Wales & Australia Player Ratings – 1st Test
15. Leigh Halfpenny – 7
Another good performance from the Cardiff Blue, comfortable at full back or on the wing. 14 points to add to his international tally but will need to offer more in attack.
14. Alex Cuthbert – 7
Grabbed the crucial try that brought Wales back into the game and added in a try-saving tackle on Rob Horne.
13. Jonathan Davies– 6
Looked rusty after such a long time out and it showed in the odd poor pass. Still a fine talent who will get better as the tour goes on.
12. Scott Williams – 6
Clunked it up the middle in the manner of Jamie Roberts but to little effect. Under pressure from Ashley Beck for his shirt ahead of next week’s test.
11. George North – 6
Showed promise but forced to withdraw early due to injury. His presence was missed and the back line re-jig did not boost Wales’ chances.
10. Rhys Priestland – 4
A concern. This was more the Priestland we saw at Twickenham in the Six Nations rather than the version that dazzled at the Rugby World Cup. Indecisive and poor distribution meant that Wales failed to get going in the backs.
9. Mike Phillips – 5
Completely outshone by his opposite man Will Genia, the chaos at the breakdown didn’t give Phillips an easy afternoon and it showed through his passing.
1. Gethin Jenkins – 6
A good afternoon around the park but failed to completely dominate what was an expected area of superiority against Sekope Kepu.
2. Ken Owens – 6
A surprise pick over Matthew Rees but gave a good showing in the scrum and lineout, where Wales won 7/7 in the first half.
3. Adam Jones – 6
Much like Jenkins, was subdued in an area where Wales were expected to be on top. Will need to be more effective in the 2nd Test.
4. Bradley Davies – 7
An all-action display on his return to the Wales shirt, with plenty of big tackles and powerful runs.
5. Luke Charteris – 5
Very poor in comparison to Davies, nowhere near his World Cup form, hence his selection against the Brumbies for Tuesday. Disappointing.
6. Dan Lydiate – 7
Top of the tackle charts again (18), Lydiate is the master of unseen. A rare positive in the pack along with Davies.
7. Sam Warburton – 6
Did not look entirely fit in the first half when he was struggling to cope with the pace of the Wallaby back row. Improved as the game progressed but Pocock won the battle.
8. Toby Faletau – 5
One of his poorest performances thus far in international rugby and to top it off is now out of the tour through injury.
Ryan Jones made a strong case to be included at number 8 for the 2nd Test, whilst James Hook struggled at full back but could well come in at 10 for the struggling Priestland. The re-shuffle following North’s departure upset the rhythm but the reality was Wales started too slowly.
15. Adam Ashley-Cooper – 7, 14. Cooper Vuna – 6, 13. Rob Horne – 7, 12. Pat McCabe – 8, 11. Digby Ioane – 6, 10. Berrick Barnes – 8, 9. Will Genia – 9; 1. Benn Robinson – 7, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau – 7, 3. Sekope Kepu – 6, 4. Rob Simmons – 6, 5. Nathan Sharpe – 7, 6. Scott Higginbotham – 7, 7. David Pocock – 8, 8. Wycliff Palu – 7
The Wallabies control at half-back was simply outstanding. Barnes has had a torrid season for the Waratahs but his kicking from hand was excellent, matched by the control of Genia. The Reds scrum-half had a rough start to the season but has kicked on in recent weeks, producing a few solo efforts such as the gem we saw on Saturday. McCabe restored the Wallabies attacking threat in midfield whilst the lineout wasn’t perfect but held firm, much like the scrum. An encouraging performance after Tuesday’s nightmare against Scotland.
by Ben Coles