Rugby Championship - Australia look for balance in attack against All Blacks

The Wallabies will still be encouraged to "have a dig" in their Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand on Saturday but have been reminded they need to make better decisions in attack, captain James Horwill said.

Reuters
Rugby - 'Consistency' the buzzword for both NZ and Australia
.

View photo

2013, New Zealand-Australia

Horwill had told the Australian players to attack if they thought they had an opportunity last week at Sydney's Olympic Stadium, but the all-out attack plan misfired and they were soundly beaten 47-29.

Flyhalf Matt Toomua attempted to get the ball wide as quickly as possible in the hope the Wallabies loose forwards would provide quick ball to exploit the All Blacks' fringe defence and create gaps in the backline.

The tactic played into the hands of the All Blacks, however, who shut down their options and fed off their mistakes to score six tries, necessitating a change in approach this week.

"We still want guys to back themselves if they feel there is something on. We don't want to temper that in any way," Horwill told reporters on Friday.

"But it's about getting the balance right between running and kicking and putting the ball behind them and playing a bit more field position than running everything.

"That's something we have spoken about this week."

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said their game plan had been "skewed" a little too much towards shifting the ball and running, rather than seeking field position before building pressure again.

On Saturday therefore, Toomua is more likely to play the game he had used to great effect with the ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby this season, ensuring the team get out of their own half before they unleashed their attacking options.

"He's obviously a great kicker of the ball and you saw during the Brumbies season he was able to put them in great field position and get them out of trouble," scrumhalf Will Genia said on Friday.

"There is no secret we played probably a bit too much rugby.

"We have to be smarter on how we use the ball in our half ... and make sure we exit efficiently and effectively and (that) they don't come away with points and strangle us in our quarter."

Toomua, who made his test debut last week in Sydney, had grown in confidence in training this week, his halfback partner Genia said.

"He has taken the lessons he learned from his first test," Genia added.

"I think he has been really good. In a play-making position we have to have him confident and doing his job and running the show.

"He will be a lot more confident having that one game under his belt. He will be a lot more confident in doing the things he does well."

View Comments (2)