The Wallabies need a good, swift kick
Everybody saw it, everybody knows it – the Wallabies are not only kicking too much, they’re kicking badly and at the wrong time.
Robbie Deans claims they went to the boot against the Boks without his blessing. And apparently Captain Genia, a culprit himself (get well soon, Will), did nothing to stem the nonsense even when – time and again – the return kicks produced positive results for the Boks.
Changes are clearly in order, not only in being faithful to instructions from the coach, but to the team makeup.
Firstly, Barnes has to start as his place kicking was super. But play him at fullback. Drop Beale and hope he recovers in time for the year end tour.
Put Adam Ashley-Cooper at 12, try a big guy like Cummins at 13 with McCabe to come on, and Shipperley and Digby on the edges – although I’ve love to see Digby start at 13, because he’s being starved for space the way he’s being used now.
Okay, that stops the main offender, Barnes, from kicking in an attacking position. But another major problem is Cooper. Quade plays five-eighth as if he’s playing in a four aside pickup game at the beach. That’s why he’s getting swamped in internationals.
As Mark Ella used to advise protégés, “Stand flat and pick your time for the cut-out pass. But most of all, don’t go for the gap when it isn’t there. Unless there’s a screaming opportunity in the first half, think about cutting through only in the second half when they’re beginning to take their eye off you.”
Mark, although no great kicker, could also tell Quade that his punting technique needs work. Cooper’s timing when he prepares to kick is usually off. Consequently, the ball is often skewing slightly when he makes contact.
However, no team gets by without a territorial punt now and then. And when it’s time for such a tactic – which, like garlic, should be used sparingly.
Let Ashley-Cooper do the job. He’s a first-class kicker, accurate and long. And let him take the penalties kicking for touch. Personally, I think Ashley-Cooper at 12 is the good, swift kick the Wallaby backs need.
Along with the other one they need.
Wallabes vs Wales - Scott Allen's match highlights -