29 Aug 2014

All Blacks exposed Wallabies' depth

12:14 pm on 29 August 2014

Australia's Eden Park humiliation at the hands of the All Blacks ruthlessly exposed the Wallabies' lack of depth, says former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer.

But Dwyer believes coach Ewen McKenzie still has time to mould his team into World Cup contenders.

The Wallabies held the All Blacks to a 12-12 draw in the first Rugby Championship match in Sydney but the 51-20 trouncing in the return match last week showed the gap between the teams remained as wide as ever.

A disappointed McKenzie pledged to go back to the drawing board before the next match against South Africa in Perth, and Dwyer, who guided the Wallabies to their maiden World Cup success in 1991, says McKenzie needs to consider wholesale changes.

Bob Dwyer who in 1991, guided the Wallabies to the World Cup.

Bob Dwyer who in 1991 guided the Wallabies to the World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Dwyer says his feeling about choosing a team is to ask where do they want to go, how do they get there and who are the people that they need who can, at their best, produce performance that will get them there.

He says he thinks they've got some people, worthwhile members of the side though they may be, who can't get them there.

Barring captain Michael Hooper, the Wallabies had few players who matched their opponents at Eden Park and the halves pairing of Kurtley Beale and Nic White has come under scrutiny.

Dwyer says the Wallabies should revert to the playmaking combinations that propelled the New South Wales Waratahs to the Super Rugby title, with Beale playing outside first five Bernard Foley and halfback Nick Phipps.

Using Matt Toomua, who played at second five, as a frontline attacking player is also a "mistake," says Dwyer, as Toomua's an honest player and very committed and a very good defender (but) any suggestion that he's a ball player is based more on desire rather than fact."

Australia broke New Zealand's 17-game winning streak in Sydney and ended a similar run in 2012 with a draw in Brisbane, making the Wallabies one of only two teams to deny the All Blacks' complete domination in the past two years.

England were the other, upsetting the All Blacks at Twickenham at the end of their 2012 season.

Dwyer says the Wallabies should, nonetheless, take heart they have steadily improved under McKenzie and look at Eden Park as a "hiccup, not a disaster".