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Thread: Why can't the Wallabies do this all the time?

  1. #1
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    Why can't the Wallabies do this all the time?

    Wayne Smith


    THE Wallabies answered every question but one at Millennium Stadium yesterday - why can't they play like this all the time?


    There were aspects of this performance, in the first 20 minutes especially, that may never have been topped by the Wallabies. And not just bettered by this particular Australian side . . . by all the Wallabies sides that have gone before Rocky Elsom's team.

    Of course the near-perfection of that first quarter was unsustainable. Nothing that good could possibly last forever, or even for 80 minutes. And it may well be that over time the Wallabies will realise there is one downside to playing so well because inevitably this match will become the benchmark against which they are constantly measured - benchmarks for straight running, purposeful tactical kicking, powerhouse scrummaging, desperate defence and, most important of all, for playing as one.



    Every side the Wallabies confront in future will pull out the DVD of this game and pore over it. There will be no need for opposing coaches ever to give speeches warning of how dangerous the Wallabies can be. They merely will hit the "play" button and the horror story will unfold in all its green and gold glory.

    There has been too much boom and bust about the Wallabies in recent years to definitively stake out this performance as the one in which Elsom's team turned the corner, crested the summit and began its remorseless drive to World Cup glory.

    That's simply not how things are done in Australian rugby. We prefer a lot more drama. But at least we know now what this side is capable of and knowing that makes the road ahead seem a whole lot less scary. It now is clear these Wallabies are capable of winning the 2011 World Cup, which is a long way short of saying they will win it. Those optimists in need of a reality check perhaps should study the All Blacks' crushing win over France yesterday.

    We now know, too, what Robbie Deans is capable of as a coach. In the space of a week, under unseemly pressure from Australian Rugby Union officials who may even have attempted to influence his selections, under fire from the media and from supporters back home, Deans lifted the side from its worst performance under him to its best.

    That's an extraordinary feat of coaching. True, it's fair to ask what on earth went wrong in Edinburgh to require this miracle turnaround from him but as Deans so often says, it is what it is; deal with it. His other great saying, of course, is that you get what you deserve. Applying that principle, the Wallabies didn't deserve a Grand Slam, despite matching the feat of the fabled 1984 team in not conceding a try in three of the four Tests.

    This will always be a tour replete with "what-ifs" but Elsom's team allowed the outcomes of the Irish and Scottish Tests to still hang in the balance at the 80-minute mark when, with better execution, they could easily have killed off both matches a lot earlier. So they can blame no one but themselves that a historic clean sweep eluded them.

    Still, even though the main prize eluded them, this was no failed expedition. So many other boxes were ticked, some emphatically.

    For starters, the Wallabies will be heading home with - drum roll, please - a scrum now rated among the best in the world. Talk about turnarounds. Loosehead Benn Robinson has been singled out for most credit for this dramatic improvement in the set piece but in fact the player who has most made the most critical contribution is to be found on the other side of the scrum.

    Dire predictions were made at the start of the season when it became known that loosehead specialist Ben Alexander would have to serve as Al Baxter's understudy at tighthead. That was risky enough for a back-up, let alone for the starting prop Alexander became after Baxter came to grief against the All Blacks.

    Alexander was thrown in to solve the problem and somehow he has. But these are not one-dimensional props, capable of pushing and shoving and not much else. Robinson and Alexander both are highly capable ball-runners and distributors, as they demonstrated by conjuring James Horwill's try yesterday. Props they might be but these guys simply don't do "lumbering".

    It was on this tour, too, that David Pocock came of age as a world-class openside flanker. He was man-of-the-match against Ireland and probably would have won the same award against Wales had he not been replaced at half-time, having clicked his own dislocated thumb back into place.

    This was one Test where the award should have been given not to an individual but to two job-sharers. It scarcely seemed possible anyone could match Pocock's first half but then on came his replacement at openside flanker, George Smith, to produce a display after the break that was every bit its equal. It truly is scary how effective these two could become over the next two years.

    Yet the player of the tour was not Pocock but halfback Will Genia. That's a judgment call, true, and it may be influenced by the fact that where openside flanker hasn't really been a problem position for the Wallabies, heck, halfback has been a hot spot for quite a while now.

    During the latter stages of George Gregan's 139-Test tenure and then through Luke Burgess's 1 1/2 seasons stay, Australia lacked a certain something at number nine. Not now. Genia is the most complete package at halfback since Nick Farr-Jones, maybe even since John Hipwell. It comes as no surprise that the one thing Genia has worked on over the past 12 months is being decisive. It shows.

    Just who his long-term halves partner will be remains unclear. For all Matt Giteau's brilliance there yesterday, it's still debatable whether he gives the Wallabies more at 12.

    The injured Berrick Barnes will come into the reckoning at 10 next year but what this tour has done, perhaps more than any campaign in recent years, is to provide real alternatives at five-eighth.

    For the final 10 minutes yesterday, the current or expected five-eighths of each of the four Australian franchises, Giteau (Brumbies), Quade Cooper (Reds), James O'Connor (Force) and Kurtley Beale (Waratahs) were all on the field at the same time. Surely over the next 12 months they, and Barnes, will sort themselves out but in the meantime what fun it is to have such an embarrassment of riches in playmakers.

    With Digby Ioane easing Australia's reliance on Stirling Mortlock at outside centre, the only position in which the Wallabies remain exposed is second row.

    Horwill, finally working his way back to his peak 2008 form, is one half of the answer but finding the other half is proving tricky.

    Australia would be unwise to count on Dan Vickerman because the earliest he could return would be June 2011, so the question is whether Nathan Sharpe has one last World Cup campaign in him. If not him, who?

    Inspirational mid-week captain Dean Mumm, perhaps.

    Piece by piece the puzzle that is Rocky Elsom's team is coming together. But the most important piece of all remains to be found - consistency.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-1225805151463

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  2. #2
    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    OK, I've got a couple of issues with this, but in general, I don't believe it was written by Wayne Smith
    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    For starters, the Wallabies will be heading home with - drum roll, please - a scrum now rated among the best in the world. Talk about turnarounds. Loosehead Benn Robinson has been singled out for most credit for this dramatic improvement in the set piece but in fact the player who has most made the most critical contribution is to be found on the other side of the scrum.

    Dire predictions were made at the start of the season when it became known that loosehead specialist Ben Alexander would have to serve as Al Baxter's understudy at tighthead. That was risky enough for a back-up, let alone for the starting prop Alexander became after Baxter came to grief against the All Blacks.

    Alexander was thrown in to solve the problem and somehow he has. But these are not one-dimensional props, capable of pushing and shoving and not much else. Robinson and Alexander both are highly capable ball-runners and distributors, as they demonstrated by conjuring James Horwill's try yesterday. Props they might be but these guys simply don't do "lumbering".
    It begins fairly predictably, Benn Robinson is OK, but the real reason for the improvement in the scrum is Alexander.

    But then he goes on to say
    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    It was on this tour, too, that David Pocock came of age as a world-class openside flanker. He was man-of-the-match against Ireland and probably would have won the same award against Wales had he not been replaced at half-time, having clicked his own dislocated thumb back into place.
    WTF?

    Sure in the next breath he corrects his mistake, saying George was as good if not better, but the need to do this is out of character.

    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    During the latter stages of George Gregan's 139-Test tenure and then through Luke Burgess's 1 1/2 seasons stay, Australia lacked a certain something at number nine. Not now. Genia is the most complete package at halfback since Nick Farr-Jones, maybe even since John Hipwell. It comes as no surprise that the one thing Genia has worked on over the past 12 months is being decisive. It shows.
    He goes on to diss George Gregan, and says Genia is better than him, likely to be the next Farr-Jones......something's really up here!

    And then comes this little gem
    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    Just who his long-term halves partner will be remains unclear. For all Matt Giteau's brilliance there yesterday, it's still debatable whether he gives the Wallabies more at 12.
    now I KNOW this isn't Wayne Smith......he has been so blinkered about the quality of Giteau at #10 ever since he signed with the Brumbies that not even the insurmountable logic of this tour has swayed him.......

    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    With Digby Ioane easing Australia's reliance on Stirling Mortlock at outside centre, the only position in which the Wallabies remain exposed is second row.
    Another Brumby legend totally ignored

    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    Horwill, finally working his way back to his peak 2008 form, is one half of the answer but finding the other half is proving tricky.

    Australia would be unwise to count on Dan Vickerman because the earliest he could return would be June 2011, so the question is whether Nathan Sharpe has one last World Cup campaign in him. If not him, who?
    What????? no mention of Mark Chisolm? Peter Kimlin......any other tired old hack who has ever pulled on a jersey for the Brums? I don't understand.....and to suggest that the only thing that's keeping Sharpie from being the answer is his age and increasing fragility? It's just weird, it sounds as if this article has been written by somebody with more than one eye.....not Wayne Smith

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    C'mon the

  3. #3
    Champion welshrugbyfan's Avatar
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    Oh man that's hilarious.

    You beat the 8th placed team in the world which was full of replaced replacements and now your world cup winners again.

    To win world cups you need to beat the top 2 teams in the world. Track record, lets not look at this season hey.

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshrugbyfan View Post
    You beat the 8th placed team in the world which was full of replaced replacements and now your world cup winners again
    I don' think he Australian team that smashed Wales all over the park was first chice either

    Or did Wales not have enough time to prepare? Or were they tired?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    I don' think he Australian team that smashed Wales all over the park was first chice either

    Or did Wales not have enough time to prepare? Or were they tired?

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    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    maybe its their track record in world cups we should look at?

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    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    Why can't they win all the time?

    Its part of this thing called sport.

    Why doesn't Tiger Woods win every time? Why doesn't the Spain national soccer team win every time? Why don't USA win every basketball gold medal?

    Robbie deans knows what he is doing, although every year we have to go through this. Who is the current #1 team?, who was the #1 team in the world 4 years ago? What place did they get in the WC?

    We are almost exactly where South Africa were 2 years before their WC win, same as England. If Autumn internationals are your most important games go for the All Blacks...

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    Quote Originally Posted by welshrugbyfan View Post
    Oh man that's hilarious.

    You beat the 8th placed team in the world which was full of replaced replacements and now your world cup winners again.

    To win world cups you need to beat the top 2 teams in the world. Track record, lets not look at this season hey.
    So were the Wallabies, full of injuries... Wallabies lost past 2 matches at Cardiff and entered the match as the underdog woof woof...

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    Champion welshrugbyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    I don' think he Australian team that smashed Wales all over the park was first chice either

    Or did Wales not have enough time to prepare? Or were they tired?
    Nah we were just crap. Were used to it, wallabies fans will have to take time to adjust to being crap.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazza93 View Post
    Why can't they win all the time?

    Its part of this thing called sport.

    Why doesn't Tiger Woods win every time? Why doesn't the Spain national soccer team win every time? Why don't USA win every basketball gold medal?

    Robbie deans knows what he is doing, although every year we have to go through this. Who is the current #1 team?, who was the #1 team in the world 4 years ago? What place did they get in the WC?

    We are almost exactly where South Africa were 2 years before their WC win, same as England. If Autumn internationals are your most important games go for the All Blacks...
    The only downside Jazz being that we are also pretty close to where we were 2 years before the last WC. .

    WRF: When South Africa won the last World Cup they didn't beat the top two teams-which at the time were Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand were head and shoulders number one and Australia was 2nd in the rankings and also beat the Boks at home and took them to the line in Capetown and ended up losing by 3 after two monster Frans Steyn kicks. While both Australia and New Zealand performed averagely in the cup- so did the Boks. Both Fiji and Samoa put them under a lot more pressure than they should have been allowed to.

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    Veteran robyn <3's Avatar
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    I agree that they can't ALWAYS perform like they did against Wales. Sure, it was the 8th ranked team, etc, but it was a good display of rugby. But in the space of 7 days to have changed THAT drastically - from wasted oppertunity after another to quite a strong game rugby with what, two changes to the XV? Deans is good, but he's not a miracle worker! Like against the Boks in Brisbane this year, then to the thumping we took from the All Blacks 2 weeks afterwards. There needs to be some consistency.

    Wayne Smith, or as GIGS said whoever wrote it, has a point. They do need more consistency to get somewhere next WC. We have seen what they can do. However, just doing it a couple of times a season is not good enough. They need to sort it out.

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    Champion Contributor jazza93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    The only downside Jazz being that we are also pretty close to where we were 2 years before the last WC. .
    Yea, but we had an absolute joke of coaching and administration, this time we have plans and coaches that are purely looking towards the WC.

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  13. #13
    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robyn <3 View Post
    I agree that they can't ALWAYS perform like they did against Wales.
    Why not?

    Surely that's purely speculation, fear and closed-mind thinking. If you're at the top of your game, and the pinnacle of your profession who's going to stop you from ALWAYS playing like that.

    I reckon one of the biggest problems with the Wallabies (and it happens to match the biggest problem with the Force) is that the players don't believe it IS possible to always play like that.

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  14. #14
    Champion welshrugbyfan's Avatar
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    I love the way aussie Bob comes out with "We'd be in with a chance of winning the world cup at the moment".

    What else is he going to say?

    Great way to keep his job. He knows he paid Gatland off for the Welsh lads to throw the game.

    Bloody kiwis, you can't trust em.

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    Quote Originally Posted by welshrugbyfan View Post
    He knows he paid Gatland off for the Welsh lads to throw the game.
    Hey, WRF came up with a new one!

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