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How Many Lineout Jumpers for the Wallabies Against the Lions?

Scott Allen

Trevor Allan (34)
I’ve said it before but the Wallabies need at least three primary lineout jumpers and a fourth jumper as at least a backup option. If you’ve only got two primary jumpers, you’ll struggle to win lineout ball and that affects whether you can attack or not.

Nothing shows that more than how the Crusaders dismantled the Stormers lineout last weekend where the Stormers only managed to win 56% of their lineouts. It wasn’t a problem with the lineout throwing – it was that the Stormers only had two primary jumpers and as a result they rely so heavily on Andries Bekker to win their lineout ball which makes them very predictable.

In this match the Stormers threw to Bekker in 50% of lineouts, to De Kock Steenkamp in another 38% and to Duane Vermeulen the remaining 12%. The Crusaders job was made easy for them - mark Bekker and Steenkamp hard and you're in with a very good chance of winning or disrupting the Stormers lineout ball - and the Crusaders did it well.

If you want to see the footage of the lineouts lost by the Stormers have a look at them on our blog here.

The Lions will have a good lineout so for the Wallabies to compete in this area they need two locks and a #6 who are primary jumpers, not backup options – they need height and they need to be really good lineout operators. You could play Mowen at #8 because he’s a primary jumper and that would allow you to play a #6 who is a backup jumper.

Even better would be to have Mowen at #8, MMM at #6 with Douglas and Horwill as your locks giving you four primary jumpers – you could be sure of securing your own ball and really attack the Lions lineout as well – I’d like to see that!


Tim Horan (67)
Staff member
Scott do you consider Liam Gill a genuine lineout option? He seems to be the only regular lineout target out of our 3 openside prospects.

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George Gregan (70)
I can't understand why the Stormers are not using Elsadt as an option, he's played lock competently for them before.

We should not have a problem with our lineout. The #6 is either going to be Dennis, Higginbotham or Mowen and all 3 are very good lineout options. Palu is a decent jumper as well and we should definitely look to target their lineout as their combinations shouldn't be as good.

Scott Allen

Trevor Allan (34)
He's a backup option, not a primary jumper. You also don't want your #7 up in the air too often when he should be down on the ground starting to chase the ball in attack or defence.


George Gregan (70)
Elstadt is their blindside, Kolisi is the fetcher who packs at openside although the stats are telling me Kolisi had 1 lineout take.

I would've thought the 3 primary jumpers would be Steenkamp, Bekker, Elstadt with Vermeulen as a 4th option.


Peter Fenwicke (45)
Scott, besides from the number of lineout jumpers required against the Lions, who do you think will be the lineout caller/operator?

Mowen is likely to be on the bench as 6/8 cover, Dennis might not be in the 23 at all. Similarly, we wont see Hugh Pyle in the Wallabies at all this June, or Rob Simmons (even though he is probably the only capped lineout operator in my mind) if we choose Douglas to partner Horwill.

I think I've observed Horwill call the lineout in a number of super rugby matches but do you think he is good enough to undertake that role or would we have to compromise with someone like Simmons in the 15?


Tim Horan (67)
Staff member
He's a backup option, not a primary jumper. You also don't want your #7 up in the air too often when he should be down on the ground starting to chase the ball in attack or defence.
So do the Reds use him too often? Or does the shape of our backrow cover it?

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Alan Cameron (40)
Mowen is currently running (literally: he's the lineout coach at training, not Laurie Fisher) the best lineout in Aus, and is the competitions leading lineout winner. His counter rucking is also something very few players can match him at, so for me he should be a shoe in at 8 or 6.

Both 2nd rows have to be good lineout options, so Horwill and someone else. MMM is in form, but i prefer him as a 6 more than in the 2nd row, he plays exactly the kind of semi-wide psycho that we really need right now. Higgers is not playing well and the lineout is really his only ace right now.

Douglas is not playing well and has a very poor workrate so far in Super rugby this season, being outworked by Timani (says a lot). Timani would be a good option but for his poor lineout skills.

Fardy and Carter are kicking arse, but don't stand a chance.

The other problem with playing Mowen at 8 to accommodate a big 6 like MMM is that we lose bulk at 8. However, if we want a big unit at 8, it's very hard to see Palu making it as he's struggling to get his zimmer frame out onto the field at the moment, and is highly likely to break again which will destroy any chance of him being genuinely match fit. If we want that size, we need to then go with Fotu, who is uncapped, but playing very well, with a high workrate.

Something like...

Horwill: 200cm, 117kg
MMM: 198cm 116kg
Mowen: 195cm 115kg
Smith: 183cm 107kg
Auelua: 188cm 118kg

...provides 3 of our best lineout options and a 4th with Auelua. Lots of size aggression in MMM, Horwill and Auelua, and two intelligent, rugby brained breakdown specialists, with a lot of maturity and focus.

Then we can select a bench that compliments it all, and work out who's playing well. Eg Hooper/Gill, Higgers/Dennis/Kimlin, Douglas/Timani/Simmons etc etc.

Front row is obvious:


Slipper/Sio for the 3rd prop.


John Thornett (49)
Could MMM realistically pack down at lock for a test match?

If so:

1) Robbo
2) Moore
3) Palmer
4) MMM
5) Horwill
6) Mowen
7) Smith
8) Palu (IF HEALTHY AND ON FORM. This is the biggest question mark for me and would either require starting an uncapped rookie in a Lions test or shifting the entire pack around)

16) Hanson
17) Alexander
18) Slipper
19) Gill
20) Fotu


Stan Wickham (3)
Finally!! Many thanks!!!

Actually he's playing very well, but I doubt he would make the cut... maybe just in place of Rob Simmons.

Don't you rate Timani?
Ok terrible hands, but he lifted his workrate massively in 2012, he's becoming a big hitter and if the Wallabies would be without Palu, I think a basher like thim should be around the pitch.

Who would pack as tighthead lock? Horwill?

This has been one of the most important topic on G&GR in the past, Wallabies really need a LOCK for the scrum!
In 2012 without Horwill and with Sharpey scrummaging on the left side, they were forced to play Timani first and then Douglas, and the latter has been more convincing!


David Codey (61)
I am pretty sure that Horwill has been the line out caller for a few or more test matches. Nice to share the load around but he can do it if need be.


Chris McKivat (8)
I seem to recall Simmons was calling a lot of the lineouts back in '11 when Horwill was last really playing for the Wallabies. I think he was being groomed to be in charge of the lineouts much like Vicks used to be. But his form wasn't great last year but it looks like he's starting to come back into it.

As for the first question, 4 jumpers would be great and if you have a tall number 8 like Mowen or even Palu, then it is an option, as Higgers or MMM look like they'll be in the running for the 6 (Even Dennis could be a jumper). But it's only good if all 4 are rotated and perceived to be a threat. As in, one jumper can't be left out and just hanging around the lineout. There has to be tactics that allow all of them to be lifted at some stage. Otherwise its pointless and we might as well just concentrate on the 3


James Horwill (77)
Staff member
I still think McMeniman is best as a bench option because he covers 4/5/6 very well. I don't think he quite has the pace to start at 6 and I think we'd be better served with Horwill and Douglas at lock.

In the interests of trying to build a bench that allows for three back reserves, I think you are going to have a number 8 that is a straight swap for Palu or whoever starts, a backup 7 (if it is Hooper or Gill and Smith starts, Smith moves to 6 if they come on at the same time) and a 4/5/6.


Nick Farr-Jones (63)
Sharpe picked Simmons to partner Horwill on the box last night. Not sure I agree, but I do agree that Simmons has been playing a lot better recently. I would probably have him ahead of the rest at the moment, but he does not seem to have as much potential upside as a couple of the other contenders, and there are quite a few of them.

If we can get the locks right, that will go a long way to beating the Lions.