The Roar
The Roar

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Remember these Wallabies-in-waiting - Tom Banks, Jack Maddocks, and Jordan Petaia

Tom Banks during his time with the Reds. (Credit: Sportography/QRU)
Expert
5th August, 2018
88

Rarely do three outstanding rookie wingers surface at the same time – Brendan Moon debuted in 1978, David Campese in 1982, and Joe Roff in 1995.

They became three of the very best Wallabies – Moon a magnificent finisher, Campese arguably the best making tries out of nothing with his signature goose-step something to admire, while Roff used his 191cms-101kgs frame to productive use.

So what do Tom Banks, Jack Maddocks, and Jordan Petaia offer?

They share three assets – rugby nous, instant acceleration, and are excellent defenders.

Banks is 24, and a first choice fullback with the Brumbies. But he’s shown such diversity in talent, there’s no doubt he could play anywhere from 10-15 with equal ease.

Maddocks is 21, as good a first-grade batsman with Sydney Uni as he is a utility rugby back, but he’s settled for rugby with the Rebels.

While Petaia is only 18, an Australian Schoolboy last year, and a Queensland Red, who just oozes talent.

Congratulations to coach Michael Cheika for including them in the 36-strong Wallaby squad for the Rugby Championship, but make sure they are retained when six are dropped later in the week.

There’s no reason why two of them can’t be on the wings for the opening Bledisloe Cup-Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks

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Before the naysayers say they are too young or too inexperienced, if they good enough, they are old enough – and all three are well and truly good enough.

They don’t have to be taught how to pass, catch, support, and defend – it’s built-in as it should be for anyone selected for a gold jersey.

Let’s stick to the latter – defence.

The three best-performed Wallaby lineups were the 1984 Grand Slammers, and the 1991-1999 Rugby World Cup champions.

Not only were they try-scoring outfits, but the kept their opponents almost tryless – the current Wallabies would be well-advised to watch these predecessors.

The Alan Jones-coached Andrew Slack-led Slammers are still the only Wallaby side to achieve the feat.

They scored 100 points to 33 in beating England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland with mercurial Mark Ella scored in all four internationals.

The telling stat was the 11 tries to one, with Wales the only country to cross the Wallaby white line.

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The Bobby Dwyer coached-Nick Farr-Jones led 1991 World Cup Wallabies ratted up 126 points to 55 in winning all six games.

Scoring 17 tries to three in the tournament, the Wallabies gave up two tries against Argentina in the opening round, and one against Ireland in the quarters, but kept the All Blacks and England tryless in the semis, and final.

The Rod Macqueen coached-John Eales led 1999 World Cup champions were even better performers, rattling up 221 points to 73 in their wining six games.

But they scored 24 tries to just one, with the USA crossing in the group game.

In all three examples, the Wallabies were just as effective scoring tries as they were stopping their opponents.

Defence, defence, defence.

That’s where the current Wallabies suffer, and while they can score many outstanding tries, they give up too many.

Even the mighty All Blacks haven’t been as effective in winning the last two World Cups as the three Wallaby lineups.

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In 2011 the men-in-black piled on 301 points to 72 in scoring 40 tries to eight.

In their seven games, Tonga, Japan, France (2), Canada (2), Argentina, and France dotted down in six of them.

In 2015, the All Backs scored 280 points to 97, and crossed for 40 tries to six in winning all seven games.

Argentina, Nambia, Georgia, and France crossed, while the Wallabies scored two tries in the final.

The obvious message is loud and clear, stop opponents scoring tries, and winning becomes easier.

Michael Cheika doesn’t have to tell Tom Banks, Jack Maddocks, or Jordan Petaia about that, it’s automatic in all three.