Dempsey ready to 'light up' Mendoza

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Jack Dempsey is ready to “light up” Argentina, having emerged from his first Test start frustrated with his lack of offensive impact.

Dempsey was good without being great in the Wallabies’ 27-all draw with the Springboks and a large part of his work was done on the defensive side of the ball.

That was the nature of the first term - with the Wallabies controlling just 33 per cent of possession in the first half - and having only played just over 50 minutes, Dempsey told he was raring to rip into the Argentinians on Sunday morning (AEST). 

“For my own personal reflection I was a bit frustrated that I wasn’t able to get my hands on the ball,” Dempsey said.

“That’s something I pride myself on but as you mentioned that’s kind of how the game went in that first half.

“I am going to be looking to get my hands on the ball and show what I can do with ball in hand (against Argentina).”

The 23-year-old is still finding his feet in an attack that heavily relies on the powerful bursts of Adam Coleman in the large majority of the field.

“Our shape, as a six, you’re working a lot with our second rowers,” Dempsey explained.

“(Adam) Coleman has been really good in terms of owning a lot of the carries when we’re first getting set and dominating that space.

“It’s my job to find where I fit in with all of that I guess and that’s all about our attacking shape.

“We do change our shape a bit in the attacking 22 or 30 so that’s where I would like to light up, step in front and have an impact with the ball there, close to their line.

“Having that background of playing out in the wider channels as a seven and an eight, I like to see that as one of my strengths as well.”

While adding some attacking punch to his game is at the top of Dempsey’s agenda, he remains focused on a defensive maul setup that suffocated an enormous Springboks pack at the weekend, as well as improving the rate of clean ball for Will Genia at the back of the breakdown.

“The attacking ruck was a lot better (against South Africa) but I think it’s probably our biggest weakness at the moment, as a forward pack," Dempsey said.

“We’re not really there in terms of consistent, clean, fast ball.

“We spoke about it in the review.

“Adam (Coleman) was pretty vocal in saying that we aren’t where we want to be in terms of attacking ruck and Cheik had a word to all of us four, five, sixes, because we do work as a pod, about us really needing to pick up in that part of the game.

“It’s also the carry and the urgency of the clean so that’s a whole unit focus and something we really need to work on for this game.”

Australia takes on Argentina on Sunday morning, kicking off at 9:40am AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS.