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Wallabies wounded, wary, after reality check

Sep 22nd, 2011 | By | Category: Latest News, News, Sport

IMAGE: Fairfax

The Wallabies and the USA Eagles meet in a crucial game in Wellington for both teams if they hope to make the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup. 

Both sides have currently played two games, earning a win and a loss apiece, with each team losing to Ireland.

Australian Will Genia, pictured right, has been handed the captaincy for the first time and will run out as the 78th Australian test captain.

He told the Wallabies website, he is not expecting it to all go the Australian’s way at Wellington Regional Stadium.

“The United States showed against Ireland that they are a totally committed opponent” says Genia.

“Our own performance against Ireland, which was not up to the high standards we set for ourselves, will only have offered the Americans further encouragement”

Ahead of the fixture, the Dominion Post has reported Australia coach Robbie Deans as telling his players that they had to step their efforts up if they hoped for this world cup to be a successful campaign.

”This is an important game and we want to see some adjustment,” Deans said Wednesday night. ”We’ve got to see an adjustment from our experience last weekend”.

Much of that “adjustment” may revolve around the breakdown, where Australia only won 86% of the rucks they took the ball into, compared to Ireland’s 97%.

Austtralia also conceded 16 turnovers and 12 penalties compared to Ireland’s nine turnovers and eight penalties.

While the USA lost to Ireland by 12 points as opposed to the 9 Australia lost to Ireland by, the Americans managed to do against the Irish what the Australians couldn’t – score a try.

Despite the Irish defeat, Australia is firm favourite for the fixture, having played the USA six times – each resulting in a Wallaby victory.

That is not to say though that the Eagles are not dreaming of an upset, with Australia nursing injuries to players in key positions.

“It’s not impossible, is it?” USA tour captain Todd Clever told Rugby News Service.

The Australian injury list currently includes key players Digby Ioane, James O’Connor, Scott Higginbotham, Saia Faingaa and loose forward sensation David Pocock.

Sports writers such as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Greg Growden and New Zealand Herald’s Chris Rattue believe the absence of Pocock and Stephen Moore in the loss to Ireland was apparent, allowing the Irish forwards to dictate play to the Australian pack who had no response.

The NewsWire team will be covering the game, giving fan reactions and post game comments.

USA: Blaine Scully, Colin Hawley, Tai Enosa, Junior Sifa, Kevin Swiryn, Nese Malifa; Tim Usasz (capt), Shawn Pittman, Phil Thiel, Eric Fry, Scott LaValla, Hayden Smith, Inaki Basauri, Pat Danahy, JJ Gagiano.

Replacements: Brian McClenahan, Matekitonga Moeakiola, Louis Stanfill, Nic Johnson, Mike Petri, Roland Suniula, Chris Wyles.

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley Cooper, Anthony Faingaa, Robert Horne, Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, Will Genia (captain), James Slipper, Tatafu Polota Nau, Ben Alexander, Rob Simmons, Nathan Sharpe, Scott Higginbotham, Ben McCalman, Wycliff Palu.

Replacements: Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu, Dan Vickerman, Radike Samo, Luke Burgess, Berrick Barnes, Pat McCabe.

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is a journalism student at Whitireia who likes nothing more than a good scoop. Except for maybe a double scoop.
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