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No guts, no glory: Wallabies pass important test of character

Date

Greg Growden

MONDAY MAUL

Delivered ... the Wallabies handled the pressure better  and that's why they finally boast a Rugby Championship victory.

Delivered ... the Wallabies handled the pressure better and that's why they finally boast a Rugby Championship victory. Photo: Getty Images

After almost smashing his walkie-talkie against his forehead during the match, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer finally calmed down, and explained what it is all about.

''Test matches are not about who plays the best, it's about who handles the pressure best,'' he explained.

After a miserable Bledisloe Cup campaign, where the Wallabies' self-confidence was severely dented, they showed in Perth there was still some life in this wounded beast, demonstrating the resolve required for a victory comparable to their three triumphs earlier in the year over Wales.

Yes, Meyer is right. The Wallabies handled the pressure better and that's why they finally boast a Rugby Championship victory.

Meyer produced the highlight of Saturday night, when the TV cameras focused on him at virtually the same time as his prop Tendai Mtawarira was sent to the sin bin for a dopey shoulder charge on Kurtley Beale.

Observed by all, Meyer, who has the aura of being a meek and mild gentlemen, went into meltdown. As he attempted to squeeze the life out of his walkie-talkie, Meyer kept bashing away at the ''talk'' button, while screaming down the line. All it needed was for him to break the apparatus over his knee, and he would have found himself No.1 on the list of ''the international coach losing the plot'' category on YouTube.

Meyer's anguish was understandable. Test matches revolve around dumb moments. The team that has the least brain snaps usually wins. Meyer knew Mtawarari's actions were stupid at a time when the Springboks held a substantial lead, and just before half-time was the period where the visitors could drive home that advantage.

The Springboks did hold up for the 10 minutes their prop was in the sin bin. However, after that other more inexperienced Springboks lost their way, and the Wallabies relied on several late South African lapses to turn a 13-3 deficit into a seven-point triumph.

With it came enormous relief for the Wallabies at a time when they were at risk of completely falling apart. That's why the vogue word in the Wallabies camp yesterday was ''character'', with players and coaches crediting the ''spirit of the group'' to ignore the scoreboard, overcome the numerous South African recoveries and hold tight in the final minutes.

There was no better example of that than centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, who somehow stopped two Springbok attackers, Lwazi Mvovo and Jean de Villiers, with the same tackle, grabbing both of them as if he was imitating Spiderman.

But nothing less is expected of Ashley-Cooper, the most devoted and unselfish of Wallabies. You can see why coach Robbie Deans often describes him as the heart and soul of the team - willing to play anywhere and do anything for the national cause.

Despite Ashley-Cooper's sensational acrobatics, the Wallabies are still realistic enough to know they remain well short of their best. While the scrum continues to improve and there was more purpose in their attack, some areas remain diabolical.

Their persistence to kick away so much possession is a major irritant, especially when their skill level in that area is substandard. The attack is now struck down by chip-kick disease. At a time where one more back-line pass would be the smarter option, their first resort is too often trying to kick through. That strategy in Perth was a complete waste of time, especially as they had two good finishers in Digby Ioane and Dom Shipperley.

Their skills under the high ball are also poor. Despite getting all the AFL gurus in, too many Wallabies are useless, armless and legless whenever a bomb is headed their way.

So you don't have to be Che Guevara to work out what Argentina will do to upset the Wallabies on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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