Wallabies comeback kings over Springboks - Green and Gold Rugby

Wallabies comeback kings over Springboks

Wallabies comeback kings over Springboks

A lot has happened since the Wallabies last played at Suncorp, and it all pales into insignificance in the looming shadow of the World Cup where we have to make it out of the pool of death.  What would fans see tonight?  Could Giteau and Mitchell slot back in?  Cheika surprised me several times in the lead up to this match by naming Moore over Hooper as captain, and by naming Genia and Cooper over Phipps and Foley.  As matches to start the international season go, it looked to be a good one with Burger returning and Kriel making his deserved debut.  Game on South Africa.

Wallabies v South Africa

The Match

The opening minutes were an exchange of kicks and turnovers as both teams settled into the match.  It was the Springboks with the first chance at points, but Handre Pollard missed his first chance off a penalty against Will Skelton.  The Wallabies built some solid phases with fast ball and threatened the Boks line, but Skelton lost the ball and we found ourselves inside our own half.  Loose play from the forwards meant errors like turnovers and knock-ons were racking up and the clock hadn’t reached 10 minutes.

The Boks, with the little ball they saw early on, moved quickly and Jesse Kriel made a brilliant break that had the Wallabies scrambling to defend our line.  The Boks were moving a lot faster than the Wallabies around the set pieces and Matfield took a fast lineout that led to Pollard’s second attempt at goal, this one successful.  The Wallabies had trouble building phases and it was frustrating to watch chances squandered as the Boks put pressure on our attach.  And not even chances at tries – just chances to advance the line into the Boks half.  Schalk Burger in particular was everywhere, being a general nuisance and not letting the Wallabies build anything – tackling hard and forcing turnovers and generating penalties.

The Wallabies scrum was put under a lot of pressure by the Boks (even missing Matfield) and was monstered quite convincingly, and the resultant penalty went against us with Pollard slotting another 3 points.

A couple of errors by the Boks, including the ball coming off the side of Wille Le Roux’s boot, meant that the Wallabies could smell the try line.  A beautiful set piece try was scored by Adam Ashley-Cooper after a fast and smooth inside pass from Quade Cooper off the back of our lineout win.  Cooper converted and the Wallabies were ahead for the first time in the match 7-6.  For all the possession the Wallabies had  in the first half I would have expected a greater points difference, but with the Boks not giving away penalties in range and the Wallabies throwing loose passes, it wasn’t to be.

The Boks crossed only minutes later as Folau knocked the ball straight into the  waiting arms of  Bryan Habana who set up Eben Etzebeth to score his first test try.  Pollard’s kick put the Boks ahead 7-13.  It wasn’t over yet – Wallaby fans had their hearts in their mouths as 2 minutes after the halftime siren had sounded the Boks were again camped on the Australian’s try line and they came extremely close to being up by 7-20 as they headed to the sheds.  This really was representative of the first half – the Boks had little possession but managed to grab the ball at the breakdown and threaten very quickly – the Australians weren’t being quick enough at the breakdown and were struggling to dish out the same punishment.

The second half started with Jesse Kriel scoring a brilliant try on debut – quick ball from Le Roux to Habana to Kriel meant he put his foot down and crossed for a great try and the score was 7-20.  The Wallabies had no one to blame but themselves here as they misread the play (Higgers) and missed some key tackles (Slipper).  Cheika used his bench early (starting at 46″), replacing Higginbotham with Pocock and Kepu with Greg Holmes.   As a Reds fan, that is an awesome story – 2849 days since Holmes last wore the green and gold.  After a good personal season in a shocking team season, it is a well deserved cap.

Rob Horne Tackled

With the addition of Holmes and the wholesale replacement of the Boks front row, the Wallabies were able to dominate in the scrums, but if I were Cheika I would be concerned about this heading into the World Cup with matches against England and Wales – we should be nailing the set piece.

Australia’s second try came off the back of some very solid scrum work as we were awarded the fee.  Passes from Phipps to Folau, back to Phipps and onto Hooper saw us close the gap with a successful conversion to 3 points with 5 minutes to go.  The Wallabies were absolutely in it to win from here.

The final play of the night was the game changer – literally – behind to in front; losing to winning.

Less than a minute to go.  Giteau back on.  The crowd is on their feet screaming for the kick to touch.  Moore points to the corner and Giteau punts it.  The Wallabies win the lineout and the phases build.  We are now in injury time as the ball goes from one side of the field to the other.  Toomua attempts a break, Phipps passes to Kuridrani who twists and turns to cross the line or does he?

Owens sends the decision upstairs and the crowd agonises with every replay.  Decision back = TRY!

It was a win, and I will take it.  There were some exciting elements, but with close to 65% of possession the Wallabies shouldn’t have won after the siren.

For my mind, Horwill absolutely outpointed Skelton when he came on – running hard at the line and making good breaks, while holding on to the pill.  Skelton, for all his bulk, didn’t make it through the Boks defensive line and didn’t add anything to our scrums either.  Genia didn’t come back after halftime, but Phipps was fast, aggressive and dogged – I would absolutely have Phipps start over Genia.  Genia’s passing off the deck is a little slow and he didn’t have the niggle that Phipps did.

Cooper didn’t have a particularly strong match, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked first time round, so I can’t rule him out conclusively.  Toomua was a joy to watch when he came back on, tackling hard and running hard, being in the right place at the right time.  Looking at him make the most of his time on the field it was absolutely an audition to start.  That said, still not sure he should start – he is a very handy injection off the bench.  Maybe 10 & 12?

Folau was supreme under the high ball.  Yes, there were a few lost as he returned to ground, but he challenged every time and made it look easy, ensuring we retained or secured the ball AND made ground.  And I can smell my roasting flesh from the NSW fans, but I would start Pocock over Hooper – we were swamped at the breakdown and really didn’t challenge the Boks to steal back possession.

What say you?

The Game Changer

The TMO review that awarded the try to Tevita Kuridrani.  Massive Wallabies supporter, love that we won, still not entirely sure it was grounded.   Aren’t you all pleased I am not the TMO?!


Kuridrani for the contortionist act after the siren.

World Cup watch

Less to do with players and more to do with a goal kicker, my kingdom for a goal kicker.  Ye gods!  I know both the Boks and the Wallabies missed kicks tonight, but at this level with the World Cup less than 2 months away, you just can’t miss.

The Details

Crowd: 37,000

Score & Scorers

Australia: 24
Tries:  Ashley-Cooper 34′, Hooper 74′, Kuridrani 80′
Conversions: Cooper 34′, 75′; Giteau 80′
Penalties: Cooper 55′
South Africa: 20
Tries: Etzebeth 38′, Kriel 45′
Conversions: Pollard 40′, 46′
Penalties: Pollard 16′, 26′

Cards & citings


  • onlinesideline

    Sio and Holmes
    Sio and Holmes
    Sio and Holmes

    • MichaelA

      There are 8 players in a scrum.

  • Nick

    Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result. There were lots of areas in which we need to improve significantly, however, its great to start off the year with a win especially considering that we were on a 3 game losing streak and in the last world cup year (2011), we started off the season with a loss to Samoa.

    I may receive some criticism for this but I was pleased with the performances of ALL of the backs. Even though Quade had that potentially disastrous and completely idiotic pass right before halftime, I was pleased with his overall performance over the course of the game. Realistically, it will take him a few games to get back to his best form in a gold jersey and I think that last night’s match was a good start to the year for him. I think the same can be said for Giteau. He could have been a bit more direct in his running but I thought he put in a very solid performance for his first game in a gold jersey in 4 years.

    While I was happy with the way Quade and Giteau played, I was much more impressed with Toomua. The backline looked much more organized once he came on the field. I think that for the remainder of the Rugby Championship, Cheika should continue experimenting with these 3 so that by world cup time, 2 of these guys will be our starting 10-12 and one will be a strong substitute off the bench.

    Kurindrani and Folau played great as expected.

    It was nice to see Phipps play well off the bench. Hopefully, Genia’s injury isn’t too serious and the Wallabies can have 2 very solid / potentially great options at scrum half. I’d also like to see some more experimenting with the wings. I thought Horne and AAC played well but I think Mitchell / Tomane / Speight (possibly even Naiyaravoro) all have the potential to be even more effective.

    While I was happy with the backs, I was not very happy with the forwards. The scrum was horrendous until Holmes and Sio came on. I have no idea if the scrum did better because Sio and Holmes did well or because the Springboks reserves did horribly. I have a bad feeling that the reason is more likely the latter.

    I thought Simmons and Skelton were both disappointing. It was nice to see Horwill play with a ton of enthusiasm off of the bench and hopefully this can continue through the world cup.

    Hooper gave it a good effort but unfortunately, he just isn’t big enough to be effective against a team with enormous forwards like South Africa. Pocock needs to start every game that he is healthy. I would like to see Cheika experiment more with Pocock and Hooper on the field at the same time. Our rucks looked immensely better with Pocock on the field and I think Hooper can benefit from Pocock’s presence.

    I also hope to never see Higginbotham in a gold jersey ever again. His kick that went over the deadball line would have had a 7 year old benched for a couple of games.

    Overall, its nice to start the year with a win. While some might say we got lucky that South Africa’s substitutions played so poorly, I would say that we were unlucky that we butchered at least 3 tries and missed a few easy kicks at goal. I think the final scoreline was a fair reflection of how both teams played over the course of the entire game.

    I’m much more excited about the world cup now than I was 24 hours ago. If we can cut out the stupid handling errors and get the forwards to play angry for the full 80, this could be a special year.

    • Nick

      You’ve met your match Nick. I have finally caved and signed up for Disqus. No longer will I let your slightly different views from mine be judged as mine! I now have the power of up-vote. You are my first as I like your name. Cheers.

    • Who?

      Think the lack of hard straight running from our wingers – which is their natural game (i.e. they’re not flyers who live in the train tracks, they’re power runners, crashballers) was the big issue for our 10/12 in the first 60. Toomua came on and played like an old fashioned 12 – ran straight and hard.
      I was crankier with Cooper’s first pass to Folau than his flick to Kuridrani. The first pass, I was shouting, “Touch! Touch!” Then I saw that Folau had called it and the option was on… If he’d not tried to get the ball to Kuridrani, then he should’ve kicked it the first time he had it, because he would’ve been tackled isolated and the opportunity would’ve been lost. There’s not many who take those chances when they’re offered. Barrett’s one (he gave Betham that try against the Tahs this year). I’m happy to try a bit of risk/reward stuff there.
      And we were definitely VERY lucky that Heyneke didn’t give Bismarck another 10. We’d have been cooked.

    • MichaelA

      “The scrum was horrendous until Holmes and Sio came on.”

      That doesn’t work. Holmes came on at the 45 minute mark, about the same time the Boks switched their front row. Sio came on at the 65 minute mark. It either improved when Holmes came on, or when Sio came on, not both.

      In fact, the scrum looked much better throughout the second half, well before Sio came on. And that indicates to me that Slipper may not have been responsible.

  • Chinese Dave

    My review, if you’d like. TL:DR – go the Wallabies!

    Front row: best scrummaging performance I’ve seen in a long time and the situation even improved slightly when Sio and Holmes came on. Moore was immense, played the full 80 and led the team very well (and beat Strauss comprehensively), my MOTM. What a great feeling to know that we can replaces our entire front row (assuming TPN is also still good) and still be very competitive. 8/10

    2nd row: Simmons was a bit slow (or lazy depending on your point of view) with his open play, but called the lineout flawlessly. Skelton had a reasonable performance, showed great hands, but carried the ball too high at times. Both did well in the scrums. Horwill was abrasive and controlled and once again we had a replacement who didn’t take us back, but arguably even improved the situation. 6.5/10

    Back row: I though Higgers was the weakest link there, his physicality not up to the level required against SA. Hooper was very good, making up for what little he lacks in the breakdown with excellent line speed and reading of the game along with his ball carries into contact. Fardy was his usual aggressive defensive self and Pocock made the most marked change on the timbre of the game when introduced. I reckon the Saffers’ eyes get a bit bigger while their arseholes get a lot smaller when he’s on the field. I also noted that our lineout didn’t suffer when Pocock and Hooper were on at the same time (perhaps Horwill for Skelton made up for that), and I think they combined well. 8.5/10

    Midfield: very disappointed with Cooper’s game, I was hoping Cheika lifted him but he was frankly terrible. If Foley had kicked like that he’d be rightly crucified. Toomua changed the game a lot when he came on. Genia I thought, while slower than Phipps, showed some of his class and I’d say showed enough to win selection for the next game. Phipps didn’t make any mistakes and sped up the game remarkably, making the most of his introduction after Genia’s injury. Giteau was good in defence, was possibly a bit unused to the speed but did enough to win selection again, in my opinion. Kuridrani grew a third leg after a relatively mediocre season for the ponies and showed why Cheika’s faith in him was not misplaced. His try to win the game demonstrated both great strength and presence of mind. 7/10

    Back line: Folau was tremendous, especially under the high ball. As an aside, Owens’ weak point in this otherwise strong game was his inability (or lack of desire) to protect Folau from the repeated tackles in the air. AAC was good, showed some class if not speed, while Horne was anonymous though he defended well, and Mitchell was much the same. 7/10

    All in all, the Wallabies did well to beat a slightly more hardened SA team after a long hiatus from competitive play. There was definitely some rust, and some bad habits that Cheika needs to keep chiseling away at (not supporting the tackled player, not chasing high balls enough). But we won the lineout against SA (albeit Matfield-less for most of the game), and came out on top at scrum time, both achievements not to be taken lightly.

    Selection wise, I’d persist with this team for the most part, only replacing Cooper with either Toomua or Foley (or maybe Gits with a different IC on for him), and Tomane for Horne. Looking forward to next week’s game.

    Go the Wallabies!

    • Keith Butler

      A great comeback from the Aussies and a deserved win. this just proved to me the value of having the better bench replacements. The Boks were good value for their 20 -10 lead until they started major subbing and the wheels fell off. Will Skelton has a lot to learn and I thought was pretty ineffective in the 50 mins he played. Poor scrum technique, picked up by the commentators more than once, no lineout presence. What disappointed me most of all was his lack of drive, he spent more time walking than running and his ruck hitting was half hearted. He gets a 4 out of ten from me. Our scrum got better when Horwill came on and that seemed to energise Simmons who had been pretty quiet up til then. With Holmes and Sio on the pack started to dominate up front. Higgers was a bit of a disappointment as well. With Pocock taking the ball up close and Hooper out wide the breakdown got better as well. Agree that the midfield did I not work as well as it could have. Phipps had a good game as did Toomua. TK very good and Israel excellent. I would start both Holmes and Sio next week along with Horwill and may give the Pocock/ Hooper combo a run on to see how it goes and then pick the strongest teams for the ABs game.

      • Rob Malcolm

        Spot-on. Holmes, Sio and Horwill made our scrum solid, albeit after Bismarck had departed. I know we’ve groomed Slipper for ages, but he just doesn’t seem to deliver at scrum time. He has been part of a lot of bad days. Kepu has improved, but has also been part of those dark days. Skelton should be an impact player off the bench. That allows us to play Hooper and Poey for 80 minutes as Horwill, Simmons and Fardy share line out duties. Totally agree that we should try this combo against the Argies.

        • Nutta

          If I was the national coach:
          Sio / Moore / Kepu
          Simmons / Skelton
          Poey / Higgers / Fardy
          At 60min on comes
          Slipper / Hanson / Holmes
          Horwill (for Skelton)
          To be clear, Simmons is on last legs in this. He must step up or in comes Horwill and Arnold/Coleman to the bench. Skelton needs to stop attracting refs attention too.

        • Keith Butler

          Thought Simmons was pretty much anonymous until Horwill came on when he started to spark a bit. Must be a Red thing.

        • PiratesRugby

          Skelton, a slow, non jumping impact player?

      • Tah fan

        Definitely thought skelton had a lot to learn at scrum time. When the boks second shove came he lost his body position. All he had to do was reset his feet, then reset his back and counter. Big kev did that well. Our scrums dominated when kev came on. Before we talk of rotating the props i think we should switch the second row to a better scrummaging one. Its the key area of concern. I thought hoops played the house down and so did pocock. Have me shivers (the good kind) seeing the two of em do their thing. Definitely think we have the right game plan to take on the darkness.
        Toomua was awesome. He did what cooper always gets critisised flr not doing and thats taking the ball into contact and passing later, once committing defenders.
        As for genia the one thing someone needs to tell him to do is to get involved in the ruck if we are short. Soo many times he doesn’t commit and we loose the ball.

        • Keith Butler

          Reminded me of George Smith and Phil Waugh from days gone by. Just means you need three jumpers so I’m afraid it’s the bench for Will. Mind you as an England supporter (but also a Citizen) I’d be quite happy to see Big Will on the field for 80 mins against England come the RWC. And our forward bench will be far better than the Boks was. A game too close to call IMO but I’m very worried about the Aussie threequarters.

        • Who?

          Phipps didn’t join the ruck either. Phipps was definitely faster with his clearance, but I think Genia – whilst he’d still have been a touch slower than Phipps – suffered for the completely lack of presence at attacking breakdowns from our forwards in the first half.
          Really disappointed Skelton didn’t show any of his Super form… Time to try Arnold. Give him a run against the Pumas before we have to make a decision on a starting pairing for the ABs.

    • MichaelA

      “Front row: best scrummaging performance I’ve seen in a long time and the situation even improved slightly when Sio and Holmes came on.”

      Yeah… no. Scrummaging was pretty bad in the first half. It improved a lot in the second half to become passable. That was when Holmes came on, but also when Boks took off their entire front row. Sio didn’t come on until 20 minutes later, by which time we had already won our first scrum penalty.

  • SD

    We can’t leave out Hooper or Pocock, they are both essential. It’s problematic as we don’t have any world class locks to provide the freedom to do this, but they are awesome in combination.

    Quade kills me, everything happens so far behind the advantage line that our backs didn’t have a chance.

    • Rob Malcolm

      Spot on re Quade. And exacerbated by Sanchez slow pass. Phipps and Tomoua were outstanding. Fast and flat. Tomoua’s defence is top notch too, so we didn’t have to dick around hiding him. Start them against the Argies.

      • Nick

        I’d love to see us play Toomua at 10 more. Phipps, Toomua and Gits is a great 9-12.

        • Quading in…

          Yep with you there mate!

    • Tah fan

      We do have good locks. One was on the bench and the other didn’t play. We also need a number 8 who plays tighter to allow poey and hoops to combine to destroy other teams. When they were on together we were dominating.

      • Marcus Pontmercy

        Who didnt play?

        • Quading in…

          Arnold, Marcus. The equal tallest player in rugby history…

  • Nutta

    Random thoughts from a random punter:

    Thank you KE for the write-up and to the Boks for being an outstanding opponent. Their back row in particular was massive.

    For the Wobblies, it was really poor breakdown support work when in possession. That must be fixed and fast. I get we are running an extra loosie out wide, so we must clarify the midfield accountabilities more precisely because one support man flopping in midfield won’t cut it moving forward.

    As for individuals:

    Folau’s work in the air fantastic as was his running in the wide channel

    Phipps work rate and accuracy was noticeable. Sanchez will be under serious pressure even if not hurt

    Toos out pointed Gits both in close and wider. There will be serious pressure on Gits but to be fair to Gits it has been a long time between drinks and he will be better for the run

    We should pay respects to both Poey and Hooper. Poeys breakdown turnovers and running contribution was outstanding whilst Hoopers tackling (eg the hit on Burger to get the 5m scrum) was simply superb

    Horwill had his strongest spell in a long time and his work off the ball was noteworthy whilst Simmons carrying is still weak and bombed a try. We can say Skelton was weak or we can say he was clearly double-teamed and still made the g-line.

    K-train, I love you. And for someone like me to say that is a little disconcerting. It’s great to have a hard running line bender.

    For me there were three negatives – poor goal kicking (STILL), 3 bombed tries (Higgers, Gits & Simmons) and poor midfield breakdown work when in possession. And that says nothing of QC’s brainfart at the end of first half.

    But that said it was a really gutsy win off the back of a really energetic injection off the bench (can’t recall Oz having that depth). And the biggest call out for me was that we competed physically. We took the Bok head on and see how much easier everything else became when we did? Wasn’t it so refreshing to see the outright hunger to win?

    And see, we can scrum when we want too…

    Bill year this is so let’s not get over excited yet. Great win but let’s see how we back up against the Puma next week.

    • Agree about ‘K-train’. He’s awesome.

    • Punter

      Agree with pretty much all of the above from Nutter! Top 5 for me was:

      1. Hunger: During the last 20 (you could see Fards screaming… “have another scrum”…. when we finally got one over Bokkie and had a short arm 5m out… that was great to see;

      2. The Bench – maybe sweeping statement but did every bench player out performed the player they replaced? Caveat it was hard to see who replaced who in the end with Gits, Mitchell etc.

      3. Poey/Hooper: these guys were huge. Loved (legal) Hoops’ sacking of Schalk;

      4. Izzy – nuff said.

      5. The de Plessis brothers. These guys were immense. Jannie is a doctor. Can he prescribe some of the scrum medicine to us? They went off. They lost.

      Now for the bad:

      1. Scrum: JC. We got monstered and only had relief (see point 5 above). Lynagh (sky EU) made a comment that this was Skelton’s fault. Any analysis?

      2. Breakdown: did anyone else notice each time we attacked that – Hooper, Poey, Fardy, Higgers were on the wings. This was deliberate. I can see the method. But it didnt work as we got pilfered numerous times in the middle of the park AT THE BREAKDOWN.

      3. Goal kicking. In test rugby you need an 80% + kicker. period. Gits, Cooper, Beale have repeatedly shown they are NOT this.

      4. QC: Love his huge passes, amazing skill, pace, and new attitude. But he seems to get frustrated/flustered if pressured and drops back into pocket. I fret over his plan B (e.g. tactical kicking). Not to mention his d. But still there should be a place for him in the squad due to his undeniable skill. But think it is off the bench when the game has broken up a bit.

      5. Tactics – it was the first hit out of the season and great to start with a win. But what were our tactics? We seemed to be going lateral, not defending the breakdown and trying enormous speed to get around the Bokkie. Would have liked to have seen more kicking for the corners and pressuring their line out. We’ve all seen the skill of Izzy under a defensive highball, but why not use that same skill for an offensive (rugby league) highball?

      • Tah fan

        Skeltons positioning in the scrum did not look good. Looked like what he did last year, when pressure was coming he hunched over. When you do that you arent able to maximise the force you can generate to counter whats coming your way.As his body position was woeful you could see kepu eventually not getting support and then he almost stands up. It was a shocker from skelton from a scrummaging point of view. He should not start. You don’t want to loose the scrums from the start.

      • Rolando

        Firstly it was obvious the Boks were a much more cohesive skilled team. They played away from home, without Vermulen and substituted two of their strongest players early and they still had the game in the bag…till the end.

        Scrum, we got punished as James Slipper didn’t stay square. Skelton may be partly to blame as he ‘choked’ a little last night. Does Higgers give sufficient leg-drive from lock? Cannot yet tell if Holmes better than Kepu as faced a weakened Bok pack.

        QC and Gits passing laterally works if you have strong ball runners out wide. If Cheika is running Fardy and Higgers out wide, this depletes numbers to the breakdown. Starting with Poey would compensate somewhat.

    • John Tynan

      By brain fart do you mean the behind the back pass that hit TK on the chest?

      • Nutta

        No, I mean the “Campo” moment seconds before half time

  • keith

    Greg Holmes!

  • Pedro

    Thanks for the write up Kate. I agree that Pocock was the more effective openside but Hooper made some key plays. I think there is certainly a case to play both.

    I was also curious as to why Australia was awarded a scrum when they refused to make contact with a bok maul from a lineout. I thought that in that situation it would be obstruction/truck and trailer scenario. Shouldn’t that be a penalty?

    • Rob Malcolm

      Yep, and great to see that we are going to be doing that play because all those truck and trailer tries are a blight on the game.
      I think it was Kepu who darted around the outside and grabbed the ball carrier.

    • Punter

      Yup – it is a theme of the accidental offside rule as you say. Few teams tried it in NH this year. Not sure if it is a short arm or long arm tho. Agree will be interesting to see how teams/refs use this.

      I saw Bokkie do something interesting that I have been thinking about. Situation was a defensive lineout near their try line (i.e. Wallaby throw). Wallaby won lineout and proceeded to set up maul. However as Wallabies were setting up a maul the Bokkie lineout “fell over” in front of the maul. The maul could not drive forward as their were bodies on the ground in front of them… and they tripped over said on the ground. Defensive lineout jumpers often fall over after the lift has occurred. it completely nullified maul and seemed legal? thoughts?

      • Nutta

        Yes I noticed that too. I did similar with a team I coached years ago. I just got 3 of my lads to form a small wedge directly opposite the jumper as he comes down. Important to note they were not touching each other or the opponents and simply hunched over with elbows on knees. As the opposing maul moves forward the opponent initiates the contact with my guys (who are holding their ground) and they simply roll backwards and speed hump their maul into falling over them. Got continuously pinned by refs for not offering a tackle “Not in the spirit of the game” & Law6A4A crap. I can’t find anything to say it’s not kosher especially as it seems I can put as many blockers in-front of a kick chaser or under a highball as I like. The only legit complaint anyone may have is that it’s a player deliberately getting off his feet to impact the game – but as it is not yet part of a maul/ruck/tackle/anything then what makes that different from charge-down where it’s a man deliberately leaving his feet to impact the game? One to ponder with Yoda like patience & depth

        • Punter

          I think it is not a bad tactic young Skywalker. But in Bokkie’s example they fell over after jumping, making it look even more “unintentional”.

    • Who?

      NO got that non-maul wrong – penalty every day of the week. The ball carrier knows he can’t release the ball until he’s tackled, and you know if you’re being tackled! No way you can genuinely call it ‘accidental’.
      Also got the first 3 points for the Boks wrong (Hooper wasn’t offside – just fast!). But he had a pretty even handed game.

      • MichaelA

        Yes, and didn’t go to the TMO at all, until the very last try.

        Compare that with Joubert who continually stops play so he can go upstairs.

        • Who?

          I don’t generally consider that a failing, though. And, though it made me bury my head in my hands, I was pleased that he at least made his own call on that last try, before sending it upstairs.

  • Chris M

    I’m relieved, but it’s hard to be elated.

    I was very impressed with the scrum and general forward play when the replacements came on. That’s a very positive change for the Wallabies.

    Kiwis were very good against Argentina on Friday. We’ll have to improve a fair bit to beat them. Hopefully, something will click and those missed opportunities will go the other way for us.

    • bad ass

      Do you mean we will have to improve a bit to beat Argentina?

      • Chris M

        I meant NZ, but you may well be right.

    • Lorne Malvo

      I was elated. I thought the wallabies camp had clearly lifted players above super 15 level. Well done to the coaches

      • Nick

        Good name. Welcome aboard.

  • joe

    I think the starting front row is the best we have.
    malherbe was clearly the weak link in the bok scrum and when sio came on fresh it made a big impact.
    we almost lost the game because we lost the breakdown most of the time with those big four b duplessis, louw, coetze and burger dominating.
    pocock has to start. maybe try skelton on the bench and start hooper and pocock at the same time.
    higgers didnt have a good game… lets see how mcalman goes next week

    • Sape

      When Malherbe first came on with JdP out for blood, he destroyed our scrum, but have to agree that Sio had him in his pocket when he came on.

      • joe

        he was fresh off the bench and had the rest of the starting front row with him. when he got tired I think it really showed.. and sio coming on fresh in front of him also made a difference.
        but now is the time to experiment, so if cheika wnats to start them against argentina they will have a great test especially holmes against ayerza!

        • Tah fan

          When sio was on big kev was the second rower and clearly the better scrummager. Plus was great to see big kev play effectively.

      • RobC

        The difference in the scrum was when Big Willy was replaced after 50′

        • MichaelA

          I beg to differ.

          Every scrum in the second half looked better than our scrums in the first half. That includes the scrum just before Skelton went off.

          Why? I don’t know, yet. One possibility is that its because Higginbotham and Kepu were taken off and replaced with Pocock and Holmes at 45 minutes. Another possibility is that it has nothing to do with player substitutions and everything to do with some technical changes that the pack and their coaches discussed at half time.

        • RobC

          48′ scrum Big Willy was on. after Poey charged down BdPs ‘clearance’ feed and cycle. First scrum in 1H

          50″ scrum also Big Willy was still on. After QC Ktrain short ball drop. Malherbe pushes through Holmes and Big Willy

          The difference? SB do not challenge WB feed for penalties, so their flankers can breakaway to defend the midfield. In their feed they go for 2nd shove. And the Boks brought on Malherbe and Strauss.

          Next scrum 60′. After Giteau is held up in tackle and maul is called. WB win a penalty against the feed. Strauss couldn’t hook, and dropped to his knees

          The difference? No Big Willy. Every scrum after that WB dominated.

        • PiratesRugby

          Spot on.
          I thought Skelton sorted out his scrummaging this year. He was pretty good in s15. All the Aussie scrums improved. Stage fright or just not ready for test footy?

        • RobC

          PR, he was great in the early-is to middle rounds. But Tahs scrum dropped later in the comp esp around 3 weeks ago eg vs Reds

          From what I observed Im guessing its technique on how to deal with 2nd shove, which can be addressed. Its strange cos ive seen his scrum deal with 2nd shove eg vs Rebs. I guess it was at SR level

          Don’t think its tiredness because the issue was there from scrum 1.

        • MichaelA

          No they didn’t. About three minutes later the Wallabies were short armed for collapsing the scrum. Skelton was not on the field.

          Conversely, Skelton was in the pack when our first scrum for the 2nd half held solid .

          Beware of a priori assumptions about particular players. Particularly in scrummaging – sometimes its nothing to do with any player

        • RobC

          I make no prior assumptions. I review every scrum in detail at least 10 times, sometimes much more. Here’s a sample of the result: http://www.theroar.com.au/2015/05/22/scrumma-mogram-wallabies-scrum-part-3/

          In fact I am big fan of Big Willy and assumed he will do well. But it didnt happen.

          Wait for the scrumma-mogram on this match. I’ve done an all-scrum analysis and Im finalising the video.

          The short-arm at 63′ is not for collapsing. Btw collapses are long-armed:
          – this happened after Gits bombed a try, via no-look pass to Izzy.
          – short-arm is for pre-engage
          – Have a close look. Malherbe was pancaked. and dragged Slips down.
          – It was the third reset and Owen made the right practical decision to move on.

          re the ‘solid’ scrum. Its the same scrum at 48′ I explained above. Boks like every other team defending their 5m, will not over commit their flankers in a scrum to challenge the attacking scrum. They need them to break away to protect the midfield

        • MichaelA

          My bad, I shouldn’t have written “for collapsing the scrum”. It collapsed twice and then he short armed them after that.

          But you are still dodging the issue – i.e. your comment above “The difference? No Big Willy. Every scrum after that WB dominated.” It simply isn’t true, hence why I wrote what I did. That is what I mean by a priori assumptions – reaching a theory based on personnel changes, and then forcing all the facts to fit it, even when they don’t. So far, I haven’t found any single explanation that explains everything that happened with the scrums in this match.

          Re your scrumma-mograms, I know them already. You put a lot of work into them, and frequently their analysis is correct.

          Your argument on Boks not committing their flankers (effectively arguing that they weren’t really pushing compared to first half scrums) doesn’t wash to me – the Boks are pushing, and there is a significant difference in the composure of the Wallabies pack compared to all but one (I think) of the first half scrums.

        • RobC

          Not dodging the issue Michael. Its a key finding of the analysis, no prior assumption. Ive already done the 2nd review last night.

          Details will follow in the vid, along with the 48′ scrum too.

          re 48′:
          – you will see all WB 8 are in the scrum
          – Before they pack, the Bok backrowers point to the blindside, but Pienaar stays on the openside
          – As soon as its fed, Pineaar spots the direction of the attack
          – Once Pineaar calls it to his blindside. Schalk meerkats way off the back
          – All WBs are still pushing in the scrum. Then Flow pops up, no longer pushing. The pill still in the WB scrum
          – Then Poey plays the ball to blindside.
          – Flo and Schalk are already in the midfield. Pienaar too

        • RobC

          re flankers peeling off on opposition feed (not defending their 5m). After their settling few scrums.

          Almost all top scrummaging teams do it. They only go for tighthead win, when they ‘smell blood in the water’

          Otherwise, they wait for their chance on their feed and go for the 2nd shove penalty. 2nd half they got this on 50′. This was the only time

          Two examples I can think off, Big BIFF Stormers Tahs. Stormers went for the tighthead, but backfired. Tahs cleared it fast. Lead to a try. Happened twice Stormers vs Chiefs this year.

          Another is Ireland England. Ireland almost never dropped the ball, and England almost never challenged Ire feed. Eng challenged and TOd it only once. There’s a full review of it on one of the articles.

          SBs behaviour on Saturday is consistent with this

        • MichaelA

          Rob, you are trying to conflate “not going for a tighthead win” with “not pushing” . You know better.

          You’ve just thrown in a whole lot of semi-related issues, which are mostly true in their context, but don’t change the fact that the Wallabies scrum was being easily pushed back in all bar one of the first half scrums, and this wasn’t happening in any of the second half scrums.

          And yes, you are still dodging the issue. I will state it again: You wrote: “”The difference? No Big Willy. Every scrum after that WB dominated.” And that is not true – there is no way you can say they dominated the scrum at the 63 minute mark. Why not simply admit that you overreached yourself with that comment?

        • RobC

          Michael. If you happen to watch some of my almost 13,000 comments over a period of time. I dont get into an exchange for the sake of winning an online argument with strangers.

          If Im wrong no problem. Im too old to care about winning points. But I am v happy to clarify what I said or correct it.

          Firstly re my statement re dominated. I could have said ‘generally dominated’ or dominated clearly except 63′
          – But it does not detract from the actual point. The issue of the WB scrum was Will Skelton. It a 180 turnaround after he left.
          – If you analyse each scrum on the SB 2nd shove, you will see issues with his bind, body shape, his shoulder position.

          re 63′. Even though the WBs did not win the engagement. They easily repelled the 2nd shove:
          – The second time in 3′. That’s two more than the whole 1H
          – But if you look at that last reset, Slips had the wood on Malherbe.

          Secondly re not pushing / TH win. I did not say they dont push. These are your words. I said the flankers do not overcommit:
          – More importantly. All Im saying is the WB 48′ win is not due to a competitive WB scrum, nor proof that Skelton is a good scrummager as you asserted
          – As I described in great detail, the SB scrummagers did not fully commit to the engagement, and let the WBs feed the scrum without a serious challenge

          Finally all the stuff I added about Stormers Tah Ireland Eng was just background to highlight that scrum penalties are generally won by scrummagers on their feed. They only go for TH win on attacking situations. Not defending situations like 48′

        • MichaelA

          “I don’t get into an exchange for the sake of winning an online
          argument with strangers.”

          Who said you did? Getting a bit oversensitive there, my friend.

          What I have suggested is that your analysis is wrong on this particular point. There is a difference, believe it or not

          “nor proof that Skelton is a good scrummager as you asserted”

          WTF…? Not only have I never asserted that Skelton is a good scrummager, I do not believe it to be true. I am just looking at these particular scrums as I see them.

          “But if you look at that last reset, Slips had the wood on Malherbe.”

          That’s not what I am seeing (and before you jump to yet more conclusions, no, I am not anti-Slipper. I am just calling it as I see it for this particular game and this particular scrum. The pack as a whole is stronger at 63 minutes, but no more so than at 48 minutes.

          “I did not say they don’t push.”

          No, but that is effectively the conclusion you are trying to draw, when you are trying to explain away a Wallaby scrum that was, as I put it, rock solid, and noting that this is a comparison to how it looked in the first half when it took very little to send our scrum backwards.

          “They only go for TH win on attacking situations.”

          “only”? Granted they are less likely to do it, but it is simply not the case that its never done. We see several instances each season.

        • RobC

          That first part was to say Im not into arguing for the sake of saying ‘Im right’. Im hoping you are also.

          You mentioned I made my comments based on prior notions fitting my analysis based on personnel changes and retrofitting it. I clarified that I have done my analysis by watching the videos and watched their form. If you dont trust my judgement / believe what I say, I understand. I dont know you and vice versa.

          But you were quite adamant Big Will was not the main issue. Now your saying he’s not a good scrummager. Or are you saying he’s not a good scrummager but he scrummaged well against the Springboks? Which one is it? If its not either, then tell me specifically what the issue is. Instead of saying broad things like seeing things differently. Is it the bind? Body angles? Timing of the push? Leg position? Which pod? which row? which players?

          Because when the video comes out you will see what a bad scrum Skelton had in this detail. In fact you just have to listen to commentators about his shape, as a clue

          I do not think youre anti-Slipper. Actually you seem anti-bias, and take exception with my seemingly dismissive remarks about Big Will.

          re I think this wasnt one of Slips best days, but its more than enough to flatten Malherbe (FM) who was on the paddock for 14′ whilst he was on the field for 64′. And FM is a much better scrummaging prop than Jannie.

          Come on over to the roar, and join the detailed discussed there.

          yes ‘only’. If not ‘only’, then ‘almost always’. Now please show me where good scrummaging teams drive for a TH without knowing they had a chance to attack either by knowing they have the clearly superior scrum, or they are in a point scoring / dominant territory situation.

          Here’s one example for you: http://www.theroar.com.au/2015/04/10/scrumma-mogram-front-row-seats-for-south-african-referees-joubert-and-jaco/

          The video for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddGG6-Xip2s

          Here’s an example of the exact opposite. You will notice that the ABs do not push TH in other instances. Only in attacking situation. Start 1m33s:


        • MichaelA

          Rob, there is no need to patronize, and you are missing the mark with that by a long way. I will make this my last reply as I have to travel shortly.

          1. I don’t believe that Skelton is a good scrummager; but sorry, that does NOT mean he is necessarily the main problem in this particular case. There is nothing illogical in that, despite your attempt to make an issue of it. For example, I do not believe that Ben Alexander was a good scrummager, but that doesn’t mean that he has always been the problem when our scrum had issues, even though some people tend to blame him even before the game starts. Sometimes he is the problem, sometimes its others.

          2. Where we disagree is that I see all the scrums in the second half as being a significant improvement on those in the first half. You deny this and will only have it that the scrums became good after Skelton went off, and thereafter you argue that the Australian pack was always dominant (and I disagree on that point also). I am sorry that the way I see these scrums causes a problem for your theory about Skelton, but I can only go on what I observe.

          My observation (that the scrums lifted after half time) indicates that, whatever issues there may have been with individual players (which I don’t exclude), yet another important factor was changes implemented by the Australians after half time discussion. You don’t seem to want to concede that even as a possibility, because you are so determined to see one player as the main issue.

          3. “But you were quite adamant the issue wasnt Big Will who was the main issue.”

          No, actually I wasn’t. Rather, you were adamant that Skelton was the main issue, and you didn’t like it when I pointed out that the way some of the scrums happened didn’t necessarily fit with that theory.

          4. “Because when the video comes out you will see what a bad scrum Skelton had in this detail.”

          From what I could see on the day,Skelton’s scrummaging was about as bad as it usually is. But that still doesn’t automatically mean that he was the main problem.

          5. “re I think this wasnt one of Slips best days, but its more than enough to flatten Malherbe (FM) who was on the paddock for 14′ whilst he was on the field for 64′.”

          Interesting assumption – I am not at all sure that the prop who is on the field for a short time is the one with the advantage. Its not a matter of strength. Also, the very fact that he was flattened (i.e. went down) is an indication that this wasn’t a matter of LHP v THP, but of the dynamics of the whole scrum. Props don’t flatten each other, generally speaking.

          6. “And FM is a much better scrummaging prop than Jannie.”

          Is he? He is pretty good when partnered with Kitschoff, but I am not so sure that applies with others. In any case, what is important is how he went in this particular game, and I think few would agree with you that the Bokke scrum improved after they replaced their front row.

          7. “Now please show me where good scrummaging teams drive for a TH without knowing they had a chance to attack either by knowing they have the clearly superior scrum or…”

          Exactly. A team that believes they are superior will indeed consider driving for a TH even on their own 5 metre line. Hence why I
          disputed your claim that teams will NEVER do this. Yet another of your sweeping statements.

        • RobC

          Yes, this I very much agree. Ive spent a lot of time on this conversation, thinking this was going to be fruitful.

          1. What I found interesting, is how quickly you determined that my analysis to be pre-determined. Ironic.

          – All prior work is bias-free. Its reviewed by least 2/3 other people, from NZ/SA/AU
          – This is no different. I dont care if its Big Willy, or Willie Le Roux
          – The finding is, what it is. Its just analysis, done in great detail.

          2. I still dont understand how you derived this conclusion of bias. In any case, my interest has passed.
          – What is apparent is you seem to care a lot about in proving pre-determination/bias instead of looking at the cold facts
          – If you care to look, check the 50′ scrum carefully as a case in point

          3. I have read your comments. Its best to wait for the article. Which in hindsight, my original reply should have started and ended there.

        • RobC

          Now that Ive addressed your points. I would like for you to show me where and how Skelton was a good scrummager.

          If you cannot then please tell me where the issue is with the WB scrum. Or something else.

        • RobC
        • RobC
    • Who?

      Great point. Malherbe was constantly setting up angling in. Then he wasn’t taking the hit on the ‘set’, trying to milk the penalty for early engagement. Which left him constantly in a position where we – and both Slipper and Sio – got a great view of his ribs. Boring in whilst not going forward on the set to find a comfortable position, he was always in terrible position to drive, so it’s no surprise our scrum picked up when Jannie left.
      Completely agree about the breakdown. It was my concern with a Higgers/Hooper setup, and Pocock’s injection was huge. Not for his single turnover (though it was pretty handy), but because, from that point on – any only moreso with Horwill for Skelton, etc – our breakdown was so much more secure.
      Keen to see Arnold either starting or benching, with Horwill staying in. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Mumm got a run… Skelton needs to regroup and prove he can do at Test level what he’s done at Super level. Wasn’t up to it.

    • MichaelA

      “and when sio came on fresh it made a big impact”

      Wallabies had strong scrums at 48 minutes and 59 minutes, the latter on a Bokke feed. Sio didn’t come on until 65 minutes. So no, it wasn’t his impact. The Wallaby pack had already got its act together.

  • boby

    I once thought Rob Simmons was the luckiest lock on earth but now i know Will Skelton is. 8 runs for 5 meters gained. 4 tackles 3 missed and one penalty for offside. He looked gased from the start. He is ineffective at the breakdown and brings nothing to the lineout. I watched twice when he bailed on a defensive lift on Simmons who if lifted would have stolen the lineout.

  • joe

    they have to try the crosskick to folau! at least when in advantadge like pollard did!

  • skip

    On attack having your backrowers on the wings is only an option if your wingers are hitting the rucks. Bismark & the backrow had a field day and that’s why 60 odd % posession wasn’t enough for a convincing win.

    • Nutta

      Agree. Midfield accountabilities need to be sorted. Meat, potato and then gravy lads – and in this case it means securing the ball when in possession is a meat issue.

    • MichaelA

      Bokke had their backrowers on the wings in attack too, and even second rowers.

  • PiratesRugby

    I didn’t see the game. How did Will Skelton go? Was Etzebeth able to keep up with him? Was Skelton able to dominate rucks and tackles with his great physical presence? Did the earth shake with his brutal tackles? Did holes open up in the Boks’ defence with each of Skelton’s barnstorming runs? Did he jump in the line out, at all? He’s a pretty good lock isn’t he…

    • Nutta

      Morning PR. I like this post. Whether I agree with you or not, this is a damn good post. In terms of Skelton, yes a 140kg guy will not be as lightening fast as a 100kg guy. That being said, everywhere he goes he is double teamed. Him just being there takes out 2 defenders before he even does anything – even in the lineout. Doesn’t that make him worthwhile in that he automatically creates an overlap somewhere else? Is it his job to firstly not only create the overlap but then also identify it and deliver the ball there to?

      • PiratesRugby

        I’ll try to catch a replay of the game. I’m not convinced that carrying this lumbering giant is justified by the double team argument.

        • Tah fan

          Theres only a possoble argument there if all parties agree to ignore the importance of a second rower in scrummaging. If you do that you can debate the effectiveness of his carries and amount of defenders he attracts. If you believe that scrummaging is important and that being in the engine room you have a very important duty to deliver solid ball then theres no point talking bout skelton cause that part of it was woeful. Especially when you consider in super rugby he got his body positioning right but was the hunch back of notradame with his body shape and position last night.

      • Keith Butler

        I was very disappointed by his overall performance. I reckon his job is to lock the scrum and either win lineout ball or disrupt the oppositions lineout. Neither of which he did effectively. What disappointed me most of all was his lack of effort in getting round the park. Can’t say I’ve seen too many international locks walking so much after just 15 mins. Mostly conspicuous by his absence at the breakdown and when he did make it clear outs were halfhearted. Not just my comment but media reporters as well. In one his contribution was described as “underwhelming” and that just about summed up his game last night. Aussie scrum improved when he was replaced by Horwill and Holmes and Sio came on. The bench turned the game in our favour.

        • MichaelA

          That’s a 20 minute period – Holmes came on at 45 minutes, Sio came on at 65 minutes.

    • teach

      He was awesome. Steve Hansen and the ABs will be terrified that he will be getting any game time against the ABs.

      • PiratesRugby

        I’d laugh but I fear that the WBs will persist with Skelton nevertheless.

        • Nick

          He’s worth persisting with. He’s only young and has incredible physical tools. Whether it’s starting or from the bench. I think it’s important to give some of these combinations a further go against Argentina.

        • PiratesRugby

          When you say physical tools do you just mean he’s big? That’s not enough. He can’t jump, he’s too slow, not fit enough, gives up penalties and has apparently reverted to his bad scrummaging habits. If you want to persist with him then don’t let it be in the test side. Another Waratah indulgence.

        • Nick

          His height and weight helps but he also has a bit of skill in his ball play and good tackle and clean-out aggression. We gave up on Nadolo and look what happened…

        • Who?

          It’s ok, we’ve capped Skelton, he can’t be ‘stolen’ now. :-P

        • Dally M

          Link did that versus France last year.

        • Who?

          So, given he’s capped, we don’t have to stress that he isn’t ready. He doesn’t have to play every Test now, he can be in and out of the side until he’s truly ready, until there’s truly no one more worthy of the spot than him. After the Super 15 season, there wasn’t anyone more deserving. After last night’s performance, we once again have a LOT of questions over his place.

        • Nick

          Skelton and Luke Jones were arguably our top performing locks in Super Rugby. Not sure why Jones isn’t in the mix at the moment but It would be silly to cast Skelton aside now. He’s probably better suited to the bench for tests at the moment.

        • Who?

          Jones is too short, and is better suited to six. The Rebels ran 5 loose forwards, no true, traditional tall locks.
          I’m not saying discard Skelton, I’m saying he’s not our only option, and there’s no reason not to look elsewhere. You’ll note I did acknowledge his S15 performance. But give Arnold a go. Give Coleman a go. Give them a taste, see what they’ve got, see what combinations work… And use Skelton as form and fitness demand – especially if/when he shows it in a Test match.

        • harro

          You could just as easily be describing Higgers

        • Dally M

          No way, he’s a Rebel & very dear to Pirates heart. He only has two pet hates & they are both Waratahs.

        • PiratesRugby

          Wrong. There are more two of them. But you’ve got to admit, I told you so about Skelton.

        • Dally M

          You told me nothing.

          Like I said, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

          He had a poor game. It doesn’t substantiate the rest of the bullshit you write about him every other post.

        • PiratesRugby

          LOL… What do I write about him that he didn’t do last night? If anything, he was worse!
          So you’d pick Skelton again next week?

        • Dally M

          Here’s a novel idea, put your personal hate for Skelton aside and write a comment about all the players performances without the over the top hyperbole while ignoring the failings of other players. Of course hell will freeze over before that ever happens.

        • Vern

          Dally M!

          Unless you are related to the great man mate, can you please desist from using his name in vain?

          Why? I’m his relative.

          I believe I’ve told you to join the Far Queue before………….

        • Dally M

          Dear VernGuest,

          Congratulations and good luck to you!

        • PiratesRugby

          Higgers did himself no favours last night. He’s a 6 at test level. He’s not as good as Fardy. He was good in the air at the lineout but a lack of presence at the breakdown and at least one crucial misread. If he wants to play the wide ranging back rower then he’s not going to match Hooper in that. I’d be surprised if he started next week. But no one on either side was as obviously out of place at as Skelton. He was like Eddie the Eagle out there. But Eddie had his loyal fans too…

  • bad ass

    The forwards were the difference that put us on the back foot, as they have done for almost a decade. I was at the match so I couldn’t see Hooper at the breakdown, but I did see him in the backline way too often when he needed to be in the forwards. People will point to his try and tackles as reasons to keep him as the starting flanker, but that betrays the little understanding they have of why the Wallabies struggle. Tinker with the backs all you like, it’s a waste of time. Below is a picture I took of Hooper at the match.
    The SA forwards could hang off the breakdown with gay abandon to defend in the line knowing one or two of theirs was enough. That is what every top team does when they play us and it’s embarrassing.

    • MichaelA

      Every test team plays its forwards in the backline on attack, including the Boks last night.

      • bad ass

        I think the boks could afford to do that because they were winning the breakdown. Do you think it’s the right thing to do if we are getting swept off our ball? And it always seemed to be Hooper.

  • bad ass

    …and if we bring in Foley for Cooper all our problems will be solved!

    • jamie

      Um.. We would’ve lost by 20+ points if foley had been on. Why not beale at 12 as well?

      • bad ass

        I was being sarcastic.

      • MichaelA

        “Um.. We would’ve lost by 20+ points if foley had been on.”

        Really – why?

        • jamie

          Because we wouldn’t have scored any points and the boks would’ve run at him all night. At least Quade can tackle 1 on 1

        • MichaelA

          Please don’t waste my time with inane comments. If you prefer Quade to Foley, sure, whatever. Its a matter of opinion.

          But don’t go saying incoherent dopey things like “we wouldn’t have scored any points” when the Wallabies have scored a large number of tries with Foley at 10, and don’t go saying “at least Quade can tackle 1 on 1″ when his stats in that respect are much the same as Foley’s.

  • I agree with starting Pocock over Hooper. Not that Hooper is in anyway better or worse, but I can see merit in Pocock’s pilfering for the majority of the game and then running Hooper off the bench in the final quarter to ramp up the energy. Both are awesome players.

    • Rob Malcolm

      Last 30 mins demonstrates why we don’t need to make this choice. Pocock and Hooper both on caused the Boks problems (and they have a great backrow even without Vermulean). Why not get 160mins of world class instead of squabbling over 80mins? [It does mean we need Horwill on for Skelton so the lineout can function]

  • musta

    My view of the game:
    Genia’s passing game was much better than phipps inaccuracy, often with passes to the head. Genia did his job, because you didnt notice him.
    Giteau – great return to international test level. Seemed to exhaust himself quickly.
    Holmes – better then Kepu. running and scrummaging
    Simmons – lazy at breakdown but good in set pieces.
    Hooper – great game
    Poey – great game, all 20 minutes of it.
    Folau – being Folau.

    Cooper – get him out of there. Foley can kick AND run.
    Higganbotham – useless. Put Hooper in his position.
    Fardy – not at his best, not seen at breakdown, instead on the wing?

    Mitchell – didnt get much opportunity

  • A few points.

    1. Yay we won! (most important thing)

    2. Will Skelton earned his Wallaby jersey with his Super Rugby performances this year and then lost it with that poorly-skilled, lazy display. Out of his depth at test level.

    3. Quade Cooper had a solid game (suicidal flick pass aside) but his kicking was terrible. Pretty much every general play kick went straight down Le Roux’s throat. And the goal kicking wasn’t any better.

    4. The bench was huge! Every single member of the bench played excellently, especially Pocock, Holmes, Phipps and Toomua.

    5. I think the 23 is a good group but here’s how I would start them against the Pumas next week, special attention payed to the scrum.
    1-15: Slipper, Moore, Holmes, Horwill, Simmons, Fardy, Hooper, Pocock, Phipps, Toomua, Horne, Giteau, Kuridrani, Ashley-Cooper, Folau
    Bench: TPN, Sio, Kepu, Skelton, Higginbotham, Genia*/White, Cooper, Mitchell

  • jamie

    So it’s quite clear that Pooper is far more beneficial than Helton. Skelton onto the bench or out of the 23, either Fardy into the second row or Horwill or even Mumm. Maybe Arnold due to his size and apparent advantage at the line out? Kid can run too. Pocock at 6 or 8, Hooper at 7. Higginbotham should probably be out, replaced by McCalman.

    4. Simmons
    5. Arnold
    6. Fardy
    7. Hooper
    8. Pocock

    That gives us 4 line out options really, if Hooper and Pocock are both part-time jumpers.

    Oh and Holmes for Kepu. No anti-Waratahs bias here, all provincial rivalries should’ve been thrown under the rug by now

  • Sam

    There seems to be a lot of negativity going here. That was a hard fought game. I think everyone has forgotten we are ranked 6 in the world SA is 2. That’s an upset win in my book. Plenty of positives. Gits was good and showed a big ticker. Pocock can play 8, our sub front row is as good as the starters, the whole team was trying as a team. Moore leads from the front (but that man has one smashed up face).TK regained some form!! Wingers didn’t let anyone down! Toomua is a gun. Yeah there is a lot of room for improvement but they never gave up or backed down, I was proud of the team tonight!!!

    • idiot savant

      Completely agree with you Sam. So many positives and we havent had enough match practice yet to get the combinations humming. The attack philosophy was rewarded (by comparison with the Bok’s defensive philosophy). For me the keys were Phipps and Pocock coming on so early along with the subbing of the Bokke front row. The game turned in our favour with each of those moves. Cheika is a master motivator. They played with passion.

      There is so much to like and so much to build upon, Uncle Bob’s analysis notwithstanding.

      And when are the refs going to take action against the pretend jumping under the high ball practised by both the ABs and the Boks? Refs are currently rewarding the cowardly play which is to try and become a hurdle so that the catcher who shows the real courage will tumble and fall after catching the ball.

    • This is the Internet, Sam, where negative people gather to ague vehemently and intransigently over whose negativity is correct.

  • Cramps

    This was a gutsy performance from a new side. The second half sold me that they’re on the right track.

    For me, this proved that Pocock and Hooper should both start. Their skill sets are beautifully complimentary. With them on, we did well at the breakdown, the line out was fine and the scrum was also fine. So let’s get on with it.

    Phipps redeemed himself after the Super rugby semi. The pace of his service was a massive step up from Genia.

    Horwill was a great super-sub. A real eye opener.

    Giteau deserves his place, looking forward to the combinations building in the back line.

    Well done boys. The win is a tremendous start! Build on it!

  • Tah fan

    Saw some exciting things in the second half. Still think our starting second row needs tinkering. Would love to see big kev (surely he has to start now) with Arnold and maybe mumm or dennis of the bench.

    Was not impressed woth skelton, during super rugby his body possition in scrummaging was awesome. Last night it was woeful. Made our front row look like powder puffs.
    If pockock and hooper can operate like that then, surely mcalman needs to start and do the dirty work higgers didn’t do.

    Genia seemed like he had the brains like where to position himself when theres a mid field bomb but Phipps energy and clean passes at the start trumped him.

    Lots of positives, hope we really build on it and we need to if we are to beat the all blacks.

  • john g

    Have to agree with Pocock over Hooper. Hooper had no impact at the breakdown at all. Fardy can’t do it all.

    • Tah fan

      Last night it was clear that hooper and pocock bring two very different sets of skills and impact into the game. We can definitely have both of them. But if we do have the two of them then skelton and higgers can’t be on.
      Hooper was awesome in defense and should have had that one turn over. I recall only one turnover from pocock. I think it gives you the indication that the game plan the coaches want the loosoes to play doesn’t give you as many opportunities to pilfer. Otherwise we’d see a pilfer from poey every 5 mins.
      Loved having the two of them out there, it eas awesome.

      • Who?

        The bigger difference between Hooper and Pocock was on attacking ruck ball. Our attacking ruck was SO much more secure when BamBam came on… But I’m happy to say I was amazed at Hooper’s tackling last night. His ruck work was ineffective, his running was miles off his brilliant best, but his tackling was awesome.

  • bad ass

    Quade created so much time and space for those around him in all the moves I saw him involved in. I thought his so called “brain fart” was really genius which almost had them a three man overlap. The Kiwis would have done it. The backs are fine and I wish people would stop trying to tinker with them. Imagine that back line with a set of decent, and dare I say it, “dominant” forwards. I read a SMH review of the match where the author said that Quade was crabbing too much and Toomua “straightened” the attack. I watched the game again and such talk is just completely blind.

    • MichaelA

      “I thought his so called “brain fart” was really genius which almost had them a three man overlap.”

      That’s still a brain fart. You only get credit for something if it comes off. And trying low-percentage passes up against your own goal line in the last few minutes of the first half is simply dumb. Quade is a good player and he needs to leave that sort of bad judgment behind.

  • Vern

    Any jerk who criticises Hooper doesn’t understand how good his motor is! I too ponder how to put Pocock into the team. I reckon we should let the two blue healers get amongst it. Maybe we lose a bit at the lineout but geez we’ll get good ground coverage.

    Interesting what the Jarpies say. They rave about both of the little champions!

  • Keith Butler

    Right One Eye. It all changed with the bench. Why did Meyer take Pollard off?

  • GeorgieB

    Couldn’t agree more with both One Eye and Keith Butler. Simmons seems to me to be a bit lazy and that hurts us both at the scrum and around the ground. But Skelton is not (and I suspect may never be) up to Test standard as a lock. He has absolutely no idea what a lock’s job is at the scrum, doesn’t contribute at the lineout, and can’t seem to bust the line in general play at Test level. I think Keith Butler’s assessment of 4/10 was generous. So what’s he doing in the team?

  • Nutta

    Completely agree with that point.

  • Nutta

    Largely agree with your points. I think Poey & Hoops actually reinforced what they are both good at but more pointedly what each DOESN’T do as well – Hoops not competing the breakdown as often with Burger & BDP getting too many free rides in the 1st half whereas Poey was not in the screenshot when the play went wide & loose. Great to see Horwill make such a positive impression. He was lucky to make the squad after his recent form and if nothing else I am happy for him to be remembered like this then otherwise. K’drani needs a supporting hard runner as he wont get that latitude against others.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    There’s a recent video of Big Will admitting that he’s a lazy bugger and needed pushing even from an early age. Cheiks needs to use it against him and flog him up and down the sand dunes until he’s as fit as a fiddle. How he’s not now is beyond me.
    Having said that, my impression on first viewing was that the Saffers were paying very close attention to Big Will, knowing what a danger he can be, and ensuring that they sapped his energy.
    There was a moment when Will looked like he was going to offload but hung on, and it was the right decision. But…I reckon soon enough we will see Skelton’s barn storming best come out and that includes hits, runs and off loads. Sorry, I can’t speak about scrum as I know zero.

  • “Are we allowed to discuss”? Sure, but the needy request to do so is ban-worthy.

  • gypsyspud

    Don’t agree about poccok in the loose. No he wasn’t running with as much width as hoops, but he wasn’t going backwards by any means. Stats might not be as impressive in this regard but he still went forward

  • MichaelA

    Even more, why did he take off his entire front row, especially Bismarck? I just don’t understand it. They had clear ascendancy over our scrum in the first half, and then he takes them off before 50 minutes. Why?

    Not that I am complaining, mind you.


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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