A tale of two halves. Australia 31 – Wales 0
In the interest of sanity I’ve managed to erase almost all memory of the first half of this test from my mind, making a critique of those 40 minutes pretty difficult. Night-sweat inducing flash backs include a litany of errors and squandered half chances from both sides. I can confirm that Australia finished this abomination six points ahead.
The memory fully kicks in at the start of the second half with Gregan taking over the half-back position from Giteau, allowing Australia’s best inside centre back to his favoured position. An instant turn around. Gregan’s faster and more accurate pass gave Larkham the time to unleash the wider backs and the impressive Palu who never failed to break the gain line.
Interestingly, Australia’s three tries were scored, if not manufactured, by relative newcomers Ioane, Mitchell and Huxley. All of these trialists and stand-ins showed pace, skill and good tactical nouse. These qualities will be vital if the Wallabies aren’t to look at rediculous as the Waratahs did matching Habana with Turinui.
For the first time in recent memory the Wallabies managed to find a rhythm and fluency, albeit for about 30 minutes. Let’s hope we can step that up against better opposition.
So, to the player ratings:
Huxley 8/10 – great skill with boot and hand, created own try, rapidly improving
Ioane 7/10 – real pace and bustle
Mitchell 7.5/10 – pace and good tactical kicking option
Mortlock 6/10 – keeps dropping the ball at the wrong times
Ashley-Cooper 5/10 – still finding his feet in the wrong position
Larkham 7/10 – trademark passing game, the rest not on show yet
Giteau 6/10 – much better in second half but too many errors
Palu 9/10 – man of the match. No. 8 is his
George Smith 6.5/10 – high work rate, much lower impact though
Elsom 7/10 – another solid game around the park, great line-out option
Vickerman 6.5/10 – finding his feet
Sharpe 8/10 – another great game making yards and breaks
Shepherdson 7/10 – solid
Moore 5/10 – horror throwing night
Robinson 7.5/10 – the wagyu king had his opposite’s number