Karmichael Hunt of the Wallabies runs with the ball during the Test match against Scotland at Allianz Stadium.
Karmichael Hunt of the Wallabies runs with the ball during the Test match against Scotland at Allianz Stadium. Matt King

Stephen Hoiles: Wallabies need a quick fix

THERE has been plenty of criticism of the Wallabies after the defeat by Scotland last week but I don't think people are giving the Scots enough credit for the win and the way they played.

I realise two of their three tries came against the run of play - one from an intercept and one from a charge-down - but that was an example of the constant pressure they showed in defence, and in attack I felt they played with a lot more creativity than they have in the past.

Teams can sit through a loss and you can analyse for hours and hours what went wrong but watching the Wallabies on the weekend, I don't think it would be too hard to analyse where they lost the game.

It seemed quite clear to me. They just didn't generate any quick ball when they had possession.

They were out of sync in their running pods, there were guys coming around the corner for second-phase carries who were isolated.

That means it's very easy for the defender to make a read on who he's tackling and as a result the Scots got two guys to each tackle, which helped slow up the ball carrier and the ability of the Wallabies to generate quick ball at the clean-out.

There was limited deception for the ball carrier ... that's probably not the ball carrier's fault.

A few occasions Ned Hanigan ran around from a scrum full of energy, but the distance between him and his support runners was too far, essentially isolating him and making it easy pickings for the Scots. The issue here lies with the support runners, not the ball carrier.

Slow recycle has a huge flow-on effect and Will Genia or Bernard Foley were put under a lot of pressure trying to create attacking plays off slow ball.

Put simply, the Wallabies were defending against quick ball and attacking off slow ball.

If they can improve in this area there is lots of potential for this team.

I still think there is light at the end of the tunnel provided they can play with a bit more quicker ball.

You live and die by the speed of recycling.

I'd imagine that the physicality and intensity at training this week has been focused on getting more go-forward and quicker ball in attack.

You can't fix too many things in one week.

But it's not too hard to fix something like that. A huge part of this is attitudinal and after the week the Wallabies will need to show the fans an improved effort.

I've really enjoyed seeing Karmichael Hunt, who I think has been exceptional, especially in defence.

On one occasion he came out of the line and made a good, aggressive, low tackle, which allowed Michael Hooper to have a crack on the ball and Stephen Moore was the second player there in support.

What he did was he actually got behind Hooper and added weight.

Instead of doing what a lot of other guys would and getting next to Hooper and digging for the football at the same time, Moore got behind him and I just think that was an example of a couple of experienced players playing to their strengths. That's the type of smarts we need to add into our game.

We have to have guys helping others compete for the football.

The Wallabies have been heavily criticised over the past week, fans are angry and it's been a very challenging time for supporters of the game.

The Wallabies will be hurting and this game against Italy now becomes extremely important for the game of rugby in Australia.

A positive result is needed, but a polished performance is critical.

Stephen Hoiles is a Fox Sports commentator. Every game of the Wallabies' Arvo Test Series is live and ad break-free during play on Fox Sports.

News Corp Australia


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