as we won’t take the shot, whereas Owen Farrell will take them all day if we infringe in our half.

      • Hoss

        No way Mr Ed – revenge is a dish best serve cold. Chek will be up like a honeymooner to get one back on Dr Evil.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree Hoss, a great game.
      Looking forward to Bled III. The improvement in the Wallabes this year has been good to see. I still see issues with an unbalanced loose trio, a 10 & 15 who can’t kick well and a weak defence at times, but there are also some great moves. Rodda and Tui are a great backup to Coleman and I like the current front row. Koroibete surprised me as I don’t think I’ve seen that in Super rugby, a real threat on the wing which is awesome. Lots of attacking threats across the park now.
      Peyper is an idiot. I don’t usually smash a fellow referee but he needs to go do something else. Great tackle and a fair tackle, even if it causes an injury is still a fair tackle. As Tana says “it’s not tiddleywinks”

      • Hoss

        Evening mate. Agree with you on the 10/15 kicking, but MC happy with the status quo and options around them in Beale & Hodge. I am less worried about our loosies at the end of the RC then the beginning. Macca talking about 2019, Dempsey looks strong, Tui a find and as Kafer said – Hooper has been beyond outstanding, especially on cleaning out the attacking rucks, his accuracy and power through the ball bely his size – granted we need a defensive ruck application as well (from 6 or 8). bring Mr Pocock back into the fold and our loosies look strong. I also reckon (and will be burnt at the stake here for saying) that Hannigan looks a good investment, each time i see him i see a Rocky Elsom in the making (i am getting misty just typing it in)

        Some way to go to roll the AB’s, but i am genuinely excited for the future . I reckon our backs are electric, if we can get parity / ascendancy in the piggies, well the world will be ours.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Funny I was watching Hooper and didn’t see that. I know I’m biased as I hate the way Cheika runs his loosies and it clouds my judgement but I just saw him take the ball up in close about 4 times and get knocked on his arse each time. I’m going to have to relook at it and try and be more neutral as I don’t rate him very much as either a 7 or a captain.

        • Mr Wobbly

          I thought Hooper had very little impact in this game but I’ll bet if you have at the MOTM thread in the forum he’ll get votes. I might be a bit old fashioned but I think declining points early in the game is pretty much always a bad decision.

        • SuckerForRed

          I agree with you about Hannigan resembling a baby Rocky Elsom. I just think he has been thrown in the deep end way too early. Hope he can take it as experience and get back……. and that he has burnt his bridges with MC.

        • Andy

          Agree on the backrow. The future looks good with Naiserani, Pocock available next year. Tui and Dempsey real options at 6 and even Hardwick to progress. Getting McMahon back has to be a priority though. I know he’s light but he plays 15kgs above his weight, a bit like Savea.

          If the forwards can get at least parity this team will always score tries

        • Alister Smith

          The commentators made similar comments re: Hoopers clean out on attacking ball and I did notice it myself (at least after they pointed it out). But they also commented, I would tend to agree, that there doesn’t appear to be anyone doing the similar type of role when we are defending – ie the scavenging role.

        • Mica


      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I still have no understanding whatsoever as to what Arnold has done to fall out of favour. So baffled.

        10 and 15 are fixable, Cheika just doesn’t want to make the changes.

        • Jack Mallick

          Who plays 10 though? Genia and Foley are setting up the backs nicely I thought

  • Andy

    Defence and decision making again was pretty poor. The amount of bombed tries/points in the Argie 22 was frustrating along with the fact that they scored immediately after we did up until the 65th minute.

    On the upside our attack looks really good. We look like we have points in us regardless of who we play. Our kicking in general play hasn’t been too bad the last 2 matches as well. Pitty Foleys goal kicking was off tonight because the rest of his game was really good.

  • Sammy Salsa

    Entire starting front row carried the ball really well today. Really put the Wallas on the front foot for most of the game, easily making the gain line on most occasions. 12,13,15 were shut down well by the Argies though, need a plan b when Beale is getting shut down or misfiring. Hodge although finished well wasn’t great in D and didn’t have too much impact other than the well worked Genia try. Not his best game for me but still love him and has the potential to be world class in the future.

  • Gottsy

    For most of the game, we were completely outmuscled by the argies, which I think contributed to a few of our backs struggling. This brand of Cheika-ball is dependent on not being outmuscled, which I think could bring us unstuck unless we start picking players with a bit more starch, and drilling them accordingly

  • Greg

    I suspect that I am biased but just watching the AB/SA game…. did the AB forwards come into any ruck through the gate? Has the law changed?

    It all seemed to be in the side, straight to ground and then roll over the ball on the ground..

    What is it I am missing?

    • Greg

      Gosh SA were desperately unlucky to lose.

      What a wide spread of results we have had this year.

  • Who?

    Big weekend with Bathurst and Suzuka on…
    No ratings yet?
    I thought Dempsey showed more than Hanigan has all season – now happy to have him there (though would still take Fardy over him, if Fards were available).
    Our forwards showed some fantastic hands yesterday, especially in the first half. But our passing in the backs was, generally, poor. Beale held the ball too long, throwing forward or inaccurate passes with regularity. Foley ran it too much (he had to get nailed eventually, that hit at 69 minutes… Huge! What sort of a ball player are you if you think it’s your job to bust up the side of the ruck?!). Sure, he scored a try, but he also ran it when we had overlaps before he got his try.
    Beale showed some great commitment to the ruck – he hit a LOT of rucks. But I don’t want him (or our 10 – and Foley actually had a couple of solid cleanouts) committing to a heap of rucks (especially not first phase, crashball rucks). I want him running the ball, or finding runners off his own run, not working in what should really be a less creative player’s role. Another reason why he should be 15, not 12…
    Hodge, I think the best part of his game was his first try. But it wasn’t the try itself – it was the timing and sneakiness of his realignment immediately before it, which created the try. His opposite winger was directly in front of him, then looked in at Genia. When the opposition wing looked in, Hodge took one step backwards and two out, which got him on the outside for Genia’s (excellent, in front of the man) pass to get him in. Little details like that are far too often overlooked. I will always remember Bob Dwyer pointing out Conrad Smith’s dedication to the details, in taking literally half a step back to make himself an option under the posts which led to him fixing an Aussie defender, which maintained the space for a cutout ball from Smith which saw the recipient go over untouched. Little details that show class and attention.
    And Genia… Just class. A fantastic game…

  • Alister Smith

    There are some interesting stats on the SANZAAR website. We are the second best attacking side with 25 tries compared to NZ on 35 and SA on 17. And also pleasing is that we have had the least yellow cards – which when you consider the discipline issues, particularly at the Reds and Waratahs, this year is a pretty good improvement. Two things surprised me and that was that we had nearly the worst lineout effectiveness but we had the highest percentage in ruck success (96%) of the four teams. With individual players Hooper had the highest number of tackles (66 for the tournament – there have been games when Cameron Smith has almost done that in a single game but still they are very different ball games). McMahon is second on 61. So defensively we have the most active backrow. I wonder if this is a change in strategy that a lot of people who are critical of Hooper and our backrow in general are missing. Are the players looking to defend the line rather than turnover the ball (removing some of the potential risk of incurring penalties).
    McMahon also had 65 carries putting him in the top 10. Pretty fair effort.

    • idiot savant

      Good questions Alister. I think the side has a work rate mantra and McMahon has publicly praised Hoopers phenomenal work rate and that he trying to follow his standard. So that works for us. Re turnovers, neither player has ever been focused on them. If the opportunity arises sure but they are both more focussed on the tackle. I think we are well placed for when the law changes next season. Players like Pocock and Smith might find their value diminished.

      • Who?

        I wish World Rugby would stop messing about with law changes that are completely unnecessary and actually work against the best parts of the game… I mean that for all six variations – there’s no need for any of them. If they want to mess with things, then either enforce the flying wedge and cavalry charge, or remove that law. Which would simplify the law book. I’d prefer to see it enforced – much better to make pre-binding onto a ball carrier illegal (how’s a singular tackler supposed to bring down multiple charging forwards? It’s not safe – hence the law!). Also interesting to see former Fiji 7’s (gold medal winning) coach Ben Ryan saying they should also enforce the requirement to stay on one’s feet during rucks, and penalize those who deliberately collapse rucks (i.e. no more crocodile rolling people off rucks, as it’s dangerous)…

      • Alister Smith

        maybe a concern for Pocock…George will be more concerned about his 80th birthday celebrations

    • Most tackles is an interesting one… I wonder how Squire + Fifita and Cane + Savea + Todd stack up. Same for the variations of SA flankers. Given Cane didn’t start all the AB matches and is on 61 as well he must have put in a hell of a lot of work in the matches he played!

      Highest percentage of ruck success is interesting though and perhaps a bit surprising.

      In my stats for the Super Rugby, I commented on points per 100 m as a useful indicator of offensive effort. Looking at the RC overall, we have NZ scoring 6.53 points per 100m (slightly better than in Super Rugby), SA scoring 6.13 (a bit worse), Australia scoring 5.89, quite a bit better, and Argentina scoring 5.33 points per 100 m gained, easily the worst of the lot. Bear in mind in that, SA have a 0 in one match too, in that match NZ scored over 10 points per 100 m gained. When they’re on song for the whole 80 minutes, they’re more than half as good again as their average performance, which is scary. This also illustrates why they can play for a half and still beat a side comfortably – they just are more clinical and you can see it the numbers.

      • Alister Smith

        That’s a very good indicator – on the Rick success while we were ahead there was only 1-2% difference across the 4


Arty-farty. Loves rugby. Good cook. Contrary. Is a New South Welshwoman who has never supported NSW. Only has eyes for the Reds. Likes raspberries and that intense mustard-yellow most people don't.

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