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Australia, incentivised by Wales victory over England, knew going into Sunday’s game against Uruguay that a victory by more than 34 points would see them to the top of Pool A. Playing against a side with only four professional players, it would surely be a given.

And sure enough, if the start to the game was fairly even, two tries in as many minutes (Sean McMahon and Jo Tomane) put paid to any thoughts of an upset. 

The Wallabies stayed in relative control until Quade Cooper was sent to the sin bin and a spell of Uruguayan pressure ensued.  But as much as they pushed the Wallabies, they were only able to put three points on the board during this period.

Once back to a full complement, the Australians then ran in three more tries through Dean Mumm, Ben McCalman and Henry Speight. This gave the Australian’s a comfortable 28 point lead at the end of a half that was littered with penalties, handling errors and poor decisions.

The second half started with Uruguay pressuring the Australian line but good defence from the Wallabies kept the Uruguayans out.  The Australians ran in the first of six second half tries when Drew Mitchell went over for the first of two tries – that makes him the leading all time Rugby World Cup try scorer for Australia.

The final try in the last minute was scored by replacement Tevita Kuridrani, leaving the final score at 65-3. 

While there were good passages of play from the Aussies, in a game with such a points margin their performance was ultimately unconvincing. The number of handling errors was too high and Quade Coopers kicking was way off target

Coach Michael Cheika is still of the view that his team will need to improve their overall play and put pressure on their next opposition.

“Our plan is not to have to scrounge through. We want to play well in every game and let the results take care of themselves,” he said.

“We are not sitting in front of the TV barracking for one team. We are only looking at our own game and how we can improve.

“We are going to have to improve on the first two matches to be able to compete with England. England are the home team and they are going to be the favourites.”

With the final two pool games against England and Wales a much better all-round performance will be needed. Cheika will, of course, make some major changes and the likes of Pocock, Hooper, Giteau will return to contribute to the required improvement.  Australia might be sitting pretty at the top of Pool A, but the hard graft is about to begin.

Can Australia beat England in their own backyard? Let us know what you think.

 


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RWC: Comfortable but unconvincing victory for Australia
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