Australia 34-14 Portugal: Wallabies keep slim Rugby World Cup knockout hopes alive with win

Australia players compete against Portugal at the Rugby World Cup in France
Australia had to deliver a physical performance to overcome a dogged and impressive Portugal side
Australia: (24) 34
Tries: Arnold, Porecki, Bell, McReight, Koroibete Con: Donaldson (3) Pens: Donaldson
Portugal: (7) 14
Tries: Bettencourt, Simoes Con: Marques (2)

Australia kept their slim hopes of reaching the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals alive with a physical win over Portugal in their final pool match.

The Wallabies beat an impressive Portugal 34-14 to go second in Pool C.

But third-placed Fiji need just one point from their own match against Portugal next week to overtake Australia and advance instead.

Portugal had taken an early lead but Eddie Jones’ side ran in five tries to secure a bonus-point win in St Etienne.

Australia led 24-7 at half-time and secured a fourth bonus-point try in the 47th minute.

Portugal, who missed a late penalty in a thrilling 18-18 draw with Georgia last time out, again started fast as they hunted a first World Cup win.

Pedro Bettencourt crossed over in the corner after some deft attacking to put the underdogs 7-3 up in the 11th minute.

But they were temporarily reduced to 14 men when Bettencourt was yellow carded for leading with his shoulder on a high tackle on Izaia Perese.

He survived a bunker review but while he was in the sin bin Richie Arnold, Dave Porecki and Angus Bell all crossed to put Australia in control.

Portugal score the opening try of their Rugby World Cup match against Australia
Portugal took the lead with an 11th-minute try but Australia responded well in a ruthless display

Portugal’s Nicolas Martins had a try in the corner ruled out after going into touch just before the break which would have cut the deficit to 10, and Fraser McReight added another Australia try after the restart to secure a vital bonus-point.

Portugal had a second try disallowed in the 58th minute when hooker Mike Tadjer lost control of the ball in his finish, but they ended strongly as Australia’s Matt Faessler and Samu Kerevi were both shown late yellow cards, allowing Rafael Simoes to add a second try against 13.

Once Australia returned to 15 though they wrestled back the momentum and Marika Koroibete went over for the final score with seven minutes remaining.

Aussies still likely to limp out of World Cup

Australia started their World Cup with a convincing win over Georgia, but were then beaten 22-15 by Fiji before suffering a record 40-6 loss to Wales.

That victory for Fiji means they only have to match Australia’s points tally to advance thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

That means Australia’s match with Portugal will in all likelihood be their last at this year’s World Cup, having now played all four of their pool matches.

They have never before failed to advance to the knockout stages of a World Cup.

The Wallabies are led by Jones, who took England to the World Cup final in 2019 and also led Australia to a home final in 2003.

Pool C


Australia: Kellaway; Nawaqanitawase, Perese, Foketi, Koroibete; Donaldson, McDermott; Bell, Porecki (capt), Slipper; Frost, Arnold; Hooper, McReight, Valentini.

Replacements: Faessler, Schoupp, Fa’amausili, Leota, Kemeny, Fines-Leleiwasa, Kerevi, Vunivalu.

Portugal: Guedes; Storti, Bettencourt, Appleton (capt), Marta; Portela, Marques; Costa, Tadjer, Ferreira; Madeira; Belo, Wallis, Martins, De Freitas.

Replacements: Fernandes, Diniz, Bruno, Cerqueira, Simoes; Belo, Moura, Cardoso Pinto.

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)

Source: BBC News

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