So a look at the standings from Pool D after that result:
My idiot savant’s read is that unless Fiji stun Wales and Australia slip up against Georgia, this should effective seal the Wallabies’ progression to the knockout phase, yes?
Or does head-to-head come into effect, given Australia’s win over Fiji? Who can say – let’s just presume the Wallabies can get it done in six days time against the Kings of the Caucasus.
So – as discussed previously – it’s a huge triple header of rugby from the Japan World Cup. Don’t think it’s time to fix the roof, or trim the hedge, because the action won’t stop at Guardian play-by-play.
Once more into the fray is the redoubtable Barry Glendenning – he’s your eyes on the prize for the must-win clash for Argentina, as they face England:
Tevita Kuridrani is announced as player of the match. Two tries, 120m run, nine defenders beaten. A good day out for the Brumbies backrower capitalising on a rare start.
Impressive metres also from Dempsey (97m) and Ashley-Cooper (65m) – the latter only on for 40 minutes, with six defenders beaten, while it was Coleman and Salakaia-Loto who led the defence with 13 tackles each. Making amends, perhaps – given they were the two players to get 10 minute yellow-card enforced rests for Australia.
Michael Cheika cuts a reasonably pleased figure post-match. He wasn’t happy with the start though: “We’ve started slow again; that’s three times at this World Cup where we’ve started cold. I dunno, maybe I better tweak my pre-match speech, but we have to do better in that regard”.
Otherwise he’s happy once again with the set piece, and congratulates the fringe players who have stepped in and put their hands up for selection.
Uruguay for their part showed valour and endeavour. They thought they had a try in the shadow of half time, which could have made it 19-10 at the break. But surely with two yellow card advantages – both which only yielded tries for Australia – they Uruguayan staff will rue their inability to make that count; play selection, game management, smart tactical rugby.
So, how to appraise that performance from Australia?
A win, no major injuries, a bonus point. A try on debut for Jordan Petaia, and a first try for the veteran James Slipper in his 90-something-th Test. Surely job done?
And yet. Two first half yellow cards after a series of needless head-high tackles. Sloppy ball retention. More missed conversion attempts. If you’re a top five nation watching this, have you seen too many weaknesses in this Wallabies side?
Full-time: Australia 45-10 Uruguay
80 min: So a final lineout feed from Australia. They look to spread wide, Toomua hits the line. They look for Kuridrani wide, but he’s out of real estate. And it’s Pocock who is bundled over at the death, and that’s the game.
Comfortable in the end, and they pick up the bonus point, Australia. Uruguay with a late reward for their endeavour, but they may still feel they could have done a little better here.
Try! Australia 45-10 Uruguay (Diana)
78 min: Yes! There it is. The fans love it, the coach goes up. And what a deserving scorer. It’s Diana, who’s got through an absolute power of work today.
Berchesi with the conversion, and they hit double figures, Uruguay. Well deserved.
77 min: Tough metres, these. The forwards have seen enough dropped ball in the backs and are doing it themselves. They roll 10 phases, Uruguay. They’re about 2m short now. 1m short.
Finally they swing wide, and Berchesi is so close! Great defence this, from Australia.
We have 18 phases. And is this it?!
75 min: We reset the scrum. They’re so keen, Uruguay – you can almost smell the desperation to get the try they were so cruelly denied just before the break.
It’s a huge scrum push from Australia, but they retain possession, Los Teros. It’s one-out pick and driving, but the Wallabies are expecting it and counter-hitting in numbers.
74 min: Are they over?! Held up is the call. An absolute weight of bodies over the line, but no daylight to get it down.
We come back for a 5m scrum.
72 min: They play quick out of the lineout, and make it almost to the line! Pulled down a metre short. They’re forced backwards, before setting for a pick and drive. Pocock looms ominously – they need to get this right, Uruguay.
Big rhythmic clapping around the stadium – the neutrals want a try as well.
70 min: Penalty against Australia for kicking the ball away from the ruck. A quick tap – you can’t fault the endeavour of the Uruguayans, but the execution just hasn’t been there, unfortunately. They’ve earned another penalty on this occasion though – and they kick to the corner.
Big offensive lineout opportunity. Any hope for a monster maul to crash over?
Try! Australia 45-3 Uruguay (Haylett-Petty)
68 min: A bit of broken play, but Australia capitalise and swing it well to the corner. It’s a double for Haylett-Petty, this will help build his morale. We have a TMO wait, to check for a possible obstruction. Fair play, Raynal, he showed common sense there.
A tricky one for Leali’ifano, and he doesn’t get it. A first miss of the second half.
66 min: Australia set the scrum, and spread wide for another Ashley-Cooper scurry. Toomua kicks crossfield for Salakaia-Loto – but he doesn’t hold the ball.
It’s another shabby lineout feed – maybe time for a spell for Kessler? They do have Jaunsolo still on the bench, Uruguay.
64 min: So, what can Uruguay do now. They need to dig deep – Australia are really playing with the tails up.
Some more subs from both sides, as Rombys goes on a run. Haylett-Petty pinged for not rolling away, and a slight glimmer for Uruguay to go back on the attack.
They haven’t seen much of it in the Australian half. And oh my – not in straight is the call from the attacking lineout. A big error. Costly stuff, Uruguay.
Try! Australia 40-3 Uruguay (Slipper)
61 min: Wallabies scrum, 5m out. They’re just short, but they go wide – and can you believe this!! It’s the big number one – James Slipper. What’s this – Test number 90-something, and it’s his first ever Wallabies try!
Jubilant celebrations from his teammates, they’re buzzing for him. And he leaves the field to a huge ovation.
Leali’ifano knocks another one over. This is better today, but for one that he should have got.
59 min: Penalty Australia, this time Uruguay with a high tackle on Toomua.
No ill effect, he’s boomed a kick about 45m to roll just inside the corner flag. Lovely from Toomua. He’s really pressing for a start come knockout stages. Maybe his wife Ellyse Perry has been giving him some championship-mentality pep talks.
57 min: An injury concern for Ardao, but he’s back on his feet now.
This is much better stuff from Australia. In fairness, they have been finishing their games better than they’ve started so far at this World Cup – call it superior fitness? Deeper benches? Or just a Cheika rocket at half-time?
56 min: Terrific run from Adam Ashley-Cooper! He makes 20-30m, and does brilliantly to keep the ball in play with a fast counter-attack, but the fullback Silva does well to bundle Beale into touch in the subsequent play.
54 min: So, some real danger minutes for the Uruguayans. Their only ever meeting with Australia finished 65-3. They’ll be keen to show they’ve made big progress since the World Cup four years ago.
Try! Australia 33-3 Uruguay (Genia)
52 min: How’s that for a start! His first touch off the bench, and it’s the replacement scrum-half who crosses. Again it’s Dempsey with the bust – he beats two, three players. Great set up from the big running forward. Lovely stuff.
Leali’ifano about 6-8m in from touch. Again, it’s the curler – and it comes back in between the sticks. Extras added.
51 min: It’s a big “no thank you” from Kuridrani who fends off a would-be tackler – isn’t he making the most of his start. This is moving nicely – but it’s another knock on! This time Fainga’a, puts it down.
Cheika shuffles his pack – Pocock and Genia come on, White and Hooper make way. A tasty little F-bomb caught by the camera. Let’s just say the moustachio-ed Nic White was “fairly sore” about getting hooked.
50 min:Australian scrum feed, and they play the short side. They’re about 10m out from the Uruguayan line – ominous stuff, this again from the Wallabies.
48 min: And from the restart it’s another great bust – this time the backrower Dempsey! Did they get a bee in their ear at half-time, the Wallabies? They’ve exploded out of the blocks, this half.
Now, in the spirit of knit-picking: say Dempsey had scored then, and we came back to examine that; was their offside players ahead of the ball carrier? It’s a can of worms, the TMO fine-toothing.
Try! Australia 26-3 Uruguay (Kuridrani)
46 min: Ooh, ahh. A quick lineout, and what a line from the outside centre! His Brumbies’ teammate Leali’ifano finds the perfect pass, and it’s an explosive take and carry. Blistering pace – they’re not catching him!
And Leali’ifano adds the extras, another nice bending effort.
44 min: Gee, he’s in a mood – it’s Tupou again! Another great carry, but he’s just dropped it cold. A shame, knock on and a Uruguayan scrum 5m out from their own line.
42 min: Precaution is the word from the Wallabies bench – Petaia did have a wee hamstring concern ahead of camp, so just the 40 minutes for his debut then.
We settle for a Uruguayan lineout feed, just inside their 22m, but he can’t make it stick. And it’s Tupou off on a barnstorming run! Great metres by the front rower.
But enough about that – let’s return to the action. A few half-time changes for the Australians, I’ll update those as soon as I have confirmation. Ashley-Cooper and Tupou are the new men – and it’s the debutant Petaia and Alaalatoa who make way.
Now – plenty has been said about the refereeing at this tournament, and akin to VAR in the world of football, much of the complaint has come certainly from the “newness” of having the benefit of replays and a TMO.
Take that Uruguayan disallowed try, for example – no Australians complained; I don’t know that the technical error was picked up by anyone – is it too much fine-tooth combing to chalk something like that off?
I imagine nobody wants a game where TMO’s are forensically combing every action during the build up to tries. How many minor infringements occur in rugby that go unpunished, for example. And rightly so, if they don’t have a dramatic effect on the outcome.
Or is technical correctness the ultimate aspiration?
So, your thoughts on that opening stanza?
The scoreboard suggests it was positive for Australia, but some poor ill discipline – two yellow cards and nine penalties conceded – you can’t imagine Michael Cheika would be happy with that.
For Uruguay, some bright moments, but far too many easy turnovers. Yes, there’s been heavy contact, but ball retention has to be paramount. And they needed to do more with two yellow card advantages. Some inexperience perhaps in not managing those ten-minute spells better?
Half-time: Australia 19-3 Uruguay
40 min: Australia look to play past the gong, but it ends up with a ball to ground. And that’s all we see. Forty down, and with that late disallowal, now a mountain to climb for Uruguay.
Try disallowed! Australia 19-3 Uruguay
Ooph. What absolute pantomine villains these referees are! Manuel Diana who picks up the ball to start the move is adjudged to have been offside to have sparked that whole move – and they’ve scratched the try off!
Try! Australia 19-8 Uruguay (Inciarte)
39 min: It’s a box kick looking for the winger, but Petaia rises high and claims. There’s no scrum half there to get it though, and it’s an easy pick up and run for Uruguay! The outside centre says, yes please, and he scampers off to the corner.
37 min: A few more scrum re-sets. Again, this only runs down the minutes in which Uruguay have to play against 14.
It’s another turnover, and now the South Americans have a chance to run, ball-in-hand, just before the break. What can they muster.