Rugby Union: Wallaby forwards make a Test case

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The Independent Online
Eastern Province. .8

Australia. .34

THE AUSTRALIAN tourists returned to the business of playing rugby at Blet Erasmus stadium yesterday, but it took them until the second half before they took control against enthusiastic and determined opponents.

A crowd of 20,000, including a number of blacks, watched a first half in which Eastern Province underlined many features of South African play which had been seen during the Test on Saturday. They won a tremendous amount of loose ball and were always adventurous when attacking from wide positions.

The Province also had the advantage of three dominating line- out forwards - Dion Jourbert, Anton Barnard and Nico Meyer - and the Wallabies were on the defensive for most of the first period.

Barnard proved an exceptional No 8 and it was a cross-field run by him, when he linked with stand- off Greg Miller, which exposed the tourists' defence and produced a try after 20 minutes.

It took until just before the interval for the Wallabies, consisting mainly of reserves, to find any rhythm. Their skipper, Peter Slattery, set a fine example when he scored from his own well- placed kick over the line.

Winger Darren Junee revealed his quick thinking and pace after picking up a ball which had been lost in a tackle to sprint across the line, an enterprise that proved costly since he broke his left shoulder and is now out of the tour.

At least his unfortunate departure brought joy to spectators as David Campese took over on the right wing. Play seldom flowed his way, but he did manage one exciting run. But, to the disappointment of the crowd, he failed to control the ball from his own kick over the line.

In the second half it became a one-sided contest, with the Australian forwards in command, giving their backs more opportunity to score. The try by Tony Herbert followed a charging run by Willie Ofahengaue, which could help him win a back-row Test place. Another contender, Troy Coker, lacerated his right ear, which needed internal stitches, but this will not rule him out.

Bob Dwyer, the Wallabies coach, said: 'The second and back rows for the Test have not yet been decided. I thought Ofahengaue produced some excellent tackles and ran well, but Coker also produced a good performance.'

Eastern Province: Try Miller; Penalty Miller. Australia: Tries Slattery, Junee, Kahl, Herbert; Penalties Kahl 4; Conversion Kahl.

EASTERN PROVINCE: A Fourie (Despatch); J Duplesis, M Duplesis (both SAP), R Potgieter (Despatch), C Noble (Quins); G Miller (UPE), J Calitz (Utenhage); F Erasmus (Despatch), J Kirsten (CT), W Meyer (Despatch), D Joubert (Parks), N Meyer (Despatch), T Oosthuizen (CT), A Barnard, (Parks) H Weber (Despatch). Replacement: V Roodt for Kirsten.

AUSTRALIA: T Kelaher (NSW); P Carroza (Queensland), R Tombs (NSW), A Herbert (Queensland), D Junee; P Khal (both NSW), P Slattery; M Ryan, T Lawton (all Queensland), A Blades, W Waugh (both NSW), G Norgan (Queensland), W Ofahengaue (NSW), T Coker, S Scott-Young (both Queensland). Replacements: D Campese (NSW) for Junee; R McCall (Queensland) for Coker.

Referee: I Anderson (Transvaal).