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The Cock crows and pecks the eyes out of another Wallaby tour
The Cock crows and pecks the eyes out of another Wallaby tour
(Oh my kingdom for a tight five)

Wallabies v France

Sat 13/11/04


Ref: Chris White (Eng)

France 27 def Wallabies 14

Halftime 12  11


Well done to the French team a very good win and despite the result I enjoyed watching that game.  Very competent and exciting play by both sides, if you exclude the Wallaby tight five.  That’s 8 wins in a row for the French and fully deserved.


The battle between the loosies and the enterprising play by both sets of backs was a joy to watch.  Latham was one of the Wallabies main attacking weapons, creating opportunities by himself and his linkage with Tuqiri opened up one try and created several other opportunities.  Michalak’s kicking and passing game created the space, opportunities and meters that the rest of his side exploited.


The game was tightly fought and both sides really gave it their all, except when it came to the scrum. Which caused the bulk of the Wallabies problems as Roe (had a very good game in my opinion) was forced to take the ball at the back of a capitulating scrum for the bulk of the game and the French adapted quickly and set about making Roe’s ability to clear the ball a living hell.


Once again the Wallabies have been found out in the engine room and surely its time for Chucky to face facts and simply stop admitting that something needs to be done and do it.  Some changes can be done now, and the rest next year (as players not on tour), so that the players get some seasoning before the next RWC so that we actually have a competent front row by then.


Yes we do have one solution to the locking problem, Nathan Sharpe who is being rested/injured in Brisbane.  Sharpe was sorely missed in the lineouts and around the park but will be back for next year. Now all we need is a partner for him.  The Plank rules himself out as he keeps trying to intimidate the opposition off the ball and forgets there is a game on somewhere else. While Vickerman hasn’t stood up for bloody ages.


Chisholm needs to be selected for the next test and given a go to see if he can cut it.  Failing that Sharpe’s second row partner next year Rudi Vedelago might be a dark horse during the Tri-Nations. To me he is a very competent hard working player who is being seasoned slowly like Sharpe was.


The front row is of greater concern.  I won’t be surprised if Young goes and sits on the bench against Scotland.  Dunning should be given a go since he is over there and if Henderson is fit, then he should have a shot as well.  However, most real changes have to occur from players not on tour, and not necessarily first choice in Super 12, especially in the front row.


The challenge will be out next year for the QLD front row as all the NSW and ACT front rows are already on tour. The QLD front row is where the opportunities for genuine international quality props will come from. However, the QLD front row has not performed since the retirement of Foley.  To me there are 2 real props of the future there Anthony Mathison in the tighthead and Pete Niumata for loosehead spots.  However, both of these individuals will need to be blooded and soon.  Mathison is playing for Australia A against the French barbarians and who knows he might do enough to further his career.


Paul is fine around the park if you want another loosie or someone who really wants to be part of the backline but forget about him in the lineouts, scrum or breakdowns once he doesn’t have a chance of stealing the ball.  Cannon offers far more than Paul does in the tight and should be used while on the remainder of the tour.


To me McIssacs is the best rake in the country but until he gets quality game time, in the Super 12, no one else will believe it.  Moore another QLD bench player is also playing in the Australia A game and may be another option


Unless QLD or the new team in the Super 14 can produce a kick arse tightfive to at least rival our other domestic sides then the ability for the Australian tight five to improve is limited to say the least. Bugger it roll on the Super 12 & 14 as Australia’s development strategy and soon as we need it without a proper domestic competition.  Yes I do enjoy the state based comps but the level does need to increase.


Let us know what you think!

It sounds like the Frogs were bloody impressive. By rolling the Aussies it gives the ABs something else to aim for in their matchup with the Tricolors. I'm not confident this AB team can do the business but it should be a good test match in any case!
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