I am firstly going to bitch about the positional placings and changes.
I paid little attention to the side when it was announced, as I knew they wouldn't introduce the changes that really needed to be introduced. So it came as some surprise when I saw Flatley wearing no. 13.
I seam to remember that Bond has played most of his career at centre and last week against France he was wearing no. 13.
Oh for ####s sake when has Flatley ever played in the OC spot? (Not once to the best of my limited recollection anyway). Lets face facts he is a 5/8 or IC why shift him one further out! This meant that he continually looked out of place and it affected his game especially when he kept trying to cut back in. Then Eddie didn't want Flatley kicking so we had to watch Burke miss a couple of sitters and also watch Burke have a very ordinary game. Then Jones subs Flatley off instead of moving him back into place (5/8 or IC) and this meant that Burke could now no longer come off. As after playing England the Wantabees have lost the ability to score tries. Latham is then forced onto the wing instead of his proper place at fullback.
So we left Burke on who was playing poorly (yet scoring all the points), took off a better kicker, and then forced an attacking player to again be out of place as Australia had to rely on Burke to kick. If Jones doesn’t want to put on Latham that is fine but he should have moved Flatley to 5/8 and thrown Larkham at fullback as he needs to rediscover how to attack with the football and potentially with a bit more space he may start to run the ball up. This way you could then utilise the Qld connection by having Steve Kefu at IC and still allow Bond to play at OC.
Why Cockbain was subbed off for Harrison was beyond my reckoning. If any of the locks had to go it was Giffin at least then both of the ACT boys could have continued their discussion on the sideline (two yellow cards for the ACT side). Some great comments by the Welsh commentators in regards to the 'Plank'.
Jones has shown a greater utilisation of the bench players than Macqueen however; some of his choices in when and where they are introduced are beginning to look suspect.
On a side note I did enjoy seeing Steve Kefu get on the park. He didn't set the world on fire but he had a reasonably solid game and as the Wantabee centres are a mess at the moment his blooding may be critical next year. Hopefully they will start him there against the Barbarians so we can see if he can handle Howard and Rogers in the Barbarians game.
Now the handling or lack of Hello! what the ####!?! who allowed the Bulls to wear the Wantabee strip. No I'm sorry that insults the Bulls as they can on occasionally hold on to the ball. The first half was a disgrace. Eddie take the boys back out to the field and teach them how to catch, pass and retain the ball at the break down as at the moment it is abysmal.
Rucks and Mauls Same story as the last two weeks. There is a lack of players getting to the breakdown in time to secure the ball. At least this week it wasn't every time. Well done to the Welsh back three who were often first at the breakdowns and caused turnovers. However, Wales was not as dominate as the English and French teams and Australia did win its fair share of the ball by default.
Lineouts I seriously think that the Welsh must have one of the worst lineouts of all time. They made the Wantabees look good and at the moment that is hard to do.
Scrum Very disappointing from both sides. The referee didn't help and almost never reset the scrum and just seamed keen on penalising the attacking side. I fail to understand why an attacking side would deliberately try and stuff up the scrum.
Referee No real problems with him as he enjoyed blowing the whistle with equal gusto against both sides. However, it was his interpretation of the advantage rule that gave me the greatest concern. Especially when you consider the Roff try that was disallowed. Also there were several stages where the ball was not dead and the ref decided he was no longer the centre of attention and stopped play for no reason.
See we can win without a Kiwi ref!!
General Play What good is a game plan for if you can't use it? If you are unable to play the game you want then you have to adapt or use individual brilliance. Unfortunately this appears to be missing in Wantabee side especially in the first half. The number of times Gregan appeared to be looking for someone to pass the ball too was scary.
Tune however, was the bright spark in the first half. He really seamed to get involved and was hungry for the ball. He wasn't as obvious in the second half but he still had a great game. I'm looking forward to him being in the Reds next year with that sort of form.
The second half did improve and the Wantabees did dominate the game but this lack of a first half is really scaring the #### out of me. They didn't play the first half against the Lions, SA, England, France and now Wales. Sorry to the ABs but for some reason the Wallabies emerge for these games. This inability to do something or just rely on kicking goals during the first half is the Wantabee's achillis heal. If they continue not to play the 80 minutes they will keep losing games
Tautai Kefu stood up in the second half and again demonstrated his centre skills by breaking the line and making easy metres and then he really got involved in gerneral play. Finegan did improve over the last couple of games but I would still prefer to see Lyons playing in that position.
Stiles must learn to run with the ball in two hands and not tucked in against his chest when he is 1m away from the tryline. If he had the ball in both hands he would have been able to stretch out for the try. At least he retained the ball.
Final comments Well done to Wales who at least were able to use the ball on a couple of occasions and opened up a couple of telling holes in the backline. They ended up losing 21-13 but at least they can hold their heads up high and take the Wantabee's position in the game against England, "We scored the only try".
I still reckon that the Geeves side chosen for the Wales test should be introduced against the Barbarians with the following exceptions. Cannon for Foley and if Grey is still injured then put in Bond at OC.