Sunday, December 5

Wallabies are wary of ghosts from England’s past as they seek to avoid a relapse | Australia rugby union team


TThe Wallabies’ downfall began with a 3-0 shutout at home to England in 2016, and it will take a win against Eddie Jones’s team at Twickenham this weekend to show that Australia is truly on the road to recovery.

The Wallabies returned from the 2015 World Cup on top after reaching the final against the All Blacks, but England quickly brought them back to earth. Everything went downhill from there.

Dropping to seventh in the world, their lowest ranking, the Wallabies were eliminated from the 2019 World Cup by England in the quarterfinals, resulting in the dismissal of Michael Cheika, who lost all seven tests he coached against. Jones. , his old teammate at Randwick.

Under new coach Dave Rennie, the Wallabies showed signs of a change when they beat world champions South Africa and Argentina in the Rugby Championship during a five-game winning streak, but their momentum was interrupted by last weekend’s loss by 15-13 against Scotland.

The Wallabies now have to beat England to show that their loss at Murrayfield was a mistake and that they have not suffered a relapse.

The current England team isn’t exactly on fire right now, winning just two games in the Six Nations this year, finishing fifth, just ahead of Italy, but home advantage will be important with England winning six in their last eight. Tests against the Wallabies. at Twickenham.

There are many new faces to the England team, but this is one Test Jones will be determined to win. Anyone who has attended the former Wallabies coach’s tearful press conference in Sydney after he was fired in 2005 will realize how much the job meant to him.

Jones was fired after the Wallabies lost eight of their last nine Tests in charge. One of those defeats was a 26-16 defeat to England at Twickenham, which saw the demolition of the Australian scrum.

If the Wallabies’ poor scrum against Scotland were any indication, they could face a similar fate Sunday following the loss of tight-headed supports Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou with a concussion.

Veteran prop James Slipper has played with a closed head in the past, but has a strong preference for the loose head, while Angus Bell is still a rookie. Former Western Force mainstay Ollie Hoskins was called in from London Irish to make an unexpected testing debut from the bench.

Marland Yarde celebrates England's goal during the Test Match at Twickenham in 2016.
Marland Yarde celebrates England’s goal during the Test Match at Twickenham in 2016. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian

The Wallabies’ set pieces must be solid or England will rack up points through penalty goals and gain position on the field to launch their attack. Not only that, if the Australian play collapses, the rest of your game will suffer.

France-based second rower Rory Arnold stabilized a shaky lineout for the Wallabies against Scotland, but will compete against three genuine jump options on the English line.

The Wallabies can expect England to hit them hard in the collapse. Jones will know that Rennie puts a lot of emphasis on this aspect of the game and will undoubtedly try to beat him, so to speak.

Wallabies attacking coach Scott Wisemantel, who has worked for Jones on both sides, is aware of all the tricks of his former mentor, but has his own trouble getting the baseline to shoot without Quade Cooper, Samu. Kerevi and Marika Koroibete, who have said sayonara to Australia for now, at least.

The Wallabies’ attack lacked fluidity against Scotland. There’s a lot of raw talent on the baseline, but they need to keep things simple, know when to take the tackle and recycle the ball rather than trying to force a quick pass.

The selection of France-based Kurtley Beale as fullback will provide more variety to the Wallabies’ attack and return Andrew Kellaway to the wing where he was so effective in the Rugby Championship.

Ultimately, it was the Wallabies’ poor discipline and lack of composure that cost them against Scotland and that needs to be addressed. Critics may argue that French referee Romain Poite was pedantic, doling out some very technical penalties against Australia, but if that’s the way the rules are interpreted, a team has to adapt.

While the Wallabies only played well in patches against Scotland, they could have led 24-7 at halftime rather than trailing 7-3 had they been more patient and precise, which is what they will need to be against England.

To beat the English at Twickenham, a team must be able to move its large group of forwards across the field. Without Cooper, the Wallabies have struggled to execute Rennie’s kicking strategy.

But it’s worth remembering that in 2012, with Beale in fifth-eighth place, the Wallabies executed a spectacular game plan that resulted in a 20-14 win against England, their latest success at Twickenham outside of the 2015 World Cup. .

With only one more test remaining, against Six Nations champions Wales on Sunday week, a loss to England will make the Wallabies’ tour a failure, but a win will put Australia in a position to have a successful campaign.

In many ways, the Wallabies are a team trying to escape the past. If they want to leave the past behind, they must bury the ghosts of England.


www.theguardian.com

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