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


Greg Growden


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 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
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 22:00Leicester City Stadium
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
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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