A depleted Wallabies side struggled to defeat an under strength Irish team but in reality, apart from a bit of progress in the scrums, we’re in dire straits come Tri-Nations time.
Brothers-in-arms they may be but money for nothing and chicks for free (not forgeting the omnipresent hair gel) will sustain the Wallabies in this forthcoming campaign.
Mark Ella was right; we’re soft. Essentially, at this stage of the season we look nothing like a winnable combination against a resurgent All Blacks and consolidating Springboks.
In fact, we look like Division Two in a First Division competition. The return of Squeeky Moore, Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe and Digby Ioane will be a godsend but nowhere near enough to achieve parity.
The Promised Land has yet to be delivered and at this stage divine intervention is certainly required – at least to minimise any further injuries because there is no depth to replenish from.
This was another match where the rugby gods went against continuity and flowing play. A high mistake rate and low skill level pulled us down to the level of our opposition and really, we’re so far away….
O’Connor – 5 Can do anything on his day when given the chance. In this game he wasn’t given that chance. He didn’t play badly but it wasn’t quite a game where those opportunities to attack presented themselves as they have in other matches. His defence was an improvement on last week.
Ashley-Cooper – 7 Defensively and under the high ball he’s the best back around. Sound and consistently so, he’ll probably be the first outside back you’d select for the Tri-Nations. I’d imagine he’ll be the run-on outside centre.
Horne – 4 Made a great break early on but injury again counted against him. Becoming a little like Cameron Shepherd; injury prone and yet to fulfill his potential. He looks the goods but I doubt whether he’s robust enough at the moment to snaffle a permanent spot.
Giteau – 4 For his standards he had a very average game. Maybe play just didn’t go his way but he had the least involvement I’ve ever seen from him. He’s obviously lost a bit of confidence and taking the fulltime kicking duties off him probably doesn’t help.
Mitchell – 3 Shithouse, inconsistent and should have been replaced by the deceptively fast Peter Hynes. His excellent Super 14 form is just a distant memory.
Cooper – 8 He was the best Wallaby player on the park. Sure, made the odd mistake and crap kick but was creative and the 40th min try was a pearler. Without him we probably would have lost.
Burgess – 5 Scored a great individual try but we’re back to throwing passes above the head or around the boots, and overcooking the running. When is this guy going to play two decent games in a row?
Brown – 4 Had no real involvement apart from the odd lineout win and was generally below par. Roll on Higgo.
Pocock – 8 His defensive game was excellent and probably the leading tackler. He’s just so strong at the breakdown. What can you say with a workrate like that. George Smith couldn’t have done much better.
Elsom – 6 Supposed world class player who has yet to deliver for the Wallabies like he did for Leinster last year. Better than anything the Irish offered but still short of Jerome Kaino standard.
Chisholm– 6 Chizz had a fair few involvements in this game and statistically was the best ball-runner (10 carries) and committed to the most rucks and mauls. However, he’s still unconvincing as a tight forward. Let’s face it, he’s too loose and his hands are an issue. If only he’d recreate his form of a year or two ago.
Mumm– 4 Anonymous. He was saying this week that he needed to do more work. Didn’t inject himself in the game enough and in my view is one who’s inconsistency is an issue. Van Humphries would have been a better bet.
Ma’afu – 5 Crikey, he actually held the scrum up this week against a weak Irish unit. This was his best game so far in a Wallaby jumper. I wonder whether he’s a prop of international potential though? It’s a shame his brother isn’t available for the Wallabies.
Faingaa– 7 Saia Faingaa had a cracker of a game both on attack and defence. His workrate was particularly high and he’s taken a couple of steps forward during this international series.
Daley– 6 Injected himself around the field and scrummaged well. He’s going to be a genuine Wallaby prop in due course. He’s got a high workrate, enthusiasm and played his heart out. I reckon he’ll be in that elusive World Cup squad next year.
Reserves worth mentioning: Kurtley Beale. He made an immediate impact on the game when he came on. Sure, there was the odd mistake but at least he got over the gain line and was creative.
Referee: Bryce Lawrence – what do you think?
10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke