Rugby Union 4 years ago

AUS: The Tahs in Gold

  • AUS: The Tahs in Gold

The Waratahs had a strong representation in the Wallabies outfit that demolished France on Saturday. The club boasted six members of the starting team and four on the bench. It was an exciting game, where nearly every player saw some decent time, so let's have  a look at how they went. 

The Starters

Sekope Kepu: He had a pretty solid game, truth be told all of the starting line-up justified their selection as no one had a mare of a game. Kepu was noticeable in a forward pack that was quite dominant. Whilst the scrum was a bit of a mess from both teams, the Aussies held up pretty well against a good French scrum and Kepu was a great book end whilst doing so. James Slipper was the best front-rower on the park but he was well supported by Kepu. 6.5/10

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Michael Hooper: The newly appointed Wallabies vice captain had to take the armband after just four minutes and performed incredibly well. He has a knack for always being in the right place at the right time and he has a deceptive turn of pace. This combination saw him making or attempting a few runs and he was rewarded with a try. He was industrious around the breakdown as per usual and there is nothing better than seeing a captain lead by example. He never seems to be over-awed by a situation and after Saturdays' game it's becoming obvious to everyone that he is the future of the Wallabies. 8.5/10

Wycliff Palu: This was probably the perfect return to the Wallabies for Palu, when he's on form he's one of the best impact forwards in the world. He had a strong game on the weekend, the game didn't call for constant runs by the forwards and as such he didn't have as much of a work load as he would in other, more contested games. He made some good tackles and again was a part of the dominant forward pack. Definite pass mark for Palu. 7/10

Bernard Foley: A due reward for his strong domestic season to date, Foley showed a mature head in his first ever Wallabies start. He was provided great service by Nic White and the forward pack and repaid that with some great flat passing and a few very cheeky kicks that caught the French napping. I've always thought that the best fly-halfs were the ones who could manage games and Foley excelled at this, he allowed the talent outside him to shine instead of trying to force it himself. He also made 7/9 kicks, a strong showing in an area the Aussies can struggle in. 8/10

Adam Ashley-Cooper: I've always thought that AAC could be one of the best outside backs in the world if he passed a little bit more often. On Saturday we saw that happen and it was glorious. Ashley-Cooper scored one and had a hand in two others in a strong offensive performance. You always know that you will get a strong defensive performance from him on the wing, it was good to see him play well both ways. 8/10

Israel Folau: It's becoming a bit of a joke isn't it? Give Izzy the ball and wait for the magic to happen. He scored the first try, had 146 metres running and four line-breaks, but the scary thing is that he actually wasn't that involved in the game. If the Wallabies can look to give him another five to ten touches a game, then he will destroy some teams. 8/10

The Bench

Tatafu Polota-Nau: Called into action after just four minutes to replace Stephen Moore, Tatafu had a great game. He got his line-out throwing in sync early and didn't look back. He might have felt unlucky that Moore was named captain, as there is an argument that he should start for the Wallabies. Whilst I never like seeing people injured, Polota-Nau has his  chance to prove himself over the next twelve months. 7.5/10

Paddy Ryan: I don't like bashing players, especially in games were you win 50-23, but Ryan's cameo off the bench left a lot to be desired. You want your bench props to be impact players and he was, except it was all negative impact. Directly at fault for the penalty try and I'll be surprised if he will be there next week. 5/10

Nick Phipps: Came on for White and produced a mixed bag of play, some great passes and some shockers. He was definitely serviceable, but White played much better than him on Saturday. It seemed the back line lost a bit of structure when he came on, although that could be blamed on other substitutions as well. 6/10

Kurtley Beale: Kurtley was easily the most talented player on the bench, his ability to play fly-half, inside centre or fullback makes him a great utility and whilst he may be unlucky not to start he is still incredibly valuable to the team. This was shown on Saturday as he came on and scored a try and offered something different in attack. Would like to see him get more minutes this week to see what he can do against a weaker French team. 7/10


Check out how the other team's players went below:

- Western Force 

Follow Max on Twitter @mthorz




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