Wallabies combinations fire against Wales
The Wallabies kept Wales at arms length on Saturday night (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
The wallabies combinations fired in brisbane tonight. They produced an outstanding performance and a test match for the ages.
The scrum worked, the Reds’ backs work rate overwhelmed the Welsh and the ball runners made metres.
The Waratahs scrum performance was so good that the scrums came and went unnoticed by dint of their proficient performance.
The line out worked similarly well. Pocock was able to terrorize the Welsh at the breakdown. It was as though the Welsh were playing against Pocock for the first time.
The forwards performance gave Genia space and time in attack. He ran five times for 97 metres and didn’t he use the space for his teammates brilliantly. His sniping down the shortside was Vintage Genia.
As a result, Barnes was not under the same pressure. Palu was back to something closer to his best. He made nine runs for 50 metres.
Higginbotham also made nine runs. McCabe, as I predicted, was everywhere in attack and defence.
But, it was Ioane who showed that he is the best pound for pound winger in the game when it comes to workrate and metres. 13 runs for 107 metres says it all.
Horne was competent but not involved anything like enough if he is to keep Anthony Faingaa out of the 13 jersey for long. Three runs for 33 metres is just not enough, even if he was off the field getting his head stitched.
The Wallabies converted the statistics, runs and possession in the first 50 minutes into points. This has rarely been the case in past seasons.
The defence was good for most of the evening, particularly when the Welsh were camped on the wallabies try line. Three tries to one says it in the defence comparisons.
It was not all good.
When the possession evened up in the third quarter, and Wales came storming back to within two points, the Wallabies seemed dazed and confused. The Welsh did this by simply repeating the tactics of kicking into the Wallabies half and exerting pressure in the air and with ball in hand. It worked for almost too long.
Eventually, the Wallabies steadied, rediscovered their rhythm after a 10 minute period of conservative play, got hold of the ball again in good field position and the uber brave and clever McCabe hit the hole on the angle to effectively go through the Welsh defensive line untouched to effectively regain control of proceedings and ice the game.
This sort of play is built around the rugby fundamentals that retired players know still works but that current players and coaches don’t believe in or use enough.
Robbie Deans and his new coaching team must be licking their lips in anticipation of improving on this performance and welcoming back the infant terriblés, Beale, O’Connor and Cooper.
However, the Deans’ Wallabies have flattered to deceive many times before. I, for one, won’t be counting the chickens just yet, but performances such as last night’s will build public support and fill the ARU coffers.
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