This week we travel across the globe hopefully it makes some sense as I am a bit of a rush this week.
Staring down the barrel of four wins in a row I have an unusual sense with respect to the Wallabies, surely it cannot be optimism.
This weeks thoughts
This weeks important game stats
We are now 5 games in and what we see is that the NZ v SA game was a very tight affair with NZ only making 4 Clean Breaks for the game to SA’s 2. Australia defence was the real improver keeping the Argentinians to zero clean breaks. last weeks numbers are in Brackets.
Clean Breaks NZ 39 (35), AU 35 (25), ARG 10 (10), SA 8 (6)
Carries NZ 573 (476), AU 530 (403), ARG 488 (405), SA 375 (310)
Defenders Beaten NZ 120 (95), AU (110) 79, ARG 71 (61), SA 63 (48)
Offloads AU 47 (41), NZ 53 (40), ARG 25 (21), SA 9 (6)
This week the trend continues with different styles creating different outcomes. The South African game asks almost no questions of the opposition, and it will be interesting to see how the inclusion of Kolbe influences the outcome against NZ.
This week I look a the stats v Argentina in slightly more detail and see what it tells us about the game.
Clean Breaks AU 10 ARG 0
Carries AU 127 ARG 83
Offloads AU 6 ARG 4
Defenders Beaten AU 31, ARG 10
Kicks in play ARG 27 AU 21
I think this illustrates what I said about the game in Sully’s wrap up. Australia won by 19 points and should have won by more. With a clean break and defenders beaten differential of plus 31 questions should be asked about execution. Ultimately, this is the difference between us and NZ.
Some worrying signs for SA rugby and what Australia can learn
This article talks to the issues SA rugby have in the new URC with respect to player drain. Of the 5 teams that SA had in the new comp this year, only the Bulls got a win against the Italian power house that is Zebre, who have finished bottom in six of their eight PRO Rugby seasons to date.
South Africa is much like Australia and is a net exporter of talent. Much like Australia, overseas leagues are loaded with South African talent. With the exchange rate and better living conditions in Europe and Japan compared to South Africa the local clubs find it very difficult to retain the second and even third best players.
I follow the local club comp in Brisbane and know of two or three guys who have taken up overseas offers to play, and we are not talking about the absolute top level guys.
This is a cautionary tale for Australia as we move to a model where we accept more overseas based players being allowed to play for Australia. We need to keep our reliance on these players to an absolute minimum. Wales are going to face New Zealand later this year in a game that is outside the test window and will be putting out a B Team. I think we need to be very careful that we protect the integrity of our Wallabies by using overseas based player sparingly.
Covid Strikes Again Reds Pre Season Game Cancelled
The Queensland Reds have announced they have postponed their pre-season match with Japanese Top League champions Panasonic Wild Knights.
The sides were expected to face off in their inaugural match in December after announcing a partnership last year, however, the current COVID situation has made the situation untenable.
“It is unfortunate we’ve had to postpone our match this year with the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan,” Reds General Manager of Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said.
“I know both organisations take this pandemic seriously and much consideration was made into this decision, including player and staff welfare in relation to travel and associated quarantine requirements.
“We remain open to finding an appropriate window between September and December next year to travel to Saitama for our inaugural match and we thank the Wild Knights for their valued partnership and continued support.”
Wild Knights General Manager Hitoshi Iijima confirmed they will look to reschedule the match next year in order to foster and develop the partnership between the two teams.
“We are grateful the Reds remain interested in travelling to Saitama between September and December in 2022 for the match, and we are very hopeful to find the best timing for this opportunity,” he added.
“We thank the Queensland Reds for all their efforts and support to Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights so far.”
‘Robinson was very similar’: Radwan can become the new Billy Whizz
Former England captain Nick Easter believes rising Newcastle star Adam Radwan can deliver the same electric pace and defence breaking footwork at Test level that made Jason Robinson such a phenomenal attacking force. Easter, who twice skippered his country during his 54-cap career, played alongside the World Cup-winning Robinson, who went by the nickname of Billy Whizz.
If you get the chance, have a look at some of his exploits on YouTube or on Stan. Much like Jason Robinson when he gets the ball you see professional players panic such is his speed and elusiveness. Radwan is said to be the fastest player in the league, and that includes Johnny May and the new Welsh kid Reese Zammitt.