Top RUGBY.com.au stories of 2019: 10-6

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

This year is rapidly coming to a close and here at RUGBY.com.au, we're taking a look back at some of the biggest moments of the past 12 months.

We've gone through the archive and found the stories and issues that you read about the most in 2019 to bring you the top 10 of 2019.

Today, we're counting down from 10-6.

10. Wallabies vs Wales, Tokyo


The Rugby World Cup was one of the most highly-read about tournaments across the world in 2019 but it was a crunch pool match against Wales in Tokyo that became the defining moment for the Wallabies. After a comeback win over Fiji a week earlier, the Tokyo match shaped as a shootout for top spot in Pool D and a chance to travel down the "easier" side of the World Cup draw. The past decade of Australia-Wales matches have been defined by thrillers and this was no different. It began as a carbon copy of their World Cup opener, with Australia finding themselves down by as much as 18 points before a storming comeback in the second half. They had chances to whittle down the margin deep in their attacking territory and opted to shoot for points when given the chance but ultimately they ran out of time to claw back the game. A controversial penalty against Samu Kerevi dominated the post-match conversation with Michael Cheika describing the call "embarrassing" and launching a tirade against World Rugby over "spooking" referees. Kerevi himself joked he should be playing basketball if hits like his on Wales flyhalf Rhys Patchell were illegal. 

9. NRC 2019 kicks off

While most of the rugby world's attention was on Japan, Australia's NRC still managed to attract some focus back home. With every match of the tournament broadcast LIVE on RUGBY.com.au for the first time, rugby fans were quick to tune into the provincial competition that showcased some emerging talent and some established Test stars this season. The Western Force took out the overall title with a dominant win over the Canberra Vikings in a competition that was incredibly tight once again in 2019.

8. Fans looking to the future

Reesjan Pasitoa (right) is a highly-rated rising star. Photo: Getty ImagesAfter another relatively tough year on the field for Australia, news of what's to come in 2020 couldn't come fast enough for many fans. As next season's Super Rugby squads began to be unfurled, optimism around the next generation was quick. Schoolboy stars like Reesjan Pasitoa and Carlo Tizzano will come into the Super Rugby scene for the first time next season while a host of the 2019 Junior Wallabies side that made the World Rugby U20s final in Argentina will also take the next step up. Bring on 2020.

7. Sydney 7s heads to Spotless

The 2019 Sydney 7s shifted out to the city's west for the first time and the third consecutive joint men's and women's event was a festival weekend of rugby. While Australia's men and women walked away empty-handed, there was plenty of exciting action for fans across the three-day tournament. New Zealand took out the gold medal double, with the women besting the Aussies in the final and the men toppling the USA. 

6. Return of old faces to Wallabies fold

The beginning the Rugby Championship this season unveiled a new-look, and yet, somewhat familiar, Wallabies squad for the run home towards the Rugby World Cup. Nic White, James O'Connor and Luke Jones were among the names that returned to the Test fold for the first time since heading overseas to play. White's impact was so great that he was among the top five in this year's John Eales Medal count while O'Connor made the World Cup squad from the Wallabies wilderness. The new year was opened with a tough Test against the Springboks in Johannesburg and the Wallabies finished with just two wins from the tournament but it was the first squad unveiling that certainly set some tongues wagging.

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