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17 Aug 2009 12:18
The Wallabies have addressed their lineout and disciplinary problems for their make-or-break Tri-Nations Test match against the All Blacks this weekend, key forward Nathan Sharpe said on Monday.
Australia’s hopes of winning their first southern hemisphere title in nine years slumped when their game fell apart in a last-start 29-17 loss to the Springboks in Cape Town on August 8.
Australia lost nine of their own lineout throws against the formidable Springbok jumpers and had three men sin-binned in an ill-disciplined performance panned by the media.
The Wallabies, who have lost their opening two matches in this year’s tournament, trail South Africa (12) by 11 points and must beat New Zealand (4) on Saturday to have any chance of coming from behind to win the Tri-Nations.
Sharpe said he was confident some fine tuning in training should have Australia’s lineout back on track to take on the All Blacks.
“I think the lineout is an area that we’ve been strong in the past and there’s no point in getting over anxious about a poor performance,” Sharpe told reporters.
“Several things went wrong in that [Springbok] game on top of each other and unfortunately affected the result of the game or had a bearing on that.
“There hasn’t been a major overhaul. The way we’ve been doing things has been working and we’ve just got to make sure little things are firing for us this weekend.”
Sharpe said he was confident Australia could repeat its good showing against the All Blacks in the lineouts from their opening Tri-Nations 22-16 loss in Auckland last month.
“It [discipline] is something we’ve addressed as a team and had a look at,” Sharpe said.
“It is an area that we need to be tighter across the board and I think unfortunately it has probably taken us a little bit too long to get on top of that and hopefully this weekend it won’t be an issue for us.”—AFP
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