Where to from here at RWC for the Wallabies?
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The Wallabies, I’m quite sure by now, have tried and tested every one of the Australian faithful to the edge of both amazement and despair this year.
I know we’ve come a long way since the disaster of 2007. However, I just don’t how a team can play so brilliantly one week and so awful the next!
Over the past three weeks of competition, the Wallabies have played two decent showings and a capitulation against a far more committed and ruthless Irish team.
I don’t really understand Robbie Deans’ logic for persisting with players out of position or trying to keep players on the field when there is an obvious call to bring on fresh legs.
His selections for the match against Russia also seem a bit far-fetched. However, it really shouldn’t matter in the end.
Looking ahead to the quarter-finals and Australia really have a task ahead of them. Assuming Ireland send the Azzuris packing this weekend, Australia will face a very resurgent Springbok outfit.
In my opinion, South Africa have been the standouts of the World Cup so far. Australia may have the wood on them this year, 2-0, however with injuries and the Jeckyl and Hyde factor, the Wallabies will really need to be firing on all cylinders.
South Africa have proved that coming into World Cup years, they couldn’t care less of any of the silverware on offer in the Tri Nations. It’s all about the bigger picture for them, of winning rugby’s greatest honour.
Come quarter-finals time, the Springboks know how to take Cooper and co. out of the occasion.
Pick, drive, pick and drive some more, which is a real concern for a team that only weeks ago was ranked number two in the world. Added to the equation are M. and F. Steyn, probably the two best place-kickers in the world, ready to punish every indiscretion by the Wallabies 60 metres or closer to the posts.
Now, this article is not meant to be totally negative and ride off the Wallabies completely. Though we can’t match South Africa for kicking or in the forwards, we easily have a faster and more agile backline when given the room to move.
Having X-factors, Digby and Pocock back in the starting XV is a must, to counter the Boks’ pick and drive.
Genia, Beale and AAC will also need to be at the top of their game, creating those opportunities around the middle and on the edges of the ruck.
This team can still win the World Cup. People see the Wallabies as inconsistent and I think, to a certain extent, it is based on the importance they rate and put on games.
Suncorp Stadium was one such game where the Wallabies knew how important it was to win. Eden Park against Ireland was another example of the same bunch of blokes not placing this same level of emotion and respect into the game.
Let us just hope they treat this quarter-final as a last chance, a winner-takes-all affair!
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