Wallaby centre of attention. - Green and Gold Rugby
Wallabies

Wallaby centre of attention.

Wallaby centre of attention.

One of the biggest talking points going into the Ireland series was who the Wallabies’ centre combination would be. In the end, Cheika settled for Kurtley Beale at 12 and Samu Kerevi at 13.

Since Tim Horan’s retirement the Wallabies have predominately opted to use the ‘dual-playmaker’ system – Elton Flatley, Matt Giteau, Berrick Barnes, Christian Lealiifano, Matt Toomua and more recently Kurtley Beale are examples. These are all players capable of playing flyhalf as well as inside centre. In fact, the majority did play flyhalf for significant portions of their career.

The dual playmaker system means that there can be a playmaker behind both pods in open play and also that there is not too much reliance on the flyhalf, who inevitably will not be able to be in position for every play over the course of a match. For the style of continuous ‘running rugby’ that Cheika likes to employ. Because Cheika has opted to retain Israel Folau at fullback instead of shifting him to the wing the second playmaker must be at inside centre.

The advantage of the dual playmaker system is that it means that the attack offers a lot of creativity, and that the team can easily get the ball out wide. Theoretically, this should make it easier to get a team’s strike runners into the game. It also gives the team a second kicking option (or in the case of the Wallabies with Foley at 10, the first kicking option). While both positions are playmakers in the current system the flyhalf is expected to pass more while the 12 is allowed more freedom to run (except when the 12 has to play first receiver when the flyhalf is out of position).

There are clear disadvantages to the dual playmaker system. 12 is probably the most physically demanding backline position, with the player having to make a lot of front on tackles on players coming at them at speed. Given the size of most opposition 12s these days this puts a huge physical toll on the 12 defensively. Having a second flyhalf at 12 robs the team of a dominant defender. Second, a big hard-running inside centre gives the 10 an option to straighten the attack, get over the advantage line and set up a quick recycle when nothing is on. With a second playmaker at 12 the attack tends to get very lateral and problems can be compounded in the face of strong defence.

At the end of the series, it is time to take stock and determine how successful the partnership was, or whether a change should take place.

Beale considers the aerial route.

Beale considers his options.

Defence

On the one hand, the Wallabies scored twice as many tries as their opponents, and only conceded three tries over three matches. Admittedly, Ireland’s attack was not the most dynamic, but it is still an impressive feat when not a single player from 10-15 is a notable defender. Clearly, Nathan Grey’s defensive systems have improved.

Furthermore, those tries Ireland did score were not the result of backs missing one-on-one tackles.

The first try conceded (taking place in the second test) was a relatively straightforward affair. With Australia down a man due to Marika Koroibte’s yellow card Ireland simply utilised the overlap created by Australia created by Koroibete’s absence.

The second was the result of Tadgh Furlong – the wrecking ball Irish prop – bursting through a half gap between Nick Phipps and Rob Simmons. Rather like Taniela Tupou, Furlong is almost impossible to stop that close to the line, and there was no shame in conceding that try.

The third try conceded in the series (taking place in the third test) was the result of a driving maul from close range. Again, not the fault of the backs.

Therefore, it can be said that the centre partnership stood up defensively. However, there are a number of concerning trends for the Wallabies in attack as a result of their centres.

KMP-G&G-Wallabies-Ireland-7544

The Wallabies displayed improved defence this series.

Attack

The final play of the third test was emblematic of why the Wallabies’ attack structure just did not work against the Irish with the current centres in June. With the Wallabies down 16-20 with the siren having sounded they simply needed an unconverted try to steal the series. They had surged into Ireland’s 22 and looked poised to steal the match. The Irish defence that had been so solid during the match suddenly looked tired. Forwards were consistently getting over the gain line and space was appearing out wide.

Beale receives the ball on the very left side of the HSBC advertisement. At this point the Wallabies have a four on two, with Foley, Kerevi, Samu and Haylett-Petty outside Beale facing down only two defenders. Foley is positioned a few meters behind Beale, with the other three forming another wave behind Foley. This is a perfect attacking opportunity if Beale quickly passes the ball to Foley, or cuts him out and gets the ball to Kerevi.

•80.05mins - Kurtley receiving ball

80.05mins – Kurtley receiving ball

Instead, Beale runs sideways for 10 meters. This means that (a) the Irish defence has time to drift and get better set, (b) he takes time away from Foley and (c) perhaps most crucially it means that the outside runners Samu and DHP are not as deep, so that they have less ability to run onto the ball at speed.

•80.06 - Kurtley running sideways

80.06 – Kurtley running sideways

Luckily, the play still appears to be on when Foley receives the ball. One of the defenders is marking Foley, while the other is between Kerevi and Samu. A third defender has had time to drift across and is desperately trying to make his way across the field to be able to pull off a covering tackle if necessary.

•80.07 - Foley receiving ball

80.07 – Foley receiving ball

At this point Foley needs to pass the ball quickly to Kerevi who is in a gap between the two defenders. Kerevi’s power will force at least one, if not both, of the defenders in the front-line to attempt to tackle him. From here, it would be relatively simple for him to pass the ball to Samu or Haylett-Petty who would either have a clear run to the line, or a two on one.

Instead, Foley compounds the problem by catching the ball, running diagonally forward into contact until his three outside men in line with him rather than behind him. At this point, submitting to the tackle and setting up for another quick phase attack was the best option.

Instead, he throws a speculative pass to no one that goes into touch.

80.08 - Foley passing to no one

80.08 – Foley passing to no one

At this point both Samu and Haylett-Petty were unmarked and with a clear run to the line. If either Beale or Foley had shown better decision-making abilities the match would almost certainly have been won by the Wallabies.

The sequence was particularly painful given it cost the series, but was representative of larger problems the Wallabies faced.

With the current system, our first and second receiver often both prefer to run the ball sideways probing for gaps as opposed to either straightening the attack or even immediately distributing. As a result, the attack gets far too lateral, giving the defence time to set.

Summary

I believe Beale and Kerevi can form an effective partnership, but something needs to change in tactics or/and selection.

With the current system Kerevi is being used in the way that Kuridrani was often used – he has the ball shovelled on to him in order to straighten the attack when Foley and Beale are under pressure. That is, when he is not positioned on the wing on attack. This is a waste of his talents. Kerevi is not a crash ball player, although he can perform the role when required, but it is a waste of his talents.. He should not primarily be given the ball on the advantage line – he is skilled, possesses soft hands, a deft offload and a good boot (he delivered the Wallabies’ best clearance during the match from the 22 to near halfway). He should be given the ball a few meters behind the advantage line giving him time to draw and pass or to beat the defenders with his feet.

While Foley and Beale both have good running games, they are nowhere near as potent as Kerevi is. Foley and Beale must be coached into running straight and distributing to him as a first priority as opposed to a last resort to believe pressure. Michael Cheika must threaten to hook one of them if they fail to implement the game-plan and to shift Kerevi in one into 12.

Second, Foley must start playing first receiver every time he is in position. If he is not going to play as first receiver on attack then he adds little to the team. It is far easier for Beale and Kerevi to function in the centres if they know their role. Beale is currently oscillating between playing as a flyhalf and an inside centre and it seems to be negatively affecting his judgment.

If this is not adopted then a change in selection will be required. Either Foley or Beale will have to be dropped and Samu moved in one position to 12, with a hard-running outside centre outside of him, or Kerevi will have to be dropped to the bench and a crash-ball outside centre like Kuridrani restored to outside centre. While Kuridrani is far more limited he is the best option for purely straightening the attack, and is the best defensive centre in Australia, which will be more useful against the All Blacks than Kerevi’s more skilful game if Foley/Beale continue drifting so far sideways.

If the current lateral attacking system is employed against the All Blacks you can be sure the time will score few tries and will be burned on the counter.

  • Patrick

    I agree. Except I think you could write the same thing about the kicking game… sooner or later you get to the conclusion that we are trying to play champagne rugby with a cask wine five-eight.

    • Andrew Baker

      It is completely unacceptable to question Foley on anything as he is the anointed chosen child.
      I find it frustrating that other players get ridiculed for their weaknesses but others get more caps.
      Foley is a good player, as is Beale, but decisions have to be made for the better good. And don’t get me started on the pooper

      • John Chin Klein

        The wallabies have over the past year have demonstrated tactics that would help against the blitz of the Irish and the blitz of The All Blacks it was when they played Japan! Brian Smith talked about play off the 9 and how it helps prevent line speed from the defense! It may fix everything if they put Kerevi at inside as they did that game and play Kudriani and move Beale to Fullback and Foley to a wing and keep the big man on the other Kori! On the other side! The team played off the 9 with two players multiple multiple multiple times! I think that backline problem fixes many things for them and makes them a tough team defensively against the All Blacks! They will be physical and that in my opinion is essential!

    • What The Ruck

      Cask wine masquerading as champagne gives a false sense of confidence.

      • Greg

        It certainly leaves a headache after the event.

        Not mentioning Hoss’s cousin here btw.

        • Hoss

          You haven’t seen him have you, it’s been four days and I am getting worried

    • Custard Taht

      Don’t knock cask wine, I have had many a good night on that, can’t say the same about the Foley directed Wallabies….basically you have insulted Cask Wine. At best, Foley is a West Coast Cooler.

      • Patrick

        Yes, that’s a fair point, custard.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Passion Pop (without the passion).
        And the pop come to think of it!

        • Custard Taht

          Oh Yeah, that is it! Forgot all about them!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        It’s the thing I miss most when overseas. Along with the sun and the Bunnings snags.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Love those Bunnings snags. Man points from going to the god store and a great feed. It’s my earthly heaven

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      You really could :P … Sadly.

  • idiot savant

    Some interesting thoughts here DB. Particularly the observation about the sideways running that ruined the chance of a series victory try in the last game. I thought it really noticeable how straight Sexton ran by comparison and how many times he needed attention for being flattened because he had the courage to take the ball straight to the line and pass at the last minute.

    The Waratahs are scoring plenty of tries with Foley and Beale swapping first receiver roles so they are making the 2 playmaker set up work really well. Foley often goes to the 13 channel with the Tahs which I cant recall him doing much of in the tests. The Tahs philosophy is that the ball scores the try, not the man, so they place great emphasis on moving the ball as quickly as possible. It strikes me that the Wallabies didnt fully commit to that system and got stuck somewhere in between.

    I very much doubt Cheika will move either Foley or Beale from their positions but he might ask them to run straighter not least because of the example you gave here.

    • Custard Taht

      An average of 2 tries a game across the series is hardly plenty or doing well…..it certainly won’t be enough to beat the All Blacks, probably won’t be good enough against the Saffas, might suffice against the argies.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        It’ll be enough against the Argies but that’s hardly a marker

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Argies will have a new coach by the Rugby Championship. Might rapidly improve?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Big jump needed mate. Not sure if they’re up to it

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Cheers. I think you’re right about there being close to zero chance of Foley or Beale moving unless it is forced by injury. Kerevi seems to be another favourite so I would be surprised if he was moved either (and I understand why Cheik loves him).

      Thus, better coaching and more practice is what will happen. Which is fine. I just hope the coaches make the changes in tactics required!

      One thing I will say though is that test rugby is very different to Super Rugby. It is so much tighter, defences are so much better, discipline is so much more important, and set piece is paramount. Opposition back rows attack your breakdown and slow your ball down in a way they just don’t in Super Rugby. Also, we often get Northern Hemisphere referees for internationals, which changes everything….

      • idiot savant

        Great article DB. I woke up this morning thinking about the relative merits of the 2 play makers (A type) versus 1 playmaker and a straight running offloader (B type) at 10 and 12.

        Im not sure the A type isn’t the better percentage play overall. Type B works with freaks of nature – Nonu and SBW – but your’e not always going to have freaks to choose from. (Interestingly I was a strong advocate for Folau playing 12 when he first came over. ) Type B can fail spectacularly without that talent – witness McCabe and the shuddering halt that brought to the number of tries we scored. And I don’t have the stats but I wouldn’t mind betting more tries get scored by backs under type A than type B.

        Look at how many tries the Reds scored this year with Kerevi at 12 (the least of all sides in the comp). And how many tries do the ABs score as a result of type B play? I think they score more as a result of turnovers.

        For me Type A with players that have brains is more effective than type B. Maybe thats our problem. I was interested watching the game last year where Reds players Cooper and Hunt were miked up. (this is not, repeat not, an argument for bringing back QC). They talked to each other about what they were seeing. I cant say I have ever seen Folau talk to Foley about what he was seeing. I suspect he doesn’t know what he’s looking at. I think we have 3 great instinctive players in Foley, Beale and Folau but not great game managers. We have type A with no brains. Im not sure going to type B with no brains is going to make it any better!!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think the centre partnership as a whole has to be considered, as does who is playing flyhalf.

          With Kerevi at 12 the Reds had another hard-running centre in CFS. Contrast that with the All Blacks using C. Smith/Crotty/Goodhue/ALB who are all distributors also (although you wouldn’t call them ‘playmakers’ as the Australians are). I think the attack would have worked much better with someone like Stewart or Paia’aua playing at outside centre.

          Also, I think you need to consider who is playing flyhalf. Lance didn’t seem to offer enough playmaking really, he was not more than solid. So you have a solid 10, an out and out 12 and a non-passing 13. Then there is the addition of Thorn’s coaching…

          As for the McCabe fiasco, I think he was too small to play 12. And, again, had another chronic non-passer in Ashley-Cooper or Faingaa outside of him.

          I think the dual-playmaker at 10-12 can work, but I think the All Blacks’ system of having the second playmaker at fullback (Dagg/Smith) is better, along with an outside centre who is both a runner and a passer as opposed to one or the other.

          I’m not sure there is enough time to really change things before the RWC (if Cheika is going to change things then he needs to do it NOW!), and it would require moving Foley out of 10 as I have never seen him play well without a creative 12 outside of him.

          But post RWC I would like it if we saw something like 10. Maddocks/Toomua/whoever, 12. Kerevi, 13. Hodge, for example.

        • julesie

          That inside back combo looks so perfectly balanced in every way that it’s almost hard to believe that it could even hypothetically happen in the unbalanced nature of the Wallabies at present! All solid defenders (except Toomua who is an OUTSTANDING one) and the perfect mix of attacking skills available (Good kicking playmaking 10, pure, offloading, hard running 12, solid distribution and game reading skills at 13. Hodge would need a bit more development at 13 and the coach would need to actually pick em first but i like it a lot! Hodge as goal kicker too

  • Brumby Runner

    That is an excellent analysis of the last play, supported even more clearly by the shots showing the overlap the Wallabies had and the relative lack of defense in front of them. It is a travesty that a try was not scored in those circumstances.

    I notice that in test 3, maybe also in test 2, Folau often came into first receiver. I like that and it has added another dimension to his game and to the Wallabies’ attack strategies. Now more than ever, we do not need the two playmakers in 10 and 12. One needs to go to the bench, or out altogether. I favour a centre partnership of Kerevi at 12, where his agrressive defense is best suited against the opposition back rowers steaming through that channel, and Rona at 13 for his more nuanced play.

    Don’t think I’ll see it any time before RWC 2019 though.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’d like to see Folau come into the line a lot more. TBH I think he is actually a bit lazy in his approach to looking for work and needs a kick up the arse at times to get him going. Coming into the line against the run of play outside 10 for a pass either in from 12 or short from 10 would be a great move.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I think part of it is that he is hyper athletic but not an instinctive rugby player.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Of course he’s not. Hasn’t been playing long enough for it to be instinctive and he’s not developing

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      It really makes me question how two of our senior Wallabies (60 caps for Foley and surely at least 80 for Beale?) can make such poor decisions.

      I like that Folau is getting the ball more now, but it’s an indictment on our playmakers that they can’t get him into the game more. They should be giving him the ball in space, he shouldn’t need to be used as a distributor. Poor coaching and tactics from the coaching staff.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Great analysis DBTB and very well written. I’ve always questioned this whole 2nd playmaker thing as I think it’s too easy to defend against because you haven’t actually got anyone attacking the line until you get to 13. Even if the 10 and 12 both straighten up and pass you still aren’t getting go forward in close so it becomes very one dimensional. On Saturday it was very noticeable from the one bleed seats I was in that the Wallabies went backwards and forwards across the field but didn’t seem to make much forward movement.

    Not going to bang on again about my preferences but I think that the 2nd playmaker, like the Pooper only adds to an unbalanced team that is relatively easy to counter.

    • John Tynan

      KRL I believe there were stats that showed us making 50% more passes for something like 100 or 150m less running metres, so your instincts are spot on.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Good points, and I agree. The All Blacks showed the way forward: a big 12 who can get over the advantage line and a smaller 13 with more distribution skills (ideally the 12 can distribute too, as Nonu did well at the end). That way, the 10 can straighten the attack or cut the 12 out and the 13 can still run, or distribute to the wings.

  • Bobas

    the last caption should be Foley shitting the bed

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Good idea!

  • skip

    This is a great article and makes really wise points. The reason Helmet Horan was such a great inside Centre is in addition to punching holes he also was a playmaker and did one test at fly half. What would we give for that nowadays??

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Imagine how great it would be if Timmy Horan was back. The second coming virtually. Or Michael Lynagh, or Mark Ella, or Stephen Larkham.

  • onlinesideline

    Great write up DBTB

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Cheers mate, I appreciate it.

  • Hoss

    Great analysis Sherbert – the look of dismay on Pete Samu’s face (watch the replay) says it all – you can see he is thinking ‘how the hell could we blow that’. Crabbing sideways taking time and space from your outside men and this from our two ‘game managers’

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Thank you, my friend, I haven’t seen the reaction, but will have to watch it now :)

      He was probably thinking: ‘I left the Crusaders for this… Fuck!’

      • Hoss

        Breaking news – Folau suspended

      • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

        Imagine what QC was thinking, sitting on the couch watching this try being butchered!

    • juswal

      Hang on, Hoss: ‘Crabbing sideways’ means going forward.

      • Bobas

        or backwards

  • Greg

    Great write up. Thanks

    As well as the crabbing in the last play…. Foley made a poor decision to throw the speculator. Two defenders into the tackle and quick recycle was the best option at that stage.

    tbh if Beale had cut-out Foley we probably still score easily.

    This drives us nuts… imagine how the players feel. They can see it too.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I agree, so many different options that were better than what we did. We literally took the worst option possible.

    • Ed

      “tbh if Beale had cut-out Foley we probably still score easily.” The problem here is Beale’s passing from left to right leaves much to be desired. Kurtley’s technique is more of shovelling it in that direction, along with the other flyhalf backup – Hodge.
      Most of our backline struggle to throw a pass to the right under pressure.

      Also, the number of times DHP had to stop for the pass or reach for it slowed down the momentum of the play.

      Good article DBTB.

  • RobC

    Thanks agree. But Check wont do it. His 10/12/15 combo is locked in until he drops out. So Samu K’s fate is sealed unfortunately.

    Even BT aligns with this by pushing Samu to 13, and putting in DP as 2nd flyhalf. Reds should place Duncan as their 10. But thats another topic

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Agreed, mate.

  • Missing Link

    Great analysis – have to mention Pete Samu and DHP’s reaction to Foley’s pass was similar to them witnessing Foley stepping on a puppy.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Was told about that above :P

  • juswal

    Good article, Daryl. Keep ‘em coming as the days go by.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Thanks! I’m sure the Brumbies will upset me enough to write something….

  • To compare things to the All Blacks again – they are the best, we should look at what they do and why, their names for 10 and 12 are first five-eighth and second five-eighth. They name the positions like Cheika wants to play.

    In practise, at Super Rugby level you see some teams play that way, some not so much, but at test level I’m not sure how long it is since we’ve seen a real play maker in the 12 shirt. SBW is a hard runner who makes a lot of crazy breaks and offloads, but he’s not a second fly half. Nonu certainly wasn’t. I remember in the early days of Carter’s career he played outside Merthens for a few games and Maugher may have had a few caps. That would make it 12, 15 years since the AB basically abandoned this system.

    With Nonu, for most of his career you would say he couldn’t kick, although he worked on it and towards the end of it, he could kick pretty well, if as more of a surprise tactic. Conrad Smith though, he had all the skills, and Mulianiga and later Ben Smith could stand in as a kicker or passer at need. If Carter (or later Cruden or Barrett) had run say, and were at the bottom of the ruck. Saying that… even back to Merthens and earlier, or the Carter, Cruden, Barrett, McKenzie era – how often do you remember them being out of position? Sure they carry the ball up and get tackled. And the AB typically truck it up for a phase or two in the forwards so the 10 is back in position if they need to, or they’re so far behind the defensive line, that there’s a quick pop-up/offload to a support player and the ruck never really forms until another 10 metres down the field and Barrett is there, in position, if it’s not a try anyway.

    Barrett is just stupidly fast for his position. He is fast enough to play 15 at test level, as he did last year when they were given his understudy some run on time. McKenzie is really a 15 being groomed to play at 10 – the ABs are looking to keep that super-fast 10 play as a deliberate tactic obviously – and he has a lot of the other skills starting to come through.

    Despite the advantages you’ve listed, why have the ABs moved away from the dual playmakers for the last 15 years or so? A 10 who is quick enough to almost always be there, and a forward pack and a 9 who are smart enough to see when he’s not, and pick and go successfully to let him get back in position seem to be enough for them. Why do the Wobs need two playmakers?

    Just to provide a counter and something for debate… under Fast Eddy, England ran two playmakers, usually Ford and Farrell, highly successfully for two years. They beat all comers easily (although they didn’t meet the ABs in that period). It probably helps that Farrell’s dad played league and has brought those skills over to be a pretty successful defence coach in rugby, and seems to have made his son a solid defender in the 12 channel. It can be made to work at the top flight still. However, from the way the wheels fell off the wagon for England in 2018, I think it’s worth wondering whether there is an innate weakness in the system. Was the initial success the shock of the new, combined with a bit of RWC revenge for England and afterglow for the others it just took a while for side to work out how to beat them. Now they have… November and 2019 could be interesting as we see whether 2017 or 2018 was more realistic for the quality of England under Jones.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Excellent stuff Eloise. All I can say is that that is fantastic analysis.

      The Ford-Farrell thing is interesting, isn’t it? I will say though that during England’s golden era under Eddie they tended to (rather like Ireland) win a lot of close games as opposed to dominating them like the All Blacks. Would you agree?

    • Caeliv Donnelly

      The Sexton / Farrell 10-12 axis worked well for the Lions last summer – as soon as the Lions moved away from Ben Te’o at 12 they were a far better attacking team. For my money Farrell is a tremendous footballer and it suited the Lions to make that change as it helped get the best XV out onto the pitch. I like the idea of a 2nd playmaker as and when teams see fit even during a game particularly if you are chasing it.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Did they attack better because Farrell was at 12 or because Sexton is a better 10 though?

        • Caeliv Donnelly

          I would say a little from column A and a little from column B.

          Sexton and T’eo never played together on tour so we won’t ever know for sure ( Leinster fans log on to say they played together for Leinster ) But I think there is no question with Farrell at 12 the NZ defensive line was kept a bit more honest as the Lions were a bit predictable imo in the first test. Although I’d stand to be corrected on that as my long term memory isn’t the best, but that is certainly how I remember it.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Good point, and I agree that it was both.

          I will say though that think Teo is particularly one dimensional as a bit of a crash baller. Someone like Nonu or SBW or even Kerevi offers a little bit more in terms of threatening to pass as well as to beat players with his feet, don’t you think?

        • Caeliv Donnelly

          Totally agree – and I think to be fair to Te’o, he is/was still learning Union a bit – his exposure at the very top level isn’t what I thought should be for a player to be at the level of a Lions 12. He’s a fine player, but a Lions 12? Not for me at the time certainly – and that was another factor in the improvement in the back line play last summer.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Absolutely. I imagine that if Tuilagi was injury free and available he might have redefined what it meant for a Lions power 12!

  • Forgot to say, really liked the post.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Really appreciate it.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Mr Baithwaite. Tip of the hat! A fantastic read. I hope, and I am sure most other GAGR’s hope there will be many more.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Absolutely I’d love to see more of this

      • Brisneyland Local

        It wont be from me. I am not bright enough, or write as gooder as Mr B!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah nor am I mate

        • Brisneyland Local

          I may attempt it. But mine will be more in the style of the “Off white card” rather than any intellectual analysis! That requires too much red wine!

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I really appreciate hearing it :) . If I have anything else worth saying in the future, I will be sure to do so.

      • Brisneyland Local

        You always do, and we appreciate it!

    • TouchFinderGeneral

      Hear, hear!

      Even if I shed another caskload of tears reliving the buggering thing.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Precisely.

  • Greg

    If you are feeling read to be depressed, you might like to read this rather good analysis.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jun/25/rugby-union-wallabies-prove-tactically-inept-against-smarter-ireland

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That’s a pretty damning article. I’m not sure why the tactics that won the first test weren’t employed more in the last 2. Pretty dumb

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I think that he is a bit too harsh in terms of not counting the first test (we beat their A-team in the final quarter once they brought on their first choice players like Sexton and Furlong).

        The issue is that Ireland recognised what we were doing, adjusted, and easily won the second test. We didn’t adjust, which was irritating beyond belief. What was atrocious in my mind was that we also didn’t adjust for the third test despite us knowing they had tactics to negate Folau and to partially negate Pocock (he is so good he was still our best on park every match). So Harris is totally right on that, and his analysis is damning.

        I will say though that Genia, not Foley or Beale, is the real playmaker, and Genia, not Hooper, seems to be the real strategist and captain. He is the one bloke who is virtually irreplaceable. I think he will make a good coach one day if he wants to go down that route. Has a good rugby brain.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree mate. Genia is actually more 8mportant than either of the other 2

    • Brumby Runner

      Really not much new or that hasn’t been sifted through on this site already, except for the evidence that the writer doesn’t know how many points a try earns.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Seeing Pocock’s improvement in linking and his willingness to drop so much weight in order to improve his running game back to what it was like back in 2010-11 was a really big plus.

    Ditto with Tupou’s scrummaging. The kid is clearly an unbelievable talent, but his scrummaging sucked last year. This year, he has dominated against most opposition. He clearly works hard to improve.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yeah and that’s what makes Phipps and Foleys lack of improvement even worse. Shits me to tears

  • Andy

    Watching that last play still hurts me. Such an enormous balls ups when it mattered the most.

    That try is being scored 10 out of 10 times when we are 15 up and against lesser opposition. For me, it’s just another example of this teams inability to execute under pressure, not only the backs. Reminds me of 2 seasons ago in Dublin where Folau butchered a 3 man overlap late in the game which cost us the match.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Good comment. I reckon you’re right, and if that was in the first minute of the game we would definitely score it. Just cannot execute when we really need to do so.

  • Jasper Sapien.

    Diversion I know, but I found a Japanese character actor from the 1960s who looks a lot like George Smith. It may even be George Smith, nothing would surprise me anymore. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b0282e29f09ba42883b7bc5b8cd6320d30f9839f71a77563f7830229f2d5cf27.jpg

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Hahaha!

More in Wallabies