Development and depth continue to paralyze the Wallabies



What does this have to do with the Wallabies? The answer is, of course, everything.

It is an old story, but Australia's development systems are still far behind New Zealand. So when the Wallabies get a few injuries, especially in the same position, the imagined depth is simply not there. And that's exactly what happened last weekend.

When Scott Sio and Taniela Tupou were first excluded from the first Bledisloe, the smart money would have accumulated on the All Blacks.

Suddenly, Jermaine Ainsley was exposed to Bledisloe Cup rugby and the outcome was predictable. He is a good prospect, Ainsley, but potentially good players do not win you the big cup.

The same could be applied to the midfield. Reece Hodge did a good job in the No.13 jersey, but the form-center in Australia before the Bledisloe was Tevita Kuridrani, with Samu Kerevi behind him.

There is a drop-off to Hodge, a good tool as he is. In fact, you could probably go through every unit in the Wallabies and find a reason to worry about the depth map.

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Rear row? Well, there is a No.7s surplus but without Jack Dempsey at number 6 the cupboard is not that full. At number 8 Tim Tim had his chance during the June series, but he did not really catch up. Rebel recruit Isi Naisarani could be the man, but he is not yet eligible.

In the last three, the absence of Israel Folau suddenly put the microscope in that area this weekend.

Jack Maddocks has a cap and is not really physically ready to hold a spot. But his main challenger, Tom Banks, has yet to play a test, while Marika Koroibete is still learning the game and Sefa Naivalu is stopped by injuries.

At number 9 Will Genia is still the best option, but Nick Phipps and Joe Powell are probably not putting enough pressure on him.

Even at number 10, Matt Toomua's return did not solve the problem. Toomua looks more comfortable on 12 December.

It is possible that it is only on the second row where the Wallabies have real depth. That is an area where underperformance is not acceptable because a man like Matt Philip can not even make the team.

Most test coaches would be more than satisfied with a spinning cast by Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold and Lukhan Tui.

None of this changes the fact that the Wallabies last week performed worse, and Michael Cheika must take responsibility for this.

After Tatafu Polota-Nau and Tolu Latu were selected for Super Rugby artists Folau Fainga & # 39; a and Brandon Paenga-Amosa, he had to get a better return on that selection.

And was it right to choose a sneaky Michael Hooper, knowing that the selection would endanger his bench options and probably force Tui to play the full 80 minutes? These are legitimate questions for Cheika to answer, even if you imagine that the wheels should come off in a spectacular way to threaten his work.

Yet, if you look at Australia as a whole, the problems begin before the test season begins.

Of course you have heard this story before. You want an immediate answer. You want the depth to be there at night.

But until the next Junior Laloifi is groomed in Australia as he would be in New Zealand, that process, like so much in Australian rugby, is still under development.


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