Looks like improvisation but Australia work from carefully structured plan
Ireland must target Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper to have any chance
It went against him in the Stoop with Munster punishing him but he did awaken England in the second half when they needed it most.
It was Brown’s play from the back that led to England’s first try with the momentum keeping England going until the second try, scored by Owen Farrell. Rob Kearney needs to follow suit.
Quade Cooper at 10 has an air of confidence, cemented by vice captaincy, that will enhance his already outrageous gain line play. The key Wallaby difference these past weeks is the variety outside Cooper at 12, 13, 11, 14 and 15.
They all work in tandem; often labelled “eyes up rugby”. It’s not, it’s actually all operated inside a functioning system. There’s no miracle of invention. At a given time, the Aussies have a strict alignment of lines, options and depth that creates a precision pass to unlock defences. Watch Cooper, his timing of run, angle and depth and notice his midfield alignment before he fires a pass.
Array of options
Cooper likes to look like neither he nor his team-mates know what he’s going to do next. Don’t be fooled as it’s all about the array of options and how his team-mates react to his play selection. One example is as a Wallaby variation on Johnny Sexton’s wrap around – a multiphase with part-time outhalf Matt Toomua lying flat and wide to take a target with Cooper loitering deep to take the circle pass.
I can’t wait to see Kieran Read in action for New Zealand but tomorrow it’s scrumhalf Will Genia who is an unreal performer. He consistently carries in both hands, attacking the second fringe defender. Appearing as if he’s slowing the pass, he’s attempting to suck in the second defender, creating a tiny hole that the Wallaby runners expose, as Toomua did crashing past Tom Youngs in Twickenham.
For all their running Australia have no issue in kicking the ball especially box kicks. Toomua’s kick-offs are unreal, going very high and short with serious outside backs sailing into the air to reclaim.
A similar tactic will target Devin Toner’s lineout space as the Wallabies get their inside shoulder to destabilise. Stephen Moore’s lineout throw is very flat and open for steals!
It’s a breath of fresh air to see a team rotated and players not being dropped. That said, Luke Marshall will have to be at his brilliant best to mimic the phenomenal defensive partnership of Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll.