Forget about the World Cup, enjoy this win for what it is

Jack Quigley Columnist

By , Jack Quigley is a Roar Expert


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    So thin they are, the margins at the top.

    If the All Blacks score a late try this article spends most of its time teeing off at Bernard Foley’s goal kicking for costing the Wallabies the game for the umpteenth time, or asking what competition Stephen Moore won that entitles him to continue to accrue token Test caps despite being a complete liability.

    But the All Blacks didn’t score the winning try at the end. The Wallabies won. The Wallabies went and bloody won it. So let’s celebrate that, it’s not often you beat the best team in the world at anything.

    It’s been 805 days since we last beat the All Blacks and Lord knows we’ve earned the right to soak this one up.

    Credit to Micheal Cheika, as bad as the Wallabies were in June, it takes some coach to take that team and have them beating the All Blacks by October. If Foley could kick straight they’d have beaten them in August.

    Michael Cheika Australia Rugby Union Wallabies Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship Test Rugby 2016

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

    Mention also for the backing Nathan Grey got from Cheika when the Wallabies were at their lowest ebb.

    We all threw stones at Grey after the defensive debacle in Sydney, it’s only fair that we highlight how terrific the Wallabies were defensively in Brisbane. Only 11 missed tackles in 80 minutes of rugby against the weapons the All Blacks have at their disposal tells one story, but the other story was how organised it all looked. Gone was the panic and confusion, in their place was a calmness and understanding of individual roles.

    Jack Dempsey was the correct choice for man of the match. The blindside flanker had a huge night. If he wasn’t the ball runner he was the support player. If he wasn’t making the tackle he seemed to be first in over the ball.

    Greg Martin made the excellent point during commentary that as a defender you never get a shoulder on Dempsey. His footwork is terrific and it allows him to dodge big tackles which means more often than not he’d going forward, even while being dragged to ground.

    A terrific shift and one that puts Dempsey in pole position for the 6 jersey for the European tour.

    Players making jerseys their own is becoming a theme of this side. A very pleasing theme.

    After several months of chopping and changing and Test rugby auditions, Cheika appears to have settled upon his favourites.

    The back three have locked themselves down. Israel Folau did his usual thing of scoring a try and always beating the first man when running the ball but we expect that from him now. Marika Koroibete scored again, a real finisher’s finish in the corner. Reece Hodge scored again and nailed a crucial penalty goal late on.

    Israel Folau Wallabies

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Sean McMahon showed again how good he can be when he’s on. Adam Coleman was faultless once more. There is so much John Eales about Adam Coleman. Not just the playing ability but the aura of calmness that seems to float around him. Coleman will be one of the all time Wallaby greats by the time he’s done.

    It can’t be understated how much belief this young Wallabies squad will take from the result in Brisbane. The Wallabies have at times been on the nose for their steadfast belief in their own methods, often unwilling to even entertain the idea of abandoning the game plan. This result will only serve to strengthen that resolve, but as long as they are winning, that is seen as an admirable trait.

    Take, for instance, the two penalties in front of the posts mid way through the second half. As countless Australians shouted at their television for the Wallabies to take the gift three points on offer, Will Genia took a quick tap, and Michael Hooper opted to kick for the line.

    Luckily for Hooper, the second time it paid dividends as Koroibete crashed over to score as a result. But those decisions say a lot about the belief of this side right now, and why they won that game. The All Blacks played cautious rugby in the wet conditions, the Wallabies chased the game. The better team deserved to win and did.

    There were bad parts, too. But nothing new, just the stuff that hasn’t been ironed out yet. Primarily Foley’s kicking and Moore’s selection. Ball handling was pretty terrible and Will Genia threw his fair share of hospital balls to some unfortunate receivers.

    But that’s for another day. Talk will now turn to the European tour and inevitably, the World Cup. For now, let’s just enjoy this. The All Blacks are the best rugby team on the planet, by a long way, but tonight the Wallabies beat them. How good.

    Jack Quigley
    Jack Quigley

    A long time sports writer and podcaster, Jack has spent the majority of his media career covering football and rugby. He recently joined The Roar on the back of penning a viral Facebook rant aimed at the Wallabies which attracted 60,000 likes and more than 6,000 shares. You can follow him on Twitter @Jack_Quigley.

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