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Wallabies Spanked again
Wallabies Spanked again
(There is a solution, but will the tough decision be made?)
08 Aug 2011
[INTL]

In my last diatribe I suggested that when in doubt that Deans needs to choose Red.  There is a second part to the equation, he now needs the ability to admit he was wrong and make some hard decisions.  

In October 2009 Rocky Elsom was made the captain of the wallabies after his European rugby sabbatical Rocky Elsom with a hell of a lot of fanfare.  Elsom effectively missed the entire Super 15 comp this year (he played one game and got injured). During the year Deans announced publically that Elsom would be captain of the wallabies.

Well lets quickly review the wallabies efforts since Deans took over. (All data from espnscrum)

 

 

Mortlock Captain

Elsom Captain

TOTAL

Wins

13

12

25

draw

0

1

1

Losses

10

10

20

TOTAL

23

23

46

Win ratio

56%

52%

54%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wins

Losses

Wins

Losses

Wins

Losses

NZ

1

6

1

5

2

11

SA

3

3

3

1

6

4

Wales

 

1

2

 

2

1

England

1

 

2

2

3

2

Scotland

 

 

 

1

 

1

Samoa

 

 

 

1

 

1

Ireland Draw          

 

For simplicity sake I have assumed that Mortlock was the Captain for all games before Elsom and Eslom was the captain in all games since he took over. 

Firstly from the data we can see that the wallabies are NZ bitch. There is no question about that. Losing 11 out of 13 games is something that speaks volumes. 

While against the Poms Elsom is breaking even but hell those losses were embarrassing and both were the last 2 games. 

Under Elsom the wallabies have improved there record against SA with a 50% record before he took over, they have only lost 1 game out of 4.  

The losses to Scotland and Samoa do speak volumes about effort and commitment.  While the draw against Ireland was one of the worst games I have ever sat through and I have supported QLD since the year dot.

Looking at the Deans legacy it’s simply not pretty with a 54% win loss ratio overall (this includes 4 wins against Italy, and 5 wins against France , which obviously is good though).  Under Elsom we are only tracking at 52%. 

Look I realise that the AB are something special but hell does anyone else remember the golden period when under Rod Macqueen the wallabies could pull a game out at the death.  That side had a win ratio of about 80%.   It was the same belief that the Reds had this year.  I’m not stating that we should put the Reds in gold and run them out as the wallabies as let’s face it the front row was the only bright light against the AB’s last Saturday night and they are not from QLD.

I do believe however, that when it gets tough that Elsom disappears into a hole and doesn’t rally the side.  To me Deans has made a rod for his back and is trying to bring Elsom up to speed via the wallabies.  I would prefer that he is sent back to club land and gets some confidence.  I know that Eales was injured before the 2003 RWC and was rushed into the side but lets face it Elsom is not Eales.  Deans cannot continue to leave Higginbotham on the bench just to bring Elsom into form.  Higginbotham has had two massive cameos off the bench aganst both sides the wallabies have lost to this year.

Deans has a chance to win this RWC but he needs to do a number of things.  Firstly drop Elsom as captain and give it to Genia. Genia is always going to be the first wallaby picked and he orders pigs around and knows when to give it to Cooper.  Then put Higginbotham at 6 for the wallabies and either run Elsom off the bench or my preference back to club land to get his confidence. 

I like the talk I’m hearing about Samo coming in at 8.  His power and aggression is needed at the opening to set the scene for the first 50-60 minutes, then bring in McCalman to finish off the game.  I love the work of the front row and I would not alter them.  Horwill has to start in the second row but his partner is up for grabs and I would have Sharpe starting.

By changing the forwards in this manner, it allows the pigs to play more like QLD by controlling the breakdown and the speed of the pill coming out.  When QLD did this they placed pressure on the opposition’s defensive line to get back onside giving the Reds backs space to work.  When the pigs don’t have control, Cooper drops further back and it becomes a mess.

In regards to the centres for the wallabies.  I’m uncertain about them.  I would like Barnes at IC and I think AAC has not really set the world on fire at all this year and perhaps its time for A Fainga’a to be at OC.  The rest of the side is fine but the pigs need to control the middle of the paddock, drive over the advantage line and then unleash the backs.  They need to dominate before the fancy stuff happens.

By the way yes the AB’s were bloody good but I still reckon they are vulnerable. If they are not on the front foot they struggle as well but what they have that most sides don’t is the belief and that gets them out of trouble.

by Geeves

Let us know what you think!

It makes me feel so good to have someone else wringing their hands over the selection & tactics of their national side, especially our cocky mates from the west island! 

Supposedly this article has been viewed 1089 times since we bothered to start counting*.
(Although it could have just been Geeves on the Reload button doing some serious ego padding!)