Wallabies’ lucky World Cup escape

Scotland

A couple of minutes short of full-time and I was ready to call an end to our Rugby World Cup campaign.

We were two points behind a Scottish outfit that had just intercepted yet another errant Wallabies pass to score what looked like a match-winning try.

Time was fast running out. We were all over the shop. And it was raining, Glasgow style. The Scots were as happy as pigs in the proverbial.

As for us, we were flat out holding on to the ball when it was dry. We had Buckley’s now.

“Imagine if this comes down to a penalty kick by Foley,” I tweeted, more in desperation than hope.

And then it did.

One lucky lineout penalty and Bernard Foley was lining up the biggest kick of his career for a place in the semis.

Twitter went into meltdown over referee Craig Joubert’s call. But as Wallabies coach Michael Cheika pointed out afterwards: “You’ve still got to kick it.”

Which was no sure thing. Last weekend and the weekend before, you’d bet your house that Foley would put the ball through the sticks.

But his GPS inexplicably deserted him against Scotland. It took him four kicks before he found his range. Had he landed the first three, I wouldn’t have been sitting on the couch at 4am with a resting heart rate of 170.

Foley moved in for the do-or-die kick, Australia did a collective sphincter clench, we live to play another day and Craig Joubert can add Scotland to the list of countries it’s not safe for him to visit.

There’s winning ugly and then there’s whatever that was at Twickenham, where we’ve racked up three wins in a row for the first time ever.

As rugby goes, it was about as pretty as Stephen Moore’s nose. Our scrum and defence, World Cup talking points of the past two weeks, went to custard.

We couldn’t kick a ball without some rampaging Scotsman charging it down. And we seemed to forget the fundamentals of the game, like only pass to the blokes wearing yellow.

On the other side of the park, Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw, a haggis-like nugget of a man pictured below mid-spit, was kicking goals one after the other, like he’d stolen Foley’s boots.

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Four northern-southern hemisphere match-ups. Four southern hemisphere wins. The Rugby World Cup has become the Rugby Championship by default.

Compared with the All Blacks, who made their match-up with France look like a pool game against Uruguay, we’re a long way short of where we need to be.

But you can bet Cheika will be taking the steel-toed boots to the collective Wallabies rump over the coming week.

As for the rest of us, we need to get down on our knees and start praying hard for Dave Pocock’s injured left calf. His leg may not be as bad as this guy’s but our World Cup is stuffed without him.

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