CAMPO: More of the same from the Australian sides

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    Tom Carter in action for the NSW Waratahs. AAP Image/David Crosling

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    Another week down and it was essentially more of the same from the Australian sides: more kicking, not enough passing, too much emphasis on structured, defensive play, and a lack of teamwork crippling any attacking instincts.

    The Waratahs were a bit better in their match against the Rebels than they had been versus the Reds, but it needs to put into context.
    The Rebels are a very ordinary team; they just can’t compete against the Big Boys.

    They need some starch.

    They’re relying on James O’Connor at inside centre, but the ball doesn’t go out to him, let alone reach the wingers. Mark Gerard is a great player, but he’s very safe. He’s not going to set the world on fire.

    They really need to get some coaches down to Melbourne to teach them how to play running rugby.

    They are missing the way the game should be played, but unfortunately the Rebels still haven’t secured a team that plays as a unit. They show promise in the backs, but need a forward pack to deliver good ball.

    A proper gauge of how well the Waratahs are going will come against the better sides, with the first test this weekend against the Highlanders.

    The Waratahs have some good players, but as I’ve been saying in this column for a couple of weeks now, the centres don’t create enough space for their outside backs.

    I don’t think Adam Ashley-Cooper passed the ball once on the weekend?

    They have to learn to play as a team. It’s so important. The first Super Rugby side to do that consistently will win this tournament.

    Like the rest of the New Zealand teams, the Highlanders are playing adventurous rugby. They’re taking some risks and throwing the ball around. It makes their games, along with those of the Hurricanes and Crusaders, much more interesting to watch.

    Their basic skills are fantastic. Australian teams need to get out of the gym and practice their basic skills.

    The Australian sides are still too afraid to make mistakes. I’ve been saying that for ten years now.

    Funnily enough, over the weekend, Michael O’Connor came out and said the same thing. Where has he been for the past decade?

    Even though the players are ‘professional’, rugby in Australia is nowhere near ‘professional’, in the same way that rugby league is in this country.

    I was in the park with my son a little back back and overheard a couple of guys talking about how they switched the television the night before from rugby to league.

    This is the danger we’re facing. And it doesn’t look like much is being done about it.

    Unfortunately, the coaching in Australia focuses on defence (the Force are a prime example), and as a result, people are switching over.

    The frustrating thing is that the top brass don’t seem to care. They know that the private schools will always play rugby.

    But that’s not the point: Rugby needs to be entertaining to maintain and then grow its support base.