OPINION: Hamish McKay chat - Poor Ewen McKenzie
Tuesday 20 Aug 2013 6:54 a.m.
Ewen McKenzie (AAP file)
Poor Ewen McKenzie.
The last thing I heard before I left Sydney yesterday was the Wallabies drawing strength from the fact they had scored 29 points. True, it wasn't a bad haul in a test, but not when your opposition bagged six tries and nearly cracked 50 points.
No question this was a superb All Black performance. The three main area's of concern - Richie McCaw's match fitness, Steven Luatua's readiness and no Dan Carter - all well and truly erased.
In fact, across the whole match day 23 there wasn't a dud among them. The depth available to Steve Hansen just over two years out from a World Cup is quite incredible. Throw Carter, Liam Messam, Cory Jane and possibly the likes of Jerome Kaino and Sonny Bill Williams into the mix and the mind boggles.
As for the woeful Wallabies, the first thing McKenzie needs to do is call a couple of old-fashioned, blood and guts defensive training sessions.
While they made a few good hits early on, as a rule they were weak in the tackle and lazy as a unit. Some work in this area will help improve things in a desperately short turn-around ahead of Saturday's scheduled test in the capital.
Elsewhere McKenzie needs to get Isreal Folau involved and that means a switch to fullback. Plus, the new scrum engagement rules look like they will favour the team with the best individual scrummagers so it's a no brainer for McKenzie to start Scott Sio. The Brumbies brick outhouse is wasted sitting on the pine.
Also in the sad but true category was the number of fans in Sydney on Saturday night. Just on 65,000, around 40,000 less than the greatest Bledisloe test of the modern era back in 2000 when Taine Randell broke Aussie hearts by putting Jonah Lomu over in the corner. To be honest, the old Olympic stadium felt flatter than the Canterbury plains on Saturday night and by 70 minutes at least a third of the crowd were gone.
Sadly, the failed and elongated Robbie Deans experiment has left Aussie rugby in tatters. A situation much worse than I had realised especially given they gave the Lions a fair crack in two tests back in June.
Make no mistake though, I'm happy for the Wallabies to lose. But equally, for the good of the global game, we need the Aussies strong. Hopefully they'll be better in Wellington. If they're not then this time the AB's will crack 50 points.