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Wallaby ‘old boys’ ignited Welsh rout

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Wallaby coach John Connolly has admitted that the experience of some of his veteran players, along with the return of established combinations, is what sparked a second half rout of Wales in the second test at the weekend.

After needing an injury-time try to win the first test 29-23 last week, the Wallabies recorded a more convincing 31-0 victory in the return match in Brisbane at the weekend.

And it was the performances of players like George Gregan (back at scrum-half). Stephen Larkham, Matt Giteau (moved to inside centre) and Stirling Mortlock that sparked the second-half rout.

Former Wallaby captain Gregan came on at half-time, with Giteau moving to inside centre.

Connolly admitted that the first half was a very poor effort by the team.

“For whatever reason mentally I don’t think we were there to do the hard work [in the first half] and our hands let us down under pressure,” Connolly told the media in his post-match interview.

“In the second half our set piece was stronger and I think George [Gregan] made a significant difference. Matt [Giteau] was flying and the players looked more comfortable and mentally they were there for it.

“There no doubt that the Gregan, Larkam, Giteau, Mortlock combination are very comfortable with each other. These games were very much about trying to build depth in case something happened.”

Connolly was certainly not happy with his team’s effort in the first half.

“We made a lot of mistakes. I mean we turned over four line-outs in the fist half. You can’t win games losing 50 per cent of your own line-outs due to crooked throws. On top of that you add the drop balls and the game gets hotter,” Connolly lamented.

“But in the second half I think we indicated we were on the right road. I thought Digby [Ioane] played well and I thought Drew Mitchell is improving out of sight.”

When asked about whether the comprehensive victory would have any bearings on the Wallabies and Wales’ next encounter – in a World Cup Pool B match in Cardiff on September 15 – Connolly shrugged.

“Wales will make four to five changes, a different time, the Millennium Stadium [in Cardiff] – we know how difficult it will be,” he said.

Matt Giteau received a knock to the knee and is the only injury concern going into next week’s game against Fiji at Subiaco Oval, Perth June 9, while Larkham may also be rested.

 

365 Digital

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