The Wrap: Character under pressure a solid foundation for the Wallabies

A week after Australia’s exciting 33-30 third test win against France in Brisbane, it was time to ask Rugby Australia’s rugby director Scott Johnson about the significance of the series win for the Wallabies.

“There is a what and a how,” Johnson explains on Friday in an exclusive chat with The Roar . “Our young team has won a series against top-class opponents. But how it was done was probably more important. “

” To start with, the third test, it was a great game, a terrific spectacle, and considering the qualities we love about and what we love about the sport the Australian spirit, that only makes it more satisfying. If we include the first test, victory over death, and even the Melbourne lessons, the bottom line in test match rugby is that you have to develop character in order to learn how to win, ”he says.

“Even if it’s just a step, it’s a very important step. On the other hand, we’re lucky enough that one of Dave (Rennie’s) great strengths is humility; Teaching young players to keep their feet on the ground. ”

What about the bigger picture? What does this mean for the game in Australia?

“When it comes to the psyche of the game in Australia, the ratings go up, people talk about the game, not the boardroom, and they talk positively”, says Johnson.

“The great thing about Australian rugby is that we are always compared to AFL and NRL, but what people forget is that their advantage is that Australia never loses.”

“We happen to play regularly against world champions like South Africa and New Zealand, where rugby is a far more dominant sport than here, so our measurement criteria are pretty tough. We accept that, that’s the beauty of rugby being a global game. ”

” But when people recognize the determination and spirit of the team, it is in the context of the difficult times that everyone is facing Not only is it good for rugby, but we think it represents us well as a country. ”

The conversation inevitably revolves around individuals, and despite the usual reluctance of voters towards individual players, I urge them to name some of the success stories of the series.

“Darcy Swain probably got through a little faster than we expected. We’ve lost so many locks in the last 24 months, he was a young guy we had the potential to fill this hole with, but for him it’s a bonus to move up so fast. ”

 Michael Hooper was the captain of the Wallabies against France

Michael Hooper in action against France. (Photo by Daniel Pockett / Getty Images)

“Another thing is that people like to look at the young children who get through, but sometimes we don’t recognize the older man. The captain’s performance was immense. When we first saw the compressed schedule, we weren’t sure if Michael (Hooper) could play all three games, but his ability to recover quickly and play at that level was enormous. “

“We were also very pleased with the way Tate McDermott was able to fill two roles – bench and start – and also with how Rob Valetini grew into the series and showed us that he is capable of what he is delivers at super rugby level, bringing rugby into the test. ”

And the coach? Has Rennie managed to give the team his personality and philosophy, or is that still developing?

“No doubt when the team came to camp this time, they were on their way to last year when a lot was new, ”he says. “Culturally, Dave did a wonderful job; Of course we have an interesting dynamic with a mixture of cultures, but he has an amazing ability to unite the group and make sure that new guys fit in as well. ”

Well, provided the Covid logistics can be processed what’s the next step?

“I think it’s fair to say we’re getting the attention of the public. And while there is an expectation of winning, and that’s fair enough, it’s not just about that. The most important thing I think the fans expect from us is that we don’t want to go backwards in the way we play. “

” We want to gain the reputation of being a team that is always in Fight that’s always hard to beat. And that’s the greatest thing you can take with you to New Zealand from the French series; Character under pressure and how important it is to work hard for each other as long as necessary. “

” When we are there, when we keep knocking on the door, then We get more than our share of the Wins. We showed against New Zealand last year that we can compete against quality opponents. So that’s a baseline, if you will, and from there we should be able to keep up on the scoreboard. ”

No chat about rugby is complete without a discussion about refereeing. Are the wallabies happy with the way the games are being run?

“Of course we want some clarity about high tackles. We all understand the intent behind things, but we don’t think they’re getting it right yet The only law we really like is that players have to be clearly on the defensive, so we’re looking for a good referee, I actually think the New Zealand officials are doing a good job with that, but I think , it could be more consistent across all competitions. ”


I try to referee the breakdown a little more difficult. Was that a source of frustration?

“Sure,” says Johnson, “there is quite a bit of tidying up when it comes to mucking out and what is considered outlandish, but a lot of it also depends on being in control of things; better support play, Height, accuracy and the like. “

” Overall, the thing about referees is that it shouldn’t be about local interpretation or individual referee interpretation. We’re all looking for a universal interpretation. “

Finally, I ask Johnson, if there’s a message for the fans, what would it be? He goes straight to the Alan Ala’alatoa Playbook.

“We’re building a team that we hope all Australians will be Our great determination is to show achievements that we are proud of and that our fans can be proud of. ”

After almost two decades without the Bledisloe Cup, there is no skepticism on the part of the fans unreasonable. It also makes no sense that the universe Blacks, even after their Hansen-era climaxes, are ready to turn around and make things easy.

The wallabies were as wide as a goal post after sharing the four final years’ trials . That doesn’t guarantee anything, but with a natural development in the squad and a hard-won test series victory now on the bench, the trend is upwards.

The next few weeks will show us whether we are proud of performance and winning results ready for the merger.

In the meantime, the eagerly anticipated series South Africa against Lions began in Cape Town, in which the Lions performed strongly in the second Half time to defeat the world champion 22-17.

 Elliot Daly

Elliot Daly. (Photo by David Rogers / Getty Images)

The intensity of the competition was all that was expected, if the quality of the rugby was rather less. It’s now been over 20 months since the Boks won the Grand Prix, but it was like time had stood still since then; Staff and schedule unchanged, but this time the execution was missing.

Faf de Klerk incessantly stepped from half his back to create a pressure point on the receiver, which was mostly where it began and ended, and when the Boks are to turn things around for the next fortnight, they’ll need more ball running punch and Handre Pollard if they win the forefoot or the gym ball to break out of its deep pocket and the Lions much closer to the payline

Although the Lions were 12-3 behind at halftime, the Lions never lost their composure, had a superior game with long kicks and their second scrum session ended the game strong. Well-deserved first blood for the Lions.

There was a lot of fuss upfront that coach Rassie Erasmus, who won the world championship, was taking on the role of waterboy for the springboks, and if that went against the spirit of the game. As it turned out, Erasmus certainly had a lot of notes for a water boy and appeared to only have one bottle with him during some of his stays in the field. That’s not much water for fifteen thirsty springboks.

At the end of the game he had even given up that pretext and walked on empty-handed, though it didn’t take a genius to figure out what the news was; “Faf, the next time you get a jerk, I want you to try a box kick.”

(Photo by Getty Sports)

To be fair, Erasmus wasn’t the only ranger. The game was marred by too many followers from both sides, who contaminated the field with almost every interruption. Referee Nic Berry has been heard trying to shoo them away on numerous occasions, but it really takes closer adherence and an attitude from both sides to stay off the field and leave things to the players.

On Later this week, a reminder that a little perspective is never a bad thing. After Australian rugby collapsed last week, accusing referee Ben O’Keeffe of various atrocities such as incompetence, blindness, being New Zealander or too susceptible to being influenced, there were two examples over the weekend that suggested that rugby is not being served too badly by its match officials as some believe.

The 2-0 win for the Olyroos against Argentina was accomplished and well deserved, despite the help of referee Srdjan Jovanovic and defender Francisco Ortega. sent for a reason that will forever remain a mystery to anyone who witnessed it.

Let’s hope Marika Koroibete saw it and laughed.

And while we’re on the move, check out the 75th minute attempt that Kane Bradley for the Gold Coast Titans against the Melbourne Storm on Friday night. Somehow, a referee, two touch judges, and the infamous bunker conspired to give the go-ahead for a pass that was further ahead than a lively Lithuanian pole vaulter stepping into an elevator with the Brazilian women’s volleyball team, two shockers, rugby fans might do well to soften the referee bashing and instead start counting their blessings.

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