I was in Hong Kong this past week for the 7s, but was still able to catch all the Super Rugby action. Isn’t it amazing what happens when criticism comes the Waratahs’ way? The Sharks came hard at the Waratahs, but NSW, to their credit, rose to the challenge.
They played some good, hard, positive rugby and it really was a sight to see after weeks of offering so little to their fans. Now for more of the same, please! And to facilitate that, how about this for the exciting nucleus of a Waratahs backline: Foley at No. 10, Barnes 12, Horne 13, Kingston 11, and Cooper at fullback?
As for the Reds, it’s always tough when you lose players. They have a very young squad and there isn’t much leadership there. I just don’t see them winning it again this year.
In fact, I don’t think any Australian team is a real chance, except perhaps for the Brumbies, who have been a surprise packet in the competition. Still, they’re over-reliant on kicking for goal and ultimately that will count against them.
Instead of trying for three points every time you get a penalty, why not take a chance and go for seven? At least then the other team has to score twice to get ahead.
The game is about scoring tries, and unfortunately in this Super Rugby season, teams are opting for the easy three points. While you’re in the 22, put pressure on your opponent and force them to make mistakes. Back yourself.
But onto the more vexing issue of the Wallaby backline. The way things are shaping up, with Cooper out injured and Beale not having played a game, it’s not looking so good.
The biggest area of concern is in the centres.
If Beale returns to form quickly, then I’d slot him in at fullback. O’Connor and Ioane should be the wingers (O’Connor shouldn’t be playing any other position), and with Cooper out, I’d have Barnes at 10, even though he kicks too much.
Genia will be the halfback, although he’s not playing anywhere near as well as he did last year. I wouldn’t play McCabe at all. He can’t pass, so he’s not suited to inside centre.
Really, no-one has put their hand up in the Super Season so far and demanded a spot, so it’s a mystery who Deans will put there.
Deans himself must be on very shaky ground.
He needs to better define this season what style of rugby he wants the Wallabies to play and then pick the players to make that happen. We have some very good individual players, but they need to perform better as a team.
That didn’t happen at all in the World Cup last year.
I’d like to see an Australian who understands the style and mentality coaching the side. We have got so much talent with individuals with great flair. Yet the current regime does not seem to want to capitalise on this.
The Rugby World Cup was a perfect example.
I’d like to see someone like Ewen McKenzie take the helm, or at the very least, get McKenzie in to coach the Wallaby forwards.