Jordan Petaia enjoyed a memorable debut as Australia bounced back from their loss to Wales with a 45-10 victory over Uruguay at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.
The Wallabies could not afford a slip-up after going down to Wales in last week’s Pool D blockbuster, and Australia returned to winning ways thanks to a bonus-point triumph.
Australia teenager Petaia capped his long-awaited international bow with a try as the Wallabies crossed seven times to one against a spirited Uruguay team in Oita.
The Wallabies – who made 12 changes for the match before James O’Connor was replaced by Samu Kerevi on the bench prior to kick-off – started fast, despite some desperate Uruguay defending.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 5, 2019
Australia made the breakthrough in the sixth minute, with Kurtley Beale feeding Dane Haylett-Petty for an easy five-pointer in open space as Christian Lealiifano added the extras.
The Wallabies did not have it all their own way in the first half following two yellow cards, however, Australia appeared to play better with a man less on the field.
After Felipe Berchesi’s penalty conversion and Adam Coleman’s high tackle, Petaia burst through for a memorable try in the 24th minute – Beale’s quick hands allowing the teenager to cross, with Lealiifano making no mistake in splitting the uprights.
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto also found himself in the sin bin approaching the half-hour mark but Tevita Kuridrani sprinted clear to put Australia 19-3 ahead after Petaia fended off two players before teeing up his team-mate.
It could have been 19-10 at half-time but Tomas Inciarte’s try was chalked off by TMO for offside after Uruguay had celebrated and lined up for the conversion.
Kuridrani scored his second try of the match to claim the bonus point, streaking clear after collecting the ball in the middle of the field six minutes into the second half.
Will Genia came off the bench to make it 31-3 to Australia eight minutes later, with Lealiifano adding the two points, before James Slipper barged his way over to end his wait for a Test try and Haylett-Petty claimed a double 12 minutes from time.
Uruguay’s hard-fought display was rewarded with a with a try at the death – Manuel Diana capping a relentless spell of pressure and 18 phases.
A star is born
Petaia’s debut was worth the wait. The Reds sensation – the youngest player to represent Australia at a World Cup – scored his first international try with his second touch of the match. Petaia also had a try assist in an impressive first half.
Slipper ends drought
Earning his 94th cap, Slipper had plenty to celebrate. The 30-year-old, who debuted in 2010, finally scored a try for the Wallabies as he was mobbed by his team-mates and given and a standing ovation by Australia’s coaching staff.
Key Opta Facts
– Australia have maintained a 100 per cent winning record (18/18) in Rugby World Cup matches against Tier 2 opposition, scoring 42+ points in over half (13) of the matches in that span.
– Uruguay’s 35-point loss in this match was their second-lowest margin of defeat against a Tier 1 side at the Rugby World Cup, their lowest such margin coming in 1999 against Scotland (31 points).
– Uruguay’s try in this match was their second against a Tier 1 side in Rugby World Cup history, the first came against England in the 2003 edition.
– Slipper scored his first try for Australia in his 94th Test, no player from any nation has played more matches before scoring their first Test try, the previous longest run before scoring a try was held by France’s Nicolas Mas (80 Tests).
– Petaia (19y 205d) became the youngest player to represent the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup and the second youngest player from any nation to score a try at the tournament after George North, who crossed for Wales against Namibia in 2011 aged 19 years and 166 days.
Australia will wrap up their group-stage campaign with a clash against Georgia in Fukuroi on October 11 before Uruguay meet Wales in Kumamoto two days later.
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta