Referee Pollock is the right man for the job tonight
The Wallabies kept Wales at arms length on Saturday night (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Kiwi Chris Pollock is one of the better, more consistent, international rugby referees. He’s in charge at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne tonight for the second of three Tests between the Wallabies and Wales.
The Welsh have trumpeted they will keep Wallaby skipper David Pocock and his vice-captain Will Genia quiet. That’s a huge call, but it will require the Welsh to push the envelop.
If that translates to late tackles, or taking them out without the ball, Pollock will blow the men-in-scarlet off the park.
Three things will happen:
* Wallaby fly-half Berrick Barnes will have a field night potting three pointers.
* The Wallaby pack will keep moving forward, their momentum assured.
* And powerful inside-centre Pat McCabe will come into his own, creating untold damage in the midfield.
As one of the very few McCabe believers from the start, I will relish those moments.
And with McCabe in destruction mode, the men outside him in Rob Horne, Digby Ioane, and Cooper Vuna, with Adam Ashley-Cooper chiming in from the back, will have a picnic.
That’s what every Wallaby supporter wants to see, the backs unleashed.
It’s only happened once in 58 internationals during the Robbie Deans reign – 2010 against the then Six-Nations champions France at the Stade de France when the Wallabies turned a stumbling 14-16 deficit at the break into a stunning 59-16 victory with six magnificent and unanswered second half tries.
We know the Wallabies can turn it on given the chance.
It’s endemic in Wallaby folklore, and must never be suppressed.
But first they must win good clean and quick ball tonight. Welsh captain Sam Warburton, and giant lock Luke Charteris, will have something to say about that.
Warburton is one of the better 7′s in world rugby, but Charteris is the dangerman at 206cm (6ft 9) and 129kgs.
This man-mountain will dominate lineouts, and he’s not shabby around the paddock either.
To combat Charteris, Wallaby warhorse Nathan Sharpe at 34, and Rob Simmons 23 – both 200cm (a tick over 6ft 6) and just 115kgs. A big ask.
Charteris is the key Welshman up front, with pivots Mike Phillips, and Rhys Priestland, plus express wingers George North, and Alex Cuthbert in a side that has made four changes from Suncorp where the Wallabies were successful 27-19.
For the unchanged Wallabies, a rarity in itself, the usual “suspects” Pocock and Genia, the fast-improving McCabe, leaving Ioane ready to pounce whenever he gets the chance.
Give it to him often, and the win is assured.
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