Not a complete disaster

I’ll leave the detailed rugby post-mortem to Christopher Sheil or Wayne Wood. However my own immediate reaction is that, although England had a decisive victory over the Wallabies (25-14), things weren’t as bad as I feared. Australia clearly needs to improve in numerous areas, but I saw enough to conclude that they have what it takes to retain the World Cup (if everything goes right).

Australia certainly has some major lineout problems, confirming that a fully fit Owen Finnigan is a vital cog in the wheel. But we were fairly competitive with England in scrums, rucks and mauls (in the second half, at least). We also failed to match England’s scrambling desperation in defence; hence three tries to one in their favour. However, it’s early days yet, and the Wallabies should be a fitter and considerably tighter combination after a Tri-Nations campaign. Lastly, I got sick of watching Wales v All Blacks at half-time, but I didn’t think the Kiwis looked all that impressive either. At least we’re in with a chance for the World Cup, a proposition about which I had serious doubts at the end of the Super Twelve series.
* Photo from News Limited/Fox Sports match report.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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cs
cs
2021 years ago

My reaction too Ken, to both games. If England couldn’t beat Australia tonight, they never would have, and we have a lot more petrol to put in the tank. A couple of additional points:

1. For his lingering fans, this test surely proved once and for all that Latham just can’t cut it at the serious end of the game. He was responsible for one, and arguably two, botched tries; missed a basic fullback tackle to let in a second half try (and when I say missed, I don’t mean made a valiant but unsuccessful effort; I mean someone who was standing in front of the runner and missed by the size of the distance between the heads of Sydney Harbour); and I counted him giving at least three turnovers when he was tackled. The guy should be shown the door forthwith, never to be even considered for readmittance until he realises that only the best player in the team is allowed to have his socks down … and even then he also usually has to be a French fly-half.

2. Coach Jones remains a serious worry. Why replace Nathan Grey, who was playing a sensational game (bye bye Flatley), when you could replace a goat like Latham, or even Steve Kefu, who doesn’t look to me to be robust enough yet for this level of football. This continues a mystifying pattern of Jones replacements … beginning with his idiotic replacement of Bernie Larkham in NZ last year, and continuing on through to last year’s England test, when he pulled Herbert for Giteau. Another boot up the bum for Jones is definitely in order.

3. Sailor finally scored a real try … and just might make it. But he also got stranded without a kicking game in his first half break: for the life of me, why doesn’t he go down the park and sort himself out in this department?

4. Joe Roff was all class but, in addition to replacing Latham, we need Burkey for his goal kicking.

5. Where’s Dan Herbert?

6. The game, while far from a perfect exhibition, was truly geat entertainment. At the top test levels, Rugby is the one they must play in heaven.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Yes, I agree about Latham (althugh the socks remain irrelevant). I assumed Nathan Grey got injured, but if he was just substituted I agree it’s a ridiculous decision by Jones. However, I thought Steve Kefu had a pretty good game. Same with David Lyons.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

I agree Lyons had a good game, and Phil Waugh an even better one. T. Kef also played well, bar one missed tackle.

The problem with Lyons is that he’s part of our line-out problem, not being tall enough to give us an anthentic third jumper, which is making it to easy for the opposition to cover us; a good player, but unfortunately only a reserve No 8.

Yeah, I thought Steve K also played alright. My point was that, if someone had to go for Rogers (and someone definitely did have to go for him), Nathan, who I don’t think was injured, should have been preferred to stay on over SK.

Scott Wickstein
2021 years ago

No- I’m inclined to the view that Latham’s socks are a serious issue that needs to be revisited.

It was an excellent game. I am glad that you guys see some hope for the WC coz I don’t see a skerrick.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

The Poms beat us at Rugby. Aaaaghhh! I can suffer (through gritted teeth) if the All Blacks beat us, after all they’re supposed to be the best, but the Poms… This is the REAL threat to democracy, Ken, not Murpack.

Not even any AFL this weekend to relieve the agony. I’m off in 15 minutes to the airport for a trip to N-W Aus and Darwin. May help me forget!

cs
cs
2021 years ago

I feel your pain Ron.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

I must have been watching a different game. England were by far the better side, and the score flattered Australia.

1. Lineouts. A complete shambles. We couldn’t win our own ball, much less theirs.

2. Centres. Here I must really have been watching a different game. In comparison to the Poms, ours were Z grade.

3. Rolling maul. They had one, and belted us with it.

4. Rucks. They harassed Gregan all night as the ball came out. We were powerless to stop it. Memo: T. Kefu. Protect the Goddamn half back!

5. Scrums. See rucks.

6. Mobile forwards. Their front row played like backrowers. Our front row played like blocks of cement. Our backrowers played like front rowers. OK, maybe a little harsh. Lyons made some good runs, but didn’t look for support, was eventually tackled, and the played stopped. Mark Loane used to the same thing all those years ago, which is why he was overrated.

7. Wendell Sailor. Big, fast and strong, but a league winger playing union, and it shows. You want to see a union winger? Have a Captain Cook at Joe Roff.

8. Nathan Grey. An excellent job, but still an inside centre playing fly half

9. Gotta start with Rogers. Just gotta.

10. This is 1995 all over again. We’ll be lucky to make the semis of the world cup.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

World Cup?
Brazil won the World Cup last year!

Australia can’t beat either the Poms or the All Blacks. Put your money on the Allblacks!
Sorry betting is a sin.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Can’t say I would disagree with any of that Dave (particularly re Roffey), except in that I wouldn’t right off the team just yet. We’re still playing footsie in World Cup terms.

bargarz
2021 years ago

I’m afraid I’m with Dave (except I think we did ok scrums). Let’s hope the tales of out lads not peaking yet is for real because they looked disorganised.

Lineouts were a joke until they went for the short option.

Our centres made very ordinary impact in attack and defence. Wilkinson wasn’t overly troubled and seemd to have eons to service his ball.

The rolling maul was all over us.

England players were able to consistantly get through the ruck to monster Gregan.

Grey,Roff and Waugh played good games.
But where was Burke?!?!
And make Rogers a run on player.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Bargarz and Dave,

I’m not disagreeing with you, but I do think you need to see the game in two halves. In the first half the Poms were certainly all over us; in the second half we largely matched them (except in lineouts). We even got a rough facsimile of a rolling maul going late in the game. I wasn’t suggesting the Poms’ victory was less than comprehensive, just that there were enough signs there that we could do it if everything went right, Finnigan was there and fit, Burke at fullback, Rogers in the centres (or at 5/8 in the absence of Larkham), and the forwards playing like they did in the second half not the first.

bailz
bailz
2021 years ago

hahaha, the All Blacks win the World Cup? Dude, they’d be lucky to win the meat tray at their local.

AndyM
AndyM
2021 years ago

One more thing that cs managed to get wrong: his hero, Nathan Grey, has been given the arse infavour of Flatley. BTW, good on Canno. Let’s hope he keeps his shirt on.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Andy

Not my hero, although a terrific player, and not necessarily wrong, unless you think the selectors are Gods. Obviously Nathan had been dropped because Bernie Larkham is back, in which case the selection choice turns around not who to start, but who to put on the reserve bench. I would have, perhaps, preferred Grey, because he can do pivot and inside centre, but it’s a hard call. Flats is the reserve specialist pivot, and while not as tough as Grey, we are not facing Johnny Wilkonson this time round, and Flats arguably has more skills up his sleave if he has to run on.

trackback
2021 years ago

UbersportingParish

SOMETHING TO PONDER. As a person who has no real interest in rugby union, why would I read Ken Parish’s thoughts on last night’s Test match with interest, but deliberately skip over a match report in the morning’s newspaper. Any theories?