THE AR­EAS THAT AUS­TRALIA MUST PUT RIGHT – FAST THIS YEAR’S Rugby Cham­pi­onship was one for Michael Cheika and the Wal­la­bies to for­get. 1

Glar­ing def icien­cies are un­der­min­ing the Wal­la­bies’ game, says

Rugby World - - THE ANALYST -

Aus­tralia’s fall from grace through­out the tour­na­ment left them sev­enth in the world rank­ings, with some des­per­ately poor per­for­mances and se­lec­tion headaches to boot. The fa­mil­iar blue­print of Wal­laby rugby seems to have gone miss­ing and the fab­ric of what has made them the iconic team they are is in dan­ger of dis­in­te­grat­ing, de­spite the amaz­ing come­back against Ar­gentina in the com­pe­ti­tion fi­nale in Salta.

In watch­ing Aus­tralia’s per­for­mances, you get the sense they are try­ing too hard to find a way to res­ur­rect them­selves, leav­ing many doors open for the im­proved Spring­boks, the re­lent­less All Blacks and the rapier at­tack­ing threats of the Pu­mas to ex­ploit. If the coaches of the north­ern hemi­sphere teams are see­ing what I’m see­ing, they will be plot­ting a ma­jor scalp this au­tumn, be­cause at the mo­ment there are just too many ar­eas that the Aussies are lack­ing in.

As the Wal­la­bies head to Europe, I’ve high­lighted some ba­sic ar­eas of the game that Cheika & Co will be mulling over be­fore fac­ing Wales,

Italy and Eng­land in Novem­ber. Rugby per­for­mance is based on a sound plat­form of kick­ing game, set-piece func­tion and de­fen­sive struc­ture. In the first half of the Rugby Cham­pi­onship match in Salta, Aus­tralia’s de­fen­sive line showed a lack of co­he­sion and ba­sic tech­nique that Ar­gentina ex­ploited with aplomb. The Wal­la­bies tend to shoot out of the line in ones and twos, leav­ing dog-legs and weak shoul­ders to at­tack. This is not helped by a poor fold around the ruck by their for­wards to get in­side of the first back-line de­fender.

For the Pu­mas’ bonus-point try, David Po­cock and Marika Koroi­bete each flew out of the line, cre­at­ing the hole for San­ti­ago González Igle­sias to burst through.

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