Wounded Wallabies Wallop USA
Led by Brisbane born half-back, Tim Usasz, the USA tried to disrupt an already jilted Australian line-up on Friday at the 2011 RWC Pool C encounter in Wellington. Coming off a shocking loss 15-6 to Ireland the Wallabies were keen to erase that memory of the previous weekend with a solid performance against an aggressive American Eagles outfit. As Nathan Sharpe said on Fox Sports Rugby Club the day before that former Queensland University half-back, Usasz, was the man to watch in a USA line-up that rested world-class flanker, Todd Clever, due to the short 4-day turn-around until they face Italy on Tuesday, and Usasz certainly caused plenty of headaches for the Wallabies.
The positives were that Adam Ashley-Cooper was back to scintillating try-scoring form with a hat-trick and that Berrick Barnes is ready to slot back into the Wallaby back-line with the comprehensive 67-5 victory. However, they did allow the USA to be the first team to broach their line with a five-pointer to No. 8 JJ Gagiano in the first half. Though not such a major worry as the US were the only team to score a try against the 1999 World Champion Wallabies side, so it does have a nice omen…
A broken cheek-bone to Rob Horne and a dislocated shoulder for Pat McCabe could be a blessing in disguise for the Wallabies as it gives coach, Robbie Deans, the opportunity to rectify his omission of a back-up open-side flanker for David Pocock and to include highly talented Matt Giteau in the centres. Speculation is running rife in Australia as to who will be called up with Reds flanker, Beau Robinson or Western Force’s Matt Hodgson looking like likely candidates with Giteau or Ben Tapuai (who incidentally is playing for Sunnybank this afternoon against Brothers in the Brisbane rugby union grand final at Ballymore) in the centres.
Last night the All Blacks put to bed their atrocious record against the French at World Cups with a spirited 37-17 Pool A win. The much anticipated match-up, after France’s shock defeat of the ABs in the 2007 World Cup quarter final at Millennium Stadium, Wales. It was New Zealand captain Richie McCaw’s 100-test cap, the first for a Kiwi, and a real honour for him to be playing it in NZ, in a World Cup and against France.
Also the English romped home against Romania 67-3 inside the new dome in Dunedin.