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Rugby News: Wallabies bring in Brumby after coach’s departure, Mallett urges Springboks to change tactic

Veteran coach Laurie Fisher has joined the Wallabies in an assistant role for the rest of the Rugby Championship after the departure of Matt Taylor.

Taylor, the team’s defence coach, parted ways with the team citing personal reasons in the wake of the loss to Argentina.

Fisher, the current Brumbies forwards coach, was set to join the camp on Sunday.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said in a statement: “We’re grateful Laurie has been able to join us at such short notice and would also like to thank the Brumbies for their support too.”

“He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience which will only benefit our playing group ahead of what are going to be extremely tough Test matches in the Rugby Championship.”

Fisher, 64, added: “I’m excited to join the coaching group at the Wallabies and would like to thank Dave for the opportunity.”

“I’m looking forward to getting on the grass this week and contributing to the success of the group moving forward.”

Former coach urges move from 6-2 split

Former Springboks coach Nick Mallett has urged Jacques Nienaber to move away from his preferred six-two forwards-to-backs split on the bench.

“The real issue facing this team presently, I think, is the 6/2 bench split that has landed the Boks in trouble for three straight Tests now,” Mallett wrote in a column for 24Sport.

“It’s a real problem when you have to make virtually three changes to your backline when one player gets injured.

“If you get a wing going off early, as Jesse Kriel did on Saturday, you suddenly have to make a lot of changes. We saw Damian Willemse go to inside centre, Damian de Allende to outside centre and, even worse, Lukhanyo Am moved to the wing after Kriel left the fray. That is a lot of reshuffling.

“I don’t care how well Am played on the wing. You’ve got the best No 13 in the world – both on attack and defence – and he is invaluable in terms of closing down options and shutting down space in midfield.

“Willemse is playing so well at the moment and could easily slot into inside centre, which he did, but I think the more sensible play would have been to move De Allende – and not Am – to the wing, where he started his career. That keeps your critical defender in his proper position.

“Am had an excellent game and can obviously do a job on the wing, but I don’t think De Allende had a very good game at outside centre where he has less experience. His understanding of running up and closing space wasn’t as good as Am’s, which was to be expected.

“The big issue with the 6/2 split in its present form is how it impacts the defensive alignment of the Springbok backline. The attack was fine, and they scored two very good tries, but the Boks were nowhere near where they should be defensively.

“Willemse was one of the best centres in the United Rugby Championship, and his tackling and reading of the game were standout features. I don’t think the Boks would have lost anything, defensively, if they had paired him with Am in midfield.

“These things are easy to say in hindsight, but the Dweba performance could have predicted given what we saw against Wales and knowing how well New Zealand can compete on the lineout.

“The mistakes the Boks made early in the game were down to hooker mistakes, putting them under pressure and taking away any early momentum. I think that is an area they will need to relook, heading into their two Tests against the Wallabies.”

Dave Rennie opted for a 6-2 split for the first time in his career in the opening Test win over Argentina but switched back to his preferred 5-3 for the second game.

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