Fiji’s Asaeli Tikoirotuma bumps Michael Hooper in the Pool A clash in Cardiff. Photo: Getty Images
You can call it the Japanese Effect – or simply tournament management.
But the Wallabies are adamant they made the right moves in a physically brutal contest against Fiji and they have would not change their tactics after scoring three tries in the first 42 minutes of the game.
Stand-in Wallabies captain Hooper made the call to protect the Australia’s lead by taking a penalty shot in the last 10 minutes of their 25-13 win against Fiji in Cardiff.
Fiji’s Nemani Nadolo (right) tackles Australia’s Scott Fardy. Photo: SMH
Wallabies veteran has seen a revival in the national team’s standing at home and abroad reinforced by the 28-13 Pool A victory over Fiji
BATH – With 109 caps, Australia wing Adam Ashley-Cooper has been around the Wallabies long enough to have experienced many high and lows.
For several years up until 2014 it was all lows as Australia’s international reputation in rugby took a bit of a battering, which had dire consequences for the game domestically, and resulted in other football codes moving head of rugby in the domestic pecking order.
Tuapati Talemaitoga goes in for tackle against Michael Hooper in Fiji’s 13-28 loss to Australia yesterday. Photo: SMH
The second loss 13-28 of the national team to Australia on Thursday morning (Wednesday afternoon in Cardiff, Wales) has opened up discussions on radio talk back shows in the vernacular ruing the missed opportunities.
Heard on Viti FM last night was the continual mention of the lack of fresh legs of the substitutions off the bench which could have added impetus to the team after crucial segments in the second half when Fiji was down 13-25.
“We could have added some fresh players especially in midfield where Lovobalavu and Goneva looked tired out (in the iTaukei language),” a Fijian fan said.
McKee rues first half mistakes against Australia. Photo: Getty Images
Fiji coach John McKee said the Wallabies deserved a considerable amount of credit for exploiting the opportunities that presented themselves during their World Cup fixture at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday.
McKee felt that his Fiji team made too many errors at critical stages during the match but also thinks the Australians were very professional during those key moments in the game.
“It was a tough night for our team tonight. We came here with high ambitions for this game and felt that if we could be at our very best, we could get a win. All credit to the Wallabies, they played very well,” said McKee after the defeat to Australia.
Fiji’s flyhalf Ben Volavola goes in for Fiji’s lone try against the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images
New Flying Fijian flyhalf Ben Volavola came into his own in the 13-28 loss to Australia at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff early this morning.
Volavola’s sliced through the Wallaby defence and powered over from 20 metres out to score under the cross bar in the 60th minute.
The Crusaders bound flyhalf had overcome the jitters of the big stage fumbling his first high ball against England at packed out Twickenham Stadium last Friday night in the opening match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
David Pocock will man the back of the Wallabies scrum against Fiji. Photo: Getty Images
The star quality of the Wallabies’ openside flankers Michael Hooper and David Pocock is undeniable and has forced coach Michael Cheika’s hand in starting them both against Fiji.
Australia will roll out the brilliant back-row, including rugged blindside flanker Scott Fardy, with Pocock filling the No8 jersey, in their World Cup opener in Cardiff on Wednesday.
It is just the second time the pair will have started a match together, following a successful outing in a 27-19 win over the All Blacks in Sydney in August, but Cheika admits the combination cannot be held back any longer.
The Wallabies are ready to rumble. Photo: Getty Images
With Australia and Fiji pledging to stick to their traditions of attacking rugby, Cardiff should be in for a cracking Rugby World Cup contest when the Pool A rivals clash at the Millennium Stadium on Thursday morning.
The Wallabies, winners of both previous World Cups played in Britain, finally get their campaign under way six days into the tournament and will be strong favourites to start with a win over the Pacific Islanders.
After Japan’s victory over the Springboks on Saturday, however, no one is taking anything for granted and Fiji showed enough in its defeat against England to suggest that it is capable of an upset if everything comes together.