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All Blacks can take Australia apart from set piece ball Posted over 1 year ago

There is a good chance that the All Blacks could put Australia away with something to spare this weekend. There are a lot of holes in this current Australian defence. If New Zealand can keep the scrum up and be more accurate with their lineout delivery, then there are a lot of attacking opportunities.

It was hard to be certain what was going on with Australia last Saturday. The selection of the team indicated that they would play a solid, chasing game, kicking for territory and trying to squeeze mistakes from the All Blacks. You do not pick Berrick Barnes, Anthony Fainga’a and Rob Horne and then try to play like Quade Cooper and James O’Connor.

But that is exactly what Australia did, throwing a series of wild passes in their own red zone. Did they imagine they could open up New Zealand with a surprise tactic or were they suckered into it by New Zealand’s defensive pattern.

I was certainly impressed with how New Zealand set up in defence. Their movement in the backfield was superb and offered very littleroom for Genia & Barnes to kick into. They pressed the Aussie midfield and left the space out wide. Australia went for it and came badly undone.

Technically there were deficiencies on both sides. Other than Pocock, the Australian forwards’ body position were poor and they were not getting the shoulder under the opposition chests. Now they don’t even have Pocock. Hooper will add some running game to the attack, but Australia’s back row balance was poor at the weekend.

They may need to find alternative kicking options from the centres and the wings this weekend, because there is not much on for Barnes. Australia will also have to be more imaginative with their use of forward runners. Having the world’s best half back firing long flat passes to forwards in midfield, who are then getting smashed, is not a good use of resources.

If the All Blacks have a good week analytically they will see a lot of opportunities off the set piece. If they can tidy up some of their timing issues, particularly on the offload, then it could be ominous for Australia.

Strangely I saw rather more to be optimistic about in Argentina’s game. It would not shock me at all if they were able to beat South Africa in Mendoza this weekend. The Springboks were very accurate in the first match between the sides and the skills in their mini units were good.

Marcell Coetzee also goes from strength to strength. South Africa’s depth on the flank is extraordinary when you consider Schalk Burger and Juan Smith are both still recovering from injury and Heinrich Brussow was dropped to bring in Coetzee.

But there were a lot of good signs from Argentina. Juan Martin Hernandez is a heck of a player. Sometimes he is too far ahead of the rest of his team. There was the odd inside ball and wide flat pass that his team mates weren’t expecting.

When they get onto his wave length then Argentina will be a big threat, particularly at home. They were not outclassed at the weekend and could certainly beat South Africa.

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Time for DC to put the Aussie no. 10 to the sword

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New Zealand over 1 year ago

Justin you are so correct but unfortunately you can not tell or advise a Blue Bull about anything. Fan or coaches alike. They believe in trying to bully other teams with running into walls or to try and run over it. Boy do I miss Jake White. I believe we ran away from our support more than missing a fetcher. Because you do not need a specialist to secure the ball. Everyone part of a team whoever is closest must help in that regard. Tiaan Liebenberg did it so well for the Stormers.

Wayne don’t you think Hougaardt will make a better wing than no 9 as I feel his talents are wasted on the 9.

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South Africa over 1 year ago

I agree that Marcell Coetzee is having an excellent season. And he definitely adds some thing to the SA game in terms of getting the ball into space but with the loss of Bizzy, dropping the dropping of Daniel and not picking Broussou I think SA are going to struggle at the breakdowns.

I know Coetzee has been picked as a 7 but he isn’t an ‘on-baller’ and if the Argies do their homework this is an area where they can cause even more havoc – as they did at times at Newlands.

It’s clear Meyer figures that quick ball isn’t a prerequisite with Steyn so deep in the pocket (and that’s probably true) but it’s very difficult to win without the ball.

should be a close one

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Australia over 1 year ago

Cheers Wayne, mum’s the word. Go AllBlacks!

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USA over 1 year ago

Sone very insightful selection suggestions, Hunter. Don’t email Robbie! I think Ioane at centre would change their game, give them a real threat and open up an opportunity to bring Mitchell in. Add Cooper to this mix, and you have a totally different, more threatening attacking unit facing the All Blacks.

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New Zealand over 1 year ago

Didn’t get to see the first half of the Argies and South African, but from what I watched afterwards looked like a very determined and relentless defense from the Pumas. The Boks seemed to crash ball a lot and expect great results which really didn’t materialise and the breakdown needs some work. Also, too bad about Bismarck du Plessis. I thought the game might have been played at Loftus, but for whatever reason, maybe reserved for certain matches, Newlands does seem to be kind to visitors. Just ask the AllBlacks. Interesting game I think when South Africa play in Mendoza. Close game me thinks. The AllBlacks new coaching team are giving no quarters. Revenge for last years Tri-nations loss and retain the Bledisloe Cup while at Eden Park is a mouth watering prospect. The AllBlacks coaches and players are continuing the legacy and any talk of WC hangover are being dispelled. By retaining SBW and excluding Tamati Ellison and Ben smith in the starting XV you know they are taking no chances with the Wallabies. The Australians have lost some sting with Pocock, but this gives Hooper and good chance to prove to Robbie that his form in the Brumbies is not only restricted to Super 15’s. I kind of like the ball turnover menace of Liam Gill. Personally, I think he should be starting at openside. The Wallabies had a few chances, but poor basics let them down. I thought maybe Drew Mitchell could add some dynamics on wing and Beale should be on the other side with AAC as fullback. Digby outside centre. Cooper or Barnes, but whoever it is needs to kick better. Perferably two kickers that can make territory on both sides of the pitch with their boots. Maybe they have a chance. Now the AllBlacks taste blood things might messy in Auckland. We will miss Tony Woodcock, but we have depth there to choose from. Will not go on about the AllBlacks, but room for improvement and continue to think outside the box. Set pieces are wonderful, but open play with this team is just as lethal. Go AllBlacks and this Rugby Championship with 4 teams is going to be great viewing.

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USA over 1 year ago

Our line outs were poor and we had too many guys running away from support. I am sure Newlands is cursed cause the opportunity for that 4 try were there but they couldn’t handle the potato

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South Africa over 1 year ago

_Graham Henry on Wayne Smith:_ "Wayne is the best coach I have ever coached with. He has a huge work ethic, does lots of research and has a great feel for the game. At the moment he is the defence coach and is also involved with our counter attacking strategy. He is a very thoughtful man and takes a major interest in how we use turnover ball. He has been going around with a little camera which he uses to track individual players for a whole game. It has proved quite embarrassing for some. There is nowhere to hide and the players soon learn where they have to step up. Top bloke."

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