The Wallabies started their 2009 test campaign against Italy in Canberra all the way back in June. Fourteen tests and about six months later the Wallabies won less than 50% of their games. As a whole the season was… disappointing. Bordering on disastrous. The continued failing in the Tri-Nations is a significant cause for concern. Our inability to back up good wins, such as against the Springboks in Brisbane, with another good performance is also worrying. The loss to Scotland, when you look at the rankings at least, was just unacceptable.
On the plus side, gees we looked good against the Boks in Brisbane. And the Welsh win was a cracker. And what about our young guns? Will Genia, David Pocock, Quade Cooper, Lachlan Turner, James O’Connor and Ben Alexander all proved their abilities at certain times this year.
Overall though, which player would come out on top? Who would win the coveted Green & Gold Rugby Wallaby Player of the Year award? Well stay tuned over the next few days and all will be revealed.
A reminder that after every test, posters at our forum would provide their top three Wallaby players for that game. These stats were accumulated each match and an overall 3-2-1 was awarded per test. This now gives us the ability to name our top performer of the year. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the three match Domestic Rugby Series.
Match One: Wallabies v Italy @ Canberra Stadium, Canberra (13 June).
Australia: James O’Connor, Lachlan Turner, Stirling Mortlock [c], Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Richard Brown, George Smith, Dean Mumm, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Replacements: Tatafu Polata-Nau, Ben Alexander, Peter Kimlin, David Pocock, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Quade Cooper.
Italy: Luke McLean, Kaine Robertson, Mirco Bergamasco, Matteo Pratichetti, Alberto Sgarbi, Craig Gower, Pablo Canavosio, Sergio Parisse [c], Mauro Bergamasco, Alessandro Zanni, Carlo Antonio Del Fava, Quintin Geldenhuys, Fabio Staibano, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Salvatore Perugini. Replacements: Ignacio Rouyet, Marco Bortolami, Paul Derbyshire, Tito Tebaldi.
Australia 31 (James O’Connor 3, Stirling Mortlock tries; Matt Giteau try, 3 conv) defeated Italy 8 (Kaine Robertson try; Luke McLean pg).
3 – Matt Giteau
2 – Stephen Moore
1 – Berrick Barnes
Match Two: Wallabies v Italy @ Etihad Stadium,, Melbourne (20 June).
Australia: James O’Connor, Lachlan Turner, Ryan Cross, Quade Cooper, Peter Hynes, Berrick Barnes, Luke Burgess, George Smith [c], David Pocock, Peter Kimlin, Dean Mumm, James Horwill, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polata-Nau, Pek Cowan. Replacements: Phil Waugh, Josh Valentine, Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Italy: Luke Mclean, Giulio Rubini, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Alberto Sgarbi, Craig Gower, Tito Tebaldi, Sergio Parisse [c], Simone Favaro, Jean Francois Montauriol, Marco Bortolami, Tomaso Reato, Fabio Staibano,Franco Sbaraglini, Matias Aguero. Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Salvatore Perugini, Quintin Geldenhuys, Alessandro Zanni, Giulio Toniolatti, Kris Burton, Roberto Quartaroli.
Australia 34 (Adam Ashley-Cooper 2, Tatafu Polata-Nau, Ryan Cross, Lachie Turner tries; James O’Connor 2 conv, pg; Berrick Barnes conv) defeated Italy 12 (Luke Mclean 4 pg)
3 – Luke Burgess
2 – George Smith
1 – Berrick Barnes
Match Three: Wallabies v France @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney (27 June).
Australia: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Lachlan Turner, Stirling Mortlock [c], Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Richard Brown, George Smith, Dean Mumm, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Replacements: Tatafu Polata-Nau, Ben Alexander, Phil Waugh, David Pocock, Josh Valentine, Ryan Cross, James O’Connor.
France: Damien Traille, Maxime Medard, Florian Fritz, Maxime Mermoz, Cedric Heymans, Lionel Beauxis, Dimitri Yachvili, Julien Puricelli, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Thierry Dusautoir [c], Romain Millo Chluski, Pascal Pape, Sylvain Marconnet, Dimitri Szarzewski, Fabien Barcella. Replacements: Guilhem Guirado, Nicolas Mas, Remy Martin, Damien Chouly, Julien Dupuy, Vincent Clerc, Julien Arias.
Australia 22 (Matt Giteau try, conv, 5 pg) defeated France 6 (Lionel Beauxis pg; Dimitri Yachvili pg)
3 – George Smith
2 – Adam Ashley-Cooper
1 – Benn Robinson
So if we accumulate the points we have our first award for the year. The G&GR Wallaby Player of Domestic Rugby Series.
Congratulations to George Smith. Come back later this week as we go through the points for the Tri-Nations Series and get another step closer to naming the big one.