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Well done to the Wallabies for finally proving me wrong

Well done to the Wallabies for finally proving me wrong

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Wow! That was my favourite Wallabies performance in years, maybe a decade. Maybe ever.

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It wasn’t perfect, but it was just smart rugby – bloody smart rugby.

I must say I owe some apologies. I had lost faith in Dave Rennie and the rest of the coaching staff. I just could not see any progress and, like a lot of fans, I was frustrated – frustrated by losing and frustrated not seeing our historical areas of deficit go without improvement.

Well, that changed with a bang on Saturday. Please, Wallabies, play like that each week. There’s still room for improvement – we had an off night under the high ball and didn’t execute everything as we would have liked to – but my word did we do some good things. At points I swear I thought the All Blacks had changed kits with us.

Len Ikitau of the Wallabies celebrates

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

We excelled in the two areas I have been harping on about for years: the ruck and our territorial kicking game.

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The following are some great stats I counted from the match.

Forced fuck turnovers
Australia: seven.
South Africa: one.

Kicks from general play to the opposition 22
Australia: eight.
South Africa: seven.

To put it in perspective how far we have come, note the following statistics from our last drubbing by the All Blacks.

Forced fuck turnovers
Australia: two.
New Zealand: five.

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Kicks from general play to the opposition 22
Australia: one.
New Zealand: seven.

Well done, Wallabies! What smart rugby.

I’m very happy with what I saw. Reece Hodge even kicked a couple from his own 22 to the opposition 22 that resulted in huge gains for us. In Quade Cooper, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway we now have some great kicking options in the backline.

Don’t get me started on the ruck. The counter-rucking and pilfering were brilliant. Marika Koroibete began a great counter-ruck at the end of the first half in our danger zone, and his teammates joined in and the crowd went wild. We even had the advantage at one point after a South African knock-on but turned it into a penalty by counter-rucking and forcing the Saffas to go off their feet.

I also have been critical of Samu Kerevi. He’s been a great runner with ball in hand, but his work rate in defence was what I had an issue with. Well, he made a fool out of me, and I’m glad he did. He got over the ball twice at the end of the game and secured two crucial turnovers.

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Michael Hooper made another critical turnover in our 22 at the end of the game, and he too deserves credit for his work all match, as do the whole Wallabies team, who defended like champions.

But my favourite point of the whole match was Koroibete second try. Hodge got over the ball and won the pilfer – a skill I haven’t seen out of him until the last couple of games – we immediately spread it wide, and Pete Samu made a break and was brought down in the 22. The ball was played quickly, and Koroibete threw a beauty of a dummy went over in the corner. Pilfer, counter, try – I thought I was watching the All Blacks.

We are now up to third in the world rankings, and it is thoroughly deserved. I can’t wait until next week. Well done, Wallabies!



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