[Update Nov 13, 2013] Archive time here on HoR…the last time the Wallabies played Dublin was our first full post-Grand Slam outing. This was the only rugby match Ireland failed to win in 2009, and it was also Cian Healy’s debut. Australia went on to lose 8-9 in Murrayfield the following weekend.
Is it really enough that we drew at Croke Park yesterday?
Is it really enough to use the excuse that we were “rusty”?
This was a match played in early November…can we use the same excuse when our first World Cup match kicks off on September 11, 2011 against (probably) Eddie O’Sullivan’s USA?
Of COURSE I was over the moon when Drico touched down under the posts to virtually guarantee a draw from this contest. But that can’t mean I can just forget what had gone before and not mention it.
And here’s the irony…when I’m writing posts like this I’m often giving out that we played it safe when we could have been adventurous. Well at the risk of being accused of never being happy, I think the opposite applied yesterday.
There’s a time and a place for adventure, and that time presented itself when we fell behind by seven points against the Wallabies. That time was NOT after winning our own lineout right outside our own 22 running the risk of putting the ball in a place where it could be intercepted.
That was an unnecessary gamble that had us seven points behind before we could have even gotten into our stride.
From there we steadied the ship somewhat and got the score to 6-10, and we’re awarded a penalty in front on the posts.
Again, not the time for a hopeful kick to Tommy Bowe, ROG! Take the easy three, get to within a point.
I calculate that those two decisions were crucial and resulted in a ten-point swing against us which if avoided could have us celebrating a victory today.
So let’s say that if anything was rusty on the day, it was our decision-making.
Now…to the good stuff. The Wallaby pack began strongly, but with no changes to our front five we were able to claw them back enough to be able to secure the ball which led to the equalising score at the death.
Of course nobody in said front five stood out more than the debutante, the magnificent Cian Healy.
And the Wallabies can’t use the excuse that they didn’t know the playbook on him, since their captain spent a good portion of last season with his face very close to the Clontarf-born prop’s backside in the Leinster scrum!!!
Also there was much to applaud in the back line, with even Paddy Wallace catching my attention for once.
Overall it was a good way to kick off the international season for Declan Kidney’s men, and although it could be better, I didn’t see too much that makes me doubt they’ll be ready to defend their Grand Slam title in the new year. JLP