David Pocock won’t play in at least the next two Wallabies Tests. But will his absence force a backrow overhaul? Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: Like all good revolutions and re-inventions, the Wallabies at some point were always going to be forced into working out what their backrow would look like in the days beyond David Pocock.
Pocock’s looming 2017 sabbatical meant that the Spring Tour was probably going to be an opportunity for experimentation, but his broken hand will force Michael Cheika into action sooner. Something they thought they might’ve had more time to prepare for now has to happen immediately.
And rushed plans and the Wallabies don’t always go well together.
Hiding to nothing: After five straight losses in 2016, if Michael Cheika makes a string of changes and he’s just shuffling the deckchairs; make no changes and he’s a selection dunce without a clue. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: Anyone that’s been involved in the selection of sporting teams at any level knows that it’s a rare event to go from one game to the next with an unchanged line-up.
The further down the pyramid you go, the harder the job gets; players go up and down grades, players’ availability changes, injuries take longer to get over, jobs happen.
At the highest level, all the factors above apply, but then you add scrutiny, debate, rumours and politicking of selection at its zenith. Any possible selection decision will be debated in the lead-up, and dissected and rationalised and debated even more in the aftermath.
This is where we find Michael Cheika this week, as he mulls over his side to face South Africa on Saturday night in Brisbane.
His “moment of sheer dunderheaded stupidity” aside, I was really enthused by Adam Coleman’s first Wallabies start. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: This was going to the be the column in which I’d buck convention and actually pinpoint some things the Wallabies could hang their hat on going forward. The Sydney post-mortem seemed to go on much longer than I can ever remember, and it just seemed to me that some positivity was desperately needed.
It still is desperately needed. But it’s not going to happen today, or at least not to the extent I had planned.
By fulltime on Saturday night, the Bledisloe was again gone, and there really wasn’t a lot to write home about. I could find only two fragments of positivity. But I did have a whole lot more questions…
Plenty of thinking for the Wallabies, after the cleansweep at the hands of England. Image: ABC Grandstand
In my latest column for Rugby365, I’ve outlined why everything that went wrong for the Wallabies in the 3-0 Cook Cup series loss can actually be the road forward for them. If they can be smart about it…
It may take some time for the shock to disperse, but the first clean-sweep series loss on home soil since Hannes Marais’ South Africans won 3-0 in 1971 provides Michael Cheika’s Wallabies a definite way forward for The Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe Cup.
But there’s one massive, unavoidable proviso.
They simply must stop shooting themselves in the foot.