“XV is an anonymous sport in Australia. » The confession made to us by Pierre-Henry Broncan, French assistant coach of the Wallabies, before the start of the World Cup resonates a little more this Sunday evening. For the first time in the history of the World Cup (ten editions), the Australian selection will not even advance to the group stage. Demolished by Wales on the OL Stadium pitch (40-6), Australia no longer has any chance of reaching the quarter-finals, barring an improbable failure by Fiji against Georgia and Portugal.
It is therefore not thanks to its French campaign that Australian rugby union will gain popularity in the antipodes. The southern hemisphere can also think more deeply because after the victories of France over New Zealand and that of Ireland over South Africa, the North is showing its muscles and will undoubtedly place four teams in the top four group places.
Could Australia expect better? Probably not for a team in deep crisis for months, beaten for the 19th time in its last 25 outings. For the second time in a row by Wales in the World Cup, too. Unpublished.
The next edition will take place in Australia
Deprived of their captain Will Skelton, injured in the calf, the Wallabies were not bad against the Welsh. But like against Fiji (15-22), they lacked consistency, precision, certainty… A bit of everything. A little too much against a Wales rewarded by its defensive solidity and its ability to press where it hurts (rucks, scrums, throw-ins, etc.). The clumsiness of Australian fly-half Ben Donaldson symbolizes the evening. What if he had chosen the right side rather than the left on this magnificent crossing (17th)? His team would have taken the lead. But with “ifs”…
The blunders, even missing a penalty kick (76th), and indiscipline left the match to the Welsh. The “Red Dragons” however lost their star Dan Biggar, injured in his right shoulder in the first period (12th). Replaced by an almost perfect Gareth Anscombe on the foot (8/10 including a drop, 23 points reported). Not very confident, somewhat disillusioned by the scenario, Australia was never able to raise its head as promised by its coach Eddie Jones, called to the rescue last January.
Double finalist of the World Cup (2003 and 2019) with two different selections (Australia and England), the latter should not survive this fiasco. Because even if the XV is “anonymous”, Australia has a 2027 World Cup, on its soil, to prepare.
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