Wallabies Vs South Africa - First Thoughts

Wallabies Vs Springboks – What Happened?

Wallabies Vs Springboks – What Happened?

With both the Tri-nations and the Bledisloe decided, the Wallabies turned their attention to the Republic and the return of the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate to its rightful home. Having won the match in Brisbane, They only needed to win this game to at least have a trophy of note in the cabinet before  the End of Year Tours kick off. This match, held at altitude in Pretoria against a wounded Bokke outfit was always going to be a tough ask, however the Wallabies, buoyed by the return of the Quade train, were confident of their chances against the home team.A huge reception from the less than full crowd was reserved, deservedly, for 100 test veteran Victor Matfield.

The Wallabies attacking intent was clear from the start, not even a TMO call gone wrong on a Drew Mitchell try could dampen it when Will Genia threw a quick dummy just after the restart and was across the line for the first official points. A massive break, and wonderfully held up pass from Kurtley Beale to Rocky Elsom, who was supporting well, saw James O’Connor go in off some quick ruck ball and the Wallabies were up 14 zip after only 5 minutes.

Just when you thought things would settle down after that, the home team hit back with a lovely inside pass to Juan Smith moving quick and on the angle, ran straight through the defence and in for a home try. Keeping with the spirit of the game so far, Bryan Habana fumbled the kick-off which was cleaned up by O’Connor who ran the 20 odd metres unopposed for a try. Verging on the ridiculous, the springbok Guthro Steenkamp then scored a quick try in reply after a couple of line outs went their way and it was 21-14 after only 16 minutes.

Things did settle somewhat from there as everyone realised you were still allowed to tackle, and we were treated to a 59 metre penalty kick from Morne Steyn. Kurtley Beale tried his own from halfway, but was not as accurate.

A great run from Schmoo and a nice kick (and a fortuitous bounce for the Wallabies) saw Habana pinged for holding on, Genia took a quick tap and it was given to Dean Mumm to cross for his first test try, and the Bonus Point for the Wallabies by the 27 minute mark. Gits added the extras. The obligatory return try to the Bokke came with … Pierre Spies crossing to have them within a sniff of a 4 try Bonus Point. That was the last of the scoring before oranges in what was a frenetic first half.

The Second half started in a much more test match like intensity, so much so that the first scoring opportunity came with a Penalty to the home team for a high tackle from Saia Fiangaa, which was converted by M. Steyn. This score was quickly reciprocated by the Wallabies with Gits kicking the reply for a similar call.

Just when you thought it was going they were going to trade penaties instead of tries, Frans Steyn finished off a backline move shortly after another terrible restart from the Wallabies, the Conversion saw the home team into the lead for the first time, with the 4 try bonus point now earned.

The teams pressured hard on each other’s lines, with the Wallabies intent to run shown by an audacious run from KB, from inside the Wallabies in goal, saw the wallabies pulled up with a knock on just a few metres out after a couple of phases. Defence was back in this match.

A war of attrition developed, and was not broken until Joe Peterson crossed at the 80th minute to put the result beyond doubt, and rob the Wallabies of the Bonus point for not losing by as much. The south Africans were able to break their Tri-nations duck and big Vic was able to win his 100th.

It was a case of the Wallabies showing their potential, but not being good enough to close the match out. It would have been interesting to see the difference Stephen Moore coming off the bench may have made.

Australia 31:  (Try O’Conner 2, Genia , Mumm Conversion Giteau 4/4 Penalty Giteau 1/1, Beale 0/1) South Africa 44: (Try: Juan Smith, Steenkamp, Pierre Spies, Francois Steyn, Pieterson Con: M Steyn 4/4, James 1/1 Pen: M Steyn 2/2 F Steyn 1/1)

  • meatsack

    Putting the lose on Saia is a bit harsh. At least he tackled properly.

    Saw a lot of Wallaby backs going for the strip first, tackle second.

  • Raggle

    I don’t like blaming the ref, but Alain Rolland was completely awful today. There was a penalty or scrum off of nearly every breakdown, ridiculous. The Wallabies didn’t help themselves by losing two crucial 5m lineouts in the last five minutes, that completely ruined them. AAC also didn’t play nearly up to his best, the 5m knock-on was a killer.

    • Ham

      At least he was consistently awful.

  • Dizzer

    Scintillating first half, the usual rot set in after half time…..what does this team have to do to start winning consistently? Where to from here? Why doesn’t Robbie use the bench? And what is going on with our once great defence? I’d like to see a review of the coaching personnel, and perhaps bring in a few specialists to get this team moving in the right direction. Maybe even a motivational/mental coach as has already been suggested. It’s hard to keep faith in Robbie and co when we are making such a habit of losing.

  • Gallagher

    The last play should have been pulled back with a ruck infringement, have to see it again to see who it was! But either way the last try shouldnt have been awarded! Let alone being robbed from Drews sure Try! Im so pissed off I cant even remember what it was in the second half that was dodgy that gave them another three points from Morne’s boot! Once again we played well enough to win but got robbed by the ref! Should have won with an extara 17 points on the board!

    I’ll be honest though and also say that Deans started well by using the bench (FINALLY!) early in Slipper, Simmons and then McCalman, but should have kept them coming with DEFINITELY Moore to replace Saia. I keep thinking he should have used more, but I honestly think he was limited in options with only Barnes and A Faingaa as options to come on. Maybe another outside back on the bench could have dropped AAC (who was a little off tonight?). Genia played well, and I couldnt see Gits coming off. If anything Quade could have come off, not for playing bad though, just for playing under his potential.

    Overall it was still a high quality game with limited, maybe even zero, ruck turnovers and kicking. I believe the Wallabies deserved to win this one, based on performance by one or two points. I wanna know who needs to be blamed for going back to one phase rugby in the second half! Should have kept to the ‘three/four pass off the ruck’ rugby we where playing in the first half.

    Oh well bring on next week. And bring on the reserves as starters! Lose Maafu already! Mumm brings nothing that McCalman/Simmons/Higgers cant bring!

  • Scotty in Devon

    I think we can write off the NZ match as well – might as well try out some of the new guys and just focus on the tour to Europe now. Try and get the strongest team out there for the tour and get a few wins, no matter what the opposition over there.

    Looking at those videos (excellent they were) over the last week or two its clearly apparent we don’t have the cattle anymore. Just ain’t there. We are down with the 6N teams I’m afraid for the time being, thats the reality of things.

    • ozrugbynut

      With a full strength forward pack, we deserve to be up there, but with injuries, we’re not looking good.

  • Joe

    I dont think Robbie Deans knows how to coach at the international level. Why the fuck would you leave Matt Hodgson on the bench. I honestly don’t see how the Wallabies would play worse with Ewen McKenzie as coach.

    • meatsack

      Hodgson is in WA injured…?

      Turner should’ve started with JOC on the bench. Yeah JOC scored a couple of tries early on, but then went AWOL.

      Way too many 10/12 players for my liking: Cooper, Giteau, Beale, JOC, Barnes & Ant all on the same team? WTF!!

      • Joe

        My bad. I forgot Hodgson was in WA haha. I guess Im just really frustrated with everything

      • Garry

        I’m going by (beer jaded) memory here, so don’t put too much weight on it.

        I saw JOC at first receiver in the backline move that ended with us running out of bodies and a twenty yard gap to the sideline where he should have been. Anyone confirm?

        Roaming is one thing, caught out of position is another.

  • ozrugbynut

    Turner would have been minced, but sure your second point is spot on. Needed genuine line breakers running off 10/12.

    • meatsack

      Turner is only my pick because of injuries. Ioane would be my first pick of course. Palu would also help offset a nimble backline…

      Anyone know the word on Higginbotham? I watched on 7 and they didn’t even realise he was injured until Simmons took the field.

  • Suzy Poison

    As a Bok fan, Wallas don’t be too harsh on yourselves. This game could have gone either way. The Wallas were right in it, until the last three minutes. All their attacking positive play came to nothing at the end, but at least they were having a go. I actually don’t think there is not as much difference between the three teams as the scores suggest. The Kiwis will tell you otherwise, of course, but they got lucky that a forward pass never got picked up last weekend. Sure they are the benchmark, 15 months out from the WC, but we have seen that before. Come the intense pressure of the World Cup on home soil and any one of these three teams can win it. The turning point in this game, was the Hougaard tackle on AAC. Overall the Saffas have discovered another scrumhalf genius. Also a wise decision to replace Smit, Chillboy was energetic. Is this the end of the road for Smit, I think so?

    • Who Needs Melon

      Thanks Suzy. A mighty gracious post.

  • RockyElboa

    Lack of confidence and basic skills towards the end of the match. Robbie seriously are you playing a game at altitude and you don’t use any of the backs on the bench??

    Defence was horrible throughout the match, I know we are small team but it isn’t good enough.
    We need a specialist defence coach now!

    Hopefully Mitchell will go to the Lions, Graham will quit to focus on the Force. Come on if that doesn’t happen then JON has to get rid of him. What skills has he brought to the team?

    • Who Needs Melon

      Robbies use (or lack of use) of the bench is my major beef at the moment. Deans may not be able to control many things but that’s something he definitely has total control of. I’ve never understood it – he seems to think the bench is there solely in case anyone gets injured. It’s not lack of faith in the reserves because we’ve seen Genia sit on the bench for the whole match while Burgess plays and then Burgess sit on the bench for the whole game while Genia plays. And if you didn’t have faith in Barnes, why pick him on the bench in the first place. I’m not a huge fan of either Barnes or Burgess but I just find this completely f&@$ing nuts. Can anyone explain this?

      I’m sure I’ll have the heart to post some positives later – there WERE a lot of them – but at this stage I’m all rant.

  • Neahb

    As a QR it is disappointing to say, but Faingaa – 3 pens – 13 points; lost by 12. Moore looked the goods when he was on. What has Deans got against him?

    Also Brown – tried hard, linked ok – but was consistently outmuscled. Not a bad player but just not quite up to this standard I reckon.

    Slowly losing interest, and I never thought I would say that.

    Let’s get back into it next week.

    • RugbyReg

      I thought Moore was crap.

      He did 3 dumb things in a row. The first was the long throw close to our line which was lucky to bounce our way.

      Then he tried a dumb pass to Mitchell which was pushing thing too much.

      Then he did something else which I can’t remember at the moment which really stymies my argument unfortunately…

      Regardless, I thought both hookers (Saia and Moore) had games they would prefer to forget.

  • Skip

    haven’t read the Bok press, are they happy with Roland now? the ‘comment’ from SA during rounds 1 and 2 was quite something, what words now? Fantastic game though.

  • Scoot

    Best 7’s game I have seen in ages. When is the test on?

  • Joe Blow

    It was sooooooooooooo frustrating watching the Wallabies throw that test away..
    Even more frustrating was witnessing Deans lack of use of the bench when the whole idea was to run the Boks around and tire them out.
    I have been critical of Gnostic and the other Deans bashers but I am coming around to their way of thinking.
    That was a shocker from team selection to game plan (chicken and head off) to substitutions (or lack thereof) to total lack of on field leadership after Sharpe left proceedings.

    We seem to be going in the wrong direction………………………….

    • Pete

      Gad someone else noticed our lineout disintegrated in the Bok 22 after Sharpe left.

    • Jnor

      I was going to make my own comment Joe but you’ve said exactly what i would’ve said anyway.
      WHY WHY WHY no bench – the boys were run off their feet in the last 20 and that was when the stupid mistakes and one-out running came back? Wtf was wrong with Moore?

      At least Rock was talking to the ref for once.

      Also, Hougaard – get a haricut you look like an absolute clown.Him and Cowan make me rage, damn halfbacks.

      • andy g

        i still dont think rocky has the ability to captain and play well. When he did speak to the ref he almost reminded me of Hollies. If he calmed down and charmed the ref like gregan used to or richie macaw does he might see things different.

        • Jnor

          I pretty much agree with you andy. I don’t know if he’s quite up to Hoiles’ standard of ref talk but all I was saying (which is kinda sad) is that at least he was communicating.

          I’m still very unsure whether he’s captain material and I think it should probably be Sharpe with the longer-term view that Bam or Sanchez will be no.1

  • TC

    I do not understand why the Wallabies complain about inconsistency. That is now 20 of 21 away losses in the Tri Nations and last night was the same old story.

    Despite some early gifts from the Saffas, you cannot win test matches if you drop the ball more than 10 times in the last 50 minutes, do not secure your own possession with set plays and miss first up tackles.

    Frustrating thing is there were some positive aspects to the Wallabies game – using width in attack and less kicking, however the team is not up to playing that style of game for 80 minutes without having some impact off the bench.

    Does not looking good for next week. Most likely the Saffas will improve and shut down the Wallabies attack.

  • Robson

    The lack of structure started to show in the last quarter when fatigue was setting in and the players didn’t have a pattern to fall back on (realignment??). They looked to me like they were getting in each others way!! That is inherently a problem with a defense which is styled on the precept of “defending what is in front of you”. It is the converse of course of “playing what is in front of you” and is also a Deans mantra.

    Actually Deans may not have been the architect of “playing what is in front of you”. Wayne Smitth is also a strong advocate of it, the difference is that Graham Henry is a tactician and strategist so the ABs have the best of both worlds.

    IMHO, the reason why the WBs seem to fall to pieces in the second half is nothing more nor less than a structured approach to the whole game. As basic and as simple as it might have been the Boks actually had a structured approach to the match and they just clung to it throughout the eighty. When the returns from flinging the pill around hither and thither dried up in the second half the WBs didn’t have a plan B. I don’t actually think that they had a plan A either but they got away with it when everyone was reasonably fresh.

    As fatigue set in, both sides needed a plan. The Boks had one, the WBs didn’t have one – they were still playing “what was in front of them”. So the Boks were able to drive the nail in. AAC’s loss of the ball in the tackle late in the game as well as crucial line outs that went astry were indicative of exhaustion and the shapeless nature of the game the WBs were trying to play.

    Suzy Poison thinks that the three teams are a bit closer than what some score lines would indicate. There is probably a measure of truth in that, but the absence of structures and strategies in the WBs game is putting them behind the other two sides every time.

    Next test – at altitude again – look out for more of the same. I fervently hope I’m wrong, but I can’t see any remarkable change on the horizon.

  • rugbyfreak

    The WB’s could easily have won that game with a liitle more composure shown in the second half.The attack looked dangerous again with QC back in charge although their defence let them down at times in the first half.Its definately not all doom and gloom IMO as some are suggesting – 12 months is long enough for Deans to pull this team together and there are enough positive signs for me that they are on track.

  • Petri

    I was in shock the first few minutes with the Aussies scoring 2 quick tries! I thought we were in for a massive whipping! Luckily the focus was all on attack and none on defence. I did however feel that the game was in the balance right to the end. It was a massive blow to have lost those crucial line outs near the bok line. Each time a huge sigh of relief from my end. It was there for the taking in the last 20 minutes and it was Australia doing all the attacking. Unlucky not to have scored!

    The start of the game did remind me of the NSW game against the Bulls earlier this year in which they also set out to score as many points as possible early on, which they did. But then they too ran out of steam towards the end of the game. Some similarities there? I think so!

    Then I am also questioning the logic of training the Australian squad in Durban, at sea level for the coming week before heading to Bloemfontein for the test. Seen this happen too often and the teams don’t perform. Stormers v Bulls S14 final this year, Stormers flew up only hours before the match…result = Stormers lost and looked off their game. Sharks v Bulls S14 this year, Sharks flew up the morning… result = Lost as they tired in the last 20 minutes and lost the game in that time.

    The best way to cope with altitude is to train there, stay there and acclimatise. The best way I reckon to counter the altitude factor. But then that’s just my experience and not backed by any scientific evidence as I am sure the Aussie management would do.

  • Joe Blow

    Why don’t we have the structure?
    It has always been our strength in both attack and defense. With the way the game is being played this year structured multi-phase play should win out almost every time.
    Defense without structure just does not cut it at this level.

    We can’t just throw the pill around willy nilly and hope for a result. At least not against the Boks and the Blacks.
    Play whats in front of you is all well and good but towards the end of a tough game at altitude it would be nice to have a pattern of play for tired and sore bodies to fall back on where there is a common purpose.

  • D.

    “Captain Rocky Elsom has vowed the Wallabies will not be intimidated when a stinging South Africa fly into action at Loftus Versfeld.”

    How about you vow that you’ll will win next week against the Boks or resign as captain. I didn’t see where you called the boys in and gave them a talk and some inspiration. If you did, it didn’t seem to work.

    Stop vowing this and vowing that. You did it against the All Blacks and where did that get you? Same result. Instead, how about you catch a ball on your own lineout 5m out from the opposition and score a fucking try.

    • Garry

      There were a couple of times in the second half where Rocky popped up in the backline, only to be caught and kill any go forward. Is it just me, or has he lost pace? His rampaging runs are non existent anymore and becoming a problem for our backline.

  • Bob

    Wallabies had the pressure on numerous times and could (should?) have won that game had it not been for the handling errors and failing lineout.

    Loved the attacking intent, but it was very frustrating to watch excellent opportunities squandered though imprecise handling.

    It seems that the Wallabies correct one aspect of their game and another falls apart.

    I still believe it is all going to come together, but it has been disheartening.

  • pants

    So what we have is an exact reproduction of last years season, and the season before that, and the one before that. We’ll finish up with a solitary 3N win (in Brisbane again) come last in the 3N and have no silverware in the cupboard of any significance. But we are to believe that none of this will have any impact on next years world cup. We’ve been putting up with this for, what is it, about 10 years now since we were a force to be reckoned with. Since then its been the same old mediocre crap with the same line about rebuilding and development being bandied about.

    We are the keystone cops of world rugby. If there’s a way to lose a test match, we’ll find it and usually in comical fashion. Being gifted a 14 point lead 5 minutes into the match and then losing is a close second to the debacle of losing against Scotland last year, or losing against England in Sydney. Or the charge down smack down the ABs did in Melbourne. I’ve actually reached the point where I find it funny. I was thinking 5 minutes into the test when we were 14 – 0 up “lets see how the Wallabies end up losing this one”. This time is was done by getting into the opposition 22, losing our own line out then immediately conceding a penalty and only having plan A which is to play a wide game.

    What is it with us getting great leads and then immediately surrendering the advantage, not even holding onto it for more than 5 minutes? Why can’t they play with intelligence? Why can’t they think, oh we’ve got a great lead, lets just slow things down a bit and build on that?

    As its been mentioned, there is no plan B. There is just one plan and that is, play wide. When was the last time we scored off a set piece? That used to be one of our strengths.

  • Joe Mac

    Huge improvement this week. Its the first time i can remember being content losing a game, as a wallabies fan. We are severely injury depleted at the moment and for a lot of these boys who are too young (and too small) to be playing at the top flight, to dig in and make a game of it in the highvelt, i think we did the G&G proud.

    Would have loved some higgers action but come next WC when we have a full squad, and a bench of hardened 3N players (due to injury this year) we will roll every c*nt.

    • Garry

      I feel for you Joe. We’ve become so accustomed to losing, that if we put up a fight, and still lose, well…that’s better than nothin’.

      Please Joe, hang onto to your expectations of something more substantial. Don’t give into the mediocrity.

  • Lee Enfield

    Piss Poor defence.
    Too many number 12’s in the backline..
    Piss poor use of the bench.
    Piss poor ball security

    Not happy, can’t believe we lost after being 21-7 up. I have been a Deans defender up until now. The bench was a shit fight. Not bringing Moore on when it was clear Faingaa had shot his bolt, poor coaching. Couldn’t effectively use the reserve backs as there were four number 12’s in the team, poor coaching. The defence was a shit fight, bring back Muggleton.
    It is time to start picking the best players in their best positions, this shit of picking four number 12’s and finding a spot for them is riddiculous. Deans has run out of excuses, that loss is on his shoulders.

    • Paul Parker

      I second that call for Muggleton. It’s time John O’Neill told Deans to grow up and work with Muggleton. This is about our nation’s rugby team not Deans reputation or legacy. Deans ruined Rogers and emasculated Giteau. World rugby has gone way past the coaching skills with which he succeeded at the provincial level. Don’t select Deans for the World Cup is my call.

  • Will

    Agreed the result was the same old story. But i don’t want to dwell on the negatives, KB and Cooper have completely revitalized the attacking structures. Now all we need is some strong ball runners, who know their angles, working off them and we would have a team that could be in the mix.

    Can somebody explain how you can pick a bench with another 2 12’s on it. At my count there were 6 10/12’s picked for the wallabies last night. Then again if you refused to utilize you bench what difference does it make.

  • Rocket

    i know this doesnt really matter that much but im pretty confident it was Kurtley Beale who took the quick pass and set Mumm up, not Will Genia

    • RugbyReg

      yep for sure. Twas KB.

  • Lee Enfield

    Beale had a great game, certainly deserves to be 15. He is stepping up and proving to be a viable option, needs to work on the high ball a bit more, but he is impressing.

    • RedsHappy


      I agree re KB. This was for me the positive highlight of the match, probably the only (real) one. What I especially like is that KB is learning from his mistakes and genuinely developing into a Test player (note: I refer not to the Deans’ apologists use of ‘developing depth’ as a general explanation thus providing a PR-driven excuse for poor progress). His fitness and personal weight reduction is clear, his judgement and self-control under pressure are maturing, and thus his wonderful skills of manoeuvre, agility and vision are really beginning to shine at this level.

      I note that, bar Pocock and Beale, there are very few, if any, other Wallabies you can say this off: clear personal improvement and growth in 2010’s Tests. The core problem is that if the coach’s whole personnel strategy is one of developing younger players, two solid improvers (in the right positions) after eight 2010 Tests is absolutely not enough to secure an adequate improvement curve for the total team. To this ‘plus of 2′ must be ‘minused’ some players actually going backwards, for inexplicable reasons.

      • JTM

        Agreed. He’s still only 21!
        He has really matured since his wake up half-way through the S14.You have to remember that guys like Carter and Larkham didn’t make their Super debuts till 21-22. Kurtley made his at 18 and now you can really appreciate what a difference those 3 year make.

        Might be a lesson in it for JOC.

      • Paul Parker

        Not at all inexplicable, Lee. It’s Dean’s tendency to dispirit his players. He picks them because of certain talents then tries to mould them into something different, instead of refining what they’ve got. We’ve seen him mess up Giteau, how long before he sucks the flair out of Cooper and Beale?

        • Garry

          He picks them because of certain talents then tries to mould them into something different

          Perhaps Deans should start to play what’s in front of him?

    • Garry

      Still unproven under the highball, the way he was stripped so easily in a 50/50 in the second half. On the plus, dynamic kick returner and in broken play, looks great and links when he needs to.

      • RedsHappy

        Fair point re highball and KB Garry, I should have qualified with that. But I think he’s got the skill and mindset to fix that weakness over time (at least from what we’re currently seeing from him).

      • chiraag

        His defence is still rather average for a fullback. The attempt on JP Pietersen for the last try was atrocious. Not good enough for your option as the last line of defence IMO.

  • Pedro

    Good promise but the Wallabies we cut down by:

    1. Woeful lineout. How a professional team can be so bad in this area is beyond me. Do they train for this during the week or just rock up on Saturday and trust it to luck?

    2. Bad rotation of players. Why Steven Moore wasn’t on at 45 mins in I don’t know.

    3. Set piece and general boneheadedness. Accidental offside? Tick. Dean Mumm dropping the restart cold? Tick.

    Pulling my hair out!!!!

  • Wobbly

    Groundhog day! Why do I stay up for the African tests when I know it’s going to be the same shit every time?

    How many times have we had them on the ropes in the republic only to lose composure and give it to them on a platter? That was fucking appalling leadership both off field and on it.

    I too had been resisting the anti Deans push, but not any more. Cannot justify selections of Maafu, Brown and Gitteau. Cannot go without criticizing the underuse of the bench. And now it’s become completely apparent that our defensive structure has also gone to shit.

    When we were ahead in the first half or at half time, it was evident to any blind Charley that we needed to reinforce our midfield defense. In Barnes and A Finger we have two of the best defenders in world rugby on the bench and yet neither got on the field. Moore should have replaced S Finger who was clearly knackered 10 minutes into the second half. Brown just shouldn’t have been on the field PERIOD!

    I don’t mind if we have back line of 5 stone weaklings if they can rip apart defenses as these guys can, but please for the love of god will someone show Cooper, Mitchell, OConnor and Beale how to tackle low and effectively.

    I can’t see us gagging a win in the next two tests, the refs are a lottery, our defense is confetti and our leadership is useless.

  • RedsHappy

    Wobbly: the general standard of Wallaby defence, and, as you say, technical tackling skill was a shocker, wasn’t it. I think we missed around 32 tackles. You’ll recall the (justifiably) disparaging comments re England when I think they missed around that number in Perth this year.

    I have said elsewhere: the Wallabies Assistant Coaches have been Deans’ biggest blunder – they are manifestly not up to 3N/Test standard, and partly as RD has insisted on being ‘the Master Coach’ and thus constructing Assistants as minor players in his crew, not key influencers and quality builders.

    It has recently transpired that in fact RD fell out with one of our finest coaches – Foley – and Foley quietly assumed duties with the Tahs from 2009 on.

    These Assistants need cleaning out with urgency and, in addition to replacements, we clearly need a top class, dedicated defence coach to come back for at least 12-24 months to rebuild what used to be one of our finest, most consistent attributes, solid defensive technique, and defensive structure

    • James

      Don’t see how changing the assistants will help. Give Deans’ the arse and get Link on the phone pronto. He’ll have us turned around in under 12 months.

      I would be moderately unhappy as the lack of his genius at the reds will hurt, but it’s a sacrifice worth enduring.

  • Robson

    I always wondered why Foley slipped off the radar. He is clearly someone whose skills are desperately needed. Will the Wallabies be able to get him back? I think John O’Neil has a king sized problem right now because his faith in Deans has not produced the results he (and me too) were brimming with confidence that we were going to get.

    Can Deans do it with a full muster in 2011?

    Sure he hasn’t got a full muster at the moment, but there are players there now with sufficient talent to be the litmus test for the quality of coaching which has gone into the team so far. In fact over the last three years. I am very doubful that 2011 will bring better rewards because the basics are not there now. It’s fantasy land to think that essential defensive structures and an attacking regime will suddenly materialise with supposedly better players available.

    I think that all three coaches need to be substituted for the EYOT tour.

    • ozrugbynut

      Got the talent yes, but as you’ve said in other posts, team selection and use of the bench has been an issue.

      Come RWC2011, the difference will be squad depth, confidence and experience. And we have don’t have any of those to match it with NZ and SA.

      Agree we need to look very closely at whether the assistant coaches are adding value.

  • Garry

    Here we go again?

    Let me preface this by saying that I only caught the second half of the game because my venue was showing some English soccer on the satellite feed, which probably wasn’t good for my demeanor to begin with, so I was particular pissed to see the halftime score line, and today to find out that I missed some good rugby.

    What I saw in the second half was like groundhog day, same ordinary schoolboy level mistakes costing tries and eventually… Did I see our attacking lineout 15 yards from there line, our throw and the only players jumping was Matfield?

    It’s true, as surely as we were known as the team who could regularly get out of jail on the bell, we have become the Keystone cops, who find a new way to lose each game. It’s heartbreaking, if there’s any left in our supporters chest to break, and I wonder just how this is affecting the kids and our potential supporter base. If I was a kid, I wouldn’t be waring my G&G around, it’s embarrassing.

    From what I saw of QC tonight, I think he fits into the Dean’s “Play what’s in front of you” mantra, but can not organise a structured attack. As Robson said, against a good structured defense, and with tiring WB’s around him and no realignment, the attack goes pear shaped.

    Watching the last 5 minutes with a friend, I dared to dream that we could score a try on the bell and win (thoughts of yesteryear), but was deluding myself, and the heartache of watching another failed pass, and the last Bok try to salt my woulds.

    But that was last night. This morning I awoke with a scenario in my head, and couldn’t work out if it was a dream or.. It begins with (pre-WB’s) Deans talking talking to a rep from the NZRU about his application for the job of Head coach of the ABlacks. Something like this….

    NZRU: Right Robbie thanks for coming, take a seat.
    D: Cheers
    NZRU: First of all thanks for applying, we really have had a lot of deliberating about the possibilities. And what we’ve decided, we haven’t arrived at lightly.
    D: Go on.
    NZRU: We’ve decide to continue with Graham, he has a lot of support behind the scenes around here, but I have a special assignment for you.
    D: Mmm
    NZRU: Graham will coach until the WC, but we are penciling you in for the following era. In the meantime what we would like you to do is take the offer that the ARU is offering for the head coach position, and do your best to hold back the progress of the team in the run up to the WC.
    D: That’s going to be touch, they’ve got some great talent coming through and will be peaking around Cup time.
    NZRU: Just do your best, we don’t expect miracles, and at the same time, you’ll get to know the players strengths and weaknesses to use when it’s your tenure.
    D: Hmm, that backline’s going to be tough, some good talent there. Perhaps if we take away any attacking structure, and have them running in all directions? Yes that’s it, I’ll call it “playing what’s in front of you”.
    NZRU: Great idea. We’ll of course pay you a salary, and as well as the ARU salary, you’ll be set.
    D: (grinning) Choice.
    NZRU: Well, if that’s all I’ll have Sally draw up the contract this week, and I’ll give you a call. That’s it, I’m sure you’ll want to get started…

    The sad part about the loss last night was that it was close, neither a win, nor a hiding. Useless. A large loss could have meant we’ve bottomed out, and O’neil may have been embarrassed enough to do something. Toothless. It’s not too late people, release the “Link”. Or even Macqueen. Tell him to drop what he is doing in Melbourne and get his ass up here immediately. Don’t worry about the Rebels, f*ckem’, let them become the whipping boys of next year, you’re desperately needed to fix the complete sh*t heap that is the national team.

    People, this is a talent laden-ed team, being coached by coaches that are not at international level (or something more sinister) please don’t accept it or find solace in mediocrity. For the sake of the kids watching, the next generation of WB supporters, get angry.


  • gregt

    Hate to lose, but at least they lost trying to play the way the Wallabies should play. Credit to the Boks — what great solidarity and self belief. The Aussies were terrific in parts — Beale, Cooper wonderful.
    The game was lost when Sharpe went off in the 64th (subsequently Oz lost two attacking lineouts). It’s not a solely a matter of talent or getting the selections right anymore. These fellas are shot psychologically. But the road to redemption has to be to continue to attack like demons.

  • KDog

    Not a click a “BANG” again.

  • Linus

    Just so frustrating to be in position to win, again, and lose. Mostly due to bad decision making. Argh.

  • Derano

    You guys just don’t have the depth. Instead of spending all that money on leaguies years ago, you should have been developing grass roots. Pissing the Kiwis off by having the RWC taken off us means you dont have many friends down this way as well. You might say “so what, who needs the kiwis?” Well it was OZ and NZ that started the first RWC in ’87 and OZ and NZ that turned the game professional in ’95 and it’s been OZ and NZ that have tried to change the laws to encourage running rugby. NZ also advised against the Perth franchise because of lack of depth and we all saw what happened to Qld. And O’Neil in the heady days at the beginning of the millenium retaliated by conspiring to take the RWC off us in ’03. Clean stadiums my arse, the extra money made by putting the NZ games in the larger Oz stadiums was used to pay millions of dollars to get those stadia ‘clean’. Where did all the money go? Further still OZ was upset because NZ got the 2011 RWC.
    Whats my point? Your game is poorly run, its too top heavy. If the Wallabies arent going so well then the popularity of the code plummets. It needs to be developed from the ground up and more resources allocated to the regions.
    Theres some fairly damning stats flying around and talk about coaching, refereeing and captaincy but it goes deeper.

  • ChrisK

    What a fantastic game! These are the sort of Rugby matches that we need more of. Very exciting and fast paced with lots of attacking play. I am Aussie but for some reason always look forward to watching the Boks play whether they play against us or the All Blacks. They have a passion and a devotion to Rugby that I have not seen from the other teams. They are born to play Rugby and are far too tough to play soccer. It is hard not to like and admire them. Also they have cleaned up their act over time and are not the dirty players they used to be. They play more fairly now but still tough. I think their big men often tire too quickly and fall off tackles too easily. Also they still need to hold onto the ball a lot more and go through the phases and show patience like the All Blacks do. Francois Hougaard has a blinder and his try saving tackle was super! That probably won them the game as well as the poor lineouts from the Wallabies.
    It was great seeing a close game and I like both teams so it was a good result. I hope the Boks get better and learn how to match the All Blacks again in time for the RWC. It always makes my day if the All Blacks get beaten as it doesn’t happen often enough.

  • matty dee

    I have been waiting like a lot of others for things to come around with this side and tolerating the critics of Deans.
    But after watching this game I felt the coaching let us down badly.
    Clearly like the previous game in NZ changes needed to be made from the bench in the second half.
    Fresh legs!
    Burgo, Barnes, Moore, etc
    There is no excuse for his failure to use the bench – what hell are they there for!
    I’m beginning to think maybe the Deans critics are right.
    Very disappointing.
    Another coaching performance like this next week and it might be time to grab Link.

  • Suzy Poison

    Imagine if Deans had a few mongrels like the Saffas. Bakkies Botha, Scalla Burger, Guthro Steenkamp (an underrated prop who is probably one of the world’s best with ball in hand)
    He is one ugly mofo that is hard to stop. And Bismark Du Plessis is still coming back from injury. Different story….you guys just don’t have the forwards. Things is Victor Matfield probably won’t make the world cup, but no worries we have Andries Becker who is better anyway. Same with John Smit, Bismark is better. And there are more monsters like Flip Van de Merwe on the production line. It’s not Deans, Aussies just don’t have the meat eating monsters that the Saffas do. Don’t blame Deans, he is doing the best with the quick stepping backs and light as forwards he has at his disposal.

    • ChrisK

      Very good point Suzy. We Aussies are so greedy for success and can’t accept losing and so we expect so much from our sporting teams and the coaches. We raise the bar so high and are quite scathing when they don’t reach it.
      I like Deans and reckon he is doing what he can and I am sure he knows what he is doing. It is hard for Australia to thrive in Rugby due to competition with Rugby League and the other sports like AFL and increasingly that cure for insommnia- soccer. We do pretty well though considering. We are however too hard on our players who do their utmost for their country and I believe they do us proud. If we devoted more resources toward Rugby we’d be a lot better.
      I agree with what you have said about the impact players for the Boks. I like Burger and Bekker and believe Bekker has a real role to play in the side. I also think Smit and Matfield must retire asap to give your team their best chance next year. I can’t for the life of me understand what Ricky Januarie is doing in the team. He isn’t even the starting scrum half for the Stormers. Doesn’t make any sense.

      • Garry

        reckon he is doing what he can and I am sure he knows what he is doing

        Stop that. Enough blind faith.

        SP raises so good points about the difference in the style/qualities of the forwards, but isn’t this because Dingo persists with the same players. If you read some of the (many) comments in the forum about some of our forwards in the wings, even getting splinters, then you’ll realise that there may be the talent in the ranks, but under Dingo we’ll never know.

  • Spike

    Unbiased perspective from a northerner who watches only southern hemisphere rugby because it is sooo much better: I agree with Suzy regarding the mongrel in your pack. Clearly Saia Faingaa is much too small for an international hooker, and makes very little impact because of this. He has a lot of heart, but WHY does Deans persist with him? Richard Brown is most certainly not a top international 8th man. Also, Ma’afu is a long way from becoming a top internationa prop. Also, Dean Mumm is a stopgap measure at best. Part of the reason for having these players starting in a top flight international rugby match is that you have so many top scrummers injured or absent right now–so all the naysayers in the blog should look to what type of scrum you “might” have if these players come back and stay healthy next year. For example, Polota-Nau at hooker, Ben Alexander at prop, Dan Vickermann and/or James Horwill at lock, and at 8th man, Wycliff Palu. When and if (if, because with your lack of forward depth, others my become injured next year, too) your pack is bolstered by these quality players, it will be able to compete successfully against the Boks and All Blacks packs. With regard to your backs, you truly do have the potential to become the best backline in the world, but they are still very young and, sadly, may not be ready to deal with the pressures of WC 2011 (although if all goes according to seeding, you’ll get the easier semi, with the Boks facing the All Blacks in the other semi). You also need a big, tough and fast centre–not sure if Sterling can still do it, or if there are really any candidates there, and a rampaging winger (not many around). Your backs are a quantum leap ahead of the Boks backs in terms of ball handling and skills (although they are tougher defensively because their centres outweigh you by 10K per man). Whatever you can say about the Dingo, he has blooded a large number of VERY young, skillful players, and this will pay off for you (hopefully in 2011, but for sure in the era of Wallaby resurgence which will follow WC 2011). You guys have some serious talent, and shouldn’t be so negative about your future prospects. When you are healthy, you are going to kick some serious butt!


  • Brandon

    You meant JP (Sharks wing / fullback) not Joe Peterson (Stormers / fullback) that scored the last Bok try.

  • KingofDubai

    missed the game but Fhark me I cant take it any longer. It hurts too much, we´re being let down WAAAY too many times without those responsible being dropped, publicly identified/named or f*cking fined I dont care.

    we have the talent, and the players but we are still losing. FACT. Attitude is a MASSIVE issue amongst the wallabies players and ill agree partially that age has something to do with it. Motlock will be in the world cup squad 100%. We need his presence at 13, as a world cup winner, former captain, current hard man who has won Tri Nations and world cups with both 3 and 5 pointers. Hes the only guy who can drag 3 or 4 AB´s over the line with him to score meat pies. Christ we need him. Can anyone else see that? throw in TPN, Alexander, Horwill, Vickerman, Wycliff and we will be a serious side. I have, however realised that….whilst knowing all this, In the meantime let Deans f*ck around with the team and blood young players, let them play the full 80 without having a breather- Perhaps players are used to being ´saved´ by a bench player by past coaches. RD is trying to get guys to harden the f*ck up and know that they will be exposed as softies if they cant honour the 80.

    we need guys that will Man- up, so untill they do we will continue to lose the tight ones. The players are their own worst enemy. No one elses fault but theyre own.


Steve Timms, He likes watching the odd game of Rugby, occasionally writes about it.. Proud member of the original Mudchooks.

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