And the winner is? History. This is the 12th loss in a row on the highfeld since we last beat the Bokke three months before President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas in 1963.
Our execution last night by the Springboks extends this less than impressive record but there were a few positives to it.
What were those you ask? Well, if you actually paid to get in you certainly got your money’s worth.
Tries galore, full-on running rugby from both sides (more from the Wallabies actually) and a pretty exciting spectacle, despite some empty seats in the stands.
You can see the potential in this Wallaby side but it’s frustrating that they have yet to develop a temperament that allows them to win those pressure matches.
The first half was a tryfest with a bonus point achieved before oranges. The attack looked terrific but we let them back in by some poor defence.
In the second half we were overcome by Springbok pressure, especially in the forwards, where we couldn’t maintain a decent flow of possession.
Crucial turnovers at the set piece took the sting out of our attack and that was that.
Kurtley Beale – 8 Best Wallaby player on the park. There were a few minor glitches but in attack he was just superb. He generally took the right option and chanced his arm a bit. It worked. His footwork and ability to beat a man were great. Missing 4 tackles is a bit high, though. Has cemented the No 15 position.
Mitchell – 7 Shmoo made a couple of defensive errors but was always dangerous when given a bit of space. He’s hard to bring down when he turns on the gas and he had a hand in a try or two.
O’Connor – 6 Scored two tries by being in the right place at the right time. Benefited from Habana dropping a ball cold but had to do a bit of work to close it out. Wingers should be finishers so I guess he’s learning.
Ashley-Cooper – 5 Didn’t do much wrong but he was strongly marked by Jacque Fourie all night. In fact, Fourie had the better of him in their exchanges. Needs to be left in this position to keep developing.
Giteau – 6 Contributed to the backs expansive play and a settling influence on those around him. Cooper’s cut out passes left him a bit dry but Gits injected himself well when required. His goalkicking was top notch: 5 from 5.
Cooper – 7 Looking very accomplished after his enforced rest. He’s a ball player extraordinaire and this type of game plan really suits his style. He controlled the match well and is always a danger taking it to the line. His wide passes are just so accurate. Missed 6 tackles – can’t get away with that in league. Sign that contract son….
Genia – 7 Improved from his last start and looks like getting back to his best. His combination with Cooper was a highlight. Quick ball allowed for quick, accurate passing. Dangerous around the edges of the ruck and scrum, which resulted in a try. Made a heap of tackles as well so it’s no wonder he looked tired towards the end and probably should have been substituted.
Brown – 6 You can’t fault this guy’s effort. Nor can you blame him for our lineout woes. However, it’s probably his effectiveness where there seems to be a question mark. I thought he played quite well this week although he was under all sorts of pressure at the back of the scrum.
Pocock – 7 Typical Bam high octane performance. Topped the tackle count with 15 and had involvements all round the park. Didn’t get too many opportunities to steal Bokke ball even with our ‘fetcher’ advantage.
Elsom – 5 Stats don’t always tell the full story but something’s wrong when the blindside flanker only makes 3 tackles in a match (and misses 2 others). Didn’t have his best game but had a few dabs along the way. Good to see him getting along with Alain.
Sharpe – 8 Sharpie was the best of the forwards and when he went off with an ankle injury in the 65th minute it all fell apart. The lineout turned into a shambles and we lost our momentum completely. If he’s not right next week we’re f*cked.
Mumm– 6 Toiled away and certainly didn’t let the side down. Scored his first try for the Wallabies. He doesn’t have a presence like Victor and we need more than just solid toilers. However, this was an improved performance.
Ma’afu – 5 Started well and in the scheme of things probably had his best game in a Wallaby jumper. That doesn’t say much based on previous performances. Held the scrum up initially but that deteriorated with tiredness. Like Cowan, he’s just not going to last. Substituted after 55 minutes.
Faingaa – 5 Saia had a mixed sort of day. He made some good tackles and was aggressive around and about. Unfortunately, he was part of the lineout shambles and didn’t cover himself in glory. Gave away a few penalties also. For the life of me I can’t see why he wasn’t substituted earlier – Squeeky Moore is experienced and suited to this type of match. In fact, why isn’t he back in the run-on side?
Robinson – 6 Robbo’s been a bit slow in returning to top form from his injury break. He had plenty of involvements in the game and gave Dr Duup a hard time in the scrum. Couldn’t do without him though.
Reserves worth mentioning:
Slipper – 5 Looked OK for the 25 minutes he was on. Seems more assured than Ma’afu at tighthead and is a lot more active around the field.
McCalman – 6 His 20 minutes were full of running and aggression. He only knows one way and that’s forward. I’m not sure that he should have been covering for lock (before the Higgers injury)?
Simmons – 4 Yeah, he might have been eating a pie in the stand when Higgers went down in the warmup. It’s not his fault that he wouldn’t have been prepared.
Moore – 6 In the 10 minutes that Faingaa was in the blood bin Squeeky made more tackles than the Rock in the whole game, threw a few accurate balls in the lineout and generally looked the goods.
If our backs were behind their forwards we would win most games. My overall rating for the Wallabies last night was 6.
10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke