I am a bit of a believer in the Recency Factor when it comes to many things, but particularly when it comes to sporting memories. The Recency Factor is basically that you (or is it just I?) tend to overlook events or players that have happened more recently than others. So players that are long retired are remembered more favourably than current players. Maybe it is because that we tend to forget the retired player’s bad games, and the current player is under constant watch.
Which brings us to our next try in the list. I will cop to the fact that I had Andrew Walker’s try against the British Lions at the Gabba at number 4 in the list. I had memories of this beautiful swerving run by Walks in which he ran through half a dozen Lions players giving the Wallabies a breath of hope in the game. When I re-watched it however, I realised the try was fine. There actually weren’t many defenders around and he wasn’t really challenged. Beautiful balance sure, but not much more. And the Wallabies had long lost the test. So I was forced to reconsider, and in the end came up with a piece of backline magic (one of not many) from this year. Can you guess which one it is?
4 Adam Ashley-Cooper v South Africa. Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane (5 September, 2009)
Ok, so this is one of those set piece masters classes I mentioned yesterday. You can just see the Wallaby backs doing this move over and over again (whilst the pack are doing proper training) under the eager eye of coach Deans. If we start by where we are at in the match, nay the season. The Wallabies just aren’t performing. We have a young team with, it would seem, plenty of potential, but we’ve just been blown away by the Boks in Perth having already lost the first three Tri-Nations games of the season.
Finally, in this game, we were looking the goods. Our pack was superb and, with a few changes in the backs, we looked confident and somewhat dangerous. But the points weren’t coming. In fact with just 20 minutes left we were only up by 3 points. A couple of try scoring chances had gone amiss, so we are yet to dot down. And that’s where we stand now.
A dominant Aussie scrum gave the backs confidence that they could make something of their good position, 25 metres out with two thirds of the field to play with. Barnes has been moved into first receiver and the players are in motion outside him. Gits is looping wide, Drew Mitchell has the inside channel, whilst Adam Ashley-Cooper is running in the traditional outside centre line.
Now the best part of this try, if you believe the press, is that it was totally up to Barnes as to who would receive the ball. Each of Gits, Mitchell and AAC were expecting the ball and knew what their play was should they get it. But it was up to Barnes, in the moment, to decide who would get it. Now if the attackers don’t know what they are doing with the ball, what hope do the defenders have? In the end Barnes provides an inch perfect ball to AAC, threaded across the face of Mitchell and the Bok defence. Ashley-Cooper then does what he does best and just charges for the line to score the try and ignite both his team mates and the crowd. From there, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Can I mention the celebration too? Wasn’t it great to see such celebration? To see the Wallabies actually connect with the crowd? I think AAC made a lot of fans from his letting his passion out. Long may we see more.