What did we learn from a thrilling third Test?
1. There’s always something to play for
Dead rubber? Not on your life. Both teams have been adamant this third Test means just as much as any other. Eddie Jones described it as a World Cup final. They gave a record 44,063 fans a scintillating series finisher. The people of Brisbane and Melbourne probably only wish they had seen this from the Wallabies sooner. History made again by England.
2. Kick to touch and make it
Two weeks in a row, Bernard Foley has missed touch with a crucial kick. In-field kicking mightn’t be a pivotal part of the Wallabies identity but it is certainly one of rugby. It was a major talking point over the opening two Tests. Foley was also outpointed by Owen Farrell in front of goals. Farrell slotted nine from 10 in front of the posts. While Foley’s six from eight wasn’t too poor, that inaccuracy has hurt the Wallabies every week.
3.Discipline a concern...again
The Wallabies looked to have reigned in some of their disciplinary concerns early in the third Test but as the match went on, old habits seemed to grow. Will Skelton narrowly avoided a yellow card for a challenge that, while it held no malice, was reckless and could have put the Wallabies in serious trouble. They ended the night on the poor end of the penalty count again with nine penalties conceded to England’s six.
4. Haylett-Petty a Test keeper
Dane Haylett-Petty has been one of the great finds of this Test series for the Wallabies. The 27-year-old scored his debut Test try on Saturday night after two impressive Tests under pressure in the past two weeks. The Force fullback could be a fixture on the Wallabies scene for a long time to go. There’ll be plenty of competition for those outside back spots come the Rugby Championship.
5. Lineout pressure point
The Wallabies lineout should be the biggest focus for them going into the Rugby Championship. They’ve had three different lock combinations this series and none have really fired.Last year’s near automatic selection Rob Simmons has struggled with fitness and form throughout this series and his understudies haven’t quite fit the bill. There are some rising stars in the second row and Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold and Sam Carter will be better for the experience they’ve had. And they’ll need to be.