After Australia’s humiliating defeat of fans many pundits have predicted that the team could be even better with the good scrum. The Wallabies’ record Test victory over France was the perfect example of that. Has there even been such a dramatic contrast between the first and second halves of a rugby match?
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In the first half, the Wallabies scrum was castigated by New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence over and over again, and suffered the indignity of a penalty try in the 30th minute.
The three minutes before that was one of the most humiliating an Australian scrum has experienced in recent times. Unlike the England Test in Perth, when a rookie Wallabies pack of Ben Daley, Saia Faingaa and Salesi Ma’afu was pulverised, the seasoned front row that encountered France – Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and James Slipper – was supposedly Australia’s best.
Reputation counted for little. The French scrum perched just five metres from the Australian line was repeatedly able to disintegrate the Wallabies. Twice Lawrence penalised the Wallabies for collapsing it, and on the third occasion had no alternative but to run under the sticks to award a penalty try. It was the right call.