The Aussies started their new Cheika-led test campaign in the UK and Europe with a high spirited 33-28 win over the Welsh in Cardiff. Here are five aspects of the game that stood out to me.
1. Folau’s try scoring frenzy
It’s gotta be hard to be Israel Folau doesn’t it? Too often he just can’t seem to win. Only last month folk were complaining that his winning of the John Eales Medal was some sort of conspiracy to keep him connected to rugby. Entering this test it was the fact that he hadn’t scored a try since the Perth test against the Springboks. Well he was back on the try scorers’ list on Saturday night. in fact he was back there twice.
It was Izzy’s 16th and 17th try for the Wallabies. Not a bad record for someone who played his first test at the beginning of last year. He’s close now, but he could finish the tour within spitting distance of legends Little, Lynagh and Gregan’s career try-scoring stats. A decent RWC and he’s close to the top ten all-time.
Don’t discount the nature of the tries – running on to a Michael Hooper off-load and an intercept runaway. Folau still cracked almost 150 run metres, beat defenders, off-loaded and continues to be a massive threat to the Wallabies’ opposition. The emergence of Tevita Kuridrani takes some of the attacking pressure off Folau, but there’s no doubting the two will be the focus of most opposing coach’s plans for the next twelve months.