Australia’s 41-26 victory over the Pumas in Mendoza will be a victory the Wallabies will enjoy, but problems continue to mount for manager Dave Rennie and the 2022 test season isn’t even halfway done yet.
With another tough assignment coming up in Argentina next week, followed by back-to-back tests against a Springboks team that has arguably never been more brutal, and then the Bledisloe Cup Series, the Australian Trauma Ward has already expanded into a second room.
And now they have to sail for at least the coming weeks – and possibly longer – without the inspiring skipper Michael Hooper. Quaid Cooper, another senior wallaby, will also now be on the sidelines.
Hooper is rightfully praised for his decision to step away from the game to deal with some personal issues. Saying he wasn’t in the right “mindset” to play Test rugby, Hooper remains a leader in a field far beyond whitewashing and now deserves the privacy and patience he needs to deal with what’s bothering him. .
But Hooper will also be immensely proud of how the Wallabies took a 15-point win on Sunday morning. [AEST]in a somewhat bizarre 80 minutes that ended under even stranger circumstances, but with Australia getting a bonus point.
“Honestly, it was probably one of the most enjoyable tests I’ve played, it’s just that different things happened throughout the week,” Deputy Captain James Slipper said. “Losing Quaid, losing Hoops, [Dave] Poretsky; the way we started the game again put pressure on us. But the way we fought the game and got it back in our hands was proud to be a part of that moment.
“I just really wanted to show a team game that Hoops would smile at. So I’m sure when he looks at the bill, he’ll have a sassy smile.”
Trailing 19-10 at halftime, in which they were at the end of the penalty count 10-3 from Scottish referee Mike Adamson, this Test could have easily eluded the Wallabies.
Cooper’s injury early in the second half – after it was confirmed to be an Achilles tendon rupture that ended his season and seriously jeopardized what would be the Queenslander’s third Rugby World Cup – could also further frustrate visitors.
But thanks to a dominant rolling hammer, a change of fortune from Adamson and a powerful run from Rob Valetini and Hunter Paisami, Australia found a way to win and then froze the performance with the most incredible of bonus points five minutes later. siren.
“Yes, it was an amazing second half,” Rennie said after the match.
“The discipline was not good enough in the first half. We know it’s a three-six-nine team and they can hurt you that way, so it was nice that in the second half we were cool, played the game at the right end. fields and pressure buildup.
“Obviously losing Quaid quite early in the second half, it just highlights the character in this group. When you have a guy like Rhys Hodge who can come forward and play anywhere, and I think the guys around him have really stepped up. So it was a hell of a second half.
“And I think the loss of Dave Poreki and the loss of Hoops earlier in the week just shows the nature of this band.”
After a consistent run against England, it was Test Valetini who was guided by the ball in his hand. Big back rower Brumby ran 48 meters off nine carries in the 80-minute performance he put in week after week in Super Rugby Pacific, and the Wallabies are hoping he can repeat that at test level.
Playing number 12 in Samu Kerevi’s absence, Paisami ran confidently through the tournament, flashing his flashy dummy to boot, and finished with a vital assist that made Len Ikitau secure a bonus point. Before the center Brumby crossed, the ball flipped several times as both sides chased for a bonus point, which the Wallabies eventually took, albeit after a TMO check for a forward pass by a line ball.
And still ahead was Folau Fainga.
Having been given the opportunity to start after Poretzky’s concussion in practice earlier in the week, Fainga made the most of his chance when he landed a backhand to score a five-pointer and assisted Frazier McRaith with another, while Adamson also awarded the Wallabies a penalty with corridor after successive Pumas violations.
A yellow card given to Matias Alemmano along with a penalty also helped to wipe out any chance of a late draw for Pumas, although a spectacular counter-attack early in the second half served as a reminder of how dangerous the hosts could be.
After months of calls for him to start, mostly from rugby fans north of Tweed, McWright had an opportunity, albeit not in the circumstances he could have imagined and liked. However, the former Australia under-20 captain enjoyed a fine performance, tackling 11 team tackles to continue a game that improved as the game progressed as he rebounded from an early foul on a ruck.
As for the debutants, childhood friends Jed Holloway and Matt Gibbon will remember this game for a long time. Holloway, for example, was seen sitting alone on Mendoza’s lawn after a full day of work, soaking up every last moment of his international debut.
Previously, he had a great 58 minutes – a simple but effective performance that does exactly what Rennie asks him to do. Holloway was nearly the top scorer on the debut as he produced a sensational pickup with a lanyard off a speculative pass from Tom Wright that followed Jordan Petaia’s powerful onslaught. Waratahs Castle was only denied a memorable five-pointer by a desperate tackle and then by a breakdown of Pumas skipper Julian Montoya.
However, the fact that Holloway supported everyone shows why Rennie was desperate to get him sidelined at number 6, a plan that was thwarted by injury before the first Test against England.
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Unfortunately, injuries remain a recurring theme for wallabies. And now they will have to consider what Cooper’s suspension means, not only next week, but also in terms of long-term planning for the World Cup.
Perhaps Noah Lolecio is now the answer to both questions, with Reece Hodge offering exactly the kind of versatility that makes him such a value proposition on the bench for Australia. While passes began to hit the deck and the Wallabies looked more and more lost in attack in the final stages at Mendoza, Hodge was competent as a playmaker and also cleared a 50-meter free kick that went superbly through the posts.
James O’Connor has also left for the tour, but a recall seems less likely at the moment due to his missing his chances on the bench against England.
Whatever the case, Rennie has a lot to think about before his second test next week.
However, after some dramatic days and a first win in three Tests, the coach and his team will enjoy this victory, with both Hooper and Cooper at the forefront of their thoughts.