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Thread: The Work Progresses - first test review

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    Player greenandgoldrugby's Avatar
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    The Work Progresses - first test review

    Australia 16 - South Africa 9

    I'm tempted to say for the review, read the preview. The core of this story was as predicted - a tough battle that was just one too far for the Springboks. But it was detail around margins that was most interesting from a Wallaby perspective.

    In such an evenly matched and hard fought game, it was the small things that made big differences. Twice the Springboks got within touching distance of the line - through Britz and Habana - to be taken down with inches to spare and requiring the TMO. In the 25th minute Horwill - playing like the senior lock, not the rookie - got a hand to a ball that was on its way to a certain try. Both Wallaby tries were in the corner, and both required the TMO (for this ref anyway).

    The biggest small difference though, came at the breakdown. Here the Wallaby forwards excelled at contesting on their feet, Horwill, Elsom, Robinson, Waugh and Sharpe all earning free kicks. But it was perhaps the worlds best ever fetcher, George Smith, who almost single handedly smashed the South Africans momentum in the first half. I counted at least 4 steals, all at crucial times in that first 40.

    Having 3 enormous ball running back-rowers like the Jaapies do gives you plenty of go forward, but not enough presence on the ground. Someone please tell me Pocock couldn't be poached by them.

    Once again the Wallaby scrum has started well. You'd have to say that Robinson had Van der Linder's number and it was such a change to see the scrum solid on our own ball. Australia also had parity with the much vaunted Saffa line-out, even without the code-breaking Vickerman.

    There was a lot of focus on the rookie combination of Burgess, Giteau and Barnes before this game, and rightly so. Considering the Boks are probably the best in the business at applying pressure through these channels, it got through OK. Despite Greg Martin zeroing in on Burgess' pass, if the odd mis-fire is what you pay for the quickest delivery in the game, I'd gladly pay it. A good way of not getting caught at the back of the ruck is to get rid of the ball first, and today it neutralised the Boks physicality in this part of the game.

    Yet again Barnes was impressive, and the logic of him at 12 was obvious in Perth, with Giteau not having his best game. If this combination can keep improving as it has so far for another year or two, the multitude of options it will give the team is mind boggling. Today, even under pressure, this combo always had options, more than their opposite numbers.

    One facet of general play that has also drastically developed for the Wallabies under Aussie Robbie, is the support of the ball carrier. Not just on the front foot, but also when back-peddling. This happened more than you'd have liked today, but each time there were men circling back to relieve pressure. This style of play requires a level of fitness though that the Wallabies just don't have right now. It will need to lift.

    Whilst I'm bored sh1tless with the phrase "work in progess", that is definitely what this team currently is. While this work got us through today, there'll definitely need to be a lot more of that p-word, especially at the business end of this tournament.

    The scorers:

    For Australia:
    Tries: Tuqiri, Mortlock
    Pen: Giteau
    Drop: Barnes

    For South Africa:
    Pens: Steyn 2, James

    The teams:

    Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Peter Hynes, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c), 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 George Smith, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 James Horwill, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
    Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Hugh McMeniman, 19 Phil Waugh, 20 Sam Cordingley, 21 Ryan Cross, 22 Drew Mitchell.

    South Africa: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Francois Steyn, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Butch James, 9 Enrico Januarie, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
    Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Andries Bekker, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Peter Grant.

    Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
    Touch judges: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand), Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
    Television match official: Garrat Newman (New Zealand)
    Assessor: Steve Hilditch (New Zealand)
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Champion lara93's Avatar
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    sorry i have to say something here
    did anyone see the mistakes the people made in the program and at the game?
    1. ryan kankowski was not 8-said in the program he was and on introducing the springbok squad thing
    2. percy didnt play fullback-said that in the program aswell
    3.Lyndon Bray is from new zealand not south africa like it said in the program
    and 4. when steyn kicked the first penalty the score was 6-0

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    BOKKE
    “Let me put it this way, A Springbok team contains Afrikaners, Englishmen, coloureds and blacks. It has parochial foes in Bulls, Sharks, Stormers, Cheetahs and Lions. It is a recipe for war! Yet in all the years of John Smit’s captaincy, there has never been one unhappy customer, not one voice of rebellion against his leadership. He is the glue that holds the Springboks together. The man is a legend!”- Jake White

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    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    That can't be right lara...

    We were winning 5 to 3 at one point weren't we?

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    I made Happy sad...

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    Champion lara93's Avatar
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    yeah they stuffed the score board up

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    BOKKE
    “Let me put it this way, A Springbok team contains Afrikaners, Englishmen, coloureds and blacks. It has parochial foes in Bulls, Sharks, Stormers, Cheetahs and Lions. It is a recipe for war! Yet in all the years of John Smit’s captaincy, there has never been one unhappy customer, not one voice of rebellion against his leadership. He is the glue that holds the Springboks together. The man is a legend!”- Jake White

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    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    ohh ok... I get you now.

    And when we scored a try they put ten points up on the scoreboard. I wouldn't have complained if they left it that way.

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    I made Happy sad...

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    Champion lara93's Avatar
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    ahah
    i didnt complain when it was 6-nil after just 1 shot at goal
    but o well

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    BOKKE
    “Let me put it this way, A Springbok team contains Afrikaners, Englishmen, coloureds and blacks. It has parochial foes in Bulls, Sharks, Stormers, Cheetahs and Lions. It is a recipe for war! Yet in all the years of John Smit’s captaincy, there has never been one unhappy customer, not one voice of rebellion against his leadership. He is the glue that holds the Springboks together. The man is a legend!”- Jake White

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    Great review again Gags. I thought one of the features of tonite, and of the "Deans" era this year has been the Wallabies ability to counter-ruck, and as you identified in your review the support of the ball carrier, for far too long Wallabies teams of yore have been re-miss of backing up and supporting each other and have constantly been pinged for not releasing the ball at the breakdown. This has to be one of the better areas of improvement thanks to our Robbie.

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    Player greenandgoldrugby's Avatar
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    Thanks Exile.

    Good point. You lucky buggers at the game might have missed it, but in the lead up Antipodeans hinted about "neutralising" some of their strengths.

    I reckon the breakdown was one of those and he figured that if the ball isn't there, they can't spoil it. Note that the one time Burgo got scragged was on slightly slower ball. I think this is why they probably said "worry less about where the ball goes, just get it out quick."
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    Champion NTT's Avatar
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    Seriously good write up gagger. I still think the Burgess Giteau Barnes partnership has a lot of development left in it which as you stated, will deliver a myriad of attacking options in the future. I would like to focus on the forwards though. It was pleasing to see a scrum that didn't crumble five metres out from our own goal line and when a turn over opportunity presented, the forwards counter rucked with glee. The locking partnership of Sharpe and Horwill was pleasing to see develop also as Sharpe provides tireless ball carrying and lineout finesse while Horwill provides aggression and counter rucking. George Smith once again displayed the x factor which only the great players possess while Wycliff Palu and Rocky Elsom have started to regain the form with which they wreaked upon the super 14. It was a solid performance from the forwards as a unit. My only concern is that when the forwards had the ball in hand some of the carries were lacking in purpose.

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    This lack of purpose allowed the Springboks to execute some massive offensive tackles which left us reeling. The lineout was as well oiled as weve become accustomed.
    The backs were well organised in attack considering the new philosophy of playing whats in front of them which has the potential to cause isolation issues but also plays to our backline strengths. Barnes really started to direct the attack at times instead of trying to much himself. Mortlock and Tuqiri made metres at will with Hynes solid in support. Adam Ashley-Cooper again frustrated me with two glaring knock ons and some sloppy positioning and field kicking but he redeemed slightly with the pass that sent Tuqiri over.
    Overall i'd say things are progressing nicely as we won a vital test match with our intent and attitude despite a few rough edges.

    Go the

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenandgoldrugby View Post
    Someone please tell me Pocock couldn't be poached by them.
    He's played for Australia A in 2007 and is a possible to play for the Wallabies in the Summer tour. He has an ARU contract for the next two years in which time he is bound to be capped. So I think he is safe as houses in Australian hands.

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    Well done to The boys in Gold. the Aussies played the best game I have seen them play in a long time or maybe ever!!

    To get the Bokke on the back foot at the scrums and to force the Bok scrum into penaties doesn't happen everyday.
    The unexpected stand-out was Burgess he gave Gitts quick ball and wasn't scared to take on the big loosies in attack and defence. Hopefully Deans posses the ability to get Barnes to join the 9,10,12 partnership.
    AAC was almost just as bad as Jantjies of South Africa. To many mistakes by him cost the Aussies a trie or two. However a small change with Gerard moving into fullback and AAC going to the bench might solve that problem.

    I suppose I should not say this ( because someTah supporter will crusify me) but the players were the force behind the Gitts and Sharpie had a brilliant game with Sharpie running of Gitts a fait amount of time. Gitts doing heaps of work and fixing other player's errors time and again

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    Well done Australia. Although there were a few too many mistakes to make it a truly great game it was a very good win and a pass mark for the first real test for the 2008 Wallabies.
    What will have the ABs and SA worried is the scope still there for improvement.
    Stand outs for me, Smith and Elsom were fanastic. Sharpe, as usual, Horwill (given his lack of experience at this level) manning up, Burgess' quickness (although not completely accurate).
    However what surprized me the most was the front row, after all the talk they manned up and came up trumps. That's where it all starts.
    As I say, there is still plenty of room for improvement. When the 8,9,10,12 thing really clicks it will be a thing of beauty.
    I'm picking Cross will get a start next week as Mortlock looked like he had no idea what planet he was on. AAC will be lucky to hold on to his jumper.
    Once again, congratulations Australia and Perth.
    Graham Henry is in for a tough couple of weeks.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    A big step forward. The scrum was the most stable we've had in quite some time, especially pleasing on our own ball. Lineout was adequate. A good win on the floor against tough oppo.

    Some of the comments about the ball carries up the middle are fair enough and they got bashed early on. But they were much better in the second half and their direct running gained good territory.

    Agree with GAGR's suggestion that Burgess may have been playing to instructions to move the pill quickly and not worry too much where it went. He's always in there digging for it among the tangle so he doesn't always get such a clean shift from the ground. It's better than the "two-step" we were used to. The development of 9-10-12 over the next few years is an exciting prospect. They did just enough last night.

    AAC didn't have his best game. It will be interesting to see if he gets another go or whether Dingo opts for Mitch. He's not the type of coach to sack a bloke for one bad match, especially a winner.

    That useless Mungo Lote was almost my MOM. He was everywhere and I doubt Sterlo would have quite got over the stripe without his assistance. The hopeless bugger has now matched Matt Burke's Try scoring record (27) for the Wallabies as well as at the Tahs. He was just shaded by former Mungo reserve grader Rocky Elsom for that award.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    He's played for Australia A in 2007 and is a possible to play for the Wallabies in the Summer tour. He has an ARU contract for the next two years in which time he is bound to be capped. So I think he is safe as houses in Australian hands.
    He was sat near us and as he was leaving I said to him "You'll be out there soon, wearing the Gold!" he laughed but didn't say anything I think he was with his S.A. mates. Hope your right James!

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