Just a week after their humiliating defeat to Samoa, the Australian Rugby Union team is back on the public’s good side, following a 39-20 win over South Africa in the first game of the Tri Nations.
Quade Cooper continued his impressive Super Rugby form to create the game’s opening try, with a superb dummy and burst from his own 22 helping clear the way for Ben Alexander. Digby Ioane scored a great try of his own, running more than half the pitch to touch down. The Wallabies had extended their lead to 39-6 by the hour-mark, courtesy of tries from James O’Connor, Stephen Moore and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Two late tries for South Africa made the scoreline a bit more respectable, but couldn’t hide their lack of pace and guile. They head to Wellington to take on New Zealand on Saturday.
There are some moments in sport you just don’t forget, and Sunday’s Western Derby between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles will live in my memory for years to come.
As the siren sounded for the end of the game, the Eagles were leading the Dockers by two points. But before Eagles supporters could even rise from their seats, their celebrations were cut short by free kick given against Matt Rosa for deliberately hitting the ball out of bounds, giving Dockers forward Hayden Ballantyne one last shot to snatch victory from a little over 50 metres.
The resulting punt looked a certain six points in the air, but fell just short. Ballantyne, who had already turned away in celebration, was stunned by the umpire’s decision to award just a single point.
The significance of bragging rights in a city as small as Perth cannot be understated, and the win means the Eagles have now done the derby double for 2011.
Historic drama aside, it was quite a straight forward week, with Sydney, Collingwood, Geelong, North Melbourne and Hawthorn claiming victories.
You would have to have been living under a rock to have missed the excitement over Cadel Evans’ Tour de France win, and even then it would probably have filtered through. The “yellforcadel” hashtag trended on Twitter and every news, sports and current affairs show made reference to the victory.
All the attention was hardly surprising given the scale of the achievement, with Evans becoming the first Australian and just the third non-European to win the prestigious event. The finale was a big winner for free to air broadcaster SBS with around 2.5 million viewers (around 10% of the population) tuning in to the conclusion.