After a stressful Friday night I was hoping for a settling and comfortable win from the Wallabies on Saturday. The score line might suggest it was, but I found it far from comfortable. Once again I found my team frighteningly close to losing. With five minutes to go, Italy found themselves within one point of us. One point. Five minutes. Really guys?
I didn’t understand the changes made to the team during the week and after the game I still don’t understand them. There didn’t seem to be any logic or reason to any of it. What resulted was a team that have never played together before and boy, could you tell. We started poorly and our game was punctuated with errors all the way through.
It was really our errors that kept Italy alive and let them draw to within one point of us. Defensively they were poor and it took little more than simple catch pass to open them up and score, as we did on a number of occasions. However our lack of communication gave them ample opportunities to strike back and they did. Their attack is quick and given half a change they punished us.
This is what scares me – every one of those moments we mess up will be turned into tries against New Zealand and worse still, their defense is airtight. What was worrying was how flat our attack was. Upon receiving the ball our backs had little room to move before running into the Italian defensive line. I could almost see the likes of South Africa and New Zealand rubbing their hands together with glee. They will pounce on that ball and with a simple intercept, punish us severely.
Our attack showed plenty of pace and capitalised a number of times on the wing, but really, I wanted more. There were very few who were willing to try straightening our attack, which was what so badly needed to happen. Our lateral movement was painful to watch and frankly uninspiring.
Yes, we held on in the end and managed to score twice, making our win somewhat convincing. I, however, remain unconvinced. Italy had no right to get that close to us and it was through our own errors that they did. It is simply not good enough. I found myself shaking my head and asking how, at this level, these simple mistakes could be made?
I can imagine New Zealand can hardly wait to crush us, and if we put in a performance like that, they will. I will continue to have faith though and hope against all hope, that come August, we rise. And just maybe, win.