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Stephen Hoiles: What we learnt from the weekend's Test...

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By Stephen Hoiles

1. Attacking Tactics can pay off:

I find it interesting to see all the criticism of the tactics used by the Qantas Wallabies. I am not saying that all the chip kicks out of our end were the right options or executed perfectly but it is refreshing to see a side under so much pressure to come out looking to attack from the opening whistle.  Playing the Springboks is always a very confrontational encounter and traditionally they play a very forwards orientated game. They are a side that likes to play to a certain way. By turning them around with little kicks in behind early I think had more positive effects than people realise. Taking the game to a more unstructured style of Rugby I think was only ever going to suit one team and that was the Wallabies.

2. Exit our end with confidence:

When we talk zones in Rugby, it is generally broken down into four zones, A, B, C & D. The D zone is the end we don’t want to be in. How we get out of the D zone plays a huge role in a team’s intent. This Zone was where most of the Wallabies short kicks came from on Saturday night. While I admired the Wallabies intent to turn the ‘Boks around with little kicks I feel they can be greater served by running out of this end. I think back to the 2010 spring tour and Robbie’s men were outstanding at getting over the D zone and putting the opposition on the back foot allowing key decision makers time and space to make positive decisions.  Having forwards work hard off the ball and offer ball running options is crucial for this to be effective.

3. Pick a bench that can change a game:

Some people may have been surprised at Scott Higginbotham being demoted to the bench. Scott had a great back end of the Super Rugby season and I was one who thought he was an automatic selection in the Wallabies starting 15.  Having Scott and Liam Gill come off the bench I think made a massive difference to the team. Scott had an immediate impact with his try and Liam Gill was very effective against a tired and heavy ‘Boks pack. Higginbotham may not like these words but I actually see him as one player who needs to be injected late in games (not too late) because he has the ability to produce big plays.

4. Run the Argies around:

Argentina has been the surprise packet of the inaugural Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship. We all suspected they would be tough to beat at home which we saw when they drew with the ‘Boks a few weeks back. However it was their performance against the world champs in Wellington on Saturday that now has everyone taking note. They have played with a huge amount of emotion so far. If the Wallabies can get some early points I think we can put on a big score. I hope that the Wallabies continue to look for opportunities from our own end of the field. Argentina will have had a tough couple of weeks on the road come Saturday so now is the perfect time to get them. If Australia allows them into the game early it could be a tough 80 minutes as the All Blacks saw last weekend. I am hoping for a try fest at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast on Saturday night. Hopefully all Gold ones.