The Northern Territory news Mon 17 Nov 2014
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22 SPORT MONDAY NOVEMBER 17 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Woeful Aussies fall short WALLABIES coach Michael Cheika has joined the chorus of complaints about the use of giant screen replays during Tests, but nothing could excuse his teams inept 29-26 loss to France in Paris yesterday. Last week New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was critical about repeated replays of crucial plays during the All Blacks close win over England at Twickenham, saying the home crowds reaction had exerted undue influence on referee Nigel Owens. At Stade de France it wasnt that there were too many replays, but too few, with Cheika claiming the video technicians had refused to replay an incident in which Australian hooker Saia Faingaa had been injured by a flying, noarms, clean-out. The referee was asking for the replay and they refused to play it, Cheika said. He said to (Wallaby captain) Michael Hooper if they dont show the replay theres nothing I can do about it. They actually showed it at the very start, the full hit, but he didnt notice it. He asked them to show it again, but they wouldnt. Cheika was also concerned that in the final minute of the game, with France desperately hanging on, the clock was restarted after a stoppage before Owens had signalled time-on. That was a bit disappointing, he said, but nothing that happened off the field was anywhere near as disappointing as the Wallabies on it. From the 45th second when lock Rob Simmons knocked on a charged down French clearing kick with the try-line open, to the last minute when front rower Ben Alexander spilled the ball with Quade Cooper poised to deliver the knockout blow, this was a game of bungled chances and missed opportunities. Simple mistakes at key times didnt give us any opportunities to get on the front foot, Cheika said. We had really good chances to launch attacks from set pieces or counter-attack, and we regularly turned it over. If you give the opposition enough ball then just by sheer weight of numbers theyll come down and pressure you until you make a mistake. It wasnt one thing that stood out. There was a charge down, lineouts didnt work out, dropped balls in key positions and that all accumulated. There was also some pretty woeful defence, most notably in the lead up to the first-half try by Frances latest wing sensation, Teddy Thomas. Thomas received the ball 40m out from the line and beat five Australian defenders before scoring under the posts. French journalists were waxing lyrical about Thomas at the post-match press conference, one remarking that you cannot find talent like that at the corner store. By MIKE COLMAN in Paris Carter fails to shine in comeback DAN Carter admits he has acres of room to improve after making a disappointing return to the All Blacks starting lineup against Scotland. The world-class flyhalf was well off his best in his first start for nearly a year, particularly in the opening exchanges of the tense 24-16 win at Murrayfield. Handling errors and questionable decision-making were glaring because they came from one of world rugbys brightest lights for the past decade. He attributed off-key timing to a lack of rugby, having played in just seven games this year. That included 30 minutes off the reserves bench against the United States two weeks ago. That first 20 was pretty scratchy and there were a lot of mistakes from me personally which, if I get another chance, Ill have to improve, he said. My option-taking probably wasnt the best at times. But I was pretty pleased to be back out there playing again and I felt, as the game went on, I grew in confidence. Carter was replaced after 56 minutes and came through with no physical problems, which is a success in itself given his horrific recent run with injuries. The 32-year-old is unsure if he will be handed another chance in the final Test against Wales in Cardiff next week. Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett both mount strong cases to wear No.10. Colin Slade also impressed after he moved from wing to playmaker following Carters exit. Assistant coach Ian Foster says Slade made a fine fist of playing out of position through the first three quarters, working well in tandem with fullback Ben Smith. Roos captain Smith supports Sheens to stay as national coach CAMERON Smith has backed Tim Sheens to continue as Australian rugby league coach despite Saturdays Four Nations final loss to New Zealand. The Kiwis claimed the endof-season trophy in a nailbiting 22-18 win over the Kangaroos at Wellingtons Westpac Stadium to avenge somewhat last years World Cup final humiliation. Sheens five-year tenure as Australian mentor is sure to come under scrutiny after the loss. The appointment is made on a year-by-year basis and Kangaroos skipper Smith says he wants to see the four-time first-grade winning mentor coach on into 2015. He has done a great job with the team. He has won every trophy that you can win at international level he has only lost a few games as coach so it is a pretty fair record, Smith said. I dont think there is any other international coach in the game that has the same record. If he feels he can still contribute to the team and he still wants to, then I would love to see him go on. Sheens did a commendable job getting an injury-hit Australia to the final, with nine players from the World Cupwinning 17 unavailable for the tournament. Sheens blooded nine Test rookies in games against New Zealand, England and Samoa before the final. He did a great job, Smith said. It was a fair challenge for not just him but all the coaches and the staff to get the team together. We had a lot of new faces, guys that havent played too much big-time footy. They have played some tight NRL matches and played in front of some big crowds but nothing gets you ready for representative football until you get there. I thought the coaching staff did a great job. We came together pretty quickly I was actually surprised. I made the comment after the first game, although we lost, I was really impressed with the way the young guys joined the group so fast. The Australians play only one international next year in the Anzac Test. That and the absence of an obvious successor could keep Sheens in the post for another year. By JAMES MacSMITH RUGBY LEAGUE France fullback Scott Spedding does everything in his power to stop Australian winger Joe Tomane during yesterdays rugby union international at Stade de France in Paris Picture: CHARLIE CROWHURST Springboks inflict fifth consecutive loss for Cup hosts England ENGLAND coach Stuart Lancaster insists there will be no panic after a 31-28 loss to South Africa at Twickenham yesterday made it five straight defeats for the 2015 World Cup hosts less than a year out from the showpiece tournament. Three losses to the All Blacks in New Zealand in June were followed by one at home last week before the Boks rubbed salt in the wound, but Lancaster called for perspective. Weve played the top two sides in the world now and thats the benchmark for us, said Lancaster, who was appointed in 2012 following Englands quarter-finals loss to France in the 2011 World Cup. Weve never said were the finished article. When we (the coaching staff) took the roles in 2012 we knew we had to take a young group of players through some tough environments. Playing New Zealand first up was always going to be tough but were not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. I believe in the coaches, I believe in the players and I believe in what were doing. Although England were missing several British and Irish Lions forwards through injury, their pack matched the Springboks at the set pieces of scrum and lineout. But a back division missing sidelined centres Manu Tuilagi and Luther Burrell was again found wanting, just at it had been in another three-point loss, the 24-21 defeat by world champions New Zealand with which England started their November international program. Englands five straight losses is their worst since seven straight defeats in 2006. By DANIEL GILHOOLY in Edinburgh
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