Found: The Ireland team we expected and the Wallabies team we feared

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    Well, it’s not like we’ve never seen this kind of week-to-week disconnection from the Wallabies before.

    Brilliant one week, underwhelming and well-beaten the next. And to be fair, underwhelming and well-beaten one week, and brilliant the next, too.

    The 26-21 loss in the Second Test in Melbourne confirmed that the series will be decided in Sydney, and that as we long suspected, Ireland’s first XV is a very, very good outfit.

    The way the Irish were able to control possession and where the game was played was something to behold. We all expected Johnny Sexton to be prominent – ‘the maestro’ as Michael Cheika referred to him after his recall last week – and he turned out the sort of performance that rightly has him recognised among the very best international playmakers in the game.

    His kicking was superb – one hooked penalty aside – and Ireland clearly learned their lessons from the Brisbane loss by kicking to the parts of the ground were Israel Folau wasn’t, thus rendering him generally ineffective for large portions of the game. Once they removed the broken field attacking threat of the Wallabies fullback, they worked on hemming the Australians into their own half and then robbed them of the ball to boot.

    Ireland's fly half Jonny Sexton kicks a penalty

    Ireland’s Johnny Sexton. (AFP PHOTO / IAN MACNICOL)

    By halftime, the Wallabies had seen only 31 per cent of possession, and had played nearly three quarters of the half on their side of halfway. Nearing the hour mark of the game, the possession figure hovered dangerously close to single digits, before the Wallabies finally held enough ball in the closing quarter of the match to finish with 40 per cent of possession and 37 per cent of territory.

    The obvious retort to those numbers would be that ‘the Wallabies just couldn’t get enough ball to do anything’, but that retort would be quickly debunked by just a cursory glance at the numbers in the 18-9 win in Brisbane.

    The Wallabies won that match with 40 per cent of possession and 39 per cent of territory, and even attempted half a dozen more tackles.

    So it’s not that they didn’t have enough ball; indeed, they’ve scored more tries than Ireland with the same minority share of possession in both games.

    It’s that this time around, what they tried to do with the ball wasn’t good enough. Effectively, they could only do as much with the ball as Ireland allowed them.

    And that’s an important distinction to make. Teams can often be outplayed, often just comprehensively thumped. Other times, they can fire plenty of shots and even ask plenty of question of defences, only to come up short.

    In Melbourne, I think the Wallabies were rather flattered by the 26-21 scoreline, but I don’t really think they played particularly poorly. I didn’t really think Ireland were terrible in Brisbane, either, for what it’s worth.

    Adam Coleman

    Adam Coleman of Australia wins the lineout (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

    There’s no doubt the Wallabies’ decision-making let them down at times, though. Twice they went with quick tap options in lieu of a set piece with an Ireland prop on the naughty chair, for example, and though the second time around they would get away with it through Taniela Tupou barging over after ten phases, they very nearly brought it all undone with a loose pass behind a player after two.

    But the Wallabies’ scramble defence was also really good once again, and that was probably the difference between the score being as close as it was or as reflective of Ireland’s – and Sexton’s – game management as it should have been.

    Ultimately, they weren’t good enough. And that smarts, particularly after last week’s display. But such is the modern game, with it’s fickle form and general closeness of the next four or five teams trying to edge closer to New Zealand – who might even be edging back to the pack, themselves.

    The Wallabies were beaten by the better side on the night, just as Ireland were the week before. And as Ireland showed this weekend, there’s no shame in that if you take in the lessons of the loss.

    There will be ‘work-ons’ for Sydney throughout the Melbourne defeat, but the Wallabies’ late-game desperation perfectly illustrated their night.

    After somehow clawing their way back to within four points, they fielded Ireland’s deep restart and worked their way off their own try line, before finding that the room was out in the wider channels. They found their way out of their 22 down the right edge, and then crossed the halfway line down the left.

    The Wallabies reset up the middle though another strong Tupou carry, before going to the right edge again through the mostly-contained Folau, but just slightly missed the cleanout and lost the ball in the resulting ruck.

    When they wanted it, the Wallabies were able to find room that Ireland let them have.

    But when they needed their accuracy and composure the most to take advantage, they lost it in the face of Irish pressure at the breakdown.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (256)

    • June 19th 2018 @ 7:02am
      bazza said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      I just curious is the blocking of IZZY running for the ball legal in Rugby they kinda forget that rule.
      Changed the game as he couldnt get a clear path to the ball.
      Or the late hits only a problem if Australia do it nothing happened to Ireland.

      It hard when you play to different set of rules.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 7:51am
        JonD said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        I’m getting very tired of (i) Australian whining about the refereeing and (ii) the Fox team commentary. Difficult really to know which is the most annoying.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:12am
          Jacko said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          The whole FOX rugby coverage is becoming a joke. The commentary does nothing but whinge about possible indiscretions form the opposition and just refuses to see or comment on the same indiscretions by THEIR OWN team.. The “Kick and Chase” program has become embarrassing where all they do it attempt to highlight Ref errors which favor the opposition and last week they didnt show any highlights from the NZ game apart from the French YC and the NZ non YC tackle…then discussed nothing but how NZ got away with yet another ref special treatment.They showed a few mins of highlights from the English v SA game without this same prejudice. I first purchased FOX back in 1997 and have paid for it ever since. I purchased it soley to watch rugby and in particular , NZ rugby. Now the coverage is all changing. We used to get all the post match interviews from the NZ matches then cross to the coverage of the Aus matches but now we dont get the post match stuff from NZ we go straight to a 50min build-up for Aus tests and in the SR we also no longer get any post match from NZ either. Of course I expect it to be pro Aus as its an Aus program but many non Aus buy Fox for the sports coverage and FOX presents their international coverage as a “point of difference” in their marketing. The simple facts are that if I cannot get what i want from PAY TV then I will go where I can get what I want and with the way things are going that will soon become an option via streaming and downloads. Fox sport was recently apportioned some blame for the way Rugby is seen in AUS and they are clearly not helping the way the fans engage with the game…..Ignoring the foreign market is at their peril as if you go to any rugby club in Aus you will find a large variety of nationalities running clubs or helping with coaching etc and also providing many new players. Many I talk to feel the same and are as close as I am to cutting their subscriptions and unless it gets back to where it once was then many will stop wasting $100 a month

          • June 19th 2018 @ 10:19am
            Sam said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

            Totally agree !
            I no longer watch the aussue internationals on Fox. The exception being the other internationals not involving Australia. I like the overseas commentary.

            The Channel 10 coverage is far more balanced … I’m so over the would be aussie legends on fox.

            • Roar Pro

              June 19th 2018 @ 10:31am
              Bakkies said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

              The worst thing about Ten’s coverage is the bloody ads.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 2:20pm
                Mariln said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

                Bakkies, who is the SA commentator who sounds like he’s 100 and in slow motion but is actually great to listen to? Is he an ex-player or what – I tried to google it but came up empty…thanks in advance if you know

              • Roar Pro

                June 20th 2018 @ 8:12am
                Bakkies said | June 20th 2018 @ 8:12am | ! Report

                You are thinking of Hugh Bladen. He was a provincial player back in the day from memory.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 11:53am
            WA Rugby nut said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

            Be very cool to get the sky sports NZ coverage here too ……..debatable the “fox legends” Tag Kafe played 12 games in the wallabies mostly as a speed bump for Lomu you wouldn’t know it though between him and kearns the amount of times they replay their personal highlight reels over and over again

            • June 19th 2018 @ 1:11pm
              Sam said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

              Legends in their own minds perhaps ?

              You could add Gregan’s one off tackle on Jeff Wilson as his one and only claim to fame.
              Chris Whittaker was a much better halfback

              • June 19th 2018 @ 7:09pm
                Joc said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

                Steve Merrick was better than both.

              • June 20th 2018 @ 8:44am
                Sam said | June 20th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

                Yes I agree but wasn’t he playing at a slightly earlier time ? It’s a pity he chose not to play more than his handful of tests

              • Roar Pro

                June 20th 2018 @ 8:13am
                Bakkies said | June 20th 2018 @ 8:13am | ! Report

                ‘Chris Whittaker was a much better halfback’

                Only people and the press based in Sydney would say that.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 2:28pm
            Wiremu said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

            I don’t need someone as biased as Greg Clarke and co. and widely known as the worst commentary team of any code in any country to tell me what is going on, so I fix that by using old mute button. Too bad Fox don’t seem to listen to their subscribers and give them the boot.

            • June 20th 2018 @ 3:14am
              Englishbob said | June 20th 2018 @ 3:14am | ! Report

              I find this a bit odd, in the UK we get the fox commentary teams and the home coverage for RC games. I’ve always quite liked Clarke and Marto, I can take or leave Kafe and Kearnsey is hard word. Shows how crap U.K commentary must be. On the third test, can’t see anything other than an Ireland win, I don’t know what it is about the wallaby games in the Melbourne stadium, the pitch always looks atrocious compared to ANZ and Suncorp and the NH team take advantage. Sadly, Ireland and by a head rather than a nose or whisker

              • June 20th 2018 @ 2:25pm
                Morsie said | June 20th 2018 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                Nah we just love nothing better than to hate our own, whether they’re ex-players or current players. Nothing they ever did on the field was any good (apparently) and nothing they do later in life will be any good either apparently.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 2:32pm
            KW said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

            Well said…McCustard and his fox cohorts are just embarrassing. Kafer sits there as a ARU employee bashing other teams as a commentator….how can he justify this? The continuous jingoistic commentary is embarrassing and the fact they are not actually being positive about the world game and rather focusses on negatives from overseas teams, especially NZ, is just so myopic. The whining and moaning is just typical of this mob that in most cases i just mute them!

            • Roar Pro

              June 20th 2018 @ 8:15am
              Bakkies said | June 20th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

              Clark is the only professional commentator. The rest have day jobs during the week and commentary is something to do on a weekend. They probably don’t even have notes with them.

          • June 20th 2018 @ 9:08am
            JOhn said | June 20th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

            Totally agree , I got rid of fox years ago because of Kearns and the idiot from Queensland. Refused to pay for biased reporting , wish I could do the same for the ABC and its bias .

            • Roar Pro

              June 20th 2018 @ 12:08pm
              Bakkies said | June 20th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

              You are going to have to reach far to find something that is not biased.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:16am
          Jacko said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          Yes its getting to the stage that as a Kiwi rugby fan, all FOX does is put cr-p on NZ rugby and no longer has the same coverage it once had…..Post match from NZ is no longer covered and “Kick and Chase: presents nothing but anti NZ bias. I have had Fox since 1997 but I can see the day very soon where I can no longer put up with the way the coverage is going

          • June 19th 2018 @ 9:41am
            One Way Street said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

            AWWWWWWWWWWWWW umm err arr umm err umm.. derrrrrrrrr.. Fox is Australian.. umm err arr ..umm err arr…derrrrrr.“Kick and Chase .Not from Niw Zulland. umm err arr… umm err arr…hehe

            • June 19th 2018 @ 10:02am
              Jacko said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

              Didnt mean to put 2 posts…the 1st one disappeared so wrote the second 1…then the 1st one came up after i could no longer get rid of it.
              Thanks for your reply 1 way st….great imput from you…any chance you could write an article as insightful stuff like that is in short supply on these pages. I guess the 200,000 NZers that pay for Fox to watch rugby means nothing to a business like FOX

            • June 19th 2018 @ 10:19am
              Jacko said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

              Any chance you could write an article ONE WAY ST…..those comments are so insightful. I guess the 200,000 kiwi supporters living in Aus that purchase Fox for the rugby dont mean anything to a business like FOX

              Apoligies on the 2 posts. the first 1 did not show so wrote another 1 …then there is the 1st…lol

              • Roar Pro

                June 19th 2018 @ 10:38am
                Bakkies said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

                Foxsports rarely show the NZ post match as there was a game on from Australia straight after.

                The Foxsports NZ Rugby coverage is far better than it used to be. You get the AB’s build up and interviews before the tests, pretty much every NPC game live and NZers interviewed prior to tests in Australia.

                Previously it was team sheets, anthems and haka then cut to the Wallabies after the post match presentation. You would be lucky to get one let alone two NPC games a week and Super Rugby coverage started just before kick off. There would be a brief segment from the Breakdown featuring the likes of John Drake, TJ and co on whatever Kick and Chase was called back then.

                Australian Schoolboys tests against NZ Schoolboys weren’t televised back then either.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 11:01am
                Jacko said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                They always used to show post match interviews with the Captains Bakkies…that has stopped now and it started happening over the last few seasons. Fox has the ability to help rugby and they dont seem to want to do that

              • June 19th 2018 @ 4:24pm
                double agent said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                Poor you Jacko. Not getting enough NZ rugby coverage on your Australian foxsports channel eh? It’s an outrage.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 19th 2018 @ 11:04am
            Mitch Gray said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

            You can always fly home…?

            • June 19th 2018 @ 11:35am
              Jacko said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

              Brisbane???????? Im there…no need to fly to where I am…wouldnt mind a nice scenic flight over the Morton Bay area then up over the Gold and sunshine coast hinterland…beautiful area’s

            • June 19th 2018 @ 11:55am
              adam smith said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

              Hahaha, says the descendant of a migrant. Hypocrite much?

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 1:09pm
                Mitch Gray said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

                Yeah, However, I am not complaining about the commentary of my adopted country. I live in France now for the past for ten years & I never complain about the Rugby commentary being in French. So, no I am not a Hypocrite.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 3:58pm
                Mapu said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

                To be fair French is really passionate and sounds good anyway without understanding.However your fly home comment makes you out to be an egg.

            • June 19th 2018 @ 12:10pm
              Akari said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

              So insular and then you promote yourself as a Rookie, MG.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 11:09am
          brian said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

          The Fox commentary is by far the most annoying. Actually it is downright appalling.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 5:38pm
          Timbo (L) said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:38pm | ! Report

          I watch Bray, Bourke and Sharpie on free to air.
          It tells a more realistic version of the story.

          Whinging about Folaustipation isn’t going to go anywhere.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 8:59am
        Kane said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        I’n not aware of any specific instance you’re referring to, but basically if you’re running a direct line to the ball you’re not blocking anyone.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:54am
          Cliff Bishkek said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Kane, the blocking of Folau is not the “running a direct line” to the ball. It is ensuring there are 2 players in a position or moving into a position that blocks Folau’s path. It is done very, very well and has been planned by Schmidt. It is illegal but the referee has a lot to look at and is difficult to pick when on the field.

          The AR’s should be able to pick it. Once the ball is put into the air, any player moving into the direct line of an opposition player, irrespective of the “degree of movement” is in the wrong.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:12am
            Ralph said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

            Standing your ground is not illegal, there are 30 players on the field and they all have to stand somewhere.

            Moving toward the ball is also not illegal.

            Only going out of your way to change your path, or moving off the ground you are standing for the purpose of blocking is illegal as I understand it.

            PeterK might be able to enlighten us all more (if I missed something ever).

            • Roar Rookie

              June 19th 2018 @ 11:56am
              Shane D said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

              The main thing that referees will look for in ‘blocking’ is an intentional move by a player to stop an opposition player from contesting the ball.
              Running back to get to the contest area or just being in the way is not normally going to draw a penalty.
              Standing & making sure you contact a chaser will draw the referees attention though!
              If I was a captain & my chasers were being impeded I would be in the refs ear about it pretty quickly mind you.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 5:46pm
                Faith said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

                The ref has to watch the contest. Unless he tells the assistants to watch that kind of play those calls won’t be made unless there is a block from a change of line which is actually usually called out … just smart Irish play. Folau just has to be more aggro. I think he retreats into his shell when the ball doesn’t go his way …

            • June 19th 2018 @ 7:20pm
              jcmasher said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

              You are 100% correct. Only if a player changes his line to block another is he doing an illegal action

          • June 19th 2018 @ 10:13am
            Henry Bourke said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report


            What Ireland are doing to “block” Folau is not illegal. They set their positions prior to the kick being made, aware of what Australia are trying to do with Folau and others. I suspect, although cant confirm, that teams have done it to Ireland to negate Irelands usual supremecy in this area and Ireland have learned from it.

            Murray Kinsella who writes for brillantly breaks it down here..


            • June 19th 2018 @ 10:18am
              Cliff Bishkek said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

              Thanks – understood!! But at times, there was movement – not towards the ball but into the direct path of Folau, small but noticeable but undetected by the ref of the ARs.

              Irrespective, the kicking of the Wallabies was very poor in this game.

            • Roar Pro

              June 19th 2018 @ 10:46am
              Bakkies said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              ‘I suspect, although cant confirm, that teams have done it to Ireland to negate Irelands usual supremecy in this area and Ireland have learned from it.’

              Wales and Scotland are strong in the air so Ireland have kicked less high balls.

              Schmidt likes to have two chasers one on each side of the ball to prevent counter attack and to also contest when kicking in to the wind. Ireland rarely concede counter attack tries as the kicks are the right length and the chase is accurate.

            • June 19th 2018 @ 5:55pm
              Faith said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

              What the excellent Kinsella analysis identifies is that for the perfect Folau catch and take off he needs a clear straight line gallop and once this is interrupted by obstacles (legal) because they are not blocking as they are far from the ball and have not changed their lines to stop him because they were already there means that it is perfectly legal (and very smart play) … what this doesn’t stop is the kick pass whose low arc means that the Irish players don’t have time to set and Folau can meet the ball in direct straight line and leap … Foley needs to go for lower arc kick passes rather than bombs and Folau will just be as impactful …

      • June 19th 2018 @ 7:07pm
        cross purposes said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

        Late hits???
        Tony Ward pointed out yesterday about the dangerous hits happening when Ireland cross the try line- Haylett-Petty kneeing Conway which ended his night and Foleys attempted studs on Furlongs hands as he scored.You are very vulnerable when trying to score and I was glad Ward pointed out the this dangerous foul play.
        So put a sock in it and stop the constant whining.There are two sides to it and we can all be a bit one eyed

      • June 19th 2018 @ 7:16pm
        jcmasher said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

        Mate as little ng as the player doesn’t change his line he’s doing nothing wrong or unlawful. I thought the biggest issue was Folau seemingly uninterested in working hard for the ball. It was almost as though “if the the kicks not perfect I’m not going for it”. Hope the intensity rises next week

    • June 19th 2018 @ 7:06am
      Sherry said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:06am | ! Report

      First rate report, Brett. Let’s hope your column after the Sydney game isn’t the reverse of your headline – The Ireland team we feared and the Wallabies team we expected. Any value in playing Hodge and moving him to the 10 spot on attack to get the punt high enough and shallow enough for Folau to become a weapon again?

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 2:42pm
        Cadfael said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

        Ireland should have started the first game with their top side barring injuries. They didn’t and were beaten. The second game saw a different Irish side out there but we also had the old Wallabies there as well.Ireland turned up with tighter tactics and the Wallabies did not have a plan B. Some great defence at times from the Wallabies and some slipshod stuff as well. we seemed to be devoid of tactics to counter the Irish.

        I belong to the dinosaur erea so my view is if points are offered, take them. If the penalty is missed, you should get the ball back. We were beaten by a better side on the night, end of story.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:50pm
          Ruckin' Oaf said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

          Ireland in the first test also managed to cross the line a couple o times without the try being awarded.

          There’s gotta be a little bit of luck in that.

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2018 @ 7:07am
      Kia Kaha said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      The Wallabies earned the right to stay unchanged for the second test.

      You might say, injuries aside, Cheika has earned the right to tinker with the side.

      Does he let Koroibete make up for his unnecessary tackle or does he put Hodge in?

      Hooper rarely plays a bad game but does that back row have enough sting in the tackle and line out efficiency. There are options but are they better than the starting back row so far?

      Cheika played with a lot of selections last year. Do you want to appear like you’re willing to try something new out or do you place faith in your players to bounce back from adversity? This series is just the tonic Australian rugby needed. What a cracker!

      • June 19th 2018 @ 7:26am
        Liquor said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

        Winning does not “earn” you the right to get a start the next week, it should be justified by your level of play.

        Ireland week one were missing quite a few great players and were definitely a weakened team, it was a case of the Wallabies playing a little bit better than normal and Ireland playing worse than normal.

        I think week two of the series is where both teams are at, the Wallabies are not that great and Ireland are very good.

        I think the Wallabies rely too much on unstructured play/intercepts and individual brilliance for points. This works on occasions and will sometimes even allow for a win over the All Blacks but it cannot be relied on for consistent performances.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 8:38am
          The Saint said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:38am | ! Report

          Well said, Liquor

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 8:53am
          stillmissit said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

          True Liquor and MA’s post below sums up my thoughts on what needs to be done.

          A few of us say it every time, but can we just show some respect for a team that has beaten us, then get wound up about a plan to fix them in the next game not whinge about ref’s etc.. In Ireland’s case, they beat us well last Saturday, this week will be the one to gauge the Wallabies commitment.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 19th 2018 @ 4:04pm
            piru said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

            A few of us say it every time, but can we just show some respect for a team that has beaten us, then get wound up about a plan to fix them in the next game not whinge about ref’s etc

            Second this

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 8:11pm
              The Saint said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

              Motion carried

              • June 19th 2018 @ 10:29pm
                ScottD said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:29pm | ! Report


        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 9:03pm
          Kia Kaha said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

          You are right, Liquor, that winning is not a guarantee of continued selection. NZ might ring the changes for the third test after a shabby performance.

          Cheika could’ve tweaked the team for wet rugby but the intensity and ferocity of the Wallabies unsettled the Irish. Selections don’t change that. You can only play what’s in front of you but the key was they fronted physically.

          That didn’t happen to nearly the same extent in the second test. So is that due to the difficulty of fronting up consecutively in the physical stakes or is it do with balance?

          A player like Dempsey is missed and Samu is the best available option at 6 because Cheika has made up his mind about Higgers.

          Hooper as captain makes his axing highly unlikely. When he double teams with Pocock, they can be a real nuisance but if Pocock is isolated from the breakdown, Hooper is much less of a threat.

          The Irish have powerful forwards and pose a big threat at the breakdown across the pack despite their notable absences.

          If Australia wants to utilize their running strengths, they have to win the collisions and breakdown contests. That requires aggression but it also requires securing enough possession so as not to allow Ireland to dictate terms and wear down the opposition through ball retention.

          Sometimes teams click on defence, sometimes they don’t. Selections don’t play so much a part in that. Attitude and heart count for a lot. Beale has shown he can tackle if he wants to and tackle well.

          On the halves front, there are options but none leaps out after Genia and Foley. To me this is the biggest area of concern for the Wallabies.

          The teams are quite even as they each have their own strengths. But it’s the possession and territory stakes that have to change if the Wallabies want to play to their strengths.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 8:24am
        Harry Jones said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        KK, I say:

        Play Izzy at 14 and DHP at 15
        Drop Poey or Hooper and bring in Higgers
        Keep Phipps as backup; start with Jake

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 8:32am
          stillmissit said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

          Harry: The 15 swap is essential, what about Higginbotham at 6 and Hooper to the bench?

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 8:50am
            Harry Jones said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

            Yes, I think that would be good. A real 8 with speed and mongrel. A real 7 nuisance with a bit of link. A speed man off the bench.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 5:00pm
            Cadfael said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            After the Irish nullified Pocock, I would be leaving Hooper there. Better value for the team.

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 5:44pm
              Timbo (L) said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

              Watch the Irish side commentary on this story.
              Their commentators talk about how It cost them a lot of resource to keep Poey at Bay.

              Hoops barely rated a mention. and the little space he got was gifted, not earned.

              Get a proper 6, Start 7.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 8:46am
          AJ said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

          For all this to happen we’d have to secretly bump off Cheik and replace him with some kind of replicant.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 10:55am
            moa said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

            @ AJ
            If you get that good-looking relicant from the 1st Bladerunner I might even start watching the pressers!

            • June 19th 2018 @ 10:56am
              moa said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

              Oooops! No edit function.

            • June 19th 2018 @ 11:47am
              AJ said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:47am | ! Report

              Mmmm not sure we can pass Darryl Hannah off as MC. We could program her to trash the coaches box….

              • June 19th 2018 @ 2:53pm
                moa said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                Sean Young!
                Her trashing the comms box might not look too out of place!

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 9:12am
          gatesy said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          Joe Powell for mine

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:35am
          Mzilikazi said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          “Drop Poey or Hooper and bring in Higgers”

          Hooper to the bench, Pocock as Captain at 7. I am not a “Higgers” fan, despite being a Qlder….would put many others in before him…Samu, Timu…even try Tui.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 12:45pm
            JP said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

            You`d put Ned “the beast ” Hanigan in before Higginbotham too i presume. Higgers is the best 8 /6 we have . No wonder we have lost the backrow battle against good teams the last 4 years when you blokes select like Michael Chieka selects. Angus Scott young ?.Okaaaaaaaaaay.

            • June 19th 2018 @ 4:57pm
              Dave_S said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

              Id have Higgs and Hanigan at about the same level now – peripheral to the squad as injury covers.

              I used to be a Higgs fan and was one of those calling for him to get more games from Cheika last year. But this year his carries and defence are both just adequate, and his work rate not particularly high.

              I’m not seriously suggesting ASY is WB material yet, but he’s been more effective than Higgs in those areas of late, plus he has the benefit of developing further. Higgs is not trending upwards.

            • June 19th 2018 @ 6:03pm
              Faith said | June 19th 2018 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

              Hanigan is a beast? Lol.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:46am
          JP said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          It`s a travesty that Scott Higginbotham wasn`t selected in the run on team,but that is because we all know north of the border that Michael Chieka has a personal fued with Scott.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 12:19pm
            Dave_S said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

            No it’s not a travesty – I’m with Mzilikazi, also as a Reds fan I wouldn’t pick Higgs, his form this year has been ordinary, and he has not really shine in a gold jersey. I’d pick Tui (or even Angus S-Y) if it was to be a Reds player.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 12:50pm
          jimbo81 said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          stop making sense – as if Cheika would ever do the right thing.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 8:30am
        stillmissit said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

        Kia: I would swap Folau for Haylett-Petty and put Hooper on the bench, Pocock to 7, Samu to 6 and Timu remain at 8. Latu to start and Paenga-Amosa to bench. Gordon to start at 9.
        Bring on Hooper in the 2nd half for Samu and Paenga-Amosa for the last 20mins. Not sure about Tupoa maybe play him all second half?

        Cheika will do none of this of course. He will start Phipps, keep Folau at 15 and Hooper the lesser of the failed experiment as captain and play 80mins.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 8:54am
          The Saint said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          Cheika has to move Folau to 14 and Heylett-Petty to 15. Hooper to the bench and Pocock to 7 and captain (as Genia will not be there). Samu at 6 and leave Timu at 8.
          Despite Samu being short in height for the ideal 6, he’s a better option than having both Pocock and Hooper on the field.
          Why not start with Tupou and give the young lad a go. The Wallabies need more go-forward through middle early in the game. Cheika can always go back to the tried & tested Kepu if things don’t pan out.
          Phipps shouldn’t start, but what other option with experience is there?

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 9:10am
            stillmissit said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

            The Saint: Agree with all you say apart from Phipps. Halfback is such a critical position that I would have no hesitation about starting Gordon and keeping Phipps on the bench.

            • June 19th 2018 @ 9:19am
              Fionn said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

              Weird how Joe Powell has outplayed both Phipps and Gordon in Super Rugby this season and yet we’re only discussing which Waratah halfback should start and which should come off the bench.

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 1:35pm
                stillmissit said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                Fionn: I thought last year that he and Stirzaca would be vying for the backup job behind Genia but neither has stepped up to the plate. Joe Powell is a gutsy half back but doesn’t appear to have a lot more go in the engine. Happy to be proven wrong, we certainly need a class halfback when Genia pull stumps.

              • June 20th 2018 @ 12:26pm
                One Way Street said | June 20th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report


                Cheikas selection creed

                ” When in doubt, select another Waratah “

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 11:00am
              The Saint said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              True that, Stillmist

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 9:13am
            gatesy said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

            Joe Powell.. remember him, Waratah people?

            • June 19th 2018 @ 9:41am
              Daveski said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

              Joe Powell ? Decent player. Hard to argue his best games this year have been better than Gordon’s best ( though admittedly he dropped off a little allowing Phipps to win his spot back ).

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 10:13am
              Ralph said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

              LOL – Keep popping it in Gatesy, they’ll hear eventually.

              • June 19th 2018 @ 10:23am
                Jacko said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

                Ruru for mine is the next best Aus half

            • June 19th 2018 @ 1:19pm
              jameswm said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

              Gatesy isn’t Powell already in the squad?

              • Roar Pro

                June 20th 2018 @ 8:46am
                Bakkies said | June 20th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

                Yes he is.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 9:39am
            Mzilikazi said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

            “Why not start with Tupou and give the young lad a go.” A fair point, Saint, but I would say that the big boy will give the WB”s best return coming on as an early second half impact player, both as a scrummager, and as a ball carrier/offloader.

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 7:59pm
              The Saint said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

              Good points Mzilikazi.
              However, impact players are too often brought on when the game is already lost… good timing is crucial.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:01am
            Russell Neville said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            Saint, I keep trying to think what are the qualities that Phipps has that Cheika admires and hence why he keeps picking him. He is fast and energetic and can make good cover tackles and can back up the ball carrier after a break has been made. But his main job as I understand it is passing from the back of a ruck and he is just too erratic and his defencing positioning at times is very questionable. He doesn’t seem to have awareness of when to run or where to pass to and how to construct attacking raids. I can’t really understand why Gordon and Powell are not being blooded.

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 1:38pm
              stillmissit said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

              In other words Neville he is just too dumb to play in that position as it demands some smarts and awareness.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 19th 2018 @ 2:27pm
                Russell Neville said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

                It would appear so, my description was perhaps a little too diplomatic. But what does his constant selection say about the coach?

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 8:00pm
                The Saint said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

                Good points Mzilikazi.
                However, impact players are too often brought on when the game is already lost… good timing is crucial.

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2018 @ 8:01pm
                The Saint said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:01pm | ! Report

                I hear you Russell Neville

              • June 19th 2018 @ 6:13pm
                Faith said | June 19th 2018 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

                His pass when Aussie is in attack or trying to exit puts everything off and creates risks. His excitability is great in attack but when Oz are scrambling its horrible tho his tackle on Earls was great. Then, just really poor decision making in key heated moments … then, of course there is his general village ‘Simple-Jack-in-Tropic Thunder’ idiocy …

        • June 19th 2018 @ 12:52pm
          jimbo81 said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report


    • June 19th 2018 @ 7:08am
      Adsa said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      Good morning Brett a great summary of the game and series to date. The big worry for Wallyb fans is that our coach similar to his no. 10 does not change tactics on the run. Ireland similar to England and Scotland have worked out how to beat the Green and gold as we keep doing the same thing. Clown has a big week coming up installing a plan b & c in the side. Saturday nights game will be an edge of the seat one.

      • Columnist

        June 19th 2018 @ 10:20am
        Brett McKay said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        Valid points about adaptability on the run, Asda…

    • June 19th 2018 @ 7:11am
      Drongo said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      I don’t think Folau is ‘rendered ineffective’. Better language would be to say that his opportunities were limited by smarter tactics. His potential to make a big play is still there and just as strong. His mere presence is dictating the oppositions tactics and hence limiting them.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 8:46am
        stillmissit said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        Drongo: their tactics didn’t seem to affect their play, in fact, it seemed to improve it. As tactics should.

        What tactics did we employ to nullify Sexton? I must have missed it……

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:23am
          Jacko said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

          You didnt nullify Sexton…And that down to tactics by the coaching staff….as many are saying…having a plan B or C

      • Columnist

        June 19th 2018 @ 9:25am
        Brett McKay said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        I absolutely agree, Drongo. Folau’s opportunities were limited by smarter tactics, thus rendering him generally ineffective for large portions of the game.

        Glad we’re on the same page.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 9:57am
          Drongo said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          Not really. ‘Every word should fit like a glove’. Best advice I ever got very early in my legal career. I did not see an ‘ineffective’ player. And I would not describe it so.

          • Columnist

            June 19th 2018 @ 10:18am
            Brett McKay said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            I should have guessed a point about semantics would be borne out of the legal world, Drongo.

            So here’s more semantics for you: you don’t have to be an ineffective player to be rendered ineffective. Look no further than Connor Murray in Brisbane.

            • June 19th 2018 @ 1:18pm
              Drongo said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

              I must concede that is a good point. Nice use of language there Brett. Not semantics, accuracy.

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2018 @ 2:15pm
              taylorman said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

              Watch it Brett, he’ll bill ya by the letter, spaces included🤣

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 3:15pm
            rebel said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

            Including handles.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 7:12am
      Sherry said | June 19th 2018 @ 7:12am | ! Report

      First class report, Brett. Let’s hope that your article next week won’t be a reverse of your headline – The Ireland team we expected and the Wallabies team we feared. Any value in bringing in Hodge and playing him at 10 on attack to get a high, shallow punt as a means to getting Folau back as a real weapon?

    , ,