Backs-to-the-wall Wallabies show some fire

John Davidson Roar Guru

By John Davidson, John Davidson is a Roar Guru

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    It wasn’t pretty at times but it was successful – Australia has ground out a key 20-14 win over England at Twickenham.

    The Wallabies were the dominant team for most of the match and weathered a strong English assault in the second half to claim the Cook Cup.

    Australia were under massive pressure after a woeful game against France last weekend. But they started this one well, showing pride in their defence and scrum as well as much more thrust in attack.

    England, dressed in a ridiculous purple/maroon kit huffed and puffed but just couldn’t get it going. They were cruelled by numerous handling errors and struggled to build sustained pressure on an impressive Wallaby defence.

    This win saved some Aussie pride and Robbie Deans’ job, for now. As every Australian fan knows, the Wallabies rarely string two good performances together, so they must remain focused with Italy and Wales still to play.

    But, realistically, with Wales in disarray and Italy a limited team, there should be two wins left in the spring tour.

    The Wallabies began the game aggressively, especially at the breakdown, but it was penalty for penalty early on. Australia had more possession but couldn’t get through the English wall, until a poor kick from the Poms changed the game.

    Beale spun it to Phipps who found a hole, accelerated and found Cummins on the outside to score. On the replay the ball looked forward but the ref missed it and the Wallabies were ahead.

    England kept plugging away and after a quick tap they got the ball to Tuilagi who just grounded it on the line, or was given the benefit of the doubt in a very close call. It gave them a three-point lead at half-time.

    In the second half the Wallabies mounted pressure and pulled away with several penalty kicks. With they ball they looked menacing with Beale and Barnes working well together, Tapuai having a strong game and Cummins a blinder. Australia spotted a weakness in the English defence and found a lot of success with several little deft chip kicks in behind.

    The momentum swung back England’s way late in the second half but effective tackling from the tired Wallabies and some poor options from England ruined any chance they had. England remain a team in transition with much work to do, especially their forwards.

    Until they get a team that can pass fluently and efficiently with good ball skills from 1 to 15 then they will struggle against the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies. All the ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ singing in the world and relentless forward driving won’t break down the best defences in the world. They need more.

    This was a gusty display from Australia, exactly what the fan-base demanded.

    The standouts were the scrum, which more than held their own, especially Ben Alexander. Barnes was also strong at 15, Taupuai impressive and Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins was very good.

    Michael Hooper had a blinder, winning the man-of-the-match, and Nathan Sharpe led from the front. Kurtely Beale was also solid at 10 after a weak display last weekend.

    While there were a lot of positives, the Wallabies still need to work on a few issues. Tatafu Polota Nau is strong in contact and a good defender, but his lineout throwing is too poor for international level. A fit Stephen Moore is a must at hooker.

    Sharpe is off to enjoy his retirement and depth at lock is needed. The likes of Neville and Pyle must be blooded. The same goes for scrum-half. Nick Phipps improved compared with the French farce but the Wallabies definitely need more adequate back-ups at nine when Will Genia is unavailable.

    But for now the Wallabies and their fans can breath just a little easier, at least for a week. Further crisis has been avoided and this under-fire Aussie outfit has restored some pride in the green and gold jumper.

    Follow John on Twitter @johnnyddavidson

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • November 19th 2012 @ 6:54am
      Bazza Allblack Supporter said | November 19th 2012 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      It was a good game to watch – positive rugby from the poms – turning down kicks – unheard of!

      Now if the wbs can beat the net two, perhaps France can be written off as one of those things,,,

      • Roar Guru

        November 19th 2012 @ 7:08am
        sixo_clock said | November 19th 2012 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        The Froggies played very well, well enough to know if they can keep that momentum, the 6N is a trot. We wuz thrashed by a better team.

        On topic: What if… Dingo asked BamBam to consider converting to hooker. That way we can keep Hooper, add another fetcher to the pack and not lose height. I have long argued that our front row does not do enough pilfering and if David could consider the move it will help. I love TPN’s ‘no guts, no glory’ style but his selection always carries the concern he will find a way to hurt himself. Alternating starting roles with Stephen will be the way to go.

        • November 19th 2012 @ 4:15pm
          mark said | November 19th 2012 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

          this isn’t league. you can’t just have someone like pocock just decide to move to hooker.

          • November 19th 2012 @ 11:34pm
            Ra said | November 19th 2012 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

            Hika Reid moved from flanker to hooker, (before Test level) and I think he might have packed down on the flank In a Test against Ozzie when originally picked as a hooker in the touring squad, I think

          • Roar Guru

            November 20th 2012 @ 7:17am
            sixo_clock said | November 20th 2012 @ 7:17am | ! Report

            Just which social ,career or sporting convention would be violated? What does “someone like Pocock” even mean? Hookers are people too! Not all of them play the banjo, chew cornstalks or scratch themselves innapropriately.

            As for League! That game has only 4 positions, forward, back, halfback and full back. There is virtually no specialisation at all. Keep the counting all on one hand, anything else is getting complicated. Anyone who doesn’t need a finger to count the others fingers is an Upper Class, High and Mighty, Up Himself something or other. I’ll think of it shortly!!?

      • November 19th 2012 @ 7:35am
        Justin2 said | November 19th 2012 @ 7:35am | ! Report

        Brazzaville turning down kicks isn’t positive, it’s daft and cost them the match.

        • November 19th 2012 @ 8:52am
          Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | November 19th 2012 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          Justin2 – I completely agree.

          IMHO the game for England was lost with several opportunities to take the easy 3 points that were on offer. I think the combination of Twikkers, the crowd and that fancy ‘outfit to the ball’ that they sported……….may have got to them and they went for glory. Mind you it very nearly paid of for them. 😉

          That was a good win for us but frankly there was nothing in it and we need to remind ourselves of that. 🙁

    • November 19th 2012 @ 10:10am
      Max said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      “England, dressed in a ridiculous purple/maroon kit…” Seconded! What is going on? You don’t see us running around in Aqua?!? Must be marketing gone horribly wrong.

    • November 19th 2012 @ 10:31am
      Lindommer said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:31am | ! Report

      Much as we all would’ve liked the TMO to award a try to Alexander I reckon the whistlers got the Aussie and Pommy tries about right.

      1. TMOs rarely award a try under a mass of bodies without some sort of a clear view, and there wasn’t one in Alexander’s case.

      2. Phipps’s pass to Cummins had his hands passing the ball back. The ball’s allowed to travel forward due to the forward momentum of the passer, but direction of the pass was definitely back.

      3. Tuilagi’s allowed to reach and place the ball IMMEDIATELY after being tackled; he did, and it’s hard to argue a blade of white grass didn’t touch the ball when it was placed.

      Mind you, the useless TJ/AR on Australia’s left missed Cole’s hand in the ruck early in the movement which led to Tuilagi’s try, it was pretty blatant. And the other TJ/AR missed the Pommy forearm touching the ball from Tapuai’s misdirected pass to Cummins and awarded the lineout to England. Not good enough.

      • November 19th 2012 @ 11:16am
        el gamba said | November 19th 2012 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        TJ’s were average:
        – The first up and under had the winger marginally off-side (this may have been 50/50, the only one)
        – The up and under that the English lock took in spectacular fashion when he was clearly 5m in front of the kicker (this led to a period of 10 minutes of England in the attacking quarter)
        – The penalty for the late tackle/impeding the chase on the English player. This wasn’t close to being the case.
        – The need to ask for the third upire to see if the ball went over the post!
        You picked another couple there Lindommer and it isn’t really good enough as an official for test rugby… Wasn’t one the bloke who blew our scrum off the park a week earlier?

    • November 19th 2012 @ 11:01am
      Sam said | November 19th 2012 @ 11:01am | ! Report

      Phipps is a perfectly serviceable 9. Yes he had a shocker against France but few didn’t. Tapuai was good but no brilliant also. I haven’t been a Cummins fan til now but he deserves that spot on the wing.Scrum looked good. Just goes to show, when the technique is right some of the dodgy NH props can’t hide behind parlour tricks like recoiling on the engagement.

      • November 27th 2012 @ 12:22am
        Rangle said | November 27th 2012 @ 12:22am | ! Report

        That’s a clever aenwsr to a tricky question

    • November 19th 2012 @ 11:07am
      "Ted" said | November 19th 2012 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      Lindommer – I’ve asked for some expert input elsewhere but nothing yet .
      Tuilagi hit the ground 6 feet out with some forward momentum with ball in hands under chest in contact with ground

      He then reached out with ball and placed ball with a definite clear gap to white line

      In a flash of time, but clearly observable, he saw this and rolled ball – actually half a ball- forward on the ground to definitely hit line.

      Phipps applied downward pressure on line but after the above so is irrelevant to the “Try or no Try ”

      Is this a third movement ? , a knock on on the ground ? Playing the ball on the ground ?

      Or is he allowed to progress the ball on the ground within his reach and control?

      Does this final forward progress need to be an intrinsic forward momentum of the stretch out placement , or can further mechanical intent to move forward be applied after ball hits ground anyway?

      Several English press reports have called their own try dubious (and Phipps pass)

      I would welcome some expert analysis. On this scenario .

      Even the English press

    • November 19th 2012 @ 11:08am
      Chris said | November 19th 2012 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      I love how Dean’s did a 5 minute whinge at the end of the match about how he has kept the Wallabies at Number 2.

      I wish someone leant over and told him “actually Robbie, you lost the number two ranking last week and it’s gone until next year unless the Bok’s lose next week.”

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