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Welsh tactics on Pocock go unpoliced, says Deans

Date

Greg Growden

Wallabies vs Wales. Allianz Stadium. Action from the game. Click for more photos

Australia complete clean sweep over Wales

Australia edged the third and final Test to take the series 3-0 at Allianz Stadium. Selected Images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com . Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH Photo: Anthony Johnson

ALTHOUGH relieved to enjoy a rare series whitewash, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is concerned his captain David Pocock is being unfairly targeted off the ball, while the Australian scrum is again on roller skates.

The Wallabies return to Super Rugby mode this week after finishing off Wales with a spirited but far from conclusive 20-19 victory at Allianz Stadium in the third Test on Saturday and will not refocus on international football for almost two months.

Until the start of the inaugural Rugby Championship in late August, Deans, who is happy that his squad now know how to win the tight Tests, will be mulling over several nagging dilemmas. The most glaring concern was the lack of stability in the Wallabies' scrum, especially in the second half, but another problem was how Wales successfully mishandled Pocock off the ball, forcing him out of the play on several occasions.

Obstructed ... Wallabies  skipper David Pocock.

Obstructed ... Wallabies skipper David Pocock. Photo: Scott Barbour

Pocock discovered that Wales had found a different way to keep him in check. In open play, he was held back by Welsh forwards or deliberately obstructed, while on one occasion was placed in a headlock, shortly after the ball had left the breakdown, which gave him no chance to get to the next tackle area. This happened on at least three or four occasions. Deans is concerned that if not policed properly other teams will try similar tactics to stifle his standout openside breakaway.

''He's been taken out of the play a lot after the ball has left the area. There is a sense of frustration about that because as nothing has been done about it, it encourages teams to keep doing it,'' Deans said yesterday.

The Welsh tactic didn't exactly quieten Pocock because in yet another excellent captain's performance he vied with Wallabies five-eighth Berrick Barnes and No.8 Wycliff Palu for man-of-the-match honours. There is logic in why Wales would do anything to keep Pocock in check because when he had any freedom in the Test he was devastating at the breakdown, winning possession, and he was one of Australia's most pugnacious tacklers.

"[Pocock] has been taken out of the play a lot" ... Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

"[Pocock] has been taken out of the play a lot" ... Wallabies coach Robbie Deans. Photo: Getty Images

Deans was also pleased that while ''there was a lot happening off the ball, they [the Wallabies] didn't react.''

This helped to put in check an already overflowing penalty count.

Still the Wallabies' biggest area of instability was in the scrum. After making advances earlier in the year, the Wallabies front row found themselves under enormous pressure, as Welsh tight-head Adam Jones destabilised his opposite, Benn Robinson. Referee Craig Joubert penalised the Wallabies' pack four times, while also giving the Welsh three free kicks for a home-town scrummaging indiscretion.

Deans described the team's set-piece as ''dysfunctional''.

''The greatest source of frustration was the first free kick in the game. That was something we've trained for, talked about, but we came up short. And off the back of that it not only lets the referee in, but it also produces hesitation. Then you lose the next hit and all of a sudden you're under the pump. It was disappointing to start the game with a free kick, a decision which was justified,'' Deans said.

''When you consider how dysfunctional our set-piece was, it was a very good effort to win the game.''

Elsewhere, Deans was delighted, in particular, how the squad had matured after the disaster of losing to Scotland in Newcastle.

''It's been particularly rewarding watching this group grow in their ability to actually work their way through those occasions when it gets difficult,'' Deans said.

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Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
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