JOC’s ‘stinker’, Wallabies ‘failure of leadership’, Pom who ‘carried like a monster’

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England came out blazing in the second Test against Australia as Ellis Genge set the tone by running right over the top of Australia’s skipper Michael Hooper and the tourists managed to ride that wave to a decisive lead and square the series. So who starred and who stumbled in game two?

England coach Eddie Jones says Genge was motivated by comments from Taniela Tupou ahead of the match after the returning Australian prop talked about getting ready to smash his English rival.

Although Tupou did warm up, scoring Australia’s first try and helping create the second, he was outplayed by England’s fiery loosehead in a battle everyone predicted would be integral to the contest.

The Roar experts Brett McKay, Harry Jones and Jim Tucker dissect game two in the Instant Reaction podcast

Tupou struggled to hit the intensity required after eight weeks on the sideline, but was not alone in an Australian team that looked shocked by England’s early onslaught despite coach Dave Rennie’s declaration that they knew what was coming.

Hooper might have known what to expect but he could only laugh afterwards about the ferocious first run from Genge, that has gone viral today. “Genge is hard man to tackle – I’d like to avoid that again,” Hooper joked.

Ellis Genge of England breaks through the contact of Noah Lolesio of Australia during game two of the International Test Match series between the Australia Wallabies and England at Suncorp Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Ellis Genge of England breaks through the contact of Noah Lolesio of Australia during game two of the International Test Match series between the Australia Wallabies and England at Suncorp Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

‘Stinking up the joint’

While Tupou started slowly so too did replacement back James O’Connor. The Queensland Reds player has also had a difficult run with injuries and The Roar expert Harry Jones, speaking on the Instant Reaction podcast, said it proved it was the wrong move to select players on reputation, rather than those in form during Super Rugby.

“James O’Connor was stinking up the joint,” said Jones. “He made four or five critical errors at a point where the Wallabies had dragged themselves, against all the odds, back into the match and every single decision he made seemed to be the wrong one.”

His terrible kick for touch that flew wildly out when confronted with open space drew a shocked response frm Tim Horan in the commentary box as well and groans throughout the 46,000 crowd.

Podcast co-host Brett McKay said JOC’s was the first name he wrote down for the stocks falling section of the pod “and I wrote him down early.”

With Australia smashed by injuries in the backline – Izzy Perese joining Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway and Jordan Petaia out of the third Test, JOC will be required but his lack of sharpness is a weakness for England to expose.

“He was rusty,” said podcast guest Jim Tucker. “They’re all things if you’ve been out your timing is askew and it’s not the right stage to find that timing.”

Izaia Perese of Australia walks off after receiving a yellow card for deliberate knock on during game two of the International Test Match series between the Australia Wallabies and England at Suncorp Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Izaia Perese. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

JOC wasn’t the only Wallaby who failed to execute to the standard required.

Rennie made mention of a clear turning point in the game where Tom Wright gave Australia some exllent field position with a chip, chase and tackle only for hooker Folau Fainga’a to botch the throw in. Within minutes England raced down the other end and kicked one of Owen Farrell’s six penalties.

“I don’t think Fainga’a has done his chances of playing in Sydney much help,” McKay said. “First thing he came on and did was that crucial lineout throw that wasn’t straight after Tom Wright’s line break. It felt like a real turning point and from there things weren’t going the Wallabies’ way. He had an other overthrow after that. He didn’t look on tonight.”

England’s win eased pressure on Eddie Jones and his persistence with Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell at 10-12, but Smith seemed lethargic at times, and lacking penetration, while Farrell took over as the team’s cutting edge.

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Farrell play at 10 next week,” said McKay. “He just took that game by the scruff of the neck and played it the way it needed to be played. I think Marcus Smith was put on the deputy chair tonight and Farrell just took control of it as he needed too.”

“I think every game he’s just getting a little bit better,” Eddie Jones said of Smith.

“He’s literally out of his nappies now. And he’s got a long way to go. He’s gonna be a better player each week. And we’re really pleased with how he’s developing with Owen. That combination in its infancy, but developing nicely that gives us a few different options in attack.”

‘Raging like a lion’

Eddie Jones summed up the impact of Farrell, who he overlooked for captaincy for this tour. That decision is looking a sound one, with Farrell bristling with points to prove and Courtney Lawes leading impressively

“Owen’s Owen. Never changes, angry at the world, best competitor I’ve ever coached and that includes George Gregan.  He fights hard, loves the battle. Drive standards. He’s an incredible player.”

Lawes stood out for Harry Jones, who said: “He foiled the comeback and you saw him raging like a lion and carrying like a monster.”

The podders agreed that Matt Philip was outstanding for Australia, winning three of England’s lineouts and filling a void.

“He was the one speaking at some times,” said Harry Jones. “I thought there was a failure of leadership elsewhere with senior players.”

Tucker was impressed with Wright’s performance on a difficult night where he was forced to adapt to the injuries. Petaia was off within minutes of the start pushing Wright to fullback and then he returned to the wing when Perese suffered his injury.

“Early in his Test career he was the guy who would try to step outside someone and get corralled into touch or maybe make an error, but he had to fluctuate between wing, fullback and back to wing. He was peppered with high balls and took every one. He got in the clear once, kicked ahead and the crowd went off, they were absolutely roaring, that really got the energy up. Tom Wright looked like a a Test player.”

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