Five thoughts about the Wallabies
I was at the Sydney test match and these stray thoughts came through:
1. Will Skelton can be fitted in
He showed enough that he can be used to start in Rugby Championship games.
He took a couple of lineout throws and could probably get three of four in a game at the front. He is so tall that he can jump up with no lifter and get above a prop marking him. Sure, it’s less valuable front-of-the-lineout ball, but it adds to the variety that is needed.
Will Skelton – a good fit
He is the ideal player to start against the Springboks and will be one bloke that can hand out some bashings to them in cleanouts—and those soft hands he had at school will work a treat as they did against France and in Super Rugby before the break.
“Will Skelton” that’s another name the Kiwi rugby commentators can mention in test matches, in their tiresome way, as a player born in New Zealand.
2. Rob Simmons is one of our most valuable players
This fellow can scarcely be replaced at the national level because he is the only one who is an able practitioner and also a lineout manager. Yours truly mentioned last year about the threat of the impending departure of Nathan Sharpe and now it is with us.
The Force and the Rebels don’t have locks likely to be starting Wallabies in the foreseeable future.
Dennis calls the lineouts for the Tahs and it was my cunning plan to have Douglas take over in 2015, but that won’t be happening. My next plan is for Carter to take over at the Brumbies’ lineout calls, but that will take a while.
Let’s hope that Rob stays healthy.
3. Simmons has to vary the calls more
Blind Freddy can work out who is going to get most of the Wallabies’ lineout calls.
On Saturday there were 15 contested throws by the Aussies. Palu got one, Skelton and Fardy got two each, and Simmons called too much duty for himself—ten times. This should be more like Palu two, Skelton two, Fardy four, Hooper one and Simmons six.
Rob Simmons – too much call of duty
4. The scrum looks OK
The French shaded the Aussies with their brand-new starting props, but the Aussies won all their seven scrums in Sydney except one for an early shove. They were pinged three times on the French put-in though, which was not so good, but two were for early shoves, which can be fixed.
Weeks and Sio look as good as Cowan and Ryan are, if not better. Sio’s strength is obvious and his bullocking runs are a bonus. Let’s have them on the bench in the Rugby Championship.
5. Let’s not get too excited about the backs
Our blokes are good but they don’t compare to how the All Blacks started of in Hamilton on Saturday. The Kiwis looked like the oprichniki of Ivan the Terrible in how they slaughtered the population of the England back line.
It was enjoyable in a way to see the Poms so treated until one remembered that we were next.
Our fellows have to be like that but it’s not going to happen if they get the ball bounced to them, or they think too much before they do stuff, or they can’t deceive tacklers.
They were great at the start of the test when the forwards were swarming all over the French, but in the end there were too many fellows trying to do stuff near the touchlines.
Quade Cooper – good deceiver
They are forced out there for many reasons and one of them is because they lack deceptive skills to breach the line closer in.
That little twerp James O’Connor had his problems but he could run straight and pass chest on and so could Quade Cooper, and Kurtley Beale is not too bad either when he has a mind to. That method of running can draw tacklers to them.
Then there is the lack of deception because the second wave is too deep when they get the ball behind dummy runners. It seems as though players have never been taught to pass the ball right behind the back of the decoy so that flat runners get the pill closer to the tacklers to cut down their reaction time.
Sometimes defenders are picking their noses waiting for them to arrive and reading them like a comic book.
They should do everything fast, do nothing obvious and do it close to the enemy.