British & Irish Lions

Wallabies Need More From Wycliff Palu In 2nd Test

Wallabies Need More From Wycliff Palu In 2nd Test
Hopefully Paul will be more involved this week

Hopefully Palu will be more involved this week

Whilst the Wallaby forwards were good in the first test against the Lions, they’ll need to be better again tonight in the second test.

Nathan Sharpe said on Thursday night that he thought Wycliff Palu was the Wallabies’ most damaging forward last weekend. I didn’t see that – in fact I thought Palu’s impact was minimal. He averaged only 2 metres per carry. I only rated 2 of his 9 completed tackles as dominant and he only completed 69% of the tackles he attempted. 

The one area where he did have some impact was the breakdown – of the 7 times he was recorded as being first into an attacking ruck, I rated 6 of them positive.

His work rate was reasonable in the first 15 minutes of both halves but then fell away in the balance of both halves as you can see from the chart below. Clearly he wasn’t match fit last week and the Wallabies need a lot more from him tonight.

  • BOPSteamers

    Do you have a stat for 2nd to attacking rucks? Obviously needs to lift his output especially being a back rower you’d want his tackle numbers up in the 15 -20 range but knowing he’s short of a run why is he being played for 80 mins?

    • JimmyC

      He wouldn’t have played 80 mins if we didn’t need Hooper in the backline. Mowen would have moved to 8, Gill to 7 and Hooper to 6.

      • old laurentian

        Good point. Even more complexity about the strange Hooper at centre decision.

        • JimmyC

          I disagree that it was the wrong decision. Much less of a distraction moving one player and playing them out of position than three.

        • bill

          given how well Hooper can run the ball it was a fair gamble that had the misfortune to run into someone who could target it. Just means Hooper gets some reps at in centre in training, reps that would be more meaningful with Cooper picking out the runners coming at him but we wouldn’t want to point out the pissing contest Robbie’s playing.

        • JimmyC

          Agree Bill it’s the call I would have made

    • bill

      2nd to the ruck? That’d be the ‘McCalman’. Ooops you said attacking rucks, my mistake.

  • Max Brammer

    Was Sharpie ever damaging or dominant? A good leader and reasonable all around the park but never dominant IMO. Dominance comes through mongrel aggression e.g. Higginbotham. Something Palu seems to lack

    • BOPSteamers


      • Max Brammer

        I know it’s sacrilege, respect to Sharpie, I just imagined more damage from that big frame

  • John

    i believe Nathan was referring mainly to his breakdown work on Rugby HQ

  • bill

    With a green 5/8 we can’t afford any passengers tonight. Hopefully they all do well. It would have been nice to see the backrow chosen from Quirk, Mowen, MMM, Gill and Hooper. Hopefully Cliff recaptures some of the intimidation he can exert on games.

  • Jack Mallick

    I’ll admit, I’m a Tahs fan and I also have a soft spot for Palu.

    But, I’ll also say that if Higgers was fit, then I would have wanted a Mowen-Higgers combo for sure! No doubt in my mind.

    However, after watching the replay and paying attention to Palu I will argue that it’s always just about the numbers – some of those ruck hits were more than just positive, they were bruising whether he was first or second man in attacking or defending.

    At the moment he’s the closest thing we’ve got to a ruck monster, and that seems to be what his team mates recognise and praise him for.

    • Jack Mallick

      supposed to say “not always about the numbers”

      • Who?

        Very much agree, Jack. I’d have gone Mowen/Higgers with Cliffy not there. And Palu did have some very strong ruck involvements on the weekend, even when he wasn’t first there. But his ball carrying was poor without exception, and that’s a major problem. It was nice to see him peel players off as the second and third man in to the ruck, but most of the time the hard work was done before he got there.

  • old laurentian

    Palu can get match fit in a week? We live in hope…

  • Braveheart81

    Palu had a great game in game 2. Topped the stats for being first to the ruck, and runs and run metres amongst our forwards.

    His ball retention from all his runs was also excellent. We need a repeat of all this in game 3.

British & Irish Lions

Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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