Wallabies Choke in Bledisloe Groundhog Day
All Blacks

Wallabies choke in Bledisloe Cup Groundhog Day

Wallabies choke in Bledisloe Cup Groundhog Day

The Wallabies were like a rabbit in the headlights as they succumbed to searing All Black pressure in last night’s Bledisloe Cup Test.

Wallabies talk the talk

The Eden Park ‘hoodoo’ continues, marking a quarter of a century since a Wallaby team last gained any success at the venue.

If this was a dry run for the Rugby World Cup Final then it’s done and dusted —  no contest. What it proved was that the All Blacks are, as usual, a cut above any other international side.

This performance was unbelievably clinical in its execution. These blokes were like a machine and really took their chances when they were in the offing. You’d have to say that the Wallabies choked on the big stage as the ABs put the squeeze on.

They became frustrated at their inability to score, despite having the ball for long periods. Passes were pushed and miracle balls and kicks were de rigueur. Sadly, they didn’t quite come off.

I don’t think it’s so much that the Wallabies played really badly, it’s that the All Blacks were just that good. We’ve got some medium howitzers in our lineup but they’ve got the heavy artillery — although on last night’s effort we may have also struggled to beat England.

A 30–14 defeat is a bit of a pasting in anyone’s language . It was actually 30–7 with five minutes to go before Rocky Elsom scored a consolation try to give the finish some respectablity.

In cricket it’s ‘catches win matches’. In rugby, it’s goalkicking. Dan Carter had a 100 per cent success rate with his six kicks (3 conversions, 2 penalties and 1 dropped goal). In the half of the game where it really counted, James O’Connor missed 3 out of 3. He might have knocked them over from everywhere in the warmup but on the big stage, it was a fizzer. QC stepped up in the second half with two quality conversions. Not good enough.

This week, expectations were again raised way too high and despite talking the talk, we couldn’t walk the walk. Sorry folks, the All Blacks aren’t on the wane. They’re not an over-the-hill ‘Dad’s Army’. David Pocock isn’t as good as Richie McCaw. Quade Cooper isn’t as good as Dan Carter. One day, maybe, but not any time soon.

The All Blacks’ defence was just monumental. There was virtually no way through as the All Blacks’ linespeed prevented time and space for the Wallabies’ dangerous backs to gain any momentum.

What did we do right? I was impressed with our scrummaging. For the first time in ages against this level of opposition we didn’t fold. The vaunted All Black scrum finally met its match. This is an aspect of play we’ve sorely missed and are going to need in the RWC — so kudos to Pato and Jim Williams.

The lineouts were efficient, winning a few of theirs but losing a couple of ours. I guess we cancelled each other out. Certainly a Pass mark.

Didn’t we have a restart problem last year? Is it back? It seemed to me that we had a bit of trouble with the restarts — not a lot, but the impression was there that the ABs were more effective at this aspect of the game.

The breakdown. Yeah, we did OK. Whether it was horses for courses or not but I thought we put more troops into the ruck than we normally would. The ABs are renowned counter-ruckers but didn’t have the same success rate against us as previously.

The main point of difference was go-forward. Wouldn’t you just love to have blokes like Jerome Kaino or Owen ‘Otto’ Franks in your side? We’ve got big-hearted triers like the Bens — McCalman (who topped the tackle count with 12) and Alexander — but they just don’t have the same level of physicality as the All Black mob. That was the problem, in tandem with the huge defence. We just couldn’t get a roll on without front foot ball.

You couldn’t go past Squeaky Moore, and to a lesser extent James Horwill as the pick of the forwards. Both of these guys do have the grunt needed at this level. Would the Cat, TPN and Cliffy have made a difference? Probably, but I’m not sure anyone would have halted the All Blacks juggernaut last night. At least Sharpie gets over the gain line regularly.

There will be calls for Higgers to be brought into the starting side after an impressive gig off the bench.

Digby Ioane had a quality… ummm… dig. He scored a terrific try after being given space by Kurtley Beale in the 52nd minute. It gave some hope of a fightback but sadly it didn’t last.

For the All Blacks, McCaw and Carter showed why they are the two best players in the world. Nonu and Smith showed us why they’re the best centre pairing in the world. The All Black tight five showed us why they’re the best tight five in the world. What more can you say?

Yep, in the haka they threatened to slit our throats. In the game, they did…

All Blacks 30 (Mealamu, Nonu, Sivivatu tries, Carter 3 cons, 2 pens, drop goal) Wallabies 14 (Ioane, Elsom tries, Cooper 2 cons)

Tryscoring highlights are here.

  • Bones

    I agree completely.

    Surely Samo has to start at 8, and I would love to see Higgers get a run against the Saffas at 13, to see if he can play there. Our centers just have no penetration.

    We lost the game because we were physically manhandled. Wasn’t this the breakthrough that Beau Robinson brought to the Reds this year??? And Robbie is not even taking him to SA!

    • TLock

      It’s true, they need to get the Brumbies out of the team and bring in Reds.

      • ozabraod

        Brumbies have had their turn and they did not cut the mustard

    • Lex

      Of course the centres had no penetration – Cooper took them out of the game. When he ran it was straight across the field, so they got the ball with nowhere to go and the AB defence in their face, or else he cut them out completely by throwing a long pass somewhere in the general direction of the winger

  • Bones

    And the ABs kept their structure and composure the whole game, we lost ours regularly. Where was Rocky??? In his own head is the answer.

    Sorry but Robbie has got to make Horwill captain with Genia VC for the next 2 tests, at least to see how they handle it, and then make a call for the WC.

    Sorry but

  • HGF

    Carter’s defence was on fire.. there was a moment where he rushed Cooper to make him think he was drawn then as Cooper past Carter hit the next man.. so hard to pull off and such a risk if Cooper had dummied.

  • Chunderstruck

    First big test for the Wobbs, some questions in my book were answered:

    1. Can NZ shut down the WB’s backline mojo? yes
    2. Can QC stand next to Carter (yet)? no
    3. Is our scrum still the shitfest of last season? no

    4. Is Rocky the captain to stop the wobbles and lift the cup? you tell me..

  • The Rant

    Agree – groundhog day – there are numerous issues people are ranting on about.

    But the biggest issue is that NONE OF THE ISSUES ARE NEW – they are constant issues that deans has been unable to address or correct in almost 4 years. Here are 10 key issues as I see them:

    1. INTENSITY/MONGREL – Our wallabies have over the past years let every other team know that if you can turn up the intensity you will go a long way to shaking us out of the tree. We’re too soft – missing Samo/Palu/TPN. Easy points on our goalline – the allblacks probably had a point for every 2 seconds they were in our 22.
    a. PASSION AND ENTHUSIASM –Rocky’s post match interview didn’t show a man upset by missing the best opp. in 4 years to win back the bledisloe, just a guy who was a little deflated yet reflective with the performance. Deans is no different – it’s just another game was his pre-match quote. Not good enough.
    2. LEADERSHIP: Rocky showed some spark late, but in these situations where we are losing our cool we really need a captain’s knock and we just didn’t get it. We have no one in the backs who can step up and steady the ship in rough waters when cooper is under pressure (no I don’t want mortlock back).
    3. GAMEPLAN: Under deans I have never watched a game where I could have told you what the game plan was and tonight was no exception. Watch the kiwis tonight and it’s obvious – rush defence, crowd cooper, shut down quick ball at the lineout, turn the aussies around with kicks and play for territory. Our appears to be ‘do what feels right’ because ‘‘it’s useless to put restrictions on talent’’. Deans said after the match: “Tactically, we probably didn’t help ourselves’’ – thanks Captain Obvious. There is a strong case for Link here.
    4. THE BATTLE IS UPFRONT – Forwards not getting go forward: Deans doesn’t seem to twig that you can have the world’s flashiest backs but against a good team, if you don’t match them up front and go forward, you’re behind the eight ball. McCalman and Simmons were hopeless tonight – simmons was not there at all and mccalman made about 1 metre ever time (but started 2 metres back) and has still never beaten a tackle that I’ve seen (yeah he sold a dummy last year and created a try – but that’s it – he also let in 4 tries last year with week goal line defence). Scrum held together which was good, but these days we are now just happy to get the ball back, doesn’t look like we even push on the other teams feeds.
    5. COOPER CAN GET RATTLED– seen it in the s15 a couple of times this year and it happened in a big way tonight – he did not want to be there – didn’t help that we had very little go forward. Then he goes to an increasing number of very low % plays and the backline loses shape. Freaking amazing pass for rocky’s try though, even if he telegraphed it. The point is what is plan B if they shut cooper down?
    6. BACKS NOT DIRECT RUNNING – giteau cops a lot for this but he wasn’t even in the same country last night and they were loving the crab. We’ve picked 2 reasonably big centres but never really sent them in to bash it up and lay a platform. We went out over the edge about 5 times tonight and the first receivers in phase play headed straight for the sidelines. ABs defence had them scared.
    7. CAN’T KICK BETWEEN THE STICKS… showed how vital keeping the scoreboard ticking is to staying in touch. At 17-0 I wouldn’t have kicked, but it is the percentage play.
    8. THE BENCH – we took 24 and we used 18. Nuff said.
    9. THE COACH – can’t fire his team up, hasn’t taught them how to keep their cool. Hasn’t developed a gameplan that can beat NZ and isn’t fazed. He spot talent and blood new players – but he cant coach them beyond that to be a frickken awesome TEAM. All his Canterbury success came with a team of all blacks and a pre-established winning culture. His winning % with the wobs is in the 40s and it’s well earned as is his % on NZ soil (0%).
    10. THE WRONG TEAM! I would take a GAGR voted 15/22 every day of the week over Deans’ selections (Can we do this???). It usually takes him the whole tri-nations to find a balance that works (a glimmer of hope if we get deep enough into the WC).

    None of these gripes are new…yet we still talk up massive progress… I still go into every game knowing we can win it, even picked the wallabies here cos I know they can do it if the stars and all the planets are aligned, but performances like this hurt. Even if we manage to win the WC and I still think we can – I would say ‘thanks deans now **** off.’

    • Dougs

      I agree. It was like watching the Wallabies of old (*cough* Brumbies) all over again. After all the passion/mongrel/intensity/heart the Reds showed this year it was just so disappointing to watch the Wallabies put in another tickerless performance.

      Game was won/lost at the tackle/breakdown contest again. Blacks were quick off the line, tackled with aggression and (most importantly) their shoulder. They followed this with aggressive and low counter rucking which if it didn’t yield the ball would certainly (legally I might add) slow it down. Even if the Wallabies bent the line on one run, the following play we would again be hit back behind the gain line and the Black wave of counter rucking would wash over and all momentum, if not the ball, would be lost.

      By contrast the Wallaby defence was slow off the line and the tackling was too often high up and all arms. The tackle would often finally be completed multiple metres past the gain line where either a popped ball to a storming (and appropriately placed) support player or a quick, vicious and accurate/low clear out would have the ball ready to go again instantly. The Wallaby commentators have waxed on about O’Connors missed kicks and points left out there but the Blacks bombed many tries for mine.

      I think Joubert is generally a good ref… though he did have a forgettable game this time. He certainly didn’t affect the result… anyone who implies that he did should get their vision checked.

  • ula

    rocky elsom is big and fast enough to hang around on the wing in the northern hemisphere but in the southern hemisphere he is neither. thought the all blacks continually slowed the ball down which didn’t help. they were easily the better team but still 3 tries to 2 isn’t too shameful

    • RWC Fan

      Higgers for Elsom at #6

  • JJM

    Go forward??? I am a reds fan so some bias, but Samo and highest gave us that all season, why are they not in the starting side… Robbie Deans is a dunce… How about picking people on form for once… faingaa at inside centre deserves a chance as well. Poor coaching, where was the plan b? When sending it wide wasn’t working.

    • RWC Fan

      Higgers with 2 tackles in 24 minutes just confirms that he’s not for the Back Row unless he can give Rocky the shove…….stats show Rocky had 6 missed tackles!!!!

      • Spot

        Inane statistical analysis like this shows a complete lack of understanding for the game. Higgers must start and quite frankly, should have been starting on the spring tour last year. Link praised him at the Reds business brekky and said he would expect him to be entrenched in the starting XV by RWC time. I’ll take his judgement over your’s RWC fan, any day…

      • Barry

        I think that Higgers needs to find a place in the team as he does look good when he is involved. But I also think he needs to realize that a forwards first job is to tackle and show up at the break down. If Higgers could work that out he’d be there. 2 tackles in 24minutes? Is that right? That would be 7-8 tackles in 80 minutes. Not good enough. We already have one lazy forward (Elsom), we don’t need two.

  • ula

    kick chases were below par as well, alexander shouldn’t be chasing and shouldn’t be the only one. 12th minute

  • JJM

    Bloody iPhone!! That is meant to be higgers, not highest!

  • PresqueVu

    I am struggling to understand how the Reds can have a game plan to beat any team by attack thru defense but the Wb’s don’t.

    Also, I have a felling that Cooper resorted to the miracle plays because he lost confidence in his team and thought he had to win it by himself.

    Beale had a few shockers in defense.

    Poor coaching, poor captaincy. It’s been this way for 4 years for fecks sake!!!!!

    • sandy

      I hate to say it but you are so right

    • suckerforred

      One word – Coach.

      Reds apparently had one. And a good one.

  • RJ

    I actually thought the problems last night were different to the ones we have seen recently. Usually it is scrums, breakdown etc. this time it was bending the line, and being patient in attack. So disagree with some here. These are problems that havent been the game losers for us in a while so in some ways these are new issues.

    Its one step forward, two steps back though. Would be good to see Cliff, TPN and Samo add some line bending power to that 22. Higgers needs to start. Oppositions fear him. They do not even know who Ben McCalman is.

    Also everyone seems to to not be mentioning Pockock. I would not have thought he was on the field the last two games if I didnt see his name on the team sheet. I know we all love Mr Nice Guy but he better pick his act up. Im not saying he deserves replacement as there is noone within reach of him in Australia, but would be nice to see 4 or 5 turnovers a game from him like yesteryear, and would be good if he could stop shoving his leftie political views down my throat, he’s wasting his time on me, but thats another story.

    I dont think SHarpie needs to be in this team unless we are void of other ball runners such as Palu and TPN, but he would have provided some go forward last night thats for sure.

    • Alan

      I have to disagree with your criticisms of Pocock. He made loads of attempts at stealing the ball but was nailed every time by the AB forwards or the ref. The poor fucker is a class above every other wallaby forward, if only two or three of them were as committed as he is we would have had a much different game

      • bones

        Sorry Alan

        I have to agree with RJ. Pocock was pretty quite – just didnt seem to affect the play much. I would say Pocock should not be an automatic 80 minute player. I would like to see Beau Robinson get 25 minutes each game going forward, just to see what he can do. He looks a tough mongrel who seems to get himself in the right place to impact the game.

        • Alan

          wouldn’t disgree to that at all, beau was a star during the s15 and imo deserves a chance but i think BamBam is getting unfairly picked on. Im sure he himself would admit it was a quiet game by his high standards but he should be the last of the wallaby forwards to have to answer for anything, other more urgent changes are badly needed

          I feel sorry for him. He’s a usain bolt running in a relay with a bunch of christopher reeves

        • bill

          I lost count of the times I saw Pocock contesting rucks as the only Aussie on his feet. Thought he should have earned a couple of penalties for not releasing or sealing off.

          Having said that he did look a little flat and caught him bridging once, think he gave up a penalty for that. Can’t recall him making a good carry either which is usually a strength of his.

    • Gag her

      I agree with Alan. Early in the game Pocock got penalised twice by the ref on marginal calls. Shut him out of the game right there.

      • Jay

        The first penalty wasn’t marginal at all (when Conrad Smith made a half break). He simply got his timing wrong – he was trying to essentially join in on a tackle already in progress as this would mean he could then get to his feet without having to come through the gate. But as he got there a split second late, Smith was already tackled, meaning Pocock could have been penalised for either going off his feet over the ball or incorrect entry – either of which would be a correct call.

        It’s a very canny play on his part, but if you get the timing wrong it can be dangerous.

      • Anthony

        I believe Pocock was unable to adjust to the referees calls which McCaw is quite well known for, maybe he’s just off pace from the Super Rugby workload idk but hope he comes right RWC time.

        • Touko

          And don’t forget the WB defense was notably crap with people (eg Elsom) falling off tackles all the time… With one exception of course: Pocock. He was the only WB I felt confident would make the tackle each and every time.

        • suckerforred

          Would agree that he struggles to adapt to calls. I did feel sorry for him sometimes though when he was pinged for not rolling away, but he had 2 or 3 ABs lying on top of him. I noticed this happening frequently during the sr season. Now I’m sure it is a tatic. Not a good one, but WB’s need to get those sleeping AB’s the f%#k out of there.

    • rugbysinmyblood

      i think that pocock cant play under the new rules he isnt as effective as he used to be i think the stats will show his steals have dropped since the new law was brought in, i think beau could be the mongrel we need put him and dan vickerman in the same team and tell them to smash in at rucks and teams will fear the packs aggression.
      the team i would pick would be

      15 kurtley
      14 turner
      13 AAC
      12 JOC
      11 Digby
      10 quade
      9 will
      8 higgers
      7 robbinson
      6 elsom
      5 horwill
      4 vickerman
      props i would have to see who is fit i would love to see slipper and daley although kepu and alexander have also been good. Finally we have some good props getting around i think we brush robbinson he isnt going to be at peak come world cup

      • RJ

        Ill give you 10 points for courage rugbyisinmyblood. Noone has ever picked a XV without poey in there. would disagree with that, but just saying i would love to see him have a few clean steals or force a few penalties. Liam Gill will be clipping at his heels in 2 or 3 years.

        Mate watched a youtube clip of pey playing inside centre for churchie. it would solve our IC problem. Food for though? Imagine him in mid field uncontested at the ruck. Noone would be getting through his channel in attack either

    • Barry

      I think that one man working hard at the break down can only do so much. That is why Pocock and Hodgson make the Force look great at the breakdown. They work equally hard and are committed to supporting one another. You are putting together a team not talented individuals. I would love to see Pocock and Hodgson looking after the breakdown. Their work rate is unmatched at Super Rugby. The stats are there and Hodgson has always contributed strongly in Wallaby Colours. With what little time he has been given. At least those two know that the break down is their very first priority; second is tackling, the third is tackling, the forth is running the ball. Basics that too may forwards are forgetting.

    • Nipper

      It’s pretty difficult to have an impact at #7 if the opposition is consistently getting over the gainline, and the opposition is consistently getting superior numbers (from 1-15, not just the forwards) at the breakdown.

      He was there putting in the hard work, but he was frequently outnumbered and had to go backwards and then enter the breakdown. Even a one-man wrecking crew like Pocock can’t make much of an impact facing that – Beau Robinson wouldn’t have fared any better.

  • cantab

    Good article,

    To me it seemed the error rate of the wallabies and the defence of the All Blacks were the two biggest factors.

    Wallabies centre pairing is really conservative both AOC and mccabe play like league forwards, just hit it up everytime. Would not want to be Diggers,as he would not be expecting the ball any time soon.

  • Daniel

    This was the best dress rehearsal we could give?? Agreed we were outmuscled but fuck! Regardless of injuries we just looked scared. Rocky may as well had a “please exit here” sign hanging above his head when standing in defence. McCalman is a worker but is just not big and intimidating enough for test rugby he just lacks impact. Rocky thanks for the memories but theres the door, you can bully shit teams but cannot stand up to the all blacks . Scrum was the only pleasing aspect. I cant get over how much time deans has had to get this teams shit together. Its like they get on NZ soil and they swallow their eyeballs and vomit their livers. Higgers to have Rockys jersey (unfortunately not likely) and Samo/Palu (if fit) for number 8. We are missing some old fashioned mongrel (this is why i don’t mind Vickerman in the squad). Get this happening, get a little more go forward and then our backs can do the rest.

  • Pete

    I never do this, but I agree with everything you’ve said there Lance.

    • Lance Free

      Sometimes Pete I even struggle to agree with what I write….

  • Stevo

    If McCabe is our answer at 12, god knows what the question is. He cannot beat anyone in traffic, just trucks it up into the defence every time. Didn’t work against Nonu and Smith and I can’t see it working against Fourie & co next week.

    Surely we should be trying O’Connor at 12 and Faingaa at 13. Stick two dads on the wing if you must since I can’t say that Lachie Turner gets the pulses racing. I don’t remember him beating anyone 1-on-1 in the S15.

    • Bay35Pablo

      You mean he’s the Brumbies answer to Tom Carter …. ?

      Even Carter showed some flair this year.

    • bill

      Don’t put him on the wing! Either OC or out.

    • Gingernuts

      Didn’t we learn anything from having Nathan “crash ball and sfa else” Grey in the team?

      • bill

        To be fair Gray was a better player than McCabe is at the moment.

  • AR

    play like that against ireland, and we’ll end up 2nd in the pool. No Leadership out there, i’m sure if this wasn’t a world cup year someone else would be given a shot as captain, problem for deans is that he can’t drop rocky from being captain 2 games out from the world cup. This would cause all sorts of questions and uncertainty which they don’t need anyomore of after samoa and last night. I thought our depth was getter better before the start of the internations, couldn’t be more wrong. If it was a perfect world, we could drop
    mccabe, A A cooper, rocky, mccalman, but we cant, is this going to be the best centre combo we have for the WC? i hope not.
    *higgs should start at 6, but as i said in my first line rocky isn’t going anywhere, so put higgs at 8. mccalman has had 3 chances to muscle up and failed 3 times.
    *AAC poor season for the brumbies, average for the wallabies, surley digbie would be more dangerous at 13. But due to injuries no international class winger to replace him ( if only drew was ok)
    *Mccab doing ok, but would rather have barnes back there.

    Team I would like to see in S.A and brisbane and who might have a chance of beating the ab’s
    Beale, turner, Ioane, gits, oconnor, cooper, genia, higgs, rocky, sharpe, horwill, pocock,kepu, moore, alexander – bench – fianga, simmons, harris, burgess, samo, cowan, barnes

    did anyone else see that the ab’s were not contesting the rucks the whole game? no wonder we couldnt get past the defence when they have 14 players spread across the field. sharpe, moore, horwill could of made some good go forward in close, will be interesting to see the game plan for brissy.

    • RJ

      Umm…..I’m confused!

      This is a gee up right?

      • AR

        whats ya beef?

      • AR

        confused about gits in the starting side? wouldn’t copper benifit from having someone with a tone of experice playing outside him? so when he’s rattled and has a mind f*ck melt down, there’s some one who can releave a bit of the pressure? no one else can help him if he’s not on top of his game, not mccab or aac. like the rants comment – we need a plan b when cooper is off or shut down. wallabies cant adapt like the reds do. so the answer would be some experince?? as the ab’s just taught us.

  • phantom65

    Scrum was OK, but Mealamu isn’t a great scrummager. Look at what happened when Hoare and Faingaa came on. Faingaa is a liability, he is simply not strong enough at this level yet. Keep working on the scrum.

    Line out
    Sloppy. Bring Sharpe back.. Have Simmons/Vicks inject energy off the bench.

    ABs were hungier, but the ref didn’t ref that area well at all, so ABs got away with a lot that on another day with another ref would have been dramatically different. That said we do need more mongrel and size there. Start with Samo, with McCalman off the bench.

    Goal Kicking
    Carter perfect, JOC had a bad day. And when you get behind on the scoreboard and can’t pick up the 3s, you have to start playing miracle rugby. It doesn’t excuse the way Cooper played, but it is part of the reason he did. Pre-game kick-off between JOC, Cooper, Beale to see who is best on the day?

    Look everyone is entitled to a bad day. The ABs targeted him, and everyone will do so again after seeing that performance. A suggestion: it is OK to run straight, draw defence and then pass to McCabe a few times early in the match to keep them honest. You might even draw a penalty or two for the inevitable late hits you will cop from over-eager ABs…

    Hey, let’s not get carried away with the scoreline. The difference comes down to goal-kicking (Carter perfect v JOC 0/3) and 1 try (obvious knock-on from the kick-off). In other matches these things can go the other way. The ABs played very well (well done to them), but we weren’t as disgraceful as people make out. A loss is a loss, let’s cop it sweet and move on. We have 2 more big TN matches to fix things before the big one – where the true bragging-rights are earnt this year.

    • suckerforred

      Only one prob with the goal kicking theory – JOC would have been kicking. Didn’t miss in one in warm up. Think the being droped on his head didn’t help.

  • I have a theory on JOC’s kicking – he had green paint through his hair after being tackled on a line earlier. Then they show a close-up on a massive screen right next to the posts as he’s lining up to kick, all JOC can think is “my hair, my beautiful hair”

    • pants

      My theory is he didn’t take his Swisse before the game.

      • RJ

        I had to watch the game on channel 9, and every ad break was him slotting every kick from 50, 10 metres in from touch, on his bad side. it was oh so cruel.

    • Nutta


      “My Brand, my beautiful Brand…”

      • Nipper

        Yes, “The Brand” suffered some damage.

  • AC

    A bit of a problem with restarts? I’d say a lot. If you look at how many times the ABs acquired possession from restarts (both our and theirs) it would be around 80% to the ABs. One of these, while a crap decision by Joubert, led to an AB try. Part of the reason for this, was Cooper’s inconsistent kicks (one not going ten) but also ordinary chasing and ball contesting. Being wallabies, you’d expect better jumping and general commitment, like McCaw showed at one point stealing the ball above our locks heads.

    Individually, Cooper’s confidence was rattled and yes he had a shocker. Credit to the All Blacks who targeted him and didn’t give him any time. But we need a plan B when he is targeted or outside backs are rushing up to prevent his cutouts. Perhaps a kick in behind would be a good go-to strategy. He had the rugby version of writer’s block and couldn’t create anything.

    Rocky was busy in defence but also missed several tackles. I agree, not a captains knock and we need more from him.

    Worst game i’ve seen from Bam Bam in conceding three penalties at the breakdown and missing a crucial tackle on Kaino. He usually doesn’t miss any.

    McCabe was largely ineffectual in the ball carry. His obstruction with Digby in attack was keystone cops stuff. After seeing the telepathic Reds back-line in the S14, it’s disspointing to see such a lack of cohesion when we have other options. AAC was again largely ineffectual and a general turnover risk when his crash ball runs don’t break the line (and support is not forthcoming). Both should he and McCabe should be on notice. I felt in general there was very little link play in this game from the WBs, compared to the ABs that I agree, were machine like. Not sure why the support play was poor? I think the pace of the AB game and the way they move you around the park, at times claimed our forwards.

    Simmons had a very average game too and i’m not sure a cool-headed Sharp wouldn’t have been a more solid option.

    The speed of decision making was also a key difference between the two sides, and Deans should field some of the blame for this. The ABs seem much more comfortable and intuitively aware of their structure and game plan, alarming considering there were seven changes and they still gelled better than us.

    Kurtley made some poor decisions. Notable failure to pick up a ball from 5 yards out allowing Mils to secure the breakdown, along with a half-hearted intercept attempt at a dangerous time, which eventually led to a try.

    Just seems the All Blacks played like a team and we played like a group of talented individuals with no common purpose. It’s ok to play what’s in front of you and be creative but not at the expense of cohesion, support play and patience – the fundamentals. We need a solid, simple, percentage game to fall back on when under siege. Not miracle passes. Where is your plan B Robbie?

    • Lance Free

      The restarts appeared to me to be a problem but before I wrote about it I had a look at the stats. They suggested it wasn’t as much of an issue as I originally thought….

    • Bay35Pablo

      So McCalman is the new Richard Brown …. ?

      • Garry

        and Ma’fu is on the plane to SA.


    did anyone else notice that the scrum and lineout were visibly weakened when vickerman came on??

    • phantom65

      I think you’ll find that was Faiangaa…
      The scrum always goes to pieces when he comes on. Always.
      He’s OK in the loose, but he is not strong enough at this level. And really is a waste of a bench spot.

      • bill

        I think you’ll find the ABs had a much better scrum once Crockett departed.

  • BigAl

    “although on last nights effort we may have also struggled to beat England” Can I remind you they have beaten us the last two times we have meet (convincingly) as did Samoa (and we lost to Scotland). For what it is worth I think Ireland have the ability, at full strength, to really do a job on us (don’t be fooled by ‘their’ result against Scotland).There is much chat on this sight about the ‘Reds’. It was fantastic for them and Australian Rugby they won the Super final. That is not test rugby. Much of the chat leading up to the test at Eden Park was naive at best. The Wallabies needed to pull their heads in and go into the game fighting for every inch of grass on the paddock, that is test rugby, where flamboyance is a luxury few can afford if they hope to take the spoils against opposition worthy of respect.

    • pants

      I think the reason the Reds get mentioned alot is because they played together like a well oiled machine, not the disjointed shambles we are seeing from the Wallabies. The combinations are just not working and you have to put that down to selections and coaching.

      • Garry

        many of the Reds may not be the best in the country, but under coaching of the quality of Link and his team, they can achieve their full potential, even over achieve.

        As Mark Ella stated, our WB’s are full of ‘raw talent’. We’re just waiting for quality in our coaches.

    • bill

      And this wallaby side aren’t playing rugby anywhere near the quality of the reds, not yet. I’d keep the front row but from 4 to 22, give me the reds plus pocock, beale, jo’c and AAC every day.

  • Elsom is not playing well enough to retain the captaincy — the skipper needs to lead by example and rally the troops. Ashley-Cooper and McCabe are too predictable. McCalman is not up to the task.

  • pants

    Just read that Ma’afu has been selected to go to South Africa. When will the insanity stop?

    In case Robbie didn’t notice, the Brumbies SUCKED this year.

  • Bay35Pablo

    I don’t think we played that badly, just the ABS played really bloody well. Of the 2, we have the most improvement possible, although that line does start to get a bit tired after a while.

    We had our chances in ther 1st 20 minutes, but the ABs defence was so good it just always managed to snuff us out. This is what we used to do to them 10 years ago. The ABs took their chances when they had them.

    The ABs rush up defence had me wondering if they were offside a lot of the time. No excuse for losing, but they always seemed to be 2 steps into a run when the ball was getting passed out by genia, which meant they were 2 steps away from the 1st tackle. Bit hard to attack with that in your face.

    My biggest issue with the WBs is when we have the upper hand in aggressiveness from the start, we usually win, or if the other side comes back, we up the ante. However, when the opponents get in our face from the get go, we don’t seem capable of thinking “oooh, OK, we’ve got to up the ante and get back in this game.” We just seem to be content to bt the ABs wenches and not fight back. As always, comes back to mongerel and leadership. I can’t imagine Owen Finegan and co not getting stuck in twice as hard had they been playing, so where are our mongerels … ?

    I’m willing to give AAC the benefit of the doubt with McCabe inside him. Would have been interesting to see how he would have gone with someone giving him more space of options.

    • Jay

      There was one passage of play when the commentators were speculating on whether the AB’s were onside. I rewound and they were absolutely fine at every phase in the play immediately prior. Good linespeed following static ball doesn’t allow much time to attack.

      • bill

        Why was the ball static though Jay?

        • Jay

          Cause the AB’s were making first up tackles and forcing the Wallabies to commit bodies to the breakdown.

          Look for yourself – here’s the passage in question.


        • bill

          I don’t have any arguement with the first 20 minutes Jay, ABs clearly superior for mine, it was the 2nd 20 I felt they were sand bagging us at the ruck.

          Interesting the contrast in the defensive policies of the reds and wallabies. Going by the selections and style of their defence the wallabies with McCabe want a top body first dominant tackle whereas the reds from their d coach’s podcast want the ball to ground first then compete.

          But then the reds had the cattle to play that way.

        • RJ

          Is this Jay guy annoying anyone else. I reckon he wears his All Blacks jersey to work. Go back to stuff.co.nz buddy. You only see what you want to see.

  • Timbo

    If we want more mongrel i say bring back Justin Harrison. He can come on, start a fight then have a rest. would have been better to watch than the butt kicking we got.

  • Handles O’Love

    Ma’afu replaces Cowan on the bench, so no damage done.

    I am a Reds man, haven’t missed a home game in 5 years, but Robinson is not up to this level. Can’t agree with that.

    Tight 5 – our dilemma is this. If we add Sharpe for Simmons, we get more go forward, and arguably a better lineout, perhaps a better kickoff receive, but our scrum and clean-out/counter-ruck go to shit.

    Saia is just holding a spot down for TPN. Come back Tatafu!

    Don’t move Digby, Quade, Kurtley or Will. Lets shuffle the rest with Barnes and AF, and see if we find a spark.

    Kurtley was not great defensively. The stats will protect him, he was so badly out of position on a couple of line breaks (leading up to try 1 in particular), that he didn’t even make a missed tackle!

    All is not lost. We held possession, scrummed well, but kicked and passed badly. Kicking and passing have been our strengths in S15 and the SAf game, so we know we can do them. C’mon August 27…but don’t lose this weekend!

    Not that I really care about the compormised TNs this year, but we are in with a good chance. If we put a 4 try BP performance in this weekend, at sea level, then we would almost edge in to even money…

    • Garry

      ” 4 try BP ”

      …against a rested Saffer outfit, at home, after them copping a pasting in the media & their fans.

      Hmmm, more pain to come?

      Instead, I’d be happy to get out of this one without a major injury. (touching wood)

      • bill

        Barnes, just don’t know about him. There’s so much to like but he’s not the quickest, and occasionally looks over anxious of making a mistake. Better than McCabe at this point though. McCabe looks as though he needs another year or two to learn before turning out consistent performances. Given time though I think he will be good for us.

        • suckerforred

          BB on outside of QC may bring a steading influence though and options for the kicking game if he is shut down.

  • hooker

    other sides will now fear us like they do the French, wondering which wobbly side will turn up

  • Robson

    Tri Nations prospects?? Don’t think so. Played three – lost two – one of those at home – and now on the road in the Republic with a fresh and rejuvinated Springbok side to contend with into the bargain. As well as that all the question marks which sprang up after Saturday’s test are still well and truly UNANSWERED.

    But the big question for me now is, can Robbie Deans coach a Wallaby side to a Rugby World Cup victory?? Well he just doesn’t have the track record over the last four years to be a convincing candidate for the title of RWC champion coach. Nothing to do with the calibre of the players; I believe that the players are available to do the job. But they seriously need some inspired direction and sadly it is not coming from Robbie Deans. He seems to be on a different planet to them.

    If the Wallabies get to hold the William Webb Ellis cup high in the air after the final of the RWC tournament, it will be in spite of Robbie Deans not because of him. I can’t see it happening. But I hope that I’m wrong.

    • reg

      couldnt agree with you more….

    • suckerforred

      Um – played 2 lost 1 me thinks. Somoa not in trinations yet I don’t think. Or has there been a game i have missed?

      Agree with you re Deans though. And for some reason I thought you were a kiwi. must be just the pic.

      • Robson

        Sorry mate – talking about test match scores here. And yes I am a Kiwi.

    • RedsHappy

      Robson: my long-held negative views on Deans are well clear, but you summarise very well what was evident in the first 15 mins vs both Samoa and the ABs. This coach has not been able to create a powerful, intense, disciplined rugby culture within this Australian team. The players are playing as individuals and cannot properly respond to intense adversity and well-organised attack. The ability to do that is rugby 101 for a top Test team. The obstinate persistence with Elsom as ‘must have’ player and much more so as captain is also shaping up a major error of JO’N and RD judgement in such a critical area of Wallaby land. It is just beyond belief that the board of the ARU could strongly endorse (before a 2011 Test was played) Deans to be signed for 2 more years without any link to any form of 2011 achievement KPI – or anything else for that matter. With a national rugby board like that, can it clearer as to why we have a 3+ year Wallaby w-l ratio of just over 50%?

  • GregT

    I don’t think Deans is getting it too wrong and, while I understand the angst about Elsom, he’s totally undercooked at the moment. He needs a bit of time. He probably deserves it. In a way, it was the thundering loss they needed to have — better now than later. The lack of a Palu go-forward beast is killing them. They have no penetration in contact and and try to go around too early. Higbum might be the bloke, but who knows. Suspect it’s wise to credit the ABs for a great job and get on with it.

    • bill

      Having had to go through 12 weeks on the sidelines with a badly torn hammy myself I think Rocky did very well to turn in that 80 minutes. But we need more and the question has to be asked is he physically capable at this point?

  • reg

    how many times do i have to keep saying this… QC is not a test player. hes a super rugby carnival player whos razzel dazzel only works in super rugby. where there is more gaps and the odd weak defender.but in test rugby its the best of best supposedly. cooper aint it.tryin do compare him to carter is a have.. not in the same league. perfer barnes at fly half. QC goin to let us down. dont say i didnt warn anyone.. and this defence reshuffle come on..we look rediculess trying to protect him. if he cant tackle he shouldnt be in the team. hopefully what they should have learnt from this game IS HOW IMPORTANT DEFENSE IS…..

    • bill

      I used to think Cooper was a flash schoolboy not up to s15 level. How wrong I was. All I can say is one day you’ll be so glad to be proved so wrong, doesn’t matter if you’re a non wallaby supporter or not, you’ll get converted.

      Don’t think Cooper did much wrong in this test. Apart from that intercept, which was an ordinary decision.

      • RJ

        I gotta say i think i saw 3 or 4 terrible decisions. he should have gone wide a few times when he cam back in. Never though i would hear myself say that.

        He’ll come good.

      • Joe

        Bill, mate I think you need to rewatch the game, because you missed Cooper’s flick pass in goal which was absolutely shocking.

  • murph

    Disagree that they were rabbits in the headlights. The selected team lacked the talent – that is the problem. Plain and simple

    • Robson

      They looked remarkably like rabbits in the headlights to me mainly because they didn’t seem to have any back up game plans (plural). If they did have them nobody was calling them, so that calls into question the captaincy and senior team leadership. But I don’t think they had them. Deans believes in the idol of “playing what’s in front of you”. Structures and plays would be too much like a lesson from the Book of Henry.

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Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

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