CAMPO: What’s happened to skills in Australian rugby?
Wallabies player Nick Phipps passes the ball. AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Some of you might find it ironic, but I actually tipped the Wallabies to beat the All Blacks in Brisbane last weekend.
I sensed the Kiwis were vulnerable as they had achieved so much in the last couple of weeks and Australia had everything to play for.
As it turned out, the game was of a poor standard, with plenty of errors, kept interesting only by the tightness of the scoreline.
Interestingly, the two contrasting personalities of the teams were very much on show in the last few minutes of the match.
Whereas the Wallabies were indecisive and afraid to take a chance on a field goal, even when in perfect position to take a shot; the All Blacks worked the ball up methodically into range for Dan Carter to have a go.
After the 80 minutes was up, the All Blacks, amazingly, decided to take a scrum from their own line. Now that’s what I call leading from the front, McCaw.
Unfortunately it didn’t win the game for them but that wasn’t the point. What stood out was the decision to run the ball from their own line after fulltime and the guts and determination it took to action this choice.
The fact that there were no tries scored is a sad indictment on both teams’ performances, but it was evident that the Wallabies played particularly negative rugby, relying on the super boot of Kiwi ex-pat to eek out a draw.
Based on the Wallaby performance, I don’t think we’ll see too much different from them on their UK tour. Dour play, kick the goals, and hope that’s enough.
Ever since Deans got rid of Matt Giteau and put Quade Cooper offside, the Wallabies have been devoid of flair, aside from the occasional bursts of creativity from the talented Kurtley Beale.
There has to be big questions asked about the Australian backline. What’s happened to the skill, the communication, and the movement?
If Deans is such a good coach, then why is our backline practically non-existent on the field?
Australia has historically been known for having unpredictable backs. Unfortunately, the vast bulk of the current mob are straight up and down. Even worse, they can’t catch and pass.
I agree with the fuss being made about the change of allegiance of Mike Harris.
Why do Australia go and import players – and coaches – when we should be developing these players ourselves? Remember, we were the first country to win two Rugby World Cups: 1991, with two teams – NSW and QLD – then again in 1999.
So why go overseas to get players and coaches?
We have ignored the grassroots in our country and the damage is now as clear as day. We have no depth of talent to call on. It’s desperate.
Wallabies vs New Zealand is what it should be. Not New Zealand A vs New Zealand B.
As for the upcoming Wallabies tour, I’m pretty confident the team will be kicking plenty of penalty goals. That’s traditionally been the New Zealand mentality.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but that is for the Kiwis, not us. We should be selecting guys for Australia who are willing to try things.
We want the flair. But Deans just wants to keep it all very simple. Yet we still can’t catch pass and play as a team.
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