Get your questions in for Issue 31 of Coach’s Corner

Winning ugly was the name of the game for the Wallabies to kick off the Spring Tour, squeaking past a gritty Japan 32-23 to extend their winning streak to five. With plenty of improvement to be made before the squad heads to the UK, it’s the perfect time to dissect it all in this week’s […]

Get your questions in for Issue 31 of Coach’s Corner

Winning ugly was the name of the game for the Wallabies to kick off the Spring Tour, squeaking past a gritty Japan 32-23 to extend their winning streak to five.

With plenty of improvement to be made before the squad heads to the UK, it’s the perfect time to dissect it all in this week’s edition of Coach’s Corner.

In case you’re new here: every Friday, Nick Bishop, The Roar’s resident rugby expert, comes on deck to answer all your questions from the weird and wacky world of rugby.

Miss the latest issue of Coach’s Corner? Catch up right here!

Just a few months ago, any win was cause for celebration for Wallabies fans: but now, having seen them at their best in four straight Rugby Championship wins over the Springboks and Argentina, performances like Saturday’s don’t quite cut the mustard for supporters… or, for that matter, coach Dave Rennie.

Where will the Wallabies need to get better ahead of a true litmus test against Scotland, Ireland and England in the near future?

Meanwhile, the withdrawal of Marika Koroibete from the squad for family reasons saw Tom Wright get his chance as starting winger, while Hunter Paisami stepped in for the injured Samu Kerevi and Jordan Petaia had nearly a full match after the early loss of Reece Hodge.

Did the trio do enough to secure spots in the starting XV over in Europe… or should the looming return of some locally-based internationals take priority?

Elsewhere, the All Blacks ran riot in a 104-14 demolition job of the USA, but even more encouraging for the New Zealanders than the result was the performance of new kid on the block Finlay Christie at 9. The scrum-half spot might now be the most hotly contested in the All Blacks line-up: did Christie do enough to stamp his claim on it moving forward?

>> Check out the full Spring Tour fixture

Got any other questions following the Wallabies’ first match against Japan – or anything else from the world of rugby? Nick – and us – can’t wait to hear them. So get asking in the comments below and, of course, check back in on The Roar on Friday to see the answers.

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‘Rusty and frustrating’: Everything Dave Rennie said about tactical error, Cooper’s status and Hunter return

Quade Cooper will be on the plane to England on Sunday in a sign he should play some part of the European tour. Although Wallabies coach Dave Rennie didn’t elaborate, it appears the Wallabies have won, at least for now, the club vs. country struggle over the No.10, with his Japanese side Kintetsu releasing him […]

‘Rusty and frustrating’: Everything Dave Rennie said about tactical error, Cooper’s status and Hunter return

Quade Cooper will be on the plane to England on Sunday in a sign he should play some part of the European tour.

Although Wallabies coach Dave Rennie didn’t elaborate, it appears the Wallabies have won, at least for now, the club vs. country struggle over the No.10, with his Japanese side Kintetsu releasing him to travel, as World Rugby regulations are clear they should.

After four Tests in which Cooper seemed to curb his natural flair for the good of the cause, he produced the best and worst of his repertoire on Saturday, throwing several outrageous no look and behind the back passes but also guilty of throwing an intercept that clearly disappointed his coach.

Also travelling is Reece Hodge despite suffering a pectoral injury that will put the rest of campaign in doubt. He will have scans before a decision is made.

(Photo by Kenta Harada/Getty Images)

Here’s everything Rennie had to say in the post-match press conference

On the performance overall

“Rusty and fairly frustrating,” is how Rennie summed up the victory in Oita.

“We played a lot of good footy but we just didn’t kick the ball enough. There was a lot of space where we could apply pressure but we tended to over play.

“We got some good go forward but almost got sucked in to going more phases when they had no cover in the back field. That was disappointing and we ended up putting ourselves under pressure because of it.

“We played a lot of rugby in between the 10 metres and certainly late in the game we got penalised a fair bit around there and even the intercept we’ve got a four on one, we’ve just to give to the guy next to us.

“We’re happy to win, we will be better for that game and they were a good side. Everytime we gave them a bit of a sniff they hurt us. ”

Rennie was asked if his team got “sucked in” to a running battle when a slower game might have suited his team better.

“I wouldn’t sucked in either because they were blowing. We thought they were out on their feet a number of times,” said Rennie.

“We lacked a bit of accuracy at key times. We lacked patience. But it was a good learning experience. We got pretty good go forward from a lot of carries but it was a different type of game than what we’ve been playing and different from what we’ll face in the next three games.”

He said he was impressed by Japan.

“They’re a good side,” he said. “They have outstanding staff who have developed genuine depth and they’re only going to get better. They’re worthy of where they’re sitting in the world and certainly grateful to be playing a lot of tier one nations now compared to a few years ago.”

On Hunter Paisami’s return for Samu Kerevi

“We were really happy with Hunter,” said Rennie. “He played 80 minutes which wasa great effort. He was strong. He was strong defensively. He’ll be so much fitter for a run. He’s had a really good week of preparation.”


On JOC’s late entrance

“We left James on the bench longer because Jordie [Petaia, who replaced injured Reece Hodge] was on early. They’re a very fast finishing side traditionally. And we didn’t want him on the pitch with 20 to go. Unfortunately it often happens. James was the one left on the pine for a little bit longer.”

On the performance at the breakdown
“We were pretty good early on but I thought we weren’t so great late in the game,” said Rennie. “Some of that comes from over play. Some of it was entry – poor decision making from an individual perspective.

“We’ll tidy that up. We’re just a little bit rusty around a couple of areas, we’ve done a ot of work around our carry clean and we’ve just got to be better.”

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