With the Wallabies’ season off to such a cracking start, who can’t wait to get stuck into rating some of the star performances from the first ever Test in Newcastle?
If the rest of you don’t mind I’m just going to read and re-read that first sentence until I believe it.
Some of you might venture beyond these first couple of lines and, while you’re free to do so, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Last night’s game was depressing for so many reasons.
It was depressing because the Wallabies lost.
The weather was depressing.
The game itself was depressing — the rain and gale-force winds meant more dropped ball and shithouse kicks than you see at a Tahs game.
The Wallabies were always ripe for an ambush in Newcastle. The team was scraped together three days ago, and many of these guys have never played together. To boot, six players were making their debuts.
The fact it was scheduled on a Tuesday after a weekend of Super Rugby and four days before a Test against Wales is just mind-boggling.
Rating the players after a game like this is almost unfair, but here goes:
|James Slipper||5||Toiled hard around the park, with success. Scrummaged well but gave away the final penalty.|
|Stephen Moore||7||Looked near his best, constantly working and aggressive in contact. Led by example in the forwards and G&GR Man of the Match.|
|Dan Palmer||6||Solid debut, scrum looked solid while he was on and he almost played the full game (subbed at 69 min).|
|Sitaleki Timani||5||Got through a lot of work, but seems a little ineffective in his carries for a man of his size. Needs angry pills.|
|Nathan Sharpe||7||Usual performance. Led the forwards, led the lineout and mauls, and got things done.|
|Dave Dennis||6||A decent debut given the conditions, always working in the tight. Hopefully we’ll see more soon.|
|David Pocock (c)||5||As a player he performed very well. Poey tackled everything and secured turnovers despite constant targeting from the Scots. Needs to be a more vocal captain, both to his men and the referee. Probably should have gone for the sticks too but given the weather it may have been the right call.|
|Scott Higginbotham||5||Played a lot more tight than usual, as the conditions dictated, and got through a decent amount of work. Ran too upright and was ineffective in too many carries.|
|Will Genia||3||Not great. Service and kicking were OK but too often he looked like he had no idea what to do. Needed to show more leadership and give direction.|
|Berrick Barnes||5||Kicked well under the circumstances but distribution was not impressive. Will probably get more than his share of the blame.|
|Joseph Tomane||7||Best of the backs, along with Diggers. Always looking to run and saved a certain try from a Genia fumble.|
|Mike Harris||5||Only touched the ball when taking place kicks, and got two from four in horrible conditions. I guess that’s 50 per cent.|
|Anthony Faingaa||5||Tackled very well but his only real chances were in defence, as he hardly saw the ball.|
|Digby Ioane||7||Very good, with limited chances. Always looking to run and always threatening when he did.|
|Luke Morahan||4||Not a good debut. Probably got pneumonia and would have been easier to see with one of those foil hypothermia blankets. Not his doing but must have shot his confidence.|
|Saia Faingaa||-||Did not play.|
|Ben Alexander||5||Came on with 10 to go, and put in around the park. The scrum looked noticeably less solid while he was on.|
|Rob Simmons||6||Almost scored a try and was much more effective than usual in tight. Should probably have started over Timani.|
|Michael Hooper||5||Sent Pocock to the blindside when he came on but looked a little overwhelmed. He must have done some work — he was covered in blood at full time.|
|Nick Phipps||-||Did not play.|
|Pat McCabe||-||Did not play.|
|Adam Ashley-Cooper||-||Did not play.|
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
Fire away with your ratings and comments!