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Jake White’s tactics spot on

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Jake White. Source: Alan Porritt / AAP

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    Pre-match, Brumbies coach Jake White predicted his side would stop Rebels big guns Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor from firing. True to his word, the Brumbies cruised home 37-6 in Canberra last night with hardly a peep from the talented twosome.

    That took some doing, usually Beale and O’Connor find a way. But not last night, the performance door was shut tight.

    This was an impressive display by the Brumbies, even though their intensity fell away in the second session.

    They led 30-6 at the break, having already posted four tries and the handy bonus point. What was so outstanding was converting dominant stats into points.

    Unlike the Waratahs the night before, where similar stats against the Force netted only 10 points, the Brumbies soldiered on building on their 63% possession rate, spending 61% in the Rebel half, and 5 minutes 18 seconds in the Rebel 22 compared to the Rebels 1 minute 45 late in the half, in reply.

    The clincher, the Brumbies 56-18 domination of the rucks and mauls. They owned the ball.

    If there is a worry for the Australian Conference leaders, is their inability to kick on when they’re in control. Scoring just seven points in the second half was a waste.

    However, flanker Michael Hooper was a revelation. Why he’s been a benchman in the past is one of the few Jake White decisions this season that hasn’t made any sense. Hooper is a David Pocock-type player, but not big enough to be a one-man destruction unit like the Force skipper.

    Hooker Stephen Moore was a standout with a dozen incisive runs, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, and skipper Ben Mowen were busy and effective all night with a milestone for Fardy with his first two tries in Super Rugby – one in each half.

    Out the back, the much-maligned Pat McCabe played all over O’Connor in their 12-jersey head-to-head, his opening try burst right through the O’Connor tackle from 10 metres out, while half-back Nic White doesn’t know how to turn in a bad game.

    The Rebels were a rabble in the first half, a far cry from the dedication of last weeks win over the Auckland Blues. But to their credit they knuckled down in the second half and by game’s end had roughly evened the possession and ruck-maul counts. No mean feat.

    But most of that hard work was ruined by poor handling, poor passes, and turnovers, resulting in a scoreless session.

    Rebels skipper Gareth Delve summed it up best.

    “I was very impressed with the Brumbies, they play solid and smart rugby. We have the team and the game plan to contest that, but we didn’t put it in place”.

    Delve could have so easily have added – “If Beale and O’Connor don’t make the breaks, we’re stuffed”.

    Well coached Jake White.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (38)

    • April 15th 2012 @ 7:13am
      Crashy said | April 15th 2012 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      Brumbies are starting to look like the real deal. I like the way they are playing and just shows that we haven’t the depth of players in Aus- maybe not the depth in coaching.

    • April 15th 2012 @ 8:27am
      p.Tah said | April 15th 2012 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Well done Brumbies. I like Mark Ella’s prediction before he game:

      ‘If the Brumbies’ forwards can get the better of the Rebels’ eight at the scrum and lineout with McCabe running a direct line at Cipriani and O’Connor, it won’t be hard for the Brumbies to build momentum across the advantage line which will quickly turn into points.’

      Basic stuff, but that’s what they did and they did it well.

      • Roar Guru

        April 15th 2012 @ 2:13pm
        The Bush said | April 15th 2012 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

        That’s a bloody great prediction…

        • April 16th 2012 @ 5:01pm
          Sprigs said | April 16th 2012 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

          Mark Ella’s book Running Rugby is the Bible.

    • April 15th 2012 @ 9:25am
      mikeylives said | April 15th 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      “Hooper is a David Pocock-type player, but not big enough to be a one-man destruction unit like the Force skipper.”
      Not sure what you mean by destruction unit, but Hooper seems to be able to do it all (cleanouts, make yards, support and pilfer).

      I have realised after last night that the guy’s fitness is on another plane, he can run 2/3 pace to just about every ruck and then turn on the gas for a big effort like a steal or his determined try.

      Pocock, Gill, Hooper – Close to our 3 best players at the moment and all in the same position!! (As if an impressive performance from Alcock was needed on Friday)

      • April 15th 2012 @ 4:15pm
        Rockin Rod said | April 15th 2012 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

        Pocock, Alcock,Hooper,Hodgson and Gill. We are starting to look good for number 7s. Gee Melbourne could do with 1 of these men

        • April 16th 2012 @ 1:08am
          bluerose said | April 16th 2012 @ 1:08am | ! Report

          maybe the Rebels should recruit the younger Faingaa brother, with the way Hooper is playing i dont think Faingaa has a real chance to play

      • April 15th 2012 @ 6:33pm
        Markus said | April 15th 2012 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

        By all accounts Hooper is the fastest forward in the team, and I think overall the fittest player too.
        I checked out the highlights of his work at the U20s tournament last year, the stand out moment (of many) was when he chased down a French centre over 80m to save a guaranteed try.

    • April 15th 2012 @ 9:34am
      peterlala said | April 15th 2012 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      I expected Jake White to do well, because of his experience. But he has done better — so far — that I expected.

      Doing the basics, tends to be overlooked, but White has proved how imnportant this is.

      James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale are playing poorly — and were gazzumped by the Brumbies.

      Both are outstainding players, but both play as if they can win the game on their own, which seems surprising given their experience.

      I had great hopes for the Rebels — but the stars aren’t shining. Further Danny Cipriani is a problem. If he finally plays to his potential, people will assume he is playing for an England jumper. However, even given that ulterior motive, the chances of consistency from him seems unlikely.

      • April 16th 2012 @ 7:11am
        kingplaymaker said | April 16th 2012 @ 7:11am | ! Report

        peterlala Cipriani was in no way a problem: the Rebels pack was very bad and he had little opportunity to get his backline going. Blame the pack, not a convenient scapegoat.

    • April 15th 2012 @ 9:39am
      mikeylives said | April 15th 2012 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      Hooper, Gill, Mogg, Cummins, Foley, White, Lealiifano, Kingston, Dennis, Tomane, Timani – A fair number of ‘new’ players putting up their hand this season – Shoe-ins like O’Connor, Beale and Genia better start looking over their shoulder.

      • April 15th 2012 @ 8:41pm
        Rugby Diehard said | April 15th 2012 @ 8:41pm | ! Report

        I’d add Tapuai to your list too ML

    • April 15th 2012 @ 10:30am
      Bakkies said | April 15th 2012 @ 10:30am | ! Report

      ”However, flanker Michael Hooper was a revelation. Why he’s been a benchman in the past is one of the few Jake White decisions this season that hasn’t made any sense.”

      Maybe he was carrying niggles and due to his age some coaches might not start a youngster in every match.

      • Columnist

        April 15th 2012 @ 11:35am
        Brett McKay said | April 15th 2012 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        Bakkies, I don’t know about the start of the season, but the reason against the Reds the other week was simply one of rotation and squad management (which you’re alluding to), and it’ll probably happen again before the season is out..

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