Walabies v PIRA
Ref: Andre Watson (last game to be officiated by him)
Fulltime Wallabies 29 def PI 14
Halftime Wallabies 10, PI 0
The first real showing of what a combined Pacific side is capable of and I enjoyed it. They started off with a gut warming war dance but I couldn’t help but wonder “how the hell did he get that stuff through customs?” While I wasn’t too sure if I was watching a French provincial side in that red, white and blue strip (yes I know it’s the jersey colours of Tonga, Fiji and Samoa respectively) but the lack of form fitting jerseys, no bicycle pants and the tackling ferocity gave it away.
The conditions (rain and a cricket pitch) in
The wallaby kicking was outstanding and it was the deciding factor with long raking kicks that snaffled up the yardage as it exposed the PI back three and then their lineout, as the PI execution in their lineouts, made Paul look average.
Sharpe dominated the lineouts, in the first half, and did a mountain of work around the park and it was probably his best game of the season (might be captain against the AB’s). In fact the Wallaby forwards did a hell of a lot more work this week than in the previous games this season. But still far more work in the scrums and around the breakdowns to prevent the ball being turned over or Whitaker being smashed by the AB’s would be advisable.
One word of warning for Rokokoco next weekend, the PI boys don’t like opposition wingers, just ask Rathbone. Rathbone was cut down all night and most of the tackles were legal except for the first one which was a bit late and high. But it did set the standard for the night. No mercy!
While I enjoyed the continuing frosty relationship between Watson and Gregan (especially when he’s captain). The turnover when he got stomped and pounded, then tried to go on with it and then got sat on his arse was funny. While the tackle, that resulted in the shoulder injury, was a good example of how to turn the player to get a turnover but unfortunately Gregan fell badly. There was nothing malicious in that tackle, yet Gregan was whining faster than a pom about the spear tackle and Andre would having nothing of it. Can’t wait for Watson’s biography, I can see it now, Chapter 7: “How to put annoying players in their place”
Chucky spat the dummy about the tackling after the match. To me there wasn’t that much in it. A couple of borderline tackles and a shoulder charge but the bulk of the tackling was good hard hits that rattled bones that the islanders are famous for. Bloody clean really, especially if you consider the SA efforts at
The tackling display brought back memories of the best islander tackling display I have witnessed by Trevor Leota (
The Wallaby injuries are a bit of a concern but at least there will be a change in the kicker as Roff’s efforts were diabolical. The question is who is going to be doing the kicking? If Giteau then, Latham at fullback or Burke is going to be there. I’m still waiting on the injury toll before I start reshuffling the backline though.
Oh well, hopefully the PI boys can continue in the same vein of ferocious tackling in the rest of their matches. Can I pre-order Carter, and McCaw please! With a side serving of Spencer and Mehrtens! That would do nicely. Then a couple of Jarpies when you play them would be handy especially that Burger kiddie.