Aussies’ true test still to come
23 Jul 2011
SIMON BORCHARDT says the Wallabies did what was expected of them in Sydney’s glorified training session.
After last weekend’s embarrassing defeat to Samoa, the Wallabies were reluctant to talk up their chances against a Springbok B team. However, with seven first-choice players returning to their starting XV they were always going to be heavy favourites to kick off their Tri-Nations campaign with a win.
The Wallabies made three handling errors in the opening three minutes, before Quade Cooper took advantage of some poor defensive work from Morne Steyn to break away from inside his 22 and set up Ben Alexander’s try. Three minutes later, Will Genia exposed the Boks’ weakness on the blindside and Digby Ioane stepped inside Gio Aplon to score.
Cooper’s first-half performance wasn’t flawless, though. He kicked out on the full after a promising attack down the left touchline, knocked on inside the Boks’ 22 when another try was on, and sent a pass into touch.
But the flyhalf was back to his best immediately after the break when he went through a hole between Wynand Olivier and Juan de Jongh to set up James O’Connor’s try that briefly opened the floodgates.
The Wallabies’ scrum was impressive, apart from the third one when they were penalised for an early engagement. They comfortably won their own lineout ball and put pressure on the Boks by contesting theirs.
With the Bok attack being so predictable, the hosts’ defence was able to spread out and keep them out with relative ease, before conceding two tries in the final 20 minutes.
Robbie Deans will be disappointed that his team didn’t go for the jugular and push the score past 50 or 60, although they probably would have had he not emptied his bench with 15 minutes to go.
The Wallabies will be relieved to get the win after what happened last week, but the fact remains that it came against a second-string Bok side and means little in the greater scheme of things. Their two matches against the All Blacks and the return fixture against the first-choice Boks in Durban will tell us a lot more about their World Cup chances.