Italy v Wallabies: More ‘Forrest Gump’ Lines Come To Mind

Two halves – Sweet and a little sour…but a win is a win

by Brendan Bradford –

Nick McArdle borrowed a classic line from the Academy Award winning Tom Hanks movie, Forrest Gump in opening the Fox Sports rugby broadcast on Sunday morning. “The Wallabies,” claimed McArdle, “are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”

A series of inconsistent performances this international season has left Wallabies fans frustrated and the Gump analogy only gained credence after an uncertain 3-point win over a gutsy Italian side on Sunday.

Back to full fitness, Wycliff Palu proved he is once again a back-row force to be reckoned with while his Manly Marlins teammate Michael Hooper continues to go from strength to strength. Ben Tapuai proved a legitimate long-term option in the centres – his left boot a significant plus – and with another try, Nick Cummins staked his claim for a permanent spot on the wing.

But with Australia getting outplayed and outmuscled at scrum-time, Kurtley Beale getting shown up by his opposite Luciano Orquera and another second-half fade-out, some other memorable quotes from Hanks’ Hollywood creation come to mind.

“You have to do the best with what God gave you” –Mrs Gump

There are enough players sitting out injured at the moment to make a decent starting XV and coach Robbie Deans has had to shuffle and re-shuffle his starting line-up throughout the season. The emergence of Cummins, Tapuai and Hooper are happy consequences and they are all taking their opportunity with both hands, but the Wallabies are clearly missing several key players in crucial positions. Will Genia is one. A proven and experienced fly-half is another.

This is a team doing the best with what they have, but not performing to the standard they are capable of when they have a full compliment.

Wycliff Palu would have pleased Mrs Gump

“Listen, you promise me something, OK? Just, if you’re ever in trouble, just run, OK? Just run!” – Jenny

At schoolboy level and for the Waratahs, Kurtley Beale was a confident, elusive and attack minded runner of the ball. He still looks like the most dangerous player on the field when he attacks the line and his step is second to none, but how many times did he needlessly kick possession away on the weekend? Get him in the 15 jersey and let him run!

Man: “Woah! You just ran through a big pile of dog sh.t!”

Forrest Gump: “It happens.”

Man: “What, sh.t?”

Forrest Gump: “Sometimes.”

Surely there was a knock-on in the lead-up to Italy’s try – a despairing shout from one Wallaby as the TMO awarded the five-pointer is proof the whole side thought the same. But whatever the correct or just result, the try stood. The Azzurri surged, the Wallabies wilted and only won after Orquera’s last minute penalty faded to the right. He hadn’t missed a kick all game. Sh.t happens.

“Stupid is as stupid does” – Forrest Gump

During a scuffle in the first-half, Sitaleki Timani struck Italian prop Andrea Lo Cicero in the mouth with his elbow. Timani fronts the judiciary this week and risks being added to the long list of unavailable players.

“My Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on” – Forrest Gump

The Wallabies play Wales again this weekend, a side they have already played five times in the past 14 months. The Welsh are under the pump after losing their last six matches – three of them against Australia in June – and both sides must put recent poor performances behind them for the last game of the season and the all-important 2015 Rugby World Cup draw which will be made later this year.

It wasn’t the best performance by the Wallabies, but a win is a win – especially at the end of a Northern Spring tour and a long season (Wallabies have played 16 times since the World Cup, compared with 13 for the All Blacks and 10 for France).

And, well, that’s all I have to say about that.


error: Content is protected !!