Which team is underdone leading into the first Test? - Green and Gold Rugby

Which team is underdone leading into the first Test?

Which team is underdone leading into the first Test?
Too much or too little rugby?

Too much or too little rugby?

The Wallabies have been tucked away in camp for three weeks while the Lions have been playing matches – will the difference in approach impact on the result in the first Test? Are the Lions primed or are they worn out?

Supporters of both teams have claimed that the other team is underdone leading into the first Test. Today we’ve got some interesting statistics for you on the amount of rugby played in the lead up to the series.

First up – how much time have the players in the Wallabies 23 man squad played of the minutes their Super Rugby teams have played in 2013.

So, while the entire squad averages only 69 per cent of available time, it’s the bench players that have played least in 2013 – only 61 per cent of the minutes played by their respective teams.

The most by any player was 93 per cent for Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper and Israel Folau.

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  • Jimmy

    I think the Lions have to have the advantage here. If you look at most international teams, they are always a bit rusty the first couple of games they play every year. It’s not so much the actual minutes each individual has played (although that is also an advantage) but more so the time they have had together in real matches to build combinations and learn how to play together as a team – the Wallabies haven’t had that and I think it’s a major oversight.

    We should have played a couple of warm up game against some decent opposition – despite the injury risks.

    • footy44

      Agree and also the Australia hasn’t got any established combinations in the side – new halves pairing, centre combo, back three, loose fowards. I think lack of game time together will be an issue when under presure.
      Actually they have got Moore and Mowen who run linout for brumbies so hopefully that helps.

      Lions have the big Welsh contingent who have all played together regularly and had success.

      • ben

        Hey you just basically copied my previous blog!!!

        • footy44

          Sorry Ben – didn’t read your blog but guess we’re all commenting on same 15 blokes.

      • Pedro

        “Lions have the big Welsh contingent who have all played together regularly and had success.”
        …..Except against Australia.

        • footy44

          Yeah true – Welsh a young side so another 12 months together should have seen improvement. Didn’t see much of 6N but heard they were in good form.

          I like our side – just hope they are ready to play.

      • Who Needs Melon

        Agreed. It’s the lack of combinations time together more than the lack of individuals game time that is more concerning.
        JOC seems to favour playing a LOT deeper than Cooper. There won’t be that instinctive 9-10 combination.
        Lealifano must just be getting used to Toomua who seems to vary his depth depending on the situation. And he’s never partnered with AAC in the centres.
        Not saying this is a bad team or even necessarily that we should have played a warm-up game. Just saying that our expectations should be that the backline will NOT ‘click’ straight out of the blocks.

    • bill

      ….like Samoa or Scotland!

    • Rugby_Union

      Should have read this post before posting my own. Exactly what Jimmy said.

  • Pedro

    Great analysis as usual.

    Just wondering how much rugger the Lions played in the few months before touring. If they had weeks off then they would need warm up games more than the Wallabies. I really feel like the lack of games for the wallabies was necessary as a result of scheduling the tour 90% of the way through the super rugby season. If they could’ve played at the end their would’ve been the more scope to play matches with the players who weren’t playing in the finals, whilst others (if any) could get a rest.

    • Scott Allen

      I think most of the Lions players were still playing in the month leading up to departure.

      The Leicester, Leinster and Ulster players played finals a day or two before they left.

      • wowjiffylube

        Of the Lions Test 23, 8 (Sexton, Croft, O’Driscoll, Parling, Cole,Heaslip and the Youngs brothers) were playing in either the Premiership or Pro12 final the week before the BaaBaas game. These players haven’t had a break since September.

        • JBL

          Not quite – Croft was out for the season until May with a broken neck, and BOD was out for a period with back spasms following the end of the 6 Nations. Sexton was also crocked and out since I think the first match of the Championship.

          Hell of a match tomorrow. Can’t call it & can’t wait.

  • DickyHill

    Looking at total minutes played since Lions tour began is interesting and important. However, I would have thought, of equal importance is the number of days since a player last played. Assuming condition and match ‘sharpness’ drops with every day you don’t play, what would be the effect on the Wallabies having not played for 21 days?

  • MM

    At least the Wallabies aren’t overdone. Plenty of time for lots of niggling injuries to be cleared. They’ll be fine, they’ll do these pommie bastards.
    Here’s a song I learned a few years ago, someone print it out and put a copy in every pith helmet. Its called “All Pommies are Bastards”

    I’ll sing you a song it won’t take very long,
    All Pommies are bastards!
    Here’s the refrain, the words are the same,
    All pommies are bastards.
    I wish I was in London
    I do! I do!
    I’d go down to Trafalgar square
    and say to old Lord Nelson
    Get stuffed!
    Get stuffed!
    You one eyed pommie bastard!!!!

    • ben

      Only trouble is the irish scots and welsh arent poms.

      • MM

        For this occasion they are by association. Near enough is good enough.

      • timmyhoranisgod

        If you wear a jersey with a Red Rose anywhere on it you’re a Pom.

        • ben

          I got a jersey given to me by roseville rugby club sydney its got a red rose on it. Dirty filthy aussie poms.

  • Jack Mallick

    In terms of combinations, I’d say that you’ve got to remember that the reason the Lions need the warmup games…is because they are a team that plays three test matches every four years.

    Also, the backbone of the Wallabies have now been training together, intensely, for three weeks!

    The biggest concern is Genia and O’Connor, but they are good mates and have played some great games together, plus they are both strong-minded and competitive bastards, they’ll gel.

    Lealiifano is a player older than his years, and is partnered with the solid and always dependable AAC, they’ll be right. Ioane and Folau will tear in either way, and Barnes will be able to feed them ably from fullback. Front row has played together 40 odd times. Second row new, but balanced. Palu and Hooper have played well together, with Mowen who is just a similar-but-stronger type of player to Dennis.

    It’s a strong team with some mentally strong players, aided by the fact that the Lions themselves will be forming some new partnerships thanks to injuries they suffered in the warmups!

    Can’t fucking wait, Wallabies by 5! Go you good thing!

  • Rugby_Union

    I think the key is not freshness. It is team cohesion and the wallabies will unfortunately be lacking in this as they have not played any serious rugby (matches) together.

  • jimmy wilde

    pom by association?
    that makes you a kiwi. close enough and (almost) same flag.

  • jimmy wilde

    and don’t you think you are reading a bit much into the ‘hammerings’ you gave wales?
    i mean an average of what…less than 2 points… in the last 3 games.
    i agree that you are better than wales, just, but you aren’t playing wales are you?

  • Garry

    As much as I’d like to see our boys win, I’m not confident. The path of the Dingo is well worn and frought with potholes.
    My prediction. A close first test, followed by easy wins to the BIL in the last two.
    In similar fashion to when the soapdodgers last played out here, they will soon realise that the pace of the game must be slowed to exert their advantage, and Gatland will have trained them well in the art of the ‘sleepy KIwi’ around the ruck
    How long will it before we hear Robbie complaining about injuries to key players (Higgers, a player he never thought good enough until now), and yet he still rushes back injured players who aren’t match fit and wonders at the re-injured.
    3 weeks? Give him 3 months with the team, and I’d doubt he’d be able to produce a game plan.
    Good luck Wallabies. Pulver, move your arse.


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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