The Wallabies team to win the decider in Sydney

ThugbyFan Roar Guru

By ThugbyFan, ThugbyFan is a Roar Guru


32 Have your say

    Wow, what a Test match that was in Melbourne! All congratulations to Ireland for such a great game.

    The Irish A side showed why they are rated the #2 side in the world, with their pack causing all sorts of strife in the lineouts and dominating the breakdowns.

    First up, no excuses the better team won and proved the old adage, “forwards win matches and the backs just determine by how much”.

    I said during the match blog the WB forwards were so starved of possession that they must have felt they were in Ethiopia. Let’s face it, its not like they didn’t know this was coming. The Joe Schmidt rule book is and always has been: “the other mob can’t score if you have the ball”.

    This leads to pressure, territory and eventually penalties which cost points or more territory. The Ireland forwards controlled the ball (and match) magnificently and took the WB out of the match with 68 per cent possession backed up with an accurate rush defence.

    After a week of planning the Irish countered and won the up-n-under kicking duels, mainly because they had the sense not to kick anywhere near Isreal Folau and were astute enough and well trained to have ‘legal blockers’ protecting their catchers. The Irish backline defended well but didn’t impress me that much in attack.

    To be really honest, I thought the score flattered the Wallabies. I was astounded that Bernie Foley didn’t pick up a yellow card for a knockdown in the 70th minute. If he had been the likely score would have been 26-14 to Ireland.

    So where do the Wallabies go from here? Despite Ireland’s overall superiority in the lineouts, both sides only lost one on their throw, though a lot of the Aussie wins on their throws were ‘dirty’ ball i.e.: a scramble.

    The props held their own in the scrums and in fact won the only tighthead against Ireland’s feed. However the WB were outmuscled and pushed around in the breakdowns and did really well to steal as much ball as they managed. That’s where the game was won and lost.

    There were some total brain explosions also, witness in the 33rd minute; Australia gets a penalty and Ireland have a forward on the yellow card chair. Well shoot me now! Bernie Foley and Michael Hooper instantly decide to run the ball.

    Anyone a nanosecond of neurone impulse in the cranium would have kicked 30m downfield for the line and run a lineout and maul or set move in Ireland’s territory. They must have thought it was a great play except they ended up with egg all over the face for (a) Ireland had already run back 10m and set their defence line across the park and (b) no-one else in the WB team knew it was on.

    So when Hooper gets tackled and isolated there are no WB players within cooee to contest the ruck. Result penalty against WB. That is just dumb dumb dumb rushed and playing into Ireland’s hand.

    Dare I suggest the major reason for this loss is that of the three backrowers, only David Pocock was in the ruck contest? He played a great game but had little help from his backrow partners-in-crime, this comes back to the team selection and coaching. The 6-7-8 combo has to have at least one good lineout merchant and two good ruck monkeys.

    David Pocock of the Wallabies

    Mike Hooper is there to tackle and run the ball but doesn’t have the weight/power to contest midfield rucks. Caleb Timu tackled well, ran the ball OK but was completely MIA at rucks, I never saw him go into one breakdown.

    He looked a bit of stage-fright and gave away three ridiculous penalties. So Pocock was effectively contesting on his own against three Irish ruck monkeys for a lot of the match. Add that forwards were running at Pocock to tire him and also tie him down in tackles so the next ruck or two were Pocock-free zones.

    I thought the WB props and locks went ok in the rucks but the new hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa, who carried the ball and tackled well, was a bit disappointing and often seemed last man into the ruck. Nice extra weight but usually way too late to be effective. He and Timu were hooked at half time, but the WB forwards were gassed by then.

    In effect I am saying “Its the rucks, Stupid! Hold parity there and WB should win easily”. So what to do? To have any chance in the third Test the Wallabies must counter the possession at the breakdowns. Make Ireland fight for every ball, attack their rucks with power, precision and don’t depend on just one person.

    Adam Coleman says he is fit to play in Sydney so the only change in the tight five that I would make is start Tolu Latu, as he is very good in rucks, and keep Paenga-Amosa as reserve. You lose weight in scrums but now have a rucking helper for Pocock. Caleb Timu has to be dropped, he is not ready for the big time yet.

    I would start Lukhan Tui as blindside flanker, he is good in lineouts and a hard man in tackles and rucks. For this match, and I stress just this match, I would start Peter Samu at openside and Pocock at #8 (Samu is the faster player) and move Hooper to the bench where his speed in the last 30 minutes would play havoc.

    My reasoning is Samu, Latu and Pocock attacking rucks would be a mighty weapon and Samu is far superior in the tough middle that Hooper.

    This is not an anti-Hooper rant as the Hooper tackling-Pocock first man into ruck combo works well but against 3-4 ruck artisans you need to hit the Irish with the kitchen sink. Would Cheika agree to this? Methinks there is more chance of Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson dancing together at the next Climate Change Fundraiser ball.

    Michael Hooper

    Michael Hooper of the Wallabies (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

    I would keep the 6:2 bench as injuries/tiredness is more likely to happen there. Bring in Ned Hanigan or Matt Philip as the reserve #5-6 hybrid to replace Tui. I would not start Hanigan as he is too soft into rucks and carrying the ball plus our lineouts were not the major problem.

    But give him his dues, he tackles well and has a big engine for the whole 80 minutes. You could also consider Matt Philip as he is tall, hard as nails and has experience at #6 and lock. Assuming Cheika doesn’t read The Roar and starts with Hooper then keep Peter Samu as the reserve back rower.

    The only other forward change I would consider is Alan Alaalatoa replaces Tom Robertson on the bench however Robertson hasn’t done anything wrong so will likely keep his spot on the bench.

    In the backs, perhaps swap Marika Koroibete with Tom Banks, speedy and a good defender against the kick-chase. Foley suggests that Nick Phipps and Joe Powell are the halfbacks for Sydney and that’s most likely the best of the rest.

    I thought the Wallabies backline looked pretty solid with Reece Hodge at #12 for the last 20 odd minutes, so you might see him kept as reserve Mr Fixit for the whole backlne bar halfback. If Kurt Beale is injured and cannot start, its a bit of a disaster.

    Hodge would start at inside centre and a forced smokey here to cover the #10-IC position. The only bloke with the class to cover there is Duncan Paia’aua.

    So a slightly harder team, better at ruck contests and play with brain switched ON, and no stupid penalties or dumb rushed plays. Its a team game, so come on WBs, lets play as a team.

    My team is
    Piggies: S.Sio, T.Latu, S.Kepu, I.Rodda, A.Coleman, L.Tui, P.Samu, D.Pocock.
    Handbags: N.Phipps, B.Foley, T.Banks, K.Beale, S.Kerevi, DHP, Izzy F.
    Bench warmers: B.Paenga-Amosa, A.Alaalatoa, T.Tupou, R.Simmons, N.Hanigan, M.Hooper, J.Powell, R.Hodge.

    Comments are welcome, all compliments accepted with beer and chocolates please, bricks and bats no thanks!

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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • June 19th 2018 @ 9:09am
      Rhys Bosley said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Agree on Latu and Tui for Pau’anga Amosa and and Timu, but not with dropping Hooper or Koroibete. Both had the worst games I have seen them play in gold, but remain great players. Point out the deficiencies in how Hooper and Koro played then send them back on with a point to prove. I would hook Kerevi from the 23 and give Rona a start though, Kerevi has been mostly ineffective this series, with lots of silly mistakes because he is always trying to get the big play. A cooler head is required at 13.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 1:00pm
        Fionn said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

        I wish Koroibete would develop more of a step and an idea of how to get involved but agree dropping him is very harsh. When used correctly he is a match winner. I would honestly have liked to see both Perese and Banks blooded off the bench this series to see how they compared as outside backs though.

        Can’t agree about Kerevi. He played a good game in test 1 and in test 2 was okay without being spectacular. Foley and Beale need to get the other backs more involved – Folau and Kerevi had some great touches in the last 10 mins, but where was that for the 60 mins?

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 1:21pm
        ThugbyFan said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        G’day Rhys, I tried to fit Curtis Rona in as I am a big fan of his but I wanted to minimise the changes. For mine, Rona reads the play better and runs to set up his winger or support, whereas Samu Kerevi takes one look and if its not an open line for his winger just puts his head down to make as much ground as possible. Dare I suggest Kerevi is more likely to make a break with the ball. In defence, I read some of Kerevi’s errors more as trying to cover dangerous situations from the B.Foley-K.Beale misreads in defence. And to be honest, Rona has made quite a few of really terrible misreads in defence also this year. He is no TK in defence.

      • June 20th 2018 @ 2:14am
        Joe Blow said | June 20th 2018 @ 2:14am | ! Report

        I absolutely agree on Kerevi. Twice in the first half he threw speculators off the ground and put us under even more pressure in our 22.
        We do not need a backline full of game breakers. There must be room there for a solid ball runner who defends well. Kerevis running has been sadly missing against top notch defence and his first instinct is to run sideways or back when faced with it. He is a flat track bully.
        I would put TK or Hodge at 13. Both know which way to take the ball and are defensively sound. Foley and Beale need someone besides Folau to put into holes.
        Koro is a good one. Bad mistake on the weekend but he puts the irish under a lot of pressure.
        The other forward I would consider is Arnold. He’s a monster built on running and aggressive tackling. Rodda was good on the weekend but Arnold can be better.
        Agree on Timu but would have him on the bench in place of Samu. We do not need a third short backorder in the 22.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 9:25am
      One Way Street said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      With Chuckles continued use of losers Foley Hooper and Phipps the Wallabies are up against it imeediatley . We know the team he will pick. The aforementioned duds will still be there. No chance !! Irish win easily.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 10:39am
        Cliff Bishkek said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        On your horse and go straight up the “One Way Street” and continue straight out of town and blow kisses goodbye!!!

        For a start, we are stuck with Foley – Cheika’s making – and nothing can be done. No one of similar capability in taking it to the line.

        Hooper, for mine, has been and should be always a bench player but must be in the 22. Pocock back to No. 7

        Phipps – no argument. We need to experiement with Powell or Gordon – Powell for me!!

        • June 20th 2018 @ 4:52am
          30mm tags said | June 20th 2018 @ 4:52am | ! Report

          Powell must fix the fumbles at the scrum base first. Otherwise he is 50 :50 within Jake Gordon. However James Tuttle is not even in the squad. A great pass, equal to the others, excellent defence, loves a dart from the scrum base and kicks goals far more consistently than Foley.

          • June 20th 2018 @ 6:03am
            riddler said | June 20th 2018 @ 6:03am | ! Report

            not true.. tuttle is not a better goal kicker than foley..

            if so, why was lance kicking when he is about 75% kicker..

            foley is 85% or higher this year for tahs and wallabies..

            opinions are free .. facts are not..

      • June 20th 2018 @ 6:04am
        riddler said | June 20th 2018 @ 6:04am | ! Report

        they are losers??.. let’s see your pool room to ol!

        • June 20th 2018 @ 9:52am
          One Way Street said | June 20th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          ^ Yes those 3 are the common denominator in a ” Losing team” ” Losing culture ” etc etc

    • June 19th 2018 @ 10:42am
      Cliff Bishkek said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      ThugbyFan – a little bit of clarification. In one paragraph you say bring in Tui and keep him as a blindside flanker. And yet in the next paragraph you say drop Tui for Hanigan or Philp. Hangian – no way – less effective and no guts. A weak lock or flanker – no impact. Been proved as ineffective. Philp on the bench an option but only if Tui kept as blindside flanker.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 1:13pm
        ThugbyFan said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        I can see how you interpreted it as that Cliff, but I meant otherwise. Tui moves from the bench to starter #6, so Hanigan or Philip to contest for that bench spot (replace Tui’s bench position). My blue mate, sorry for the confusion. After reading it this morning, I cringe with some of my typos. 🙂

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2018 @ 11:07am
      PeterK said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      You need more muscle on the bench, Simmons and Hanigan are too ineffective in contact.

      Assuming no new players are drafted into the squad my changes would be as follows.

      Bring Gordon in for injured Genia but Phipps did play well so he can start. Gordon IMO is a better impact player than Powell.

      Swap hookers so start Latu, Improves breakdown and scrum.

      Swap THP’s, starting Tupou, lets see how long he can have impact.

      Swap Timu and Tui. Timu is a better impact player off the bench. Need the muscle at the back end.

      Drop Koroiebete. Start Hodge on his wing bring Banks onto bench. Koroiebete has missed far too many tackles both games.

      Drop Robertson and replace with Alaalatoa. Need the extra muscle for the breakdown and tackling.

      Drop Simmons replace with Arnold on bench. Need the extra muscle for the breakdown and tackling.

      Drop Samu I don’t see any real benefit, he gets so little game time. Ideally I would replace with Higgs but that won’t happen so revert to a 5:3 bench.

      01 Sio
      02 Latu
      03 Tupou
      04 Rodda
      05 Coleman
      06 Tui
      07 Hooper
      08 Pocock (captain)

      09 Phipps
      10 Foley
      11 Hodge
      12 Beale
      13 Kerevi
      14 DHP
      15 Folau

      16 Paenga
      17 Alaalatoa
      18 Kepu
      19 Arnold
      20 Timu
      21 Gordon
      22 Kuridrani
      23 Banks

      • June 19th 2018 @ 12:55pm
        JP said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        1 Robertson
        2 Latu
        3 Kepu
        4 Simmons
        5 Coleman
        6 Hanigan
        7 Hooper (captain)
        8 Pocock
        9 Phipps
        10 Foley ( vice captain)
        11 Hodge
        12 Beale
        13 Rona
        14 DHP
        15 Folau

        16 Paenga
        17 Alaalatoa
        18 Tupou
        19 Rodda
        20 Tui
        21 Gordon
        22 Maddocks
        23 Banks

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 1:58pm
          ThugbyFan said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          JP, are you some Irish spy or sycophant? I read a Ireland 44 WB 6 scoreline in that team.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 1:49pm
        ThugbyFan said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        Hi PK, not a bad team and our starters almost agree. I can wear Uncle S.Kepu swapping with T.Tupou and I suspect it will happen permanently soon. In Tahs matches this year, Kepu has been blowing hard by the 25th minute but with multiple medics, he generally lasts till about the 50th minute.

        I dropped C.Timu because he has been totally ineffective in clearing rucks, on Saturday I did not see his baldy head once in a breakdown. Yes his big body is good for runs but I want 2-3 people who can attack rucks effectively, not all at the one time but basically every ruck a WB player has hands on the ball and is contesting. it also means the Irish cannot just aim at one player (D.Pocock) and wipe our counter-rucking off the table, which is what happened in Melbourne and how the AB/SA counter the danger of Pocock. Its why I put P.Samu as starter, but kept Michael Hooper as reserve. Hooper has the speed to get to rucks 1st but can be shifted by cleanout, and even he cannot do that for the whole 80 minutes. P.Samu is much harder to move, so he starts. But imagine, Pocock or Samu goes flat out for 55-60 minutes then you bring on a fresh M.Hooper. Peter Samu got 20 minutes on Saturday, so I am simply swapping the better ruck monkey for the speed merchant Hooper.

        Despite his size Rory Arnold is not that good at lineouts whereas Rob Simmons is great. Arnold also is a bit of a sloth around the field. Simmons is soft in contact but very good in defence, he rarely misses. I guess Ned Hanigan is now a Simmons-Lite which is why I suggested Matt Philip. I only just realised I made an error in my article as I put Hanigan in the reserves, I meant M.Philip as he is mean and goes hard in defence and rucks. So Simmons and Philip as reserve 4-5-6 which covers lineout also.

        I kept R.Hodge as reserve to cover the whole backline bar ½back. So Tom Banks, who can fill the wing/fb quite nicely and has good speed starts. I am just hoping that Kurtly Beale is fit to start, he looked pretty ginger when they pulled his off the field on Saturday.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 9:19pm
        Rolando said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

        Need Simmons for his line out skills, ability to cover 4 and 6. Arnold and Kerevi are not international standard. They’ve had their chances. They both excel at Super level but not beyond. Matt Philip and Rona are better.

        Koriibete is talented and green but has great attitude. If he can be coached into playing smarter I’d stick with him. Reece Hodge is more of an AAC utility player who we need off the bench till it becomes clear that he can own one particular position.

        Can’t not start without Hooper unless a new captain is chosen. Pockock missed the gun, Genia is too narcky. Coleman I would prefer.

        Forget Hiiginbotham. He, like Fardy, can undermine a teams momentum with dumb penalties and yellow cards. Neither are big team players.

    • Roar Guru

      June 19th 2018 @ 12:17pm
      Machooka said | June 19th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

      Thanks Thugby for an interesting read but I’m struggling with the line… ‘It’s the rucks Stupid! Hold parity there and WB should win easily.’

      If only it were that simple!?! 😉

      But I will say that if da Wallaby can miraculously compete in this area, retain some quick effective possession, our backs will score. And if this happens we Wallaby could win the game. But… ??

      As to your suggested changes; firstly I can’t see Hooper, who I believe had a off game in Melbourne, being on the bench to start the game. Although, the thought of Tui at 6, to go nuts and soften-up the Irish, does have appeal.

      Frankly, and I’ve been saying this for yonks, it’s the lack of genuine 8 that is of greatest concern for me now… and likewise, into the future. Until we find the genuine article we will always struggle to find ascendancy.

      Anyhoos… this is in noway a ‘bricks and bat’ comment, nor do you get the ‘beer and chocolates’! 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 2:11pm
        ThugbyFan said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

        G’day Chookman, wow not even an egg or two? 🙁

        Sadly C.Timu just didn’t cut the mustard. Like you I was mega pleased that he got the nod, but he has failed to deliver over 2 games in the rucks. He wasn’t even cleaning out players, just stood there in the line waiting for the next Irish ball carrier to come near him. A good #8 has to to attack rucks, if he can’t win the ball then he has to hurt people when cleaning out. He didn’t do that so bye bye.

        I know its a big call dropping Hooper but the main idea is so the Irish forwards cannot just aim at taking out one player all the time. Get 3 fetchers attacking their (and our) rucks and its a contest for every ruck. To be sure Ireland will lose some and give penalties away trying to protect their rucks, especially if the referee is asked prematch to watch their flops over the ball. If the WB can win 10% more ball (conversely Ireland has 10% less) then the WB attack will tear them to shreds.

        It’s why I said “Its the rucks, Stupid”. You cannot go into a match and let the opponents steamroll your breakdowns and hope to win on 30% of the ball and bu99er all territory. Do that and you will be lucky to win 1 in 10 matches. Take that advantage off them and we are in with a good show. 🙂

        • Roar Rookie

          June 19th 2018 @ 3:43pm
          Dwards said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          Was he not clearing on orders though? He’s a young new guy – less likely to adapt under pressure.

        • Roar Guru

          June 19th 2018 @ 3:48pm
          Machooka said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

          Thugby, I totally agree with your last para eh Stupid! 🙂

          No, in all seriousness, it was the ‘WB should win easily’ thingy that I was actually referring to. The battle at the breakdown/ rucks are the keys to success or failure without a doubt.

          I even put it out there, prior to the tour starting, that there could be the chance that both sides would possibly neuter each other in this key area, but it didn’t happened.

          No, da Wallaby bested in the 1st Test, while the Irish owned us in the second Test. Had my theory (for want of description) worked, I then felt da Wallaby would have the edge with their back play, living off the scraps of possession.

          I’m really hoping the 3rd Test is going to be a cracker… but I do have real doubts da Wallaby is up it, especially for what’s coming from the Irish. Sadly.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 1:01pm
      Fionn said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

      I quite like your team, mate, but am still opposed to the 6-2 split on the bench I think. If we do have a 6-2 split I’d much prefer Timu to Hanigan.

      Just my two cents.