It has become obvious that I was wildly optimistic in my expectations from Australia’s Super teams.
I thought they would all step up in several areas, set-piece, breakdown, speed and support runners. I expected that the Brumbies, Waratahs and/or Rebels would end the season with a playoff position at least.
What I have seen so far has filled me with concern for the Wallabies later this year.
The Kiwis have upped the speed and execution of the game, while our teams are struggling in the last 20 minutes and making too many handling errors and missed tackles, to be effectual. The Brumbies are the only exception to this broad brush and may well be the only Aussie team to make the finals.
The issues I see are:
– Players are not fit enough to play high-speed rugby for 80 mins as a team.
– Too few really fast players. Too much weights work, too little speed?
– A player makes a break but does not have offload options so has to take a tackle or kick.
– No dominant scrummaging, lineout okay but options from from the set play seem limited.
– Poor/Slow resetting of attack line after a breakdown.
-Too many turnovers at the breakdown with too few good decisions being made around the numbers to put in. No counter rucking.
-The game plan seems to get thrown out the window and then they lack structure.
I was a little shocked to hear Zane Hilton, assistant coach down in Melbourne, talking about the Rebels’ breakdown work and hoping they did not commit too many and leave the defence short. I thought this level of simplistic thinking was left behind five years ago!
I am seriously over Australian half-backs waiting with the ball at the back of the breakdown, pointing and calling for runners. If we are too slow to get runners in position why wouldn’t the half back take another option?
I have also noted that the All Blacks in the Kiwi teams tend to stand out whereas our Wallabies often seem to disappear into the team. Not sure what it means but I would guess that Cheika may have a problem putting a ‘must select’ on many players apart from Pocock, Moore and Kuridrani.
Basically, we are too slow, too predictable and lacking urgency. I am shocked to think we stood still while the Kiwi’s have improved. Australian Super rugby, looks like business as usual and that is a worry to me as I was hoping this year we could win the Bledisloe!
Don’t feel as confident as I did before the start of this Super season.