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Wallabies player ratings vs Wales | Autumn Nations Series

By Nick Turnbull
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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An ill-disciplined but determined Wallabies have finished their 2021 European tour winless after being defeated by Wales 29-28 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

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The Wallabies started the match with fervour seizing momentum through a deft kick by inside centre Hunter Pasami for the prodigious Andrew Kellaway to pounce on and the Wallabies were up and running. Yet from the re-start ill-discipline again reared its ugly head with lock Izack Rodda obstructing a Welsh challenger, gifting the home side points.

To compound issues even further the Australians were forced to play with 14 men for 66 minutes after Rob Valentini was red carded for a dangerous tackle on Welsh lock Adam Beard.

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The momentum of the match seesawed as despite the tourists at one stage being down to 13, they refused to quit and at overall looked far more dangerous in attack than the hosts. Taking the lead 28-26 with minutes to go the Wallabies could not hold with the Welsh sealing the win 29-28.

This is how the Wallabies rated.

1. James Slipper – 7/10 

He handled the captaincy duties well and rallied his troops when the side were under immense pressure. He was more than a match for his opposite Tom Francis in the set piece and was tireless in and around the carry, recycle and defensive line. A quality shift indeed all things considered.

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2. Tolo Latu – 6.5

Was unlucky to be penalised for going off his feet after hitting a wide channelled ruck to give his side momentum. A harsh call as Latu is such a stout figure, he was never off his feet and has an ability to support his own body weight in such settings. His set piece was solid and he toiled hard.

3. Taniela Tupou – 7.5

Gained ascendency in the set piece but was also a real handful running through the midfield. He is not only a powerful man but is looking to offload and use greater footwork before contact and that caused the Welsh some real issues at times. Appeared to have sustained an injury to a left leg that didn’t improve and left the field early in the second half, but his first was quality.

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4. Rory Arnold – 6.5

Welcome back Rory! The man-mountain from Murwillumbah was a real presence in the lineout for Australia today and exhausted himself in all other facets of the game. Did his bit and given the nature of the 14 v 15 for much of the match his coach couldn’t have asked for more.

5. Izack Rodda – 7 

Just a tireless performance, as it had to be if his side were to remain in it. A gauge of how well Izack Rodda is playing is his work off-the-ball and support lines. When Nic White scored his try, Rodda was supporting down the middle of the park. Akin to his locking partner, you couldn’t have asked for much more except for that penalty to give Wales their first three points.

6. Rob Leota – 6.5 

Was devastating at times with his carries near the recycle to give his side momentum yet fell off a few tackles that is uncharacteristic for him. What enthused was the fact he took responsibility at times when the game was in the balance. I think Dave Rennie has unearthed a genuine gain line runner the Wallabies have been seeking for some time at 6.

7. Pete Samu – 6.5

Hard shoes to fill and he isn’t a 7 that the Wallabies would usually go for. Was outplayed by Welsh open side Taine Basham at the recycle but still worked himself hard off-the-ball to attract defenders that allowed for space for those outside him to exploit.

8. Rob Valentini – 5

Was red-carded in the 14th minute for a poorly timed tackle on Welsh lock Adam Beard. Should be given credit for his enthusiasm to get off the line and if he got his head in the right position, the tackle itself would have been dominant and exactly what was required. An unfortunate way for him to finish what has been a very good year for him.

9. Nic White – 8

He was superb today, marshalling his troops one way or the other. Seldom were his options the lesser. Like all good scrum-halves he pinched a try from simply backing up through the middle of the park. One of the best on the park today.

10. James O’Connor – 6.5

Solid without being spectacular. His tactical kicking on the whole was good, despite one finding touch in the Welsh in goal. A break on a bounce could have made it one of the great touch finders. He ran when he needed to and kept the Wallabies on the front foot. An intelligent performance overall.

11. Filipo Daugunu – 7

Scored a magnificent wingers try to keep his side in it late in the match. Probably didn’t get as much space previously as he would have hoped for but what impressed is that when he did get an opportunity, he exploited it. Defensively still some errors but a fine performance overall.

12. Hunter Pasami – 8 

He was an absolute handful for the Welsh today. What impressed was his ability to vary his attacking options, be it a kick to set up Kellaway or the ability to identify space on the inside and exploit that lead to the Nic White try. Defensively there were not too many Welshmen that wanted run his channel, and for good reason.

13. Len Ikitau – 7

Like his centre partner he too caused the Welsh some issues in the wider channels in attack. Defensively some issues to address but overall a strong game.

14. Andrew Kellaway – 7 

Appeared to settling into the test match quite well with an early try. Yet an ill-timed kick chase led to his own demise having to leave the field with what appeared to be concussion.

15. Kurtley Beale. – 6.5

He was a real handful for the Welsh in attack at times and his work in the wider channel set up the Nic White try. Was unlucky to be yellow-carded for an intentional knock on as he did appear to be wrapping his arms around the attacker and was given no benefit of the doubt. Still had some defensive frailties but his best performance of the tour.

Reserves

16. Folau Fainga’a – 6.5 – A far better performance from last week. Made a try saving tackle late in the game, and was denied potentially scoring one himself after the Welsh wheeled around to an offside position off a lineout maul and tackled him from behind halting his momentum.
17. Angus Bell – 6.5 – Showed a clean set of hand to distribute early that lead to the Filipo Daugunu try. Furthermore, worked himself both sides of the ball.
18. Alan Alaalatoa – 6 – Took over the leadership when James Slipper went off. Made a fist of it but gave away a scum penalty for not pushing straight, only compounding pressure onto his side.
19. Will Skelton – 7 – Made an impact when he came on for Rory Arnold. His work over the ball to get a penalty that put Australia into the lead was one of the matches big moments in context.
20. Lachie Swinton – 6 – Came on and played with control. He was described by one fo the British commentators as a ‘Walking Card’. Well, that wasn’t the case today.
21. Tate McDermott – N/A – Came on with 10 to go, looked sharp but didn’t see enough.
22. Lalakai Foketi – N/A – Came on late for a test debut, didn’t see enough.
23. Tom Wright – 6 – Gave away a silly penalty for a high jersey grab from behind. Must eradicate giving away unforced errors as such. However scrambled well in defence and never stopped trying.

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