Phipps backs Wallabies attack

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies don’t want to go away from their ball in hand philosophy as they vie to even the Test series this weekend. 

Australia was caught out at times deep in attack, sticking to their running mindset, but it was also a mentality that led to some of their electric tries.

Phipps said at times they didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to put the ball on the foot but ultimately he was confident that approaching the game with a hand-first mentality would be better.

“We know that we are got to be a bit better at relieving pressure but it was probably opportunities where we backed ourselves to use our feet a bit more than the ball in the air, which is sort of our style anyway,” he said.

“We’re quite remiss to just put it up five metres over the ad line for the sake of it where we’re looking for space there I guess.

“We’ll be doing a bit of work there this week but as far as I’m concerned, the options our ball players look around that zone is fine by me.”

Rob Horne exited Saturday's game early. Photo: Getty ImagesAustralia’s backline structure was disrupted early in the game, with Rob Horne coming off with concussion, though he should be fit for the second Test on Saturday.

“Horney has always been that rock for us and as the vice captain he’s such a spiritual leader around that area, he doesn’t say a lot but when he does everyone really listens to him,” Phipps said.

“He controls a lot of that backline defence firstly, he runs the defence and then he has that aura around him in the down time to be able to talk about what we’re doing right and wrong or need to improve on.

“He was obviously quite a loss for us but no doubt he’ll be right for this week and we’ll be ready to go.”

One area that does need to improve is the Wallabies’ work at the breakdown, an area where England was able to exert some dominance on Saturday night, not helped by a number of lineball penalties that went the way of the English.

Phipps said part of improvement was ensuring an immediate focus during the game, not getting ahead of themselves.

“What we talked about at the breakdown we’ve got to make sure we’re looking at the phase in front of us as opposed to the phase ahead of us,” he said.

“Make sure we can secure that ball because we know that if we hold onto the ball we’ll be able to heap pressure.”