Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie will pore over over replays of Australia’s series-opening draw with New Zealand before rushing into any changes for the must-win return bout in Auckland.
Even after scoring all Australia’s points in the 12-12 stalemate in Sydney on Saturday night, Kurtley Beale was unsure if he had done enough to retain his spot as five-eighth ahead of NSW Waratahs teammate Bernard Foley.
Foley is considered by many a good judge to have the cooler head to cope as chief playmaker against the might of the All Blacks in the Eden Park pressure-cooker on Saturday than the mercurial Beale, a classic confidence player.
But leaving nothing to chance, the meticulous McKenzie – rugby’s equivalent to Melbourne NRL coach Craig Bellamy, who famously slept under his desk in pursuit of the Storm’s excellence – won’t make any light decisions as his Wallabies fight to keep the trans-Tasman series alive.
He is scheduled to name his team on Tuesday and on Sunday was refusing to publicly guarantee Beale a start after the recalled No.10, like most others in the slippery conditions at ANZ Stadium, struggled to handle the soap-like ball in attack.
McKenzie insisted he wouldn’t be influenced by the “the court of public opinion”.
“The more changes you make, the more combinations you put at risk,” McKenzie said.
“We’ve been working for a couple of weeks now and changes we make will be based on the tactical side of it, because the injury side of it looks okay.”
“I theorise about selections from the moment the game finishes,” McKenzie said on Sunday.
“But if I fielded the team that I picked straight after the game it would be very different to the one that actually takes the field.
“So you have to remove the emotion and look at it.”
While Beale was anything but perfect, McKenzie certainly couldn’t blame his playmaker for superstar fullback Israel Folau and rookie hooker Nathan Charles butchering Australia’s best two try-scoring opportunities with poor execution last Saturday night.
“You have to pore over the video and actually look at what happened,” McKenzie said.
“You have a perception of what happens and when you actually look at the reality of what happened with a lot more detail – we’ve got multiple angles, you see events from different sides and whatever – and you find out that it wasn’t the person you thought it was etcetera.
“So it’s dangerous … we’ll have a very close look at it.”