Aussies rally


Not even a slow start and a dou­ble-digit penalty count could dampen the Wal­la­bies’ mood af­ter their sec­ond-half surge har­pooned Italy 32-6 in their World Cup opener on Sun­day.

Four sec­ond-half tries saw the Wal­la­bies sweep aside any chance of an up­set af­ter Italy re­stricted them to 6-all at half­time. But con­ced­ing penal­ties is not a statis­tic eas­ily di­gested by Rob­bie Deans’ teams over the years.

The Aus­tralians were on the wrong side of a lop­sided 15-9 penalty count from ref­eree Alain Rol­land, a re­sult of the Wal­la­bies be­ing caned at the break­down and also be­ing pinged for backchat.

Yet Aussie coach Deans was not com­plain­ing and in­stead urged the of­fi­cials to keep pun­ish­ing law-break­ers around the rucks dur­ing the show­case tour­na­ment.

‘‘Let’s hope they con­tinue to be dili­gent . . . most im­por­tantly for the view­ing pub­lic be­cause I think it is im­por­tant for the game,’’ Deans said.

Skip­per James Hor­will ad­mit­ted the Wal­la­bies were too slow to adapt to Rol­land’s rul­ings and this, as well as work­ing on per­fect­ing their li­ne­out, will be ar­eas to pol­ish.

In con­trast to the All Blacks, who strug­gled to main­tain their charge in the sec­ond half against Tonga last Fri­day night, the Wal­la­bies’ at­tack was of the slow­burn­ing va­ri­ety.

For Italy, it was as if the half­time break si­phoned-off their pas­sion.

For a pe­riod, Al­bany was con­verted into the North Shore’s ver­sion of Lit­tle Italy as the ma­jor­ity of the 25,731 crowd rev­elled in the bum­bling Aussies’ in­abil­ity to hold pos­ses­sion or string to­gether phases.

While he would have been an­noyed to lose three li­ne­outs on his team’s throw, Deans would have been con­tent with the con­tin­ued surge in form of blind­side flanker Rocky El­som, the way new skip­per Hor­will is set­tling into that role and not amass­ing any in­juries ahead of their match against Ire­land next week­end.

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