First Wales test – wash up

First Wales test – wash up

Australia 29 : Wales 23
Australian forwards +29 : Australian backs -23

Well, for a match review you can pretty much read my match prediction in the previous post. Not surprisingly, a back-line made of out of position players and devoid of combinations was a error-ridden shmozzle and this Welsh team is not as easy as the press has made out.

Negatives from the game:
Not one inch of progress in the backs. Only 2 games until tri-nations humiliation if we keep going this way and the whole team seems to have a terminal case of dropsy. Having played a full S14 season, you can’t blame ‘rustiness’. It was also lucky that Wales didn’t get more ball because holes kept opening up in mid-field for them.

Positives from the game:
The forwards, who scored 3 of the 4 tries. Line-out worked – even managed to pressure theirs – and scrum didn’t fold. Big men made good yards. Because of this platform we got to see the old Aussie composure to win it at the death – something we’ve sorely missed for a few years.

Man by man:
1. Dunning 7/10 – solid, got the pass away to put Palu in.
2. Moore 7/10 – throwing in good (rare for wallabies hooker)
3. Shepherdson 6/10 – solid in the scrum, butterfingers outside of it
4. Sharpe 8/10 – great running game, good in the line-out as usual
5. Chisholm 6/10 – OK running game, dropped a howler
6. Elsom 6/10 – needs to get the mongrel back, dropped howler
7. Waugh (c) 7/10 – committed, linked well, scavenging needs to step up
8. Palu 9/10 – best outing for the wallabies yet. Great running game
9. Giteau 7/10 – poor guy’s in the wrong position, looked sharp though
10. Norton-Knight 4/10 – a shocker. We have a problem
11. Mitchell 7/10 – a few touches of sharpness and smart kicking
12. Ashley-Cooper 5/10 – was he on the field?
13. Mortlock (vc) 6/10 – beavis not up to usual class, errors galore
14. Gerrard 7/10 – howling drop in own 22, some good barging runs though
15. Huxley 5/10 – got talent, along with brain-fart-itis. Forgot how to pass
Reserves: I never thought I’d be so happy to see Gregan get on the field so Giteau could go to 12. Hoiles and Vickerman solid, Smith too slow.

We can only hope that this scare will jolt Connolly into putting players in the right positions (see my last post). We didn’t end up with Farr-Jones/Lynagh and Horan/Little combinations by continually dicking them around in crazy combos. With the cup only months away, we need to have Gregan, Larkham, Giteau and Mortlock almost bored of playing together in that combo, not wondering what it might be like.


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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