One of the most noticeable changes about the Wallabies this year has been their ability to start games well and score early points. For many years the Wallabies were generally slow out of the blocks and would build momentum as the game progressed.
What has also been noticeable is the Wallabies inability to capitalise on these quick-fire starts as they have struggled to keep scoring points throughout the game after the initial onslaught.
Out of the five tests the Wallabies have played this year they have scored more points in the first half than the second on four occasions, with the exception being the test against the French in Sydney.
So good have the Wallabies starts been this year, that out of the five tests played, they have scored tries within the first 5 minutes on three occasions. Against the All Blacks the Wallabies scored 10 points in the opening 10 minutes and against the Bokkies racked the same amount within 14 minutes.
The problem is, particularly during the Tri-nations, the Wallabies are unable to keep the pressure on teams and keep accumulating points throughout the rest of the game. Looking at the game in Auckland the Wallabies only scored 6 points in 70 minutes after their great start and in Durbs they were only able to compile a further 7 points in 66 minutes after a similar flyer.
This season the Wallabies have scored 58% of their total points in the first half compared to 42% of their total points in the second half. This statistic is rather alarming as opposition sides will know if they can mitigate the damage the Wallabies may do in the opening exchanges, the longer the game goes the less chance the Wallabies have of scoring.
An easy conclusion to draw is that the Wallabies lack the fitness required to finish off matches and fade out of games due to the physical dominance of the opposition. Maybe as a result of this physical pressure, the Wallabies don’t have the discipline or the composure to maintain a lead and appear to lack the nous to find scoring opportunities as the game progresses. All too often the Wallabies have been content to give away a cheap penalty when under pressure and in the last game at Durbs they were quite rightly punished for these indiscretions.
It has been clear this season the Wallabies only really look comfortable attacking from 1st phase off a line-out. They seem to have lost the skills of being able to control the ball and build pressure through multiple phases, and look as though they are scared to even attempt to do so.
It is this lack of variety in attack that is killing the Wallabies.