Player ratings: True character

Sat, 17 Nov 2012 18:30
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Character and resolve

The Wallabies probably extended Robbie Deans' stay in Australia, but their 20-14 win over England wasn't a pretty affair.

Apart from a few rare moments of brilliance and a few stand-out individuals, the Aussies will admit they were still well down on the standards expected of them.

Wallaby captain Nathan Sharpe probably summed the match up in one line, when he said they had spoken all week about "character and resolve".

Of that the Australians had bucketloads.

Jan de Koning rates the Australian players!

15 Berrick Barnes:
Came in at first receiver often and put in a couple of very useful chips. He also slotted a crucial left-footed drop-goal and was sound in the last line of defence, although he did slip a tackle.

14 Digby Ioane:
Had a very quiet game by his standards, but made all his tackles.

13 Adam Ashley-Cooper:
Failed to control the ball when Australia were threatening in  the early stages, but came back with a few strong runs. His huge tackle count, 12 in all, was his biggest contribution.

12 Ben Tapuai:
Had a few strong runs, making plenty of ground, and kicked very well out of hand. Was sound on defence - not slipping any tackles.

11 Nick Cummins:
Got on the outside of Chris Ashton and then knocked another opponent over. He made the most metres of all the players and scored a crucial try. Also made all his tackled.

10 Kurtley Beale:
Created lots of uncertainty in the England defensive lines and was good value with his distribution skills, even though he personally didn't always make ground. England kept running at his channel, but he made all 12 his tackles.

9 Nick Phipps:
Mostly a link, but there was that crucial break to set up Nick Cummings' try. He also made all his tackles.

8 Wycliff Palu:
Conceded a couple of penalties at the breakdown, but carried the ball up strongly and made plenty of tackles.

7 Michael Hooper:
Brilliant break in the 12th minute that put Australia on attack - it ended with Berrick Barnes slotting a left-footed drop-goal. Along with Ashley-Cooper and Beale he had the highest tackle count in the Aussie team. Also made good ground with ball in hand on a number of occasions.

6 Dave Dennis:
Made some tackles and slipped a couple, but his real value was in the line-outs.

5 Nathan Sharpe:
Tried hard, as usual, but his defence was very ordinary, certainly by his standards and age may be catching up with him. He also lost a line-out.

4 Sitaleki Timani:
Concede an offside penalty very early, but settled down and did some impressive work with ball in hand. His tackle count was also right up there with the top guns.

3 Ben Alexander:
His scrumming was a huge factor and his work at the breakdown monumental - not to mention his enormous tackle count.

2 Tatafu Polota Nau:
Took yet another huge blow to the head and stayed down ... maybe one too many concussions. He carried on gamely till half-time, but could have been subbed earlier.

1 Benn Robinson:
While his workrate was probably lower than expected of a Test prop, his value was in the way Australia dominated the scrums.


16 Stephen Moore (on for Polota-Nau, 41st min) :
Made an immediate impact - not just winning a crucial turnover, but also putting in a number of big hits.

17 James Slipper (on for Robinson, 60th min):
Worked hard on defence and stood firm in the scrums.

18 Sekope Kepu (on for Alexander, 70th min):
Not enough time to be rated.

19 Radike Samo:
Not used.

20 Liam Gill (on for Dennis, 66th min as a blood replacement, then again 76th min):
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Brett Sheehan:
Not used.

22 Mike Harris:
Not used.

23 Drew Mitchell (on for Ioane , 69th min):
Not enough time to be rated.