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Ex-Wallaby credits forwards for ‘denting the line’ in win over Wales

By Finn Morton
Taniela Tupou of the Wallabies celebrates a try during the men's International Test match between Australia Wallabies and Wales at Allianz Stadium on July 06, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles has credited Australia’s forward pack for making everything “a little bit easier” for a relatively inexperienced backline in last weekend’s 25-16 win over Wales.

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Michael Hooper was met with a deafening cheer of congratulations as the retired international led both Australia and Wales onto the field at Allianz Stadium. With Liam Wright captaining the side and Joe Schmidt in the coaches’ box, the Wallabies’ new era was finally here.

Wright returned to Test level for the first time in almost four years, and it was a similar story for lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto who was back in Wallaby gold after a decent stint away. But other than debutant Jeremy Williams, the rest of the pack boasted impressive experience.

Video Spacer

Joe Schmidt and Liam Wright after Wallabies win over Wales

Coach Joe Schmidt and captain Liam Wright spoke to media following their 25-16 win over Wales in Sydney. Wright became the 89th captain of Australia when he led the side out for the first time in front of more than 35,00

Video Spacer

Joe Schmidt and Liam Wright after Wallabies win over Wales

Coach Joe Schmidt and captain Liam Wright spoke to media following their 25-16 win over Wales in Sydney. Wright became the 89th captain of Australia when he led the side out for the first time in front of more than 35,00

As for the backline, coach Schmidt had named a new-look halves duo of Jake Gordon and Noah Lolesio, while Hunter Paisami and debutant Josh Flook were named in the midfield. Filipo Daugunu and Tom Wright were also back after previously being dropped.

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It’s quite common in rugby to hear pundits say that ‘Test matches are won up front.’ With the Wallabies fielding backs who may still be figuring out combinations to an extent, that rugby mantra was proven right once again on Saturday.

“I think they had a very simplistic approach of how they generated quick ball,” Hoiles said on Stan Sports’ Between Two Posts.

“Every starter player, I thought their lineout work was excellent. [Matt] Faessler’s throwing, he’s genuinely world-class now and he’s only been a Test player for not over 12 months yet… but I thought their starter play worked.

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“They’re not playing overly structured off their first couple of phases but they do look like they’re playing a very quick ruck recycle which gives your 10s, 12s a lot more time.

“Some key players stood up. I thought Lukhan Salakaia-Loto along with Jermy Williams, those sort of guys, the guys got plenty of touches, the forwards in particular. I was really impressed with how they managed the variety of the game.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
3
3
Tries
1
2
Conversions
0
0
Drop Goals
0
130
Carries
104
3
Line Breaks
2
9
Turnovers Lost
19
7
Turnovers Won
3

“You can’t win any game of footy without bending the line or denting the line or getting to the right part of the field with your forward carries so I thought the forwards rolled up their sleeves and got plenty of work done, and made it a little bit easier for a younger… lack of cohesion in that backline together.”

It was a war of attrition for pretty well the entire 80 minutes as both teams looked to wear the other down. Taniela Tupou scored the Wallabies’ only try in the first term, with the boot of Noah Lolesio making the Welsh pay for ill-discipline and at times a lack of dominance.

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Fans will forever remember the tries scored by Filipo Daugunu and Tom Wright during the second half, with the latter pretty well securing the win. Replacement Tom Lynagh iced the match with a clutch conversion with 10 minutes to play.

All 23 players will take pride and confidence out of that performance along with the other 15 or so squad members, and it’s not a night they’ll soon forget. It’s been a difficult nine months after the team’s Rugby World Cup disaster, so there was something refreshing about this win.

“I went out as a spectator, took three of the four kids out there, the first time a couple of them had seen the Wallabies play in Sydney and it was almost a nostalgic feeling walking in. It was a proper event, it was put on well, it was full of gold – I was really surprised,” Hoiles reflected.

“We’re not going to see that in the Lions Series, we’re going see the exact opposite, we’re going to see so much Red. The Welsh are a really well-supported side but considering everything the Wallabies have been through the last 12 months, all the negativity about it, there was excited, happy people walking in and the same people walked out.

“Yeah, you can talk about the performance – there’s lots to work on – but I just thought it was a really enthusiastic performance from the Wallabies. Plenty of good, lots to work on and a great start for the overall feel of the game in Australia.”

All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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Wonton 2 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

18 Go to comments
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Nick 3 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

14 Go to comments
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