Back to back wins for Australia
20 September, 2021, 7:08 pm
The double-header battle at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night lived up to expectations.
In the opening clash, a much-improved Wallabies outfit stunned world champions, the Springboks, again with a bruising 30-17 win.
The consecutive wins over the Springboks meant the Wallabies reclaimed the Mandela Plate.
The wins were a boost for the Wallabies following three losses to the All Blacks.
Wallaby fans were elated with the two out of two wins against the world champions, which have been seen as a huge result for the Wallabies, who haven’t had the best of times lately.
The back-to-back wins energised Dave Rennie’s men, who controlled the game for much of the night, took charge early, took the early lead, and withstood the inevitable Springboks comeback.
Len Ikitau scored two first half tries and Marika Koroibete crossed for two in the second half as the Wallabies secured the 30-17 win.
I compliment Michael Hooper and the Wallabies forwards for standing up to front the Springbok forwards.
On the Gold Coast, the Wallabies needed a last minute penalty from recalled fly-half Quade Cooper for the 28-26 win, but they led for most of the match at Suncorp Stadium and picked up a Rugby Championship bonus point for scoring four tries to one.
It was also a memorable win for courageous and stand-out Michael Hooper who marked his record for most caps as captain of the Wallabies.
Cooper’s 60th Test as Wallabies skipper is one more than former half-back George Gregan.
On the other hand, both teams gave up a one man advantage in the opening half, with Springboks scrumhalf Faf de Klerk yellow carded for a cynical foul, while Wallabies flanker Lachie Swinton was sin-binned for his shoulder-on-shoulder contact with Duane Vermeulen.
The win also means that the Wallabies are in contention in the Rugby Championship, which is into the second week of four straight doubleheaders.
Hats off to Dave Rennie, his team management and the likes of James Slipper, Folau Fainga’a, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Matt Philip, Lachie Swinton, Michael Hooper, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Quade Cooper, Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Tom Banks, Feleti Kaitu’u, Angus Bell, Tom Robertson, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge and Jordan Petaia for the bringing lost smiles, hopes and aspirations back into Wallabies circles.
After the Wallabies win, The Guardian reported that an under-strength, but still ominous All Blacks inflicted a fourth straight Rugby Championship defeat on the Los Pumas, cruising to a 36-13 victory.
For the All Blacks, Tupou Vaa’i bagged a brace with Patrick Tuipulotu, TJ Perenara, and Samisoni Taukei’aho also crossing in a game that could have been worse for the Pumas, as the All Blacks had three tries disallowed.
Facing an intense schedule, coach Ian Foster made wholesale changes for the round four clash, but even a team missing a host of regulars proved too much for the Los Pumas, and making it four wins from four to give them an almost unassailable lead in the tournament.
They raced to the break with a 24-3 lead, and there was no way back for the Los Pumas, despite a battling second-half performance with Mario Ledesma’s men at least taking consolation in scoring points after failing to get any in their previous two Tests against New Zealand.
The Guardian also reported that defeat piled more pressure on Ledesma, whose side also suffered two heavy losses to South Africa in recent weeks.
The All Blacks had earned bonus-point wins in all three of their Rugby Championship matches and sat at the top of the standings on 15-points, and they knew too well that another big victory would see them in pole position to win the competition, even with two massive clashes against the Springboks to come.
The All Blacks have now won 31 of their 33 Tests against the Los Pumas including their last three.
Congratulations to Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, George Bridge, Damian McKenzie, TJ Perenara, Joe Moody, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tyrel Lomax, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa’I, Ethan Blackadder, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu, Codie Taylor, George Bower, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott and Beauden Barrett, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie and Braydon Ennor for flying the All Blacks flag with pride and passion.
- RAJNESH LINGAM is a regular contributor to this newspaper and the views expressed in this article are his and not of The Fiji Times.