Argentina 15 – 29 Australia
An odd, curate’s egg-type of match this one.
Australia scored four tries to none, but never looked entirely comfortable. It was only when they scored their fourth in the 71st minute that you thought the game was entirely gone for the Argies.
I know, I know: you could almost say the same thing about yesterday’s match, except you can’t. Argentina had 54% territory and 55% possession, ran for 556 metres compared to Australia’s 352, and had 13 clean breaks to 7.
The difference between the teams on paper and to the eyes was the finishing. Aussies could, and Argies couldn’t. Perhaps that is experience, maybe it’s coaching, but the blue and white jerseys were just a metre too far back in support to exploit the breaks as they happened.
Adam Ashley-Cooper grabbed three winger’s tries out on the edges, showing his nous and speed and class, and capping a very fine career. Pardon me if I say that I hope they are his last in this tournament.
But the Aussies did not look the complete package. The scrum was dodgy, the lineout wobbly, there was very little midfield penetration, and they showed real vulnerabilities in defence. As their line drifts, players seem to lose connection on their inside shoulders, so that little tears appear in the fabric. Push hard on those tears and they become gaping holes. They scrambled very well to recover, but a better team will not give them a chance to do anything other than close the stable doors.
Breathe people: it’s going to be the first time we’ve met the Wallabies in a Rugby World Cup final. In fact, we’ve only met three times before, all semis:
- 2011, semi-final, Auckland, won 20 – 6
- 2003, semi-final, Sydney, lost 10 – 22
- 1993, semi-final, Dublin, lost 6 – 16
Complete this sentence:
- 2015, final, London, xyz x – x.