Is there hope for the Wallabies in 2019?

Peter Taylor Roar Rookie

By Peter Taylor, Peter Taylor is a Roar Rookie

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    In two years’ time the Wallabies will be in the midst of their campaign for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

    Make no mistake about it winning the Web Ellis Cup has been Michael Cheika’s ultimate goal from the moment the whistle blew on the Wallabies 34-17 loss to the rugby powerhouse that is the All Blacks.

    The Wallabies lost a raft of experience after 2015 and Cheika has effectively been in a ‘rebuilding phase’ ever since, blooding young Wallabies like clockwork. In fact 2016 saw 13 new Wallabies put on the famous green and gold and 2017 has already seen 11 new faces line up, and you can bet your bottom dollar there will be a few more over the end of year tour.

    This policy of building depth is now starting to pay off with depth growing in positions where the Wallabies looked thin in 2015 like the second row, back row and the centres.

    Players such as Adam Coleman, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Karmichael Hunt and Jordan Uelese are prime examples of how backing players to come into the fold and perform can pay dividends for a squad.

    Ideally for some of the younger players such as Ned Hanigan there would be more time to build their experience at Super Rugby level before being thrust into the international arena but due to the state of Australian rugby the Wallabies simply just don’t have the talent in some positions to be careful about their development.

    Cheika has not just been focusing on bringing in new talent to the Wallabies set up on the field but he has also had a focus on bringing in talent off it with his coaching staff.

    Snapping up Mick Byrne as skills coach only a few months after leaving the New Zealand setup in 2016 was a major coup and having both Stephen Larkham and Nathan Grey move to full-time roles with the Wallabies at the close of the 2017 Super Rugby season can only be a good thing (despite some warranted criticism of their coaching structures and styles).

    Cheika has always known what he wants and has had the ability to get buy in from players and staff in his vision, which makes the unexpected loss of Mario Ledesma from the Wallabies set up so hard.

    Mario has been the experienced and skilled scrum coach that the wallabies needed and somehow turned a scrum that was laughable into a solid platform, surprising more than a few northern hemisphere opponents, in the 2015 World Cup.

    Cheika was apparently “devastated” at the news of Mario leaving which is understandable because it seemed he had finally got his coaching staff locked down for the build up to 2019. But the good news is that Mario has already imparted a great scrimmaging technique on the Wallabies front row and there is still enough time to carefully select this successor.

    michael-cheika-australia-rugby-union-wallabies-2016

    (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

    The final piece of Cheika’s world cup puzzle was building a strong identity and culture for the Wallabies. This is perhaps the hardest thing for a coach to do in a squad but is of paramount importance. Without players believing in the teams identity and being open and accountable to each other you could have all the talent in the world but still fail. In essence this is addressed by the old John McGrath saying “a champion team will always beat a team of champions” and a champion team is made from within.

    Cheika has been hard at work developing a core playing identity, a strong work ethic and a pattern of individual accountability. Nowhere was this more evident than what happened at half time in the Wallabies game against the Pumas in Canberra on the 16th of September.

    After going in for oranges at 13-10 down the Wallabies looked like a team out of sorts, they lacked urgency and accuracy and were bullied about the part by the Pumas pack. Just as Cheika was gearing up to tare shreds of the Wallabies he saw the playing group step up and take the lead, in particular Will Genia who apparently spat fire and brimstone at his forward pack.

    This did the trick with the Wallabies manning up in the second half and coming away with a 45-20 win.

    Since the Canberra win Genia has come out praising the Wallabies culture as the best he has ever seen.

    “It’s the best environment I’ve been a part of in the time I’ve been in a Wallaby group, everyone has a buy in and say in how we do things” said Genia.

    “Everyone holds each other accountable as far as the standards, it’s a really good group to be a part of.

    “The biggest thing I enjoy is that guys want to get better and improve.”

    If this is anything to go by then this can be nothing but positive for the Wallabies group leading up to the 2019 World Cup. With depth growing and a solid coaching staff with a clear vision maybe Wallabies fans have a cause for hope in two years’ time.

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    The Crowd Says (59)

    • October 20th 2017 @ 4:38am
      David said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:38am | ! Report

      Despite myself, I’d be quite surprised if Australia don’t do well in 2019. They have a draw that suits them, especially with their record vs Wales, and you can always expect a young group of players to improve. Be easier to see how things stand in the Autumn.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 20th 2017 @ 9:10am
        Peter Taylor said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        Yes the world cup draw is very favorable for the Wallabies indeed, we should get through that group pretty easily but I just hope that they don’t go in underdone to the playoffs like the All Blacks did in 2007.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 12:27pm
          Jacko said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

          Underdone??????? Does the name ” Wayne Barnes” mean anything?????

          • October 20th 2017 @ 12:37pm
            Connor33 said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

            And therein lies the Henry/Hansen indoctrination – we wuz robbed comment – now 10 years later.

            Barnes is probably the best referee going around. He’s had to work bloody hard to dispense with the disparaging comments that were made of him re the pass. But has dealt with the issue with class and dignity.

            • Roar Rookie

              October 20th 2017 @ 12:44pm
              piru said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

              It being 10 years later and Barnes’ subsequent career doesn’t change what happened in 07

            • October 20th 2017 @ 6:57pm
              David said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

              Pretty sad there are still people whinging about Wayne Barnes and no one’ll give credit to how class France were that day.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 6:58pm
              Jacko said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

              Thats the thing tho….you take it as that when I…the guy who wrote the comment…was just questioning the “Underdone” comment. And even Barnes himself on Fox says it was a shocker

              It was probably the catalysist for the success of the ABs today so 100% grateful to Barnes

            • Roar Rookie

              October 21st 2017 @ 12:34am
              ukkiwi said | October 21st 2017 @ 12:34am | ! Report

              Best referee going is a bit of stretch…Jeez

    • October 20th 2017 @ 5:25am
      P2R2 said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:25am | ! Report

      “…The Wallabies lost a raft of experience after 2015 …” so did the ABs

      • Roar Rookie

        October 20th 2017 @ 9:13am
        Peter Taylor said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Yes they did and I thought that the ABs might be a bit venerable with the amount of test caps that left but again they seem to have got even better. The depth of talent in NZ is just ridiculous and something that is the envy of all teams in world rugby.

    • October 20th 2017 @ 5:55am
      Connor33 said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:55am | ! Report

      Really good read, Peter.

      We’ve gotta keep realistic, but “rebellions are built on hope”–particularly against the Darkness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hywyc89uYWw

      • October 20th 2017 @ 9:03am
        KingCowboy said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        ha ha, Love a good Star Wars comment!

      • Roar Rookie

        October 20th 2017 @ 9:14am
        Peter Taylor said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        Cheers Connor and i agree with KingCowboy that a good star wars comment never goes astray.

      • Roar Guru

        October 20th 2017 @ 10:43am
        Wal said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

        Ah yes but “The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural” –

    • October 20th 2017 @ 6:09am
      Playerfromwayback said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:09am | ! Report

      Is there hope for the Wallabies in 2019? Most definitely!!! They will be a force to be reckoned with, but it all hinges on one man….. Beale, if he suffers a serious injury leading up to, or during the Rugby World Cup it will spell disaster for the Wallabies as they will lose their attacking shape and threat without him. He is the Wallabies ignition key, he is such a talent, he can spark something out of nothing and that is so important during arm wrestle matches. The Wallabies genuinely look dangerous when Beale is on the field, let’s hope his body holds up.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 20th 2017 @ 9:24am
        Peter Taylor said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        Certainly Beale and Genia are key players that have genuine game breaking talent and but all is not lost without Beale as i think Karmichael Hunt is a player who has been ear marked as the back up for that role. Hunt has a good all round skillset and doesn’t have the elusiveness of Beale but is a much better defender. Genia is a real leader on and off the field and we dont have much depth in half back so losing him would be quite a blow. Really Australia always has a backline that can be threatening but you also need at least three or four world class players in the forwards in order to win a world cup, one person who i think will be key in the forwards is Adam Coleman, he is the type of aggressive and dominating player that the Wallabies have missed in recent years. We still really need to fill number 6 and get more front row depth but i think the forwards will be where the world cup is won and lost for the Wallabies.

    • October 20th 2017 @ 6:20am
      Buddy boy said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:20am | ! Report

      Agree.

    • October 20th 2017 @ 6:51am
      Galatzo said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

      I’d say Genia is the hinge, not Beale, partly because Genia’s back to playing his best rugby, and partly because we don’t have another quality nine to step up if he’s injured. If Beale is sidelined, our attack takes a different form with Kerevi using a power approach. The ABs have got it right – they don’t have a Beale-type in the midfield but they have one, McKenzie, at FB. The RWC may see Beale playing 15 if Cheika can bring himself to play Folau as a roving winger.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 7:04am
        Dontcallmeshirley said | October 20th 2017 @ 7:04am | ! Report

        I disagree with both. You can not win a world cup based on one or two outstanding players. Even if you could Beale and Genia are not in that league.
        You need at least 25 quality players brought together by an integrated coaching-selection-management team.

        • Roar Guru

          October 20th 2017 @ 10:24am
          Wal said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

          Agreed The Ab’s lost 2 world Cups with Lomu and Cullen in their team.
          Worlds cups aren’t won up front but they sure are lost. A Strong forward pack is a must for the WB’s before 2019 Ledesma is a huge loss.

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