Australia has gotten through a potentially dangerous game against Samoa, winning 34-15 at Bankwest Stadium. However, what are the key take-aways from the performance?
In his first game back since March, the most pleasing aspect of his performance was seeing Pocock leave the field at the 59th minute. Not because he was poor in any way, but because baring a training injury, Pocock will be lining up for Australia in some way on the 21st September against Fiji.
Pocock was his usual busy self throughout the match, finishing with five carries for 28 metres, eight tackles, and a try assist in a pleasing performance. The million-dollar question is whether he starts alongside Michael Hooper?
Marika Koroibete has been among the Wallabies best this year, playing an influential role in the Aussies last three wins from four games. Averaging 90.5 metres per game, Marika is crucial in giving the Wallabies go-forward, whether it be out wide or with his pick and drives which often catch the ruck defense out.
At Bankwest Koroibete notched his best stats ever in a Test match, finishing with 139 metres, eight tackle busts, five line breaks, a try assist, and a brilliant individual try for the highlight real. As the only out and out winger in the Wallabies World Cup squad, Marika is a crucial point of difference in the Aussies attack with his speed and finishing abilities up there with the best in the world.
With the majority of the starting 15 fairly down pat it seems, the Samoa match was a fight off for bench spots. Dempsey was the pick of the forwards in his return to the Wallabies fold from injury, with his ability to dynamic and powerful game a serious asset off the bench. However, with Pocock certainly to be either starting or off the bench this could leave the Wallabies short in second-row stocks.
In the backs, Adam Ashley-Cooper showed experience outweighs pace with several brilliant defensive reads to shut down the Samoan attack. Meanwhile, Tom Banks showed that if any back is to go down, he should be the first choice replacement.
Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, and David Pocock all announced the Samoa test would be their last on Australian soil. It signifies a changing of the guard with all three having been loyal servants to Australian rugby. The Wallabies administration produced a nice touch with a post-game presentation for all three players, giving the fans a chance to show their appreciation for the player’s efforts over the years. Hopefully, Australian rugby gets another chance come November 2nd.
Next Stop: Japan
With the World Cup only 13 days away, the Samoa test concludes four years of build-up for this moment. In 2015 Australian rugby was in shambles, coming into the tournament ranked 6th on the IRB World Rankings, the lowest it had ever been since the ranking’s introduction. This time round where is Australia ranked? 6th. Here’s hoping the similarities continue in Japan, with the Wallabies first game against Fiji on the 21st of September.