Joined October 2018
Thanks for the statistical analysis Zanden. It’s always good to base selection decisions with these in mind. What the stats don’t tell us however is the level of energy a player can bring to a game. The halfbacks energy level is critical to the energy level of the team especially the forwards. How many times this season have we seen Genia urge his forward to up their work rate having a positive impact on the game. WIth a second choice halfback, I would go so far as to say their energy level is as important, if not more so than their hard skills especially at the hour mark of a game. On this measure McDermott is head and shoulders above the other options and given his stats are not dissimilar from the other players i would take him as teh second choice halfback. With him as the second choice, Cheika could have a game plan of bringing him on at 60 minutes and not waiting until Genia starts to flag. He can change the complexion of a game running from the base of a ruck against tired defenders. Its early days for him yet and a lot more about his capabilities will be revealed over the remainder of the Super Rugby season but on current anaylsis, he is easily number two for the Wallabies
The battle for Australia's No.9 jersey
AP…couldnt agree more. Who plays in the backline is largely irrelevant until the Wallabies have sorted out who the forwards are going to be. We are okay when it comes to props but are struggling to identify a first choice hooker. We have two decent locks in Coleman and Rodda but no real solid backups and given the way they hame is played nowadays there are bound to be injuries there. Our back row is not working at all. Our best player is being forced to play out of position to accommodate an excellent Super Rugby player who is not quite good enough at test level. No way Hannigan gets the job done at 6. He not big enough nor good enough of a jumper. With the current back row, there is no way the Wallabies can provide Genia et all with a decent platform…they like size, jumping capabilities and the ability to be dominant in the tackle. The strategy of using two fetchers has been nullified long ago but talked players choosing to pass the ball before they go to ground…..everyones figured that out, except the WalIabies. I cant understand how Higgenbottem is not starting at 6. Hes a certainty in my book with his size, jumping and athletic abilities. I would have Nasarani at 8 as soon as he is eligible. We need some big bodies in there.
Where will the Wallaby selectors play Folau and Beale?
From half a world away Scarlets have been able to identify and recruit excellent coaching talent:
RA have known for some time now that Cheika wouldn’t be renewing his agreement after the World Cup…..he said as much himself. So one can only hope they’ve been interviewing his replacement.
Only optimism for Wallabies fans lies with December decisions
The only decisions to be made next week that will offer any optimism to Wallaby supporters is not whether to retain the services of Cheila through the World Cup but rather on who the next Wallaby coach is going to be and the related coaching/selection structures that will be put in place. It would be grossly unfair to drop any coach into the current Wallaby environment and expect to get a decent result….culture change takes time and there is insufficient time between now and September for meaningful cultural changes to be implemented.
In my view, it would also be shortsighted to force changes in the hope of a winning the World Cup…..as many already know this team just don’t have what it takes to win 7 games consecutively over the course of 6 weeks against the best rugby teams in the world. RA need to play the hand they’ve been dealt with Cheika and whomever he selects to represent the Wallabies for the World Cup and instead focus their limited attention and resources in putting in place a longer-term plan that intelligently moves rugby union in Australian forward. Not building this plan or making the strategic decisions required until close to or after the World Cup would constitute professional negligence of the highest order…..long-term success can only be achieved by solid long-term planning.
Only optimism for Wallabies fans lies with December decisions
What many of the current crop of Wallaby players fail to realize is that once you get capped for your national team the hard work really begins. Many think in being capped they have reached the pinnacle and can now take their foot off the gas. This mindset is as a result of RA not making the required changes across their organization to adapt to the age of professionalism. Look at how the AFL and NRL have evolved in a highly competitive market, by comparison, RA is managed like an amateur old boys network. In the modern world where rugby players are salaried employees its hard to comprehend how, on average, the highest paid players are close to being the most underperforming. The players and coaches to a certain extent, whether they realize it or not, know there is very little competition for their jobs and the vast majority of them, without having to try too hard, could secure gainful employment at close to 80% of the RA salaries. As such they have become complacent knowing their jobs are secure as long as they wish to keep plying their trade in Australia. As a result, the balance of power in rugby in Australia rests with the players and they often times they exploit it to their advantage which in turn disadvantages RA. Case in point is Michael Hoopers new deal, which is shameful when one considers the reality of him not being the best number 7 in the country. Don’t get me wrong Hooper is an exceptional talent but he shouldn’t be starting for Australia, let alone be the caption as he clearly lacks the tactical nous and leadership capabilities the role demands. Moreover, he shrugs the hard stuff especially when the going gets tough. The money being spent on Hooper could have been used to fund developmental initiatives that would allow rugby to build for the future. The same could be said for Folau. Folau is highly paid put doesn’t play like he is….most games he appears to be in cruise mode and only injects himself when he sees the opportunity to improve his personal stats. The talent is there but the talent is complacent and refuses to work hard. What is even more painfully obvious is that it doesn’t appear, Pocock aside, that most members of the team are going close to emptying their tanks in games, which is inexcusable at this level of the sport. Until the power balance in RA is reversed through the hiring of competent professionals who can bring the right mentality to the organization and instill a winning mindset Australia will continue to underperform on the international stage. The Wallabies will be able to put in the odd good shift here or there due to their athletic capabilities but don’t expect consistently decent performances any time soon.
The echo chamber that is Wallaby rugby