‘Epic 13-man defence just doing their job’

After one of the greatest defensive performances in World Cup history, Australia captain Stephen Moore said the 13 men who kept Wales at bay during Saturday’s epic “Siege of Twickenham” were just doing their job.
Australia beat Wales 15-6 to top Rugby World Cup Pool A but it was not their twinkle-toed backs who made the difference.
Leading a tense encounter 9-6 after 56 minutes the Wallabies lost scrumhalf Will Genia and lock Dean Mumm to the sin bin in quick succession before key flanker David Pocock went off injured.
Wales sensed blood and so began one of the most memorable periods of play the famous stadium has witnessed.
Wales tried everything – except the obvious option of taking one of their many penalties as a shot at goal – but Australia dealt with it all.
Scrums, lineouts and rolling mauls were withstood with backs piling in alongside their ferocious forwards in a succession of thunderous collisions.
When Wales finally got fed up of seeing their head-down charges meet brick-wall resistance, their crashball midfield moves were similarly dealt with.
The margins were small as three times Welsh players got across the line, only for an Australian arm to hold the ball up on each occasion.
When the siege was lifted at last with the award of an Australian penalty, the whole team rushed to celebrate together as if they had won the final.
“It’s one of the best wins I’ve been involved with in this team. I’m so proud of all the boys,” Moore told reporters.
“We had to defend there with 13 for long periods and I’m really proud about how we stuck in for each other.”
Wales coach Warren Gatland described the defence as “courageous” while comparisons with England’s 13-man resistance to New Zealand in Wellington in 2003 and even the British Army’s defence of Rorke’s Drift in the face of overwhelming Zulu forces in 1879 were in the air.
Moore, however, was in no mood for such hyperbole.
“The guys just did their job,” he said. “Just keep getting up off the ground and making tackles. It’s not complicated, just working hard for each other and that comes through training hard.”
Coach Michael Cheika was a little more effusive in his appreciation.
“They say that behind every man is a good woman, well behind every good attack is a good defence,” he said.
“It was a different type of game for us and so we had to show a different skin.
“I was very proud because that’s a very difficult situation (13 men) in the context of the game.
“But you don’t get belief from things like that, you need belief to go through things like that.
“We got away with it this time, but won’t too many times so there is plenty to work on this week.”

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