Wallabies vs Italy: Five things we learned

International
by Sam Phillips

Italy gave the Wallabies an almighty scare at Suncorp Stadium but in the end, the Wallabies prevailed.

Here's what we're talking about after the 40-27 result.

1. Go forward gone missing

The Wallabies forward pack - with the exception of Adam Coleman and Michael Hooper - is completely void of attacking punch at the moment.

Scott Sio did not record a carry, hitting the gain line isn't Stephen Moore's best asset, nor is it Allan Alaalatoa's.

The metres Rory Arnold made in the second half last week were no where to be seen and as hard as Ned Hanigan works he hasn't found the line bending version of himself in Wallaby gold.

Lopeti Timani also failed to have the sort of impact he desired, though he had a few crucial carries late in the piece.

This was laid bare in the second half, as the halves were left with very little to work with and the Italians controlled the game.

2. Sefa shows serious speed

There is no more devastating attacking weapon than speed and Sefa Naivalu has stacks of it.

The Fijian flew down the left sideline to score the Wallabies' first try and if he was one yard slower, the Italian cover defence would have bowled him into touch.

His second try was simply a case of right place, right time but of the three options Michael Cheika has deployed on the left wing, Naivalu looks to be the one that will cause the most headaches for the stronger competition that awaits.

The final piece missing from his game is some extra work infield, though it appears the majority of that work may have been designated to the man on the other side of the field.

3. Deadly DHP

Dane Haylett-Petty warmed into some fine form today. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyDane Haylett-Petty doesn't have the same turn of foot as Naivalu but he played his best game of the three June Tests this afternoon.

He rarely strayed from the right wing in the first two Tests but he was found lurking off Bernard Foley's hip far more frequently today.

That line created the break for Australia's second try and it was his work cleaning up a loose ball which created the break from which Isreal Folau scored his second.

That was proceeded by some quick hands to set up Folau's first and a terrific offload to send Reece Hodge streaking away for the sealer.

A 10 run, four tackle bust, four line break, four offload performance is the kind that we have come to expect from Haylett-Petty and the Wallabies will need him in this kind of form moving forward.

4. Scrum surety evaporates

Scott Sio and Stephen Moore came into the front row and the Australian scrum was under serious pressure in the 50 minutes they were on.

Toby Smith replaced Sio in the 48th minute and he was lucky to have not been penalised immediately after, as his elbow was clearly on the ground as the Italians fed the scrum five metres from the Wallabies line.

That was followed by three more penalties against Smith and a yellow card.

Whether this is a front row issue or something that was a flow on effect from the removal of Sam Carter from the second row remains a relative mystery for now but it was Sio and Smith's side that seemed to be the issue.

5. Foley, Folau flourishing

Israel Folau scored another double this afternoon. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIsrael Folau's third straight double was a little piece of history today.

He is now the only Wallaby in history to record three straight multi-try performances.

His form hasn't been stellar in Super Rugby this year but he and Coleman have been head and shoulders above the other Wallabies all series.

Folau was awarded man of the match for his 52 metres, six tackle busts, two line breaks and three offloads but Bernard Foley was stiff.

He scored the match winner and created the Haylett-Petty line break which led to Hodge's try.

All memories of last week's wayward kicking performance were also erased, as he nailed five from six off the tee and found more turf with his kicks in play.

Both he and Will Genia were back near their best this afternoon.

Join the discussion