he tourists from Ireland were not treated hospitably in Brisbane, as the Wallabies squeezed an 18 – 9 Test win from the Irish at Suncorp Stadium.
The series now moves to Melbourne and according to playmaker Kurtley Beale, the Wallabies have every intention of carrying on with the cross kicking tactics, even those the results of those tactics were mixed.
Bernard Foley directed cross kicks to fullback Israel Folau, often from within his own half in order to sow some doubt into the minds of the Irish, one of the better defensive teams in the world.
Coach Michael Cheika, prior to the game, sent some misinformation to his opponent that the Wallabies would continue on with the run at all costs approach, but the willingness to experiment paid off in the first Test, to some extent at least.
The plan-by-committee approach is being explored for the second Test, with Cheika again obliquely hinting that he prefer more running rugby, but like all good coaches charged with instilling a sense of cohesiveness to a group of all-stars, sought the input of senior players.
“The strategy group got together and came up with a really good plan,” Beale said of the first game. “The Irish are one of the best defensive teams in the world and for us to break that and exit well after points was crucial for us to keep building momentum in the game and releasing pressure.”
Obviously, kicking is a good way to cover large chunks of ground quickly, but it is more risky than running, as a ball in hand is worth two in the bush.
Of keen interest to Wallabies fans was the return of David Pocock, who gave the fans and the gold jersey players plenty to admire.
“Poey’s a special player, it’s like he never left the gold jersey which is a credit to him,” Beale said.
Ireland is behind only New Zealand in the world rankings, so a Test series victory for the Wallabies would go a long way toward restoring the collective appetite of Australia for rugby.
The next Test will take place Saturday evening at AAMI Park.