OK RDU’s! To be honest that loss hurt more than the one from last week. Just soul destroying! As Hoss has mentioned many times before it is the hope that kills you. Sitting up here in Townsville, this Mad Monday rant is going to me being a lot harsher on the Wobs than the week befores’ total capitulation. But firstly we will look at the other results of the many other tests played this weekend; and then I will come in from the long run up and viscerate that performance.
Some really interesting results there over the weekend.
Samoa 34 defeated Tonga 9 – match report here. Tonga was without a few of their topline players and having watched this game it was interesting to see the hard-core competition that exists between these two nations. I gather playing each other a lot locally, familiararity must breed contempt. Because these two teams were trying to beat the crap out of one another.
Fiji 35 defeated Japan 12 – match report here. For the second game in a row, the Fijians came out in a ‘Blitzkrieg’ mode and slammed down points fast. Also for the second week in a row, Japan copped a ‘Shiraz’. As I have mentioned previously, Fiji is reaping dividends from two seasons of SRP with the Fiji Drua. They are building well as a team, gathering momentum, and will be a real threat to anyone in their pool, which includes us. They are my smokey for the big dance!
Scotland 25 defeated France 21 – match report here. Really interesting to see the Haggis eaters get up over the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys! Check our Eloise’s match review for a great write-up of the game. But certainly a concern for the Froggies that is for sure.
Wales 20 defeated England 9 – match report here. An ‘experimental’ match for both sides, but as I always say, a loss for England is good for rugby! Wales is seemingly on the rebuild with Gatland starting to get a feel for his squad. And the England coach realising that the deeper parts of his squad are maybe not what he thought the were.
Ireland 33 defeated Italy 17 – match report here. With Ireland fielding its deeper squad, or what some may call their B squad, and still with yout what Squidge Rugby calls Johnny Sexpot, their team still looked quite good. Italy, despite looking average here would probably still push a lot of the other teams out and about.
Overall some really interesting games here. If you have the time I highly recommend watching them so that you can get a good look at the other teams in the world cup, and become familiar with some of the players we will be seeing during the Bill. Some of these names will certainly be the superstars of rugby post this world cup.
Oh! The Agony!
Firstly congrats to the Kiwis, they showed why they are one of the best teams in the world. Their never say die attitude, and ability to find a way to win is just fantastic to watch. Despite what the media was saying this was certainly not a Kiwi ‘B’ team. Let’s call it an A- minus team. A mix of their starters with some players ‘Fozzie B Bear’ was checking out and getting them some game time before the Bill. But have no doubt, their players that were new to the squad or not starters are still very high-quality players.
RDU’s initially I was so positive the first half, despite a few dumb decisions and errors (that I am definitely going to talk about) that had us trucking well, and the Kiwis looking a tad below par. As Ardie Savea said in his post-match interview “The Wallabies were punching us hard in the first half and we didn’t throw a single punch!” So let us look at how things went terribly wrong!
Take the Farkin Points – I must say nothing infuriated me more than watching Tate signal for a kick to touch for a line out. Twice we had points on offer and twice we didn’t take them. I was throwing things at the telly. And just as predicted we screwed it up coughed up the ball or were penalised lost possession, and came away with nothing. We are not a top 5 team. We can not bank on our line out or rolling maul doing what we need all the time. If we are inside the 40 m line take the bloody 3! This again is a leadership issue.
Carter Gordon’s Kicking – I love Carter Gordon, and there is very little doubt he is the future Wallabies 10. But his place-kicking and errors with in-game kicking are no doubt hurting us. Will he get better? Yes, let’s hope so. But this is the Bill we are talking about, and we will need to take the 3 pretty much every time in the games especially if we make the finals. His kicking percentage, range, accuracy, and angles at this stage are concerning. Compared with QC after having just come on the field, has to wait for his kicking tee and then rush his kick. But still slots it from what was on the angle a kick of 46 metres. Eddie if he was smart would be on the phone to Dave Alred immediately.
Errors and Discipline – This is really the part that breaks our feeble hearts as Wallaby fans. The first half other than some poor leadership decisions on taking the points, was relatively error-free compared to what the Wallabies usually dish up. Our discipline and breakdown work was probably the best that we have seen out of the Eddie Jones Wallabies. The second half was a different story.
Leadership, yet again! – I am sick of sounding like a broken record but our leadership is struggling. Tate’s first crack at Captaining the team was ok, but a more mature head would have been better suited to the task. Not taking the three, having a penalty for wasting time, players not rolling away, and Nic the Lip mouthing off again does not do the Wallabies any favours. The players including the Leadership group have to own these problems and find a way to resolve them.
The Players – Let’s have a look at some of the highs and lows of the players from this game and where they sit in relation to Bill Squad Selection:
The forwards – The first half saw our forwards doing quite well. With a late change out with Jordan ‘Cant hit the broad side of a barn with a shotgun’ Uelese being ruled out at the last minute saw Matty Faesler come into the squad for a well-earned call-up slot as a finisher. However, the second half saw our forwards going backward. And in particular our scrum. Continual scrum penalties helped the Kiwis piggyback their way down the field. I know we have our two first-pick tight heads out injured, but we will have to do something drastic now to ensure we are just not viewed as a scrum penalty magnet. Quick feeds and exits will be the order of the day, no Nic White screwing around at the back of the scrum can be afforded. Get it in, get it out ASAP. Angus Bell had another good game and I thought Matty Faesler was good off the bench. I thought Jimmy Slips struggled to be honest.
The Locks – I was actually really impressed with our locks in this game, and I think we have seen our best locking combination and lock finishers to date. Frost is a big agile player and Arnold got through some serious grunt work. Skelton was ok off the bench in a team that was absolutely struggling by the time he came on. Our lineouts were pretty reasonable.
The Backrow – Similar to the locks, I think we have found the best-suited and balanced back row. I thought T. Hooper got through a mountain of work, and McReight had a pretty solid game. I would prefer Pistol Pete Samu to be our bench back-rower.
The Halves – Tate and Gordon seem to partner pretty well, in the first half. But come the second half they went backwards. Not their fault the forwards were going backward and pretty hard for the halves to do much when that is the case. Nic White, TBH was utter dog shite. Kicking away possession, and dishing up some slow and inaccurate passing. As well as carrying like only Nic the Lip can do. I thought QC came on too late when the team was already going backward at a great rate of knots. He was not well served by slow and sloppy passes from Nic White. The final penalty was less about QC dropping the pass and more about being served up a rubbish pass when the team was desperately trying to get in the opposition half to drop goal or get a penalty. I genuinely believe the test against France should be QC starting with Tate. I am not sure if Eddie really knows what his best halves pairing is yet.
The Fairies – The backs had a good first half, but pretty much like the halves in the second half struggled due to lack of ball. Especially in the last 15 mins when things were really going pair-shaped due to scrum penalties and a scrum half who is obsessed with kicking away possession. Marky Mark had another good innings, and the Ginger Ninja was rock solid. Jordy P was ok, but I must admit in the first half received a few hospital passes that is for sure.
Overall significantly better than last week, but still errors, discipline, skills, and leadership are killing us. We can put together 40 mins worth of good ruggers, but then it falls out of our pooper valve. Mind you last week we could only put together 20 mins, so I should be thankful I guess.
Anyway, time to step off my balcony because those pesky North Queensland mozzies are going to eat me alive. Over to you RDU’s, have at it!