Player ratings: Pure Aussie gold Down Under
OPINION: Australia heaped more misery on an already deflated South Africa in front of a boisterous crowd in Adelaide.
It was a blistering start for the Wallabies, as a Rob Valetini run down the blindside put them over the advantage line, and the forwards combined off second phase play to put Fraser McReight over right near the posts within the first two minutes of the game.
The Springboks shored up their defence and tried to strangle the life out of the Wallabies, going hard at the ruck and trying to hold up players to force a penalty.
The Wallabies made important saves on defence and the wayward boot of Handre Pollard cost the Boks points in the first half.
The Boks wrestled their way back into the game using their set-piece weapons but a frustrated Wallabies held tough and an incredible try-saving from Marika Koroibete prevented the Boks from evening up the score right on halftime.
Their defensive efforts were rewarded, as the Wallabies opened the scoring early in the second half through Koroibete.
From there the Wallabies were able to control the game by retaining possession and getting in the Boks’ faces.
Jack O’Rourke rates the Australian players!
1. James Slipper – 8/10
The skipper led from the front with a calm and measured performance. Stood up well at scrum time and worked hard around the park. The Wallabies have found their permanent captain heading into the World Cup. Delivered a sweetly timed inside ball for Lolesio to set up an important Wallabies try midway through the second half.
2. Folau Fainga’a – 5.5
Had a good day at lineout time and controlled things well at the back of the rolling maul. Gave away too many penalties that kept the Springboks in touch. Replaced in the 55th minute by Porecki.
3. Allan Alaalatoa – 7.5
Muscled up at scrum and has become a reliable leader for the Wallabies at the set-piece. A decent work rate for a loosehead prop.
4. Rory Arnold – 6
Brought raw aggression to the Wallabies forwards which was sorely needed against a monster Boks pack. It proved to be an epic matchup against Arnold and Eben Etzebeth, with both going at each other’s line-out balls. Replaced in the 51st minute by Swain.
5. Matt Philip – 7.5
Complemented Arnold’s abrasive play with hardworking toil and technical prowess in the lineout. Had one of his best games in gold.
6. Jed Holloway – 6
Toiled away under the radar, making his tackles and supporting his runners to the breakdown. He also presented a treat at the lineout which gave the Boks jumpers pause for thought. Managed to get his hands on the ball for a few runs.
7. Fraser McReight – 7.5
Scored the opening try for the Wallabies, running off a short ball. Slipped into the vacated No.7 jersey with ease, and proved to be a menace at the breakdown, slowing the ball up and disrupting the Boks’ phase speed. Made a crucial turnover right on the defensive line to prevent a Boks try in the first half. Capped it off by nabbing a second try off a pass from Noah Lolesio in the second half. Stills tends to throw a wayward ball and chooses the wrong times to go hard at the ball in the breakdown.
8. Rob Valetini – 8
Was an immense physical presence on the park, willing to stand up to South Africa’s massive forwards in defence and running hard lines in attack.
9. Nic White – 7
Controlled the game well from the base of the ruck. His experience was invaluable to a young and developing Wallabies’ backline. Put his body on the line in defence, frequently chopping Boks around the ankles to bring them down.
10. Noah Lolesio – 6
Played facilitator for his backs outside him. Didn’t overplay his hand, instead picking his times to take on the line. Ran the inside line off James Slipper to split the Boks defence off the ruck and deliver a risky flick pass to McReight for his second try in the 57th minute.
11. Marika Koroibete – 8.5
Puts in excellent performances game in and game out, and that’s why is considered the best winger in the world right now. He was courageous under the high ball and his powerful running game gave the Wallabies chances in attack. Made an incredible stop on Mapimpi to prevent a certain try right before half-time. He was rewarded for all his hard work by opening the scoring in the second half off a quick ball from Lolesio.
12. Hunter Paisami – 6
Didn’t get many opportunities but ran hard and straight in the tight channels around the ruck. Used as a battering ram to get over the advantage line, he set the platform for the Wallabies attack out wide.
13. Len Ikitau – 7
Proved a handful for the Boks defence with his direct running and evasive stepping. What was more impressive was his defensive display. The young gun managed to keep Am quiet for most of the game, which is no mean feat. Unfortunately went off late with an injury.
14. Tom Wright – 6.5
Back on the wing for this game, he enjoyed finding space on the outside. Ran down the tram tracks to peel off big metres for his team, leading to the Koroibete try.
15. Reece Hodge – 7
Looked very assured playing at fullback. Was a strong presence in the air and was able to control the game with his powerful boot. Pulled off a crucial chop tackle on Lood de Jager to prevent a certain try in the first half.
16. David Porecki – 6
Returning from a concussion, he entered the action in the 55th minute. Looks comfortable at international level, nailing his key roles at the set-piece.
17. Scott Sio – 5.5
Handy experience to bring off the bench but the Wallabies set-piece struggled in closing out the game.
18. Taniela Tupou – 5.5
Entered the action late. Couldn’t impose his big frame on the game and spilt the ball a few times in the carry.
19. Darcy Swain – 6.5
Was the perfect replacement to bring on and add extra grunt to the clash. Didn’t take a backwards step in the forward battle.
20. Rob Leota – 6
Instantly recognisable with his mullet blowing in the breeze. Put on some big shots and ran hard off the shoulders off the Boks defence.
21. Pete Samu – 5
Came on late and got stuck into his work, making carries and supporting his forwards at the breakdown.
22. Tate McDermott – 5
Came on late and, under his stewardship, the replacements struggled to form cohesion, defending for most of the last ten minutes of the game.
23. Andrew Kellaway – 6
Filled in on the wing and was solid under the high ball. Got a few touches with limited minutes.