White helps Aussies to bounce back

white uruguay.jpg
Exeter Chiefs and Australia scrum-half Nic White finds his path blocked by a Uruguay defender during today's Rugby World Cup encounter. Picture: www.jmpuk.com

By Mark Stevens

Nic White helped Australia return to winning ways at the Rugby World Cup as they overcame Uruguay 45-10 in Oita.

The Exeter Chiefs scrum-half played for 51 minutes before being replaced by Will Genia against their South American rivals.

Again, Michael Cheika’s Wallabies were guilty of a slow start, but they rallied well in the second half to record a comfortable victory.

Australia only led 7-3 in the 24th minute before hitting their straps and scoring another six tries in a win that all but guarantees Australia qualification through to the quarter-finals.

Against Fiji, the Wallabies fell behind by nine points and in their second match against Wales they were forced to try and mow down a 26-8 deficit, falling just short.

Speaking after the game, Cheika said slow starts were a recurring theme and joked he might have to give the group more of a rev-up before kick-off.

“I thought we were just off the pace a little bit at the start and that’s three times now,” Cheika said. “Three games we’ve been off the pace a little at the start so I don’t know, I’ll have to get my pre-match speech a little bit better.

"Not that we haven’t played well, we’ve sort of just been a little less consistent in the first 20 minutes ... it gets you off on the wrong foot. We need to go into games a bit faster.We were in it in the first half nicely but it looked like we were a click away and then we got the pace up in the second half.

“The [Uruguay] guys are big-hearted and they take it to you,” Cheika said. “They have improved since the last World Cup and we have seen that directly because we played them.”

While three teams have made World Cup finals after losing pool matches, none have been able to go on and win the William Ellis Cup. And despite a four-point loss to Wales last week, Cheika was optimistic about doing what none have before.

“We’ve got to make some history,” Cheika said. “I’ll back my lads, when they’ve got their minds on something, especially this team, I back them to be able to do that. We want to be that team, we want to be the team that does make history.”

Wallabies outside-centre Tevita Kuridrani was named man of the match following his two-try haul, while there were further touchdowns for Dane Haylett-Petty (2), Jordan Petaia, James Slipper and Genia with fly-half Christian Lealiiifano landing five conversions.

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