Wallabies stage comeback to win Plate final
Classic Wallabies 34
Classic Eagles 24
Australia had to come from behind to win the Plate final on Saturday against a USA side that just wouldn’t quit.
The Wallabies eventually won by 10 points in an entertaining encounter that saw the momentum swing one way and then the next.
Nick Reilly scored two tries and there were individual efforts from Garrick Morgan, Dan Collins, Anton La Vin and Christian Warner as Australia held on to end their week on a high note.
Morgan put the Southern Hemisphere side ahead when he barrelled over with less than 10 minutes gone following some good work by Nick Gregorski on the right wing.
The lead lasted less than five minutes though as the USA hit back with the imposing Dennis Walker picking the ball up from the base of a scrum inside the Wallabies 22 and bashing his way through the Australia defence.
Sammy Gonzales added the extras to put USA 7-5 ahead, and they extended their lead soon after when Luis Tulio scampered across the line as the Australians failed to get across quickly enough following some fine running by Michael Hurley.
At 14-5 up the USA were looking like strong candidates for producing another shock, however, Collins intercepted a loose pass from Tulio shortly before the break, Reilly converted, and the rest of the game belonged to the Wallabies.
Reilly’s speed made the difference after the break and back-to-back tries turned a two-point deficit into a 24-14 lead. Still USA struck back through Tulio to make it 24-19, and if Hurley had a little bit more luck with a couple of fine offloads close to the Australia line an upset could still have been on the cards.
As it was La Vin ran the length of the field for one score when an Eagles move broke down, Warner added another when Hurley threw a loose pass inside his own 22 and at 34-19 the game had gotten away from the Americans.
Hurley, who had been one of the players of the tournament for the Eagles, signed off in style when he tore down the right wing, collected his own chip ahead and scored, but it was little more than a consolation score as Australia held on to win.