Boks masterclass highlighted why new Wallabies tactics are off the mark

<img decoding="async" loading="lazy" width="1920" top="1080" class="size-full wp-image-271478" src="" alt="Jones Australia first media briefing” width=”1920″ height=”1080″ />

“Australia ended up winning the World Cup in 1991 and then 1999. We want to start that period again. We’re not short of talented players here but talent doesn’t win World Cups.

“What wins World Cups and wins the hearts of people is teams playing with that same spirit the Ellas had – being aggressive, playing with a certain panache.

“That doesn’t mean you run with the ball all the time because kicking can be as artistic as running the ball.”

Eddie embroidered on the last paragraph by claiming that “Possession rugby is dead.” When he went further, adding that “75 per cent of tries are being scored within three phases – 75 per cent”, the message was clear; Eddie’s Australia would play the same kind of three-and-out rugby as England, in the last gasps of his time at Twickenham.

Eddie Jones was true to his word in South Africa. Australia only played over four phases on two occasions, and their kicking game invited the Springboks to greedily grab the lion’s share of possession and territory – 63 per cent of the former and 60 per cent of the latter.

South Africa built 100 rucks to only 39 by the Wallabies and forced the men in green and gold to make 168 tackle attempts in the game. They enjoyed 19 entries to the opposition 22 compared to a mere three by Australia. By the end, it looked as though the change to a deeper orange-gold jersey was not so much a fashion statement, as the result of bodies thoroughly saturated by sweat from repeated tackle sets.

Eddie’s Wallabies kicked, and then they kicked some more. No fewer than 12 of a total of 32 kicks were launched from positions well outside the exit zone – from the Australian 40-metre line upwards. Five of the kicks occurred inside the Springbok half of the field, and only two of the dozen enjoyed a positive outcome for the kicking side.

It was a sad summary of just how far Australia has fallen behind the trendsetters in the global game. When RG Snyman got here off the bench within the 53rd minute to hitch his Munster club-mate Jean Klein within the South African second row, it was a symbolic second, as a result of South African progress since their World Cup triumph in 2019 has been triggered largely by the motion of their ex-Tremendous Rugby franchises to the United Rugby Championship.

When taking part in URC footy, you keep away from kicking the ball away to the likes of Leinster or Munster. Should you do kick it, they may hold it – and it could be a very long time earlier than you see the capsule once more. The rugby renaissance within the Republic has taken an enormous step ahead with the new-found consolation of South African groups on the ball.

The Wallabies game-plan dragged the character of play away from the strengths of Australia’s key gamers like a vicious rip-tide: Rob Valetini carried 5 occasions within the recreation; Tom Wright, Marika Koroibete and Suli Vunivalu carried 15 occasions between the three of them. That’s not almost sufficient for a again three.

A number of the Wallabies key dangermen, akin to Rob Valetinigot few alternatives to run the ball in opposition to the Springboks. (Picture by WIKUS DE WET/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

Quade Cooper solely loved six complete touches at first receiver, and three of these had been exit kicks from deep in his personal finish. His final act was to kick the ball out on the total from a goal-line drop-out within the 68th minute, and that as a lot as something was an acceptable epitaph on the Aussie head-stone.

The Wallabies saved the ball for greater than three phases on assault for under the second time within the recreation shortly afterwards, promptly knocking the ball on of their evident pleasure at breaking Eddie’s three-phase rule. Possession rugby is an unfamiliar pal certainly to Aussie groups within the trendy period.

The early proof that Quade had the mandatory sharpness to create when given the chance solely rubbed salt within the wounds:

This was the second event within the first eight minutes that Cooper had unlocked the Springbok defence, taking out the important thing defender (Springboks No 13 Lukhanyo Am) with an correct cut-out cross past him. That enabled Len Ikitau to show the nook and Marika Koroibete to complete out on the left.

Much more typically, the Wallabies routinely kicked the ball away after they may have saved it with revenue:

Cooper makes a bust straight up the center after a lineout turnover, however Ikitau doesn’t seem to think about using the three males outdoors him to make additional progress with ball in hand. He kicks the ball right away and he kicks it straight out, bringing play again to a different Springboks lineout simply outdoors the Wallabies 22.

An preliminary runback on a first-half kick return by Valetini prompted one other computerized three-and-out sequence:

After one other drive by Michael Hooperthere’s house for Tom Wright to launch Suliasi Vunivalu on the precise, with the final defender (Kurt-Lee Arendse) already static effectively contained in the left 15-metre line. Why not give Vunicalu an opportunity to point out whether or not he can actually be ‘the most effective wing on this planet’, as his coach claims? Wright kicks as an alternative, the ball is blocked and South Africa flip the ball over.

The distinction with the Springboks’ perspective to the concept of transferring ball by hand, from positions effectively inside their very own half couldn’t have been extra stark. South Africa didn’t really feel the identical reservations in any respect:

Twice on two consecutive phases, the boys in myrtle inexperienced are fairly completely happy to assault the final defender within the line and probe for weaknesses with out resorting to the boot. The final cross launched proper wing Canan Moodie on a future into the Australia 22, and arrange South Africa’s first strive of the sport on the other facet of the sector:

Proper from the kick-off following the conversion, the Boks had been at it once more:

Manie Libbok spots the Wallabies defence in need of numbers on the precise after a midfield kick-off receipt has changed into a maul, and his run takes the play all the best way again to the Wallabies 22. Over your entire sequence, South Africa saved the ball from the 14th to the 18th minute, nearly 4 minutes in complete. Isn’t that what Australia was so good at? Holding the ball patiently, and probing for weaknesses with ball in hand?

The Boks had been completely happy to maneuver the ball throughout your entire width of the sector – even on exits, even from positions within the shadow of their very own posts – with a purpose to discover the precise kicking alternatives:

No quick relieving touches right here. The South African backs shift the ball confidently from left to proper and are ready to discover the working choices first, earlier than No 12 André Esterhuizen stabs the ball by to search out the whitewash on the midway line. That’s the sort of play that retains the defence off-balance and retains them guessing, and it’s a staple of the most effective groups within the United Rugby Championship.

It was additionally plain that the South African gamers off the bench had been simply as well-equipped to determine the identical alternatives late on within the recreation:

There is no such thing as a actual house for Moodie, however South Africa are fairly ready to offer him a crack at Tate McDermott from a scrum on their very own 40-metre line, one-on-one close to the precise contact. If Vunivalu goes to be picked, why not no less than give him an opportunity to make an identical impression?

The Wallabies confirmed what may need been on the final sequence of the sport, with nothing left to play for:

It’s the third section and one other kick-to-order, however no less than it’s an correct grubber with some intent behind it by Australian debutant Carter Gordon. That second was like an oasis within the desert. As ex-Wallabies skipper James Horwill put it afterwards:

“The failure to not likely fireplace a shot – [except for] that final little bit – was essentially the most disappointing half. You have a look at the possession stats, and time in [the] opposition 22, [it] was 47 seconds in the entire recreation. That simply tells the story. We had been simply absorbing. They had been coming in waves after wave and it confirmed in the long run.”

On paper, Eddie Jones had picked a powerful Australian facet for the primary match of his homecoming versus the Springboks. South Africa not noted eight or 9 first selections, and the scenario appeared primed for an upset by the green-and-gold. The prospect of a primary win in eight makes an attempt on the northern stronghold of Loftus Versveld in Pretoria loomed giant.

Within the occasion, the end result may have been simply as unhealthy because the file 61-22 loss suffered by Greg Smith’s facet on the similar venue in 1997. Australia scored first and final, however South Africa racked up 43 unanswered factors within the meaty center of the match.

Essentially the most worrying facet for supporters of Australia was not even the gamers themselves; it was the sport plan. The tactical construction solely took the Wallabies previous 4 phases of assault twice, and it marginalised the large runners who love nothing greater than the texture of the ball of their palms.

Rob Valetini Marika KoroibeteTom Wright and Suliasi Vunivalu had a complete of 20 carries between them. Quade Cooper had six touches at first receiver, and his remaining act was to kick the ball straight into contact from a goal-line drop-out, seemingly as a lot in frustration as anything. Three-and-out soccer, religiously utilized, doesn’t enable such skills to thrive.

It was the prodigal son’s first recreation again on his return residence, so there stays each hope that Eddie Jones will rectify issues sooner or later. However on first viewing, Australia resembles England circa 2021-2022 far too carefully for consolation, and that resulted in an sad shotgun divorce. Till Jones’ imaginative and prescient of the sport adjustments, he’ll solely see Mark Ella’s again, not his beaming smile. Till then, the nice man will carry on strolling.

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Revealed : 2023-07-10 17:42:57

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