England Test all about the finish line: Larkham

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Finishing will be the key for Australia in their final Test of 2016, attack coach Stephen Larkham says.

The Wallabies were left to rue missed opportunities when they face England in June and their final passes in attack have let them down through the season.

Larkham said the side had tightened up those issues since June, as well as working on some defensive weaknesses.

“We found a lot of space in that first Test and we failed to capitalise on it,” he said.

“So we've spent time working on being more clinical in our execution.

“It's not about the shape we want to play but the finishing of the tries. You are always going to make mistakes when you play the kind of rugby we play.

“But we feel we have become more clinical in that area.

“There are more aspects of the game that I think we've improved on as well. Defensively. If you look at that last Test match [against England] there were 80- points scored that is very unusual. We've worked on all aspects of our game.”

One player who has had no trouble finding the line on the Spring Tour is Tevita Kuridrani, with the outside centre in line to become the first player to score a try in every match on a Grand Slam tour since Mark Ella in 1984.

Larkham said Kuridrani’s scores had been held up as an example to the team, with each week’s effort seemingly more athletic than the last, culminating in his NRL-esque effort against Ireland.

“We’ve had a big focus on scoring tries and we’ve shown a few clips of Tevita on this tour. The one against France was certainly a highlight, his desperation to score that try. It was pleasing to see him get another one on the weekend but we didn’t get the result so it’s quite a unique feat,” he said.

“I assume Mark Ella was the last guy to do it but they won all their games over here.

Tevita Kuridrani has led the way with tries this tour. Photo: Getty ImagesLarkham said Kuridrani was simply taking chances that presented themselves, making the most of a chance to return to the starting team with an injury to Samu Kerevi.

“I think it’s been there the whole time, he really hasn’t had the opportunities so that happens with players in the backline particularly the outside backs, sometimes the ball doesn’t come their way,” he said.

“Sometimes the play doesn’t come their way.

“With Samu Kerevi coming into the team and doing such a good job Tevita missed his chance to get his hands on the ball and to make some tackles but since he’s been back in the team he’s played the rugby I’ve always seen him play.

“It’s just that he’s getting more opportunities in the games.”

Australia takes on England at Twickenham on Sunday, kicking off at 1:30am AEDT, LIVE on SBS and beIn Sport.