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.

Deans's Third XV faces a monumental battle but with a live chance to triumph against the odds

Date

Spiro Zavos

Backs to the wall … Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

Backs to the wall … Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

HOW about this line-up for a Wallabies side to play the Pumas at Rosario?

Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell, Rob Horne, James O'Connor, Lachie Turner, Berrick Barnes, Will Genia; Wycliff Palu, Ben McCalman, Dan Vickerman, James Horwill, David Pocock, Salesi Ma'afu, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kefu. You can choose the reserves from Christian Lealiifano, Dan Palmer, Joe Tomane, Rod Davies, Cooper Vuna, Ben Lucas, Bernard Foley, Matt Hodgson, Jake Schatz, Nic White and Matt Toomua. And if he condescends to pull on the "yellow" jersey, you can include Quade Cooper in this group as well. This collection of crocks would comfortably defeat the team of battered warriors that Robbie Deans has fielded to play a confident Pumas side.

Despite this, former Wallabies captain Andrew Slack recently gave ARU chief executive John O'Neill a dressing down for daring to make the claim that injuries have affected the Wallabies' win-loss ratio this season. But O'Neill's point is a valid one. It is not an excuse. It is more an explanation. The best Wallabies side is not on the field. Adding to the impact of the injury toll on the Wallabies is that Rosario is to Argentinians what Loftus Versfeld is to South Africans. The city has a revolutionary passion for rugby, as befits the birthplace of rugby tragic Che Guevara.

The Pumas drew 16-16 with the Springboks in their first home Test in the Rugby Championship. Last weekend the Pumas conceded seven tries to the All Blacks at La Plata. They won the approval of the rugby community, though, by trying to match the All Blacks in what may be described, using a tennis term, as an all-court attacking game.

The Wallabies, on the other hand, conceded five tries to the Springboks and were condemned. Throughout the Test, Wallabies went down like nine-pins in a bowling tournament. There were times when the Springboks' attacks were countered by a dozen Wallabies. In the circumstances, the Wallabies showed old-fashioned guts to hold the score to 31-8.

At the end of the season there needs to be a review of the injury toll. I offer these contrarian thoughts for consideration. The accepted wisdom is that the number of matches players contest should be cut. But throughout their careers, from schoolboys to first class, New Zealanders play more rugby than their Australian counterparts. Should Australia follow this model? Should the emphasis in Australia shift from the gym to more actual game time for players, at all levels? Is there too much building up of muscled contours and not enough aerobic work in the gym work?

Compare and contrast the body types and playing styles of David Pocock and Richie McCaw. New Zealand teams place a much higher emphasis on aerobic fitness than is applied in Australia. This shows up on the field and possibly in the injury lists. I was told before the June Tests by an insider (admittedly not a member of the coaching staff) that there was great concern in the Wallabies' camp about the lack of fitness of the Super Rugby players, especially those coming from the Waratahs. Are the franchises too accepting of the scientific and bio-mechanic theories and advice they are getting, when results and injuries suggests that the theories need to be challenged and perhaps adjusted?

Perhaps the most positive thing that can be said about the run of injuries is that what does not kill you makes you stronger. With 38 players used in 10 Tests, the injury toll has opened up chances for fringe players. Sitaleki Timani and Michael Hooper, for instance, should now be regulars in the Wallabies' pack for some years. Nic Phipps has shown that there is life after Will Genia. Kurtley Beale has the chance to entrench himself as the long-term playmaker in the back line.

For the Wallabies, nothing strengthens resolve and character quite like overcoming difficult times. In this context, a win tonight against the Pumas at Rosario will be one of the great triumphs of Australian rugby.

spiro@theroar.com.au

18 comments so far

  • How many NSW players in that team listed above???.....seems to be some truth...

    Commenter
    Captain & Tennille
    Date and time
    October 06, 2012, 10:00AM
    • Spiro I think you are spot on with the idea about injuries being caused by a lack of match play. The "science" must be questioned as we have so many players getting injuries that indicate a lack of match fitness. Lets' hope the Wallabies can win in Argentina but if they don't then it must be time to look for a new coach and management team...

      Commenter
      Les
      Date and time
      October 06, 2012, 10:16AM
      • If the Waratah players were not fit, why did the selectors continue to pick them in the first XV? Give the form players the chance. Who outside NZ had heard of Aaron Smith before the Rugby Championship? Unfit Weepu (big name) was put on hold.

        Commenter
        manomar
        Location
        kuala lumpur
        Date and time
        October 06, 2012, 10:58AM
        • "Tell him he's dreaming".
          Spiro, the wallabies were thrashed last weekend, and were lucky that the Springboks missed a number of real opportunities in conversions & tries.
          Comparing Timani to 'Big Kev', and Phipps as a ready replacement for Ginea is delusionary. Phipps was pedantic in his passing, which was evident when Sheens came on, and was not around when a quick ruck needed his presence. As for how many breaks he made.....
          I want the Wallabies to win, but I doubt they will.

          Commenter
          Emuarse
          Date and time
          October 06, 2012, 11:11AM
          • Absolutely agree with you about too much gym time and not enough time on the field playing the game. Problem is, how do you get this through to those who can make the changes. We desperately need a strong national competition equivalent to the Currie Cup. Union exposure in WA hopeless and we struggle to get a team up in my son's school. The future of Union in WA is bleak despite the support for the Force. Unless we increase the number of youngsters who want to play, the talented player depth for our national team will remain woeful.

            Commenter
            Alan
            Location
            Perth
            Date and time
            October 06, 2012, 11:54AM
            • Good place to start an enquiry into injuries would be to ask those who suggested the November Tour in 2011 to explain their reasoning. Then go and ask the NRL clubs how they manage to keep most of their players fit and healthy for most of the season including State of Origin.

              Commenter
              Bill
              Location
              Sydney
              Date and time
              October 06, 2012, 2:05PM
              • Not having access to fox TV I have started to watch NRL. Injuries not common at all. 2 referees helpful for the behind the play obstructions, late tackling almost non existent. Handling skills superb. Contact more controlled and rigorously policed. Suspect union could benefit from league.
                Current Wallaby injury toll is Royal Commission stuff!

                Commenter
                TJR
                Location
                WA
                Date and time
                October 06, 2012, 3:48PM
              • That's a no brainer Bill! they don't play the amount of footy the rugby kids do and they don't trip around overseas week in and week out, and the Mungo game is only half a rugby game anyway!

                Commenter
                kirky
                Date and time
                October 06, 2012, 5:35PM
              • or the all blacks

                Commenter
                tamaharry
                Date and time
                October 06, 2012, 5:38PM
            • Anyone notice the final of schoolboys game on fox 3????? NZ V OZ?? No?? What a surprise that is .......not
              I only spotted it while seeking out what ITM game was being telecast today!
              The (so called) marketing dept are the ones who should be shot. Last week I bought "The Australian" and there was not even a single column of rugby....so many other sports I will not detail them and some very "marginal"
              All week it is the ITM and Currie cup + French super 14. This is the real and BOG question not Deans or the turnstile cooper.........where is our middle competition and where is the marketing of rugby in this country.........or should we get a bigger deal from the punter sponsors?
              AS to Phipps........please, he is no replacement for Genia and Genia himself has been nullified by top teams. Timani is S15 standard no more.
              Wobblies main issues are 80% due to forward pack (other than Pocock and Sharpe putting in 100%) being an international joke......and that does include the injured beef.were they available
              Tonight the Aussies pride will be no greater than the Pumas BUT they will be massively "outpassioned" . After my first trip to Rosario a few weeks ago I was stunned by their "involvement". Being at a tahtahs game or wobblies test is similar to the funeral of a family favourite in comparison (actually make that Oz as a whole........very quiet village)

              Commenter
              headed off
              Location
              Guatavita, Colombia
              Date and time
              October 06, 2012, 3:16PM

              More comments

              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 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
              BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
              Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
              LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Stats
              BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
              Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
              SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Stats
              BUL 17 vs STO 29 Stats
              WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 2
              Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
              CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
              REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
              Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
              BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Stats
              HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
              RED 18 vs FOR 6 Stats
              Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
              STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
              SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 3
              Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
              HIG 20 vs RED 13 Stats
              FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
              Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
              CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Stats
              CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
              REB 15 vs BRU 20 Stats
              Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
              BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Stats
              LIO 19 vs STO 22 Stats
              View All Fixtures
              Round 4
              Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
              CHF vs HIG 17:35WS
              BRU vs FOR 19:40GIO Stadium
              Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
              BLU vs LIO 17:35QBE Stadium
              RED vs WAR 19:40SS
              Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
              CHT vs BUL 02:05FSS
              STO vs SHA 04:10DHL Newlands
              View All Fixtures
              Round 5
              Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
              HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
              FOR vs REB 22:00nib Stadium
              Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
              CRU vs LIO 14:30AMI
              HIG vs WAR 17:35FBS
              RED vs BRU 19:40SS
              Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
              STO vs CHF 00:00DHL Newlands
              CHT vs SHA 02:05FSS
              View All Fixtures
              Round 6
              Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
              HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
              REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
              Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
              CRU vs CHT 17:35AMI
              Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
              BUL vs FOR 02:05Loftus Versfeld
              SHA vs CHF 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
              WAR vs BRU 16:05AS
              View All Fixtures
              Round 7
              Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
              HUR vs REB 17:35WS
              RED vs LIO 20:00SS
              Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
              CHF vs CHT 14:30WS
              HIG vs STO 17:35FBS
              WAR vs BLU 19:40AS
              Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
              SHA vs FOR 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
              BUL vs CRU 04:10Loftus Versfeld
              View All Fixtures
              Round 8
              Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
              HUR vs STO 18:35WS
              REB vs RED 20:40AAMI
              Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
              CHF vs BLU 18:35WS
              BRU vs CHT 20:40GIO Stadium
              Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
              SHA vs CRU 01:00Growthpoint Kings Park
              LIO vs BUL 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
              View All Fixtures
              Round 9
              Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
              BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
              Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
              CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
              WAR vs STO 20:40AS
              FOR vs CHT 22:45nib Stadium
              Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
              BUL vs RED 00:00Loftus Versfeld
              LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
              View All Fixtures
              Round 10
              Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
              CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
              Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
              HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
              HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
              BRU vs REB 20:40GIO Stadium
              FOR vs STO 22:45nib Stadium
              Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
              SHA vs BUL 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
              CHT vs RED 04:10FSS
              View All Fixtures
              Round 11
              Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
              CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
              BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
              Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
              CRU vs BLU 18:35AMI
              WAR vs REB 20:40ANZ
              Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
              LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
              STO vs BUL 04:10DHL Newlands
              RED vs HUR 17:05SS
              View All Fixtures
              Round 12
              Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
              HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
              BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
              Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
              BLU vs FOR 16:30EP
              HUR vs CRU 18:35WS
              REB vs CHF 20:40AAMI
              Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
              CHT vs STO 02:05FSS
              BUL vs LIO 04:10Loftus Versfeld
              View All Fixtures
              Round 13
              Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
              CRU vs RED 18:35AMI
              REB vs BLU 20:40AAMI
              Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
              HUR vs SHA 18:35WS
              FOR vs WAR 20:40nib Stadium
              Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
              LIO vs HIG 00:00Emirates Airlines Park
              STO vs BRU 02:05DHL Newlands
              View All Fixtures
              Round 14
              Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
              BLU vs BUL 18:35EP
              RED vs REB 20:40SS
              Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
              HUR vs CHF 18:35WS
              WAR vs SHA 20:40AS
              Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
              LIO vs BRU 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
              CHT vs HIG 04:10FSS
              View All Fixtures
              Round 15
              Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
              CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
              RED vs SHA 20:40SS
              Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
              BLU vs HUR 18:35Emirates Airlines Park
              WAR vs CRU 20:40ANZ
              FOR vs HIG 22:45nib Stadium
              Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
              CHT vs LIO 02:05FSS
              STO vs REB 04:10DHL Newlands
              View All Fixtures
              Round 16
              Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
              CRU vs HUR 18:35Trafalgar Park
              BRU vs BUL 20:40GIO Stadium
              Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
              SHA vs REB 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
              HIG vs CHF 18:35Rugby Park
              FOR vs RED 20:40nib Stadium
              Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
              STO vs CHT 02:05DHL Newlands
              LIO vs WAR 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
              View All Fixtures
              Round 17
              Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
              HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
              FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
              Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
              REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
              BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
              RED vs CHF 20:40SS
              Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
              CHT vs WAR 00:00FSS
              STO vs LIO 02:05DHL Newlands
              View All Fixtures
              Round 18
              Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
              BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
              REB vs FOR 20:40AAMI
              Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
              BRU vs CRU 16:30GIO Stadium
              CHF vs HUR 18:35Yarrow Stadium
              WAR vs RED 20:40AS
              Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
              BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
              SHA vs STO 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
              View All Fixtures
              Round 19
              Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
              7 vs 7 10:00
              Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
              7 vs 7 10:00
              View All Fixtures
              Round 20
              Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
              7 vs 7 10:00
              Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
              7 vs 7 10:00
              View All Fixtures
              Round 21
              Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
              7 vs 7 10:00
              View All Fixtures
              Super Rugby 2015
              Overall standings
              Team P W L D +/- Pts
              Brumbies 3 2 1 0 47 10
              Hurricanes 3 3 0 0 47 13
              Stormers 3 3 0 0 26 12
              Cheetahs 2 2 0 0 7 9
              Chiefs 3 3 0 0 31 13
              Rebels 3 1 2 0 -5 6
              Highlanders 2 1 1 0 1 5
              Sharks 3 1 2 0 3 6
              View all
               
              Featured advertisers