Wallabies down but not out
HISTORY has shown my predictions of last week to be a fair distance off the mark.
The Wallaby performance in the first Bledisloe Cup for 2013 was disappointing defensively, and our ability to escape the defensive zone with ball in hand was nothing short of terrible. Coach Ewen McKenzie expressed his disappointment in taking the wrong options, and I agree completely.
In my column last week I spoke of new players entering the Wallaby ranks in key positions.
Of these, Matt Toomua was disappointing and looked a little pedestrian at flyhalf. Known as a player who orchestrates a game, Toomua failed to steer the team effectively and show his organisational skills.
Jesse Mogg at fullback was perhaps a victim of trying too hard. Mogg is known as having a cannon for a left boot, but rushing his kicks resulted in neither his usual distance nor accuracy. Added to this he forced the play, threw bad passes, and missed tackles. I still firmly believe Mogg is the best option for fullback, although there is improvement required.
For mine, the main positive for the Wallabies was Quade Cooper's arrival which brought creativity, energy, and an attacking option. Quade ran the ball to the line and the players around him came alive when he entered the game.
The Wallabies need to safely navigate their way out of the defensive zone with calm heads and a better kicking display. They also need to muscle up in defence with our first up tackling to improve. I think Ewen will stick with Toomua at flyhalf as he should after just one Test. Quade will again be in the mix from the bench, and the trigger will be pulled earlier this week if Australia is in a similar situation.
I still believe the All Blacks are in a more vulnerable place than they have been for a number of years and can be beaten. Despite a disappointing performance last week, there should remain plenty of belief in the Wallaby camp. Injuries at flyhalf for the All Blacks helps and better options from Toomua for the Wallabies will be crucial.
I feel there is a win over New Zealand in them despite travelling this time around. Let's hope they can keep the Bledisloe alive.