I wish I was rating the Pommies. I’d find it a hell of a lot easier. A couple of 9s on the wing, another at scrumhalf and a few in the pack. Throw in some 8’s in the midfield and at the back, as well as on the side of the scrum and you shouldn’t then need to consider anything less than a 7 for the rest of the team. The Australians on the other hand….
15 Kurtley Beale – The rich vein of form just continues. I’ve said it before and will say it again, he is very Latham-esque at the moment in the danger he provides the Aussie team at the moment. Also like Latham, he seems the only Wallaby able to break the line at the moment. Two tries including a fabulous individual effort. – 8
14 James O’Connor – a bad day with the kicking boot but I thought some of the decisions to take the shot early on, by Rocky one can assume, were poor decisions. The Poms tore JOC’s side of the field to shreds, as well as young James’s defence, as he finished with five missed tackles. – 4
13 Adam Ashley-Cooper –suffered the same fate as Rob Horne earlier in the season as he seemed to fall into the outside centre vortex this Wallaby team can create. I barely saw him except when he was missing tackles (three). Other than a pass to Beale for one try, he had little positive impact on this game. – 5
12 Matt Giteau – Deservedly sin binned for one of the more cynical pieces of play going around, however it probably saved Australia four points. Straightened the attack well and almost got through the Pom defence a few times. One of the very few Aussies not to miss a tackle. – 6.
11 Drew Mitchell – started strongly and looked powerful ball in hand but went into hiding not long after. The Poms played the rugby down the other wing but he still managed to miss a couple of tackles. – 6.
10 Quade Cooper – terrible. Never took his backline forward and provided England easy metres every time they ran at him putting us on the back foot all too often. Tried, but failed. Like a number of these Aussies, he just seems to lack the physicality needed for test footy. Brilliant skills though. A couple of astute kicks late in the game hinted at a strong finish, but on the whole he provided little in attack and was pathetic in defence. – 3
9 Will Genia – Said during the week that he hadn’t sniped as much this season to allow his outside men to do the damage. Changed tact this game and ran more often, I think to positive effect. One such occasion resulted in a brilliant Chris Ashton try, but I struggle to blame Sanchez for that when (1) the tacklers never released him to play the ball and (2) his forwards were MIA. Injury added to the insult. – 6.
8 Ben McCalman – A couple of years ago a number 8 from the Force provided the Wallabies some nice impact from the bench for a couple of games and earned a starting spot for the injured Wycliff Palu. Soon that player would be found out as lacking the physicality for test football. That player was Richard Brown. McCalman seems to be following in his footsteps. – 4.
7 David Pocock – A tireless worker once again, but the English team limited his effectiveness at the ruck. A perfect tackling record once again (he is yet to miss a tackle on tour) but copped a bit of a battering and would love some support from his pack and his centres. – 7.
6 Rocky Elsom – Another step on the upward climb in Rocky’s form of late. Made a shed load of tackles, and tackles that needed to be made. The physicality raised a notch as well as he was a noted presence at the ruck. Leadership questions remain, but there’s not much that could’ve stopped that rampant English team. – 7.
5 Nathan Sharpe – It is amazing that Sharpe continues to produce career best form at an age one year older than when the great John Eales retired. He is the dominant performer in the Wallaby tight five, and his physical impact on the game outweighs even his Force team mate David Pocock. His dominant tackles v England were another highlight, as they’ve been all tour. – 7.
4 Mark Chisholm – I thought it was on track for a very good game thanks to an early line-out steal and some solid work from our own throws. But when a pack is found out for their softness as we were, and we have a monster the size of Chiz playing, and not sorting it out, something is wrong. Last chance I suspect. Van the Man for Italy! – 5
3 Ben Alexander – Well we never got to see much at scrum time, although there was a nice one (penalised) from him at loose head. However BA put in an impressive effort around the park, full of running and impact. Unfortunately the ledger was sullied by an unacceptable 4 missed tackles. – 6.
2 Stephen Moore – Squeaky was sensational. I think his game has been overlooked by some Aussie pundits because he didn’t score a chip ‘n’ chase try. But he was the best Aussie on the park for mine. Achieved the ‘triple double’ of 18 tackles (team high), 10 runs (team high) and 10 ruck/maul involvements (again, a team high). But the intent was there and he made an impact with each involvement. Stepped up big time under the pressure of the newly arrived Tatafu Polota-Nau. – 9 and G&GR Man of the Match.
1 Benn Robinson – I think it’s time to cut him loose. Fat Cat just hasn’t looked the player of recent years this season and this peaked last night when he failed to make any sort of physical impact at all. He’ll be back as the cream always rises, but for now, it’s time for James Slipper to get his start. – 4.
From the bench:
17 James Slipper – made the impact that Robinson never did almost immediately. He handled the scrums just fine and was prominent around the field. Should start v the Italians and the French, despite a couple of missed tackles. – 6.
18 Dean Mumm – A productive little cameo and he may get a shot v the Italians because of it. – 5.
19 Richard Brown – Efficient, not effective. A high work rate but doesn’t make an impact. The Pommy forwards dealt with him like he’d played a full game rather than being a fresh reserve. – 5.
20 Luke Burgess – had a couple of shots of red cordial before he ran on and proceeded to run around like a headless chook, to various effect. One shocking pass soured an otherwise very productive turn from the bench. Regardless of Genia’s injury he will push for a starting jersey next weekend. Still managed to miss almost half the tackles he made. – 6.
21 Berrick Barnes – Solid. Didn’t provide too much and definitely not the spark we needed at the time of his introduction. His dependability/reliability may prove to be a more attractive alternative to the randomness that is Quade at the moment. – 5.
Rating system (no half marks):
10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke