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Rugby is won in the forwards – the backs determine by what score. The Brumbies delivered a comprehensive lesson to the Tahs on Saturday night.
The near All-Wallaby Waratahs pack were beaten at the breakdown, the lineouts were still a lottery and kickoffs were bog standard (kick deep into the corners and hope for the best).
It’s not difficult to imagine what the New Zealand and South African sides are going to do to this team if they continue to play this way.
What concerns me is the lack of basic skills displayed by the Tah forwards. Commitment to the breakdown, lineout play and kick restarts are fundamentals which are clearly not being executed at this level.
I empathise with Cheika as he has taken over a team coming off its worst season in history but this should not be an excuse for the lack of basic skills on display.
It begs the question as to whether some of the Tah Wallabies have reached their use-by date.
Clearly every Wallaby should be highly motivated to play against the Lions and yet this has not been evident within the Waratahs.
There has been an inability to meet the pace of the game which cannot be attributed to a lack of fitness – if the players are to be believed.
So is this a lack of motivation? A belief that because they have played poor football in the past and still been selected to play for the Wallabies, that Robbie Deans will continue to pick them regardless?
It’s difficult for nine and 10 to play well when not presented with front foot ball, making it very tough on McKibbon and Foley against the Brumbies.
The Waratahs, at the moment, only have one play-maker in Foley, which reduces his options on taking the ball to the line.
Barnes returning in place of the one-dimensional Carter cannot come quick enough for Cheika.
Volavola should further be encouraged to move into a play-making role, providing a third option.
Nick Phipps will make the Tahs stronger in 2014. With 80% of the team coming off-contract at the end of this year, Cheika will be able to put his stamp on the squad.
Getting Kurtley Beale back must be a priority.
I hope that this recent game against the Brumbies was a watershed for the Tahs for 2013, otherwise it will be another long season for this beleaguered fan.