Wallaby wizard wants an end to 'bash-barge game'
Former backline wizard Lloyd Walker wants more adventure from the Wallabies as they chase an impossible 101-point win over Argentina to steal the Tri-Nations trophy on Saturday.
Walker admits the Wallabies are a million-to-one to pull off the feat, even against a Pumas outfit in disarray following the axing of skipper Pablo Matera, and teammates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino over alleged racist social media posts.
But the former Test flyhalf – who was once lauded as Australia’s best ball player by the legendary Mark Ella – is encouraging the Wallabies to show more attacking flair in their final match of the season in Sydney.
“It’s been difficult this year because of the limited exposure together and playing with one another but hopefully the coach will bring that on in the future,” Walker told AAP on Wednesday.
“I would like to see them be a bit more adventurous in their play.”
The Wallabies were unable to conjure a try in a 15-all draw against the Pumas last month, a result that has all but cost them the chance of winning the Tri-Nations title.
“I must admit Argentina are a much better side than some people give them credit for,” Walker said.
“They’re a very robust side – they like contact – but we’ve got to get ways around that, and that comes with more combination and cohesion.
“So hopefully we’ll see a bit more open style play.”
Walker, a proud Indigenous man who still coaches sevens rugby for La Perouse, was speaking at a First Nations cultural “smoking of the Wallabies jersey” alongside current players including Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight and Jordan Uelese.
He cited the All Blacks as living proof that adventurous rugby still has a place at Test level, where kicking for territory is now king.
“You see the All Blacks play. When they get a sniff and they realise that it’s on, they’re very skilful,” he said.
“That was shown in last week’s game. As soon as they get an opportunity, they want to attack at every stage [in the 38-0 win over Argentina].”
The key for the Wallabies is striking a balance, Walker says.
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“You’ve got to do the hard work early and try to fatigue the opposition. You’ve got to create that little bit of space where you can move the ball around a little bit,” he said.
“[Playing] the bash-barge game, you’ve got to move it around a lot earlier than we did against Argentina the first time.
“I’m not saying going to the wing, but use a second or third pass to run them around a bit so fatigue’s an issue.”
Forward McReight said even if capturing some silverware was not realistic for the Wallabies, it was important to finish the year on a high.
“The last time the Wallabies won their last Test match [of the year] was 2013, so to end on a positive note going into 2021, 2022 and the World Cup cycle, it would mean the world for the Wallabies,” McReight said.
“We want to finish this year on a positive note by winning.”