Wallabies bounce back

Australia 42

Romania 3

The Wallabies hit the South African ground running almost as slowly as England and before they found their stride against the Romanians at Stellenbosch there was further evidence against expecting their retention of the Webb Ellis trophy.

In the end, though, it worked out so well that the events of the last 20 minutes argued to the contrary. Having worn out Romania's physical challenge, Australia cut loose with a brilliant burst of four tries which were more a cause for comfort and relief than outright celebration.

"It's not a performance that will win us a world championship but it's a step forward," Bob Dwyer, Australia's coach, said. "In the first half we were frightened to play but once we got our confidence back we got it together."

There is a warning here for those who have ceased believing in the Wallabies. They calculatedly fielded a weakened side, omitting Little, Campese, Lynagh and Kearns, and now go to their quarter-final in Cape Town next Sunday with confidence renewed.

That said, it was one of the more familiar Wallabies who generated this upsurge in Australian fortunes. This was one of John Eales's great performances, and not just for the obvious reason that he converted each of the four second-half tries from a wide angle as if he were Michael Lynagh himself and not a 6ft 6in lock. Eales is the game's finest all-round athlete - which is why he was also such a dominant figure at the line-out and around the field.

Romania took the lead with Ilie Ivanciuc's drop goal but contrived to reach half-time 14-3 behind despite having spent more than the Australians of the first half in attack.

But once Michael Foley had scored a try and Joe Roff, a wing sensation at the age of 19, another Romania's cause became hopeless. As they knew they would be going home, it was not surprising there was a limit - one hour, to be precise - to their resistance. Matthew Burke relinquished the kicking in Eales's favour and was one of the late try-scorers along with Roff for a second time, Damian Smith and David Wilson.

AUSTRALIA: M Burke (New South Wales); D Smith, D Herbert, T Horan (all Queensland), J Roff (Australian Capital Territory); S Bowen (NSW), G Gregan (ACT); A Daly (NSW), M Foley (Queensland), E McKenzie (NSW), R McCall (capt), J Eales, I Tabua (both Queensland), T Gavin (NSW), D Wilson (Queensland). Replacement: P Slattery (Queensland) for Gregan, 71. Temporary substitutes: D Manu (NSW) for Wilson, 29-33; M Pini (Queensland) for Herbert, 29-36.

ROMANIA: V Brici (Farul Constanta); L Colceriu (Steaua Bucharest), N Racean, R Gontineac (both Universitate Cluj), G Solomie (Timisoara); I Ivanciuc (Suceava), V Flutur (Universitate Cluj); G Leonte (Vienne), I Negreci (CFR Constanta), G Vlad (Dinamo Bucharest), S Ciorascu (Auch), C Cojocariu (Bayonne), A Guranescu (Dinamo Bucharest), T Brinza (Universitate Cluj, capt), S Gealapu (Steaua Bucharest). Replacements: A Lungu (Castres) for Gontineac, 56; V Tufa (Dinamo Bucharest) for Negreci, 73.

Referee: N Saito (Japan).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee