Wallabies need to stop whinging and look within

Oliver Matthews Roar Guru

By Oliver Matthews, Oliver Matthews is a Roar Guru

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    Since the Wallabies were beaten at Twickenham by the old enemy, much has been written about the impact that the referee and TMOs had on the result. But I’m not interested in arguing whether the officials got the calls right.

    So what should the Wallabies really be spending their time focused on?

    Michael Hooper’s disallowed try
    Ignoring the referee’s decision, there are two key aspects to this situation that the Aussie captain and side in general need to learn from.

    Firstly, Michael Hooper needs to smarten up. Many have said that it’s impossible to expect a player running at full tilt to stop on a cent when he’s in front of a kicker and allow an onside player to rush past him, but Hooper needs to be seen to be making more of an effort to get on side.

    Against England, he slowed from a sprint to a run and brought his hands up in some sort of power rendition of the ‘Macarena’. That’s not going to convince anybody, least of all a ref and TMO who have 70,000 Pommies in the crowd screaming for an offside call.

    Hooper likes to play at the edge, which is understandable and arguably much needed, but he’s got to get better at it.

    Secondly, what on Earth was Marika Koroibete doing?

    He is about five metres from the English line with the nearest defender a metre behind him. All he needs to do is dive on that ball and let the wet ground and his momentum see him slide in for his team’s first try.

    Instead, he tries to show off his soccer skills and we all know how it ended.

    Michael Hooper Australia Rugby Union Championship Bledisloe Cup Wallabies 2017

    Michael Hooper of Australia. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    Hooper’s yellow card
    The captain might have looked confused and disgusted as he was shown his eighth yellow card at international level, but when he watches the replay he really should be kicking himself.

    Within one passage, the Wallabies committed four penalty offences, all within about ten metres of their own line, Hooper being guilty of two of them. A successful international skipper doesn’t put himself in the sights of the referee.

    The team did well to concede just the one penalty goal while he was off the field but, again, errors in judgement like this need to be removed if Hooper wants to become one of the great leaders.

    He now stands alone on top of the most yellow cards in international rugby, which is pretty impressive after just 78 matches – that’s averaging a yellow every nine games.

    If one of these is in the World Cup, it could be critical.

    Kurtley Beale’s yellow card
    Kurtley Beale’s attempted interception was a real instinctive move and it’s hard to stop those. You see the ball, for a split second you think you might have a chance of getting to it, but as you reach out you already know this is going to end badly.

    But it’s the context of the situation that Beale needs to work on.

    His skipper had been sent off just a few minutes ago and the opposition were ahead on the scoreboard. Was it really the time to try and intercept the ball and risk the fallout?

    Beale should not be giving the ref a chance to even think about whether he needs to award a yellow card in that situation.

    Koroibete’s disallowed try
    What was Stephen Moore doing in that position? He was in the way and either should have just stayed clear altogether or been up Koroibete’s backside, helping to drive him over the line.

    In the chaotic, frenzied nature of international rugby, it’s hardly surprising a player finds themselves out of position from time to time. But again, at this level, in those situations, these mistakes must drive Michael Cheika up the wall. You just can’t squander these opportunities, especially in tight games in wet conditions.

    Elliot Daly’s try
    There seemed to be literally a blade of grass in this one and while modern technology is good, it’s not at a standard where TMOs can zoom into the blade level.

    However, this wouldn’t be an issue if Beale had worked harder and been in position to either kick the ball out himself, pick up the ball or tackle Elliot Daly.

    Of course the ball looked like it was going into touch and many players would have assumed that there was no imminent danger, but successful coaches the world over preach the value of taking assumptions out of their team’s approach and doing everything possible to minimise the role that luck plays in results.

    Three tries in ten minutes highlights bench issues
    At 69 minutes the score was 13-6 to England. Australia had just had Koroibete’s try ripped away from them, but they were still in the game, and had ten minutes to score at least seven points.

    Instead, those ten minutes saw England run in three tries and wrap up a fifth consecutive victory over the Wallabies.

    Each try was nicely finished, using their boots well in this final period to get in behind the Aussie defence. But during this period we saw how different the two benches were – England’s ‘finishers’ came on and had a huge impact. Australia’s bench meanwhile really added little in either attack or defence.

    Tevita Kuridrani’s missed try
    53 minutes gone and Tevita Kuridrani’s got a golden opportunity to score under the posts and give Australia the lead.

    Hooper and Beale had just returned to the pitch, the Aussies had weathered the storm brilliantly, and now they were going to break English hearts by taking the lead.

    Instead, he knocks on a relatively straightforward catch, England kick ahead and 30 seconds later Daly has scored.

    Kuridrani is not ready for international rugby. He’s been found wanting a few too many times in defence and his attack skills just aren’t quite there.

    Of course, catching a wet ball in the heat of battle is easy to do from here, and a lot harder on the pitch – but on the pitch is where it matters and it’s where the Wallabies let themselves down too many times in this match.

    Catch the ball and there’s no debate over whether the ball was out or not from the kick or whether Beale should have done better. Catch the ball and potentially the Aussies take the lead and a big step towards breaking the English.

    Each of these situations is marginal. Each has extenuating factors. But in each one, a Wallaby could have, perhaps should have, done better. Seven situations in one match – get half of them right and that’s the win.

    The Wallabies are getting better for sure, especially when compared to 2016, and if they go well in 2019 then no one will give a damn about this past weekend’s result.

    But if they don’t start to reduce the number of these big mistakes, then they are not going to threaten the best sides in Japan and will instead be left arguing that the ref made too many bad calls.

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    The Crowd Says (82)

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 2:54am
      englishbob said | November 22nd 2017 @ 2:54am | ! Report

      Good article Oliver. I hope the wallabies and the coaching team set up don’t dwell too much on the game, and provided they don’t lay blame for the loss squarely at the door of the officials they can get some good work on’s and move on. Considering the terrible manner in which their season started in super rugby and the June series they’ve since gone on to deliver some outstanding performances. Next year will be another mini rebuild job, pocock back in the fold in direct competition with hoops, no McMahon and the usual dramas at half back and fly half, plenty to worry about without paranoia about the officials

      • November 24th 2017 @ 12:38pm
        ThugbyFan said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

        Well said Bob the Pom, and spot on for Oliver. What’s done is done, the WallyBees need to swallow the medicine (and pride) and learn how to improve and not let situations like these occur to take the game from them. More awareness and thinking on the feet will clearly improve the side.

        Bob, I think the WB forwards are in a good space next year. There are some very mobile large units coming on in the lock and backrow positions. We just need the coach to look outside of NSW to see them. 🙂

        The backs I am more worried about. You have picked the real problem which are the halves. If W.Genia or B.Foley gets injured, the WB are in a well-known creek without a paddle with no-one to blame but themselves. 2019 must be used to blood new two halfbacks and two flyhalves, give them the game time (at least 30 minutes in one or two matches) so they have experience and you can assess them. Training in a 4-week squad just doesn’t cut it, they have to be out there in the cut and thrust to shine and learn.

    • Roar Guru

      November 22nd 2017 @ 5:31am
      taylorman said | November 22nd 2017 @ 5:31am | ! Report

      Yes great to see some balance coming out in the most recent articles. Some really need to take a good look at themselves when jumping on the ref as a major reason.

      Through all this we had a debut from a referee who has probably had the toughest introduction to test rugby that Ive ever seen so kudos to he and his team for acquiting themselves magnificently under the circumstances.

      Shame on those who sought comfort in making their performance the biggest thing since watergate.

      • Roar Guru

        November 22nd 2017 @ 5:38am
        Poth Ale said | November 22nd 2017 @ 5:38am | ! Report

        O’Keeffe reffed the Ireland v SA match in week 1 – I thought he did well and there were no complaints afterwards from either team that I can recall.

        • November 23rd 2017 @ 10:03am
          mzilikazi said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          Not so sure there, PA. I thought he did not have a great game….look at some of the scrums, with Ireland under pressure. And that second penalty for kicking the ball out of the ruck, after he had called the ball to be out. I feel the Boks should have protested…and I am Irish born !

      • Roar Guru

        November 23rd 2017 @ 5:35pm
        stillmissit said | November 23rd 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

        Yes TM a basic requirement of any team is that the captain will get on the right side of the ref. Hooper did not do that, also made some poor errors in the wet ie kicking for touch instead of posts in 1st half.

        I thought it was a vary tough match for any ref let alone a reasonably new one. We have had a lot worse ref’s than him and not complained so much. We must stop whinging and get on with the game. Rather than the finishers not being up to standard (may be right I am not sure) it seemed more that we threw the towel in.

        A hard game but we played too dumb and were slow to react on lose ball, and opportunities. Do we have a wet weather game?

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 6:29am
      Not so super said | November 22nd 2017 @ 6:29am | ! Report

      You really think this is what the wallabies are concentrating on?
      Or do you just read the paper and media and equate them as being the wallabies ?

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 10:34am
        jonnyacidseed said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

        Yes! Listen to their coach and captain…..

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 6:37am
      Davo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 6:37am | ! Report

      Agree that Moore made an error in the Koroibete disallowed try. His farewell tour has gone on too long, a bit like George Gregan’s. Uelese should replace him for the Scotland game.

      Notwithstanding Moore’s clumsy obstruction, it is clear that both Farrell & Robshaw came from an offside position. One of the assistant refs actually encouraged O’Keefe to check this. It’s disappointing that he listened to Farrell instead.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 12:16pm
        Kane said | November 22nd 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        Whenever I see the name Uelese I can’t help but read it as Useless 😀

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 1:05pm
          Perthstayer said | November 22nd 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

          ………and Moore is less

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 2:12pm
            Adsa said | November 22nd 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report


        • November 23rd 2017 @ 10:06am
          mzilikazi said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          And I think Ulysses and ancient Greece.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 9:46pm
        ClarkeG said | November 22nd 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

        They did in fact consider potential offside. That is clear from the coverage.

        Whether Farrell and Robshaw came from an offside position or came from The Stoop next door is not relevant.

        What is relevant is that when they become involved in the play they had got themselves into onside positions.

        • November 23rd 2017 @ 7:23am
          In brief said | November 23rd 2017 @ 7:23am | ! Report

          As Hooper had done before his disallowed try- love it!

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 10:57am
            ClarkeG said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

            It’s easy to love.

            Laws covering two quite different circumstances. Laws that are easily accessible from the World Rugby website I might add.

      • November 24th 2017 @ 12:55pm
        ThugbyFan said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        Davo, when the referee referred to the TMO, he specifically asked for TMO to check the obstruction by S.Moore AND the offside by white no6, ie C.Robshaw. You can hear him ask the TMO on ref’s mike. The TMO obviously said Robshaw was onside (I still don’t think he was but TMO word is God, so have to cop it sweet). Farrell was ok, he ran back onside and was brushed by M.Koroibete in an attempted tackle. Even the English tv commentators said it was a try, at least until the 73rd replay, when they took the hint.

        Where my beef was with all the ruck infringements that O’Keefe allowed in the preceding ruck. At least one and possibly 2 Poms came into that ruck from the WB side and the referee allowed it. Amazing!

        Anyhow it doesn’t excuse the terrible surrender in the last 10 minutes. I hope the WB coaching group took note that well placed field kicks WITH chasers can devastate a rush defence, especially when they are tired. M.Cheika should hang his head in shame in his blind refusal to mix the game with the occasional grubber or up-n-under with rabid chasers to harass and ruck the catcher.

        • November 25th 2017 @ 7:28pm
          ClarkeG said | November 25th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

          If Farrell was ok then Robshaw was ok. If Robshaw was not ok then Farrell had to be not ok as well.

          Coming into the ruck from the WB side? Hardly. Only one Eng players enters the tackle area – Launchbry – and he takes his place through the so called gate.

          The other is Youngs who is the tackler. He has got to his feet and starts to move away.

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 7:31am
      Drongo said | November 22nd 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      There is no point worrying about refereeing decisions. Controversial decisions happen in every match. And the aggrieved team’s supporters always complain. But these criticisms are far too harsh. The players are making split second decisions and every team tries to push the boundaries of the laws as far as they can. None of these incidents was any where near as bad as this article suggests. The players in question all had the bounce go against them. A slightly different ending in each case would have resulted in a happier outcome. They do not have to ‘look within’. They have to move on and concentrate on the next match. And that is exactly what they have done. The players and the coach do not sit on their couches and preach and whine like many on the roar. One thing is for sure, a Wallaby loss brings out the critics like nothing else, many of them supporters of other teams who hold the view that they are just so morally and ethically superior. What a joke.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 7:49am
        taylorman said | November 22nd 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        Sorry Drongo, nothing compares to what comes out for an AB loss. All that built up frustration all comes out at once in various ways. This round it was Oz supporters that were all over the Ref more than you’d normally see. I mean at least six articles are headed either blaming or excusing the Ref here…

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 8:06am
          republican said | November 22nd 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

          …….you cannot compare the AB’s relationship with their obsessive support base to that of the Wallabies Taylorman.
          The Wallabies really don’t attract much interest outside the Roar bubble truth be told…….

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 11:02am
            jacko said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

            Republican you should consider the anti ABs obsession so many non NZers have….many dont care as much for an Aus win as they do for a ABs loss

            • November 23rd 2017 @ 5:47pm
              ScrumJunkie said | November 23rd 2017 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

              B.s. Most aussies go for the abs as long as they’re not playing the wallabies. We hate them when they’re against our team. Ever heard of a local derby? You want to beat your brother the most. E.g. filthy tahs vs Brumbies

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 11:21am
            taylorman said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

            Thats true, was only referring to the ROAR…

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 1:12pm
        Perthstayer said | November 22nd 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report


        “The players in question all had the bounce go against them” – Nice effort but Koroboite could have slid in. No-one stopped impeded him, the ball didn’t bounce badly, and he had plenty of time. It was simply poor execution.

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 8:48am
      AssumedTooMuch said | November 22nd 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      “Koroibete’s disallowed try
      What was Stephen Moore doing in that position?”

      Moore was in that position after a clearly offside Owen Farrell pushed Koroibete into Moore.

      Smart play by Farrell and then even smarter too appeal to the ref for obstruction by Moore.

      I think the Aussies have a point that they are more often on the rough end of selective application of the rules than perhaps some other teams.

      • November 22nd 2017 @ 9:05am
        rebel said | November 22nd 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Pretty close summation, however Farrell just got back on side. It was unfortunate that Moore just got in front of Koro. Half a pace back and it would have come down to a clear contest between Koro and Robshaw.

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 9:47am
          AssumedTooMuch said | November 22nd 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          Farrell was at least a meter offside and actually closer to two meters offside. Farrell’s position is well ahead of the English offside line. Other indications Farrell is offside, is when he shapes up to Koroibete he is well in front of the English defensive line and he is also well ahead of Robshaw’s position. Farrell is a retiring player and he must bring himself onside, which in this case is retiring behind the English offside line, before entering play. Farrell doesn’t eveb come close to doing this.

          Owen Farrell was clearly offside and I think the Aussies have a point to feel aggrieved, particularly when the Ref asked the TMO if anyboby was offside and the only player the TMO and the Ref ultimately considered was Robshaw.

          The outcome of the play should have at least been a penalty to Australia for Owen Farrell’s offside position. And if the colours were reversed (i.e.Australia defending the try line and England attacking it) and I was an English TV commentator, I would have been demanding a penalty try (as he was earlier in the game).

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 9:58am
            rebel said | November 22nd 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

            I just watched it again for the third time, he just gets onside, and I mean just. Same with Robshaw, he only just got onside.
            I don’t follow white or gold, but like I said there were very fine margins in that being a try or no try with both sides. I believe that technically the correct decision was made, but it would not have been a shocker if it was called a try or a penalty as you have suggested.

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 10:38pm
              AssumedTooMuch said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:38pm | ! Report


              Farrell is clearly offside.

              And this where someone says to you that you don’t understand the laws of the game.

              • November 23rd 2017 @ 1:33pm
                rebel said | November 23rd 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                Looked up clearly in the dictionary and it looks like you have incorrevtly used it here.
                Not sure what your second sentence is all about.

          • Roar Guru

            November 22nd 2017 @ 1:04pm
            Cadfael said | November 22nd 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

            I don’t really give a toss if he was onside or not. He was ruled onside, end of story. What got my goat was the three tries in the last 10 minutes. It was poor and this is what the critics should be looking at not whether the referee was right or not (remember the old saying? Rule 1, the referee is always right. Rule 2, if the referee is wrong, refer to rule 1).

            In some ways Cheika has got off lucky with most storoes about him refer to his ranting in the box and not to his selections and coaching.

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 10:49pm
              AssumedTooMuch said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:49pm | ! Report

              Haven’t seen those rules in the laws of the game. And let me tell you they aren’t the rules by which the English play nor the All Blacks play.

              Hooper needs to take a leaf out of Owen Farrels play book. When you clearly break one of the laws of the game (in his case being offside) then make sure you help create a situation to also protest loudly to the referee about the opposition breaking a law of the game (obstruction by Moore running in front of ball carrier).

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 1:15pm
            Perthstayer said | November 22nd 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            Assumed – Read Brett’s article. Explains clearly how and why Farrell wasn’t offside.

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 10:29pm
              AssumedTooMuch said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

              Well if Farrell is onside it isn’t because he returned behind the Enlish offside line required by law 11.8

              “11.8 Putting onside a player retiring during a ruck, maul, scrum or lineout
              When a ruck, maul, scrum or lineout forms, a player who is offside and is retiring as required by Law remains offside even when the opposing team wins possession and the ruck, maul, scrum or lineout has ended. The player is put onside by retiring behind the applicable offside line. No other action of the offside player and no action of that player’s team mates can put the offside player onside.”

              And if Robshaw is ‘just onside’ then Farrell is clearly offside because he is a good three metres ahead of Robshaws position when he assumes his position in the English line with his arms out obstructing the Australians (i.e. takes part in the in the play).

              Refer laws of the game:
              “11.1(b) Offside and interfering with play. A player who is offside must not take part in the game. This means the player must not play the ball or obstruct an opponent.”

              So its not the point of contact with the opposition but the position in which he is obstructing the opposition that is important.

              I restate my position, Owen Farrell is clearly offside. Very poor decision by the Ref and TMO not pick this up and particularly so when O’Keefe asked the TMO to check for offside play. I don’t think its whinging to point out that the ref and the TMO were red hot on picking up any Australian who was offside near the English try line.

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 11:04pm
                ClarkeG said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:04pm | ! Report

                “The player is put onside by retiring behind the applicable offside line”

                Yep..you nailed it. That’s what they both did.

                “Farrell is clearly offside because he is a good three metres ahead of Robshaws position” ….again yeah right…this would put Farrell a 1/2 m on the other side of the 5m mark.

                You do realise there is 5m between those marks across the field right? i.e the 5m line and the goal line.

              • November 23rd 2017 @ 1:37pm
                rebel said | November 23rd 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                Yip, another guy I hope isn’t in real estate. 3 metres? I really fail to understand how people can ligitimately make comments like this.

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 10:38pm
            ClarkeG said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:38pm | ! Report

            Two metres offside? Yeah right. For that to have been the case Farrell would have to had made his play on at least the 5m line unless of course you wish to take your imaginary offside line back to almost the goal line.

            Farrell’s position in relation to any other England player is quite irrelevant. All that matters is that he is onside and it appears that he is. To suggest that he is not even close to being onside is absurd.

            • November 22nd 2017 @ 11:13pm
              AssumedTooMuch said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:13pm | ! Report

              So you are drawing the English offside line 3m from the try line???

              Thats more like a line drawn through the middle of the ruck?

              I would just like to check that you understand law 16.5 which puts where the offside lines are:

              “16.5 Offside at the ruck
              (a) The offside line. There are two offside lines parallel to the goal lines, one for each team. Each offside line runs through the hindmost foot of the hindmost player in the ruck. If the hindmost foot of the hindmost player is on or behind the goal line, the offside line for the defending team is the goal line.”

              The offside line for English team is about 1m from the goal line, 1.5m at most. If you look closely it is where the English defenders (that are onside) are lining up defend, so they are not called offside.

              • November 22nd 2017 @ 11:50pm
                ClarkeG said | November 22nd 2017 @ 11:50pm | ! Report

                You have made some ridiculous claims. Now you are claiming the offside line is 1m from the goal line.

                I now see the problem. You can quote laws until Xmas time but if you are unable to sensibly establish where the offside line is then there is little point in me attempting to make any further contribution.

        • November 22nd 2017 @ 9:04pm
          markie362 said | November 22nd 2017 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

          I cant believe noones talking about the pass from koro to foley so it doesnt matter what moore does its scrum england

          • November 22nd 2017 @ 9:47pm
            AssumedTooMuch said | November 22nd 2017 @ 9:47pm | ! Report


            When you are running flat out, pass slightly backwards to another player behind you and are immediately stopped in a tackle, then the pass is always going to look as though it was a forward pass. This is because the ball continues to travel at the same speed. So just because it looks like a forward pass doesn’t make it a forward pass, in this example it is still a legal pass.

            And if you look closely you will see this is what happened with the Koroibete pass to Foley. Koroibete was stopped in the tackle immediately after he passed so the ball was travelling forward relative Koroibete. If Koroibete hands are directing the ball backwards as he passes then it is not a forward pass. I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest it was a forward pass.

            Further I would say that if it was a forward pass then the Ref or one of the touch judges should have called it straight away not asked the TMO to check it after a try was scored.

            • Roar Guru

              November 23rd 2017 @ 8:53am
              Wal said | November 23rd 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

              It’s called relative motion.

              Throw a ball straight in the air on a train doing 100km to the person throwing it the ball will travel vertically.
              However, if the ball is in the air for 1 second it has moved forward 27 metres relative the to the ground.

              For a Rugby player running at 20kph who throws a 20 metre pass flat it will travel forward 5 metres relative to the ground.
              This video shows it beautifully

      • Roar Guru

        November 22nd 2017 @ 2:54pm
        Timbo (L) said | November 22nd 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

        I am going into bat for Moore here.

        From what I saw, The ball touched Moore before going on to Koribete. He was the first receiver of the pass.

        Moore looked like he was forming up for a standard hitup but instead of Sio or Kepu, Marika was there.

        I think Marika was expecting to do a solo line busting run. The 2 were running different plays, neither or both were out of position depending on your interpretation.

        It happens, it was just bad luck that they had 2 guys ready for the ball.

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