As comebacks go that was pretty special. After the whistle. A TMO decision. It was nail biting stuff from a Wallabies team that looked to have blown it 5 minutes earlier when passing up a kick for the corner for a shot at goal.
But regardless of how close the score was, Australia will be pleased they scored three lovely tries, the pick of which for me was the one we’re going to look at in more detail, finished by Adam Ashley-Cooper it comes from a well rehearsed strike move.
They will rightly take the plaudits but I also think key in the try was the approach work the Australians had done over the last 20-30 minutes when with ball in hand they repeatedly attacked the Springboks in the 15 meter channel, running lots of patterns behind the gain line getting the ball into that channel and trying to round the opposition pulling the Bok’s inside backs all over the shop.
Like most teams the Boks have a set defensive formation that they will aim to get themselves into as often as possible. The preferred option for the Springboks is to make sure their speedsters are in the outside channels. The idea is to stop them getting rounded and also to have a ready made kick chase formation.
Jesse Kriel and Damien De Allende both defend those channels with Kriel taking the left and De Allende the right. Kriel has only just moved to 13 and he’s going to make mistakes but more worryingly for the Boks is, with a tackle count of 15 made 7 missed, how easily De Allende was exposed by the Australian backs. Frequently targeted in that channel he missed key tackles and was often turned inside out by a Wallaby back line that while skillful, doesn’t have the most obvious of gasmen in their ranks.
I think this awareness of the opposition flags up good analysis by the Wallaby management team, and it’s surely a feather in the cap for Stephen Larkham whose prints were all over the move.
*NB: if you don’t have access to sound, or can’t understand my accent, then Closed Captions are enabled throughout the video*