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'We want guys to pull the trigger': White identifies Wallabies' major change

By Finn Morton

Trending on RugbyPass

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The Wallabies’ performances over the last few weeks have been nothing short of impressive.

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After three consecutive losses to the All Blacks, the Wallabies had a mighty task waiting for them in order to turn their form around.

First up, two matches against the reigning world champions, South Africa, before back-to-back tests against Los Pumas. Australia came close to beating Argentina twice last year, but instead were held to a draw on both occasions.

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There’s no buts about it, Jordie Barrett was the All Blacks’ top performer in their win over the Springboks.
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There’s no buts about it, Jordie Barrett was the All Blacks’ top performer in their win over the Springboks.

But as an indication of how far this Wallabies team has improved, they’re unbeaten in the three of those four matches played to date.

For the first time since 2017, they’ve won three games in a row, where they achieved four on the trot, a feat they could potentially equal this weekend, before eventually going down to England.

One player who has played his part in the Wallabies’ recent run of good form has been scrumhalf Nic White. Either as an impact player off the bench or as a starter, the 31-year-old has made his mark on some recent test matches.

While Flyhalf Quade Cooper will forever be immortalised in Australian rugby lore for his kick after the siren to beat the Springboks on the Gold coast last month, it was White who won the penalty with an impressive effort at the breakdown.

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Since that dramatic two-point win, the men in gold have registered a 30-17 win over South Africa in Brisbane, before getting the better of Los Pumas 27-8 in Townsville last Saturday.

Despite claiming a 19-point win over Argentina, coach Dave Rennie spoke about the “frustration” that he felt following the match and how there was still improvement to be made.

Earlier this week White seemed to echo his coach’s post-match comments, suggesting that while the Wallabies “left a lot of points out there”, that improvement was there to see.

“I guess the biggest area of growth over the last year and certainly over the Rugby Championship is we created a lot of opportunities but we didn’t really have much patience last year,” White said in a press conference on Tuesday.

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“We want guys to pull the trigger and go for the killer play but it’s not doing that recklessly so at times we’re going to have to play field position, we’re going to have to play in the right areas, we’re going to have to hold onto the ball, build phases and that’s just the respect that test footy has.

“I think we’re getting there. Certainly, in the last month, we’re showing that we’re a lot more patience within the game plan and trying to build a game.”

After those three losses to the All Blacks to start the 2021 test season, Rennie turned to a couple of experienced heads to help lead the Wallabies back to the winner’s circle.

While Michael Hooper certainly deserves a mention for some strong performances, the injection of Cooper and Samu Kerevi back into the Wallabies fold has proven to be a masterstroke by Rennie.

In a backline, which includes test rookies such as Len Ikitau and Andrew Kellaway, White also commented on the value that Cooper and Kerevi’s experience has in this team.

“They’ve been in the situations and that’s what experience is, right? When a situation pops up they’ve probably seen it before.

“For those guys, I guess it’s just their calm heads out there steering us around.

“With Samu, he’s getting us great front-foot ball and again, that’s opening a lot of avenues for us. And then it’s just about Quade just directing the team around and pulling the right strings.”

Reflecting on his own involvement and desire to help the Wallabies continue to improve, White mentioned how he sometimes forgets “that I’m a fair bit older” than some of the younger players in the squad, but that he’s just “enjoying my rugby at the moment.”

Specifically, when you look at the depth at scrumhalf, White mentioned the competition for places in that position.

Within the Wallabies, Tate McDermott, Ryan Lonergan and Jake Gordon round out all of the halfbacks in the squad, which makes for a genuinely exciting list of players that Rennie can call upon if needed.

“I compete every day and I’m just enjoying the competition at the moment, there’s a lot of good nines around here and I’m just enjoying that at the moment.

“I’m just enjoying where this team’s going and playing my small role in that.”

A win for the Wallabies this weekend would extend their winning streak to four matches. It would also see them secure a second-place finish in this year’s Rugby Championship, regardless of the result between the All Blacks and Springboks.

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'We want guys to pull the trigger': White identifies Wallabies' major change

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