After their improved victory over Portugal (34-14), on Sunday in Saint-Etienne, there is still little chance for the Wallabies to qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Cup in France, and above all to avoid being eliminated in the group stage. For the first time in their history. It all falls to the Fijians who face Portugal in a week’s time.
Australia, which won on Sunday, October 1, over Portugal (34-14), thanks to the offensive bonus, has not officially exited the 2023 World Cup, and will have to wait a week in France to find out the result of the Fiji-Portugal match next Sunday, before most likely returning home. .
The Wallabies’ fate is no longer in their hands: they must hope to defeat Fiji, with no bonus points, offensive or defensive, in a week in Toulouse. Which seems highly unlikely.
However, the Portuguese, who produced an impressive performance despite their opening defeat against Wales (28-8) and during their draw against Georgia (18-18), repeated, at the Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium, the overwhelming impression that they will leave anyway at the end of this season. season. world Cup.
During the first ten minutes of the match, they monopolized the ball and swept the field from left to right, which made the Australians completely retreat to another place, to score the first attempt in the match, which was concluded by midfielder Pedro Bettencourt (13).
The same Bettencourt, the author of the high tackle, who was punished with a yellow card (sixteenth), allowed the Australians to get up, despite himself.
At 15 versus 14, against a third-tier team in the world, they scored three tries in less than ten minutes thanks to Richie Arnold (19), David Borecki (21) and Angus Bell (26).
With the game all but decided, the Wallabies still need to score a fourth try to claim the attacking bonus, and have an extra week of holiday at Saint-Galmier, in the Loire, their luxury base camp.
Record for Australian support James Sleeper
At 15 to 15, the game was becoming increasingly difficult for Australia, very lackluster, its only advantage being an obvious desire to redeem its image a little.
It is also made more difficult by the Portuguese, who are so daring, so driven by a winning pitch to their cause, so tearing up every defensive move, circling when in possession, that they will finally be stagnant. Only when they were outnumbered. They even punctuated their performance with a thoroughly deserved second try, courtesy of substitute No. 8, Rafael Simões (70th).
Australia got its bonus point in the 47th minute after a try from Fraser McCreight (29-7). Prop James Sleeper (34 years old) had just come out of his 22nd match in the World Cup and broke the record for the largest number of matches played in this competition by an Australian, surpassing the legend George Gregan.
Gregan, the master of Australian play when he dominated world rugby in 1999. That is all the Wallabies will be looking to achieve again before the next world meeting, on home soil, in four years. They go from a very long distance. The construction site is huge.
With Agence France-Presse