Alexander astounds Wallabies coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Alexander astounds Wallabies coach

By Darren Walton 09/11/2008 03:28:30 PM Comments (0)

Like countless others no doubt, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was left marvelling at the dynamic display of greenhorn prop Ben Alexander in Saturday's gritty Test win over Italy.

Starting his first professional rugby match - and first game of any kind since July - Alexander was viewed as a potential weak link in the Australian lineup up against an experienced Italian pack.

Instead, the 23-year-old loosehead not only performed like a hard-nosed veteran come all-important scrum time, he also proved a revelation in attack, bobbing up everywhere in the second half to terrorise the Azzurri with a series of storming runs in Australia's 30-20 victory in Padova.

On one particular occasion, Alexander made a 15-metre foray even after losing a boot. He went about 10 phases without it but - shoeless or otherwise - nothing could stop the hulking 120kg front rower.

"Benny had an outstanding game, particularly in that position," Deans said.

"To come off the background of no rugby, to put in a performance like he put in - I'm not sure what minute it was but he went close to the 70-minute mark - he was very effective.

"He was not only effective at the set piece, but active around the ground and making some great decisions for a bloke who was playing his first game of rugby for a long time, let alone his first Test match.

"His decisions in the (ball) carry were exceptional. I might get him to have a word with some of our backs."

Alexander, whose only previous professional experience amounted to two appearances off the bench for the Wallabies against France earlier this year and six as a reserve for the Brumbies in the Super 14, modestly deflected Deans' praise.

"I think just as a forward, the backs are surprised when you pass it," Alexander said of his knack of knowing when to die with the ball rather than attempt to keep it alive, as many of his more-celebrated teammates had tried and failed.

"So, generally, it's just truck it up. And, if it's blatantly obvious you've got to give it as a forward, you give it. So it's a win-win situation."

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