Oita hosted only the second-ever meeting between the Wallabies and the Teros
Played – 2
Australia wins – 2
Uruguay wins – 0
Did You Know?
- Jordan Petaia made his Wallabies debut on the wing aged just 19 years 204 days to become the youngest Australia player in a World Cup match, overtaking Joe Roff’s mark from 1995.
- By scoring a try, Petaia also became the second youngest try-scorer at a World Cup – George North holds the record having scored against Namibia aged 19 years 166 days in 2011.
- James Slipper ended his 93-Test run without a try, scoring on his 94th appearance for Australia. Only Owen Franks (108 Tests) had played more Tests without scoring.
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In a nutshell
Four years ago, Uruguay conceded 11 tries in losing 65-3 to the Wallabies. This time it was seven and they were dominated for large periods of the game, but they got a try of their own in Oita and showed that they have improved since 2015, particularly in the first half.
Australia got off to the perfect start when Dane Haylett-Petty crossed after just six minutes. Uruguay had defended the initial lineout drive well but when the ball bounced off a few players, they had to scramble and as the Wallabies spread it wide, Haylett-Petty had plenty of space to work in.
The Wallabies did not have it all their own way in the first half, though, and struggled to get their attacking game to click. They also spent 20 minutes playing with 14 men as they paid the price for a number of high tackles.
The first one by Michael Hooper resulted in three points for Felipe Berchesi from a penalty while the second, just a couple of minutes later, saw Adam Coleman sent to the sin-bin for his high hit on Rodrigo Silva.
Uruguay got a huge cheer when they made that advantage tell at a scrum in their 22. They had been under pressure for several minutes, the TMO denying Michael Hooper a try with no clear grounding, and the Wallabies kept coming. But from this particular scrum, Uruguay absorbed the hit and then surged forward with a second drive to win the ball against the head and clear.
The relief didn’t last long. Australia debutant Jordan Petaia made a few metres down the wing with his initial touch and then a couple of phases later took an inside ball from Kurtley Beale to go over under the posts.
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Then came the second sin-binning, referee Mathieu Raynal following the same process as the first and showing a yellow card after two high tackles in quick succession. This time it was Lukhan Salakaia-Loto who had to cool his heels for ten minutes.
Australia dealt with his absence well and scored their third try just after the half-hour mark when Petaia turned provider for Tevita Kuridrani with a neat pass that allowed the centre an easy run-in.
It looked like Uruguay had scored a try just before half-time, centre Tomas Inciarte breaking down the wing to cross after a pass from Manuel Diana, but a TMO check showed the No 8 had been offside when he’d picked the ball up at the back of a ruck and thus the try was ruled out.
It was one-way traffic in the third quarter with Uruguay struggling to escape their own half. Kuridrani cut a lovely line to splinter the South Americans’ defence and cross for his second soon after the break, then Jack Dempsey gave the scoring pass to Will Genia as the Wallabies attacked down the left wing.
James Slipper broke his scoring duck after 90-plus Tests by going over from close range and Haylett-Petty got a second out wide.
Michael Hooper joked that Slipper had been talking about wanting to score a try in this game and when the prop achieved that goal his team-mates were delighted…
The biggest cheer was reserved for Uruguay’s try at the end, though, as even the Australian fans seemed to be willing them over the line.
They got close once from a lineout but were held up over the line and then put under pressure from the ensuing scrum, but they maintained possession and powered to the line with a series of pick-and-goes. It was Diana who finally grounded the ball and it was a score they deserved.
Before the two teams headed in different directions – Australia play Georgia in their final pool game in Shizuoka while Uruguay head to Kumamoto to face Wales – they stood together in a line to bow to the 33,781 crowd. A classy touch.
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Tevita Kuridrani scored in this fixture in 2015 and got a double in Oita in 2019. He caused the Uruguayan defence problems whenever he had the ball with his hard, powerful running lines, and marshalled the midfield defence well too.
Australia coach Michael Cheika: “The one thing we need to be mindful of is we’re not starting games well, we’ve been a little bit less consistent in the first 20 minutes and got off on the wrong foot. We need to get going in games faster.
“We’re giving away too many penalties full stop. You can’t be winning a game by 45 points and losing the penalty count. It hurts us.”
Uruguay coach Esteban Meneses: “I’m proud of my players, they were very dedicated and we wanted to show the improvement of Uruguayan rugby at this Rugby World Cup. That’s the reason we’re here. We’re playing Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Wales, all world-class sides, and I believe we can be even stronger playing against these teams.”
Australia: Kurtley Beale; Dane, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt To’omua, Jordan Petaia (Adam Ashley-Cooper h-t); Christian Lealiifano, Nic White (Will Genia 51); James Slipper (Sekope Kepu 62), Folau Fainga’a (Jordan Uelese 62), Allan Alaalatoa (Taniela Tupou h-t), Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper (captain, David Pocock 51), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.
Tries: Haylett-Petty 6, 68, Petaia 25, Kuridrani 31, 46, Genia 53, Slipper 61. Cons: Lealiifano 5.
Yellow cards: Coleman 14, Salakaia-Loto 29.
Uruguay: Rodrigo Silva (Felipe Etcheverry 64); Federico Favaro, Tomas Inciarte, Andres Vilaseca (captain, Agustin Della Corte 62), Nicolas Freitas; Felipe Berchesi, Agustin Ormaechea (Santiago Arata 51); Juan Echeverria, German Kessler (Guillermo Pujadas 70), Diego Arbelo (Juan Pedro Rombys 50), Franco Lamanna, Manuel Leindekar (Ignacio Dotti 56), Manuel Ardao, Juan Diego Ormaechea (Juan Manuel Gaminara 54), Manuel Diana.
Try: Diana 78. Con: Berchesi. Pen: Berchesi.
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