The Aussie view

September 10, 2012
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Greg Growden from the Sydney Morning Herald gives us the Aussie view from this weekend’s test.

After almost smashing his walkie-talkie against his forehead during the match, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer finally calmed down, and explained what it is all about.

”Test matches are not about who plays the best, it’s about who handles the pressure best,” he explained.

After a miserable Bledisloe Cup campaign, where the Wallabies’ self-confidence was severely dented, they showed in Perth there was still some life in this wounded beast, demonstrating the resolve required for a victory comparable to their three triumphs earlier in the year over Wales.

Yes, Meyer is right. The Wallabies handled the pressure better and that’s why they finally boast a Rugby Championship victory.

Meyer produced the highlight of Saturday night, when the TV cameras focused on him at virtually the same time as his prop Tendai Mtawarira was sent to the sin bin for a dopey shoulder charge on Kurtley Beale.

Observed by all, Meyer, who has the aura of being a meek and mild gentlemen, went into meltdown. As he attempted to squeeze the life out of his walkie-talkie, Meyer kept bashing away at the ”talk” button, while screaming down the line. All it needed was for him to break the apparatus over his knee, and he would have found himself No.1 on the list of ”the international coach losing the plot” category on YouTube.

(Note: Meyer’s behaviour in the coach’s box has been highlighted to me personally by New Zealand pundits too and it is rather unexpected)

Meyer’s anguish was understandable. Test matches revolve around dumb moments. The team that has the least brain snaps usually wins. Meyer knew Mtawarari’s actions were stupid at a time when the Springboks held a substantial lead, and just before half-time was the period where the visitors could drive home that advantage.

The Springboks did hold up for the 10 minutes their prop was in the sin bin. However, after that other more inexperienced Springboks lost their way, and the Wallabies relied on several late South African lapses to turn a 13-3 deficit into a seven-point triumph.

With it came enormous relief for the Wallabies at a time when they were at risk of completely falling apart. That’s why the vogue word in the Wallabies camp yesterday was ”character”, with players and coaches crediting the ”spirit of the group” to ignore the scoreboard, overcome the numerous South African recoveries and hold tight in the final minutes.

There was no better example of that than centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, who somehow stopped two Springbok attackers, Lwazi Mvovo and Jean de Villiers, with the same tackle, grabbing both of them as if he was imitating Spiderman.

But nothing less is expected of Ashley-Cooper, the most devoted and unselfish of Wallabies. You can see why coach Robbie Deans often describes him as the heart and soul of the team – willing to play anywhere and do anything for the national cause.

Despite Ashley-Cooper’s sensational acrobatics, the Wallabies are still realistic enough to know they remain well short of their best. While the scrum continues to improve and there was more purpose in their attack, some areas remain diabolical.

Their persistence to kick away so much possession is a major irritant, especially when their skill level in that area is substandard. The attack is now struck down by chip-kick disease. At a time where one more back-line pass would be the smarter option, their first resort is too often trying to kick through. That strategy in Perth was a complete waste of time, especially as they had two good finishers in Digby Ioane and Dom Shipperley.

Their skills under the high ball are also poor. Despite getting all the AFL gurus in, too many Wallabies are useless, armless and legless whenever a bomb is headed their way.

So you don’t have to be Che Guevara to work out what Argentina will do to upset the Wallabies on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

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13 Comments

  1. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Mvovu’s positional naivety was woefully shown up with that high-ball blunder that lead to the 7 pointer…

  2. avatar Boertjie says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Mvovo only OK when he has ball in hand.

  3. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 12:31 pm: Mvovo is an attacking wing…..Without attacking ball he will be as useless as any other wing.

    Get really pissed of to blame a kak gameplan and exucuting of it on one or two players rugby is a team sport and should be judge on that, their are at this stage because of injuries many players who shouyld not be their yet, but I am seing the Gaffie thing being done here again. :bangheadt:

  4. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 1:07 pm:

    Who is blaming Mvovu for the game-plan?

  5. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 2:21 pm:

    Every test wing is required to have the skills of a 15 under the high-ball and in positional play… that is if you want to be the best in the world…

  6. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Test rugby is not the arena to be training players…

  7. avatar biltongbek says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    It is true that individual moments can cost a game, Beast, Mvovo and also Jd Villiers for running to the side line and not trying to leave enough space for Mvovo when AAc made that tackle.

    but it all doesn’t take away from the fact that we are poor all round.

  8. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Reply to biltongbek @ 2:52 pm:

    There’s only so many times one can type out the all-round poor areas of play…

  9. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    September 10th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 2:21 pm: HM for he said two soft moments cost them the game 40 min of kak play cost them the game

  10. avatar biltongbek says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 6:03 pm: Well to be fair HM is only half wrong, the two soft moments did cost them the game, but those 40 kak minutes hampered their ability to score enough points to counter the soft moments

  11. avatar JT_BOKBEFOK! says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 6:03 pm: Reply to biltongbek @ 7:01 am:

    those “two soft moments” were they the 1st and 2nd half? :whistling:

  12. avatar biltongbek says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 9:04 am: :lol: Yep.

  13. avatar Ollie says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 9:04 am:

    I was thinking more on the lines of the last 2 games :twisted:

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