Monday, 25 September: Wales v Australia, OL Stadium, Lyon (5:00 AM)
Wales (15-1): Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies, Taulupe Daletau, Jac Morgan (c), Aaron Wainwright, Adam Beard, Will Rowlands, Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Gareth Thomas
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Corey Domachowski, Henry Thomas, Dafydd Jenkins, Taine Basham, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Rio Dyer.
Australia (15-1): Andrew Kellaway; Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Ben Donaldson, Tate McDermott; Rob Valetini, Tom Hooper, Rob Leota; Richie Arnold, Nick Frost; James Slipper, David Porecki (capt), Angus Bell
Replacements: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Philip, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Carter Gordon, Suli Vunivalu
Match Officials: Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU) Assistant Referee 1: Luke Pearce (RFU) Assistant Referee 2: Christophe Ridley (RFU) TMO: Tom Foley (RFU)
The time for talk was over and when the whistle blew, all the talk, selections, mind games, rumours and scuttlebutt were over. Quite simply the Wallabies had 80-odd minutes for their rugby to do the talking and boy of boy, didn’t it have something to say.
You could almost cut and paste a first half review from every game the Wallabies have played under Eddie Jones. A good 20 minute period of pace, intensity and structure and then something resembling a bulldog eating porridge analogy, I get the intention, but bugger me if it isn’t a complete mess.
The game started poorly for the Wallabies this time. A shocking midfield defensive read from Ben Donaldson from a fairly standard lineout play saw Wales scoot 50 metres with halfback Gareth Davies scoring after just 2:30 minutes. Dan Biggar slotted the ‘gimme’.
Wales 7- Wallabies nil. Some enterprising and attacking play over the ensuing minutes saw our Wallabies convert two penalty opportunities and it was game on at 7-6 to Wales.
Wales soon after lost their playmaker and designated sharp shooter Dan Biggar to a right shoulder injury and perhaps the rugby gods had decreed that this was to the opportunity the Wallabies could perhaps exploit.
Immediately after narrowing the gap to just one, Gareth Anscombe had his first penalty attempt and missed it. And this Wallaby fan dared to think positive thoughts. But then Tom Hooper gifted a penalty from an act of sheer stupidity at an already conceded defensive breakdown.
Wales 10- Wallabies 6. From there it simply got worse for the Wallabies and every Wallaby fan.
Deep on attack, Australia received a penalty right in front and somehow decided kicking for the line was the option instead of accumulating score board pressure, banking the 3 and resetting for another crack. As surely as the rugby gods giveth, so they take away. The Wallabies completely ballsed up their lineout and didn’t get a jumper in the air. Wales snaffle the ball, kick it downfield, get a 50-22, then a penalty, which they kicked. So, instead of 10-9 and possession, Australia were down 13-6 and kicking off again.
Another Anscombe penalty saw Australia go the sheds at 16-6 down and still in the match, although the ‘signs’ didn’t look great.
Whatever was said at halftime sure as shite didn’t work. Slipper was swapped (perhaps injury) for Fa’amasuli and our dominant H1 scrum became impotent and a penalty magnet. Our attack was nowhere to be seen, our D leaked like a Liberal cabinet meeting and it was, in my experience, a mixture of anger, frustration and despondency to witness.
The Wallabies kicked out on the full, conceded scrum penalties and a pass into touch all within the first minutes of H2 and, sadly, from there it was always a case of ‘how much Wales’.
Fulltime: Wales 40 – Australia 6
The Game Changer
Would it be to concise to say ‘when Eddie Jones was appointed?’
First and foremost, hats off to Wales. They played well, played as a team and thoroughly deserved the win. Not in dispute at all, they were too good. But here’s the killer folks: they were too good playing basic, simple rugby!
To our players, thank you for trying. I could see by the tears from Valetini, Frost and Bell (among others) that it hurt you. You are all proud men, made sacrifices and turned up and gave it a shot. This fan can’t ask more from you than that.
Eddie and Hamish, you made a mockery of over 100 years of Wallaby history. The selections, game plans, media performances, actually every single thing that you contributed in any way to this campaign has forever tarnished the brand and legacy of our once great side.
The blind obsession of 2027 will likely see the scarring of many a talented young Wallaby forever and the abject humiliation for players at the end of their Wallaby careers who deserve better, much better.
You have made our team the ‘Hamish and Eddie’ team and we’re all the poorer for your disgraceful administration, selections and coaching of our boys. You have set records I never thought I’d see in my 40 years of following this side:
- First time we have endured 2 pool losses at a RWC
- Biggest loss ever at a RWC
- Biggest losing margin ever to a Welsh side
- First time ever to be eliminated from the pool stage of any RWC
As I write this I find my anger has subsided somewhat, but what will never, ever subside is the grubby fingerprints that you have stained our national jersey with. Australian rugby needs a rebuild and you both should start that process of regeneration today, and resign.