Scotland clash will define Wallabies class of ’17

Jack Quigley Columnist

By Jack Quigley, Jack Quigley is a Roar Expert

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    The Wallabies’ 2017 record will likely be shaped by what unfolds at Murrayfield on Saturday night.

    While there is no great danger of this being a season fondly remembered by Wallabies fans, a good result against Scotland would probably be enough to ensure it was recalled as ‘eventful’ rather than disappointing.

    Scotland are no mugs, as Australia found out in Sydney. A second-gear effort will not get the job done against them, as even the All Blacks came close to suffering defeat at Murrayfield last week.

    The Wallabies were poor in many areas against England but were able to keep the contest close for a long time thanks to their defence – the alarming thing for Michael Cheika is the manner in which Australia fell away late.

    Cheika was the man who started the new fashion of referring to the substitutes as ‘finishers’, implying that far from plugging gaps left by injuries, the bench had a crucial role to play in getting the 80-minute job done.

    Last weekend, England’s finishers took the pace of the game up a notch against a tiring Wallabies side and took the game away from them, even if the final score flattered the home side a little.

    Australia’s replacements struggled to make any impact at Twickenham and Cheika’s use of them was simply confusing.

    Ben McCalman was introduced too early and was unable overpower his opponents because they weren’t tired yet. But he had to be brought on because once again Ned Hanigan was exposed as too lightweight for Test rugby – which every Wallabies fan could have told you would happen before kick-off.

    Cheika loves backing his players and that’s part of why players will run through walls for him, but his persistence with Hanigan is just downright frustrating.

    Samu Kerevi was the only player along the backline who looked like causing England any problems last weekend, even if it did take him a while to get going. It was baffling then to see him hooked in favour of Karmichael Hunt just as he appeared to be hitting top gear.

    Stephen Moore quite literally just got in the way and, while Will Genia had a poor game, I’d rather a tired Genia steer my side home than a fresh and frantic Nick Phipps.

    2017 has been a year of slow, but untimely steady progress for Australia. Much like the Rugby Championship, where the only losses came at the hands of New Zealand, there would be no shame in a European tour where the only loss came against England.

    However, a loss on Saturday night would change the outlook slightly. In a year where the Wallabies finally found a way to overcome the All Blacks, it would be so Michael Cheika-era to bookend that season with two losses to Scotland.

    Cheika’s backers will be hoping the Wallabies can account for the Scots on Saturday so that 2017 can be filed as ‘unspectacular progress’, while his critics will be waiting in the wings ready to call for the coach’s head in the event that Australia lose again.

    Given how the year has panned out so far, don’t be surprised if it finishes as a draw – leaving both sides somewhat unsatisfied.

    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)

    • November 24th 2017 @ 7:24am
      Cynical Play said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

      Jack Ben Mcwas bought on early cause Hannigan injured his MCL around the 30-35 minute mark. Couldn’t continue.

      • November 24th 2017 @ 8:20am
        Rebellion said | November 24th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

        That injury gave the Wallabies a chance….until Nic Phipps came on and England scored 3 quick tries that is

      • November 24th 2017 @ 8:43am
        rebel said | November 24th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        Yip. Why are people getting paid to write this misinformation.
        I understand opinion pieces but some research should be conducted, not just making things up. There’s still room for facts in opinion pieces.

    • November 24th 2017 @ 7:25am
      Craig said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      And if the Scots win Jack, you going to blame the refs again?

      • November 24th 2017 @ 2:32pm
        Ruckin' Oaf said | November 24th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

        Only as a “fresh angle” – nobody has ever blamed the ref before.

      • November 25th 2017 @ 6:49am
        mzilikazi said | November 25th 2017 @ 6:49am | ! Report

        No, only comments of that nature will arise if there is good reason. Are you honestly satisfied, Craig, with the current standard of officiating ?

    • November 24th 2017 @ 7:31am
      Train Without A Terminus said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      Lets hope there are no 50/50 calls that go against the Wallabies Jack otherwise you may be tempted to repeat your last article’s shift from empassioned supporter to Cheika fanboi.

      • November 24th 2017 @ 2:02pm
        Connor33 said | November 24th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

        Do you recall how Jack is now in his current position? Certainly no fan boy and this article is balanced in its criticism and expectation.

      • November 24th 2017 @ 5:06pm
        In brief said | November 24th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

        Or more likely the anti cheika brigade will have more irrational ammunition. In the cold hard light of day the ref made
        several major blunders that crucified the wallabies. the fact so called supporters are more appalled by cheika’s response than by the poor officials is truly bizarre and unique to Australian sport.

        • November 25th 2017 @ 12:01am
          Keith of WA said | November 25th 2017 @ 12:01am | ! Report

          I call him Colosseum Cheika….

          back in roman days, the mugs were misdirected from the below ordinary stuff really going on by the spectacle of the Colosseum… enthralled by the spectacle of blood and carnage..the individual battles.. at the expense of questioning the management

          Reminds of one M.Cheika who’s antics prevent proper questioning of his selections and tactics because everyone of the mugs is focused on the wrong part of the story….

          Ask yourself… how MANY times has he turned on a performance when the team gets towelled up…

          Then ask why have so many of his pet players who are clearly not up to the standard.. keep getting a run….

          One day, we will all wake up and realise the emperor has no clothes…

          • November 25th 2017 @ 5:56pm
            PiratesRugby said | November 25th 2017 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

            Keith, are you talking about Coach of the Year Cheika? The man who beat England once and has traded off it ever since. Even after losing to them five times in a row. He’s the Trump of rugby with a loyal band of followers who refuse to criticise him or any of his selections. They say Phipps is a better scrum half than Genia. Hooper a better 7 than Pocock. Remember their excitement about Skelton? How they justified the repeated selection of Mumm, Horne, Hanigan, Robertson?

            • November 26th 2017 @ 9:03am
              PiratesRugby said | November 26th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

              Okay, didn’t see that thrashing coming. I notice Cheika is still defiant. Tracking nicely for 2019. What a joke.

    • November 24th 2017 @ 7:38am
      Worlds Biggest said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:38am | ! Report

      This is a very important game for the Wallas, the second half of the season has been pretty good so vital to finish off a long campaign with a win. A loss will ensure the nagging doubts remain about this team. Not to mention a bit of payback from the Sydney game and a very poor last 10 minutes at Twickenham, hopefully the players will have enough motivation. Also would be nice to send out Moore with a win in his final game of Rugby.

      I haven’t seen a team as yet but hopefully Tui and Tupou are on the bench with Phillip starting. Scotland always play the Wallabies well so our boys will really have to roll up the sleeves to get a win, a draw woudln’t surprise me at all.

    • Roar Rookie

      November 24th 2017 @ 7:45am
      Hugh_96 said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      My biggest issue with this game is that it will be the last rugby game for 3 months until Super Rugby starts again !!!!

      • November 24th 2017 @ 7:52am
        aussikiwi said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

        At least the Ashes are on!

      • November 25th 2017 @ 2:42pm
        double agent said | November 25th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

        I’ll be glad when the 2017 rugby season is finally put out of it’s misery!

    • November 24th 2017 @ 7:55am
      Worlds Biggest said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      Plenty of Rugby to watch in the Northern Hemisphere Mate !

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