4. Super Wales
Anyone else feel like they were watching an NRC game in that first half? All six ‘people’ tries were scored in the first stanza, with only a penalty try against Australia the only five-pointer after oranges. The physicality and speed of the game however was tremendous and very ‘southern hemisphere-like’.
The Welsh have again got themselves a bloody impressive unit across the park. Hooker Richard Hibbard was simply outstanding and would have been close to my best on field. A consistent pest on the ball and a man who loves to put in the big hit, Hibbard set the standard for his team. Close behind were all the usual suspects. Alun Wyn-Jones, Dan Lydiate and Tony Faletau worked tirelessly and with high impact. Captain and flanker Sam Warburton had one of the best games I’ve seen him play against the Wallabies and matched his opposite number across the park.
There were plenty of questions about the decision by Warren Gatland to move his star winger, George North, into outside centre but North was very good and set up the Welsh second try, to Alex Cuthbert. But it was North’s inside man, the irrepressible Jamie Roberts, that again threatened the Wallabies consistently. His aggressiveness was apparent on every run and every tackle. Perhaps not the speed to take advantage of any half break, but his contribution was significant.
But playing such an high impact and up tempo game was always going to take its toll. Crucial injuries played their part too as they lost their fullback and halves pairing with half an hour to go in the game. But if this is the type of footy we can expect in the ‘Pool of Death’ next year, then what a way to go out!