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White revs up Oz forwards

2012-09-07 07:50
Perth - Springboks Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White has called on the Wallabies forwards to dramatically lift their standards against South Africa on Saturday, otherwise they will suffer their third straight humiliating Test loss.

The now Brumbies coach believes the Wallabies forwards' inability to dominate the gain line battle has made it virtually impossible for the Australian attack to perform.

White is not hiding from these comments, instead giving the team a jarring rev-up for tomorrow night's Perth Test, with revealing statistics that emphasise how impotent the Wallabies forwards were in the two Bledisloe Cup Tests.

White, who was involved in 11 internationals against the Wallabies while Springboks coach between 2004 and 2007, makes the telling point that Radike Samo made more metres in one international last year than the whole Wallabies pack combined in the Sydney and Auckland losses.

''Some of the statistics from the recent Bledisloe Cup clashes are mind blowing,'' White wrote. ''In two Tests the Wallabies forwards carried the ball just 80 metres (50 in Sydney then 30 in Auckland), while the All Blacks forwards carried for 225 metres - almost three times as much.

''Much criticism has been aimed at the Wallabies attack for failing to score a try in Auckland, but it may not be the backs' fault. The real issue is the Wallabies forwards are not gaining any ascendancy at the gain line so the backs have no platform to launch attacking raids.

''The backs can be creative as they like, and the Wallabies back line is full of creative players, but without the time and space to execute their attack they were easily closed down by the All Blacks.

''There could be two reasons for this. Either the Wallabies, in their desperation to attack, are getting the ball to the backs too often or the forwards are being given the ball but can't gain any ascendancy. The latter isn't surprising as they are missing some of their best ball carriers.'' This includes Wycliff Palu and James Horwill, who are both injured, while Tatafu Polota-Nau and Samo hasn't started every Test.

''In one run last year against the All Blacks in Brisbane, Radike Samo carried the ball more than the entire Wallabies pack in the first two clashes this season. Whatever the cause, the Wallabies must go forward.''

White said the Springboks had ''the opposite problem''. Their forwards were carrying the ball too much, and so their attack ''is one dimensional, and, as we saw in Mendoza against Argentina, easily contained''. This is because Heyneke Meyer ''is using the Bulls game plan, based around forward power and gaining a physical edge over opponents''.

The Wallabies forward woes do not end there. Hooker Stephen Moore was yesterday ruled out due to a hamstring injury. As a result of the strain, Polota-Nau will return to the starting line-up, with Saia Faingaa moving onto the reserves bench.

At least tight-head prop Ben Alexander is prepared, explaining he was not distracted by all the speculation over the future of beleaguered coach Robbie Deans, whose position will be placed under greater scrutiny if they lose to the Springboks.

''We feel a responsibility for the side not performing, and our concern is that we play well for our country,'' Alexander said. ''The criticism of Robbie hurts us too because its a reflection of us and how we didn't do a great job representing our country [against the All Blacks].''

Meanwhile, Dan Carter's Wellington jinx has continued after being ruled out of the All Blacks team to face Argentina on Saturday. Carter strained his left calf muscle at an indoor training session on Thursday morning and will be replaced in the starting No 10 jersey by Aaron Cruden.

Beauden Barrett, who has trained with the squad this week, will come onto the reserve bench.

Teams:

Australia:
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Dominic Shipperley, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (captain), 8 Radike Samo, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson

Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Scott Higginbotham, 19 Liam Gill, 20 Nick Phipps, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Anthony Fainga'a

South Africa:
15. Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.

Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Johan Goosen, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Lwazi Mvovo

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