Selection not lineout issue: Simmons

Wallabies lock Rob Simmons has dismissed constant shuffling of second row combinations and a small back row as excuses for Australia’s poor lineout performance against the All Blacks.

New Zealand stole four Australian throws in Saturday’s 42-8 loss in Sydney.

“There’s a lot of things around the lineout that makes a lineout work so we need to look at it closely and break it down and see how we do better,” Simmons said.

With 198cm blindside flanker Scott Fardy dropped for the game and replaced by 192cm Ben McCalman, Australia fielded a much smaller back-row than the All Blacks.

McCalman was still comfortably the tallest member of the starting trio, with openside Michael Hooper and No.8 David Pocock listed at 182cm and 183cm respectively.

Openside flanker Sam Cane was the smallest of the All Blacks back-row at 189cm with captain and No.8 Kieran Read (193) and blindside Jerome Kaino (196).

Asked if the back-row height disparity was a factor, Simmons said: “I don’t think so, there’s a lot of different things that go into a lineout.”

Australia fielded a fourth different lock combination in as may Tests this year, with coach Michael Cheika rotating five different players through the second row, while the All Blacks went with the established World Cup pairing of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock.

Simmons also refuted the suggestion Australia’s lineout performance had been compromised by the lack of a regular lock duo.

“I don’t think so, it’s just a matter of doing the work early in the week, nailing it down knowing your knowledge and getting it done,” he said.

Simmons is the Wallabies lineout caller and will review his performance in that area.

“Definitely it would be stupid not to. I’ve got to have a look at that and then see where we can improve.”

I think that’s what everyone is doing this week, reviewing themselves and the whole team on how we get better.

“It was a number of places around the lineout and around the field that broke down and I suppose as a group we need to get better around the whole park.”

Asked about the mood in the camp, Simmons said: “We’re trying to show some resilience and everyone is doing their review and moving on and trying to improve for next week.

“Losing to them on the weekend by that much, it hurts everyone.”

He wasn’t buying into the underdog mentality, though Australia will start rank outsiders to win in Wellington.

“You go in with a mentality to win. you want to go out there and do your best,” Simmons said.

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