Sunday Territorian


Japan 5th scalp on trot


THE Wallabies’ relief at beating Japan tells you everything you need to know about where the Australian team really is at the moment.

Saturday’s 32-23 Test win to the visitors in Oita proved beyond doubt that the Japanese are no easybeats and if SANZAAR’s brains trust have got any sense they should add the Brave Blossoms to the Rugby Championsh­ip as soon as possible.

The other thing this match also reinforced was that these Wallabies aren’t worldbeate­rs.

Winning five matches on the trot is a feat worth celebratin­g. But no one needs reminding about how the All Blacks embarrasse­d the Wallabies just a couple of months ago.

The Wallabies will face tougher opposition in their remaining three matches on this end-of-year tour, where they will play Scotland, England and Wales.

Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia, Taniela Tupou and Rob Leota all scored tries against Japan when the Wallabies got in the clear but if they’re honest with themselves they’ll also know they butchered other opportunit­ies by overplayin­g things.

All season long, they have been throwing too many loose passes that have led to intercepti­ons. Japan’s Ryoto Nakamura was just the latest recipient of a free gift.

The biggest improvemen­t in the Wallabies this year has been the decision making by Michael Hooper.

His captaincy was under the microscope last year because he too often went for broke and tried to score tries when there were easier points available through penalties.

It was a 50-50 decision that provided the match winner against Japan when he kicked for the line with a couple of minutes to go and replacemen­t Connal McInerney scored on debut.

“It was a really competitiv­e game. We expected Japan to play a really expansive game of rugby and they delivered on that,” Hooper said.

 ?? ?? Australia’s Jordan Petaia charges ahead during the Test against Japan in Oita. Picture: Getty
Australia’s Jordan Petaia charges ahead during the Test against Japan in Oita. Picture: Getty

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