A full review of Australia's 11-try win over Uruguay at Villa Park
Australia cruised to victory in their second World Cup pool match, against Uruguay at Villa Park. They had wrapped up at the bonus point within half an hour and ran in 11 tries in all, although they missed a few opportunities too. Drew Mitchell, Ben McCalman and Sean McMahon all got braces and while Uruguay strived to cross the whitewash in the closing minutes from a driving lineout, they couldn’t touch down.
Creative spirit – The amount of talent in Australia’s back-line would make many an international coach green with envy. The playmaking skills of Quade Cooper, Matt Toomua and Kurtley Beale (see Toomua’s try as a fine example of great passing) blended impressively with the power and pace of Joe Tomane and Henry Speight, who both have the ability to pick a strong running line. With the forwards comfortable on the ball, too, especially Sean McMahon and Ben McCalman, there is plenty to worry England ahead of Saturday’s showdown, particularly given that the Wallabies have so many more options who were rested at Villa Park. In terms of creativity, they were in a different league to England’s efforts against Wales.
Agustin Ormaechea – He’s the heartbeat of this Uruguay team, sniping around the base of rucks, popping passes left and right, keeping momentum high and making key tackles too. He was central to their resistance. Okay, los Teros conceded a lot of points but it would have been far more if not for the players’ dogged commitment in defence to make last-ditch tackles and disrupt matters at the contact area. They tried several times to score from driving lineouts but to no avail, meaning they are the only team at RWC 2015 yet to score a try.
Wallaby scrum – They were in control at the set-piece here, driving Uruguay off the majority of scrums, but the real tests up front are to come against England and Wales.
Love of the underdog – There were pockets of Wallaby gold all over Villa Park but Uruguay were not short of support either. There were plenty of Uruguayan flags on display, with the neutrals clearly favouring the South Americans, and chants of ‘Uru-guay’ were heard throughout.
Aussie errors – Australia could have had a try within five minutes but Drew Mitchell knocked on Kurtley Beale’s pass with a clear run to the line. There were similar mistakes that cost them scores throughout the game – passes behind the player, dropped balls and the like. Add to that the penalty count – they conceded 12 penalties to Uruguay’s 11 – and there are a few kinks for Michael Cheika & Co to iron out.
Cooper’s radar – Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper slotted only five of 11 conversion attempts for a kicking success rate of less than 50%. Those sort of stats are likely to cost him a starting spot against England.
12 – The number of World Cup tries Drew Mitchell has scored, an Australian record.
19 – The number of clean breaks made by Australia compared to two by Uruguay.
45 – The number of tackles missed by Uruguay compared to 13 by Australia.
Australia: K Beale; J Tomane, H Speight, M Toomua (T Kuridrani 78), D Mitchell; Q Cooper, N Phipps; S Sio (S Kepu 49), T Polota-Nau, T Smith, D Mumm (capt), W Skelton (K Douglas 57), B McCalman, S McMahon, W Palu (R Simmons ht).
Tries (11): McMahon 2, Tomane, Mumm, Speight, McCalman 2, Mitchell 2, Toomua, Kuridrani. Cons: Cooper 5.
Yellow card: Cooper (13).
Uruguay: G Mieres; L Leivas, J Prada, A Vilaseca (A Roman 71), R Silvs; F Berchesi (A Duran 71), A Ormaechea; M Sanguinetti (N Klappenbach 54), G Kessler (C Arboleya ht), M Sagario (O Duran 54), S Vilaseca (capt), F Lamanna (D Magno 55), J De Freitas (A Nieto 55), M Beer, J Gaminara (F Bascou 71).
Referee: P Gauzere (France)
Man of the Match: Sean McMahon
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