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Wallabies to stick to their guns

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 09:21
Ewen-mckenzie-ball Ewen-mckenzie-wallabies-pre Ewen-mckenzie-looks
We're not going to shy away from the fact that we want to use the ball and use skill
Quote-end

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie insists his team will not drastically alter their approach for their next Rugby Championship match against the Springboks in Brisbane.

McKenzie's first two Tests in charge of the Australian side have yielded consecutive defeats to the All Blacks, but that has not deterred him from his goal of using possession more effectively.

The Wallaby coach made it clear that his team will continue to play to their strengths by holding on to the ball and using their 'skill' to put pressure on the opposition's defence.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald: "We're not going to shy away from the fact that we want to use the ball and use skill and the only way we're going to get better at that is by doing it,

"You could shut things down and play field position, but the only way we're going to get better at using our skills is to play under pressure," he added.

However, the Wallabies boss hinted that there could be a few changes in selection as he looks for a combination best suited to take on the Boks.

"[South Africa are a] different team, different strategies," he said. "[The] base game doesn't change but we'll have a different focus there, so that means we'll go back and have a look at the team again for sure."

Despite the two losses to the All Blacks McKenzie said that he has been pleased with the progress his side has made in coming to grips with the new approach that he is trying to implement.

He explained that they had made important strides in key areas that will stand them in good stead for the future.

"Philosophically we've moved into a new space, I'm quite pleased when I look at the numbers, the ball movement. We're actually using the full width of the field and all the players in the game are getting through the line and breaking tackles," he said.

"We ran a couple of hundred metres more than [New Zealand] did this week, we ran 400 metres more than they did last week. In the end we'll keep doing that, we'll get better at how we control the ball in those moments ... we'll get pay out of that sooner or later," he added.

One area that McKenzie was quite disappointed with in the defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington was the impact - or lack thereof - from the replacements bench.

"We didn't get a great impact out of our bench, I was expecting the last 20 minutes to be stronger and, in fact, we didn't get that impact," he said.

"You want guys who come on and actually improve the performance; it's no good if they're coming on and knocking-on and missing tackles, and that's effectively what happened.

"Twenty-five per cent of our missed tackles came from the bench and that was disappointing. They were only on for the last 15 to 20 minutes. I expect more. We'll talk about that. I know we've got young players, new players, whatever, but I expect them to make a difference. Otherwise there's no point putting them on the field," he added.

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