All this week the talk has been about the Wallabies being ruthless and executing their plans against the Italians. There have been times in previous years, particularly in early season games, when the words ruthless and Wallabies could not have been used in the same sentence.
Speaking before this week’s test, Matt Giteau stressed the need for the Wallabies to keep the pressure on opponents after they had established a lead, something they failed to do last year.
“You get opportunities and being more ruthless as a side is something we need to focus on. It’s good to get to a lead but we need to continue to build on that lead. We’d play some good football to get to a lead last year, then, for whatever reason, we’d slacken off because we were in front.”
“This year we’ve got that focus that if we get that lead, we’re more ruthless and we continue to build that pressure and put teams away.”
Gits went on to give examples from last week’s Baa-Baa’s game as where the Wallabies could have made more of their opportunities.
“There were times last week when we were creating good opportunities but we were probably throwing 50/50 passes. We didn’t build that pressure or keep that pressure on. Instead we’d throw a 50/50 ball or go for an easy grubber kick just because it might have been on.”
“Something we’ve worked on for this match is holding onto the ball and building momentum and building that pressure by not giving away possession. Once we get inside the opposition 22 we want hold onto the ball and come away with points, whether it’s a try or a penalty, that’s our focus”
This was view shared by forwards coach Jim Williams, who also stressed the need for the Wallabies to improve in the key areas of the game.
“This week we need to improve on our execution and decision making throughout the game. Last week there were some kicks that we didn’t really want to kick and some of our passing under pressure was poor”
“Our scrum and line-out was a bit rusty, those need to run a bit smoother as the Italians have quality forwards so they will test us physically”
A feature of last week’s game was the ability of the Wallabies kickers to chew off plenty of ground and get the team into attacking positions. With the focus this week being very much on retaining possession and scoring points, it will be interesting to see what the results are come the final whistle.