Australia has not been all that impressive but still manage to run out big winners against France, winning 42-4 in Paris.
The first half for Australia was very unimpressive, France played well as they have done throughout the competition and the Australian side once again looked disjointed and out of sync.
This game really confirmed a lot of my feelings recently about the Australian side, they have completely forgotten how to play Test Match football.
One hit up, spinning the ball out wide, another hit up to the middle of the field, a trick shot down the short side….when these tactics don’t work against France, there is no chance they will work against New Zealand or England.
As a result Australia only found themselves up by 8-0 at halftime thanks to two tries to Penrith center Michael Jennings, who was fantasic in his Test debut.
The French fell away in the second half as their lack of conditioning kicked in, but Australia did also seem to play with better structure as well.
I thought there was a major improvement in the side when Cooper Cronk came on and if it wasn’t for Thurstons habit of playing great in the biggest games, I think Cronk would have forced him out of the Final next week based on this performance.
Cronk gave them better structure and seemed to do a job that any halfback would do in any side, directing forwards, giving his five-eight space….Thurston would have got a kick up the backside by Cronk’s performance.
In the forwards I thought Waterhouse’s go forward was good, but he dropped a lot of ball, Hannant ran strong but didn’t have much variation in his game and to be honest the rest of the pack didn’t do much that stood out.
Robbie Farah’s performance was interesting. At club level he is amazing, but at rep level, he just doesn’t have the same impact. You can’t even say it was because of added pressure, he was playing France and he knew he wouldn’t over take Cameron Smith for the starting hooker spot no matter how well he played.
The Morris twins were fantastic in this game, it was good to see them fighting over tries.
One thing that stood out in this game was the form of the centers. Justin Hodges has not played well in this series so far, and with the Morris brothers showing a good understanding, and Jennings flat out being deadly in attack, Hodges is in major danger of losing his place.
Over all Australia were not that great once again. France have done well though, really put a lot of pride back in their jerseys and shown they have some very handy players in their team.
With better conditioning they would be a bloody hard team to beat.
One last thing, you can not pass up the chance to mention Bobby Goulding. I was very sceptical about his apointment, I thought it was a joke.
Goulding has done an amazing coaching job. He has turned this team around in just 12 months, he has had to deal with more injuries and selection issues than any other coach, he had every reason to fail and he has come out of this series with a very strong reputation.
I think Goulding has what it takes to coach at SL level, funnily enough not a northern side, I think coaching at say London where he is away from the Northern culture and can concentrate on his job, I think he would be fantastic.