Monday, 2 December 2013 00:00
The final international game for the year was a fitting climax between the Northern and Southern hemisphere teams. The Wallabies are definitely back on the road to recovery although one must admit that there is a lot of catching up to do.
For the Wallabies it was nothing but the Quade Cooper show, playing in his 50th Test. He played with freedom and foresight and a touch of magic. In now what has come to be a trademark back of the hand pass he is able to bamboozle the opposition. The fact that he did not feature in the games against the Lions now looks all the more foolish. If Wales won the game the player of the day would have undoubtedly gone to George North for his all round power game that almost brought Wales a victory.
Two controversial decisions by referee Wayne Barnes will remain in the minds of 67,436 captivated fans at Millennium Stadium.
Wayne Barnes awarded Joe Tomane’s try after a number of replays at the time were inconclusive - both sides could argue a case – and eventually Barnes had seen enough, cutting off the TMO in mid flow to give the score. Barnes was right; the on field referee is in charge, whilst the TMO is an aid. However Wels coach showed poor character when he lashed out at Barnes in the post match conference and even went to extent of saying that the try may not have been awarded if the opposition were the All Blacks.
Quade Cooper was yellow carded with six minutes to go for a fractionally early tackle. It again took several replays for the TMO to give an opinion. There is a stronger argument that Quade Cooper was unlucky to be yellow carded.
Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen praised Quade Cooper as an outstanding leader as the reformed playmaker stepped up to ensure Australia finished a rocky 2013 on a high with a pulsating victory over Wales. Australia showed power, precision and passion before holding on for dear life in the nerve-wracking final term when Cooper was controversially yellow-carded for an early tackle on Scott Williams.
After the Saturday evening deluge by the weather gods, Havies finally got their first game under floodlights off to a start. The conditions underfoot were greasy and poor for fast open rugby. The Airmen adapted well to the conditions and in fact at times even revelled in them.
In the second half Havies played a better tighter game and were rewarded for their hard work with a bonus point win. A sad feature during the game was the loud jeering and booing by Air Force supporters all in uniforms whenever the opposition took a kick at a goal – so much for military discipline.
CR got back to winning ways with thumping win against the CH, both of whom are at the bottom of the heap. The win would have bolstered the confidence of CR against the all important battle against traditional rivals the Havies next week.
Navy continued their winning ways against the Upcountry Lions although the margin of victory does not look too large. The UCL obviously had a better game than that of the previous weekend.
Ironically Police beat the Sharks and the game did not last the full stretch due to inclement weather. With the margin of victory just a mere three points, it could prove to be decisive to call off the game early.
Kandy eventually managed to notch up convincing win against the gallant Army side in Nittawela. I believe that Army will continue to test the best of teams and some upsets are more likely in the coming weeks.
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