RWC 2011: Australia Player Ratings v Wales

15. Kurtley Beale – 4/10
Sad to see him come off early on in the match with a recurrence of the hamstring injury that kept him out of the semi-final against the All Blacks.

14. James O’Connor – 7/10
A solid match once again for O’Connor. He’s showing that he can be relied on for place kicking and his attacking initiative as he capitalised on the breaks that he made. He said that he wants to move more into the midfield, with performances like that it’s surely an option to put him at 13.

13. Adam Ashley-Cooper – 6/10
It was the match that could have been for Adam Ashley-Cooper. The history books will tell you the score line but some may not mention the utility back’s two knock-ons by the try line. Other than that he was excellent in defence, something that he’s really shown throughout the tournament.

12. Berrick Barnes – 8/10
Had an excellent game in which the fans and press were left wondering, “Why hasn’t he started much in this competition?” He showed his adaptability in moving to fly-half when Cooper came off injured and bossed the game like any good 10 should do. He deserved the Man of the Match award for his efforts, plus that try of his was excellent.

11. Digby Ioane – 6/10
A quiet game for Ioane as most of his role was to keep George North in check. Came off his wing every so often to be more involved in the game and he put in some good tackles.

10. Quade Cooper – 5/10
On the occasion where Quade Cooper finally started playing well in this World Cup the match was ended part way through the first half for him as he went off having done some damage to his ACL. This means surgery and at least six months out for him

9. Will Genia – 6/10
A much improved performance from Genia following the semi-final as he was creative and gave the backs that vital quick ball. Had no problems adjusting to Barnes outside him when Cooper went off.

1. James Slipper – 7/10
I thought he might struggle against a strong Welsh scrum but Slipper did very well in this game. He made some good carries and put in the hard work where needed, including in the creation of Ben McCalman’s try.

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau – 6/10
Was slightly awry with the ball in the line out but besides that he had a decent match, including a great hit on Shane Williams.

3. Salesi Ma’afu – 6/10
Another solid performance, doing well against Welsh captain Gethin Jenkins in what was a great display in the scrum from all of the forwards: showing that the hard work that they have put in has paid off.

4. James Horwill (c) – 7/10
He led from the front and he did it well. Horwill was always a presence on the pitch and a calming influence on the players. He had a very decent all round game.

5. Nathan Sharpe – 6/10
In his 100th test, Nathan Sharpe had a really good game, until he got injured as he was dropped in the line out in the first half. He fought on through the pain though, doing very well on just the one leg until Rob Simmons replaced him.

6. Scott Higginbotham – 7/10
Had an excellent game on the blindside, working well with his back row colleagues. He was all over the pitch, putting in tackles and doing well with the ball in hand. Perhaps he’s finally been able to oust Rocky Elsom out of the starting jersey.

7. David Pocock – 7/10
Following the semi-final performance against Richie McCaw, Pocock was back at his best on Friday, albeit against the makeshift openside Toby Faletau due to Sam Warburton’s ban. He secured turnover ball and was generally a nuisance to the Welsh at the break down.

8. Ben McCalman – 7/10
One of his best games in a Wallabies jersey came with the reward of an excellent try. McCalman was always about, trying to force gaps in the Welsh defence as well as being a good support player. He’s slowly becoming the finished article.

Replacements:
16. Saia Faingaa – 5/10
Had a good half an hour on the pitch. His line out work was good as was his scrummaging. Put in a fair bit of hard work.

17. Ben Alexander – 5/10
Came on for Ma’afu in the last quarter and played well all round in the 20 minutes he had.

18. Rob Simmons – 6/10
It was a surprise that we didn’t see Simmons earlier when Sharpe first got injured but when he eventually did come on he played well, put in some good tackles but still has some work to do to pass Sharpe and Vickerman for the second lock spot.

19. Radike Samo – 5/10
Replaced the captain with 10 minutes to go and carried on where Horwill left off.

20. Luke Burgess – 6/10
Came on for his last test match before his move to Toulouse and was a vital part of proceedings from the word go. Was the main cog in setting up McCalman’s try and he always adds a bit of buzz to the game whenever he comes off the bench. Burgess will be missed by the Wallabies.

21. Anthony Faingaa – 6/10
Came on for Quade Cooper midway through the first half and played well, helping to minimise the impact of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies with Rob Horne.

22. Rob Horne – 6/10
Came on early for Kurtley Beale and moved to the centres to allow Ashley-Cooper to slot in at full back. Worked well with Barnes and then Ant Faingaa at nullifying the Welsh attack.

by Rachel Simmonite