Player Ratings: The magic of Cooper
OPINION: Whitewashed against the All Blacks, the Wallabies shocked the Springboks with a hard-fought 28-26 win on Sunday at the Gold Coast.
Australia came into the match after three demoralising defeats against the All Blacks, but with Quade Cooper back as the playmaker, they proved a different team.
After Australia took a 19-11 lead into the second half, the gutsy Springboks battled back and were 26-25 in front with a minute left.
But they threw the game away with a needless penalty as the siren sounded and the unflappable Cooper stepped to nail a long-range kick that sent the crowd wild.
Here are the Wallabies player ratings
15 Tom Banks
The fullback had some problems under the highballs with Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi getting the better of him in the opening minutes. However, he recovered well and was much better in the second half. The fullback made six carries but nothing really explosive.
14 Andrew Kellaway
The wing put in yet another impressive performance. He was constantly looking for work and made the most of his chances. The wing continues to build on his try tally as he scored the Wallabies’ first try.
13 Len Ikitau
One of the standout performances in the backline. While he didn’t see much of the ball like his centre partner Samu Kerevi, his off the ball work was vital. He did well to contain the likes of Damian De Allende. Made a couple of big hits and his steal inside the Springboks’ 22 was just as integral
12 Samu Kerevi
One of the Wallabies’ chief attacking threats. He made 18 carries and 58 metres. One play that certainly stands out, is his dummy on Springboks scrumhalf Faf De Klerk, which set up Andrew Kellaway’s try.
11 Marika Koroibete
He was extremely industrious and another attacking threat. However, he was not clinical and on a couple of occasions a little bit selfish.
10 Quade Cooper
Making his first appearance for the Wallabies in four years, the flyhalf was absolutely sublime. His game management was top class and he kicked over eight from eight, including a 40-metre opener and delivered the match-winner on the stroke of full time. The king of cool.
9 Tate McDermott
Not one of his best outings however it is clear that the No.9 developing into a Test calibre player with every Test. His heroic efforts behind the line prevented Springboks centre Lukhanyo Am from scoring a try in the 26th minute. He left the field with an injury at the break.
8 Rob Valetini
A very industrious outing for the No.8. He got over the advantage line on several occasions – making 10 carries and 31 metres. On defence, he made all his six tackles. Conceded the first penalty of the match which handed the Boks’ an easy three points. Nonetheless a much better performance from his last two matches against the All Blacks. A good reminder of what the Brumbies star can do.
7 Michael Hooper (captain)
Another tireless performance from the captain. He led from the front, unfortunately, he missed a perfect try-scoring opportunity in the second half thanks to a Damian Willemse tackle.
6 Lachlan Swinton
Not really that impressive like his fellow loose forwards but overall a very physical display. He was handy at the line-outs.
5 Matt Philip
His work rate was noteworthy making all his six tackles. However, he conceded one or two penalties when it came to line-outs and was handed a yellow card for collapsing the maul in the 26th minute.
4 Izack Rodda
Did very well to stop the Springboks’ driving maul and for the vast majority of the match – he nullified their attacking threat. He made all his tackles
3 Allan Alaalatoa
It was a mixed bag for the prop. He butchered a try as the ball went forward courtesy of a big tackle by Lood de Jager inside the Boks’ five. However, he made all his tackles and was good in open play.
2 Folau Fainga’a
The hooker’s work rate was immense. He struggled to find his jumper in the opening minutes but made up for it as the game progressed. He scrummed well but had trouble in the second stanza.
1 Angus Bell
Getting his first start in the Wallabies jersey, the prop did the basics well, which proved to be vital. He scrummed well against a very solid Boks pack certainly one for the future.
16 Feleti Kaitu’u (on for Fainga’a, 69th minute)
He made two big tackles. However not enough time to be rated.
17 James Slipper (on for Bell, 48th minute)
The veteran conceded a scrum penalty. However, put in a solid defensive display making all his tackles. He was also part of the pack that produced the big scrum at full-time.
18 Taniela Tupou (on for Alaalatoa 56th minute)
Did not make much of a difference, however, held his own in the scrums
19 Rob Leota (on for Rodda, 74th minute)
Not enough time to be rated
20 Pete Samu ( on for Swinston, 60th Minute)
The flank added some energy, had a few good carries and put in two big hits in the closing minutes
21 Nic White (on for MacDermont, 40th minute)
The No.9 entered the match at the start of the second half and made a huge impact throughout the second half. His tactical kicks put the Springboks under pressure. The replacement also won the last penalty which resulted in the win. A very telling case for the No.9 jersey.
22 Reece Hodge (On for Banks, 74th minute)
His decision to hoist the ball in the air at the last minute of the match was questionable however not enough time to be rated.
23 Jordan Petaia (on for Kellaway, 63rd minute)
The replacement’s chase and tackle on Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard in the closing minutes of the match is one of the standouts. He added loads of energy and is certainly one for the future.