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France v Australia

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Pfitzy

George Gregan (70)
Faulkner plays both sides according to his profile.


We want to win all games on tour and establish the style and playing group that will carry us forward through 2015. No wholesale changes, only tinkering. Horwill in for one of the 2nd rowers (on last weeks stats I'd say Simmons), Higgers to return if fit, if not give Jones an opportunity with McMahon on the bench. Cooper to come on to the bench. Speight to get a chance.

Not major shuffles, just little bits


Agree. However I'll take a loss - or even two - if it means we learn something. Even if we win all the games, I'm sure Cheika is going to make some changes every Test leading up to RWC2015.
 

fatprop

George Gregan (70)
Staff member
I remember Link saying they were keen to trial Sio at THP and Bernie Larkham was happy to make this happen. Wonder what Cheika's thoughts on this and if Bernie is as willing to experiment when a request comes from an opposition coach?


As far as I care those "experiments" should happen at S15 level, and Sio I would like to see as Robbo's competition/replacement and competing with Slipper

Our issue is that the two real current options to back up Kepu are gone or injured respectively (Longbottom & Weekes) The next set?

Kids with promise (and that doesn't include Paddy Ryan til he demonstrates more scrummaging ability)​
 

Wilson

David Codey (61)
It's a real worry and I think we have to draw a line in the sand and stop picking players who are liabilities in the scrum until they demonstrate they can at least hold their own. At the moment that means dropping Skelton and alexander , but we may have to use at least Alexander for the rest of the tour.

As far as next year goes I'd like to see the tight head pecking order after kepu based solely on scrummaging, particularly reliability, with props who too often get dominated by opposition ranked below those who rarely fail, regardless of how often they shine.
 

Braveheart81

Will Genia (78)
Staff member
It's a real worry and I think we have to draw a line in the sand and stop picking players who are liabilities in the scrum until they demonstrate they can at least hold their own. At the moment that means dropping Skelton and alexander , but we may have to use at least Alexander for the rest of the tour.

Whilst Wales aren't nearly as good as South Africa or NZ, it was one of the better bench performances we've had this year and it got us home in a close game away from home (first away win for the year).

I agree with you on Alexander and Skelton's scrummaging but they were both good around the field.

I think lock is currently our weakest position even though all the best options are fit and available so I wouldn't write Skelton out of the test team/squad yet. He provides something different to Carter, Simmons and Horwill. Improving his scrummaging has to be a priority though.

I tend to think we need to find a stronger scrummaging tight head prop reserve and be prepared to make a sacrifice around the park. Of all our bench forwards, the replacement THP is the obvious one to sacrfice general play for better scrummaging. Hopefully Faulkner gets a crack at THP this tour to find out how he goes.

We may discover that all the contenders for THP (PAE, Weeks etc.) aren't actually any better in the scrum than Alexander at test level yet. Alexander has looked like a beast at Super Rugby too.

I think for anyone to pass Alexander before the RWC it will take a brilliant Super Rugby season. We've just got so little time before the RWC to experiment. In that regard, it's a shame we don't have one more 'green' prop on the EOYT.
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
It's a real worry and I think we have to draw a line in the sand and stop picking players who are liabilities in the scrum until they demonstrate they can at least hold their own. At the moment that means dropping Skelton and alexander , but we may have to use at least Alexander for the rest of the tour.

As far as next year goes I'd like to see the tight head pecking order after kepu based solely on scrummaging, particularly reliability, with props who too often get dominated by opposition ranked below those who rarely fail, regardless of how often they shine.

I agree with this generally, but surely there has to be something wrong with the coaching these guys are getting?

I mean, Andrew Blades has been Wallaby forward coach since 2012 and before that was the National Academy forward coach. Our blokes seem to have roughly the same build as any other test pack, but we're consistently outplayed and have been for some time. (And to be fair we were prior to Blades' arrival in the set up)
 

Strewthcobber

Mark Ella (57)
I agree with this generally, but surely there has to be something wrong with the coaching these guys are getting?

I mean, Andrew Blades has been Wallaby forward coach since 2012 and before that was the National Academy forward coach. Our blokes seem to have roughly the same build as any other test pack, but we're consistently outplayed and have been for some time. (And to be fair we were prior to Blades' arrival in the set up)
How many other top nations would employ an Australian to coach their scrum?
 
P

Paradox

Guest
I think Moore and TPN will help the scrum...

Against France, I'd be playing the same side that played Wales with the exception of McMahon. I'd possibly give AAC (Adam Ashley-Cooper) a rest as he looks tired start Speight as he needs a chance. However, we should be fielding the side that will play England. Against Ireland, I'd be giving Genia, To'omua, Horwill, Cooper, Robinson, Speight and Alexander a start as their scrum won't be as strong as France.
 

Wilson

David Codey (61)
Whilst Wales aren't nearly as good as South Africa or NZ, it was one of the better bench performances we've had this year and it got us home in a close game away from home (first away win for the year).

I agree with you on Alexander and Skelton's scrummaging but they were both good around the field.

I think lock is currently our weakest position even though all the best options are fit and available so I wouldn't write Skelton out of the test team/squad yet. He provides something different to Carter, Simmons and Horwill. Improving his scrummaging has to be a priority though.

With Jones on tour we have plenty of options other than Skelton to explore. More importantly a scrummaging performance like the one he put in against Wales is a deal breaker same as it was for Ryan against France. It's a base level technical issue that he can work on in training better then in games and it should be made abundantly clear to him that until it's fixed he wont play, at least as a lock. For what it's worth he's young and clearly hasn't spent much time focusing on it with the tahs, so there is plenty of room for him to improve quickly, it just should be done in training, rather than on the field.

We may discover that all the contenders for THP (PAE, Weeks etc.) aren't actually any better in the scrum than Alexander at test level yet. Alexander has looked like a beast at Super Rugby too.

I think for anyone to pass Alexander before the RWC it will take a brilliant Super Rugby season. We've just got so little time before the RWC to experiment. In that regard, it's a shame we don't have one more 'green' prop on the EOYT.

I don't really care about brilliance in a backup tight head, I just want reliable. Alexander did have some great form at times this year, but he also had some shockers. I'd rather a guy like Holmes (though who knows how he'll return from what looks to have been a fairly serious shoulder injury) who has plenty of experience and is rarely dominated without necessarily standing out then someone who has 3 great games and a shocker. I hope there is room for an extended camp after the super rugby season, where Cheika can bring in a pretty deep pool of props and try out a variety of combinations to try and get a read on who is up to it.
 

Teh Other Dave

Alan Cameron (40)
I don't see a huge problem with Hooker, I think Fainga'a may just be giving the selectors a headache as to who to take alongside Squeaky. FWIW I'd pick him second over TPN at the moment, his general play has been good and his lineout throw solid, he's not injury prone, and he has stamina.
 

BDA

Peter Johnson (47)
Re the scrums:

Firstly, it would be madness to drop Skelton for the rest of the tour just because of his poor scrummaging performance. If we took that approach Alexander would have retired from test rugby 4 years ago. Hell Simmons was a weak scrummaging lock when he started out.

When I watching the wales game I was cursing Skelton's poor position, but having rewatched the game twice its pretty clear that we really benefited from his presence in the second half. In hindsight, if we played the same game tomorrow I'd play him again.

As I've mentioned early it seemed to me he started off fine, but fell back into bad habits as soon as he started to tire. When Horwill came on, he went straight to Skelton and had a chat with him. I wouldn't be surprised if he was reminding Skelton about his body positioning.

I do agree that we need forwards that can hold the scrum up, but we should at least give skelton the chance to improve in that area. It's too early to be calling for the guys head, particularly when he's one of the few forwards on tour that can get us over the gain line consistently.

To be honest I'm not that fazed by all the scrum worries being discussed because it is nothing new for the wallabies. The truth is that at full strength we have probably our strongest scrumming combo of the last 10 years. Slipper/Kepu are outstanding. Despite giving up 50+ kg on the weekend they were the technically superior front row. We also need to take into account the absence of TPN and Moore. Over the last 3 or 4 years, our scrum has always (ALWAYS) been stronger with Moore or Taf at Hooker. TPN in particular is a very strong scrummaging prop. Back in 2011 Fainga'a was seen as a risk at hooker mostly because he was a weak scrummager. That's changed in recent times, but I'd wager that Moore and TPN are still our stronger hookers in the scrum. Depth at LHP is probably the best its ever been in Australia. Sio is a decent option and Robinson serviceable. Even Cowan has some decent test experience. Would love to have a replacement for Alexander but it might be too late in the evening to discard him for the RWC. I really like the look of PAE but when are you going to blood him? the month before the world cup?
 

The_Brown_Hornet

John Eales (66)
I thought our scrum went pretty well considering it was one of the lighter starting packs we've selected for some time. To be giving up 50kg's to the opposition and not get dusted was pretty good. The replacement props aren't good enough at the minute and I totally agree with the comments about Skelton's body position. Your back is too high and bent Will, get lower and straighter. What was interesting though was how much Butler, Davies and Wood talked about him when he came on. With the right amount of coaching and S&C he could become a serious weapon for us next September/October.
 

Teh Other Dave

Alan Cameron (40)
Can't say I agree with you BDA. The scrum cost us a try. It's test match rugby. If you cannot operate in the set pieces at test match level, then you need more work.
I'm not suggesting stamping his file 'never to play tests again', he just needs to improve, and when he does he will be a major asset to our test team.
I also disagree that Fainga'a has been a weakness in the front row. He has been part of a strong scrum, his technique looks sound. He was fourth choice behind Moore, TPN, and Chibba, and he's played his skin out.
 

Sword of Justice

Vay Wilson (31)
I agree with this generally, but surely there has to be something wrong with the coaching these guys are getting?

I mean, Andrew Blades has been Wallaby forward coach since 2012 and before that was the National Academy forward coach. Our blokes seem to have roughly the same build as any other test pack, but we're consistently outplayed and have been for some time. (And to be fair we were prior to Blades' arrival in the set up)

I'm not sure I agree QH at all. Against NZ absolutely there's no question. But keep in mind we have a winning record against all other teams bar maybe SA who we consistently were beating in the Deans era. That sort of success doesn't come without quality in the pack. Other teams love to call it luck but as other posters have suggested in other threads, it isn't luck if it becomes a pattern.

Our pack isn't as bad as some posters love to whinge about, so much of it is perception, especially at set piece.
 
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