Wales vs Wallabies: Player ratings

International
by Sam Phillips

The Wallabies were pushed to their limits by Wales in another Cardiff classic on Sunday morning (AEDT).

Here's how each player rated in the 29-21 win.

1. Scott Sio 6.5

A tough performance to gauge. Had the impact that we have come to expect from him with ball in hand and made a handful of tackles but was pinged twice as the scrum struggled in the second term.

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau 7

Fell over the line to score a rolling maul try but wasn't near the same level in attack that he was against Japan. Made up for that by securing a pair of turnovers for his team and putting his usual shift in defensively, with eight tackles.

3. Sekope Kepu 5.5

Was barely sighted in attack and as the scrum struggled for ascendency - wasn't one of his finest performances.

4. Rob Simmons 5.5

A largely uninspiring performance from Simmons. Didn't have a great deal of impact in making eight metres from four carries and missed two of his seven attempted tackles as well. Also conceded a penalty but the lineout did function as desired.

5. Adam Coleman 7.5

Adam Coleman cut a happy figure after crossing in Cardiff. Photo: Getty ImagesWas the beneficiary of a pinpoint Bernard Foley grubber and similarly perfect pass from Will Genia for his try but it was his tireless work on either side of the ball that caught the eye. Led all bar Michael Hooper and Sean McMahon with 10 tackles and put his hand up for seven carries, while providing a reliable option at lineout time and leading a maul defensive collective that prospered.

6. Ned Hanigan 7

Hanigan is a much maligned talent for most Wallabies fans but he repaid the faith showed by coach Michael Cheika in the second half. His ball carries still lack the impact seen at Super Rugby level but defensively, there was maybe only one or two Wallabies that worked harder than Hanigan in Cardiff. The Wallabies' scramble defence in the second half was pivotal to this win and every time you looked up, Hanigan was cutting off a Wales attack that threatened to break the game open. The superb cover tackle on Wales openside Josh Navidi was a game changer late in the piece.

7. Michael Hooper 7.5

Michael Hooper was a constant threat for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty ImagesThe pack's biggest threat with ball in hand. Other forwards have been Australia's chief destroyer with ball in hand in the Wallabies' last few starts but Hooper was back at his gain line bending best in Cardiff. Racked up 29 metres from his 10 carries, led all comers with 13 tackles, scored a try and would have rated higher had he not been sent to the sin bin at a critical part of the match.

8. Sean McMahon 7

There were no gargantuan runs from McMahon in Cardiff but his performance was similar to Hanigan in that it was the one percenters that shined. Was making a constant nuisance of himself when Wales hammered the Australian line in the second term and made 11 tackles, a handful of those coming at times where Wales threatened to split the wall of Wallaby gold.

9. Will Genia 8.5

Australia's best. Showed how dearly he was missed against Japan in making the Wallabies attack as well as it has all year, while controlling the pace of play alongside Bernard Foley with some clever kicking at exactly the time it was required. Continuously kept the Wales line honest in sniffing out holes around the breakdown not only for himself but for his first phase runners as well. A superb performance summed up by the sublime Coleman try assist.

10. Bernard Foley 7.5

Rinse and repeat the line regarding how much Australia missed Foley against Japan. Reece Hodge did a more than capable job against the Brave Blossoms but there is no replacement for a 9-10 combo that has played as much Test rugby together as Genia and Foley and the pair dominated proceedings in Cardiff. It was a perfect Foley kick that started the chain of events in the lead up to Polota-Nau's try and his kick set up Coleman's try and repeatedly put Wales on the back foot as well. Had a couple of nice scrambling tackles late, too.

11. Reece Hodge 7

Hodge did as Hodge always does, making the most of every opportunity that came his way on the left wing. It wasn't his best performance of 2017 - with a charged down kick putting Australia under the pump early - but he did slot another big penalty and accumulate 40 metres from his five runs.

12. Samu Kerevi 6

Samu Kerevi struggled to break the shackles in Cardiff. Photo: Getty ImagesCheika showed faith in Kerevi after his huge afternoon against Japan but he struggled to have the same impact in attack as he did against the smaller bodies of the Brave Blossoms. His numbers make for impressive reading - 56 metres from 12 carries - but he didn't bust any tackles or cause any line bending headaches for the Welsh. Turned the ball over a couple of times and still not convinced by his defensive work, either. Notably, was subbed at the 52 minute mark.

13. Tevita Kuridrani 7

Like McMahon and Hanigan, Kuridrani made several critical tackles in the second term. His defensive work has always been his biggest asset and while he missed five of his 11 attempted tackles in Cardiff, Kuridrani cut off some Welsh attacks which could have turned the match on its head late in the piece. It was his kick chase that applied the pressure in the lead up to Polota-Nau's try, too. Did his typical hard work in attack, too, with 10 carries producing 30 hard earned metres gained.

14. Marika Koroibete 7.5

Another stellar performance from a man that made his Test debut just a couple of months ago. Had 57 metres and a line break from his six carries but his night was summed up by a last ditch attempt at forcing Hallam Amos into touch with the result already secured for the Wallabies in the final minutes. His defensive instinct is immaculate and that cuts the supply of ball to overlapping attackers on a regular basis. Works very well with Kuridrani in that sense.

15. Kurtley Beale 8

Kurtley Beale scored a stunning try. Photo: Getty ImagesScored the match winner with a play that only Beale could muster, such is his unique talent to reel off match winning plays. The strip and run from 50 out after the Wallabies had run themselves ragged by defending for the first 20 minutes of the second term gave the Australians an unassailable lead and released the pressure valve as Wales turned the heat right up when they trailed 22-16. That play in itself was exceptional but Beale was superb whenever he chimed into the Wallabies attack all night.

Reserves

16. Stephen Moore 6.5

Played 23 minutes and while he didn't have any sort of impact with ball in hand, Moore was exceptional defensively as Wales applied the blow torch late. The scrum did struggle in the second term, though.

17. Tom Robertson NA

Only played the 13 minutes but the scrum struggled mightily when he was on the ground.

18. Allan Alaalatoa NA

Similar to Robertson in that he had little impact on the match in his 17 minutes, only sighted in a struggling Australian scrum.

19. Matt Philip NA

Played just the 18 minutes and didn't really catch the eye.

20. Ben McCalman NA

Also played 18 minutes and had his best impact in defence and at the defensive breakdown.

21. Nick Phipps NA

Didn't get on.

22. Karmichael Hunt 6.5

Thought he was as effective, if not more so, than Kerevi in the front line. Had six tackles and won a turnover in his 28 minutes, with one run which gave the Welsh particular concern. Don't be surprised if he gets the nod ahead of Kerevi against England.

23. Henry Speight NA

Didn't get on.