Wallabies v Argentina: Key Takeaways - Green and Gold Rugby
Wallabies

Wallabies v Argentina: Key Takeaways

Wallabies v Argentina: Key Takeaways

A win’s a win, but what else do we take away from that win by the Wallabies?

Gritty performance enough to get the job done

It was by no means the perfect display from the Wallabies, but the most important thing is they ground out the win and their World Cup campaign is back on track. It was a better performance from the men in gold than the slopping display they dished up at Ellis Park a week earlier, but they will need to step up again in a fortnights time if they are to knock off the All Blacks in Perth.

Keeping the Pumas to just 10 points bodes well for the Wallabies defensive systems and assistant coach Nathan Grey, with improved showing largely due to a better defensive shape and line-speed. However, the stats still show 34 missed tackles and you get the feeling a more dangerous attacking team would have had far less trouble scoring points. The attack, led by Will Genia, also improved but with just the one try scored a great deal more improvement will have to be made if the Wallabies are to again go deep into the knockout stages of the World Cup.

2019-wallabies-v-argentina-44

With good ball, Will Genia orchestrated the attack for the Wallabies

Scrum and prop depth a real weapon

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of Saturday night’s test was the strength of the Wallabies scrum. Coming up against former mentor Mario Ledesma and a huge Argentinian pack the Wallabies monstered the Pumas scrum time and time again and were able to win five penalties, helping to relieve pressure as well as set up key attacking situations. Prop is now the position in which we have the most depth within the squad with a plethora of World Class options at Micheal Cheika’s disposal.

Scott Sio was outstanding on his return to injury while Sekope Kepu bounced back with a solid performance at tighthead. Taniela Tupou and James Slipper kept the pressure on the Pumas when introduced, really turning the screws at scrum time. With Alan Alaalatoa and Tom Robertson yet to play this Rugby Championship the competition for spots at 1 and 3 is really starting to heat up. Add to this the continued improvement of Folau Faingaa as well as the solid cameo of Tolu Latu at hooker and the front row is now an area Wallabies fans can be excited by.

Folau Faingaa 

Folau Faingaa is currently holding his own in the Wallaby jersey

Halves dilemma to continue

Following on from Nic White’s strong showing in South Africa, Will Genia was excellent last night in his last ever game at Lang Park. A fair portion of the Wallabies attack came through the veteran number 9, with his ability to throw a flat ball right at the line to a forward steaming onto it at pace helping the Wallabies obtain crucial front foot ball.

Similarly, the return of Christian Leali’ifano was a great success with his long kicking game and game management skills really giving him an edge over Bernard Foley. Just who will start the first Bledisloe cup test is anyone’s guess, but the newfound competition for positions in the halves can only be a good thing for Australia.

2019-wallabies-v-argentina-42

Fantastic to see Lealiifano back performing in the green and gold

Second half still a worry

For the first 50 minutes or so, the Wallabies looked in control of the test match and deservedly led 16-3. Then, at an eerily similar stage in the game that saw the beginning of last week’s fade-out against the Springboks; they seemingly lost their way with 30 minutes to go. This culminated in a Pumas try with 7 minutes remaining setting up a nervy finish for supporters in gold.

Of the 9 tests the Wallabies lost last year they were only ever behind at halftime by 8 points or less, but loss tests by 17 points or more on five occasions indicating that the Wallabies have a second-half fade-out problem. Cheika will be looking for better performances from his finishers, and I suspect we will see a differently balanced bench aimed at providing far greater impact, moving forward in the Rugby Championship.

Izack Rodda 

The Pumas pushed us close at the end

Backline starting to take shape

While there was just the one change in the forward pack, Cheika and his selection crew opted for four changes in the backs with all the new additions performing admirably. While we’ve already touched on the striking performances of Will Genia and Christian Leali’ifano, Kurtley Beale also provided a lot from fullback with his ability to step in as a playmaker and long kicking game proving particularly useful.

Marika Korobiete also shone for Australia, constantly coming in off his wing looking for work, something he hasn’t always done throughout his test career. His break which led to a try late in the first half showed the value of a strike winger with express pace, although his pass left a little to be desired.

Marika Koroibete 

Marika Koroibete was electric for the Wallabies v the Pumas

Bring on the Bledisloe

The Wallabies will have two weeks to build on this performance and iron out the deficiencies in Brisbane before they meet an All Blacks side that will be desperate to bounce back after being out played in Wellington. All Black coach Steve Hanson indicated before the first international that retaining the Bledisloe cup was ahead of winning the Rugby Championship on their list of priorities and you’d expect he will name a full-strength side to play in front of a sold out Optus Stadium.

This won’t include Brodie Retallick however with the New Zealand enforcer, so often the bane of the Wallabies existence in Bledisloe test matches, ruled out after dislocating his shoulder. Cheika indicated after the game that he could continue to experiment with his side and with Alan Alaalatoa, Adam Coleman and potentially David Pocock expected to be cleared from injury we could again see some changes to the 23.

Retallick, Crockett, Whitelock and Read prepare for a lineout.

The All Blacks await (well, some of them)

 

  • Keith Butler

    Sorry mate but ‘massive Argentine pack’ my arse. Overall the Wobblies 8 outweighed the Argies by 20 or 30 kg and if you weighed the front 5s the difference would probably be 50 kg. I acknowledge that pure weight isn’t the whole deal though.The feared Argentina pack is a myth that should have been buried years ago. Ledesma does not have the cattle up front which is a pity because they have great running backs.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Also going to take issue with the ‘Backline starting to take shape’ thing.

      Up against a much inferior Argentine pack and weaker defence, with out forward ball carries dominating and with a 10 who actually demonstrated the ability o lead backline plays, we only really created one scoring opportunity (two if you include Kerevi’s blindside break off the Nic White pass).

      Aside from kicking well, Beale had an entirely negative impact on the backline. He constantly came in and cramped Lilo, often jumping into first receiver and providing nothing of real value except going coast to coast behind the advantage line. In addition to that, he missed a bunch of tackles and was a disaster under the high ball. The try that we conceded started from a midfield bomb from Tuculet, which Kurtley fumbled as per usual.

      He coming into the line didn’t work with the centres as it wasn’t like TK got better ball this week than either.

      On that note, big question marks over the centres. We are between a rock and a hard place as Kerevi is our best 12 and TK our best 13, but they just aren’t gelling so far and never really have. Maybe the answer is to move JOC into fullback, but I would rather see him move into the centres to give us a bit of variety. The problem is he has been playing 12 in Europe, not 13, which would mean dropping Kerevi or moving him to 13 where he is not very good. Maybe JOC to 13? But then we lose our best defender.

      Also, Hodge is not a winger.

      Genia and White both playing well, and the competition between them can only be good for the Wallabies.

      So, other than Lilo, who is is a guaranteed backline starter? Koroibete? And Lilo is probably not guaranteed in Cheika’s eyes either.

      All in all, we had a 6 point win against an Argentina side at their lowest ever ranking, with an utterly dominant pack in the scrum and line out. Not a particularly positive result.

      • Keith Butler

        Can’t argue with any of your comments. Just saw the words massive Argie pack was like lighting the blue touch paper. I’ll take the win but it was like a curate’s egg, good in parts. Still plenty to work on with very little time. Come the RWC i’m betting on Foley and the 2 Ks but hopefully the Pooper has been finally binned (although I wouldn’t bet on it).

        • joy

          Beg to differ Keith. The Argentinian tight five weighed 581kg, 3 kilos heavier than the Australians. Our back three out weighted theirs by 17kg. Our starting tight five earned their dominance.

        • Keith Butler

          I stand corrected.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          One of their locks was the height and size of a blindside flanker, they have an embarrassing scrum and their best front rower and key lynchpin in the scrum and line out, Creevy, was injured. Dominance was to be expected.

      • OnTheBurst

        What makes you think Lilo is a guaranteed backline starter? You know Cheika is the coach, right?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Which is exactly why I said that Lilo probably wasn’t a guaranteed starter.

      • I think you raise a lot of good points.

        I wouldn’t mind seeing JOC and Kurundrani given a run. I wouldn’t mind seeing if the two K’s can get their act together, or if Berne and Cheika can mastermind an attack plan that can use the two of them together. (I have serious doubts about the last of these.)

        10-12-13, as much as 6-7-8 is about balance. Now, I never played in any of the pretty girl positions, so I am talking about this purely as a fan. But clearly you need a playmaker in there, and that’s normally at 10, normally you put your defensive line captain at 13 but that’s not obligatory. After that, you’ve got a lot of choices, second play-maker and crash ball merchant – that was Beale + Kerevi – crash ball + distributor/runner – Nonu and Smith would broadly fit that description, certainly in their early years together – something a bit more balanced where you get two hard defenders who can both kick a bit, pass nicely and engage defenders without necessarily looking to be crash ball exponents – Parkes and Davies for Wales are doing that, they can both carry into contact but it’s not their main thing, they pass when they commit the defender far more and they both tackle like their lives depend on it. I’m sure there are other combinations.

        The thing with Kerevi, at the moment, is that he gets the ball and runs and looks for contact. Unless 9 or 10 pass to someone else, no one outside 12 sees the ball. He gets great numbers but he gets them at the expense of everyone else, because he’s hoovering up their offence too.

        So either he needs to pass/offload more – and the offence needs to be structured to set that up, or try a different player in there and see if there’s a better balance in the midfield backs.

        Not sure I agree Beale was entirely negative but… he wasn’t a standout and while he injected himself more than Banks, his attacking injections were mixed and his defensive efforts were subpar. Attacking fullbacks have become the order of the day. Personally, to steal from … I think it’s John Miller… I like “Traditional Plus” in my fullbacks. Safe under the high ball. Good high tackle rate, certainly in 1 on 1’s. OK, Fullbacks get a lot of tough situations where there are lots of players flooding through after a break and they’re one on five in lots of space and can’t tackle them all, but they should still have a decent rate and take one guy out (legally) most of the time. Read the game and be in the right place. Kick well. Counter attack when its on. The plus is the fancy stuff like inserting into the line etc. Ticking those off… bring back Banks. For Beale… high ball X, tackle rate X, positioning ± kicking √ Countering ± insertions into line… I’ll give him a √ although you won’t like it.

        • Who?

          Who’s John Miller? ;-P
          .
          I think in 2010 playing for the Force, they coined for JOC the term ‘Fly Back’. He was 15 on defence, and injected himself into first receiver on attack a lot. Kind of the reverse of what Quade would do the next year, except Quade was clearly 10 on attack, and worked back to 15 on defence, whereas JOC was 15 on defence, and worked towards 10 on attack. Funnily enough, it was about 2010 where Beale established himself as a brilliant attacking option at 15 (so we had three guys who played similar roles in very different ways).
          .
          Kerevi has played some good second five football this year for the Reds. There were stints of play where he basically played 10 for them. He hasn’t been well utilised in that role for the Wallabies (and I’m not confident that Cheika would care to develop that part of the combination). So I think there’s value in having a second playmaker at 15, in that ‘traditional plus’ role. JOC is arguably the best placed to cover that. Banks is very good, but he’s looking to be set up, not looking to set up team mates. I’d have him out there at 14, as second full back. Beale on the bench, because he can be excellent from there.

        • JM comments on this site, as I’m pretty sure you know… :p

          I’m not actually opposed to the two K’s carrying on and developing a partnership, I thought it was showing some signs of developing this week and it’s always hard to tell how much is the players and how much is the game plan.

          But it does feel fair to say at the moment that combination is not making the rest of the back line fire, Kerevi is hoovering up the vast majority of the offence. That’s not to blame him, that might be Cheika’s master plan…

          Not sure JOC is fast enough to play 15 at test level any more. I don’t mind seeing how JOC at 15, Banks at 14 works in principle, just not sure about his speed.

        • Who?

          You might be right on John – just haven’t seen his name for a while. :-(
          .
          I agree the backline’s not firing yet, but I’m not sure that we’ve seen it truly fire since England in the 2015 RWC, have we? And even then, the wingers didn’t see the ball.
          .
          JOC’s pace, I don’t know. But I’m not as concerned about pace at 15 as I am at 14 and 11, and with Banks and Koroibete, I’d be ok with a little less pace at 15. He can’t possibly be slower than the back three fielded in SA, excepting Banks.

        • Steve

          if Berne and Cheika can mastermind…

          I’m struggling to think what you could have written after this for it not to be a joke!

        • A broken clock is wrong twice a day… a miracle could happen.

          I did say I had serious doubts about it happening after all.

          And hey, with Lilo there, the attack showed some different things. Either he ignored their game plan (in which case he’ll be dropped and KRL’s wish will be granted, Hegarty will get a start in Japan) or they changed their game plan to account for the fact he could hit the second runner.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The team’s attack was really poor. Some of this was due to the centres nor gelling, as you point out, but the team’s direction was much better when Lealiifano played first receiver. When Beale played first receiver we got a lot of width but it was all for nought as we just went coast to coast behind the advantage line.

          I actually think Beale is better when he isn’t asked to play the role of a playmaker/distributor and just looks to be a runner. That’s what he was great at in 2010 (especially in South Africa) and what he did great off the bench against South Africa a few weeks ago.

          As for the 10-12-13, I agree it is about balance, but I will also say that all three of them (and at the very least 10 and 12) have to be capable of willing to draw and pass consistently. Otherwise, you just play 10 man rugby.

        • Yup, I agree with that.

          I think the point I was failing to make is, although Lilo improved things – and while I’m not as negative about Beale as you but I’m really happy to see him on the bench – we need to see either a change at 12 or a rapid improvement in the 12-13 communication.

          I would like to see JOC run on at 12, see if Lilo, JOC, Kurundrani works well. But… that’s assuming that the 2K’s won’t improve enough to really make an impact by Japan (and, naturally, that the coaches won’t come up with a plan to use them). And they had improved from SA in ways that I don’t think were just the worse defence. Maybe they’ll get there by Japan… they need to be good enough to beat Fiji, can lose to Wale, should beat the rest, then win a QF…. maybe.

          Who? argues that JOC at 15, Koroibete at 11 and Banks at 14, with the 2K’s staying the centres is a better plan, Beale on the pine. Don’t particularly mind that look for a week on Saturday either. I have my doubts about JOC at 15 but it could work and it gives the 2K’s another week to show improvement.

    • Will

      The Wallabies scrum is something that has been highly criticised in recent years. We dominated them up front on Saturday but you’re still taking a negative mindset from it by putting down the argies, instead of praising our improvement?

      • Keith Butler

        No I was reacting to the initial comment in the piece. Our scrum performed very well and they should be given great credit for laying down a solid attacking platform. Talking with BL and Hoss on the night we should have made far more of it.

    • I think it was 51kg overall, I remember looking at the stat on the screen and thinking “Is that right?” but I’ve sadly deleted it from my TiVo now. But it was a huge difference.

      And as I commented on Saturday, they’ve been developing their backs and their pack has really suffered. They’re struggling throughout the tight five pretty much, and given how long props take to mature, they’ll be not great up front for Japan and France, but the next RWC they might be back to a more balanced team… if they can do it with only one professional side in the country.

      • Keith Butler

        Joy may well be right. The Aussies did have a weight advantage but not as much as I first thought. Would have increased in the 2nd half when the likes of Tupou and Latu came on. But as I said earlier weight is not everything. The Argentine scrum was poor in the 2nd half and got shunted around. That created a very solid platform which we should have used to our advantage but didn’t.

  • david baldwin

    can they please reocnsider Tevita at 13 – he is not the answer!

    • Cornchips

      Nah they just aren’t using him. He was great for the Brumbies this year and no reason he can’t be for the Wallabies. He is a more complete player this year with tactical kicking as part of it demonstrating a improved game sense, he seems to have worked really hard in the offseason and through the year, he’s just being under utilised. I get the feeling it’s either the game plan to give it to Kerevi or Kerevi just played a season where he was responsible for everything that happened in attack at the Reds and he is carrying that mindset over and not passing it on.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Kerevi and TK just don’t combine well as players.

        TK has far more runs on the board at international level than any of our other 12s or 13s.

        • John Tynan

          “Yet”

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, they might develop a good partnership, but this is probably the 6th or 7th Test they have played together, so I am unsure whether they will develop a quality partnership in time.

        • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

          Well, yes, but they’ve now played exactly 1 test outside a flyhalf who gives the impression that he knows what he’s doing.

        • Who?

          But, before this year, when did they last play together? Wasn’t it something like 2016?
          This is a new Samu (who’s learned 12), it’s a new game plan, it’s (hopefully!) a better 10… They just need all the time we can give them. Subbing TK off at 60 minutes isn’t helping anyone.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think they played some tests together in 2017 or maybe even 2018 too.

          They are still very similar players, and Kerevi almost always looks to offload, rather than to pass.

  • Will

    Great wrap up- very well written, and you make some excellent points. The Wallabies second half needs to improve dramatically within a month. Bring on the bledisloe in Perth!

    • From NooZealand

      Yeap! they will bring the Bledisloe to Perth and take it back to Eden Park.
      Simply because it takes two games to win it and one to retain it.

  • Ben Bradey

    Hard to say the second half was worse then the first as the key playmakers were swapped out. Apples and oranges

  • Sam

    I must say I’m feeling like a bit of an outsider here…..

    Was I the only one that expected we would get beaten in this game?

    The Argies are a good side and I was stoked with the win!

    • joy

      Welcome aboard Sam. Like me you’d struggle with the code above that has our First XX111 supported by 10 finishers!

      • Sam

        haha thanks Joy . I can see why coaches try to share the load going into a tournament but I really think Cheika doesn’t value/use his bench enough. When we play NZ its always 18 wallabies playing 23 All Blacks and it shows in the last 20 mins.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Are Argentina good? They’re at their lowest ever ranking. They are a good super team, but what evidence have they given in the last four years that they’re currently even vaguely good at international level.

      • Sam

        Rankings shmankings – Argentina played really well against the darkness the week before and we were rubbish against a second string SA team. I thought we still didn’t really work as a team at the start but we began to gel after about 20 min and between 20 mins and 50 mins we looked good. After 50 mins there were too many chiefs an no Indians and we let them back in the game. I was sweating bricks for the last 10

    • Who?

      I thought we may well get beaten. As it stands, they had more opportunities than us, they just failed to take them. We won, but it was a competitive game between two teams who have forgotten how to win and who play to the level of the opposition (or just below it).

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Can’t agree mate. I thought the Wallabies were well in control until Lealiifano went off. Even then, would have been no scare at all if Toomua had made an easy kick. Argentina were comfortably beaten by a very average Aussie team.

        • Who?

          The Wallabies felt in control, but the Pumas felt like they could score a quick couple of tries against the run of possession almost all night. They had more opportunities than we did, they also dropped far more pill, yet the game was still live in the last minute. So much that we kicked the ball out whilst hot on attack.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Was only alive in the last minute due to a series of blunders and mistakes:

          1. Cheika taking off Lealiifano with about half an hour to go;
          2. Kurtley dropping a high ball leading to Argentina’s try a few phases later.
          3. Toomua missing the world’s easiest kick.

          Personally, I never felt like we were likely to lose or that Argentina were threatening to score (until they did).

          Looking flashy but dropping a million balls and generally not being effective has been Argentina’s modus operandi since the world cup.

        • Who?

          1. Agree. But that doesn’t mean the Pumas didn’t blow clear scoring opportunities at 21 minutes and 25 minutes, which also could’ve changed the complexion of the game dramatically
          2. Not unusual…
          3. Matt Giteau would debate whether or not that was the world’s easiest kick (thinking Scotland 2009, England 2010…).
          .
          You might’ve felt safe, I didn’t. Our set piece was utterly dominant, but it was almost like watching England and Australia through most of the 00’s. But with Argentina as Australia.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Difference is – Aus were a good team in the 00s! To be honest, I’m frankly disappointed we conceded a try in that match. Argentina were just so poor..

        • Who?

          And England won their fair share of those games, being a competitive match up. The Pumas had (arguably) one day less turnaround than us (given they crossed the date line), they travelled further, and they pushed the ABs far harder than we pushed the Bokke. Their ranking might be poor, but we’re further below our best ranking than they are below their best ranking.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Actually, from 04-12 we dominated England. The painful 07 defeat a glaring exception.

          They were playing the All Blacks’ b-side in Argentina, not at altitude in South Africa. Big difference.

          I’m not sure what that last comment means. Look at four years of results, as poor as the Wallabies are, Argentina are considerably worse.

        • Who?

          Historically, England was still improving their winning percentage against the Wallabies. Pre-2004, they had a little purple patch, but had lost a lot preceding that game (with notable exceptions like the 95 RWC QF).. Remember, until the 3-0 whitewash in 2016, England had never beaten Australia in a series down here, and in fact had only won I think three games in Australia before that series (03 Melbourne, 03 RWC Final, 2010 – the Giteau kick).
          However, if you look at the results for the 00’s – say, 2001 through 2009 – we played 12 times. With 6 wins apiece. If you include 2000, England go ahead 7-6. If you include 2010, England stay ahead 8-7. Add 2012, it’s 8-8.
          .
          The relevant point is that we had one team that had set piece dominance and good possession, the other had electric pace out wide. It was the contrast in styles, a contrast that left the team with pace always a threat.
          .
          They may have played the ABs without most of their Crusaders (but with Brodie, Ardie, Beaudy, so not terrible), but we played SA B (they made as many changes this week as the ABs, and some of the ABs changes – like Todd for Ardie, and including SBW – weren’t all positive).
          .
          My last comment? You’re saying that Argentina are as bad as they’ve ever been. I’m saying that might be true, but we’re also as poor as we’ve ever been. It’s like us playing SA in 2016 – we beat them, sure, but they were the worst Bokke team in history to that point. Or the same in 2017 – everyone saying they were terrible, but we drew them 23-23 and 27-27. The opponent’s terrible standard doesn’t mean we were only competitive, rather than favourites or dominant.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t think it’s fair to compare the 03 team with the 04+ team. The former was one of the best of all time, and the latter was definitely not. Australia were 6-2 for the second part of that decade, and 8-4 if you include until Deans’ end.

          I don’t deny how poor Australia is. But in terms of records, Argentina are incomparably worse. They’re down 6-1 in this World Cup cycle, and it would have been 7-0 if Folau had passed to an unmarked Foley.

          Anyway, we had different interpretations of how close it was, which is fine. But until Toomua missed that kick, it never even occurred to me that we could potentially lose.

    • No, before hand I thought there was a real chance we’d lose. I thought Los Pumas really dropped off from last week. What the combination of them having left it all on the pitch against the AB, they really struggle away from home and the loss of Creevy was I’m not sure, but they really fell down several steps from last week IMO. But the Wallabies looked better too.

      I’m happy to see the improvement, but that’s qualified by the fact that a win over a Pumas side who played far better a week before and left a bunch of points out there – enough to win the match easily – is not really cause for champagne. There are some big cracks still and we shouldn’t wallpaper over them.

  • Hoss

    Afternoon all,

    Having returned to civilisation and had the opportunity to watch a replay of the game, not much has changed my original opinion from being there live. We got the win which is reward for the training paddock efforts and a fillip for the team but if we play like that against the Darkness we will have the taste of taint in our mouths for months. The FISM’s butchered a try in the first half with a knock-on 3m out with a 48-1 overlap, they dropped a pass in the dying minutes again with a 5-2 over lap. Yes, there was 90m to go but thier speedsters v Hodgey…….i know who i would back. I hear myself being negative about the win and my negativity doesn’t sit comfortably with me. I want to be happy, i want to go ‘TF for that’, i just dont know how much we gained. To be frank i think we won because we were less shit than them – but still shite none-the-less?

    Anyhoo – i reckon Segall will surprise us all first up v the Nearlies and pick what i reckon will be his RWC best team, that may mean first runs back for Poey & Coleman – then so be it. He has nothing to lose ! Lose in Perth and he can trot out possibles and probables in the return gig it a week later, it wont matter and then basically an opposed training run v Samoa and off to the big dance.

    For what its worth – here is the Hoss XXIII v the Nearlies, game one in South Jo’berg:

    1. The SS, 2 Palestine (Latu to start if Pocock not in run on side – must have an onballer in starting XV) 3. 7A’s 4 Coleman 5 Lurch 6 Dempsey 7 Lee Magors, 8 Isi 9 White 10 Spanners (Cheik cant help himself – like me with Tim-Tams – maybe just once more)11 Koribete 12 Kerevi, 13 Pataia, 14 Banks, 15 JOC 16. Latu , Palestine 17 Eric Clapton, 18 The Abattoir, 19 Rodda 20 Brian 21 Sanchez 22 Lilo 23 Gilbert

    • UTG

      Man I hate this “if we played like that against the Darkness” line. Did anyone actually watch how scrappy and out of sorts they were on the weekend? Worst ever game in black from at least Moody, Read, Franks and Ioane. Backline offering nothing in attack, so much for the big master plan to stop the rush defence. Oh and imagine being dominated under the high ball by Cheslin Kolbe.

      • Hoss

        Maybe, but the game i watched in full i saw a clearly out-of-sorts Nearlies side still draw against currently the worlds second best side. The same side who’s ‘B’ team scored 35 against us and the same frailties in the gold jerseys were evident on Saturday night. We beat the 10th ranked team in the world who played like the 15th ranked team in the world.

        I will be cheering my guts out for a gold victory in Perth, but the amount of ‘steps’ they need to go up to win will be greater than ‘Heavens Gate’ in China – all 999 of em.

        • From NooZealand

          Thank you for your vote of confidence. I also think that the Great ABs ((:)) will take the game in Perth very seriously. You know our “philosophy”, you loose some, you draw a few …. you win a lot. Cheers mate.

        • Hoss

          Cream will always rise to the surface and besides, all the pressures on your mob ! Scratchy against the FISM’s, poor against the Saffa’s, what would being rolled by the gold do for your RWC chances – every side in the world would smell blood in the water…..

          We go in as underdogs and rightly so, but how dangerous will we be with nothing to lose and everything and i mean everything to gain. Me thinks the Nearlies will be getting an uncomfortable tightness in the crotch area mate. No BR, poor-ish form and a game 4 million sheep shaggers have already put a ‘W’ in their score books…….its got the makings of a classic written large

        • From NooZealand

          Somebody is already too tight and unwilling to take a friendly comment. I forgot to include that “I wouldn’t mind a win by the Wallabies”, but now I will have to rethink that.
          As for “how dangerous will we be with nothing to lose and everything and i mean everything to gain.” Yes, you can; but (as you would know) you need the objective, the strategy and the tactics well supported by the logistics. Will see my friend, will see. In the meantime, wish you the best.

        • From NooZealand

          Thank you for your vote of confidence. I also think that the Great ABs ((:)) will take the game in Perth very seriously. You know our “philosophy”, you loose some, you draw a few …. you win a lot. Cheers mate.

        • Patrick

          I agree

        • Who?

          Don’t forget, that Nearlies team was also starting about their 4th best 12 (I have no idea why Hansen likes SBW, I’d have Nonu, Ngani (Laumape), and Crotty ahead of him, with guys like ALB and Jordie not far off), starting Mo’unga and Beaudy at the same time for the first time, and missing a few others.
          Your point about us being smashed by the Bokke B’s is absolutely crucial, too.

        • Hoss

          Evening Doc. All salient points I would counter that the Nearlies could roll out a ‘C’ team and still be near abouts the top of the tree. Having said that, IMO there’s not the fear around some of their ageing stars there once was, Franks, Read, Whitelock, Moody, Coles and co. Add in no BR and let’s just say the stitching is a little more frayed on their Superman capes – yes they will still take SOME beating, but they are beatable and why not us ?

        • Who?

          Why not us? Well, it’s about whether or not we choose to take the steps or not, isn’t it? :-P
          But yeah, I agree – they’re experimenting, not sure of their best. Still the biggest challenge in world rugby, but not as invulnerable as usual. It’s just a question of what we can do…

        • I think Hansen wanted to see if SBW has what it takes to get onto the plane. I know when ALB came on the AB played differently and slung the ball to Coles out on the 5m line a lot more, but I thought on the occasions ALB did touch the ball he just offered so much more. He can run, smash into contact if needs be, but he passed, flick passed, kicked and so on too. SBW it was smash, smash, smash. Some nice offloads attempted of course, but mostly SA lined him up, hit him with three players, wrapped him up.

          He might offer something no other player does (arguable for Nonu and Laumape) but he offers something every defensive coach on the planet knows now. If I were in Hansen’s shoes Crotty, Goodhue would be my first choices, Laumape and ALB would fill out my 4 centre picks I think. Nonu would be my first name on the call sheet if there’s an injury.

        • UTG

          Haha, Nonu over SBW? Have a look at the Reds vs Blues game and watch Nonu getting completely bossed by Kerevi. I, for one, would be very happy if they trot out old man Nonu against us in Perth. They weren’t playing their 4th best 12, they were playing your idea of what their fourth best 12 was. Hansen has always started SBW, when fit, in just about every big game. He’s their first choice 12.

          Mo’unga and Beauden has been asked for by many Kiwi supporters for ages. It’s hardly a weak combination.

        • Who?

          The best 12 this century over a bloke who I’ve never rated? Sure. I’ve never rated SBW. He’s not a complete 12. We’ve had people complaining about Kerevi’s tendency to enjoy the offload, but SBW’s entire career is built off his offload. His kicking game is terrible, he’s slow, he’s injury-ravaged (remember, he left league in 2008 having had a couple of shoulder reconstructions)… So yeah, I’d definitely pick Nonu (who mostly played pretty well in an improving Blues side, who needed a 10) over SBW (who barely played, and has had an injury-ravaged 4 years).
          .
          I think Richie and Beaudy’s an awesome combo. But like Samu and TK, it probably needs time, and some more familiarity between them. The point being that there’s no combination – at all – between Mo’unga at 10 and SBW at 12. And while Richie and Beaudy have played together, it’s always previously been at the end of a game, not from the start. I think they should continue with it (hopefully not against us – because they’ll shred us!), it just needs time to bed in, and the Bokke this year are a major threat.

        • UTG

          Nonu WAS once the best 12 this century. He’s now 37 years old and far too slow for test rugby. We’d run that same play as we did against Argentina and Koro would run rings around him. As I said before, Kerevi carved him up when the Reds took on the Blues. Any slightly serious consideration of him making the ABs died then.

          You’re a fairly balanced and erudite poster so it’s not so much a dig at you but I love reading on here how the ABs combinations were rusty but the fact TK hasn’t been making similar line breaks to Kerevi means there is a fundamental problem with them playing together and we need to start again. Bonus points for how many times I’ve read the Boks defence forced NZ errors (because Cheslin rushing up in umbrella defence caused Moody and Read to drop balls cold 30m away from him) but Argentina were just poor and we were lucky to get away with the win.

        • Who?

          Scary thing about Nonu is that I’d still back him in a race over AAC, and I’m more concerned about pace in the outside backs than at 10 or 12. :-(
          .
          I really don’t want to start again with TK and Samu. Think I’ve expressed my excitement over them enough (I know you’re not having a dig at me with that). My concern after the Boks was the game plan, I was pleased to see everyone running much straighter against Argentina. Look at Leali’ifano’s set plays off the scrum and lineout – Hooper missed the inside ball (I don’t think it was a poor pass, it was just poor combination – they won’t miss each other next time), and the next time they ran a similar play Marika switched sides to set up the try. A good combination – like the Kerevidrani (which I’ve advocated since 2016! But which hasn’t been truly viable until now, given Kerevi wasn’t given time to develop at 12 at Super level until now), or Richie and Beaudy together needs a bit of time to develop.
          .
          That said, I do still think that a first choice ABs team against a first choice Wallabies team would still finish with at least the same margin we gave up to the Boks the other weekend. :-(
          .
          And I should say, I’ve enjoyed your arrival on here. We don’t learn by reading our own press, by staying inside our own increasingly toxic circles. I like having differing viewpoints.

    • Huw Tindall

      Would it not be East Jo’berg?

      Will be interesting to see how much more player testing Chek does for Bled 1. Expect a few more spots. Mostly I’d like to see Valentini and Pete Samu get a run. I’d take either at 6 ahead of LSL who has been OK but probably the weakest link in the starting pack so far.

      • Hoss

        Agree re FKA. He doesn’t make my XXIII. I think Dempsey will get a go in game 1 and like you I would love to see Valentini in game 2. It still gives us 3 line out options and Hooper as a surprise 4th option.

      • Who?

        Perthfontein.

        • Huw Tindall

          That’s gold

  • Nutta

    Cheers for the article Oliver and I note it had just enough contentious comments to to spark some comments. Well Done That Man.

    My Two Bob:

    Pigs:
    * It’s nice to see the prop depth. Truthfully we finally seem to have options here and as a long-time fan I can honestly say I have not once ever seen this depth at 1 or 3 before. So hats off.
    * We saw on Sat why Latte is back in Gold – Cheks wants a pilferer. There is a fix for that: his name is Pocock.
    * Lock is a problem and is disappointing given the cattle seen during Super-season. The need to blood Philips or have a serious chat with LSL is glaring. Simmo has been a good servant for years but enough is enough. It isn’t personal but the reason why the selection is maintained is just not apparent to this mere mortal.
    * Breakdown support & accuracy is still a problem and for a nation that consistently produces some of the bast backrowers going around our inability to put it on the paddock here above all else is gob-smacking. The LSL experiment is over. Play Jones or McCafe at 6 for Chrissake.

    Fairies:
    * Ginea, White and JoeyP (in that order) are clearly the 9’s.
    * L’fano must be the 10 with Kevy & K’train outside him. Kevy keeps over-running his timing but that can be fixed. Given Billy Meakes is out of the picture (why?) I would see Hunt as a better 12 option than JOC but I think Too’s has done his dash.
    * I still see Beale as a finisher and would rather see Banks at 15 for many reasons.

    • Who?

      I think Simmons gets horribly underestimated by many Aussie fans, but I don’t think anyone anywhere thinks he’s anywhere near best used off the bench. Start him or he misses the 23.
      .
      I think the K Train keeps overrunning Kerevi, too, given how frequently Kerevi wants to offload. But Kerevi passed 1/3 of his possession last week, which is an improvement. And he still isn’t being used near as effectively as he was for the Reds (in terms of distribution, etc). I’m still very hopeful.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Kerevi needs to pass more, offload less.

        Problem with Simmons is that we need a second line out caller in the 23. Jones can potentially come off the bench, but sort of has the same problems as Simmons. Rodda, Arnold and Simmons are out three best locks, and I think you have to have all three in the 23.

        • Who?

          I get we need that second lineout caller, but Simmons doesn’t provide impact. I also agree that those are our best locks. It’s a tough question, but to complain he’s not having much impact when he’s not an impact player…. It’s a bit unfair on the player.
          .
          I disagree on Kerevi passing – I think he needs to play his game. Samu and TK just need a bit more time together. If Samu sees opportunity wider, he’ll give the ball early – he threw a nice 10+m pass to TK outside the defensive congestion on the weekend (second half). But if TK’s tracking Samu, he’s just got to realise that Samu’s slower than he (TK) is, and he’s not going to transfer pressure – he’ll release a free runner, but he won’t pass to someone who has less support (12 has 13 to blow over the breakdown, 13 may not have 12, because 12 might be taken out off the pass) when they’re not set up in space.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I love Samu and have championed him for years, but he doesn’t draw and pass. He looks to take contact and offload.

          The non-pass to LSL last week, a perfect example.

        • Who?

          The non-pass to LSL was significantly impacted by how much time he spent looking at Foley, expecting to pass to Foley, who kept running in front of him…

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Bit unfair to make that the fault of Foley. Kerevi was offered support runners on both sides of him, the dream situation after a line break.

        • Steve

          I think it’s really interesting the Samu/TK dynamic.

          At the Brumbies Simone became very adept at putting TK into space, or popping back inside to Speight or Banks. Meanwhile Samu was the one-man band at the Reds, making metres and then popping off to support.

          So does that mean TK should be running full tilt at space, or should he be shadowing Samu and waiting to receive the offload?

          I think the onus probably lies on both players, TK to realise when Samu is in a position to make ground and come in to run off his shoulder, and conversely Samu to realise he’s got more talented players around him than at the Reds and there is a time to look to put the next man into space – Not just early passes but also passing at the line to put them through gaps.

          You’re probably right in that it just needs more time and coaching, it was drastically better this week than the first. I think the criticism levelled at TK vs. SA was very unfair given the combination teething issues.

        • Who?

          I agree. I don’t see them as similar players. Samu goes looking for the hard way through the traffic, TK’s at his best running free. Samu wants to run over players, TK can, but he’s equally happy to burn them with pace.
          .
          I also agree that it’s just combination, identifying how to work together. I was very pleased when I saw Samu throw a wide ball to TK late during TK’s time on the field on the weekend, because it showed awareness of combination. It was the pass that a 10 might throw (I could imagine Christian or Quade throwing exactly that pass to TK) – flat to drag him forward, running onto the ball.
          I just really hope we see it get more time… Especially with Christian at 10.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think it’s selling Samu short to say he wants to run over players. Part of the reason he’s so good is because he runs at space and beats defenders with his feet, like TK.

          Either way, they’re both power centres, and I wouldn’t say getting the backs outside them involved is a particular strength of either player.

        • Who?

          I agree they’re both power centres, they just look to use that power in different manners. Samu looks to run through/over – he’s not afraid of the contact, he backs his footwork to find a weak shoulder and brush people. He loves to cut back inside. TK backs his size and pace to beat people on the outside, and his lines to find a clean path through on the unders line. Even in saying they’re power centres, they’re different in how they run. It’s why one’s clearly more suited to 12, and the other to 13.
          .
          But it’s why I’d like to see JOC at 15, and Banks at 14 (second full back).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I hope guy guys are right, but I think they’re two same same. I think part of the reason TK played so well was because of Simone’s great distribution. While Samu has a decent passing game, he doesn’t really have the vision of when to pass yet. That’s fine, everyone has their weaknesses, but I’m not sure it will combine well with TK, which is why I’d like to see JOC in the centres for at least a half next match.

        • Patrick

          Well at least more than 10 minutes

        • Steve

          I think Simone is maybe the MAIN reason TK’s form looked so great at the Brumbies this year.

          And you could well be right, we may find that the partnership is limited by distribution skills.
          I do hope that it was time together that caused the improvement this week vs. last, but I think having Christian at 10 would have helped a lot…as Who mentioned underneath, uncertainty about the inside distribution from Foley cause a lot of mis-starts vs. the Boks.

          TK is really the traditional centre who is good at finding holes and meeting them at the right angle, with speed – So success depends a lot on having someone to give you the ball at the line.

          I still caught him a couple of times on the weekend charging through gaps as the man inside him went to ground with the ball, which means the combination definitely isn’t there yet.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Kuridrani played his best ever game for the Brumbies last year when they smashed the Tahs in Sydney (he just got injured at the end of it). His form was very strong in the last third of last season also.

          As Brett McKay wrote on the other site today, there were so many times that Kerevi went into contact rather than using TK. Really frustrating to watch.

      • UTG

        I don’t necessarily want an impact player in every position off the bench. I’m more than happy with guy who’s going to do all his core duties well and can do so for the majority of the game if need be. Let ‘Nela add the impact from the bench.

  • Reinforce

    GAGR should take some credit for the strong front row/tight-five effort. The weekly focus on the front row was no doubt a “must-read” for those special lads throughout the SR season and they have risen on wave of GAGRs support and love for their craft. GGR focused on their specific skills and efforts – not the glory backs or loosies but the Front Row/tight five and I thank you for developing that focus – kudos GAGR

    • Nutta

      Credit where due is grand but this issue goes far deeper than this year. As far back as when I first started tapping on this site in about 2009 (I think) we have been banging many drums and this issue has been among the biggest. To that end, the work done by Matt & Co especially on the English illegalities into the last world cup was stellar stuff.

      • Keith Butler

        The overhead shots of the ABs scrum was also very educational. Moody didn’t start one scrum packing straight – he has Crockett’s Disease.

        • Nutta

          It was funny that even after all the commentators ‘Gee Wizz isn’t this great?!?’ comments, after the 2nd scrum showed exactly the same behaviour from Black1 they suddenly stopped using the overhead ‘spider’ camera…

        • Keith Butler

          Going back to your earlier comment about the England scrum. Even as a Pom, it was an illegal mess. It has improved a bit but still a bit of a mess and could get found out.

        • Nutta

          Dude, someone else on this site said ‘One swallow a wife doth not make’ and in that same vein an Australian will refrain from dissertation of an English scrum as if he had something to contribute…

        • Keith Butler

          Sounds like a Hossism to me.

        • Patrick

          Let’s hope that in Perth we can show the overhead cam on the big screen for every scrum!

        • Nutta

          Yeh Nah, that’s assuming we are scrummaging fair & square. That’s a BIG assumption…

    • joy

      The belief that the Australian tight five and coaches are hanging on to every word posted on GAGR is a bridge too far. I doubt they have ever visited the site. The guys that deserve the kudos are Cheika and his tight forwards coaches. There is no doubt Cheika toughened up our tight five. Sadly at the expense of nearly everything else.

      • Reinforce

        This is the only place where front rows get the focus and their name gets in print – almost guarantee they read it:) (would be interesting to ask the question)
        Coaches – sadly no. However way back when it was Link who mentioned looking at rugby sites such as “GAGR” which brought me to this site. You never know…………Link was special though – great thinker.

        • joy

          Only place! Australian website last night:
          “Taniela’s been working on himself hard to get better (to see) if he can fulfil his potential,” Cheika said.
          “I thought the starting front row and the replacements did very well.”
          And so did I.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        How is there no doubt? They played against by far the weakest tight 5 in tier 1 rugby, and the Argies were without their best tight forward in Creevy.

      • Stin

        Have sip of the sense of humour juice Joy!

  • AllyOz

    It’s easy to get carried away with the positives from Saturday’s game, just as it was easy to get too carried away from the previous loss against the South African’s the previous week.

    My takeaways were:

    I thought there was a genuine improvement in scrum performance but against a poorer scrum then we played the previous week.

    The starting backline overall was better and the control of Genia and LLF (particularly LLF as the commentators said he was also directing Genia from behind at times) was the key difference.

    Carrying Toomua and JOC on the bench is perhaps less balanced than other options.

    Both teams made too many errors to win an RC or a RWC – other sides will be more punishing.

    The next two games will be critical in establishing what we can do for the RWC. We don’t have to win either game but we have to at least show we are capable of winning, our systems and structures need to stand up to the All Black blow torch better than they did in SA.

    I think Argentina might have made the same mistake around set piece that we did several years ago. They are developing and picking their forwards based on what they can do around the park in general play first and then looking at what they can do at set piece, especially scrum. We looked for ball runners etc, breakdown performances first and our scrum fell away. Ledesma was a huge part of turning that around and blokes like James Slipper need to be commended for their improvement because they were originally developed under the first paradigm and then had to re-develop into the next which he has done (I think Stiles and Thorn (as a strength coach) were key in this too with Slipper).

    Ledesma won’t be able to do that with Argentina straight away but I think he is the best chance they’ve got – he will have them back by the next RWC but not this one.

    • Nutta

      Meat & potato’s first Boy. Then gravy. Because only a Dickhead puts gravy on a plate first.

    • Who?

      Genia’s at his best when he’s got a 10 who’s happy to stand back and direct. Cooper’s done it with him for years, so it’s smart play from Leali’ifano to find the way to best work with his scrumhalf. Christian really was the key to any and all the cohesion in the Wallabies’ play.
      .
      I’m not sure that Thorn’s to be credited for Slipper’s strength work. I think that’s just a consequence of finally having a functioning shoulder, given he needed a reconstruction for years? Marto made some big statements about that last year, before word of his misbehaviour got out.

      • AllyOz

        I understood he did a lot with him through the shoulder recovery but I’m not sure where I heard that and if its accurate.

        • Who?

          Maybe he did, but if he did, you’d think he’d have been more aware of Slipper’s struggles which led to him to make poor decisions?

  • hippyb9

    Went to the game. The Wallabies have certainly slipped down the pecking order. After a second half of unremitting mediocrity, with 2 minutes remaining, the Wallabies are camped 10 metres out with a far superior scrum. I was hoping for a slashing backline move resulting in a try.The outcome? Jubilation that the ball was immediately hoofed into touch. Says it all about their state of mind and lack of confidence in their skills.

    • Who?

      Great call… I was thinking the same way at home.

    • Max Graham

      Yeah, it would have been worthwhile risking the certain win, not to mention a chance to win the tournament, to provide 15 seconds of otherwise meaningless entertainment for those who are probably best suited to Lingerie NFL and American Ninja Warrior. Like you, I also pine for the return of “It’s A Knockout”.

      • Patrick

        More or less exactly what I told my son: reward: none; risk: everything

      • hippyb9

        Winning the 3 game tournament? Did you not watch the Springbok game? I’m not sure that people who actually understand the game would regard a try as meaningless entertainment, especially where the Wallabies have for some time struggled to score them.

        • Max Graham

          Oh, you mean the game where the bold needed to score in order to draw the game? Had the boks been winning at 80 mins, do you think they would have risked the certain win and done the same thing? Though maybe you’re right and I don’t understand the game. My understanding is that the primary goal is to win- by scoring more points than your opponent – taking measured risks to do so. Is your understanding that last try wins? Maybe you could explain what you think rugby is about as I’m always keen to learn new things.

        • Who?

          I get where you’re coming from, but this was set piece hot on attack. Inside the 22. We could easily have run a phase or two and hacked it out if we weren’t feeling secure. If we’re in our own half, it’s a no brainer – kill the game. But hot on attack, if we’re not confident we can retain possession off the back of what had been a dominant scrum… It shows a lack of confidence.
          .
          That doesn’t mean that choosing to win was a bad thing. It’s just a reflection on the mental condition of the team, that they didn’t feel secure enough to have a go. That they desperately needed that win.

        • Max Graham

          We could have also dropped it cold and seen the Argies run the length of the field to score a famous win. So much risk for no tangible reward makes no sense to me. It would be not unlike the dumb decisions that Hooper gets justifiably chastised for he goes for the try rather than the certain 3 points. Now, at the risk of sounding hypocritical….. I hoped that we would win the scrum and then see if we felt there was a chance of a pushover try. We were so dominant all game, particularly in the second half, I would have seen that as a very low risk way to entertain the fans and reward the pigs who won the game with set piece dominance. Nothing is more exciting and nothing would have made a bigger statement than a push-over try after the bell. I get movement in my pants just thinking about it…… I’ll be back in 10 mins.

        • Who?

          So I’ve got 7 minutes to type a response? :-P
          .
          We could’ve done, and the reality is that having a mindset that saw us NEED to put the ball out is why it was a notable possibility. The point of the whole discussion is the psychology of the team. They psychology isn’t great – they needed that win, they were desperate for the win. If it were better, we’d have backed ourselves. We have no mental strength at present.
          .
          The point of the post isn’t that they made the wrong call, it’s how that reflects on our weakness and desperation for a win.
          .
          What would’ve been really interesting would’ve been if the first or second scrum (before the hooter) had reached a successful conclusion. How would we have played? With fear, desperately trying not to turn over the ball, or would we have done the traditional Aussie thing and had a go?

        • Max Graham

          Is that really the traditional Aussie thing though? Is that what ‘have a go’ actually means? To risk a certain win for no reason other than to possibly increase the size of the win. If it went wrong, Hooper would be rightfully pillared as a tactical clown. Few people on this site or others would be saying, “sure they lost a game that was in the bag, but they had a go and that’s the main thing and the Aussie way.”
          I’m not so sure that most Oz teams from most eras wouldn’t have done the same thing in those circumstances. I think we are at risk of becoming like kiwis – inventing things to whinge about.

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A seagulling, ball playing backrower. Famous for scoring more tries in a season than successful tackles made as well as a better goalkicking percentage than tackle efficiency

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