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.
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.
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper looks dejected after the clash against the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday. Photo: Skysports
Australia coach Ewen McKenzie is optimistic about his team’s chances of winning at Eden Park for the first time since 1986 in next weekend’s rematch with the All Blacks.
The Wallabies’ task of retrieving the Bledisloe Cup has become even tougher after drawing their opening match with the All Blacks in Sydney.