Where has the Wallaby razzle dazzle gone?

fredfunk Roar Rookie

By fredfunk, fredfunk is a Roar Rookie

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    While everyone in jerseys with two numbers on the back have been busy racing toward their pudgie colleagues to congratulate them on a job well done, has anyone wondered what has happened to the Wallaby backline recently?

    I have not seen the Wallaby backs make such hard work of their play for some time. Look at the one time that Australia did cross the try line. How hard did they make that for themselves?

    What about the inability to exploit overlaps and find gaps? These are not isolated incidents.

    Granted, the team is without some key personnel, while others play out of position. That notwithstanding, there seems to be little continuity, threat, potency and free running lines in the back division.

    So, why not?

    Defensively, the team are fantastic. You cannot fault them there.

    However, there seems to be little depth, invention or old fashioned “razzle dazzle” out there. Where are the back-to-back phases of running ball through the hands through opponents? Where is the re-alignment in preparation for another series of punishing runs?

    Where are the support runners, pin-point execution and instinctive plays that have so long been a punctuation mark on any great Wallaby team?

    If anyone watched the New Zealand vs Ireland game immediately after the Australia v England fixture, maybe you will have seen an interesting juxtaposition.

    Am I alone in wondering this?

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • November 18th 2008 @ 3:19am
      Frank O'Keeffe said | November 18th 2008 @ 3:19am | ! Report

      I considered writing a column with the headline “Sorry to spoil the party but…”

      Australia’s win on the weekend was a great result for them and thoroughly deserved. People here have every right to jump and celebrate. Even the British Press have admitted to being beaten up front. However, people need to be worried about Australia’s declining backline. At no point in the game against England, until five seconds before Australia scored their only try, did Australia ever look like scoring a try.

      There are real worries about the backline and I think Australia are going to get caught out sooner or later.

    • November 18th 2008 @ 4:24am
      Darryl said | November 18th 2008 @ 4:24am | ! Report

      I’m glad someone else has pointed out the paucity of Australia’s backline play. AAC looks like an accident waiting to happen. He was easily stripped of the ball by Danny Care in the lead up to the English try and was extremely lucky to get away with the decision when he clearly knocked on the quick through in from Burgess. Besides Stirling doing what he does best the Australian backline did not look particularly incisive or inventive.
      The booing of the Giteau when he was taking penalty shots and at full time was pretty poor and widespread from where I was sitting in the North stand. I don’t recall it being that bad last time I was at Twickenham. I think alot of it stemmed from the seeming eternity it take Giteau to take the kicks. I didn’t have a stopwatch but I reckon he must average about 3 minutes a kick from start to finish.
      I wonder whether Danny Cipriani will be having nightmares about being mowed down by Cliff Palu. Not sure Cliffy’s timing was precise enough. It will be interesting to see if Cipriani ships the ball on quickly next time Palu runs at him.

    • November 18th 2008 @ 4:48am
      jools-usa said | November 18th 2008 @ 4:48am | ! Report

      What about Cross & Giteau’s breakjhroughs in 1st half?
      With a pass to support & Cross playing Union instead of League, those were tries.
      Agree that later it was like Club rugby, but service even from quick ball was poor.

    • November 18th 2008 @ 6:25am
      Rabbitz said | November 18th 2008 @ 6:25am | ! Report

      I believe that a lot of the problem is that for the last couple of years the backline has been systematically stripped of it’s “rugby nous”. This was done by the previous coach’s “automaton” approach to having every move scripted. This was then replicated down through the ranks.

      Now that the shackles are off, the backs are reaping the results of not working in intuitive combinations for the last few years. I would guess that it will take a little time for all the backs to get to the same point. At the moment some are a little more free in their thought and are constantly out thinking their supports. With luck and time the confidence and intuitiveness will return.

      Just my 2 cents (inc GST)

    • November 18th 2008 @ 7:57am
      Nick (KIA) said | November 18th 2008 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      Major issue I think is lack of a 10 actually playing at 10. Barnes needs to be pushed in one (when fit). Also, Giteau is much better at 12, would mean Aus could do without Cross for the moment.

    • November 18th 2008 @ 8:00am
      sheek said | November 18th 2008 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      These things go in cycles.

      When I first started following rugby in the late 60s/early 70s, our backlines threw the ball around because they had no choice. It was to make up for the deficiency in our forward play. By the late 70s, when we had some good forwards, our backline play had become more dour.

      Then in the early 80s, along came the likes of the Ella brothers, O’Connor & Campese. Of the 3 greatest Wallabies teams – circa 1984, c. 19991, c. 1999 – I prefer them in the order given. Others might prefer the reverse order.

      The tragedy of the team circa 1999 is that they had a backline to kill most opponents but rarely used them in that capacity, which is a tragedy. It goes back to the laws of the game, but that’s another story……….

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