Australia, which on Sunday beat Portugal 34-14, with the attacking bonus, have not yet been officially eliminated from the 2023 World Cup and will have to wait a week in France to find out the outcome of next Sunday’s Fiji-Portugal match, likely before returning home. .she.
After their improved victory over Lobos (Wolves), 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 from the group stage. For the first time in their history.
But their fate is no longer in their own hands: they must hope to defeat Fiji, with no additional points, offensive or defensive, within 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.
– Portuguese audacity –
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.
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 was also made more difficult by the Portuguese, so virtuoso, driven by a victorious pitch to their cause, tearing up every defensive move, circling when in possession, who would finally be stagnant. Only when they were outnumbered.
They even punctuated their performance with a well-deserved second try, through their substitute No. 8, Rafael Simões (70).
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, Australia’s master of the game when he ruled world rugby in 1999.
That is all the Wallabies will be looking to achieve once again before their next world meeting, on home soil, in four years. They go from a very long distance. The construction site is huge.