Wallabies must heed Rennie’s call for ruthlessness in France Tests | Bret Harris


Dave Rennie might or will not be a scholar of Australian rugby historical past, however the Wallabies coach seems to be channeling the spirit of former nationwide crew mentor Dave Brockhoff as he prepares the squad for the upcoming Check season.

Brockhoff’s Wallabies have been recognized for his or her abrasiveness and aggression. Within the mid-Seventies he launched the “step ahead” tactic to the Australian crew. In different phrases, he by no means took a backward step.

This led to the notorious “Battle of Brisbane” with England in 1975, but it surely additionally demonstrated to the world that Australia wouldn’t be pushed round by anybody.

Not which you can anticipate to see Wallabies’ fists flying in any of this 12 months’s Exams. The times of biff and boot are lengthy gone, however bodily aggression stays a cornerstone of the sport and Rennie is aware of it.

Final week he urged the Wallabies to seek out their “darkish facet” within the three-Check sequence towards France, beginning on 7 July in Brisbane. This was not a throwaway line, however seemingly an official command to the Wallabies to indicate extra ruthlessness.

Rennie’s remark was made primarily in relation to defence with Australia’s 5 Tremendous Rugby groups leaking a mean of 39.64 factors a recreation towards New Zealand opposition within the Tremendous Rugby Trans-Tasman competitors.

However the “darkish facet” will be utilized to any, and each, facet of the sport, significantly the bodily confrontational contests for possession from the set-pieces to rucks and mauls in addition to post-contact metres with the ball in hand.

The newest model of the “step ahead” strategy will undoubtedly affect the collection of the Wallabies crew. Bodily aggressive gamers are prone to be excessive on Rennie’s record of Check candidates, which implies somebody like robust man Sitaleki Timani, even at 34 years of age, might have a task to play.

Tellingly, Rennie defended NSW Waratahs flanker Lachie Swinton, who was red-carded for a excessive shot on Chiefs unfastened ahead Lachlan Boshier throughout a harmful clean-out within the ultimate spherical of Tremendous Rugby Trans-Tasman.

Some commentators imagine Swinton is a legal responsibility for the Wallabies and must reign in his aggression.

However Swinton’s type is exactly what Rennie is looking for. He simply needs his crew to be extra correct.

Rennie additionally expressed disappointment that World Rugby determined towards implementing the 20-minute purple card at Check degree, which might have allowed groups to exchange a despatched off participant after 20 minutes as they may do in Tremendous Rugby.

Sitaleki Timani might have a task to play in Rennie’s strategy. {Photograph}: Chris Hyde/Getty Photographs for Rugby Australia

He believed sending off a participant might have a huge impact on a recreation even when the infringement will not be considered severe on evaluate, which was what occurred in Swinton’s case.

Whereas 15 on 15 was excellent, as Rennie identified, would possibly it even be true that if the Wallabies performed with higher bodily aggression, they may very well be extra prone to be carded if they didn’t train ample management and accuracy.

This combative perspective in direction of the sport is nothing new for Rennie, whose back-to-back Tremendous Rugby title-winning Chiefs crew was well-known for its physicality.

The Chiefs’ toughness received the admiration of former Waratahs and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who regarded the lads from the Waikato as a benchmark for abrasive ahead play.

Cheika used to name this type of physicality “edge.” Name it what you want, however bodily depth will likely be a significant goal for the Wallabies.

The All Blacks and the Kiwi Tremendous Rugby groups play with a bodily depth unknown in a lot of Australian rugby.

Within the ultimate spherical of Tremendous Rugby Trans-Tasman, the Brumbies misplaced to the Highlanders 33-12 in Canberra. They s solely trailed 14-12 at halftime and coach Dan McKellar really thought they have been the higher crew within the first half.

What occurred within the second was not only a results of what the Highlanders did to the Brumbies in that 40 minutes, however moderately the cumulative impact of 5 consecutive bodily intense conflicts with Kiwi opposition which finally took its toll.

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The Brumbies misplaced narrowly to the Crusaders and beat the Hurricanes 12-10 in Trans-Tasman, however Australian groups have to be taught to play with that degree of bodily depth constantly.

Take a look at Queensland within the State of Origin sequence towards NSW. Within the first two video games the Maroon began strongly however have been unable to take care of it. Every time there was a lapse, the Blues struck.

Taking part in with bodily depth and aggression for 80 minutes week in, week out is win sequence and tournaments – not simply the primary 10 or 20 minutes of a match.

Rennie has clearly recognised a obligatory constructing block to reconstruct the Wallabies. If he can instil an uncompromising perspective, Australian rugby might effectively take an essential “step ahead” to reclaiming its place among the many main nations of world rugby.


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