Five things we learned from the Wallabies win over Wales

The one per centers matter

Little gets past Schmidt and he notices every player’s individual efforts at the breakdown, regardless of how slight, they all make a difference. His halfback Jake Gordon played a crucial and unsung role in prop Taniela Tupou’s 20th minute try that typified the selfless approach Schmidt expects.

The Wallabies were moving into their seventh phase with the Welsh tryline beckoning. With nobody else there, the halfback stepped in to secure the ball, acting as an auxiliary backrower.

It ultimately gave Australia the perfect platform for Tupou to launch his body at the tired Welsh defence and score the first try.

The Wallaby way is still in fashion

Schmidt’s teams often get unfairly labelled as risk-averse, happier to rely on box kicks from the halfbacks and well-researched strike plays rather than playing what is in front of them.

After having a relatively quiet game, full back Tom Wright’s brilliant 68th minute try showed that the Wallaby way can still be taken.

After receiving the ball from debutant Tom Lynagh, he launched into a mazy run that he had no business completing from his own half.

Lined up by two Welsh defenders, Wright dummied the ball to Andrew Kellaway, and hit a small gap that he squeezed through. After sprinting half the field, he had only Welsh centre Mason Grady to beat, which he did with immaculate footwork.

It was a fraction of a chance, the easiest and safest option would have been to kick for territory, especially given the Wallabies only held an 18-16 lead with 12 minutes left on the clock.

Wright decided to run the ball, take a chance and completely changed the game for the Wallabies.

The future is bright and gold

The victory against Wales included seven debutants  with breakaway Charlie Cale and prop Isaac Kailea the picks of the new Wallabies.

Cale won a crucial lineout steal late in the game which highlighted the mobility of the talented young Brumbie who enjoyed a strong season in Super Rugby. Kailea was a ball of energy, beaming throughout his time on the pitch as he threw himself into defence.

Given the huge workload on veteran James Slipper in the absence of injured Angus Bell, Kailea had the perfect opportunity to shine and he took it. Remarkably, Kailea only moved to the front row in 2018, after previously playing all of his rugby as a breakaway.

Schmidt has sent out a clear signal that there are chances to make the Wallabies jumper your own, regardless of caps.

Wallabies pose for a team photo after their victory.

Wallabies pose for a team photo after their victory.Credit: Getty Images

Strike moves with grunt

At just eight minutes into the game, Wallabies fans got a glimpse into a classic Schmidt strike move. It was brutal, brief and effective. Schmidt always wants his decoy runners to keep defenders guessing until the last moment and this worked perfectly. After receiving the ball on his 10-metre line, five-eighth Noah Lolesio missed two decoy runners in Rob Valentini and Fraser McReight both of who were demanding the ball.

Inside centre Hunter Paisami was the man to get the ball and dealt in microseconds, as he received it totally flat on the gainline, getting pounded by Wales outside centre Mason Grady.

Paisami was in Grady’s face, took the brutal contact and somehow managed to get a perfect pass to winger Andrew Kellaway who surged through a gap at pace. It was a mix of brains and brawn that gave Wallabies an insight into the mind of Schmidt.


Each player will already be expected to know their roles implicitly and contribute to how the team plays.

The Tests against Wales and Georgia are providing the perfect lab for Schmidt to invest in research and development. Some things will work, other won’t, now is the time to experiment.

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