Player Ratings: Outgunned Wallabies
OPINION: The scoreboard doesn’t do justice to this Australia performance, with two England tries against the run of play doing a disservice to the Wallabies on-field performance.
Cheika made five changes to the team that beat Uruguay 45-10 in their last pool stage match: Allan Ala’alatoa, Michael Hooper, Will Genia, Christian Lealiifano and Reece Hodge return to the starting XV to take on England.
Jordan Petaia moved from the right-wing to the 13 shirt, to start at outside centre.
Here’s our Australia player ratings vs England:
1. SCOTT SIO
Started against Fiji, Wales and Georgia but got a break last weekend. Traded penalties with Sinckler early doors, though the Englishman increasingly had the whip hand as the match wore on. Saved by a few ‘whatever-your-having-yourself’ Garces scrum calls.
2. TOLU LATU
Defensively excellent, making two telling tackles on Slade and then Billy Vunipola, although there was whiff of a ‘daisy cutter’ about the latter. Will be the Wallabies hooker for years we expect.
3. ALLAN ALAALATOA
Has kept Tongan Thor out of the starting XV for most of the tournament. All the action appeared to be on Sio’s side of the scrum. Started to creak in the second half before being taken off.
4. IZACK RODDA
For a lock he sure knows how to pick an angle. The athletic Red carries for days, belying his 6’7.5, 119kg frame. Was one of the Wallabies’ primary battering rams at first receiver.
5. RORY ARNOLD
At 208cm, he is the tallest player at Rugby World Cup 2019. Doesn’t have the utility in the loose that elite modern second rows have these days. Didn’t get into England faces in the way neutrals might have expected or the Wallabies will have wanted.
6. DAVID POCOCK
Clutch turnover in the 16th minute with England camped in their 22. Minutes later forced a pass that led to Jonny May’s second try. It hasn’t been a tournament for poachers.
7. MICHAEL HOOPER (CAPT.)
A thorn in England’s side all evening. Spent most of evening tackling and talking to Jerome Garces.
8. ISI NAISARANI
A willing and effective carrier, he made a crucial turnover hit on Slade that led a Kurtley Beale’s 30-metre break up-field. A solid if not game-changing shift.
9. WILL GENIA
A tad over-ambitious in the first quarter, over a throwing a pass to give away possession in the ninth minute. His usual, world-class service, but can’t help but feel slightly short-changed from a player we may have seen for the last time at a RWC.
10. CHRISTIAN LEALIIFANO
Kicked well and kept England defence honest with ball in hand. Sinckler’s try will have hurt.
11. MARIKA KOROIBETE
He struggled to contain Anthony Watson in the first half. Cheika must have had a word at half-time because he came out like a scalded cat, destroying Elliot Daly (I know) for pace with one of the individual tries of the Rugby World Cup. Four for his first-half performance, nine for the second half: equals 6.5.
12. SAMU KEREVI
The ‘battle bus’ made significant yards early, beating Slade twice within the first two minutes alone. Made metres all night, and outshone Manu Tuilagi.
13. JORDAN PETAIA
Hard to believe he’s 19. Came immediately into the game with his first touch of the ball, beating Tom Curry with his inaugural quarter-final carry. Fell away in the second half with the men in green and gold starved of ball.
14. REECE HODGE
Shared kick off duty with Lealifano. The victim of a Curry-Underhill turnover hit and steal in the 32nd minute. Struggled to play his way into the game after a three-match layoff.
15. KURTLEY BEALE
Buzzing. The Waratah showed his ambition with a 30-metre break upfield that lead to Australia’s opening points. Threw a late intercept but it was an act of desperation and he had little choice but to try and make something happen.
16. JORDAN UELESE
The game was over when he came on.
17. JAMES SLIPPER
Scrums didn’t get any more solid with his arrival.
18. TANIELA TUPOU
The AUD$2.5 million investment (over four year) into Tongan Thor shows the regard the 23-year-old is held in by Rugby Australia. Assisted in a try-saving tackle within minutes of coming on.
19. ADAM COLEMAN
The first post-World War II Tasmanian-born Wallaby came on too late to really make an impact.
20. LUKHAN SALAKAIA-LOTO
Came on in the 68th minute. Not on long enough to rate.
21. NICHOLAS WHITE
Made a crucial try-saver on Ben Youngs that saved the match for Australia.
22. MATT TO’OMUA
Has enjoyed a great tournament, albeit from the bench. Looked lively when he came on for Lealiafano but Wallabies already had a foot out the door at that stage.
23. JAMES O’CONNOR
Should he have started? The pre-tournament hype around him never really materialised.
By Ian Cameron, @RugbyPass