Player Ratings: Four in a row
OPINION: The Wallabies machine marches on defeating Los Pumas 32-17 at Cbus Stadium on Queensland’s Gold Coast in their final performance of this year’s Rugby Championship.
The Australian’s have now won 4 matches in a row, something they have not achieved since 2017, giving their fans genuine optimism for a successful tour of the northern hemisphere later this month.
Nick Turnbull rates the Australian players
1. James Slipper – 7/10
An ageless performance by the Gold Coast local who appears to be revelling in every opportunity he gets to represent his country. It wasn’t the strongest Los Pumas scrum, yet he made sure his side had ascendency in this aspect of the match and generally in the contact zone.
2. Folau Fainga’a – 7.5
His best performance in a Wallabies jersey this year. Despite another wobbly Wallaby offensive lineout when in their opponents 22, of which he must take some responsibility for, he was impressive working off the lineout, in the scrum, in general play but also he upped the defensive efforts tonight that is unequivocal evidence of his improvement.
3. Taniela Tupou – 7
Guilty of a few alignment errors in attack, but, outside of that, was strong in the scrum as expected. Enjoyed his work rate as he was a handful when carrying, but also creating space for others by running his attacking lines drawing defence into his channel.
4. Izack Rodda – 6.5
It appears his best rugby of 2021 will be played on the northern tour. He was solid tonight, but he does have better rugby in him. Would like to see him impose himself more but enjoyed his work rate.
5. Darcy Swain – 7
Climbed another rung on his international ladder tonight as he caused Los Pumas issues across the park. Like Rodda, he will need to raise his physicality to another level if these Wallabies are to achieve the greatness the crave, but took positives steps again tonight.
6. Pete Samu – 6
Was solid without perhaps as being as effective as he has been off the bench earlier in the year. One thing he is starting to do with greater consistency is take the Wallabies through the middle of the park and constantly run the inside the supporting line.
7. Michael Hooper – 8
Was relentless as ever but he does appear to be learning the value of getting points on the board early. His hold up pass to Andrew Kellaway running down the left edge was as good as any centre running around in international rugby. Throw in the usual Michael Hooper performance and yep – he was outstanding
8. Rob Valentini – 8
Is starting to show he so much more than the ‘battering ram’ I initially thought he was. He was so strong in defence, often holding up his opponents either forcing a turnover or at the least slowing down their ball. His ball running was a real feature again tonight.
9. Nic White – 7
A really intelligent performance tonight and balanced his options well. He is usually an energetic player but it appears the pressure Tate McDermott is applying on him for that starting position made him up the tempo tonight and the Wallabies looked aligned and dangerous when White was on the park.
10. Quade Cooper – 7.5
Not his greatest night with the boot but his game management was subtle yet telling tonight. He knows how to get the Wallabies into the right spaces but can show he can keep the team compact or turn on the expansive game with one pass. as evidenced by his longer passing game in the second half.
11. Andrew Kellaway – 8.5
Was superb for the Wallabies tonight, scoring three wonderful tries. He showed his versatility by switching to fullback and showed he is more than capable in playing up the back at international level. Adds to theme of Wallabies returning from the wilderness. Despite not being capped before this year, he almost appeared lost to the Australian game, but his performance tonight has secured his selection for some time yet.
12. Samu Kerevi – 7.5
Was a real presence in the mid field for the Wallabies tonight and scored a wonderful try, holding off Quade Cooper’s right hip, straightening his line and exploited the gap. Just an example of his prowess. Left the field with an ankle injury and the Wallabies were lesser for his absence.
13. Len Ikitau – 6.5
Had some quality touches in attack yet he did drop off a few tackles tonight. Despite some defensive issues he was still a handful for the Pumas this evening.
14. Jordan Petaia – 6
He just hasn’t found that form of 2019 but still showed he is a handful. Enjoyed the fact he went looking for work and was consistently looking for offloads and strong through contact. A solid performance tonight.
15. Reece Hodge – 6
He once was the most consistent players in the Wallabies, but errors have crept into his game. He was, on the whole, a solid performer tonight and ran some wonderful support lines tonight but has better rugby in him.
16. Lachlan Lonergan – 6
Last man standing! Came off the bench and played on the wing and back row. He impressed over the ball and ran some very educated lines and manages to evade two shoulders getting contact on him when carrying. He is an intelligent player who did bring some impact despite a fairly benign bench performance tonight.
17. Angus Bell – 7
Was impressive tonight in the set piece, but also running two passes wide of the ruck, or as a primary carrier closer in. Building nicely.
18. Greg Holmes – 6
The 38-year-old came on and immediately brought pressure onto Argentina’s scrum. Probably his last test but he gave about 20 quality minutes to finish his Wallabies career, perhaps….
19. Matt Philip – 6
Had some issues from the re-starts and appeared to be targeted by the Pumas in that area. But, outside of that, he was industrious and physical tonight.
20. Sean McMahon – 6
Exciting to see him back in international rugby. He was solid tonight but lacked the impact hoped for.
21. Jake Gordon – 6
The Wallabies appeared to lose their alignment when he came on. Not all on him, but still had some quality involvements around the base. However, he does not appear to be threatening White or McDermott for that starting role.
22. James O’Connor – 6
Had been out of the game for a long time and that was apparent tonight. Despite that, he had some moments that reminded us of his quality.
23. Tom Wright – 6
Appeared to have regained some confidence. He was solid and largely mistake-free tonight.