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Three things we learned in this weekend’s rugby internationals
We take a look at the talking points from the weekend, when Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the USA were all in action.
New Zealand got back to winning ways in Washington while Australia secured a fifth consecutive victory when they took on Japan in Oita this weekend.
Both matches were full of incident and for the All Blacks, Brave Blossoms and Wallabies served as useful warm-ups for their European tours.
Here are three things we learned from the action…
Australian rebuild continues under Rennie
The Wallabies warmed up for their tour of the UK next month with what proved to be a hard-fought victory against Japan in Oita.
Quade Cooper produced a couple of moments of trademark magic to help Australia build a 27-13 lead, as the Wallabies crossed the whitewash four times in the opening 52 minutes.
The pick of those scores arrived early in the second half. Australia’s third try of the match came from a well-worked lineout move down the blindside that finished with Taniela Tupou crashing over.
Len Ikitau, Nic White, Cooper and Folau Fainga’a were all then involved as Robert Leota touched down in the left corner following a flowing team move.
🤝 What it’s all about. Thank you @JRFURugby.#Wallabies #JPNvAUS @CadburyAU @eToroAU pic.twitter.com/i8q91LNeTM— Wallabies (@wallabies) October 24, 2021
The Wallabies looked set to record a routine win but it is to their credit that the team was able to withstand waves of Japanese pressure as the replacements’ bench was emptied.
Connal McInerney grabbed the match-securing score just over a minute from the end as the Wallabies chalked up a fifth successive test win for the first time in six years.
Brave Blossoms look in good shape ahead of European tour
Anyone who thought Japan might have peaked with their historic run to the Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter-finals was proved wrong once again on Saturday.
This was only the Brave Blossoms’ third test since losing in the last eight of their home Rugby World Cup two years ago, but it is testament to how far the team has come that they will have been disappointed not to beat the team currently third in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings.
Despite conceding two tries in the opening 22 minutes, Japan found a way back into the contest when Lomano Lemeki finished from close range. Ryoto Nakamura’s intercept then set up a nervy 20 minutes for the Wallabies.
A Yu Tamura penalty meant the deficit was down to just four points with six minutes remaining at the Showa Denco Dome, but despite a period of pressure from the hosts they were unable to find the try that would have put them in front.
Defeat will sting, but the Brave Blossoms will be better for the hit-out as they prepare to take on Ireland, Portugal and Scotland in November.
Jordan takes his chance to shine
New Zealand winger Will Jordan was the biggest winner as coach Ian Foster rotated his All Blacks team for the 104-14 defeat of the USA.
Jordan, who scored three tries during the recent Rugby Championship, equalled that tally in 71 minutes in Washington, DC, as he claimed a hat-trick.
His first try arrived just 10 minutes in as he gathered his own chip ahead to score in the corner and he profited from a set-piece move before half-time.
Jordan’s third try was arguably the best as he took a pass from the back of a lineout before dummying the covering defender and touching down.
He now has an incredible 15 tries in only 10 test matches and his work around the park was impressive on Saturday at FedEx Field.
All Blacks coach Foster was happy to report his team made it through the contest without any injuries and Jordan will now hope to see some game time in Europe, where New Zealand take on Wales, Italy, Ireland and France over the next four weekends.