Isa, Whiteley, Retallick, Genia: the TRC standouts in 2016, according to the panel..
The Roar: We’ve hit the second bye week of The Rugby Championship, and the focus this week turns to the individuals to have really grabbed our attention during the 2016 tournament.
And it’s a worthwhile exercise on a number of fronts: when your team is a bit up and down like three of the four teams have been this season, it’s easy to just keep kicking cans and overlook some pretty solid individual performances.
The Big Question for the panel in bye week: From your respective country, who’s been the standout contributor during The Rugby Championship in 2016 + Who has scored the Try of the Tournament to date?
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.
The Roar: After last weekend showed that the Wallabies can indeed win games of rugby and the Pumas can indeed challenge the All Blacks (albeit for a period not quite equalling eighty minutes), this weekend is the one where the two teams can mark themselves off against each other.
For the Wallabies, a win would confirm that last weekend wasn’t a dream, and things really aren’t too bad as long you’re not playing the best team in the world every weekend. For Argentina, a win would confirm common thoughts that they’re now capable of winning away from home.
The Big Question for Week 4: What is our predicted effect of last weekend’s matches likely to have on the momentum and morale of Australia and Argentina?
ONE IN A ROW! The Wallabies broke their six-game losing streak against South Africa in Brisbane on Saturday night. Image: ABC Grandstand
The Roar: Well, this is definitely the week. A Wallabies win after a year of losses just has to be a green light to dial up all manner of wild claims and predictions.
I mean, if you can’t be bullish after a six-point win over a surprisingly mediocre former force, when can you?
I kind of tried to do this a fortnight ago, but it only lasted a couple of paragraphs before the sinking reality took hold. But after the Wallabies solid – no, ‘stellar’! – 23-17 win over South Africa, now there’s no holding back.
So here it all comes – positivity turned up to 11. And then maybe reined in a tiny dose of reality…