Australia vs Fiji – Wash up

Australia vs Fiji – Wash up


Picture courtesy of Rugby Heaven

Australia 49 – Fijian tackle bags 0

As expected, the Wallabies won easily at Perth on Saturday, running in 8 unanswered tries (Tuquiri 2, Staniforth 2, Huxley, Larkham, Norton-Knight, Ashley-Cooper). What was disappointing though was the atypical lack of ambition showed by the Fijian side when they did get their 15% of possession. The ball rarely got past 9 or 10’s boot .

While the Australian back-line didn’t fizz – with the amount of ball they had, the score could have been closer to 80 – there were some positive take-aways. Huxley and Mitchell continued to push their case for selection, both looking sharp. Mitchell’s skillful try-making pass to Huxley while he was being shepherded into the corner typified the smart and pacey style of winger he is. A good counter-balance to the Tuquiri battering ram.

Another stand-out was Staniforth at inside centre, who showed great pace and sharp handling, thoroughly deserving his two tries. If, or should I say when, Larkham eventually gets injured and Giteau moves to 10, Staniforth will slot nicely into 12. On form, he should even threaten the out of sorts Mortlock, were that not heresy. Ashley-Cooper showed some good touches at 13 and will benefit from picking up some of the experience and nouse that older Staniforth seems to have plenty of.

Less positively, Larkham had an average game for his standards, although you get the sense that he’s been playing well within himself to date. The only time he ran at the Fijian defensive line he scythed through to score. As usual, when he was replaced in the second half by Norton-Knight, the threat immediately drained out of the Wallaby back-line. Sam Cordingly also came on for 20 minutes or so, but almost tripped over himself trying to make an impression. No obvious signs that he should be pushing Georgy aside just yet.

In the forwards there were no stand-outs, although they weren’t put to any real test. Phil Waugh kept popping up in open play and when Stephen Moore came on as a substitute he again found the throwing yips, under no pressure.

Something to watch out for in the Tri-Nations though is the Wallaby performance at the breakdown; both Fiji and Wales (A) found that they could walk through rucks and disrupt rolling mauls. Both the Boks and All Blacks will make the Wallabies pay dearly for these lapses.


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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