Wallabies have re-established some pride, but now it’s time to win

Jack Quigley Columnist

By Jack Quigley, Jack Quigley is a Roar Expert

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    The Wallabies go into the fourth game of the Rugby Championship still searching for their first win, despite commendable performances in their last two outings against New Zealand and South Africa.

    The match against the Pumas in Canberra is about as must-win as an all-but dead-rubber match two years out from a World Cup can be. If Michael Cheika’s men can’t get the job done against the Argies, with trips to South Africa and Argentina to follow, there is a real possibility that they could go through the tournament without a win.

    The breakdown was a real area of concern for the Wallabies against the Springboks in Perth, often under-committing to the breakdown against a team who were desperate to compete. The Wallabies mirrored the Waratahs at times, with isolated ball runners going into contact with supporting teammate s arriving far too late.

    There is a lot of talk in rugby coaching circles of ‘winning the space’ over the top of a ball on the ground. The best way to win that contest over the ball is to effectively end it before it begins, but on Saturday the Wallabies support players were often so late to the breakdown that not only had the contest already begun, on several occasions it had already been lost.

    Israel Folau Wallabies Australia Rugby Union 2017

    (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

    Ned Hannigan has again been named at blindside breakaway despite another average performance in Perth. Hannigan showed in the June Tests that he has a great engine and an obvious willingness to work hard, but up against the physical monsters that South Africa and New Zealand have at their disposal his impact at the breakdown during the Rugby Championship has been almost non-existent.

    The Wallabies could really use a Scott Fardy-type player to play that role, if only they had one somewhere.

    In the front row, the Wallabies appear to finally be moving on from Stephen Moore with Jordan Uelese retaining his bench spot. Cheika has been tracking Uelese for some time, stating back in June that the youngster would be brought into the Wallabies setup once he’d returned from the under-20s World Championship.

    If Tatafu Polota-Nau can make the step up from impact bench player to starter – something he has struggled to do previously, that could spell the end of Moore’s Test career. Moore missed last weekend’s match to be at the birth of his third child, but unless someone gets hurt, he may well be on nappy duties for the rest of the Rugby Championship.

    In the backline, Marika Koroibete won this week’s ‘get a cap on the wing for the Wallabies’ raffle and will sit on the bench.

    Koroibete has been around the Wallabies since the spring tour last year but has been forced to watch Sefa Niavalu, Eto Nabuli, Reece Hodge, Dane Haylett-Petty, Henry Speight and Curtis Rona all play on the wing ahead of him over the past three months.

    Koroibete might have played last weekend had the game not been in Perth where Cheika went with Rona in an attempt to shoe-horn as many Force players into the side as possible to appease the locals.

    Kurtley Beale will again be the go-to man for Australia in attack. Beale has looked a class above his teammates since coming back into the side, and they will need him to provide the spark in attack to ensure that the Wallabies are doing maximum damage on the scoreboard when they are on top.

    Kurtley Beale Wallabies Australia Rugby Union Championship Bledisloe Cup 2017

    Kurtley Beale (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

    The All Blacks found it tough to put away the Argies last weekend, and the Wallabies will not want to get sucked into another arm wrestle against a team they should really be accounting for on home soil.

    Jack Quigley
    Jack Quigley

    A long time sports writer and podcaster, Jack has spent the majority of his media career covering football and rugby. He recently joined The Roar on the back of penning a viral Facebook rant aimed at the Wallabies which attracted 60,000 likes and more than 6,000 shares. You can follow him on Twitter @Jack_Quigley.

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    The Crowd Says (59)

    • September 15th 2017 @ 5:23am
      Galatzo said | September 15th 2017 @ 5:23am | ! Report

      Good article Jack but I don’t think the WBs have established any pride at all. Why should they? They’re winless and liable to remain so. Forget pride, this team needs to get mad at their lousy position in the RC. It needs to get out there and take heads up front, and get some backline plays working. Let’s go Wallabies. Hard and smart please.

      • September 15th 2017 @ 5:43am
        Red Block said | September 15th 2017 @ 5:43am | ! Report

        8 wins from the last 21 games is hardly earth-shattering stuff. The Argies would have targeted the Wallabies as a game they could win.

      • September 15th 2017 @ 10:54am
        Noodles said | September 15th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        Harsh Galatzo.
        We’re all frustrated. But it is clear enough that Cheika is building a squad, not a 15. I’d love to see Fardy on deck and i form, but he wasn’t and isn’t. Cheika thinks Hanigan will get there and clearly didn’t think someone like Gill or Mowen would fill the list for the RWC. Hooper is showing real form and McMahon does more than anyone could ask. We simply need some big, fresh backrowers and right now Cheika is pushing the best of the young ones.
        I like the fact that he’s got Simmons fired up and we now have at least three, possibly four serious big locks. He’s put a lot of pressure on the props, where only Kepu has standing. He’s going for a young 2, possibly planning for TPN to stay as a finisher.
        My only real complaint is at 9. We don’t have a real option after Genia because we persist with Phipps, who does not progress. I’d also like depth at 10, but that’s another issue altogether.
        Otherwise we are already fairly well served in all the backline roles.

        • September 16th 2017 @ 9:07am
          PiratesRugby said | September 16th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Building a squad devoid of fly-halves and backrowers but full of some of the most second rate provincial players this country can produce. England is building. NZ is building. South Africa is building. The Wallabies are barely keeping their heads above water. A home game against Argentina and no one is confident the Wallabies can pull it off. Amazing. Have Argentina improved so much or have we sunk so low? And if the Wallabies can win, I expect the “turned the corner” comments to flow. That is, until we get smashed by NZ, SAf, England, Ireland, Scotland etc. Then we’ll be building again.

          • September 16th 2017 @ 12:44pm
            Noodles said | September 16th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

            Hmmm. Pirate? Where are the halves and backrowers exactly?

    • September 15th 2017 @ 7:26am
      stainlesssteve said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      The WBs have been within a whisker of two very good wins. They have a right to be optimistic, which they’ve earned by hard work.
      Picking Force players could be seen as taking advantage of home crowd support and player motivation, rather than appeasement.
      Rona is a good player too

      • September 15th 2017 @ 2:54pm
        mzilikazi said | September 15th 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

        “Picking Force players could be seen as taking advantage of home crowd support and player motivation, rather than appeasement.”

        Probably why he has done a backflip this week and dropped Coleman…make sure there is less crowd support, and to hell with player motivation and appeasement.

        • September 15th 2017 @ 3:56pm
          mzilikazi said | September 15th 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

          Arnold dropped, not Coleman…dozy !

      • September 15th 2017 @ 6:35pm
        Chris F said | September 15th 2017 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

        “The WBs have been within a whisker of two very good wins”

        We are starting to sound like Wales….

    • Roar Rookie

      September 15th 2017 @ 7:30am
      Don said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:30am | ! Report

      I think some pride recovered in Dunedin was eroded in Perth.
      And as far as a Fardy type at 6? Well, although not the same, we have Timani and Higginbotham playing NRC who both bring more to the table at 6 than Hanigan.

      But we are dealing with a coach and selector who seems to believe that, despite all evidence in the mid year tests showing Hanigan was innefective, he will somehow become a player of some impact. One day…

      • Roar Guru

        September 15th 2017 @ 7:47am
        stillmissit said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

        I think Hanigan will get there as well but his day in the sun is a couple of years away.

        • September 15th 2017 @ 9:59am
          Markus said | September 15th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          Hanigan stood out in the NRC last year as a mobile runner for a lock, promising but would need to keep working on his set-piece and build his physicality.

          As a starting blind side he may never be mobile or physical enough for Test level, or may never have that hard-edged mentality required to be a less mobile but grafting ruck monkey like Fardy.

          • Roar Rookie

            September 15th 2017 @ 10:58am
            Don said | September 15th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

            I agree he was good in the NRC.
            But he wasn’t at all dominant in SR when taken up a level.

            In fact I think Adam Korczyk was more effective in his SR opportunities and he isn’t ready for test footy either.

            I’d play Colby Fainga’a ahead of both and get more impact…

            Higginbotham’s best footy has been played at 6 when Samo was the Reds 8 and Palu was the Wallabies 8.

            Only Cheika knows why Hanigan is chosen ahead of Higginbotham. Especially when Cheika uses the reasoning of wanting more physicality and aggression at the breakdown for dropping Higgers…

            One thing is certain.
            Cheika is confident that his job is under no threat regardless of win / loss records. If he was under pressure for his job he would not be able to persevere with players out of form or not up to scratch.

            I want my coach to feel that if he isn’t winning considerably more than losing and if we aren’t sitting top 4 in world rankings then there is a big chance he will be sacked.

          • Roar Pro

            September 16th 2017 @ 12:21pm
            Crazy Horse said | September 16th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

            Hannigan is still a boy trying unsuccessfully to take on the men. He needs to be given time to grow up but in the NRC / SR not the Wallabies.

      • September 15th 2017 @ 10:55am
        nugget said | September 15th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        Could somebody please explain to me the difference in roles between 6 & 7?

        • September 15th 2017 @ 12:12pm
          Grotto said | September 15th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          Short version: 7 = short, over the ball for turnovers, first to breakdown from set piece
          6 = tall (lineout option), good ball carrier, good cover defence

          Long version:

          First, it depends what country you’re in. The boks traditionally put 6 on the open-side of the scrum, but I think that might have changed during Schalk Burgers/Juan Smit’s time… perhaps Harry or BB can expand…

          Second, it depends who’s coaching… and here’s the ramble…

          Going with 6 as blind-side and 7 as open-side, 7 from set-piece should be first on the ball providing support. They are almost always shorter and thus stronger over the ball, making them adroit for turnovers. As the name suggests, 6 should be guarding the blind side in defence, wherever that may be, from set-piece and are thus more set-piece oriented. They have to be physical, mobile and tall.

          But after that, it’s really up to what the coach wants. 6’s are interchangeable between the second row and no.8, whereas I can only think of two 7’s that have played elsewhere with any success, namely George Smith and Richie McCaw, and it’s no coincidence that one was the best ever, and the other wasn’t far behind. It’s also a testament to their game that they were able to adapt the 7 role over time away from the fetcher role to become ball players, but I digress…

          As mentioned, 6’s, must be versatile by necessity. They can interchange with 8 and with the second-row, sometimes during a game, which can be handy if a game plan needs changing.

          Firstly, 6&8.

          Of the forwards, 6&8 have the most license to time their impact into the game, and the differences between their roles probably comes down to what a coach wants, which explains why both positions are interchangeable (names that come to mind who have played both include Higgers, Willie-O, McCaw). But in a more pure sense, a 6 must be a good ball carrier (think Kaino, and now definitely Vaea Fifita or going way back, Willie-o), and good in cover defence.

          Now, 6 & second row

          This obviously orients a team towards greater proficiency in the set-piece, but is far less common than the 6&8 swap. A current outstanding example would be Mario Itoje. I’d say that Australia’s experience since Eales/Griffen/Harrison or more recently Vickerman & Sharpe retired is that we’ve had to make do with substitute 6’s far more often than we would prefer (think Dennis and Mumm). So 6 is a handy cover-all in the instance of player shortages too!

          Finally, it’s worth mentioning that professionalism has blurred the lines considerably, as faster and taller players have seen players who would historically be tall enough to play second row, now banished to the side of the scrum (e.g. Colin Meads was 1.92 m, positively small for a second rower today, but in his day he was a towering behemoth). That is why there is so much fuss about the Pooper/McMooper combination. If you think about Jeff Miller and Simone Poidevan in the same team, a great team no less, the same type of players are now the subject of great scrutiny. This highlights the awkwardness of the 6, and I think it explains, to a certain extent, why Hannigan is feeling so much heat. He’s criticised for not being quite tall enough to be a second-rower, and he is not physical enough to play 8. But I’ve never played first grade, let alone for my state, let alone for the Wallabies, so I’ll leave that critique to others…

          Whaddya reckon roarers?

          • September 15th 2017 @ 3:50pm
            mzilikazi said | September 15th 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

            Grotto, that is an impressive response. Well done…in fact it is an article on it’s own, I would have thought. And good you asked the question, Nugget

            Not much I would add…maybe 7 is ideally very fast, and with good hands…a good passer of the ball.

            Classic 7 would be Richie Mc Caw….he is far the best I have ever seen in my many years of watching…and initially listening to rugby.

            Classic 6 would be Owen Finegan.

            Classic pair, the Frenchmen, Rives 7, and Skrela 6.

            Worth looking at utube clips of these guys, Nugget…could also look at Michael Jones, David Pocock Schalk Burger, Willie O, Fergus Slattery, Neil Back…and so many others too.

            One final point..these 7 and 6 players are superb athletes..fast, strong, agile, often very big in the modern game.

          • September 15th 2017 @ 5:40pm
            Connor said | September 15th 2017 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

            Nailed it.

          • September 17th 2017 @ 8:53am
            Nugget said | September 17th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

            Much appreciated.

    • September 15th 2017 @ 7:43am
      waxhead said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      Jack – yes fair analysis for you again but………….
      Wallaby pride has not been re-established for me yet because……

      Isn’t the disappointing Perth Test performance just the latest progression around a well worn cycle.
      We’re now in the 10th-12th year of this Wallaby pattern.
      It runs twice a year on average proceeding as follows….

      A series of poor displays and results leading to ……..
      Huge media and fan criticism of players, coaches, tactics, selections.
      Now with personal careers on the line this leads to…………
      A greatly improved face saving (career saving) performance – usually against the ABs to drive the wolves from the door.
      Hope, national pride and personal careers restored the effort can’t be sustained and they slide back to the poor form.
      We’re come full circle again and it replays.

      We’re now on our 20th cycle I can remember over past 10 years.
      The players, coaches, details change but the cycle continues.

      Jack – you were right in your first famous article imo.
      It’s a player attitude, cultural thing obviously.

      We’ll see what happens against Argentina Test but I think another Wallaby loss is likely.
      There are just far too many dud players in the Wallaby squad who don’t deserve selection.

    • Roar Guru

      September 15th 2017 @ 7:45am
      stillmissit said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Jack the Wallabies were poor at the breakdown against South Africa and good against the AB’s. What will we get tomorrow night? Who knows?

      The breakdown has been poor for a long time and I thought they might have started to get it against NZ but last week we were back in the breakdown failure zone.

      Not sure what Simmonds is going to give that Arnold did not.

    • Roar Guru

      September 15th 2017 @ 7:54am
      taylorman said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

      Agree with the fact that the Wallabys have re restablished some pride in that given an ounce of fortune they could have two wins this RC.

      But its just as important for their fans to start being positive.

      If the Wallabies were to use the ROAR comments as motivation for their matches, the first few posts today being a small example, they would never win.

      Theres a clear disconnect between most W fans and the side, and looking into the stadiums, forums, press articles the Wallabies must sometimes look at some with disdain.

      The players have no choice but to be positive, and dig deeper than any fan by a mile to do so.

      Fans need to take up a bit of that effort for them. Be positive, regardless.

      • Roar Guru

        September 15th 2017 @ 8:19am
        stillmissit said | September 15th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Taylorman: Admirable sentiments but most people on the roar have run out of ‘support regardless’ due to frustration and inability to see where we are going as a team. I am one of them.
        I do watch every game and come here to read ideas about what went wrong and what went right. A few of my mates have thrown the towel in completely and won’t watch the Wallabies anymore, which I think puts them in a ‘basket of deplorable’s’, to quote the guaranteed first female American president.

        My frustration with the Wallabies is nothing comnpared to my total disdain for my team the Waratahs.

      • September 15th 2017 @ 8:24am
        waxhead said | September 15th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        @ Taylorman
        Yes fair enough but this has been going on for 10-12 years now with no end in sight.
        Patience is wearing thin particularly when I fully agreed with the article Jack Quigley wrote a few months ago that got him notoriety.

        Add on the ongoing Cheika selection bias and lunacy plus the ARU debacles and…….continued Wallaby slide down the world rankings is inevitable imo

        • Roar Guru

          September 15th 2017 @ 9:37am
          taylorman said | September 15th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

          Yes I see all that but at the bottom of all that we all want our teams to win. Its the anonimity of all this that makes it all too easy.

          I wouldnt say half the things I say to the players faces because that is a different relationship with the player/s, it would be two way, and I wouldntvsay the things I would under a veil of anonimity.

          But that doesnt diminish the importance or at least relevance of the comment. Anonymity can promote honesty in a way you dont have to be accountable.

          But for the players there is no anonimity though Id be surprised more dont visit the forums anonomously to argue a point ‘just to get it off their back’.

          But get your point. Its been tough on everyone. Hope it gets better somehow, as of the millions of posts on it there still seems no clear, or even murky answer.

          • September 15th 2017 @ 11:56am
            Jacko said | September 15th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            Tman for me its a clear fan response. As an ABs fan I know that if they have a loss they will correct this…If they draw its ok because they will work hard and fix it….There history gives me , a Fan, the belief that the ABs will work on what they need to, to win the next game.
            A Wallabies fan has seen these good performanances every now and then and they have proved in the past 10 years to be false dawns as far as wins go….History says the Wallabies will not start beating the Abs and the Boks consistantly and all the chat about it being a possibility is what the fans get sick of. Aus fans want consistancy in performance…they would probably be happier getting beaten by consistant margins and knowing what standards are needed to raise the bar to the next level, than to have the odd good performance, the rest bad and the odd ugly one. The major frustration would be the standard of the good performances shows what they are capable of and the constant coaching selections and tactics does not allow the team to start building anything.

            The best examples of this are teir 3 nations at WCs….They know the higher teams are better and they know they have little chance of wins but they would be over the moon to have a great game against these top sides and the Georgia V ABs game at the 2015 WC was a great example of this.

            • September 15th 2017 @ 7:14pm
              waxhead said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

              Yep – I agree with you Jacko 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              September 16th 2017 @ 8:01am
              stillmissit said | September 16th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

              Great post Jacko and sums up my thoughts and opinions well.

      • September 15th 2017 @ 9:33am
        Wallace footrot said | September 15th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        I agree with your sentiments Taylorman and no one likes criticism. The thing about sport is it gives an interest, a passion outside of work. Fans feel connected therefore and have strong opinions about ‘their’ team. They want to be part of the teams journey and for good or bad air their opinions. Admino’s should embrace fans more by exhibiting more transparency. With the age of internet and google, you tube etc fans have expanded their knowledge base, training expertise, and have some very good and creative inputs, with some being greatly qualified in the sporting landscape. This should be harnessed or atleast respected with not just words, but more definative actions. There is a myriad of ways the sporting administrators can show this and currently the ARU is an example of one admistration, thats needs some assistance. I am hoping the appointment of Rod Kafer is a start, but there is a long way to go, to regaining any trust from the spectators.

        • September 15th 2017 @ 10:57am
          Rob said | September 15th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          So when you are frustrated beyond belief at Australian rugby, your choices are minimal.
          1)Walk away and forget the game exists(pick it back up in heaven)
          2)Protest like the Force have done. IF I had a Force shirt for Saturdays game I would wear it.
          3)Vent on forums like this and hope the ARU are getting pressure from areas that monitor this. The fans are not happy and it has been for some time. We want AB pride in our team. No one likes to put Hanigan or Robertson down but there is no other way to voice the disapproval of selection of these ineffective and under done players.
          4) unsure of other options
          I for one would happily stand in front of any players or officials and cite why change needs to happen. Anonymity not required for this only trolls. I dont believe people are trolling.

          • September 15th 2017 @ 12:06pm
            Wallace footrot said | September 15th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

            Completely agree. I never said anything about trolling. Cant stand trolling. I am as passionate as the next guy. The thing that gets my goat is if you or I are failing at our jobs we have to explain ourselves and rectify. The wallabies are making plenty of needless changes but not in the areas that need attention. Even as detailed here by regurlar contibutors with much more rugby knowledge than many of us. As you said they are sticking with the same failures. I like many want the reasons why…..we pay the fees, we follow them, without their loyal fan base, no one in the whole set up has a job…..I think we are entitled to know why is Cheika the sole selector? Why is Cameron Clyne not available for more questions about the axing of the force? Why are these guys getting picked and after clearly by many experts here and other sites….they are not doing their jobs? What is the plan? It adds up to showing more transparency and not treating the fan base as fools. It’s not like we are running ASIO here, its a football team and its fans have the right to know.

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