The Wallaby tour from a Southern perspective
No, not Melbourne. A little further north than that: Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I was born. If the folks up there paid close attention to rugby instead of the NFL, and if they knew something about the game of rugby, they’d surely opine that the Wallabies were in for a whuppin’ on the coming tour.
They’d sit back in their rockers on the porch, let go a wad of Red Dog, sip on their sour mash, and say, “Taint no two ways ’bout it. Them Wallabies are gonna get their be-hinds waxed real good.”
And you know what? They’d be right.
Now you’re wondering what a Johnny Reb would know about the game they play in heaven. Well, I know the difference between a hawk and a handsaw, and I also know the difference between a well-paid, under-performing winger and a fine inside-centre who’s playing out of position.
No prize for filling in the names.
But let’s get back to the NFL – American football.
The players are all pros who make astonishing catches and thundering runs, rarely spilling the ball. The running backs also catch numerous passes and hand-offs from the Quarter-Bac, usually without fumbling.
On defense, the linebackers hit hard and don’t often miss.
Why do they do all these things so well?
Because they’ve been taught the skills, they’ve learned them, and they know that if they screw up, they’ll be benched.
So why do Aussie rugby pros perpetually disappoint in their basics?
It’s not because they’re two entirely different games – a football is a football, big or small.
I don’t know the reason, and neither do the folks in Tennessee. Maybe some of the people on this forum have an idea.
Another question: how come the Aussie backs don’t gell for 80 minutes? Sometimes not even for 15 minutes.
It could be because Cordingley gets a fast pass away – that’s why he’s in the squad – and then it starts to break down because the rugby union powers insist that Gits is a five-eight when he’s not.
It could be that Barnes is the best option at that position.
Is it possible that, with Wallaby fans hoping for another Horan, they’ve got one in Gits if he played in Horan’s old position?
Could it be that, if the selectors insist on Gits at five-eight, then the best option would be to move Mortlock outside him and let Tahu, Cross and Tuqiri fight it out for outside-centre (they point to Tuqiri’s record as a finisher, so they have to play him. But they’re kind of uncomfortable with him on the wing).
As for the forwards, out of eight players who’ll scrum down in the first test, only one of them, Smith, is a standout.
This does not bode well for a good result against the All Blacks in Hong Kong, let alone when they get to Britain where the big packs live.
If you watch the British games, as I do, you’ll see that not only are the forwards big, fierce and relentless scrummages, but the backs are now a lot better than we’re used to seeing.
Plus, all the oppositions have an A-list kicker, and in Gits the Wallabies are forced to use a backup kicker.
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