The Wallabies will lumber back to Australia after the worst Spring Tour in a decade, finishing the tour with a record of 3-1 will reflect badly on coach Michael Chieka.
In the Saturday night loss to England we have learnt the following five points:
- 1) The front five struggle again
Englandís big ball carriers where to strong for our heavily scrutinised front row. The Wallaby scrum wobbled late in the match as the starters tired and where eventually replaced. In the crucial stages of the game they gave away penalties and lost scrums. Poor performances in the front pack row been a strong reoccurrence throughout the Spring Tour (see Wales vs Australia for evidence).
- 2) Penalties hurt us the most
Thirteen penalties where given away in the match. With Englandís kicker, George Ford, being largely on target this was highly damaging for the wallabies as he converted 4/6 penalties and successfully booted both try conversions. Fordís damaging boot also killed any hope left in the Wallabies when he kicked a crucial 77th minute penalty goal to seal the victory.†
- 3) There is a potential for brilliance
We had a small glimpse into what Michael Chiekaís coaching style can produce. Coming out of halftime fired up the Australianís scored in the 44th minute with an old Warratahs play that saw Bernard Foley score beneath the posts. The coaching style has been scrutinised because of its lack of success internationally, however sparks of brilliance like this give hope to the Wallabies.
- 4) The Wallabies no longer have a mental edge over England
Pre-game we believed this win would give the Wallabies a great psychological advantage over the England squad for the 2015 Word Cup. Now itís been reversed. Twice in a row England has beaten the Wallabies side which has edged England ahead of the Wallabies mentally, as well as in the world standings.
- 5) England can rise to the challenge of 2015
The 2015 World Cup will provide a challenge for all nations. The England side in particular will have their home crowd to look forward to. In Saturdayís game we learnt that England does has front row strength that puts them in good stead against the Wallabies. In 2015 they have an epic chance to perform past their critics expectations, especially now that they have a fundamental psychological advantage over the Wallabies (who they will meet in the group stages).†
By Sean Harken