Robbie: open up and keep the faith

Argyle Roar Guru

By Argyle, Argyle is a Roar Guru

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    Are these the same issues that haunted Robbie Deans? (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

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    When considering the recent Wallaby victory at Twickenham, one gets the sense Wallaby coach Robbie Deans and his team may have had a heart-to-heart leading up to the now famous win over the old enemy.

    Not the regular coach’s address and the ‘time to pull up your socks’ styled motivational moment that would have been befitting, considering the Wallabies dismal effort in Paris; a performance that left the Australian rugby public aghast and many calling for the head of the awkwardly spoken Cantabrian.

    No, I get the sense the Wallabies suggested Robbie Deans to show faith in them as rugby players, as opposed to the players keeping the faith in the questionable Deans game plan.

    Against England the Wallabies played with more freedom and composure than Wallaby fans have been used to in recent times. The shackles did not appear off, but at least a little looser.

    Instead of the suffocating, Deans-inspired Pat McCabe crash ball as option one, two and three, the Wallaby outside backs last Saturday actually received the ball on the front foot, with width and space.

    The Wallaby back line was daring and the risk taken was rewarded with opportunity rarely seen this season.

    When Nick Phipps received the ball near the halfway line how many times have we seen the obligatory kick chase from such a position? However on this occasion, Phipps chanced his arm and ran around the ill positioned English lock Tom Palmer, ending in a wonderfully abrasive Nick Cummins try.

    Although Deans himself stated the Wallabies would be looking to ask more questions of the English than they did the French, that itself would not be hard. The quality of the Wallaby cross examination of the French would have seen an innocent man hang and a guilty man walk.

    It was a negligible performance that should never ever be repeated. Essentially, just about anything the Wallabies did against the English would have fulfilled the Deans statement.

    However the tactics and execution of the Wallabies against the English suggests either the players or the changes of selection for the English Test contributed to the win more than the old Deans game plan.

    Would there have been such ball movement if Pat McCabe was at inside centre on the weekend instead the promising Ben Tapaui? There is no doubt McCabe would have been part of the starting VX and sitting off the shoulder of Kurtley Beale, as Robbie Deans likes.

    The question begs, did fate deal Robbie Deans a favour in the injury of Pat McCabe essentially forcing his hand to select Ben Tapaui in his preferred 12 jumper?

    McCabe is still a vital member of the Wallabies, yet Tapaui turned in an encouraging performance that included offloads and line breaks, something McCabe has struggled with.

    Either way it’s a welcome paradox that an injury has led to a win, not another hopeless headline.

    As the Wallabies march on Florence, the challenge now for Robbie Deans is selections. It is the perfect time for David Pocock to reintegrate into the starting XV and allow the impressive Michael Hooper a well-earned rest.

    For the sake of his brain health, Tatafu Polota-Nau should not even be considered for the Italian Test, allowing Stephen Moore a start and young Queenslander James Hanson the opportunity for a second cap off the bench. A fresh Cliff Palu will be required for Wales, allowing Samo to come in at lock.

    The deservedly maligned Dave Dennis should make way for Liam Gill, who is an understated and underestimated loose forward. I think the Italian Test a perfect opportunity for him to start, with Higginbotham to ride the pine.

    It was encouraging to see the Wallabies stand up for their coach in his time of need. It indicates there is a positive culture within the group. I would suggest to coach Deans to ‘keep the faith’ in the players and expanding game plan.

    Enjoy the Coliseum and beware the Ides of March. You may yet live to see the Lions.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • November 20th 2012 @ 4:53am
      kingplaymaker said | November 20th 2012 @ 4:53am | ! Report

      Great article UA, fun to read as well.

      Regarding selection for the next matches, it’s worth bringing into consideration that these are the very final outings before the Lions series begins, so it may be that instead of blooding new players, the desired combinations to start against the Lions will be given a last run out to get used to working with each other.

      • November 20th 2012 @ 6:17am
        Justin2 said | November 20th 2012 @ 6:17am | ! Report

        Will be a different team next year any way. With all the injuries you have told us about I don’t think combinations matter that much this week in the context of the Lions series.

    • November 20th 2012 @ 9:18am
      kingplaymaker said | November 20th 2012 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      By the way UA and Justin, I have to protest the placing of an advertisement one article down the page on the non-experts’ side of the page.

      It means that articles like this don’t get read, because they don’t appear easily with the advertisement blocking it from glancing down the page.

      Now obviously advertising is critical for funding a website, but there is already advertising all over the rest of the page, and I think putting one there directly stops many articles from being read at all.

      • Roar Guru

        November 20th 2012 @ 9:22am
        Argyle said | November 20th 2012 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        I am not worried mate. I think Quade will be the news of the day/week. I enjoy writing them and happy if only one person enjoys reading them. There will always be other stories to write. But cheers for the feedback.

        • Columnist

          November 20th 2012 @ 9:42am
          Geoff Parkes said | November 20th 2012 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          Agree Uncle, it’s not about the number of hits but the quality of the reader… and the enjoyment in putting the article together in the first place.

          And yes, even though it’s been done to death, if the reader action is still with Quade, so be it.

          Btw, understand what you are saying about Gill but I’d expect that Higginbotham will start.

    • November 20th 2012 @ 9:35am
      kingplaymaker said | November 20th 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      UA sure but I think if that thing wasn’t in the way this and lots of other articles would get read a lot more which given the amount of effort put in and interest makes them worthwhile-I’m sure there are lots of posters who would write on this thread if they only seen it.

      Will be interesting, as Justin alludes to, to see how many of these players are there in the Lions starting XV.

    • November 20th 2012 @ 1:44pm
      nickoldschool said | November 20th 2012 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

      Nice one UA. The very important and interesting debate IMO is who to bring on for next test? I do agree with you that Moore has to get a started jersey, that Dennis has to be rested and Samo should start instead of Palu.

      However, am still undecided about bringing too much new blood to a team which has done so well last w-e?! For one, I would love to see Hooper and Pocock together and this will be the perfect occasion. I reckon Hooper can handle three games in a row! That’s my only dilemma at this stage. PSA has stuck with the same group since the June Argentina tour and although it’s very cliche, it seems that a group/team was born there (that’s what players and coaches have been saying).

      It’s also Deans responsibility to bring confidence to young lads like Hooper, Tapuai or Cummins. A nice pep talk before the game, a few slaps and head butts on doors and the wallabies should be pumped up for the game. In my mind, it is a very important test as another low would be devastating. Not now guys!

      • Roar Guru

        November 20th 2012 @ 2:05pm
        Argyle said | November 20th 2012 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

        Thanks Nick….have a bit of faith mate. I reckon if Robbie eases off on the bridle we may have a Group 1 winner. Just let the horse be a horse. Let them play!

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