August 15, 2005
A sporting dog's life
What a pig of a weekend! The cricketers are in all sorts or trouble, the Wallabies got hammered, the Lions got flogged and the Broncos got hammered as well.
Even worse, the Wallabies and Broncos, about whom I care the most, didn't even look like winning. They played awful football and got beat by sides that well and truly deserved to win.
True, the Wallabies got off to a good start, but then went back to their bad old habits. They seem to get a plan in their head and stick doggedly to it even when it's obviously causing problems. This weekend it was going two passes wide of the ruck and turning the ball back inside (or occasionally out). The All Blacks figured this one out early and then just smashed the runners behind the advantage line.
Only when the Wallabies got Chris Whittaker on (and therefore better service from half) and got some close runners going forward near the ruck did they have any momentum at all. By then, though, it was more than halfway through the second half. They were too tired and unable to take advantage - mistakes and ball dropped under pressure (and the All Blacks put a LOT of pressure on).
The Broncos seem to be missing any kind of presence and organisation around the ruck. Their runners were disorganised and one-out, and the defence leaked like a sieve. For all the Saints' ability out wide (Cooper and Gasnier are class acts), they created holes through the Broncos' middle.
You can always tell when the Broncos are going well because their second-phase runners are everywhere. Yesterday they were almost not there. Too predictable, too easy to defend - only one try scored tells the story. Need Barry Berrigan back badly. The wheels have fallen off in the past few weeks.
To fair to both sides, though, their defence was excellent. It was only this that saved them from humiliation. As Wayne Bennet said, plenty of good things in it but, as Eddie Jones said, a lot of improvement needed.Posted by Hughie at August 15, 2005 9:38 AM