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The great Australian Test fast bowler Dennis Lillee, if he had bothered to watch the recent rugby Test, would have shaken his head in disgust at the Springboks.
Lillee’s mantra was: “Never give a sucker an even break.”
The Springboks stand accused of smugness, of believing the game was over before the fat lady had sung, to use a silly cliche.
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There was Jannie du Plessis coming off early in the second half with a huge grin on his face.
‘This is child’s play,’ his smirk was saying, ‘a walk in the park.’ The Boks would pay dearly for their smugness.
I’ve been following sport for nearly 50 years, and I’ve seen so many occasions where a team or individual just needed a lucky break to turn everything around for them.
To give them much needed self-belief.
Saturday evening, July 18, 2015, at the old Lang Park, Brisbane, was the lucky break for the Wallabies. Maybe also, for Australian rugby.
Rather than talk about the team, I want to talk about some of the Wallabies as individuals.
Stephen Moore. Gutsy captain’s call. Even if it hadn’t come off, it was brave and right for the moment. After your horrible season last year, you deserved a change of fortune.
Who dares, wins.
Michael Hooper. You shut me up. Your courage and commitment was outstanding. Many flaws remain in your game, but heart isn’t one of them.
Israel Folau. Those Aussie football skills came in handy with so many high balls taken cleanly and bravely.
Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, David Pocock, Greg Holmes. Welcome back to Test rugby. You all put in manfully.
Nick Phipps. That’s the crispest, most confident and most fluent game, or half a game, I have ever seen you play.
Matt Tomua. You attacked the gain line brilliantly when you came on as a replacement.
James Horwill. Where have you been hiding? Your mate Rob Simmons also stepped up.
This Test was both ugly and beautiful at the same time. But most importantly for Australia, sometimes you need a lucky break upon which to build your momentum.