The tactic that showed All Blacks have been watching Wallabies


2. What the All Blacks did better than the Wallabies

Inside balls, decoy runners off first phase and short passes from the halfback: the All Blacks pretty much brought full range of tricks in a bid to get both of their wingers, Caleb Clarke and Jordie Barrett, into the game. The No.11 and No.14 constantly came off their flanks looking for work, with hooker Dane Coles operating in the wide channels.

Jordie Barrett was a constant menace for the All Blacks.

Jordie Barrett was a constant menace for the All Blacks.Credit:Getty

Clarke didn’t get on the scoresheet but don’t underestimate his impact – the All Blacks basically asked him to provide the punch in midfield, hovering in behind the ‘screen’ set up by Jack Goodhue and Anton Lienert-Brown.

That’s the role Wallabies fans love to see Marika Koroibete play, given the Rebels winger has become something of a barometer for Wallabies performances. When Koroibete is involved, getting plenty of touches of the footy, the Wallabies go well.

3. Australian rugby’s high priest of cohesion analytics is right again

Former Wallaby turned performance analyst Ben Darwin probably saw that Pumas loss coming, given the high number of changes they made after two tough tests. Darwin, whose work is greatly admired at the Crusaders, doesn’t necessarily look at individuals when teams are named – he looks at how many players have been retained from the week before.

Longer-term, the good news for Australian rugby is that Darwin sees the potential for the Wallabies to benefit from the cohesion flowing through from a Queensland Reds side that could play a lot of rugby together in the coming years. Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami and Jordan Petaia have enormous roles to play in coming years.

4. Why the Pumas aren’t a spent force

Argentina looked like a tired team in Newcastle but there is no chance that the Wallabies will read too much into that before next week’s Test. In many ways, the 38-0 loss to the All Blacks was an odd game in that it featured a scrummaging duel that was so dramatically one-sided that it skewed the entire contest. The All Blacks’ scrum dominance was so pronounced it was probably worth 15-20 points, and it’s highly unlikely that the Wallabies will enjoy that sort of platform on Saturday.

Despite this handicap, we again saw the Pumas’ unbelievable collective desire to defend their own line, even though the game was clearly beyond them in the second half. The All Blacks’ last 14 points came from Pumas errors from ball in hand, blowing out the scoreline. But the Wallabies will know the Kiwis never really broke Argentina’s defensive resolve, and they must respect that.

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5. No 6 is the hardest spot to fill

The Wallabies are still searching for a No.6 and the All Blacks have taken six Tests this year to simply arrive at a possible answer at blindside. Akira Ioane was good in Newcastle – very good – but the demands of the role are such that the good ones can take years to find. The physical requirements are non-negotiable – 190cm and 110kg seems to be the minimum size needed – but on top of that there has to the desire to be consistently dominant on either side of the ball.

That’s why the Wallabies will be patient with Lachie Swinton. He was reckless in getting himself sent off against the All Blacks in Brisbane but an earlier tackle on Scott Barrett brought his qualities into sharp focus. Swinton needs to be finessed but the rewards are so high if the Waratahs and Wallabies get it right with him.

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