Toomua makes appearance in Bledisloe trial

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    Matt Toomua has made a surprise appearance as well as a late push for a Wallabies bench spot in a Bledisloe Cup trial game at Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval.

    Toomua, who on Wednesday signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Australia and the Melbourne Rebels, started at five-eighth in the Cheika’s Choice team chosen by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, in their 57-12 win over an Australian Super selection.

    Toomua kicked three conversions and directed play well before coming off in the 52nd minute, the same time as Cheika’s captain David Pocock.

    There had been doubt over whether Toomua, who is also contracted to English club Leicester, was eligible to play in the game and the man himself didn’t want to talk after the match.

    “He’d been back in Australia for a bit, but I didn’t know what I was going to do there and I sort of called it last minute,” Cheika said.

    “Because I think it would be good for him to get some time, especially if he’s going to be available to play in the first competitive match, that being the Bledisloe.”

    Halfback Will Genia played most of the second half in his first game for almost seven weeks after breaking an arm in the June Test series against France.

    He set up a try for Jordan Petaia with a neat crossfield kick and moved around the field well.

    “I knew I’d done the work in terms of my conditioning to be up for it and I just feel a lot better for having that hit-out,” Genia said.

    Cheika felt the trial was a worthwhile exercise and was pleased with the efforts of several players, including forwards Lukhan Tui, Jermaine Ainsley and fullback Tom Banks, who saved two tries and scored one.

    “It was a physical game and some of our established players got to get a good hit-out,’ Cheika said.

    “Some of our newer players or some guys who are on the fringes or haven’t been selected in the June series, I think put their hands up.”

    Utility back Reece Hodge had a solid game in the outside centre spot, which is up for grabs after injuries to Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani.

    “Curtis (Rona) will come in now probably to the squad and they (he and Hodge) will compete for that position,” Cheika said.

    “We’ll have a look at a few other options, but you’d have to think it’s narrowing down to between those two guys.”

    Prop Scott Sio came off the field early as a precaution after aggravating a shoulder issue he brought into camp.

    The trial also marked the return to rugby of Wallabies prop James Slipper, who put in a solid shift fort the Super side in his first hit-out since completing a two-month ban for violating Rugby Australia’s illicit drugs policy.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (63)

    • August 4th 2018 @ 9:38am
      jameswm said | August 4th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      Anyone there?

      • August 4th 2018 @ 12:32pm
        Daveski said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        Was a good night. Quick thoughts;

        Decent crowd, plenty of kids and great to see players like Foley, DHP, Alan A and Phipps at the main gate mingling and chatting with fans and taking heaps of photos.

        For the “Wallabies” Banks was absolutely outstanding. Maddocks and Marika sharp whilst Pocock, Tui and Timu stood out for me in the forwards.

        For the challengers I thought Hardwick was great and Matt Philip toiled hard as always.

        None of the front Rowers really stood out. Not a heap of scrums but the ones that were,were pretty messy.

        Deegan had limited good possession to work with but showed enough to suggest he’d be more than competent at Super rugby level. Toomua was rusty early but played his way into the match pretty well.

        The battle of 13s was probably a draw. Hodge had a lot more good ball to work with but English did ok. Neither was brilliant.

        Great to see no real injuries.

        Play of the night was Banks turning and chasing Sorovi from 55m out and just flying at the end to tackle him over the sideline. Highlights up on and well worth a look.

      • August 4th 2018 @ 2:09pm
        Morsie said | August 4th 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

        I was there, absolutely brilliant evening. Great crowd (would love to know what it was) and some excellent high tempo rugby. Nasarini was a monster, the outstanding back rower on the field closely followed by Hardwick who was excellent. I thought Hodge was overshadowed and had a fairly quiet night, he is not a player who sets up the play around hime. There was some excellent play by all the halves. Korobiete has amazing foot speed, Matt Phillip can hold his head high. Scrums were poor, I don’t know why.

        Maddocks, English, and Banks are Wallabies in waiting and may be there sooner rather than later

        For me the outstanding player of the night was James Slipper, (in that he really stood out) he absolutely ripped in like a man with a lot to prove. I really hope he’s not lost to Australian rugby.

        Hard to keep track of the players though. Who was the giant young lock playing for Cheika’s team and the left winger with the blazing feet for the Super team?

        Toomua was controlled rather than slick.

        Please let it be an annual event.

        • August 4th 2018 @ 2:12pm
          Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

          If Thorn doesn’t want Slipper he should go to the Waratahs or Rebels. Both could really use him, and he is too good of a player for the Wallabies to lose him.

          • Roar Guru

            August 4th 2018 @ 2:25pm
            PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

            I would still choose Slipper in the wallabies ahead of Robertson if he is mentally ok and ready to play at that level.

        • August 4th 2018 @ 3:15pm
          Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

          Morsie I heard a crowd number of 10 or 12k from the commentary. If they make it an annual match I could imagine it building to 20k over time.

          • August 4th 2018 @ 3:33pm
            Morsie said | August 4th 2018 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

            Thanks Dave, my call was 10k or so. I don’t live in Sydney so am not up with battles of the inner city suburbs but I sat with a mate from Leichhardt and he told me they nearly lost the oval to developers. Its a case of use it or lose it seems. I don’t know whose idea it was to put it on there but they deserve a big pat on the back. Its a lovely ground.

            If you look at the clip of Banks’ running down Sorovi its very clever. He knows he’s got him covered but also knows that if he tackles him from behind he’s probably going to slide over the try line and score. He actually comes in field a little to give him sufficient angle to drive him out over the other line, the touch line. Well played.

            • August 4th 2018 @ 4:15pm
              Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

              Morsie, there were at least a couple of good try savers from Banks if I remember correctly, ran down Hardwick too, who is not slow and had a good headstart.

              Agree its a shame to see traditional grounds under pressure, there’s no ‘economic efficiency’ in lining the pockets of developers and associated crooks. Important that they become multi-use sport and leisure spaces as much as possible.

          • Roar Rookie

            August 5th 2018 @ 2:49am
            tsuru said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:49am | ! Report

            Toward the end of the game the commentators said the official attendance was 9K plus.

        • August 4th 2018 @ 4:32pm
          Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

          Harry Hockings was the giant young lock playing for Cheika’s team – young Reds lock who is coming on nicely. The the left winger with the blazing feet for the Super team was Filipo Daugunu, also a Reds youngster coming along very nicely.

    • August 4th 2018 @ 10:04am
      MelR said | August 4th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      Matty turning up has suddenly reminded me that Cheiks has been told already by Castle that the Wallabies success is gauged by their performance in the bledisloe!interesting times peeps!!!

    • August 4th 2018 @ 11:02am
      Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      Please, Cheika, don’t go for Rona at 13. I think he is still learning the nuances of that position in defence.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 4th 2018 @ 11:20am
        Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

        How did you rate English and Hodges on last night, Fionn. Points decision to English I think.

        • August 4th 2018 @ 11:43am
          Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

          I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to watch it.

          How was it?

          • Roar Rookie

            August 4th 2018 @ 12:21pm
            Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

            Entertaining game and a worthwhile exercise I think. Banks definitely pressed his claims for the test series.

            Deegan looks the goods too, wish he’d come to the Reds (although Stewart improved again).

            Hardwick the most impressive of the forwards “possibles”, although Poey showed he’s still a class above the younguns

            Toomua seemed a little rusty or something but generally good, will have bagged a spot in the 23.

            Petaia grabbed a speccy for a good try.

            Sorovi showed a bit of class, has some wheels too – Banks ran him down but others wouldn’t have caught him (there’s a video of it on Roar)

            Couple of good carries from Timu will have caught Cheikas eye

            • Roar Guru

              August 4th 2018 @ 12:31pm
              PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

              If Pooper starts then Timu should be on the bench due to lack of lineout ability compared to Tui.

              Personally I would start both Tui and Timu and Pocock at 7 (and captain) Hooper on the bench.

              With the starting pack being Sio, TPN, Tupou (Kepu needs a rest), Coleman, Rodda / Arnold (one starting one bench), Tui, Pocock, Timu it is very physical and powerful at the scrum, Lineout, breakdown, maul. Just lacks a bit of pace but the Wallabies could outpower the AB’s and play it through the middle and just retain the ball.

              I would actually start Banks since DHP is a liability against the AB’s.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 12:35pm
                Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                Still unconvinced by Tui’s speed as a starter at 6. He played there a few times for the Reds in the latter part of the season I think and got a bit found out.

                Having Arnold in the second row should help our line out (although not defensively) as he is just virtually unbeatable when thrown to due to his height.

                Real shame Dempsey hasn’t come back as he was very good in that position.

                I wonder whether Holloway might be a bolter.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 4th 2018 @ 12:50pm
                Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                Is Tui any slower than Fardy, though? If you play a reasonably mobile 7 and 8, I don’t think Tui’s pace is that much of a risk. His added physicality is an upside that’s attractive esp against the ABs

              • Roar Guru

                August 4th 2018 @ 12:43pm
                PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                I would much prefer Holloway to Hanigan.

                However on the forwards I want powerful forwards who can handle the in tight exchanges and get over the ad line and not be driven back. Holloway plays loose , a bit better playing at lock, but he still was found out for lack of power against crusaders and Lions.

                With Banks , Koreibete, Beale, Foley and Folau there is enough pace in the backline that you can sacrifice some pace at 6 (especially if both Hooper and Pocock start).

              • August 4th 2018 @ 12:53pm
                Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                Fair points, guys.

                I suspect Fardy would have been a little quicker, being significantly lighter, but you’re possibly right. He certainly did well against Ireland.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 4:30pm
                Yenda Ad Enthusiast said | August 4th 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

                PeterK aren’t you worried that workrate may take a hit with Tui and Timu combining with Poey? Breakdowns and muscle won’t be an issue but I’m worried about players making half breaks and being isolated with a slowish yet strong backrow unable to reach them in time. The All Blacks have turned the ball over time and time again in these scenarios over the last years, IMHO we have a backrow stock of :
                Phillip (unsure of pace)
                Tui (unsure of pace)
                Timu ( quick for his size but slow)
                Poey( not entirely sure?)
                Holloway (Quick)
                Dempsey (unsure, but looks ok)
                Hooper (we all know about his speed)
                Cottrell (not quick)
                Hardwick (only undone by banks so clearly isn’t a spring chicken)

                Balancing Pace and Power what is your backrow and bench PeterK? Interested to know.

              • Roar Guru

                August 4th 2018 @ 5:39pm
                PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

                YAE – Work rate, if you mean in tackling and breakdown work then Pocock, Tui and Rodda will manage that.

                This is one reason I would start Rodda ahead of Arnold who has a lower work rate and is slower.

                Pocock manages to get to breakdowns out wide, he is quicker than people give credit.

                As for support play Foley and Pocock can run after breaks.

                Sure Hooper adds to this area but it is a tradeoff.

                With 2 opensides the lineout is too weak against the AB’s Maul defense suffers, the scrum is weaker.

                My pack that I would look at first is

                01 Sio
                02 TPN
                03 Tupou
                04 Coleman
                05 Rodda
                06 Tui
                07 Pocock
                08 Timu

                a 6:2 bench
                16 Latu
                17 Alaalatoa / Slipper / Robertson (in that order of availability)
                18 Kepu
                19 Arnold
                20 Holloway
                21 Hooper

                This adds pace for the last 20 mins

                a 5:3 bench drop Holloway since Tui can move into lock.

            • August 4th 2018 @ 12:31pm
              Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

              Just watched the highlights. Deegan and Banks looked good! Deegan’s cut out passes were on point, and Banks really demonstrated that he is a good defensive fullback too, not just in attack. I didn’t realise Sorovi had that sort of speed, Banks really went all out to catch him didn’t he?

              I would like Deegan to come to the Brumbies personally… The Reds already have Paia’aua and Stewart, whereas we just have Lealiifano.

              What I found weird was Toomua going for the right footed chip in heavy traffic. I guess the match was played with the Barbarians sort of style as opposed to seriously?

              • Roar Rookie

                August 4th 2018 @ 12:41pm
                Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                I just watched the highlights too, yes Deegan and Banks were good. Deegan has a really nice long accurate pass, and also commits the defence with his own running. I’d only seen him briefly before this and watched him all night on your recommendation – big call I know but he is my next WB 10.

                Wasn’t a typical Bass game, but was quick and open thanks to some sensible reffing. And plenty of willing defence. But the Super XV obviously suffered in defence from limited preparation.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 12:44pm
                Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                Deegan shows how bad Aussie Super Rugby talent spotting is, doesn’t he?!

                I hope you’re right, it would be great for the kid 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                August 4th 2018 @ 12:46pm
                PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

                Deegan is the light at the end of the tunnel, a genuine young playmaker coming through.

                I would prefer him to go the brumbies than reds as well since he could learn a lot off CLL.

                Stewart is just a workman like journeyman.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 4th 2018 @ 12:52pm
                Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

                Agree it would be better for Aus for Deegan to go to the Brums. Duncan P will provide enough playmaking for the Reds next year

              • August 4th 2018 @ 7:43pm
                Sheikh said | August 4th 2018 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

                You all keep your hands off Deegan – he’s doing very nicely where he is, thanks!

          • Roar Rookie

            August 4th 2018 @ 2:14pm
            Paul D said | August 4th 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

            There is a full replay available on

            • August 4th 2018 @ 2:30pm
              Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

              Thanks mate!

              • August 4th 2018 @ 4:25pm
                numpty said | August 4th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

                Just watched the replay. I thought that Jake Powell provided alot of crisp service in his short cameo, would’ve been nice to see him out here for a bit longer. Sorovi is coming along nicely too although he hasn’t sorted his box kicks out yet. I also thought Meakes performed well. Dunno how/where he would fit in the WBs but always turns out a solid performance. Rebels will have a very threatening backline next year in:
                9 genia
                10 toomua
                12 meakes
                13 english
                11/14 Korobeite/maddocks
                15 hodge

          • Roar Rookie

            August 5th 2018 @ 2:59am
            tsuru said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:59am | ! Report

            Fionn, the full game is still up on the website. It’s just hidden in the middle of the article “FULL REPLAY: Toomua returns in Wallabies warm-up win,” I got fooled at first as they had a highlights video at the top of the page.

        • Roar Guru

          August 4th 2018 @ 12:21pm
          PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          Dave_S – I agree English in a well beaten side outperformed Hodge head to head.

          For the rebels English has been better at 13 than Hodge as well.

          It is a pity Cheika doesn’t seem to even consider English for 13.

          Against the AB’s who make less contested kicks against wingers but have fast strike power outwide DHP is a liability, his defence is quite poor and he is too slow. If Hodge is at 13 then IMO Banks needs to be at 11.

          I would prefer Folau on the wing but that won’t happen.

          Against Boks who do use contested kicks against the wings often then DHP would be a good choice as a winger. Of course Cheika doesn’t believe and doesn’t take things like this into consideration.

          Also I would sleect both Tui and Timu at 6 and 8 and Pocock at 7 but that won’t happen. So if Pooper is selected then Tui should be the 6 since he is better in the lineout than Timu. Timu on the bench not Samu.

          • August 4th 2018 @ 4:16pm
            Bodger said | August 4th 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

            Hodge plays well outside of Beale, will be a different animal come first Bledisloe. He needs to be a ball carrier at 13 and outside Beale that will be his role and he does that well. He runs great lines, has size and speed and he doesn’t lose the ball like he use to. First choice now has to be. Banks will replace DHP on the wing, certain in my mind

            • Roar Guru

              August 4th 2018 @ 5:23pm
              PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

              there are plenty of strike player, ball carriers in the backline.

              13 needs to organise the defense and be a good defender especially with Beale inside him and Koirebete / DHP outside him.

              Hodge is not good in this area and a lot of breaks by the AB’s will be made through midfield.

              Rona isn’t any better.

              English would be the best for this. Cheika though will focus on attack and yes he will probably select Hodge (which is a better choice than Rona).

              • August 4th 2018 @ 8:27pm
                Numpty said | August 4th 2018 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

                Hodge is a good one on one physical defender. The question will be whether he has the decision making ability to rush stay back etc. I think he is worth a go there, reminds me of mortlock. Good ball runner stands up straight and is more likely to base the ball on than tk or kerevi.

        • August 4th 2018 @ 1:34pm
          Cynical Play said | August 4th 2018 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          Neither impressed me to the point you would give the 13. Hodge was missing, and missed easy kicks. Give 13 to Toomua. Rona not ready.

          • Roar Guru

            August 4th 2018 @ 2:28pm
            PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

            Toomua is too small if you have Foley and Beale inside him. He is only 91 kg and 182 cm

      • Roar Rookie

        August 4th 2018 @ 11:21am
        Paul D said | August 4th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        And Hodge isn’t? I like English too, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not a specialist 13 really either and has been in and out of there and wing alot also.

        With TK and Kerevi (who also incidentally isnt a long term specialist there either) we are short of experienced 13’s. Rona hasn’t been bad, just a couple of poor reads in a couple of games over a generally good year.

        Whether its Rona or Hodge or English, i think it wont be a big difference.

        Rona is the better tackle buster, line bender and good defender. but is slow and prone to a bad read.

        Hodge is faster, runs great lines and brings a boot, but his 1 on 1 tackling isnt great and he makes the odd poor read too.

        English is a more level contender without excelling in any single area. But is apparently pretty fast they say. I havent seen him in open space often though as he’s not as good at finding holes as the other 2.

        I think any one of them will get the job done without being the game breaker that TK and Kerevi can be.

        • August 4th 2018 @ 11:32am
          Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

          I don’t agree. I haven’t been at all convinced by Rona’s defence whatsoever.

          I know you tend towards Waratahs, but the Tahs’ midfield hasn’t been up to it defensively at Super Rugby level (yes, the Waratahs were the best Australian team, but that was based on attack, not defence). Rona’s form has also collapsed the last few weeks.

          English or Hodge please. From what I’ve seen (especially in the second half of the season) Hodge is certainly a better defender than Rona. And please don’t give me any raw stats in return. I’ve seen Hodge defend well at 12, and defend well at international level. I cannot say the same for Rona.

          • Roar Guru

            August 4th 2018 @ 12:25pm
            PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

            Fionn – I agree.

            Rona has been poor at 13 considering he has Foley and Beale inside him to provide good ball and put him into space.

            His defence has been poor as well against the better sides.

            IMO English is the best choice as a good link player and he is the best organiser of the defence at 13 out of the 3. Hodge defends ok for himself but doesn’t talk to the winger or 12 inside him to help organise the defence.

            I would have Hodge ahead of Rona though.

            With Hodge starting, imagine you could drop Foley and go with a Beale Toomou 10 12 combo, I know Cheika won’t even try this but he should.

            • August 4th 2018 @ 12:33pm
              Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

              I really like English. He doesn’t go looking for glory, but does the basics very well. Won’t hog Foley/Beale/Folau, but will make the defence stronger, and will be willing to pass to them when they’re ins pace too rather than looking to run himself.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 4th 2018 @ 12:46pm
                Dave_S said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

                Has English gone up a notch this year? He’d not really caught my eye previously

              • August 4th 2018 @ 12:52pm
                Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

                Yeah, I dunno, Dave, but I tend to agree. I do wonder whether that’s the case or if he is just one of those guys that are chronically underrated?

              • Roar Rookie

                August 5th 2018 @ 3:13am
                tsuru said | August 5th 2018 @ 3:13am | ! Report

                Am I wrong in thinking English has been playing all the time at 13 for 2 seasons now?

            • August 4th 2018 @ 2:52pm
              Luke Ringland said | August 4th 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

              I was at the game. I thought Hodge looked pretty good. Some nice touches to put others into space. I expect him to start there against the ABs.

        • August 4th 2018 @ 3:20pm
          Frank said | August 4th 2018 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

          We ain’t going to beat the AB’s until we get serious about CONSISTENT defence across the park (technique, committment and hunger). Get the defence right and the rest takes care of itself, particularly with guys like Beale and Folau. Show the wallabies crusaders in tonight’s game, when it finishes watch it again. Perhaps add Brad thorn to the mix. Just my thought anyway

          • Roar Rookie

            August 4th 2018 @ 3:26pm
            Paul D said | August 4th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

            Because the Reds defence was so awesome this year wasn’t it…….

          • August 4th 2018 @ 3:58pm
            Bodger said | August 4th 2018 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

            Where were the defensive issues in the June series? How many tries did the Irish score going through the back line defence?

            • August 4th 2018 @ 4:35pm
              Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

              You’re not seriously comparing Ireland’s attack to the All Blacks…?

              • August 4th 2018 @ 5:13pm
                Bodger said | August 4th 2018 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                Where did I? Just once?

                What I will say is we had minority ball, had to do significantly more defence than the Irish and how many try’s did our backs leak. Our outside backs defence was decent. Against the ABs we don’t want to be doing that quantity of defence, that is where our biggest improvement will come, less defence; good, more ball; good. So yeah bang on about something you want to believe is currently our big problem, but it won’t be Hodge’s or Rona’s defence that lose us the Bledisloe.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 5:37pm
                Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

                More possession and territory does not by itself equal more points. That’s been disproven time and again.

                I think you’re dead wrong. The improvement in Bledisloe 1 last year coincided with when TK came on. We’ve got a defensively weak 10-12. We need to go with a strong defensive 13.

              • Roar Guru

                August 4th 2018 @ 5:42pm
                PeterK said | August 4th 2018 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                Fionn – But neither Hodge or Rona are strong defensive 13’s.

                This is the major reason I would select English at 13 best defender, and as good an attacker as Hodge at 13. Rona has the best attack at 13 but probably because he has Beale inside him.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 6:08pm
                Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

                It’s the reason I’d choose English too. Hodge second, and Rona third.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 6:51pm
                Bodger said | August 4th 2018 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                I thought we were talking about defence? If you only have 40% of the ball means you are doing 50% more defence, so you are saying that doesn’t matter? What does that equate to in real terms? Physical expenditure, missed tackle count, opportunities for the opposing team, number of opportunities with the ball in good field position etc etc. Outside cetntre’s defence in isolation is not as important if you are dominating possession now is it? The outside centre’s defence in isolation isn’t what will lose us the games if we only have 40% of the ball.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 6:59pm
                Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

                I looked at a bunch of internationals and in over 50% of the matches the team that had more possession and territory lost.

                The data makes it look like teams get burned off counter attacks more. I don’t think the possession/territory thing is nearly as important as having an outside centre that can be counted on to defend, especially off counter attacks.

                Look at it this way, if we have 50% possession with a poor defending 13 we will concede way more points than 50% possession with a strong defending 13. Defence wins matches.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 6:58pm
                Bodger said | August 4th 2018 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

                Why we lost Bledisloe 1 last year was certainly not 13s fault. NZ came out firing, Australia’s crazy defensive plan swapping players meant there was no cohesion. The defensive errors in 13 when Kerevi was on was lack of cover from his team mates, he made tackles and then had to sprint to the other side to fit into where they wanted him, backline was standing off in defence and inside players not taking their man quickly enough. It wasn’t 13 fault in isolation by any means… The way we played against the Irish was totally different, hence far less pressure on 13.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 7:12pm
                Bodger said | August 4th 2018 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

                Ah that old cliche, defence wins matches. I think you will find for the Wallabies it’s been proven our attack wins matches. Our defence was very good against the Irish, they didn’t score many points, did we win? If we had more ball and more opportunities and didn’t have to do so much defence would we have won, can’t say for sure but if we had 50% of the ball I reckon we would have won all three games and they would have scored less.

              • August 4th 2018 @ 10:44pm
                Fionn said | August 4th 2018 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

                I’m not even sure what you’re trying to claim now – that defence doesn’t matter?

                The Wallabies haven’t proven attack wins matches – we’ve gone for attacking teams since 2015 and we’ve had two seasons with winning percentages under 50%.

                So you admit the Irish didn’t score many points and won, and yet you say defence doesn’t win matches…?

                It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you have a defensively weak 13 along with defensively weak 10s and 12s against the All Blacks you’re going to lose.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 2:56am
                Bodger said | August 5th 2018 @ 2:56am | ! Report

                So you’re on record saying we can’t win playing Foley, Beale and Hodge but add English and we will. Well there is a revolution, I look forward to our flogging in two weeks and ABs scoring at will through Hodge.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 7:04am
                Fionn said | August 5th 2018 @ 7:04am | ! Report

                I never said we ‘couldn’t’ win. Only that it’s much more likely with English, who is more experienced defending at 13. Hodge played like two matches there this season.

              • August 5th 2018 @ 9:19am
                ForwardsWinMatches said | August 5th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

                For the last 18-24 months every second comment on these pages has included a criticism of Cheika for picking players out of position. It seems Hodge is next in line, endorsed by most here.

                To go up against the best team in the World with Foley-Beale-Hodge at 10-12-13 is folly. Two weakish defenders and a utility at 13 – nothing to see here All Black coaches, move on! Ha!

                That’s why English at 13 and Toomua at 12 with Beale on bench to come on with 30 to go, along with Hooper and Toupo.

    • August 4th 2018 @ 6:28pm
      riddler said | August 4th 2018 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

      all very good points peterk..

      first time have agreed with everything u have written..

      that forward pack would be wonderful to see in action..

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