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Player ratings: Sweet taste of victory

Sat, 14 Sep 2013 12:49
Nicwhitepumas Benmowenpumas Aus-v-arg2 Aus-v-arg
White's driving line kicks were vital
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It was far from convincing, but the Wallabies eked out their maiden win under Ewen McKenzie in Perth on Saturday, edging the Pumas 14-13.

Smart tactical play with a stiff wind behind their back in the first half saw the hosts take a 14-3 lead into the break, which proved to be just enough as they were starved of possession and kept scoreless in the second half.

Conditions were challenging and the Wallabies got worked over at scrum time, however, all that will matter in the Australians’ minds is snapping a four-match losing streak and moving from the bottom of the log.

Credit for the narrow win must go to Nic White - in his run-on day - for his tactical nous, Ben Mowen, for his leadership in his first Test as captain, Israel Folau, for scoring a crucial try and Michael Hooper, for his tireless tackling and work at the breakdown.   

Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Wallaby players.

15 Israel Folau
So strong and elusive on attack even in the wet, exemplified by his try, when he beat four defenders to dot down.
7/10

14 James O'Connor

Chased hard all game and was reliable under the high ball. Did very well to field an up-and-under on the ground after having slipped. No real attacking opportunities.
6/10

13 Adam Ashley-Cooper

Made his tackles and showed his experience in contributing at the breakdown.
6/10

12 Christian Lealiifano

Struggled with his goal-kicking in the difficult conditions and would have been particularly disappointed with missing his penultimate kick at goal, one of his easier kicks on the night. Didn’t make much ground on attack but he did make the most runs in midfield.
6.5/10

11 Nick Cummins

Very committed and lived up to his “Honey Badger” nickname by shaking off two massive hits without skipping a beat. Racked up the most metres with his hard running.  
6.5/10

10 Quade Cooper

Noticeably more physical on defence and limited his error count after last weekend’s shocker. The conditions nullified his distribution game, so he opted for a few chips behind the backline which didn’t pay off.
6/10

9 Nic White

A mixed bag. Made some mistakes - a couple of poorly judged kicks and two skew scrum feeds, the second costing the Wallabies three points - but his driving line kicks were vital in the territory stakes and outweighed most of his errors.
7.5/10

8 Ben Mowen (captain)

Slipped a few tackles but he gave the Wallabies leadership. He made some good captaincy decisions, opting for line-outs rather than scrums for skew Argentine line-out throws among them, and was crucial in the line-out.  
7/10

7 Michael Hooper

His superior pace was evident on the heavy wet field and allowed him to beat the Pumas back row forwards to the breakdown in the first half. Less effective on the deck in the second half but was a machine on defence, making an unrivalled 14 tackles and missing none.   
7.5/10

6 Scott Fardy

Lucky to get away with a turnover off his feet inside his 22 but won a crucial and legitimate penalty inside the Pumas 22 late in the game that halted the visitors’ momentum and inspired his teammates. Great workrate as well, with 11 tackles and three line-out takes.
7/10

5 Kane Douglas

Solid in the line-outs and won a breakdown penalty.
6/10

4 Rob Simmons

The go-to man in the line-out but was on the wrong side of the whistle all match, ultimately conceding three penalties.
3/10

3 Ben Alexander

Brought in to anchor the scrum and failed to do the job.  
4/10

2 Stephen Moore

Shaky in the set pieces, although he did cope better with the line-out throwing than the Argentine hookers did.
5/10

1 James Slipper

Good defensive work but struggled at scrum time.
4/10

Replacements:

16 Saia Faingaa (on for Moore, 65th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

17 Scott Sio (on for Slipper, 45th minute)
Like his fellow front row forwards, he was dominated in the scrums.
5/10

18 Sekope Kepu
(on for Alexander, 59th minute)
Also fell victim to scrummaging issues.
5/10

19 Sitaleki Timani
(on for Douglas, 50th minute)
Made a big, physical impact off the bench. Definitely the top enforcer lock in the Wallaby squad.
6.5/10

20 Ben McCalman
(on for Fardy, 72nd minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Will Genia
Not used.

22 Matt Toomua (on for Cooper, 65th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

23 Tevita Kuridrani
Not used.

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