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Thread: Wallabies claim quarter-final berth

  1. #1
    Champion Contributor Jehna's Avatar
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    Wallabies claim quarter-final berth

    Wallabies claim quarter-final berth
    From Robert Smith in Montpellier, France
    September 24, 2007

    AUSTRALIA claimed top spot in Rugby World Cup Pool B to lock up a quarter-final place with a 55-12 win over Fiji in Montpellier overnight.

    The Australians always had the game under control, but they were unhappy with their error-strewn performance against the second-string Fijians, running in seven tries to two and clinching a scoring bonus point before the hour.

    Fiji was the only other unbeaten team in the pool, but the islanders' management had made 11 team changes as it focused more on the make-or-break game with Wales in Nantes next weekend.

    The Wallabies join South Africa in the quarter-finals, at which stage of the competition they will play England or Tonga, who play each other next weekend.

    Matt Giteau, playing his 50th Test, was named man of the match after his 27-point effort that tallied two tries, four conversions and three penalties.
    Wing Drew Mitchell also starred with a hat-trick of tries.

    The Wallabies produced a lethargic effort for much of the opening half, but they still went to half-time with a 22-5 buffer after scoring three tries, two from inside centre Giteau.

    Giteau opened the scoring in the 17th minute after lead-up work from Wycliff Palu and Lote Tuqiri.

    Young fly-half Berrick Barnes was delivering some beautiful passes but the Australians lacked penetration wide, clearly missing the thrust of injured captain and outside centre Stirling Mortlock.

    The Wallabies struggled to clear the ball from lineout wins and mauls, but increased their advantage in the 31st minute when a Chris Latham grubber enabled Mitchell to dive on the crumbs and score for 17-0.

    Fiji hooker Vereniki Sauturaga was penalised twice for taking too long for throwing into the lineout before Giteau claimed his second try four minutes from the interval.

    Giteau spun out of a tackle to plunge over after concerted Wallabies attacks to push the lead out to 22-0, but the Fijians hit back right on half-time.

    The Australians were slow to recover from a high kick and Fijians recycled the ball and flung it out to wing Isoa Neivua, who carried over three tacklers to score in the left corner.

    The Wallabies were more content to build their lead rather than take risks, and a Giteau penalty and a Barnes drop goal increase the lead to 28-5 in the minutes after the resumption.

    Fiji captain Mosese Rauluni entered the fray after half-time and surged through an embarrassing hole in the Australian lineout to send openside flanker Aca Ratuva racing over unopposed. Seremaia Bai converted from wide out to make the score 28-12 after 46 minutes.

    Giteau steadied with a 50th-minute penalty to boos from the 32,231 crowd looking for the Wallabies to attack more rather than take the conservative approach.

    Quick hands from Giteau put centre partner Adam Ashley-Cooper over for the bonus-point fourth try on 57 minutes, and a 38-12 lead.

    Wallabies coach John Connolly, with the match in keeping, cleared his replacement bench for the final 20 minutes.

    But Scott Staniforth lasted only a few minutes as a replacement before he left the field with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.

    The margin blew out in the final 10 minutes with Mitchell scoring two more tries and replacement forward Stephen Hoiles crossing.

    Agence France-Presse

    __________________________________________________ ______________
    Wallabies walk into quarters
    24/09/2007 12:41:45 AM
    Adam Lucius

    Australia's World Cup side has assured itself top spot in Group B after coasting to a predictable 55-12 win over Fiji in Montpellier.

    The Wallabies led 22-5 at the half-time break and kept the foot down to make it three wins from as many starts.

    The two-time World Cup champions scored seven tries to two against the islanders, who rested several topline players ahead of their crucial showdown with Wales. That game will decide which country finishes second behind Australia, which now faces winless Canada in its final group match.

    John Connolly's team started cautiously against Fiji on a hot afternoon in the south of France, taking until the 17th minute to score their first points.

    Winger Lote Tuqiri flung a pass back inside for Matt Giteau to accept - via a deflection off Fijian hands - and score in his 50th Test appearance. The try-scorer landed the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

    A Giteau penalty eased Australia in front 10-0 just before the half hour.
    Then came the best try of the half, scored by Drew Mitchell after he collected a deft grubber kick from Chris Latham's left boot.

    Giteau was again on target with the conversion and Australia led 17-0.
    The centre grabbed his double in the 36th minute, spinning out of a tackle close to the line to plunge over.

    But the biggest cheer of the half was reserved for just before the break when powerful Fijian winger Isoa Neivua stormed over the line after a sweeping backline movement.

    The Wallabies began the second half with another penalty goal followed by a terrific Berrick Barnes drop goal for a 28-5 advantage. But the persistent Fijians just refused to drop off and were rewarded with their second try in the 47th minute.

    Replacement half Mosese Rauluni speared through a massive hole in the lineout and found breakaway Aca Ratuva backing up for the five-pointer. The conversion narrowed the gap to 28-12, but Giteau clawed three points back with his third penalty goal in the 49th minute.

    The Wallabies had the bonus point in the bag just before the hour when Adam Ashley-Cooper steamed onto a short ball to cross.

    Mitchell scored his second try 10 minutes from the end after Tuqiri sent him on his way following a downfield kick.

    Replacement Stephen Hoiles touched down for Australia's sixth try seven minutes from the end, with Mitchell claiming his hat-trick in the final minute after finishing off a 95m movement.

    Australia 55
    Tries: Mitchell 3, Giteau 2, Ashley-Cooper, Hoiles
    Penalties: Giteau 3
    Conversions: Giteau 4
    Drop goal: Barnes

    Fiji 12
    Tries: Neivua, Ratuva
    Conversion: Bai

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    "Remember lads, rugby is a team game; all 14 of you make sure you pass the ball to Giteau."

  2. #2
    Champion Contributor Jehna's Avatar
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    Well...I think Gits summed it up well when in response to the question "man of the match and a win, you must be pretty happy with that performance?" he replied "nah not really mate..."

    I think we had moments of brilliance, but for the most part I think we lacked cohesion, determination, and focus. So much of the play was just sloppy, particularly in the second half, and what was most disappointing was that it came from players who are far too experienced to be making such silly errors. Full credit to the Fijians though he put in a stellar performance. Their work at the breakdown was excellent and they had Greegs and a few of the forwards on the back foot a lot. I did think the Wallaby backline showed excellent versatility especially in mixing up their receivers...hopefully that tactic will hold us in good stead for the finals. We did pull off some nice plays in the second half and the Gits/Barnes combo was beautiful to watch again.

    Gits had a slow and somewhat wobbly start but came into some brilliant form that was utterly deserving of MOM. He is just always freaking there...always. I also though Mitchell had a blinder overall with some quick pace and key positional playing. I'm hoping that will secure his place in the team. Despite the commentators I was a little disappointed with Coops...he just doesn't have the same presence as Sterlo and I think he lacks that creativity which came more from Gits tonight. It pains me to say it but Tuqiri played better than I've seen in the last few matches. He was certainly getting a lot more ball which makes me wonder if he had a little chat to Gits and Berrick earlier in the week.

    I'm not convinced the forwards were tested all that much in the scrum. It was good to see Hoiles in there and I think he showed that size doesn't necessarily matter. Waugh played alright but I still think Smith is better...we need his aggression and spirit in the team.

    What impressed me the most was probably the role of the subs. Huxley showed some good form when he came on, and Cordingley did a beautiful box kick and handled the pressure at the breakdown far better than I anticipated. Was totally cut for Stanners. Lets hope his shoulder is not a deja vu of Gerrard because he would be such a loss for the team. Also dissapointing because its unlikely he'll get another big opportunity for a run even if he is all good. I'd imagine Knuckles wants to give Sheps a go at some point - probably Canada - which would put Stanners out of the 22 i'd imagine unless Knuckles does some serious resting of players.

    Here's hoping none of the niggles and pains we saw turn out to be long term injuries - Latho, Berrick, Stanners, and Gits all seem to have concerns but i'd say Stanners is the main concern for the moment...

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  3. #3
    Champion KenyaQuin's Avatar
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    Not impressed with the performance especially 1st half. The first half was lethagic, maybe the core Wallaby players were wishing they were on the sidelines enjoying what looked to be a beautiful late summer's afternoon.

    I agree, Lote had a better game - there seemed to be a concerted effort to pass the ball to his wing - which gave him a few more chances to strut his stuff. I was pleasantly suprised when he passed the ball inside to Gits - rather than try to beat the man and fluff an overlap - who "long-passed" to Mitchell for his third. Lote could have selfishly kept the ball and tried to manufacture a try for himself but he chose the team..good on him.

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    Veteran Ecky's Avatar
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    ...and what about the commentators? (On Fox, dunno about the free to air one)

    They would have to be the worst I've ever happened across. No idea what was going on at any stage during the game: "Hang on, the referee's bring it back - I'm sure he didn't step into touch ............oh, I see, it was knocked on and he's brought it back for a scrum" Unbe -fkn - lievable!

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    Yes Ecky..they are definitly pretty ordinary.

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    Champion Contributor Jehna's Avatar
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    Well the ones on 10 kept talking about how wonderful tuqiri was to the point where i muted the tv...

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    "Remember lads, rugby is a team game; all 14 of you make sure you pass the ball to Giteau."

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    Champion goony's Avatar
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    jehna you love tuqiri

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    Now we just gotta find a way to mute Tuqiri...

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    Champion Contributor Jehna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goony
    jehna you love tuqiri
    He is my hero....that is exactly why my brother and his girlfriend dropped off a black blow up doll dressed in a wallabies jeresey and sporting a wig with dreds at my doorstep yesterday....my birthday present apparently as a response to my request for a famous rugby player Less than impressed...well once i stopped laughing hysterically...

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    "Remember lads, rugby is a team game; all 14 of you make sure you pass the ball to Giteau."

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