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Beale concussion a worry as Australia grind it out in the Shizuoka rain

Australia's Marika Koroibete collides with Georgia's Giorgi Kveseladze in Shizuoka (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Marika Koroibete’s sizzling solo try stole the show but the Wallabies otherwise battled to see off Georgia 27-8 in their final World Cup pool match in drenched Shizuoka.


Victory on Friday may have come at a cost too for the Wallabies, who lost full-back Kurtley Beale to a likely concussion, while Isi Naisarani was shown a yellow card that could yet warrant a further sanction.

The match was spoiled as a spectacle by rain and swirling wind, conditions which are suspected to be a precursor to Typhoon Hagibis, which is forecast to strike much of Japan on Saturday.

A slippery ball didn’t stop the Wallabies attempting an enterprising brand, barely kicking the ball in general play. They had difficulty breaking down the stubborn Georgia defence in the first Test between the two nations but eventually out-scored them four tries to one.

It was in the 60th minute that the match burst to life when winger Koroibete unleashed one of the tries of the tournament. With his team leading by the half-time score of 10-3, the former NRL star collected a loose ball inside his own half and beat four defenders cold in a thrilling surge to the line.

(Continue reading below…)

Georgia responded against the run of play with a sharp try to winger Alexander Todua before Jack Dempsey and Will Genia crossed inside the final 10 minutes to seal the outcome.


Australia’s enjoyed about 80 per cent of the game’s possession and territory but spilt chances and stubborn opponents prevented them from building a lead they could relax with until late. There will be concern about Naisrani’s open-armed hit that caught Mamuka Gorgodze on the jaw in the 35th minute.

French referee Pascal Gauzere told the back row his failure to wrap his arm was flawed, continuing Australia’s struggles with high shots at the tournament. They have tallied three yellow cards in their last two games.

There were milestones, meanwhile, for two veteran forwards. Lock Rob Simmons became the 11th Wallabies Test centurion when he came off the bench while it was the 75th and final Test for Gorgodze, regarded as one of the finest tier two forwards in the game.

Australia ran into a Gorgodze-inspired Georgian brick wall throughout the first quarter and suffered a casualty when Beale was forced off when copping an accidental knee to the head from David Kacharava in the 13th minute. The dazed full-back didn’t return and must be in doubt for next week’s quarter-final, probably against England.


The scoring began 10 minutes later when half-back Nic White darted over following waves of Wallabies attacks. Five-eighth Matt To’omua landed the conversion on the way to a three-from-five return with the boot.

To’omua emerged as one of Australia’s better performers, mounting pressure on coach Michael Cheika to start him at No10 in the knockout games.


WATCH: Super League newcomers preparing to renew contact with SBW once the RWC is over

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Nickers 2 hours ago
'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time'

Extreme hyperbole from Biggar. NZ have played far, far worse than that. The 20/21 team was by far the worst of the professional era. Losses to Argentina, shambolic game against Japan and hapless NH tour of 2021. But even that dreadful team were able to put 50 points on Wales and beat them by 38. Much easier to “tear them to pieces” from the commentary box apparently. Ignored by virtually everyone is how good the ABs defence was. That is why England didn’t win, they simply could not score enough points against that defence. The ABs attack was very average, but their defence was world class and that’s what won them the game. Any Wales team that Biggar has ever played for would have found themselves in the same situation and would definitely not have scored tries from those cross kicks. That ABs team beats Biggar’s best Wales team 31 - 13. England’s attack was as good as it was allowed to be by a superior defence. Hats off to Hansen, he has picked up where MacLeod finally got the ABs to last year and not missed a step. England’s attack will be a big worry for Borthwick. They have not established a reliable, repeatable way to break teams down and score points. They were held to some very low scores by average teams in the 6N, and again here didn’t cross 20 points on either occasion. If I was an England fan I would be crying out for a new attack coach. Borthwick would do well to cast his net now, a poor home winter with a faltering attack will start the calls for his job.

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Thomas 2 hours ago
'Champions get up when they can't': Matt Williams weighs in on Ireland's win over Boks

While both teams have their particular positives, I think neither team should rest on their laurels. South Africa managed to tie a series against an uncomfortable opponent, that has had their numbers for a couple of years, while trial-running a completely new attack system, that still doesn’t work properly. But one aspect of “it doesn’t work yet” is a transition from attack to defense in broken play, as the Boks leaked three tries in two matches this way, and lost the second match as a result. Ireland avoided a series loss in a hostile environment, and in spite of many key player injuries, while managing to significantly improve and tighten their defense in game 2 (which demonstrates the breadth of their squad as well as their ability to adjust and recalibrate). At the same time, their own attack hadn’t amounted to much, either (save from exploiting the gaps in the Boks’ new system, gaps that won’t be there anymore in a few months’ time), and they haven’t found an answer to the Boks scrum, which almost costed them the 2nd match, if it hadn’t been for pretty much unrepeatable Frawley heroics. In the end, there isn’t much that separates those two sides … which is exactly what we knew before the series already. Back to the drawing board for both teams, the work only just begins for two teams with the highest ambition. Start of a cycle alright.

16 Go to comments
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