Wallaby Attack Analysis - Green and Gold Rugby

Wallaby Attack Analysis

Wallaby Attack Analysis

The Wallabies attack hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in 2010 – so what can be improved?

In this video I’ve looked at a short sequence of phases in the 3rd minute of Bledisloe 2 to show what I think needs to be improved.  Whilst there are other issues, the themes shown in this video are the most recurrent for me and have been repeated game after game this season.

In summary the issues are:

  • One out runners with little support;
  • Playing with too much depth with the ball runner receiving the ball too far away from the contact line;
  • Players not committing defenders before they pass;
  • Attackers not realigning quickly enough which is creating slow ball – in my opinion it’s not the halfback creating slow ball in the majority of cases;
  • A lack of organisation that results from a lack of any sort of attacking structure;
  • A lack of innovation.

 There’s no rocket science here – just paying attention to the basics.

  • backstalls

    Great analysis. Really shows the reasons for the stagnant attack. Would have loved to have seen some comparison footage from maybe the Boks in Brissie match to have a look at what Cooper was doing there in attack. I guess we all have the feeling that he was taking the ball to the line and threatening the defence but would be interesting to see how the attack aligned with him. Thanks for all your hard work though Austin. These kinds of videos really increase my enjoyment and understanding of the game.

    • Will Johnson

      Don’t you wish Dingo was watching some of these videos?

      Supporting the wallabies requires a lot of blind faith these days….

  • Reddy!

    like it mate

  • Dally M

    We seriously need some set moves.

    Hopefully Mitchell gets the Lions gig in SA & therefore Graham will have to stand down from his assistant role to coach the Force (God help them) next year.

    Who would take his place? Who would we like to see in there?

    Kafe would be an interesting option as someone mentioned previously.

    • Austin

      The Wallabies have now played 7 games in 2010 – that’s over 9 hours of rugby.

      In that time we’ve seen one move from the back line (when Giteau scored aginst England in Perth from the Ionae line break).

      I find that unbelievable – how do the coaches think a back line can be a threat without running at least some moves?

      Hopefully we see something this weekend.

    • mudskipper

      Steve Larkham is the guy with the play book… But I’d rather he help out at the brumbies first…

  • Chris

    Yet another informative analysis mate.

    I agree that there is a big issue with the ball runner receiving the ball way too far before the line. Part of breaking down a defensive line is to give defenders more than one possibility to think about – it doesn’t happen when there is one guy running with blinkers on from so far back.

    One other point I would make – and I think it is important to the realignment issue – is that because gits stands so far back (in that 3rd phase perhaps even more than 10 metres!) it requires those who were supporting on the previous phase to flood back up to 13 or 14 metres (so they run from depth) – this could take 2,3,4 seconds for a tired player to do. If the first receiver sets himself 5 or 6 metres back from the defence, the players who are retreating only have to go half as far, thus meaning the attack can realign much faster, and quick phase-play can be achieved.

    Just as an aside – I think Pocock could have been penalised for not going through the gate on the 3rd phase.

    • Austin

      ” … important to the realignment issue – is that because Gits stands so far back”

      Absolutely. We’ll watch Cooper closely this weekend to see if he plays closer to the line and whether that produces faster ball at the breakdown.

      • MattyP

        Exactly – you would have thought Gits, having played with Bernie for so long, would have a clue about backline alignment queing off the fly half…

      • Garry

        Gits stands so far back

        With Gits standing back, and the Messiah hitting the game line, this should produce some interesting results.

        ” Quade, cut 1″

        • Austin

          Love it – god help us!

    • Haha, and Richie does the Sleeping Kiwi in ruck on as well, this time on his back!

  • matty dee

    How about what Bob Dwyer says about getting the ball out and moving quickly.

    Last few games Genia standing over it hatching it while the opposition are lined up waiting!

    • RugbyReg

      as Austin says, that 3rd phase Genia wanted to get the ball out early, but there was no one there to receive it. Perhaps it’s because he has to wait for Gits to run back 10m before he’s in his preferred position, or its just because we don’t have any structure at the moment.

      We’ll see this weekend with Quade.

      • Who?

        I completely agree. I said this (elsewhere) 3 weeks ago. Genia was tired in the second half, no doubt, and he should’ve been hooked. Especially given he’d had a knee complaint at the end of the previous match. But there were far too many occasions when he was standing over the ball, looking for someone to feed.

        What doesn’t help Genia’s position is that television coverage tends to focus on the ruck. The ball goes into contact, we zoom in to see the intricacies of the ruck, and see the 9 standing over the ball. We often don’t see the 10 or the pods lining up outside, and how quickly/slowly they’re getting into position and ready for the ball to come.

        Great analysis Austin!

  • Great work mate. It’s dismaying when you see someone of Giteau’s experience run sideways and not engage a single defender, or put doubt into anyone’s mind. Surely, the players can’t be doing the opposite of Robbie is telling them, every week?

    • sammy

      he’s definately making it easy for the kiwis to ‘play whats in fron t of them’.

  • Timbo

    Its hard to watch this ‘attack’ when we’ve seen the Wallabies backs at their very best with the 3 videos G&GR have posted in the last week or so.

  • bones

    Unfortunately you just have to conclude the problem is Gîteau. We needed him the last few years to play 10 while younger talent was groomed. But the big punt that Deans took which has resulted in Aussie Rugby stagnating over the last 3 years is this horseshit of a second five-eight. You just dont need one when you have a decent half back who can direct play. It has meant that we endlessly just crab from side to side with no penetration or straightening of the attack at 12. Did you see the Reds play this kind of nonsense in the Super 14?

    This video confirms it for me. Giteau to finish up now as a run on player, unless Cooper is injured and he wins the back up role over Barnes or Toomua etc. Really he is the ideal utility 9 or 10 to play off the bench in the last 20 mins, but thats all.

    I hope he is “rested” for the EOYT.

    Deans to go now after the 2011 WC, having at least achieved complete generational change in the Aussie team (but cant see him replacing Henry at the ABs based on poor results with the Aussies, so may end up coaching in Europe). McKenzie as the next coach, with Campese as backs coach and probably Foley for the forwards, to lead us into a Golden Age.

    • sammy

      yeah, he can kiss the All Blacks coaching job goodbye.

      I think that Deans’s spot is more in the balance than we guess. It could very well rest on these next three games and the EOYT, there’s been enough small comments made by ARU management to let people know they are no longer head over heels with deans and the honeymoon is over. Up to this season he has been practically untouchable and infallable in their eyes, but they won’t go to the world cup like this if things don’t improve. It’s not like they’re unknown for making sudden decisions.

      in any case he won’t stay on post WC. I agree it wil probably be mckenzie which is a shame for the reds, maybe we’ll have an interim coach? I’d like to see Larkham come in as an advisor, especially as a mentor for Quade. Campo will at least has the guts to tell the backs what they need to hear to wake up some times.

      That said, there is always the chance that he will surprise everyone once he gets a full strength squad and picks a better balanced team.. (Hoping). We def dont need to playmakers – a guy who can bust the first tackle or 2 and offload is a more valuable playmaker in my mind. I have very little doubt that Will Cambers will be in the centres next year, and there’s no reason why he can’t play 12.

    • Who?

      We didn’t need Gits at 10 in 2008 or 2009. Barnes played 10 at the WC. Playing Gits at 12 and Barnes at 10 would’ve continued our established centre pairing (Gits/Morty), and Barnes showed enough in 2007 to indicate he’d have done fine. However, Gits played 10 because he’d supposedly been next in line behind Bernie for 6 years, and he was supposed to be the next Dan Carter.

      The second five issue..? Yep, I agree the Reds were very good in attack. But look back at 2006/2007 – our attack wasn’t bad with Gits at 12. Many, now, would describe him as a second five. He’s certainly not a regular crashballer. Then again, he’s not a playmaker, a backline director – he’s a ball runner who’s at his best when running holes and drawing defenders. As we saw in Brisbane. So… I don’t know if Gits is a second five (i.e. playmaker). But we do have some history playing biggish second fives – Flatley, Lynagh…

    • Garry

      Gîteau. We needed him the last few years to play 10 while younger talent was groomed.

      …or did we? Having Gits at flyhalf, combined with a regime of not blooding new talent, well…who knows what effect this has on the current situation we’re in? Namely, a young relatively unproven gun (QC), who’s dangling the league carrot, and apparently no competition for his position from the other S14 franchises.

      A better coach would have been asking questions long before this.

  • Watson

    Dan Carter is only a fraction better than Giteau at this, if you look at the way he’s been just shovelling the ball on (or kicking it) in most situations. What the Wallabies have lacked is guile in the centres, which the All Blacks have a ton of, and this is shown through the outstanding straight running and passing game of Ma’a Nonu and the offload rate of Conrad Smith outside him. These guys trouble defences and keep the ball alive. Our centers don’t – none of the four or five ones we’ve used have played a good draw and and pass game, except maybe Berrick Barnes but we’ve only used him once (against England in Test 1, which we won beautifully). I’m not saying Barnes is the answer, because his form since then seems to have dipped, but what I am saying is that the All Blacks have rare quality in their midfield right now which we aren’t competing with.

    And yes, Quade Cooper has been varying his depth much more effectively than Giteau. In the video you did on that first England Test it’s clear how he receives the ball close to the line, jiggs right up to the tacklers and sucks one or two in before he short passes.

    We’ll beat teh Boks with him in there. Teh ARU should pay overs to keep him.

  • Neahb

    How about Pat Howard for a backs/skills coach? Or even his mum, Margarite, big step up from the Qld Uni Colts in the early 90’s but she knew a thing or two about alignment, depth, support play and running angles.

    • Who?

      Of course she did – her dad taught the Ellas how to play! Cyril Towers – a true legend of the game…

    • Garry


      Pat Howard

      the same from the Greg Smith era? He’s damaged goods surely?

      • Austin


        I went to a couple of Reds coaching seminars in 2008 – one was Foley on lineouts and the other was Pat Howard on back line play.

        They were both excellent seminars.

        Pat Howard made a point of saying that he has no coaching credentials at all – that is he has no pieces of paper saying he’s a coach. But he did coach Leicester to a Guiness Premiership and a Heineken Cup final so he can coach, regardless of how his Wallaby career is perceived.

        The Wallabies could do a lot worse than have those two guys involved.

        • Garry

          Point taken.

          No player should be permenently tarnished with the Greg Smith brush. (but WB players that lose to the Poms in Australia should be made to wander the earth until redeemed) ;)

          I understand he is highly regarded in the UK as well.

  • Groucho

    I think some of the posters here are quite naive.

    The Wallabies and the coaching team watch these videos, ad nauseum, and they are far more experienced than us, even the very knowledgeable Austin.

    What is the problem? Well, the players are executing as well as they can.

    Secondly, the players are executing as well as they are allowed to.

    We have some catching up to do in fast-paced, competitive play.

    • Garry


      On the surface we should (and desperately seek to) assume this. But results on the board point towards deeper problems. You need to read more GAGR forum, to form a more balanced/informed opinion.

  • Joe_Mac

    I think the QC Giteau pairing is great when you have fast ball from the forwards.

    When the defence is scrambling giteau is great at finding gaps. it is when the defence has time to set and there are no holes that he ends up running sideways trying to find an opportunity, and looking like a pelican.

    I point the blame firmly at the forward pack and Genia.

    • Garry

      Doesn’t this sounds like the criteria for a centre rather than a playmaker?

  • Robson

    Another really great analysis. The backline attack is an issue for sure, but the whole team has got issues in almost every pocket.

    The centre’s pairing is an issue for reasons most posters have touched on here. The fullback is an issue because our best fullback is playing outside centre because there are no other o/s centre options and the wingers are an issue because one of them isn’t a winger at all. The flyhalf is an issue because he hasn’t played in three weeks and in the meantime has grown cash register eyes, The scrum half is an issue because he runs sideways instead of at the line (it seems to be infectious) and he is not clearing the pill fast enough, at times, from the base of the ruck, for reasons which are a bit obscure.

    The No. 8 is an issue – a very big issue, and the locking pair are an issue because both of them have their own achilles heel. The open side flanker is an issue because he has to work twice as hard in a pack which often struggles for parity. The blind side flanker is an issue, because he is the captain and there are self contained issues around that issue. The front row is an issue because the tighthead prop is the weak link (an appallingly weak link) in what is otherwise a reasonable front row.

    Greg Growden remarked the other day in his column that the WBs training run was a bit harem scarem and there were some wonky signs during lineout practice too. Well frankly I think the news is all bad. Taine Randall predicted after the Brisbane match that the Wallabies should enjoy it while it lasted because they weren’t going to win another game. I snorted at this and thought bring on Melbourne! Hah, what a bitter pill that was to swallow!

    I hope I’m proved wrong, but I don’t think there is a snow balls chance in hell of winning in the Republic. Our best chance is in Sydney against an All Black side that just may be a shade complacent after taking off with both trophies very early in the piece. But that also is a slim hope to cling to. The ABs won’t have Carter, but the only thing that will be affected by his absence is goal kicking and they may want to really rub it in and go for another four match clean out for the second year in a row. They tend to set goals like that, which is a worry; a worry, that is, to anyone playing against them.

    I think the outlook is really grim right now. Our top of the line players in key positions aren’t available because of injury, but that doesn’t mean that there are no quality players available. I am emphatic that there is still some really outstanding talent available to the selectors, but they are simply not being brought into the frame. In fact just the reverse. Simmons being taken off the bench for this match is a worrying example of someone who is a much better lock than at least Dean Mumm (and maybe also Nathan Sharpe) and has been taken out of the frame.

    The personnel are there, but they are not being brought together in the right mix. Gits needs some time on the bench for a lot of reasons; one of which is to re assess his own importance to the team. Ant Faingaa had a shaky start in Christchurch, but hells teeth – nothing like Ma’afu and Brown have reapeatedly had, test match after insufferable test match. And AF offers a tonne more potential in his position than either Ma’afu or Brown do in theirs. It’s
    Faingaa for inside centre for me to complete the Reds trio of Genia, Cooper and Faingaa.

    So the biggest issue for me is the personnel arrangement. There is a lack of courage or a lack of vision or both in how this team is being selected. If we ever get that right we may be able to achieve something quite magical.

    The other issue for me is the apparent absence of any coached strategies or tactics. The team as a composite unit of elite professional athletes have made absolutely zero progress over three years. ZERO. And, tragically, it is not their fault.

    Both assistant coaches need to take a hike and a long one. Meanwhile Deans needs to join Tony Woodcock as a fully paid up member of the Myth Club.

    • Blinky Bill from Bellingen

      Sheesh Robbo you’re a little ray of sunshine mate.

      Here I’m trying to feel positive about the Wallabies chances in SA and you hit me fair and square with a dose of reality. Bugger!

  • pants

    Its time to play that familiar game of thinking this is the year we’ll win at altitude in South Africa and then to get spanked and realize we’re at square one still. Top it with a dollop of inconsistent refereeing and a missed kick at goal from in front of the sticks and you’ve got standard wallaby fare. Or perhaps this is the year…

  • vidiot

    Nice demonstration of the slide offense, as compared to the slide defense. The end result is the same. Tackles.

  • Joe Blow

    It’s very sad and basically comes down to selection and training.
    As Bob Dwyer states, Giteau is a good player in bad form. Surely that should be an easy fix with such an experienced player and the coach(es) should be able to set him on the right path with a few words of wisdom. Not happening.
    Genia is a shadow of his former self and although no one doubts his pedigree he is not playing in a way that is beneficial for the team. Coaching??
    The continued selection of Maafu and Brown is baffling as is the exclusion of Simmons for a game where we know we are going to be tested up front.
    If Moore if fit then why is he not starting?
    Also, why wait until a test at altitude in the republic to finally bring Higginbotham onto the scene. If he actually makes it onto the pitch it will most likely be into the hottest cauldron of test rugby under extreme pressure.
    The Wallabies have always been a structured side that have succeeded when using multiple phases that eventually open up the opposition. The new law interpretations are made for that style of rugby but our coach has decided he no longer wants us to play that way.
    It’s extremely frustrating to watch.
    Despite this rant…..go the Wallabies!!!

  • mudskipper

    Some good points above… but really gents, I think Deans is focussed on building a wider RWC squad… And while he can’t say it on camera, he will take a loss to develop international experience in aid of reaching this goal. The Wallabies were never going to win the Bledisloe or Trinations with all their injuries in 2010.

    After all that was his ARU brief is 3 seasons to build a new Wallabies RWC team that can be competitive… he has had to unearth a few more than perhaps he expected but that will help the OZ super rugby provinces immensely… Wallabies still few good men short of a chance.

    Jeez we need a good size winger with real pace… Is Rod Davis fit yet?

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

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