JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Best-laid plans great for creating a surprisingly different result

Date

Spiro Zavos

Flair … Kurtley Beale.

Flair … Kurtley Beale. Photo: Getty Images

THE Wallabies coaches have access to technology that analyses Tests so minutely that 500,000 pieces of information can be evaluated. An article in the match program for the Melbourne Test quotes George Serrallach, the creator of the program, as saying there are 3000 tasks (runs, passes, tackles, kicks, knock-ons) that are performed and then reviewed for each match. There are also 200 events (scrums, lineouts, penalties, rucks and mauls) that are part of the analysis. Everything about how individual players and teams react under various circumstances is worked out. The teams also have their own analysts (Andrew Sullivan for the Wallabies) who work out specific game plans for different opponents and a likely game plan the Wallabies, say, will have to try to counter in their next Test.

Given all this analysis, it was a rugby delight that the Wallabies were able to totally surprise Wales at Melbourne and force a penalty that was converted by Mike Harris to win an exciting Test.

Roll the tape. Time is up. The Wallabies are behind by two points and have the throw into a lineout near the Wales 10-metre mark. All the analysis indicates the Wallabies invariably take the ball off the top of the lineouts in this situation and then flood runners down the middle of the field. So the Welsh back row start to look at their Wallabies targets in the midfield as the ball is thrown in. But what's this? Instead of feeding the halfback, the Wallabies forwards create a perfect driving maul. There is limited resistance initially because the Welsh focus is on the expected midfield play. The maul plods forward and then rumbles when Anthony Faingaa races in from the centres and puts his shoulder in. When the maul looks like smashing through to the 22, several desperate Welsh forwards collapse it. Penalty to Australia!

Last year, I asked Robbie Deans why the Wallabies never used the rolling maul. He didn't answer. He clearly didn't want to criticise his forwards coaches. This year the Wallabies coaching staff has been beefed up. New forwards coach Andrew Blades has been described as having a PhD in scrumming and mauling techniques. The new coaching co-ordinator Tony McGahan is meticulous and knowledgeable. McGahan coached Munster when they defeated the Wallabies a couple of years ago. Interestingly, Munster scored two rolling maul tries in that match.

It is to the credit of stand-in captain Pocock that he made the call for the rolling maul. Pocock's performance as captain has been so forceful and intelligent that Deans surely has to accept that here is the next long-term leader of the Wallabies.

I am not so sure, though, that Pocock should remain as the open-side breakaway, or ''fetcher''. He has remarkable upper body strength and leg drive. He is a ferocious and accurate tackler. He is strong on the burst against a compressed defensive line. He would make a superb No.6. It was noticeable at Brisbane and Melbourne when Michael Hooper came on and Pocock moved to No.6 that the back row had a lot more energy and effectiveness.

The Wallabies gained 817 metres running the ball compared with the paltry 329 metres gained by Wales in Melbourne. But there were only a couple of line breaks. The return of Kurtley Beale at fullback this afternoon will give the Wallabies attacks some needed flair. I rate Beale more important(as his absence in the 2011 RWC semi-final demonstrated) than the other X-factor players, James O'Connor and Quade Cooper. With Berrick Barnes playing splendidly at five-eighth, I would play Cooper on the wing as a Shane Williams-type playmaker. Cooper's wing-and-prayer play defies analysis even via the Serrallach method.

spiro@theroar.com.au

2 comments so far

  • O'Beiber on the wing and Cooper on the sideline tweeting and learning to tackle.

    Commenter
    Stephen
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    June 23, 2012, 12:25PM
    • X-factor. Cooper. I don't think so, after his inglorious display at the world cup. There are better five-eigth's running around, who know the basic's.

      Commenter
      Muzzo
      Location
      Orange
      Date and time
      June 24, 2012, 11:59AM

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      Super Rugby 2015

      Round 1
      Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
      BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
      Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
      LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
      BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
      BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
      WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
      REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
      Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
      HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
      RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
      Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
      STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
      SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
      HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
      FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
      Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
      CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
      REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
      Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
      LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
      BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
      Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
      RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
      STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
      FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
      Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
      HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
      RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
      Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
      STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
      CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
      REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
      Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
      Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
      SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
      WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
      RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
      Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
      HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
      WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
      Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
      BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
      HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
      REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
      BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
      LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
      WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
      FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
      LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
      BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 10
      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
      HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
      HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
      BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
      FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
      SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
      CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 11
      Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
      CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
      BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
      Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
      WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
      Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
      LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
      STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
      RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 12
      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
      BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
      Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
      HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
      REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
      Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
      BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 13
      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
      REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
      Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
      HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
      FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
      LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
      STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 14
      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
      RED 46vs REB 29 Stats
      Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
      HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
      WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
      Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
      LIO 20vs BRU 30 Stats
      CHT 24vs HIG 45 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 15
      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
      RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
      Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
      WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
      FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
      STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 16
      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
      BRU 22vs BUL 16 Report Stats
      Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
      SHA 25vs REB 21 Report Stats
      HIG 36vs CHF 9 Report Stats
      FOR 10vs RED 32 Report Stats
      Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
      STO 42vs CHT 12 Report Stats
      LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 17
      Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
      FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
      Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
      REB 21vs BUL 20 Report Stats
      BLU 11vs CRU 34 Report Stats
      RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
      CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
      Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 18
      Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      BLU 7vs HIG 44 Report Stats
      REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
      Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      BRU 24vs CRU 37 Report Stats
      CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
      WAR 31vs RED 5 Report Stats
      Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      BUL 29vs CHT 42 Report Stats
      SHA 34vs STO 12 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
      Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
      HIG 24vs CHF 14 Report Stats
      Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
      STO 19vs BRU 39 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby Semi Finals
      Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
      HUR 29vs BRU 9 Stats
      WAR 17vs HIG 35 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby Grand Final
      Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
      HUR 14vs HIG 21 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
      Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
      Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
      Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
      Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
      Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
      Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
      Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
      View all
       

      Follow Us on Facebook

      Featured advertisers