The Rugby Man – Australia (Wallabies) vs England, 13th June 2010

I’ve just finished watching our Tivo’d recording of the Wallabies match versus England, played over west-west at Stubiac .. errr, Subiaco oval.

How exciting is it! To see so much promise being fulfilled. Yes, I saw the scrums.

Let’s be honest. Every single person on the field was involved and did good things.

1. Ben Daley

Made some good runs, good tackles, and did better in the scrums when coming back on after Ma’afu was binned.

2. Saia Faingaa

Solid. Should have learnt a boatload from this experience. Good work around the park.

3. Salesi Ma’afu

Didn’t think he was doing much, but had a monster hit on one of the poms. As with his other front-rowers, should have walked away with a lot of experience. They got schooled good, but that’s the point of being schooled. You learn and get better.

Reserve: James Slipper

Came on right into the blazing depths of fire and brimstone. Smashed. But got up again.

Scrum change after Ma’afu was binned .. Daley – Faingaa – Slipper

It seemed to me that this combination was actually better. They gained parity (man I don’t like that saying) some of the time, and if the Ref had have forced the Poms to use the ball instead of listening to them whinging that the scrum was down, I think the media would be playing a different tune.

I counted two (but possibly more) scrum sets (with the above combination) where IF the English had played the ball, the boys at front could have walked away heads high.

And this again brings up a gear-grinding point. The Ref and Scrums. This bloke wasn’t as bad as certain other Muppets (Mr Joubert, no names mentioned), but seriously. A scrum is one of the most awesome battles that mankind can have. It was obvious the Aussies were getting chewed over .. BUT .. Two things.\r\n

1. They were learning.

2. While I commend using and getting away with strongarm tactics in a scrum (it is a scrum after all), the Ref should be trained to spot things. Or, in the case of tonight, actually call them consistently. If on attack or defence, the tight-head is pulling down the loosey .. Ping him! It’s his job to do it fast enough not to get caught. It’s his job to bore in on the hooker. It’s the loosies job to buckle up the tight-head and stop him boring. It’s the loosies job to bind super-fast and long and strong. BAM.

Seriously.

\r\n4. Dean Mumm

I’m liking this gentleman more and more. He stood out tonight in the tackle and ruck contest. Made good yards too. Him and Sharpey are rubbing well together, sparking friction.

5. Nathan Sharpe

Seriously. I think it was over on G&GR (Nathan Sharpe a Force Collossus) that someone talked about his many resurrection seasons. What a champion. Was once a vader-hater, but now I’m a committed fan. Strong in every area, even .. I believe .. the scrum.

6. Rocky Elsom

Did well, but not awesome. And that’s what I can’t wait to see. Awesome Rocky. Balboa style.

He pulled off a couple of great tackles. Ran some ball. But like one of the commentators said (Horan or Crowls), the backrow needs to be one with the tight-five come scrum time.

7. David Pocock

How strong is this guy? How good is he getting? How un-ruffled and un-caring of opposition is he?

I’ll tell you.

At 21 George broke open the world of open-side flankering. I reckon Pocock (he might be a bit older, maybe) will do the same thing.

8. Richard Brown

He was perhaps solid. Did some good stuff. But not sure he’s appearing as much as a number 8 should. Hope Deans gives Hoiles a shot next game.

9. Luke Burgess

Oh did I think he shouldn’t even be in the squad. It’s been so long since I’ve seen him have a good game (he did, a long while back). But tonight he had an absolute cracker. Strength in the tackle, sniping, quick distribution.

Concern

Does anyone else think that Robbie prefers Burgess over Genia. Regardless of Brugo having a great game, I’ll be ropable if Genia doesn’t start next. Seriously.

10. Quade Cooper

Reminds me a lot of King Carlos. Played well tonight. Showed great composure. Great vision. Made a couple of poopoos, but nothing that more experience won’t beat out of him.

11. Drew Mitchell

How does he do it? Looks way too small. But man alive he can motor through traffic. What a champion. Coming off a stellar Super 14, has brought his triple-A game.

How good is it to see Australia having backline players consistently run the ball and do amazing things!

12. Berrick Barnes

Was good. Made some great tackles, in cover and in pushing up to disrupt England’s attack. Really super fantastic happy hour.

13. Rob Horne

Dude this guy is awesome. The real thing. The press keep saying it, which worries me. But this year he has shown that what he possesses is the absolut vodka reality.

Just one of the many moments in the game was when one of the Wallabies was tackled and being mauled (support was a moment too late). Horne was the first one there. Not only did he drive out the Poms, but somehow he wrapped himself around the ball so they couldn’t get at it. Now that’s thinking man’s rugby.

14. Digby Ioane

The cheetah of rugby. All upper bulk and gonzale’s legs. Except for the dropped ball (my biceps are too huge), he did well. Wasn’t the “star” like last week, but in my mind did enough to show just how sweet he works with the existing backline, and how much talent he does have.

15. James O’Connor

Again, the real deal. Man I love being able to say that. Is getting better with his instinct in the game, although did a couple of doodoos (like cutting out Horne for Schmoo to take it and get bashed into touch). But that’s nothing in comparison to the good. AND, it’ll learn him good. Hopefully.

None of the other reserves were on for long, although Matt Hodgson got a great penalty, George Smith style poaching the ball.

And then there was one ..

It’s really very exciting. To think that we won a match against England without our choice (choice mate) front row. To think the only tries the Poms scored were penalties (I mean it’s a problem no doubt, but our boys did good). To think .. That our backline looks electric!

Of course, the real test is coming. Like winter. Three nations (soon to be four). The best of the best. The most ferocious rugby you can see outside of watching Mariusz Pudzianowski play (well, I imagine it would be ferocious watching that guy smash someone).