Wallabies v. France (1st Test) - Player Ratings - Green and Gold Rugby

Wallabies v. France (1st Test) – Player Ratings

Wallabies v. France (1st Test) – Player Ratings

Not a bad first up performance from the boys in gold right? Link’s coming ‘home’ test, his first as Australian coach in Brisbane, saw the Wallabies wallop a flaky French team, but how were the individual performances?

The Wallabies have failed to win the first test of the year for three seasons now, so a 50-23 defeat of the French in the first test of the 2014 season was a confidence booster for the new-look test outfit.  The team was heralded as one that was picked on Super Rugby form, so how did that form translate onto the test stage?  Here’s how I saw it:

James Slipper James_Slipper

Has been outstanding for the Reds and continued his form for the Wallabies with a prominent performance across the park. Showed some very decent ball skills in the first half, particularly in the lead up to the first try.  A tireless defender and reinforced his position as one of the Wallabies’ key forwards.  

Stephen MooreStephen_moore

For the second time in two years, the Wallabies’ first test at Suncorp has seen injury cruel a debut game. Last year it was Lealiifano v the Lions, and this year it was Stephen Moore’s captaincy debut. Moore was off after five minutes and we won’t site him again until next year. Shattering. N/A   

Sekope KepuSekope_Kepu

Site unseen for most of the test with a disappointingly low work rate. There were all sorts of problems in the scrums, by both teams and the ref, but Kepu failed to provide the cornerstone of solidity we required. Unfortunately our depth at THP is glaringly lacking. 4 

Rob SimmonsRob-Simmons

Sullied an enterprising performance but some glaring mistakes from the restart, as well as another frustratingly stupid penalty. It was enough to bring his score down from “Excellent” as he was exceptionally productive around the field. Called himself every line-out whilst he was on the field, and won them all. Showed a nice touch in the lead up to Hooper’s try by straightening the attack well. 7 

Sam CarterSam_Carter

An excellent debut game by Carter, which unfortunately will be the last we see of him in the Green & Gold for a little while due to an injury that’s too hard to pronounce let alone spell. Wonderful work rate for the full 80 saw him lead the tackle count. Apparently voted Players’ Player which shows how much his team mate’s valued his big hearted performance.  8 

Scott FardyScott-Fardy

It is easy to undervalue the contribution of Fardy in this test, now that we’ve set such a high expectation upon him following a stirring 2013 season, in which he was awarded the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year. Fardy was not as dominant as in some of his previous showings, but he’s a vital cog in this team and worked his heart out against France.  7

Michael HooperMichael_Hooper

An absolute dynamo across the field in both defense and attack. Let’s not forget this is guy is still only 22 and played his first test a little over 18 months ago. Thrown the captaincy ‘burden’ on Moore’s premature departure, he barely skipped a beat. So effective in everything he did, Hooper is the modern day footballing example of perpetual motion. An astute decision to kick for touch from a penalty early on, lead to the first try and started the golden onslaught that would follow.  (GAGR MOTR) 

Wycliff PaluWycliff_Palu

None of the impact we need from our Number 8. Ran for minimal metres, was effective in defense rather than assertive and was purely serviceable around the ruck. Needs to lift his game with this being the position with significant depth in the Wallaby squad. 

Nic WhiteNic_White

A solid test match by White that included an early try-saving tackle, solid service from the ground, an adequate kicking game and on the whole very good decision making across the park. His combination with Foley was largely trouble-free and promising.  

Bernard FoleyBernard-Foley

Provided a serviceable game in his run on debut. Mixed his game up well enough and fed his outside men consistently. Chanced his arm a few times, never overly effectively, and is far from the dominant organiser Wallaby fans are used in the 10 jersey. Missed far too many tackles which needs to be addressed. Solid goal kicking and worth persevering with. 6 

Nick CumminsNick_Cummins

The Honey Badger had a dead set corker of a game.  Took a while to get into the match, but was always ready to give it a burl when play came his way. Went close to meat a couple of times, before being set up by Izzy for some in the second half. Threw everything into all aspects of his game, making some big hits at critical times and never shirking a strong hit up when his team needed it. 8 

Matt ToomuaMatt-Toomua

Fast developing into the critical player in the Wallaby backline. Izzy aside, Matty is the must-pick selection for the Aussies.  Started poorly with some early weak defense, or poor reads, but more than made up with it with some critical defensive plays later in the game. Scored a try and set up another in an all-round polished performance. 7

Tevita KuridraniTevita_Kuridrani

Seemingly made metres at will which has been lacking for the Wallabies at outside centre since the days of Mortock in his prime. Pulled off the hit of the night in the 2nd half, before being pinged for not rolling away. This still somewhat typifies his game at the moment as he can let brilliant plays down with ill-discipline. Love the enterprise in his tap on pass for Hooper’s try. 

Adam Ashley-CooperAdam_Ashley-Cooper

A typically reliable performance from AAC.  Very effective in attack and caused some damage outwide. Makes up for the lack of speed of a traditional finisher by running astute lines. The ever Mr Reliable delivered again. 7

Israel FolauIsrael_Folau

A brilliant game that can’t really be faulted. It was only really his lessor workload, when compared to Hooper, that denied him Man of the Match honours. The biggest surprise in the match was when he actually failed to beat a defender in one play. We’ve been boasting of his dangerous running since his debut test last year against the Lions, but this game showed his improved kicking game and intelligence in setting up his team mates as well. Oh, he’s handy in the air too. 9

Tatafu Polota-NauTatafu_Polota-Nau

The Wallabies must be thankful for all the minutes TPN has had at Waratah level this year, as he was called on to play all but the first five minutes of the game. Taf is playing such a tight game these days, based on 100% effectiveness rather than the flashy big plays. Very busy around the park, and bang on in the lineout.  7

Pek CowanPek_Cowan

Played just under a quarter of the game, which is borderline for ineligibility for a rating, but failed to provide the impact from the bench needed. The scrum definately deteriorated when the replacements came on, so Cowan must cop some blame here.  5

Paddy RyanPaddy Ryan Headshot

Played approximately half an hour after coming on for Kepu, but unfortunately had a bit of a stinker. Was penalised a couple of times and couldn’t anchor the scrum. There’s not much depth around at THP in Australia at the moment, so we need him to bounce back for next week. 4

James HorwillJames_Horwill

Only played the last ten minutes, replacing Simmons, but played with the passion and ferocity we’ve come to expect from Big Kev. Was a monstor at the ruck, but slipped off a weak tackle. Was also part of a disintegrating last scrum. N/A 

Ben McCalmanBen_McCalman

Came on for Palu with about 25 minutes to go and while busy, again didn’t make much of an impact. Tackled and ran, but with no real threat to the opposition. 5

Nick PhippsNick_Phipps

Was pretty dire when he came on for White with just under 20 to go. Threw a couple of shockers and seemed panicked easily. Hard to see that justifying his reselection above Genia for the 2nd test. 4

Kurtley BealeKurtley_Beale

Really came on at the right time for him, with nothing on the line and the French playing so loose. Still ran cross field but had a free reign to try things it would seem. Still only a bench player.N/A 

Pat McCabePat_McCabe

Played the last ten for Kuridrani and didn’t get the chance to do much other than run away and score a try Good to see him back in the national jersey.N/A








The patented G&GR ratings guide:

10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all-round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke

So what do you reckon? Too harsh? Too soft? What do you think I got wrong or right?

  • Dave

    It was Lealifano who was injured against the Lions

  • Ads

    Kepu was better than Ryan. Think you are hard on Kepu and prob generous to Ryan

    • Matthew Lalor

      splitting hairs perhaps? Both not good enough against a poor french team.

      • Ads

        Nah don’t think so mate. Kepu was average ho hum (5), Ryan was poor (3) IMO.

      • BDAUSSIE

        I’d give Ryan a 2. Link must be thinking of dropping him (probably cant during the series). Kepu was probably 5. The scrum was competitive when he was on and if you’re THP can manage that, he gets a pass. But you wont beat the all blacks if any of your tight 5 play a just at a pass level.

  • blue blood

    Hooper ‘So effective in everything he did’ I couldn’t agree more. Just a shame that he has a 7 on his back. Barely spent any time at the breakdown and had 0 turnovers to prove it. Find him a new position or get Hodgson to teach him what a 7 is supposed to do. Ranking based on hype not facts in my opinion.

    • gmcco

      You have clearly lost touch with the international game. 7’s have become link runners as a priority over the last few years. Not even Richie is making multiple pilfers a game. Hooper plays a very different type of 7 to Pocock but it is still just as much the role of a 7 and he does it better than anyone in the game. He also regularly tops the tackle count. The other key role of a 7.

    • dane

      Its a one dimensional view of the game that requires a 7 to be a breakdown specialist. Some of the world’s best: Sam Cane, Sean OBrien, Sam Warburton. All these blokes are ball runners, link men and tacklers. They can win ball too, but its not their primary role.

      • Nick

        Thank you! dane and gmcco! Find him a new position … please… I swear Hooper could score 6 tries but still be frowned upon if he doesn’t get a turnover.

    • Narcissus

      The arrogance it requires to assume that your notion of what a position requires is the end-all-be-all of those requirements is just absolutely mind blowing.

      • Nick

        Almost forgot to thank you for your comment too Narcissus!

    • Snoopy

      Agree, the best no.7 that we have had are ball winning players. Plus Richie (kill him please someone he is too good) is also a ball winning no.7. If hooper plays at 13 then he was motm.

    • sph45

      Astute observers of the game disagree with you:

      Justin Marshall Chalkboard: Beware of Michael Hooper


  • Nick

    A bit harsh on Kepu. When he and Slipper came off the scrum was significantly worse so Ryan and Cowan should be rated lower than Kepu. Other than that, everyone else looked pretty good.

    • Matthew Lalor

      interesting methodology…

  • Dave

    Would have thought Ryan had a 2 game at best

  • Rj

    If higgers ruck involvements were as low as hoppers, we woul be dishing it up to him and bob Dwyer would call for his head. When hooper does it he’s a hero. Have Hodgson and gill next game and send hooper back to club rugby to learn what a 7 does. I would expect GAGR to be less blinded by glitz and glam. Did the guy even come close to a pilfer? I saw lots of wide running, very few tuck involvements, and again when he did, his small frame was in effective. 4th choice open side in Australia for mine

    • Spikhaza

      Okay mate you can play some clown at 7 when your coaching the wallabies. 100th choice coach for me though

    • Matthew Lalor

      seriously? Hodgson yes definitely, but Gill? Have you been on holidays on mars for the past month or two? I did notice what you speak of but he was a game changer in what he did, even if it wasnt traditionally what a loose should do. IMO a player like him obviously shouldn’t just play the role because he is wearing a number. He had immense impact on the game.

    • Jack Howes

      Let’s all be glad you’re not the coach then.

    • Nathan Grey

      How was he supposed to make steals when the frogs couldn’t hold onto the ball? He played exceptionally in a very open game and judged his role to perfection. I thought the breakdown was very poorly refereed – almost out of control by the end with everyone diving over the ball – but Hooper judged the ref and the game better than anyone else which is why he had such a huge impact. What makes him a truly amazing player is that, in a tighter contest, he can also produce turnovers – albeit Pocock is hard to go past in that kind of game – RWC quarter finals for example.

      • bad ass

        Agree it’s hard to make steals in a game like that. He hasn’t been able to steal ball when we needed it in previous tough games however. He did play very well against the French. When it’s the all blacks Hooper gets bossed. Never seen him dominate rucks and mauls against the darkness. In those games his awesome “away from the break down” running game doesn’t seem to make a big difference and this flaw is exposed. Dont get me wrong, I love Hoops. I think his small size and ineffectiveness at the break down is an important weakness against the best sides and I would love him to prove me wrong by working on that aspect of his game. In games where we don’t get much ball in the forwards, it becomes more important to have backs that can play in a mercurial way such as Cooper (when coached appropriately). No ball in forwards + a safe 5/8 = another loss in the Bledisloe and the world cup against the tough teams.

    • Nick

      You just don’t get it do you? Stop pigeoning players into rigid roles. You must have been furious when John Eales, a lock, was kicking goals for the Wallabies. If Hooper could run 100m in 9secs and have the strength to fend off 3 tacklers at a time you still wouldn’t be happy unless he pilfered some ball. Never mind the fact we were towelling up a team by 40pts with most of the match gone.

    • Slim 293

      The comments section brings out all the nutters………..

  • Rj

    Also this is the second match under link at suncorp. We got towelled up by the boks here last year

    • Matthew Lalor

      are you seriously comparing a 2nd france team to the Boks?

      • Rj

        The article says it was links first game at subcoro as wallabies coach. I’m just correcting the facts.

        • Matthew Lalor


  • brumby runner

    Like others here, I think you are a little harsh on Kepu. And Palu and White. Your comment that there is strong competition for the No 8 jersey is a little off track. Ben McC is not as effective as Cliff, and Higgers isn’t yet showing top form. Where are the others?

    Mostly agree with rest of the rankings and comments. Good work.

    • Alan Grouse

      If only Fotu didn’t get seriously injured i would imagine he would be in the mix. Here’s hoping he can string together some great performances in super rugby as he is certainly a weapon in attack and defence when fit

    • Garry

      I was sitting in the cheap seats behind the goal area and so had good perspective. Palu was walking alot behind play. But congrats must go to TPN for getting all his throws straight (when was the last time that happened?) Well done fella.

  • theduke

    Hooper clearly had a positive impact on the game and well done to him for leading from the front after Squeak went off. (Wait, there’s an however and a but)

    However, I would prefer to have a ball running 8 with that sort of impact.
    But, given we don’t seem to have anyone to do that, we need Hooper to take up that role.

    The game he plays, he played bloody well, so credit to him.

  • Bob

    A lot of reds bias showing here Reg. McCalman on second viewing played quite well. Palu was awesome in cleaning out the frogs at ruck and horwill was borderline anonymous. Foley played well he’s more than worth preserving with and had no major brain farts which we are also used to from others.

    Surprised you didn’t mention how well genia looked in a suit.

    • Matthew Lalor

      not sure about the reds bias. I am sure not many reds would accept genia deserved full access to 9 but he is better on a bad day than phipps on his best. Prior to the game I was interested how kepu, TPN, palu & ryan would go. tpn played well (wont hear that from me often) but the others were well off the mark against a poor pack. I saw White’s game as promising but IMO he telegraphs his intentions far too much. Toomua was my MOTM. I would like to see him at 10. I think he is better close to the ball. I would also disagree that higgers is not showing form. what is this based on? I love watching the Rebels play and he is one of the reasons (however he needs to increase work rate.

      • Jack Howes

        Higgers has been rubbish over the last six weeks. Petulant, ineffectual and workshy. He was brilliant last year, arguably the form 8 in the comp until he got injured, but he just hasn’t carried that on.

        • AndrewWA

          Probably means that he’ll be selected for Melbourne or Sydney and probably in front of Matt Hodgson. If it does happen – check out Hodgo’s stats vs Higgers’ stats: Tackles 190 @ 91% vs 81 @ 85%; Tries 6 vs 4; Penalties 21 vs 26; Handling Errors 8 vs 13; Loose Ball Gets 15 vs 10; Turnovers 21 vs 6; Def Beaten 8 vs 9 and Yellow Cards 1 vs 2. One does the hard work when and where it’s needed and the other seagulls out wide.

        • Train Without A Station

          Great selection of stats that an openside should generally dominate to compare 2 players who play completely different positions.
          What about runs, runs meters and line out takes?

    • RugbyReg

      Foley missed 5 tackles. That’s a fair few brain farts there. I gave him a 6, I’m satisfied that his performance was solid enough to deserve that. Definitely a good player, but doesn’t deserve more than 6.

      • bob

        Not picking a fight Reg, it’s a good summation for the most part. Foley did miss a few tackles but he attempted them rather than a ball steal and in most cases his attempts were enough to halt progress while help arrived. Usually his defence is pretty tight.

        My comment was more the praise like this that had red tinge;
        played with the passion and ferocity we’ve come to expect from Big Kev. Was a monstor at the ruck,

        I didn’t even realise Horwill was on the park until play stopped. I think we just have to accept facts that Horwill isn’t cutting the mustard. I’d rather see Jones in team for work rate or Skelton for impact. Simmons surprised me. If he could kill those dumb penalties he’d be bloody good.

        I do think Genia should be on bench. A strong bench really matters these days. Look at the tahs effect late in games with a good bench. I’m hoping the only non required tweaks this week are to the bench only. We now have the cattle to do this which is great.

        • RugbyReg

          not picking a fight either. I can’t believe people didn’t notice Kev. He was ferocious when he came on. Go back and watch – its only 10 mins. Not everything is about running the ball.

        • Nick

          Yet apparently if Palu doesn’t run it he gets hounded? Not having a crack as I really enjoyed your write-up. I think people need to get away from typecasting players based on their expectation of what they should achieve at their position. Consistent and effective cleanouts that allow the scrumhalf quick ball are something I think never gets highlighted for example.

        • Train Without A Station

          Palu is an 8. His job is to run the ball though.

        • Michael

          So Higginbotham would have you believe. The Number 8’s job is a lot more than running the ball and Palu consistently does it very well at test level.

  • Waz_dog

    White a 5 and no more – how the hell a scrum half throws a ball over the sideline is worth a mention when his role is to hit a target from the base of the scrum.

    Has he been taking dancing lessons from Will? Because his two-step shuffle was well on display for all to see.

    • wahoo

      the two step shuffle is actually really important in modern rugby and you will see all the top level halfbacks doing it. It draws the defenders closest to the ruck and actually gives the 10 more time as these are the defenders who would try and sack the 10. If they don’t commit then the 10 can run. White’s running game isn’t as good as Genia’s but it was still good that he attempted to offer that threat

      • wahoo

        edit- 9* can run

      • Matthew Lalor

        I think what is trying to be said is that genia cops heaps because of his 2 step. white was selected because of his apparent ability to pass quickly?

      • Waz_dog

        How you can be supporting that stance? Bob writes article after article about it being his pet hate and why he thought Will shouldn’t be in this side because of his inability to pass from the base of the scrum.

        Now White’s doing it all game long – thought that should reflect through with his score.

      • bad ass

        Sorry, but no way. The two step shuffle gives more time to the half back to think about where the pass will go and to actually pass, but less time for the 5/8. It’s lazy and the decision where to pass should be made whilst running to the break down. White at times would walk around behind it, pick it up and then take a few steps to look. Most other times he did fire the ball away well. Not saying Genia has been better but that is what it is. I’ll admit the fast pace of the game makes it difficult to fire it out at every ruck. If your forwards are going backwards, or if you need to box kick under pressure then a half back needs to take a couple of steps. Otherwise, the only excuse is laziness, out of breath or just shit play.

    • Tibor

      Simmons a 5 then as he gave away a penalty. Folau a 5 as he once dropped a ball. Jesus…

      • Waz_dog

        Pfft – Good game with a few sparkles? No.

        Average game – ho hum? yes.

        If you’ve got Will Genia on the sideline against a France team that played as bad as they did I’d expect better from White to keep pundits like myself throwing these jibes – which he failed to do.

        Will has copped an unbelievable amount of flack playing behind a forward pack that’s been dominated week after week and White sits behind a dominant forward pack and that’s what he throws up?

        Won’t wash against the AB’s sorry.

  • Buster

    I question the statement that Folau’s game can’t be faulted. There were times when he had at least one or 2 passing options where there was a player, usually AAC or Cummins, well in the clear but ignored them, I think once this led to a turnover.

  • Yabba88

    Disagree re Kepu. Scrum was fine while he was there, and he did lots of good tight stuff, a couple of smashing tackles, and 2 powerful surges. I don’t know what else you require of a THP.


    site = sight, as in with your eyes, reign = rein as in rein a horse rather than a reigning queen (pedant alert)

    • Matthew Lalor

      I agree with your grammar, and (unfortunately) TPN judgement, but Kepu? No. He was rubbish.

  • Working Class Rugger

    Kepu had a good game with some strong work in tight. He was solid in the scrum and took the ball forward with vigour. Same can be said of Palu.

    In fact, I’m tired of this bias against Palu et al. and this belief that some Queenslander is better. Neither are. Palu has a high workrate and is a very effective ball carrier. Good defenders too.

    We all have biases. I personally don’t like Simmons but I can look past that and say I thought he had a very good game with the exception of ahandling mistake.

    • RugbyReg

      I have no QLD bias against Palu. I’m a big fan and have stated as much plenty of times – listen to the podcast. I queried his selection on the basis of his seeming inability to produce back to back performances whereas McCalman has been the form 8 in Australia this year I reckon. In reality both were below par, its just that Palu started.

      • Working Class Rugger

        I’m sorry, but I have to disagree regarding the form 8 in Australia. He started on Saturday with the rightful back up on the bench. I have watched every Tahs and Force game this season (Force are my second team) and while McCalman had been in good form, he lacks penetration in contact while Palu has consistently bent the line with his work. He also does a huge amount of work in around the contact.

        This same argument has come up year on year. But if you look at the involvements of players, Palu is consistently at the top end of those lists. A good 8 doesn’t just bend the line, he’s a tireless worker. Palu didn’t make as many metres in contact as many may have desired but I bet you his work rate was very high.

        • RugbyReg

          stats I have seen have him making 6 tackles, the least of the a pack other than Kepu. Only 7 runs which was the same as Simmons (for much less metres – 7 v 19) with only Kepu and Fardy less. They also show him hitting 5 rucks which was similar to most the pack, other than the two locks who had more.That’s all average in my eyes.

        • Hugh Cavill

          But you forget Palu only played 55 minutes or so, compared to 80 for Simmons and Fardy!

    • Tao Te Ching

      Palu is immense in the tight. That’s why he consistently wins player awards. The problem is that fans don’t see it (or in some cases choose not to) so they rate him down. Someone should tell the players that they’re wrong, or else tell Rugby Reg that he is, although I’d be very surprised if such as experienced pundit as Reg could possibly be. ;-)

  • Jack Howes

    Tell you what, if Kepu was a 4 then Paddy Ryan was a 2 at best. Kepu actually locked the scrum down – didn’t dominate granted – carried reasonably well in the tight and generally looked at home at Test level. As opposed to Ryan who came on, gave away, what, three scrum penalties, another around the park, and carried without any impact whatsoever.

    Palu is treated very harshly as well. He gets the same ‘not enough impact’ critique year-in, year-out, and yet somehow manages to keep getting selected. Was a pretty clear-cut difference between him and McCalman when the latter came on I thought. Don’t think it was his best game ever, but it was worth at least a 6.

    I’d have given White an 8, how nice is it to have quick ball from the base of the ruck? Cummins was a 7 for me, certainly wasn’t any better than AAC.

    That all said, it’s just great to have nearly the entire starting XV playing to an excellent level for once.

    • Garry

      There is a litmus test coming next week in Melbourne, all will be revealed.

  • Jem

    I was at the game so sometimes it’s hard to see but it looked like Toomua was brilliant. Words cannot describe how happy I am with him.

    • Chris

      It would be nice to acknowledge the fast flat passing to his hands from Foley that allowed this to happen. And the work of the forwards that got the ball back quickly. No man is an island and I’m sure that Toomua would be first to say that others made it more possible to have a great game.
      Calls for Toomua to move to 10 are short sighted. Link has it right – he is easily our best 12.

      • The Slow Eater

        Toomua at 12 and TK at 13 worked well at the EOYT last year. I think it is worth persevering with them in these positions as I think it could be a real strength for us.

  • Tahs_Man_Fan

    Seriously, this is why we should have given Kieran Longbottom a crack in the green and gold!!! Finally get a home grown THP playing well, but never give him a chance. Now he’s gone off and signed overseas like Dan Palmer et al, and we have Kepu, Alexander and Cowan to get is through the World Cup. We. Are. Fucked!!!!

  • Stin

    Harsh on Kepu and Foley.

  • RugbyStu

    I would have had Toomua higher I thought he was brilliant plays his role at inside centre brilliantly knows when to directs traffic and when too hits holes at the right time and defends like a human juggernaut for his size and try he scored typified his attitude and the pressure he was putting on the frogs. What the hell do they feed him.

  • Robbo

    Cannot agree that Phipps was ineffectual. I thought he added a fair bit at the right time.

    Not all commentators are so negative – see the following lifted from Rajiv Maharaj in the Guardian Australia today

    “Phipps, in
    particular, would have greatly impressed McKenzie. There’s a widely held view
    that Will Genia’s demotion is a temporary measure by McKenzie to spark the once
    great half-back into form. The script, according to some commentators, is that
    Genia, stung by his dramatic fall from grace, will find his mojo and duly
    return to the match day 23 at Phipps’s expense. Well, the Waratahs half-back torpedoed
    that theory with a superb performance coming off the bench in the 62nd
    minute. He looked every inch the super sub by immediately lifting the tempo of
    the match with lightning-quick passes off the deck to runners flat on the gain
    line. Phipps had the French out on their feet with an exhilarating 10-minute
    spell resulting in tries to Kurtley Beale and Pat McCabe. If McKenzie hasn’t
    reached the view already, he must now surely view Phipps as a must-have
    specialist impact player – someone to come in at the backend of games to floor
    the accelerator and see if the opposition can cope. Casting Phipps as that game-breaker
    means Genia’s only way back into the side is to supplant White as the starting
    half-back. It’ll be a tough road back for Genia from here.”

    • Matt Mostyn

      That Rajiv Maharaj guy is a joke. Wouldn’t use anything he says to support an argument. Had an article last year saying that Australia wouldn’t win a single game on the end-of-year tour. Ridiculous prediction.

  • Zuriel

    Genia will be back! Link’s just trying to put fire in his belly and fire in White and Phipps to keep him out while creating depth and experience. If Genia is really over the hill then he’ll be perfect off the bench with quick feet around tired forwards.

  • AndrewWA

    About 55 minutes from Palu and a 5 Rating – which is better than my 4. After all of the hype (again) I’m really interested, and hope, to see if he can make it 2-in-a-row.
    McCalman had nearly as much involvement in half the game time.

  • Slug

    Ryan was poor. Body height to high in malls and also scrum. This is mind over matter or pea heart syndrome. Not something that can be fixed soon. He needs to be replaced ASAP.

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