While the Tahs backline might spluttered this year, there’s no denying that the pack has been on fire. Again on Saturday, in the pissing rain, they manned up and put in some superhuman performances to win the game. In the clips below, I’ve dug out a few examples of crucial (or as Djuro at Ruggamatrix would call them ‘turningpoint’) moments in the game, where the Tahs forwards showed the Shorks who was boss.
First of all, forget wingers running in space, the rolling maul that the Tahs put on the homeside 2 minutes into the match was a true thing of beauty. That the ball was spilled at the end was almost irrelevant. Any forward who’s been on the receiving end of a maul like that knows what it says physically and mentally; you’re in for a long fucking day. I know there are a few on this blog and forum who’ve said the publicised demise of the maul was premature – looks like they were right.
Happily Polota-Nau’s throwing was a lot better this week – although that could be to do with the fact that the Tahs sensibly threw to Mumm at 2 predominantly and then used the maul to get some space. But what a game this was for the locks. The switch to second row has been a great move for Mumm. Like Kimlin and MMM he makes a dorkish 6, but a dynamic lock.
As for Caldwell, how well he’s stepped up this year. This guy gets through more of the grittiest hard work on the paddock than anyone. Want a ruck hit – he’s there. Man on your arse as you truck it forward – he’s there. Guy to run full tilt into the oppo pack – ditto. It’s no wonder he’s oozing claret at the end of every match.
While we’re talking of revelations, a contender for man of the match had to be Ben Mowen. His work rate in both defence and attack was phenomenal. Just as long as he’s not in space with the ball – this week it was a bomb from his own 22.
But back to the highlights, anyone who watched the game will tell you how it was blighted by that braindead fucking drongo Murray Mextead. He’s turning up everywhere – like the swineflu but less intelligent. From scrum one he was whingeing on about how weak Australian scrummaging was, and how every collapse was obviously down to our guys “scrummaging too close to the ground” (Murray, that’s called technique).
Anyway, what seemed to slip Murray by (like most things) is that at crucial times in the match the Tahs could demolish the Shorks scrum, on demand. I’ve put two examples in, the first being when the sharks were 5m out from the Tahs line, just after half time and had the feed. Changing the tighthead for the Sharks to Smit didn’t matter either, Robinson mullered him in the second scrum you see.
The good news for the Wallabies is that surely at least four or five of the Austrlian pack will come from the Tahs. A testament to Foley’s work.