It certainly makes your head spin trying to come up with the ultimate Wallabies backline combination using our current squad stock.
The mission to select a backline that can consistently break defensive lines and provide required support to score tries is no easy task.
So, let’s be logical about this and consider the essential traits required to achieve a successful backline combo.
Well, they have been on show in bucket loads in respective wins by the All Blacks and Ireland throughout the Rugby Championship and the recent Northern Hemisphere Tour season.
A successful backline has to defend for 80 minutes, of course, but for now let’s concentrate on the most successful traits of backline attack and then propose a Wallabies backline combination that may get close to displaying those traits.
What we see consistently in the most successful All Black and Irish backline attack raids are the following traits (not in any particular order);
We don’t yet have a Beauden Barrett, but we can provide a combination to match effectively the traits outlined above.
To this end I would like to put out there the following Wallabies backline.
Flyhalf: Bernard Foley
Inside centre: Reece Hodge (hoping he recovers from ankle injury well)
Outside centre: Dane Haylett-Petty
Wing: Marika Koroibete
Wing: Sefa Naivalu
Fullback: Israel Falou
Reserve backs: Samu Kerevi, Jack Maddocks and Jordan Petaia.
This combo offers two or three ball players, line breakers, kickers (short and long), genuine pace on field and on the bench and the smarts of Dane Haylett-Petty.
His great outside channel run, stepping several England players in the recent test, convinced me he should have a crack at outside centre. He is not the fastest back but has speed and, if well supported, can line break and set up try opportunities.
Defence combos to be sorted as required for different opposition.
Just an armchair expert’s opinion, but we have had plenty of opportunity this year to mull over what the Wallabies aren’t doing right in attack as much as observe the best of the best in flight.
Bring on 2019.