Wallabies in 3D: desire, discipline, and defence?
Wallaby Kurtley Beale speaks with teammate James O'Connor and coach Robbie Deans.
Hopefully coach Robbie Deans has instilled a rigid 3D policy into his Wallabies for the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener with the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium tomorrow night.
Without desire, discipline, and defence, there’s only one possible result: defeat.
There have been far too many times on Deans’ 60-international-watch that the Wallabies have shown precious little to no desire to win.
* The record-setting 10 successive losses to the All Blacks between July 2008 and September 2010
* Two games against Scotland – the 9-8 loss at Murrayfield in November 2009, and the 9-6 loss in appalling conditions at Newcastle this season
* The 32-23 loss to Samoa at the SFS in July 2011
* And the Rugby World Cup 15-6 loss to Ireland at Eden Park last season, to name a few.
Against those forgettable performances:
* The memorable 59-16 drubbing of Six-Nations champions France in November 2010, turning a 16-13 half time deficit into a magnificent victory with six tries that were right off the top shelf, plundering 46 unanswered points in just 30 minutes.
* The come from behind 26-24 win over the All Blacks in Hong Kong with James O’Connor scoring in the corner and converting after the final hooter.
* And the last minute long-range penalty slotted by Kurtley Beale against the Boks at Bloemfontein for a 41-39 win after the hooter that ended a 47-year drought for the Wallabies at altitude.
Those were the desires Wallaby teams have been renowned for and remembered by fans in the past.
Discipline will also be paramount, especially against the men-in-black when Dan Carter is on duty. The world’s greatest points-scorer with 1284 of the best makes ill-discipline pay, and pay heavily.
Carter averages 14.76 points a game among his 87 caps, a stand-up start for the world champions.
The closest to him in history are compatriots Grant Fox, averaging 14, and Andrew Mehrtens, with 13.8.
The best of the Wallabies over the years has been Michael Lynagh, averaging 12.7, and Matt Burke, 10.8.
But this is one department where the current Wallabies are dragging the chain with Berrick Barnes averaging only 3.15 points a Test, and Beale 2.13.
Wallaby defence in Deans’ 60 Tests has been in credit, scoring 160 tries to 104, averaging 3 tries to 2 a Test. But it’s a very different story against the All Blacks, scoring only 25 tries to 40, and winning just three of those 15 meetings.
On all those stats, it’s the All Blacks tomorrow night.
But if the Wallaby’s desire, discipline, and defence are on song, we are in for a cracking 80 minutes.
Despite winning two of the last four clashes with their arch rivals, there are four areas of Wallaby doubt:
* The selection of Berrick Barnes at fly-half suggests the Wallabies will kick a lot, meaning two things – handing possession back to the All Blacks (bad call) and denying winger Digby Ioane the chance to show his undoubted wares. A ball-in-hand Ioane would be a lot more effective than a chasing Ioane.
* Lock Sitaleki Timani can be lazy. He must stand up and be counted, using all of his massive 120kg, 203cm (6ft 6) frame to advantage. He has two Rebel tyros, in Cadeyrn Neville and Hugh Pyle, breathing down his neck, and well as Waratah, Kane Douglas.
* Anthony Fainga’a is an honest stop-gap inside centre. But the Wallabies will sorely miss the injured Pat McCabe, who would have been far better equipped to combat the super talents of Sonny Bill Williams.
* And potential match-winning full-back Kurtley Beale won’t be match-fit after an injury and surgery plagued season. But if he clicks, watch out All Blacks.
Wipe out those negatives or the All Blacks win by 10 in front of an expected sell-out crowd at ANZ Stadium of 80,000-plus.
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