Australia

Player ratings: Sharpe stars

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 14:11
Nathan_sharpe_all_blacks_2 Kurtleybealeabs Patmccabeabs
A fitting swansong for the Wallaby great on Australian soil
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Wallaby captain Nathan Sharpe spearheaded Australia’s gutsy performance to hold the All Blacks to a draw in Brisbane on Saturday.

No-one gave the wounded Wallabies a chance. After all, they were beaten 27-19 in Sydney, humiliated 22-0 in Auckland and missing several first-choice players.

They came out and showed heart at Suncorp Stadium, a venue where they had won 17 of their last 20 Tests including a victory over New Zealand the last time the trans-Tasman rivals met at the ground, with Sharpe leading the way.  

It wasn’t a win, but it was a fitting swansong for the Wallaby great on Australian soil.

Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Wallaby players.

15 Mike Harris
Showed nerves of steel with his unerring boot, scoring 15 of the hosts’ 18 points.
7/10
 
14
Adam Ashley-Cooper
No attacking opportunities whatsoever and butchered a high ball that saw the All Blacks take the lead with nine minutes to go.
5/10

13 Ben Tapuai
Contained opposite number Conrad Smith but never truly threatened on attack and conceded a penalty.
6/10

12 Pat McCabe

In contrast to his midfield partner, the usually dependable McCabe struggled to prevent Ma’a Nonu from barging over the gainline.   
6/10

11
Nick Cummings
Tenacious and strong with ball in hand, averaging six metres per carry.  
6.5/10

10 Kurtley Beale
Continues to grow in his new role. Inventive, varied his play expertly, effectively attacked the gainline and slotted a monster penalty.   
7.5/10

9 Nick Phipps

A disappointing end to his night as a box kick drifted out on the full and a lapse in concentration saw him play the ball from an offside position that gave the All Blacks the lead but otherwise quick to the ball and provided Beale with good service.
7/10

8 Wycliff Palu

A solid return by the physical Palu. Very strong with ball in hand with a clean break and two broken tackles.
6.5/10
 
7 Michael Hooper

Marred a decent performance with a costly late shoulder charge on Aaron Smith that earned him 10 minutes in the bin.
5/10
 
6 Scott Higginbotham

Played the enforcer role as the Wallabies’ premier physical forward and was very fortunate to get away with a knee and a head-butt on Richie McCaw. He will surely be cited.
6.5/10
 
5 Nathan Sharpe

Captain courageous, a cliché that can be justifiably used to describe Sharpe’s showing. He embodied the passion and determination of the hosts on the night and will look back fondly on his last appearance at home.       
8/10

4 Sitaleki Timani

Made very little ground with ball in hand before he limped off after 20 minutes.
5/10

3 James Slipper

Struggled at scrum time against the wily Tony Woodcock and was plucked after 40 minutes.
5/10

2 Tatafu Polota-Nau

Soft moments marred his night. Errors such as a poor overthrow that nearly resulted in a try and a knock-on in contact five metres from the line cost the Wallabies dearly.  
5/10

1 Benn Robinson

His experience and low centre of gravity served him well against Test rookie Charlie Faumuina.
6.5/10

Replacements:

16 James Hanson
(on for Polota-Nau, 71st minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

17 Sekope Kepu (on for Slipper, 40th minute)
Certainly boosted the team in the second half and offered more stability at scrum time.
6/10

18 Kane Douglas
(on for Timani, 20th minute)
Troubled the All Black jumpers and managed a turnover.
6/10

19 Dave Dennis
(on for Palu, 46th minute)
Solid workrate but lacked the physicality to front up to the All Black forwards.
6/10

20 Liam Gill
(on for Douglas, 64th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Brett Sheehan (on for Phipps, 70th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Drew Mitchell (on for Cummings, 66th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

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