Mongrel dogs do not run in a pack

The Wallabies were pummeled and their defence and reputation shredded in around 40 minutes of action in Bledisloe game one.

Down 40-6 at halftime before a late rally closed the gap to 20 points, the team looked lost and clearly lacked cohesion.

Despite what appeared some obvious structural issues, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika called out ‘doubt’ in his players as the issue. Other experts don’t agree.

Wallabies legend Michael Lynagh was angry about the ‘schoolboy’ skill levels, while former Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher tweeted “It seems like Wallabies D is different at every set piece. Constant swapping of positions depending upon field position. Can’t fathom it.”

As I discussed in show 251 this week, Fisher was spot on, and I wanted to highlight four key moments that showed just how badly structured and poorly motivated the Wallabies  were.


SBW throws a bad pass which is toed clear by Foley. Barrett kicks back deep and then Foley puts an average kick into touch. This freeze frame is taken as the ball is being quickly thrown in. The Wallabies are clustered on the far side of the field and are clearly expecting to go to a lineout. Awareness is low. McKenzie runs the ball back splitting Hooper and Rona. Then simple NZ hands to a well set backline and Squire has plenty of field to sprint over for the first try. Kerevi is outpaced by the ABs no6, while Genia fails to shut him down in goal and he grabs an extra few metres in goal. It’s only the 9th minute and the Wallabies are already failing to keep a sharp eye on what the All Blacks are up to.

9th minute


The All Blacks shift the ball left and Barrett is well covered by FOUR defenders. Yet Folau misreads the play and steps infield to add extra cover, or possibly thinking it’s a short ball, and Ioane easily steps wide and goes over to score. Is this an example of the defensive structure at work which asks better defenders to cover those who aren’t considered great tacklers? When you hide Foley and Beale, does this make their teammates think twice when standing alongside them in the line?

18th minute


Confusion in defensive numbers on halfway means the ABs have an overlap out to the left and Owen Franks dummies and runs through. Working their way to within 10m of the line the ABs shift it left and Barrett wraps around for a second touch and puts Crotty straight through to score. The Wallabies defensive line is all over the place though against the simplest of moves, with Beale well out of the line and stranded, while  Allalatoa and Arnold are meandering across and not providing cover..

25th minute


This one was the most confusing. When the Wallabies coaching staff talk about sticking to their defensive patterns and removing doubt, think about this moment. A defensive scrum just outside their own 10m line. On the short blindside both Rona and Beale are marking up to Ioane. Genia is directly behind the scrum. On the openside Foley, Kerevi, Speight and Folau are marking up a man short to five clearly lined out All Blacks. They are one short before the ball is played. When Smith breaks right and takes a pass from Read they have a two man advantage. It isn’t needed though, as a flat cut out hits Crotty on the chest and he blows past Kerevi. Game over.

40th minute