Restore the faith Robbie Deans
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It’s a sad indictment on last Tuesday night’s Wallabies that I had more faith in them than they had in themselves. Admittedly, the conditions against Scotland in Newcastle were atrocious for the entire 80 minutes.
But it was the same for both sides, and no excuse for the Wallabies to show no flair, no lateral thinking, and no urgency.
Constant kicking in previous internationals was replaced by persistent pick-and-go. And when that wasn’t working, it was replaced by more pick-and-go.
Aimless and fruitless.
The Wallabies should have won that Test by 20 points with the mountain of possession and territory they enjoyed. But they didn’t believe in themselves, nor trust each other.
Given the same conditions, the Alan Jones coached 1984 Grand Slammers would have beaten the conditions, and the opposition.
So too Bobby Dwyer’s 1991 Rugby World Cup champions and Rod Macqueen’s 1999 RWC winners, who also beat the British and Irish Lions in a three-Test series for the one and only time in 2001.
Adaptability and vision.
With forwards who delivered quick and controlled ball, half-backs who were incisive, and fly-halves who either made the break or swiftly sent supports on their way with perfect passes running onto the ball, and not having to reach high, or stop to take delivery with the pass behind them.
In 1984 it was Nick Farr-Jones and the mercurial Mark Ella in the 9-10 jerseys.
In 1991, Farr-Jones and Michael Lynagh; in 1999 George Gregan and Stephen Larkham; and the same in 2001, with Elton Flatley playing the third Test.
Great combinations that gave the Wallabies of the day positivity and thrust.
And crowd pleasers. That’s what Wallaby rugby used to be all about: making the entertainment dollar worth it.
That doesn’t exist any more. But it can. My faith hasn’t been totally destroyed.
Come Saturday, let’s have the Wallaby pack hunting as one, delivering quick and controlled ball. And let’s have Genia positive and looking to run, not looking like the six years that Gregan overstayed his welcome, condemning the far better performed Chris Whitaker to the bench for 75 internationals, 49 of them for the full 80 minutes.
And let’s have a backline moving forward at Suncorp with BALL-IN-HAND.
The Wallabies did it in the second half against France at Stade de France in November 2010.
Down 16-14 at the break, playing ordinary rugby, the Wallabies piled on six superb tries to thump the then Grand Slammers 59-16, with 45 unanswered second half points.
So stop stuffing around men-in-gold and just do it against Wales. Unleash them, Robbie Deans.