The woeful Wallabies and their rubbish rugby

David Lord Columnist

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    Little wonder Wallaby coach Michael Cheika is a shattered man.

    No international rugby team can enjoy 56 per cent possession, 62 per cent territory and a penalty count of 15-9 in their favour, but lose 24-19 to Scotland at Allianz last night.

    Only the Wallabies can achieve that feat.

    It was three tries apiece, but the Wallabies gift-wrapped two of Scotland’s five pointers thanks to an intercept pass from Tatafa Polota-Nau, and a charge down clearance from Will Genia.

    Those 14 points gifted just 12 minutes apart gave the Scots a 17-12 lead at the break and was enough to set up the visitors first win over the Wallabies in Sydney.

    So where did it all go so wrong?

    At the risk of repeating myself, Michel Hooper is a world class footballer, but a very ordinary captain.

    The alternative in Stephen Moore isn’t much better, but there was a difference when he came off the bench in the second session.

    But neither option is on the same planet as the days when Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales were the skippers.

    There were no woeful performances on their watch, and no rubbish rugby, but there were Rugby World Cup, and Bledisloe Cup, successes.

    Last night there was a dramatic improvement with only 18 turnovers compared to the usual 30-plus, and only 14 missed tackles as against the 30-plus of the past.

    But the Wallabies were still beaten by a side that had three of their best players in New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions.

    The isolated incidents underlined the Wallaby failings.

    In the first half Hooper made a brilliant bust midfield, and when the Scottish defence caught him, there wasn’t a Wallaby in support within 15 metres.

    Hooper is quick, but he’s no Usain Bolt, and the Wallaby reaction was non-existent.

    There’s no argument Israel Folau is the most dangerous attacking weapon in gold, so why isn’t he utilised more?

    He scored two tries in the first half, thanks to Genia’s swift passing for the first, and Bernard Foley’s perfect chip kick for the second.

    Yet Folau only earned 42 metres all game, while Tevita Kuridrani chalked up 95 metres, Foley 68, Hooper 67, and Dane Haylett-Perry 43.

    That’s plain dumb rugby ignoring Folau.

    Late in the second half with Wallaby tries on offer to win, Rory Arnold knocked on uncontested lineout possession, and Reece Hodge over-ran Folau whose perfect pass went begging into touch.

    There were far too many lost chances to report, sufficient to say the Wallabies didn’t deserve to win.

    Next up the Italians who would have trouble beating their grandmothers.

    They are even more embarrassing to watch than the Wallabies.

    The Italians haven’t beaten the Wallabies in 16 meetings, scoring just 217 points to the Wallabies 565.

    They have never beaten England in 23 attempts, scoring 290 points to 918, and needless to say they haven’t beaten the All Blacks either in 13 starts, scoring just 128 points to a whopping 754.

    So that’s zero from 52, scoring 635 points to 2237.

    The Italians only success against Tier One countries are eight wins from 28 against Scotland, five from 21 against the Pumas, four from 27 against Ireland, Three from 39 against France, two from 25 against Wales, and one from 13 against the Boks.

    There were 30,721 of the rugby faithful at Allianz last night, don’t count on more than 10,000 at Suncorp next Saturday.

    Nothing short of a cricket score against the Italians will be needed to ignite any interest in the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship campaign.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles