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Former Wallaby Will Genia calls for changes after 'failing to fire' in Sydney

By Sam Smith
Jasper Wiese of the Springboks is tackled by Noah Lolesio during The Rugby Championship match between the Australia Wallabies and South Africa Springboks at Allianz Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Former Wallabies halfback Will Genia says young No 10 Noah Lolesio must be held accountable after the performance in Sydney ‘failed to fire a shot’.

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The Springboks bounced back in a fiery test match that they took control of almost from the opening whistle as the Wallabies failed to control the breakdown, territory or their own discipline.

As a result, the Wallabies halves pairing of Nic White and Noah Lolesio found it difficult to get the Wallabies into the right areas of the field and both players were guilty of coming up early errors and misjudgements themselves.

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The No 10 playing in his 12th test was substituted from the action early in the second half, just two minutes in after the Springboks scored a key try to flanker Franco Mostert.

In his column for The Roar Rugby, the 110-test No 9 called for changes including axing of the 22-year-old playmaker despite believing in the Brumbies’ flyhalf longer term.

“We failed to fire a shot at all. It’s not as if there were good passages or moments of rugby. We were poor in all areas…” he wrote.

“That falls heavily on your playmakers.

“From Noah’s perspective I genuinely back him. He’s a quality player and will continue to grow.

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“But the nature of that defeat means people need to be held accountable.”

Genia said it was more about what Lolesio didn’t do than what he did do, as he failed to really identify the right moments to take on risk and make plays.

His tendency to ride in the backseat for too long was one of the reasons that the former Wallaby No 9 needed to be one of the changes made ahead of the Bledisloe Cup tests.

“What you will get are one on one matchups and you’ve got to be brave enough to identify that and take a gamble on it, rather than sit back and let the forwards carry, or shift the pressure to someone else and wait for a perfect picture to inject yourself in the game,” he wrote.

The young flyhalf had one kick land into touch on the full and another ended up with the Springboks penalty on a blocking call against Andrew Kellaway.

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Lolesio’s night was made all the more difficult by the mess at the breakdown as the Wallabies failed to control the ruck under pressure from the Springboks pack.

Things went from bad to worse for the Wallabies backs as inside centre Hunter Paisami left the field with concussion and did not return, resulting in an all sorts backline with nearly every player out of position.

Reserve scrumhalf Jake Gordon came on to play wing, fullback-wing Andrew Kellaway ended up playing at 13 with centre Len Ikitau moving in one to 12, and starting fullback Reece Hodge took over the reigns at 10 and wing Marika Koroibete played fullback.

Genia called for Reece Hodge, who he said can deliver a simple game plan, or 71-test veteran Bernard Foley to be considered for the All Blacks tests.

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1 Comment
E
Euan 685 days ago

Changes?? There's no one else in the cupboard....

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Jon 5 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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