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Deans bounds out of jail

Date

Greg Growden

Australia 27 Wales 19

Wycliff Palu looks to get an offload away as he is tackled by Gethin Jenkins. Click for more photos

Wallabies down Wales in Brisbane

Will Genia laid claim to the mantle of best halfback in world rugby as he inspired the Wallabies to a morale-boosting 27-19 first Test victory over Six Nations champions Wales on Saturday night. Photo: Chris Hyde

The Wallabies' pressure valve was momentarily eased as they rediscovered their ability to win tough, dramatic internationals, rallying at the right time to defeat Wales in the first Test at Suncorp Stadium last night.

MATCH STATS/LIVE BLOG

The under-threat Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was breathing far more easily when his team kept its head against the Six Nations grand slam champions, thwarting numerous dangerous charges to win a quality international. And Deans will be forever grateful to Will Genia, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Berrick Barnes and co for getting him out of the mire, enabling them to rebound after being humiliated by Scotland on Tuesday night.

Clear skies and a vastly improved effort at the breakdown enabled the Wallabies to use the first half and most of the second to dominate possession, get clear of their opponents and eradicate the memories of Newcastle.

As the Scotland Test emphasised, the Wallabies are no mudlarks. But when the weather is fine, the track is dry and they don't have to cope with a slippery ball, they show they actually have some idea about Test football.

The first half wasn't perfect. Rob Simmons and Cooper Vuna missed easy tackles while Rob Horne was guilty of hogging the ball when a try would have been scored in the opening quarter if he had just passed along the line. But overall the standard of Australian play was encouraging because the Wallabies again discovered the benefits of playing fast, front-foot ball. You can control possession, determine exactly where the game will be played, and manipulate your opponents. You also look decisive. Points become a lot easier to tally.

The most critical difference between Newcastle and last night was the Australian breakdown work was far more effective. Pocock reigned supreme, showing yet again the best way for a Wallabies captain to get his team to rally is to lead by example. With his fellow back-rowers Wycliff Palu, Higginbotham and replacement Michael Hooper near his shoulder, they worked as a hit-man squad, often winning contested possession, and making their halfback Genia's job so much easier.

Whenever a team gets on top of the Wallabies, it invariably involves them effectively hassling Genia and nullifying his space. Scotland did that. Wales didn't in the first half and, for a change, Genia had the advantage of having time on his side and vast territory to roam.

Suddenly Genia was able to snipe away at the advantage line, make occasional breaks, and repeatedly change the team's direction, because he wasn't being hassled by opposition marauders. This had the effect of allowing the Wallabies to play far more cleanly, play with better rhythm and ensure that for most of the first half they were hovering near the Welsh goal line.

There was only one try in the first half, when Higginbotham burrowed over in the 15th minute following a succession of pick and drives, but there should have been another a few minutes earlier when Horne ignored an overlap and opted against passing to winger Digby Ioane who was in the clear. Horne was bound up by the Welsh defence and the moment was lost. Then Genia provided the ideal start to the second half by producing a stunning dummy to get through the Welsh defence and charge off, bouncing off defenders, to score an exceptional solo try that gave the Wallabies a 14-point lead. Barnes continued with a field goal - something he couldn't do in Newcastle.

Then came the Welsh revival. A succession of Welsh penalty goals was followed by winger Alex Cuthbert scoring in the 58th minute following a classic pop-up pass from Ashley Beck, and the Test was again in the balance. In the final quarter, it came down to which team made the fewest errors and handled the big moments. The Wallabies did that - especially when centre Pat McCabe ran a great attacking line to take advantage of a precise pass from Genia to give the Wallabies their third try in the 67th minute and some breathing space. Enough breathing space to lead to a good Test victory.

AUSTRALIA 27 (Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Pat McCabe tries Berrick Barnes 3 cons pen drop goal) bt WALES 19 (Alex Cuthbert try Leigh Halfpenny con 4 pens) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Craig Joubert. Crowd: 42,788.

 

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Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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