Adjustments Needed As Wallabies Face South Africa’s Physicality | Rugby championship
Posted On September 15, 2021
I.It is undisputed that the Wallabies will face an entirely different challenge than that posed in the Bledisloe Cup when they face the world champions South Africa on the Gold Coast on Sunday night. The Springboks and All Blacks not only play different styles of rugby, they almost play different rugby codes.
It’s like going from the free spirit of rugby sevens to the very structured backdrops of American football, and the wallabies will have to adjust their game accordingly.
As the Springboks showed when they won the 2019 World Cup and again in their winning streak against the British and Irish Lions, they will try to win the crashes and crush the Wallabies into the turf.
Large and powerful South African forwards will be happy to trot from set piece to set piece, while the full backs employ a kick and chase strategy, although they possess a great deal of offensive firepower. ‘they choose to release her. The Springboks will rush in defense to stop the Wallabies attack, not giving the Australians an inch to move.
It’s a conservative approach, which some commentators say ruins the game as a show, but it works. Keep in mind that the All Blacks are no longer the No.1 team in the world.
After losing the Bledisloe Cup series 3-0, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has indicated the Australians will continue to play a fast-paced and expansive game. But will it be more effective against the Springboks than against the Kiwis? This strategy was certainly successful for Japan when the Brave Blossoms beat South Africa 34-32 in the 2015 World Cup, but this victory was unique.
Unlike the All Blacks’ total dominance at Bledisloe since 2003, the Wallabies have fared much better against the Springboks during that span, winning 22 of 44 tests and drawing two draws. But since Australia reached the 2015 World Cup final, they have only faced the Springboks seven times, with two wins, three losses and two draws. The last time they met in 2019, South Africa won 35-17 in Johannesburg.
The most successful period for the Wallabies in recent history has been Robbie Deans as a coach, when Australia won nine of 14 tests between 2008 and 2012. like their 41-39 victory at Bloemfontein in 2010. .
But Deans’ main mantra was that the Wallabies needed to meet the physical challenge of the Springboks first and foremost – and there was no better example than an 11-9 victory in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals in Wellington. If the Wallabies fail to meet the physical challenge, the Springboks will sniff the weakness and set out to intimidate and subdue them.
It was strange that the Wallabies’ more physical striker Taniela Tupou had such limited playing time in the 38-21 loss to the All Blacks in Perth last Sunday. Australia will need all the strength and power it can muster against the Springboks.
The Wallabies averaged 22.6 points per game against the All Blacks, who were now close enough to compete with the Kiwis, who averaged 42.6, but that could be enough against the Springboks, who averaged 21 points against the Lions. Sunday night is likely to be a hotly contested game with limited opportunities, which means when the Wallabies see a scoring chance they have to seize it.
The Wallabies shouldn’t plan to beat the Springboks’ quick defense with double-cut passes, which will invite interceptions. They have already suffered enough from this discomfort in the Bledisloe Cup series. If the Springboks rush in defense, the Wallabies must kick the space behind them in an effort to regain possession and launch an attack.
There has been some debate over whether five-eighth rookie Noah Lolesio should start on the Gold Coast. Lolesio has the skills to execute the game plan, but he’s yet to really impose his will on the game at the test level. Veteran opening half James O’Connor is back in training with the Wallabies, but hasn’t played since injuring his groin in mid-May. Another option is to play the utility Reece Hodge at five eighths.
Hodge would give the Wallabies the much-needed physics in Channel 10. But the problem with him is he’s just a long-range goalscorer. Despite missing a goalie against the All Blacks last Sunday, Lolesio is still the Wallabies’ most reliable goal kicker. Of course, there is always Quade Cooper. A reluctance to play him against the All Blacks might be understandable, given his history, but his record against the Springboks is pretty decent.
South Africa may be a different challenge for the All Blacks, but the outcome will be the same for the Wallabies if they don’t start showing a clear improvement, especially when it comes to unforced errors. Springboks may punish mistakes differently than All Blacks, but will punish them nonetheless.