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Five talking points from the Wallabies' win over England

David Pocock is quality, but where does he fit? (Photo: AFP)
Editor
3rd October, 2015
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11110 Reads

Well… I had faith the Wallabies could win, but that they’d give me a heart attack doing it.

Instead, it was a comfortable win for Australia at Twickenham. They move on to the quarter-final stage after their game against Wales, and England play Uruguay, then get to watch the rest of the tournament at the pub.

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There was an incredible build-up to the game, with Twickenham once again showing why it is one of the best rugby stadiums in the world.

Both teams were primed. There was plenty of promise, and Australia delivered.

Here are my talking points from the Wallabies’ win.

Bernard Foley’s complete performance
What do you say when a flyhalf puts in a performance like that?

28 points – the most ever by a Wallaby against England. At Twickenham no less, with the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup fortunes at stake.

There’s no doubt now about who Australia’s number one flyhalf is, with Foley repaying the faith showed in him by coach Michael Cheika.

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He was flawless with the boot, never really looking like missing, even with his last attempt from the sideline with the game already buried.

There were plenty of adjectives you could ascribe to a performance like that, but the one that stood out to me was poise.

The Wallabies didn’t panic. They didn’t make mistakes, even if they didn’t make the advantage line. They trusted they would find a gap eventually, and Foley capitalised on this patience twice.

His second try, in particular, was one for the backline purists. A switch of play, with Kurtley Beale on his shoulder, back to Foley, over untouched.

It was a thing of beauty, and summed up the way Foley led the team around the park.

How bad is Israel Folau’s ankle?
Israel Folau is an 80-minute player, and he certainly doesn’t come off with 15 minutes to play to be replaced by Matt Toomua.

He had a strong game, though he didn’t have a heap of space to work with. Folau was strong in contact, and the only real blemish was his inability to get the ball away to his winger for a try in the opening phases of the game.

Limping off with an ankle injury is the biggest cause of concern for Wallabies fans right now.

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Israel is crucial to Australia’s plans, as he’s one of two big bodies in the backline. They need him, so let’s hope it’s not too bad.

But he doesn’t leave the field if he’s not hurt.

What happens to England now?
There has been a lot of criticism of Chris Robshaw thorough the week.

The England captain gave a good account of himself against the Wallabies, often looking like a lone hand over the ball at the rucks.

But consecutive losses at Twickenham, leading to an early exit from a Rugby World Cup staged on their home turf will take its toll. It’s likely England coach Stuart Lancaster will feel the pinch too.

All that said, you feel like this is an England team with lots ahead of it. If they win that tight one against Wales what would have happened?

It’s a hell of a predicament for the decision makers in English rugby.

Is David Pocock the best player in the world?
People got stuck into me after the game against Fiji, when I asked the question whether Pocock would be the player of the tournament.

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Today, I counted at least two penalties earned, three turnovers made at the ruck, as well as some powerful carries to setup front foot ball for Australia.

It wasn’t just the numbers. Where he made the turnovers was crucial. More often than not it was a momentum-changing play, nabbing the ball with England on the attack.

Not only that, but I don’t remember him giving away one penalty, which is incredible for a man who spends so much time over the ball. He led the Wallabies, both in defence and discipline.

Pocock was also clever at the back of a dominant scrum for the Wallabies, holding it in where control could have easily been lost and the pressure relieved.

The question is, who is a better player on the ball? And is there a more influential player in world rugby right now?

We’ll certainly be closer to an answer when he faces off against Wales captain Sam Warburton next week.

What the hell was that yellow card on Owen Farrell?
Late in the game, and Owen Farrell takes Matt Giteau out on suspicion.

Sure, it was off the ball, and a definite penalty. But to give a a yellow to a tackle using the right arm as well as the shoulder was harsh.

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I thought Sam Burgess’ high swinging arm on Michael Hooper would have attracted more attention from the television official, but instead it was the flyhalf who was sent packing for the last 10 minutes of the game.

It was the harshest yellow of the tournament, both in the context of the game and for the crime he committed.

As a final, bonus talking point, Joe Launchbury was voted the man of the match by Twitter people. Right.

What were your talking points from this huge game Roarers?