The moment: Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani scores a try to win the game in the last minute of their Rugby Championship match against South Africa’s Springboks in Brisbane. Photo: Reuters Praise: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika celebrates with Tevita Kuridrani. Photo: Cameron Spencer
While Australian rugby fans sweated on the outcome of a TMO call on a try that would beat the Springboks, the man at the centre of the slow-moving pixels was calmly making his way back to halfway, already convinced of the outcome.
“I was pretty confident I scored that try. As soon as I touched it down, I was really confident. I wasn’t unsure or anything,” said Wallaby centre Tevita Kuridrani.
“When the TMO was going, I was just walking back because I was confident I’d scored.”
He was right. There was barely a molecule in it but it was enough for Nigel Owens to raise the arm and deliver the Wallabies a decidedly warts-and-all 24-20 victory at Suncorp Stadium to start their 2015 international campaign.
Kuridrani may have been a study in calmness but it belied a frantic ending in which the Wallabies rebounded from a 20-7 deficit to roll the South Africans after the siren. Their is much to be improved but coach Michael Cheika would gladly take a flawed victory over a meritorious defeat.
What changes he does make against the Pumas in Mendoza next weekend may be injury driven. Will Genia is unlikely to travel with a knee injury while Matt Giteau finished with a suspected broken nose, opening the way for the impressive Matt Toomua to earn a start.
And while there were clear question marks – Will Skelton and Scott Higginbotham among them – players like Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Greg Holmes and James Horwill showed exactly how badly they want to be a part of the coming Bledisloe Tests and World Cup campaign.
The spit-and-polish must be applied to the backline and the set piece and forward play needs to go to another level yet Cheika could at least be thrilled with the conviction of his group and captain Stephen Moore.
With the chance to even scores through a penalty, Moore went for the throat. The gamble paid off as Kuridrani burrowed over in front of 37,000 rugby fans who went home with a bit to cheer about.
Moore said he never had any hesitation about opting to put the match on the line and go for the win.
“None at all mate. We wanted to win the game. There wasn’t much time left and I wanted to have a crack. We had the penalty before and I went for goal, I thought we had enough time to get back down there again,” Moore said.
“Luckily it went our way. Next time, we’ll just take it on its merits.”
Cheika acknowledged this Wallaby team was a work in progress and he does have a number of selection issues ahead of the Argentine test, although tweaking a winning side is perilous in itself, particularly with the bench performing so strongly.
He said he had no issues with an audacious behind-the-back pass from Quade Cooper just metres out from his own line, which was dropped by Kuridrani before the Wallabies eventually held out a huge South African push on the stroke of halftime.
“Fine. Tevita takes that ball, he’s away. There’s no way I’m ever going to tell a player not to do that. Because he can do it and he made the pass.,” Cheika said.
“I just think ‘T’ was probably shocked that it came out because it was an incredible ball. If you get that, we score at the other end of the field at halftime.
“I see him do it at training. That shows the courage of the lad because he played that play when he thought it was on. And it was on.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.