The Wallabies are the fortnightly specialists
So where does this most recent Wallaby victory sit? The wins against the Welsh were gutsy, determined performances that hardly ignited the crowds but showed the Wallabies had resilience against a foe who was desperate to prove their worth in the South.
The revival at Rosario was a showing of character and spirit one week after the humiliation in the Highveld.
The Suncorp Stalemate, a battle so intriguing and intense that the rugby gods could have easily decided this one by the flip of a coin… and then to Twickenham, where anything but a victory could well have been the final dagger to end Robbie Deans tenure.
It should be noted that victories at Twickenham are not won by showing up, they are earned through emotion, sheer determination and guts, and through a defiance which cannot be matched.
It is these qualities that produced an outstanding victory for the Wallabies on Saturday afternoon and a victory which, in my opinion, could well be regarded as the most important of the season.
Many teams could have, would have faltered after coming off such a brutal defeat in Paris the week prior but time and time again we have seen this side produce something which many expect them not.
Yes it is against England and that alone should be more than enough determination to get any side up for a match, but when the chips are down, players are continually being sent to the causality ward and former greats are criticising the side at every turn, the question begs, how much negativity can any team take before it becomes instinctive?
The Wallabies played with a sense of direction, a sense of purpose and most of all, with a sense of pride. The elation was evident to see.
The side showed character, a trait that has been instilled in them by Robbie Deans since day one, a trait which other coaches in the past have failed to deliver.
The backline attacked the gain line with vigour and a dash of flair which England crowds haven’t seen since Kevin Pieterson was last in form.
Ben Tapuai’s presence at inside centre was exceptional. The Reds midfielder showed grace, skill and strength in a flawless game, which also allowed Kurtly Beale to attack and Adam Ashley Cooper to utilise the space around him.
It is safe to say the Pat McCabe experiment is over.
Berrick Barnes is showing with each outing that he is too valuable to have on the bench, as his skills under the high ball, ability to assist Beale with the playmaking role and the calmness under pressure are proving as very valuable assets.
Are we seeing the transformation of a once stagnant playmaker into the next Matthew Burke? Let’s very much hope so.
A lethal back three with Digby Ioane and Nick Cummings is also developing, as each player complements each other in their own way and the latter is a perfect example of the attitude which this team requires.
However, it was the tenacious back row play of Michael Hooper which was the real winner on the day. A young man with nothing to lose and everything to gain is fast developing a reputation as not only the premier fetcher in the country, but also around the world.
Quick, strong and deceptively fast, the English had problems with him from the opening whistle as time and time again, the young man stole the ball from the opposition at the blink of an eye and tackled with a sense of ferociousness that only England versus Australia encounters can bring.
What to do with David Pocock? It is certainly a nice problem to have.
With an extremely impressive victory in the face of adversity (and not for the first time this year), the Wallabies’ tails are up and Robbie Deans lives to fight another day.
However, the need for consistency is now required, nay, demanded.
The Wallabies now head to Florence to take on an Italian side so desperate for a win the Azzuri will do anything to achieve it.
It is not unreasonable to expect an Italian boil-over, given the rollercoaster ride that the Wallabies have been on in 2012 and it is only with the hunger, passion and pride shown at Twickenham that they will avoid falling into this pitfall.
If the above qualities are lacking come Saturday, at least we can be sure of one thing – Wales will be in for one hell of a backlash in two weeks’ time!
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