Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the Wallabies changing up their processes, Will Genia’s big idea to revamp rucks, potential Wallaby changes and the son of a Wallabies legend signs with the Reds
A wise man once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
After their second disappointing draw in five games, the Wallabies are looking to revamp their preparations and processes as they look to avoid a similar result on December 5.
Following their 15-all draw to Argentina, assistant coach Scott Wisemantel has conceded that they were a ‘little naïve’ with their tactics towards the back-end of the game, allowing the Pumas to come back and steal a draw.
“They were dead, with 20 minutes to go, they were gone, but we opened the door up,” Wisemantel told reporters on Tuesday.
“We were tactically a little naïve, lacked discipline – so it’s the one that got away.”
Looking to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, Rennie and co have looked to mix up their preparations ahead of their final match of the Tri-Nations on December 5.
The side has moved away from its Hunter Valley base, moving towards their usual Sydney hub in Coogee.
Along with this, their review process has undergone a major overhaul, with players allocated 20-minute footage of the game to analyse and break-down in four separate groups.
Wisemantel was hopeful that this could provide the necessary ‘nuggets’ that could turn around their fortunes and keep their hopes of a Tri-Nations title alive.
“We broke the game down into four 20-minute quarters and throughout the whole squad, they were divided into four groups and each were given a portion,” he explained.
“They then had to review what was good and what was poor and how we can manage it. It was a long process but at the end of it, I think we ended up with tactical growth which is what we want.
“In those smaller groups everyone gets a voice and from that you get little nuggets of gold.”
Genia’s big idea
Former Wallabies halfback Will Genia has called for an overhaul to the ruck in order to speed up the game.
Genia’s main gripe comes with the ‘caterpillar rucks’ that have emerged, in which teams go full human centipede to try and give the halfback more space to box kick.
Too often, halfbacks go through their options, shopping lists, their post-match plans and which player they can niggle/antagonise at the next scrum before the referee tells them to play the ball.
This would dramatically change under Genia’s law (AKA the actual rule book), which would essentially see the referees enforce the rule that gives scrumhalf’s five seconds to use the ball.
“Isn’t the rule that once the ball is available, the scrumhalf has five seconds to use it?” Genia told The Herald.
“The referee just has to enforce that. Use it or lose it.
“Once the ball is at the back of the ruck and they’re preparing to box kick, the ref will often say use it and he will give them another five, six, sometimes 10 seconds to use it. In that time, that’s when the teams set up the caterpillar ruck.
“That’s the way to eradicate it. Just enforce the law.
“After five seconds, I think it should just be play on. The ball’s out. (The defending team) can put pressure on the ball, you can run in and grab the ball if you like.”
He believes this would encourage the ball the remain in play as players are forced to make decisions under pressure.
“With the way things are at the moment with the caterpillar ruck – the ball is at the back for 15, sometimes 20 seconds because they want to organise the box kick, elongate the ruck and get the chasers in place,” Genia added.
“If you just eradicate it and make teams use the ball in five seconds, the ball is in play for longer. It forces players to use skill and make decisions under pressure, as opposed to completely taking their time.”
Major changes inbound
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie hasn’t been afraid to mix up his side throughout the Tri-Nations, with the new coach set to make major changes for next weekend’s clash against the Pumas
With the side enjoying a week off, Rennie has already culled the squad, with Suliasi Vunivalu, Isi Naisarani, Jermaine Ainsley and Cadeyrn Neville sent home from the final two weeks of camp.
Anisley is set to head straight to New Zealand after signing a deal with the Highlanders for 2021.
One change that looks set to happen is at flyhalf, with James O’Connor set to be cleared to return after an injured foot.
“He’s good…James is going well,” assistant coach Scott Wisemantel said.
“He has been terrific for the team and the coaching staff with his feedback, his thoughts. He’s definitely matured.
“We’re hopeful. I can’t give you a definite yes or no at the moment but he has started rehab running, he’s back on the park and we’re hopeful.”
Another change that we could see is at the blindside flanker position, as Rennie looks the lock down his future no. 6.
With front-runner Lachie Swinton still suspended, Rennie has continued to swap and change, last using Ned Hanigan who got a less than ideal write-up from fans after his performance on Saturday.
This could see the likes of Liam Wright thrust into the starting line-up, with Pete Samu still on the outer for some strange reason.
Along with this, Rennie is apparently weighing up whether to recall Tate McDermott to the line-up, with the Reds halfback arguably the best running half in the squad.
Like father, like son
The Reds are set to receive a major boost after securing the signature of Tom Lynagh – the son of former World Cup-winning Wallaby, Michael.
The 17-year-old has been based in England, making his name for Harlequins and in the England Academy, finishing his schooling at Epson College before heading to Queensland in the middle of next year.
The youngest Lynagh was looking forward to linking up with Brad Thorn and the rest of the Reds squad, eager to continue his development in his home state until at least the end of the 2023 season.
“I am very excited about joining the Reds next year,” Tom Lynagh said.
“I have been watching the team develop over the past few seasons form here in the UK. There are some really exciting young players playing a good style of rugby.”
According to The Australian, the deal came after the legendary Wallaby
nagged advised his son to send a highlights package to Australian clubs, which immediately got the attention of Reds GM Sam Cordingley.
“We were pretty keen to move on it,” Cordingley said. “You need as many good No.10s in your program as possible.
“We had done some background on him and knew he was a fair player. The [highlights] package that was there was just a part of the [due] diligence we did around him.
“We have Australian coaches in the current system that have some experience over there in England that knew Tom and we were pretty keen to progress.”
He follows a drastically different pathway to his brother Louis, who has denounced his Australian heritage as he looks to play for Aussie Eddie and the English.