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International Rugby: Five things that will delight Australia

Australia got the 2022 campaign off to the best possible start with a 30-28 win over England in Perth on Saturday night and can now move forward to the second Test in Brisbane full of confidence.

The Wallabies had not beaten the old enemy since way back in 2015 and can take plenty of heart from the way they snapped the losing streak at Optus Stadium.

Dave Rennie’s side had a tough end to 2021 when losing the spring tour to the UK 3-0. They lost to England, Wales and Scotland and it was important they got 2022 off on the right foot.

They did just that despite playing most of the game with 14 men, while they also suffered a big setback just before the game when losing Quade Cooper to injury.

Cooper felt tightness in his calf and rather than take any risks he watched on from the sidelines as his teammates got the job done.

It was a great night for the Wallabies but what were the five highlights?


The spirit in the Wallabies ranks is strong

Teams of the past would have surrendered when being reduced to 14 men. However the dismissal of Darcy Swain, who was sent off for a headbutt, galvanised the Wallabies side.

They also had to cope with the disruption of losing Cooper just before kick-off. Not only that they lost Tom Banks to a broken arm and Allan Alaalatoa to concussion in the first half.

But again the Wallabies coped well with the setbacks and got the job done. That can only bode well for the future.

To clinch the series against England and have a strong 2022, Australia will need to be united and up for the battle. All the evidence from the first Test suggests that is the case.


World Cup hopes given a boost

The Wallabies are priced at 12/1 to win the 2023 World Cup in France and they will be out to cause an upset.

The likes of France, England and New Zealand may be more fancied but Australia have the tournament in their sights.

It is only one game, and very early days still. However many believe the Wallabies have fired an early warning shot with the win over England.

South Africa did something similar when beating New Zealand a year out from the 2019 World Cup. Could Australia tread a similar path?

This year was always going to be huge for Rennie and his players and they have started in the best possible way. If they can win the series then it will be a huge statement ahead of the World Cup.


The Wallabies have unearthed a new star fullback

It may have happened in sad circumstances, but Australia have found a new star fullback in the form of Andrew Kellaway.

Kellaway made his way from the wing to fullback after Banks left the field with a broken arm. The Japan-bound 28-year-old may now have played his last Test but Rennie can sleep soundly knowing he has a replacement.

Kellaway did not put a foot wrong the whole game and was one of the stars of the show. He was safe under the high ball, showed good hands and his kicking game was also on point.

Is sure to be the Wallabies new No.15 moving forward.


Dave Porecki had a great debut

The Wallabies hooker had an outstanding game on debut. England suggested they were out to target Porecki but he more than stood up to the test, keeping a cool head, while others were losing theirs.

Going off his first appearance in gold, Porecki looks to have what it takes to play at the highest level. His line-out throws were on the money, with just one blip to report.

Among other things, his ball carries were also solid and he was another huge plus for the Wallabies in the west.
 

Samu Kerevi is at the top of his game

Kerevi did not play in the spring tour at the end of 2021 and his performance on Saturday night showed how much he was missed in the UK.

He showed how important he is to this Wallabies side and he has to stay injury free and playing if Australia are to go on to bigger and better things.

Kerevi was a monster with his powerful, surging runs that continually put England on the back foot.

It was a performance that earned him the man-of-the match award.

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