Southern lights dazzle more than just penguins across China

Aurora Australis captured by amateur photographer Claire Stribbles Photo: Claire Stribbles PhotographyHanging out to visit some far off lands to witness the awe-inspiring northern lights?
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Then unpack your bags and look closer to home for a spectacular vision of our very own aurora australis, or southern lights.

The aurora borealis was seen over Derwentwater, near Keswick, in England on Thursday. The show was also visible on Wednesday over parts of Victoria and Tasmania.

But the Washington Post story on the natural phenomenon drew some derision from readers of The Age after it stated only penguins were around to watch the display Down Under.

Amateur photographer and aurora chaser Claire Stribbles captured some amazing photos of the show at her home in Cape Paterson, near Wonthaggi, 132 south-east of Melbourne. 

Ms Stribbles said she was out for just three hours on Wednesday night when she captured some colourful pictures with her Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

“The lights were out all night,” she said.

“It was going strong …on Thursday … but seemed to have died down by the time it got dark last night.”

Ms Stribbles said there were lots of people out trying to watch the show, including at Eagles Nest, near Cape Paterson.

“There are people who go along Geelong, Bells Beach, Werribee, Flinders on the eastern side of Melbourne,” she said.

“Kilcunda, Phillip Island – just all along the coast.”

Ms Stribbles said she had been chasing auroras for the past one year.

“The northern lights are always stronger and easier to see with the naked eye,” she said.

“The Wednesday one was the biggest one I have ever seen.

“When you see it with the naked eye …the northern lights you can see in colour, but out here, because we are so far away from the South Pole, it comes up in monochrome.”

Success! Happy with tonight’s Aurora hunt! Here’s a few shots I got tonight!Posted by Claire Stribbles Photography on  Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The try that created the pool of death

Wallabies face biggest challenge yetSam Burgess dropped for EnglandWhite puts hand up for England job
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As the dust settles from England’s humiliation at their own Rugby World Cup, the blame-game is well and truly under way. Stuart Lancaster, Sam Burgess and organisers World Rugby have all been held accountable over the past few days for England’s exit, as well as Bernard Foley who led to their 33-13 victory at Twickenham with 28 points.

But as fate would have it, none of those people are responsible for England’s demise. In fact, the cause of England’s misery rests with one person. ‘s Kurtley Beale.

On a cold December day in Cardiff in 2012, came up against Wales in the final game of their Spring Tour. Wales were on a seven-match losing streak and were desperate to break it against the Robbie Deans-led Wallabies.

As it happened, the Test was organised by the Welsh Rugby Union outside the designated November window, with the sole intention of increasing revenue. Had they opted against the match, they may have prevented England’s current malaise.

Those who remember that game will tell you of the dramatic finale as Beale scored a try in the corner in the last-minute. The end score was 14-12 to the Wallabies, with Beale grabbing all 14 points.

Just two months before that game, Wales were ranked fifth in the world. They were still riding the wave of reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup a year before and winning a Six Nations grand slam seven months earlier. But after Beale broke Welsh hearts, they fell to ninth in the rankings.

Just days later, World Rugby made the draw for this year’s Rugby World Cup, with seedings based on the then world rankings.

Wales, in ninth place, were sent into the ‘Pool of Death’ with and England, setting the scene for the most difficult pool in World Cup history.

Determining the pools on rankings almost three years before the event has drawn scorn and ridicule across the rugby world, especially when considering that , England and Wales were ranked two, three and four in the world just over a week ago.

World Rugby has suggested they may change this approach for the 2019 event in Japan, but that is of little comfort to a bewildered English nation trying to pick up the pieces of their failed campaign.

So if the English are trying to attribute blame for their absence from the knockout stages of the World Cup, they need look no further than Beale. And I’m sure he wouldn’t mind too much.

Rugby World Cup 2015: Stephen Larkham puts Wallabies success ahead of decision on future

LONDON: World Cup-winner Stephen Larkham will wait until next year to decide if he can commit to Michael Cheika’s Wallabies program as he continues to juggle his Super Rugby coaching job.
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Larkham is yet to indicate whether he will stay on as the Wallabies’ attack coach beyond the end of the World Cup.

The champion five-eighth has put his ACT Brumbies job to one side as he focuses on helping the Wallabies lift the World Cup for the first time since he was the team’s linchpin in 1999.

Cheika has brought together technically astute minds to boost the Wallabies’ campaign, with Larkham joining former teammate Nathan Grey and Argentina great Mario Ledesma on the coaching staff.

Ledesma has said he wants to stay a part of Cheika’s team, while Grey will return to his assistant role with the NSW Waratahs.

But Larkham has the most significant commitment as the Brumbies head coach and he said he would wait until he returns to Canberra before deciding if he can handle both.

“I’ve got to have a look at the Super Rugby schedule and digest that,” Larkham said.

“I’m pretty focused here [in London] at the moment and I want to finish the job. But I would say sometime early in the new year I’ll make a decision [on continuing with the Wallabies].”

Larkham knocked back a last-minute offer to join Cheika and the Wallabies on the end of year spring tour of Europe last year to make the Brumbies his No.1 priority.

Cheika wanted Larkham on the coaching team, but it’s understood the ARU and Brumbies had to come to an agreement about who would pay his contract while he was on duty with the Wallabies.

Larkham is yet to speak to the Brumbies about a longer-term arrangement with the Wallabies and Cheika, and is focused on leading the ACT side back to the top of Super Rugby.

But his immediate goal is helping guide the Wallabies to international glory at the World Cup.

The Wallabies played their last pool game against Wales on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT) and will move to the quarter-final stages next week.

Teaming up with Cheika presented an interesting dynamic with the pair having to down their Waratahs-Brumbies rivalry to focus on a common goal.

It also put Larkham in the unusual position of having to step back as a head coach and narrow his focus to the Wallabies’ attack.

But Larkham, who played 102 Tests for the Wallabies, said Cheika had managed to pull together conflicting interests from around n rugby.

Cheika implemented mid-Super Rugby catch ups the morning after n derbies this year to fast-track the Wallabies’ development.

“And when Cheik gets to focus on Wallabies next year it will give every n player a chance to get better,” Larkham said.

“We haven’t looked at each other as Waratahs coach or Brumbies coach, we’re all on this journey together. I’ve got my responsibilities in the team as do all the coaches. But Cheik gets the final say and that’s easy.”

Ledesma is yet to sign an extended contract, but said he hoped to continue working with the Wallabies’ scrum until at least the three-Test series against England in next year.

“I think [Cheika] is a very genuine guy who tries to make people better and get people to play to their potential, and be a better person,” Ledesma said.

“To be around that energy is really positive. I’m enjoying myself so much, this is where I want to be.”

Don’t get a boot to the backside: Cheika

London: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has warned his players to expect a “boot to our backside” if they rely on momentum to help them beat Wales in a crucial pool match on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT).
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The Wallabies and Wales are fighting for top spot in pool A and a smoother run to the World Cup final when they clash at Twickenham this weekend.

The winner will play against either Scotland or Japan in the quarter-finals, while the loser faces likely back-to-back matches against South Africa and New Zealand.

The Wallabies are riding high after a 33-13 win against England last weekend and are heavy favourites to beat Wales for the 11th straight time.

But after the Wallabies’ yoyo form against New Zealand in August, Cheika is taking no chances and declared momentum would not be a factor against Wales.

The Wallabies beat the All Blacks in the opening Bledisloe Cup match earlier this year to breathe new life into n rugby.

But they were embarrassed a week later when Cheika made several changes before a 41-13 Eden Park mauling.

Asked what momentum the Wallabies could take from their rousing win against England, Cheika said: “None. We supposedly had momentum after we beat New Zealand in Sydney and then they put their boot to our backside.

“That’s what can happen if you are not ‘on’ every single day. Today is a day we have got to be better and enjoy that.

“Make it tough for ourselves but enjoy being in that situation and learn from those times. It is a game we are really looking forward to because it is another step along the way.

“I think the team wanting to move forward and grow as a team needs to be able to take these challenges on and step up and improve. That’s something to work on for us because we have not been in that space before.”

Cheika has called Test rookie Sean McMahon into the starting team to replace Michael Hooper, who was suspended for one week after an illegal ruck cleanout on England’s Mike Brown.

Israel Folau has passed a fitness test and will start at fullback, while Drew Mitchell replaces Rob Horne on the wing. Dean Mumm has been promoted to the starting side ahead of Rob Simmons.

Cheika rubbished suggestions finishing top of their pool would give the Wallabies an easier path to the final.

But being able to avoid showdowns with South Africa and New Zealand would be a major boost.

“This is going to sound maybe a bit silly but [it’s] not necessarily win the group, even though one’s a consequence of the other,” Cheika said.

“I just want to try to win every game, like individually. No team has ever won the World Cup after losing a game and if we want to work on our improvements each week, which you know in tournament play you have to do.

“I don’t subscribe to theory ‘you win the pool you’re going to get an easier run’, because that’s disrespecting the opposition and that’s not what we’re about.”

The Wallabies haven’t lost to Wales since 2008 and can heap more misery on the Red Dragons on the weekend.

Cheika said the challenge for the Wallabies was to “be great” and learn from their disaster against New Zealand two months ago.

“You’ve got to go try to be great and to do that you’ve got to keep backing up the good bits every day,” he said.

“And so we weren’t on that occasion [in the loss to New Zealand] and the one thing you’ve got to take from it is to learn the lesson about improving all the time, even if things go your way. That’s why we’re harping on about it so much because we really believe it.”

Wallabies team: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Matt Giteau, 11. Drew Mitchell, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Will Genia, 8. David Pocock, 7. Sean McMahon, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Dean Mumm, 4. Kane Douglas, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. James Slipper, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Rob Simmons, 20. Ben McCalman, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Kurtley Beale.

McMahon in Wallabies team for Wales showdown

Getting his chance: Sean McMahon, who scored two tries in the Wallabies rout of Uruguay. Photo: Dan MullanRugby World Cup interactive: your guide to every teamFull coverage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup
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LONDON: Sean McMahon will go from medical hero to the World Cup cauldron when the Wallabies unleash their raging bull on Wales at Twickenham on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT).

Just days after carrying a delivery man with a dislocated ankle to the Wallabies’ doctor and then taking him to hospital, McMahon has been called on to fill vice-captain Michael Hooper’s big shoes in a crucial pool match.

McMahon is one of three changes in the Wallabies’ starting side, with ‘s most prolific World Cup try-scorer, Drew Mitchell, and Dean Mumm also getting their opportunity to shine.

Folau has overcome an ankle injury, while Mitchell replaces Rob Horne (shoulder injury) and lock Rob Simmons has been dropped to the bench for Mumm.

McMahon’s whirlwind week has been one to remember after he jumped to action for an unexpected medical situation at the Wallabies’ London hotel.

No one doubts the Test rookie’s unrelenting aggression, especially the teammates he has been belting at training for the past two months. But it was the 21-year-old’s coolness under pressure that was on display when he was called into action to carry a delivery man to the Wallabies’ hotel medical room, help reset his dislocated ankle and then send him to hospital.

The man fell out of the back of his van and landed on his right ankle, suffering a closed dislocation.

He was found on the steps of the hotel and the Wallabies team doctor grabbed McMahon and raced to his aid.

McMahon then carried the delivery man to the medical room, where Sekope Kepu and Adam Ashley-Cooper joined in to whisper words of encouragement while the ankle was relocated before sending him to hospital.

The Wallabies will be hoping McMahon won’t need to do a similar rescue job against Wales, but they’ll take comfort knowing Hooper’s prized No.7 jersey is in safe hands.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika makes no secret of his fondness of the rising star, who throws himself into training drills with unmatched physicality.

His fierce approach is one of the reasons McMahon beat 43-Test veteran Ben McCalman for the back-row spot while Hooper serves a one-match suspension for foul play.

McMahon and McCalman were joint best on ground in the 11-try rout against Uruguay two weeks ago.

But with David Pocock established at No.8, McMahon best suits a straight swap for Hooper to keep continuity in the forward pack.

The winner of the Wallabies-Wales clash will get a smoother run to the World Cup final, playing either Scotland or Japan in the quarter final and avoiding New Zealand and South Africa until the last match.

Folau is being given a chance to prove he has overcome an ankle injury while Mitchell gets his chance to replace Horne.

Mumm was the other surprise selection, with Cheika opting to inject experience into the second row with Simmons shifting to the bench.

McMahon has been banging down the door for more Test game time, but the presence of Hooper and Pocock has limited his opportunities.

“He was here on his first Wallaby tour last year and we saw from the outset the guy was really up for it,” Hooper said of McMahon.

“Really keen to get in and show what he’s worth. He’s shown that in the games against the US and Uruguay with how much he’s bringing to the team and what people don’t see is what’s on the training paddock.”

McMahon will be given Hooper’s job of flying into Welsh attackers and running with aggression.

“Where one door shuts, another one opens,” Wallabies’ defence coach Nathan Grey said.

“We’ve got people who can fill [Hooper’s] role for us and we’ll see how things unfold from that perspective.”

Meanwhile, the Wallabies will shift away from their central London base next week to refocus for the play-off stage of the World Cup.

However, they have shunned England’s multimillion-dollar training base at Pennyhill as the hosts continue to deal with the embarrassment of being bundled out of the tournament in the group stage.

WALLABIES TEAM: 15. Israel Folau, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Matt Giteau, 11. Drew Mitchell, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Will Genia, 8. David Pocock, 7. Sean McMahon, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Dean Mumm, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. James Slipper, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Rob Simmons, 20. Ben McCalman, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Kurtley Beale

Rugby World Cup 2015: Wallabies hold on to beat Wales 15-6 in remarkable try-less win

Tevita Kuridrani is too quick for Dan Biggar. Photo: Dan Mullan Delighted duo: Kane Douglas (right) and Nick Phipps celebrate after the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between and Wales at Twickenham Stadium. Photo: Mike Hewitt
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As it happened: Wales v Solid gold wall puts pride into jersey

LONDON: The Wallabies have delivered one of the most courageous performances in n Test history to beat Wales and secure top spot in the World Cup pool of death.

The Wallabies were down to 13 men for 10 minutes and showed tournament-defining guts and grit as they repelled continuous Wales attacking raids to fight their way to a 15-6 win at Twickenham on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT).

It is being lauded as one of the greatest try-less games after both teams failed to get across the line but were relentless with their attack and brutal defence.

Wales threatened to tear the game apart when Wallabies duo Will Genia and Dean Mumm were sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements while David Pocock limped off as the Dragons launched 10 minutes of unrelenting attack.

They had 93 per cent possession in their attacking 22 metres as the under-manned ns put their bodies on the line and refused to wilt under pressure.

Wales looked certain to score on numerous occasions as they found tiny holes in a brick wall of gold jerseys. They got over the line four times in the match but couldn’t find a way to get the ball on the ground.

Time and time again Wallabies turned up for each other and scrapped their way around the field to somehow survive in an unbelievable and unlikely win.

In the end it was Adam Ashley-Cooper and Kurtley Beale who became the unlikely breakdown heroes, somehow pinching the ball and crushing Wales’ spirit as the Wallabies miraculously held strong.

The only potential sour notes are Pocock’s calf injury, Matt Giteau leaving the field with what appeared to be a recurring rib problem and Israel Folau playing through pain the entire game with an ankle injury.

If ever a game can define a team’s World Cup hopes, this was it.

“You don’t need many messages, you just need to tackle your heart out,” said elated Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

“I’m not sure how we managed it, but I’m glad we did.”

It was always going to be hard to back up a 33-13 win against England last weekend, given the Wallabies played superbly.

But beating Wales was a game built on brutal defence, patience, guts and courage that will make it a famous victory to look back on.

The courage they showed was unbelievable and will earn them world-wide praise as a fired-up Wales fell short and suffered their 11th consecutive loss to the Wallabies.

The win means the Wallabies continued Welsh misery as well as securing perceived easier route to the World Cup final.

They will play Scotland in the quarter-finals next week and avoid showdowns with New Zealand and South Africa until a potential final match-up.

Cheika will sweat on Pocock and Folau’s fitness as they enter the knockout stage of the World Cup.

“I think that’s one of the best wins I’ve been involved in with this team,” said captain Stephen Moore.

“I’m so proud of all the boys. We had to defend with 13 men for a long period and I’m really proud of how we stuck in for each other.

“Not much was said. Just keep getting up off the ground, keep making tackles, keep turning up for each other. Nothing too complicated.

“We haven’t looked beyond this game. This was very important, we’re through the pool stages and we’ll reassess next week.”

Genia was sent to the sin bin in the 57th minute when he was caught offside after a quick tap.

Wales was fired up and got over the line almost instantly, but No.8 Taulupe Faletau lost control of the ball as he slid over the line.

Moments later Mumm was controversially sent to join Genia after grabbing a Welsh lineout jumper in the air.

Wales got over the line again, but desperate defence continued to save the day.

Folau, Kane Douglas, Ben McCalman and Bernard Foley made try-saving tackles.

The defining moment came when veteran Ashley-Cooper rushed up in defence pounced on Wales playmaker Dan Biggar and Beale came into steal the ball.

It was the lowest scoring match between Wales and since 1958 and Wales are still struggling to find a way to beat the ns.

Wales now faces a battle against South Africa in the quarter final and then a semi-final against New Zealand just to keep their World Cup dreams alive.

“We threw everything at , credit to their defence. We backed ourselves to go for a try and we couldn’t get it,” said Wales captain Sam Warburton.

“We threw everything at them, I’m proud of the guys. I couldn’t ask any more of our players.

“[Our route to the final] is tougher, we knew that. But there’s no easy way to a World Cup final. We’ll back ourselves against whoever we play. You’ve got to give credit to , they deserved the win today.”

The Wallabies scrum did so well against England, but it faced a new test against Wales. There were four scrums in the first eight minutes of the game, and Wales put the heat on from the opening minute.

They turned the ball over against the feed and went on the attack before settling for a three-point lead thanks to a penalty and Biggar’s boot.

But the Wallabies’ big men started to get going and after a scrum almost every two minutes, they finally earned a reward in the attacking zone.

It allowed Foley to kick to a narrow lead in a brutal contest of big hits and set-piece power.

Wales tested Folau under the high-ball and the cross-code star looked unusually wobbly in the pressure moments after overcoming an ankle injury to pass a fitness test for the match.

The war of attrition started to take its toll after the break with players spilling blood and battered bodies struggling to rise for the next hit.

McMahon unfazed by Welsh job ahead

LONDON: World Cup rookie Sean McMahon will draw on schoolboy experience to ensure he is up to the biggest challenge of his career when he joins a back-row masterclass at Twickenham.
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But the 21-year-old is unfazed by the butterflies in his stomach or the star names he will crash into when the Wallabies play Wales on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT).

McMahon has vowed to throw himself into every contest with the same ferocity that has earned him a hard-as-nails reputation after just five Tests.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has called on his young gun to fill the “big shoes” left by suspended vice-captain Michael Hooper.

It is a moment even McMahon admits he thought was an impossible dream 12 months ago when he was a bolter in the Wallabies’ spring tour squad.

He will wear the Wallabies’ No.7 jersey and team up with David Pocock to take on Welsh captain Sam Warburton and breakdown expert Justin Tipuric.

And to get him up to speed, Pocock and Hooper have given the Melbourne Rebels hardman some expert guidance to ensure he’s ready for the breakdown battle.

“For the Rebels I basically played [blindside flanker] and I’ve come to No.7 for the Wallabies, it’s been a bit of a learning curve,” McMahon said.

“I kind of knew how to play it because I played a little bit through school.

“To play alongside a world-class player like ‘Poey’ is going be an unbelievable experience. I haven’t had much of a chance to do that so playing alongside him and feeding off him is hopefully only going to improve my game.”

McMahon has a simple approach to stepping up for Hooper – “I’ll just have a dig”.

It is that mentality that has impressed Cheika and earned him a starting XV spot ahead of Ben McCalman.

McMahon is one of the most feared players at Wallabies training, showing no regard for self-preservation and unafraid to mix it with his older teammates.

He wants to transfer that into the match against Wales, promising to take on the physical and defensively aggressive role that Hooper has played.

Pocock’s breakdown prowess will free McMahon up to do what he does best – be a physical menace.

“I’ve probably come out of a game feeling a few bumps and bruises that were probably from myself doing harm more than other players,” McMahon said.

“But it’s always good to bring that physicality to the game and if that’s helping the team, that’s good.

“To be honest, I’m just going out and doing what I do best and that’s playing footy and have a dig.”

Wales will attempt to combat the Wallabies’ double flanker act by sending Warburton and Tipuric into the breakdown contest.

It’s a strategy to negate the influence of Pocock and keep a lid on McMahon’s power.

McMahon is the clear outsider in a group of word-renowned back-rowers. But you only have to ask McMahon’s teammates to get an indication of how bright his future is.

“I don’t think [holding back] is in Seany’s repertoire,” said lock Dean Mumm grinning.

“He’s gung-ho, isn’t he. And he’s good … he deserves his opportunity because of how well he has played in games. I feel he will grasp it with both hands.”

McMahon’s Test debut was a shock appearance against Wales in Cardiff last year.

He said memory of that game was a blur – both good and bad things – but he’s confident he won’t be overawed when he steps on to the big stage.

“I’m excited and I’ve got the butterflies a bit, but they’ll go away coming into the game,” McMahon said.

“It’s more just knowing I’m ready for the game and that build-up because you don’t want to fear failure. Once you get that first touch, the nerves go.

“It’s going to be a big battle [at the breakdown], we’re going to be brutal at the ruck and bring that physicality at the ruck … we’re ready for the challenge.

“I definitely didn’t think I’d be here in 12 months, but being here is exciting and getting an opportunity to play another game is exciting and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Rugby World Cup 2015: Wallabies’ defining World Cup moment as they beat Wales

Veteran impressed: Adam Ashley-Cooper breaks away from Alun Wyn Jones. Photo: Shaun BotterillWallabies showed ‘different skin’No need to rush Pocock returnAs it happened: Wales v Solid gold wall unbreakableSport stars applaud gutsy win
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LONDON: The Wallabies’ most experienced player has declared the team’s monumental win against Wales as “one of the gutsiest I’ve been involved with” and Adam Ashley-Cooper hopes it can be the defining moment of their World Cup campaign.

The Wallabies miraculously held on for a 15-6 win to secure top spot in Pool A and a smoother path through the World Cup play-offs as they defended gallantly for almost an entire half of rugby.

At the same time they extended their winning streak against Wales to 11 games in a row and ignited their World Cup hopes without a try being scored.

Wales got over the line three times in the second half but on each occasion there was a gold jersey holding the ball up and it was 111-Test veteran Ashley-Cooper who changed the game.

With the 13-man Wallabies under the pump and leading by six, Wales appeared certain to score in the 70th minute when Ashley-Cooper rushed up in defence to smash playmaker Dan Biggar.

Kurtley Beale then rushed in and won an unlikely penalty which eased the pressure and allowed the Wallabies to hold on for a historic win.

“Given the circumstances, two men down in a big match in the World Cup, our backs against the wall, it was one of the gutsiest wins I’ve been involved with,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“No one gave up. Everyone here involved is really proud, even guys in suits who weren’t [playing], the expression on their faces and the high-fiving. It was really something to be part of.

“We just gave it everything and there was great character shown … We’re not getting ahead of ourselves. But if we are to go all the way, then that period in defence could be seen as a pivotal moment.”

The Wallabies’ defensive effort has been described as “extraordinary”, “courageous” and “gutsy” as they constantly repelled attacking waves.

They were starved of possession and made twice as many tackles as Wales. But still they refused to wilt under pressure.

All World Cup teams have a defining moment in their campaign. For ‘s 1999 campaign it was Stephen Larkham’s field goal. For the 2007 tournament it was ‘s backwards scrum. And in 2011 it was Quade Cooper’s New Zealand struggles.

But if the Wallabies go on to make it to the World Cup final, it will be their defensive effort against Wales that will provide the foundation.

They will play Scotland in a quarter-final at Twickenham on Sunday (Monday morning AEDT) before taking on either Argentina, Ireland or France in the semi-final.

They have locked in their place on the opposite side of the draw to powerhouses New Zealand and South Africa and have a perceived smoother run through the play-offs.

But Cheika is refusing to allow the players to start dreaming big.

“We’re just keeping our feet on the ground and not getting ahead of ourselves. It’s a long tournament, we’ve got seven hard Tests in a row and we just can’t afford to slip up in any of those games or your World Cup is over,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“We’ve done extremely well to get where we are now. Hopefully we’ve still got three weeks left.”

There were concerns the Wallabies would be underdone after a warm-up game against the United States and then their first two World Cup matches against Fiji and Uruguay.

But they have shown over the past two weeks they are battle hardened, and back-rower Scott Fardy said they would carry that into the finals stages.

“It feels like that for us anyway. Nothing changes, we knew we had to come here and win seven games to win it,” Fardy said.

“That’s been the goal from the start, you come over here win seven and then go home. That’s the plan. We’re not looking further ahead than Scotland though.”

Rugby World Cup 2015: Wallabies put pride back in jersey with epic win against Wales

Powerhouse: Tevita Kuridrani is too quick for Dan Biggar. Photo: Dan Mullan Brought down: David Pocock of is tackled. Photo: Paul Gilham
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Wallabies showed ‘different skin’No need to rush Pocock returnAs it happened: Wales v Solid gold wall unbreakableSport stars applaud gutsy win

LONDON: If there was ever any doubt about the Wallabies’ grit and determination, they emphatically erased them all to signal the beginning of a new era and set up their World Cup bid.

But while n fans desperately crave attacking rugby, it was courage and guts that will win back supporters after the players muscled up and beat a Welsh storm on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT).

The Wallabies made almost twice as many tackles as Wales in a 15-6 triumph that will go down as the defining moment of Michael Cheika’s reign as coach.

It was a win built on work ethic and mongrel rather than flashy tries. In fact, there were no tries at all but it was a performance that put pride in the gold jersey after years of being battered.

The Wallabies played with 13 men for almost 10 minutes after Will Genia and Dean Mumm were sent to the sin bin.

Wales looked destined to break the Wallabies line every time they touched the ball. But a gold jersey would turn up out of nowhere to protect the line. First it was Bernard Foley and Ben McCalman, then Israel Folau and finally Kane Douglas.

Down on troops and absolutely out on their feet, the Wallabies kept turning up for each other.

When asked if that type of performance showed people back home what the Wallabies were made of, Folau said: “I think so. It starts within our group, we want to make sure we play for each other.

“That will have a ripple effect to our families and to our fans back home and here in the UK.

“It is something we can be proud of, but we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. We are building nicely within camp and staying humble.”

The gritty and grinding win was the complete opposite of a Bernard Foley attacking masterclass against England the week before, where ran in 33 points to knock the hosts out of the World Cup.

Foley was again the scoring star, booting all of ‘s 15 points from penalties.

Wales enjoyed 93 per cent of possession in a 10-minute period in the second half. But the brick wall of gold jerseys never crumbled.

“It was a big effort there in the second half, we knew there would be a moment where we’d have to defend like that,” flanker Scott Fardy said.

“A World Cup isn’t about tries. It’s about winning. We didn’t get a bonus point [for scoring four tries] against Fiji and everyone was carrying on a bit.

“But we always knew that this tournament was about winning games, that’s what we’re interested in.

“Whether it’s tries or goals, I don’t really care. I just want to win and that’s the mentality of the team.

“Obviously we want to play our brand of rugby, but sometimes things happen and you can’t do that. When that happens, we’ll muscle one out and that’s what we did [against Wales].”

The Wallabies have conceded just two tries in four games so far. Their biggest defensive test was against Wales and they passed with flying colours.

The next challenge is a quarter-final battle against Scotland at Twickenham on Sunday night (Monday morning AEDT).

The Wallabies will move away from their central London base on Sunday to relocate closer to Twickenham for the play-off stage of the tournament.

We’re not scared of Cheika: Mumm

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杭州楼凤

LONDON: Ireland star Jonathan Sexton reckons the Wallabies’ success comes from being “scared shitless” by Michael Cheika, but lock Dean Mumm says team harmony is a product of respect.

Cheika has revived the Wallabies in a remarkable 12-month turnaround in which they have gone from a rabble to World Cup contenders.

Their clash against Wales on Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT) will decide which team finishes at the top of pool A and gets a smoother path through the World Cup play-offs.

Sexton worked with Cheika at Leinster for four years and saw the Wallabies’ mentor’s angry best. When asked how the Wallabies had turned things around, his response was simple: “Because everyone’s probably scared shitless of him.”

But Mumm said it was respect, not the fear factor, that was developing the Wallabies back into an international force. “I don’t know what Cheik must have done at Leinster,” Mumm laughed. “…I have nothing but respect for Cheik and what he’s done previously as a coach and also in the limited time I have been with him.

“He’s very honest and approachable. I am not afraid of him. Maybe I haven’t seen that side, I haven’t been through a Dublin winter with him.”

The Wallabies have already locked in a quarter-final berth and knocked England out of their home World Cup last weekend. If they beat Wales at Twickenham, they will play either Scotland or Japan in the next stage of the tournament as well as avoiding New Zealand and South Africa until a potential final.

Mumm has been brought back into the starting side to replace Rob Simmons, who has been dropped to the bench for the crucial pool contest. Mumm is enjoying his Wallabies’ second-coming after reviving his international career when he returned to in May.

His World Cup has been a whirlwind tour, getting the captaincy for the clash against Uruguay and rushing to London for the birth of his child just days before the game.

The 31-year-old has been playing rugby for the past 12 months without a break. But after a three-season stint with English club Exeter, Mumm says he has a new lease on his international career. “I think I’ve grown as a player, I certainly have a greater appreciation for what it is to play for the Wallabies,” Mumm said. “I think I’m a better, more well-rounded player now than I was.”

His first job is ensuring the Wallabies’ lineout functions properly as he takes over the calling duties from Simmons. The Wallabies have picked Sean McMahon to replace Michael Hooper at openside flanker, meaning they remain one lineout jumper short.

Mumm is the leading lineout stealer at the World Cup, with four to his name. “I have no doubt [Wales will try to target us], they’ve picked a very tall lineout and experienced team, maybe that’s their way,” Mumm said.

“But the focus tends to be on us as a lineout and what we can do. We know we have to improve on that as an element, and the percentage we win per game needs to keep increasing, and with what we can do in terms of mauling, that presents greater opportunities for what we can do in attack.”