Wallabies veterans stake their claim - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies veterans stake their claim

Jim Morton 28/08/2011 04:58:49 PM Comments (0)

Robbie Deans has re-energised the Wallabies by grooming a host of young guns but it's two veteran forwards who have added an extra edge and steel to his World Cup plans.

Towering 35-year-old Radike Samo and Dan Vickerman, 32, turned back the clock at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night with outstanding displays in Australia's 25-20 victory over the All Blacks.

Samo capped one of the most remarkable comebacks of all time by scoring a 60m solo try just 18 months after three Super Rugby franchises dismissed him as "too old and too slow".

The Fijian-born cult hero fended off Adam Thomson and outsprinted Cory Jane and Mils Muliaina to the line in an effort Deans said would live with the sell-out crowd for the rest of their lives.

Giving Samo the ball quickly from the breakdown was Vickerman, who last played with him at the Brumbies in 2004, while rising stars like Will Genia, Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale were left to cheer him on.

While the wild-haired No.8 provided the big hits and X-factor, Vickerman was at his uncompromising best in the trenches after three seasons off to study at Cambridge.

Deans lavished praise on both, who have sealed their places in Australia's pack for their World Cup opener against Italy in Auckland on September 11.

"It was great," the coach said. "A great message to all rugby players: it's only done when you deem it to be.

"If you're prepared to work hard at it and maintain your disciplines then anything is possible.

"Dan is a competitor. He contests everything and that's the trait that we've been trying to adopt as a group and I think was evident, particularly in the first half."

Vickerman could only marvel at Samo's try, which came after David Pocock leapt over the top of Richie McCaw to take a high ball and gave the Wallabies a 20-3 lead.

"I gave him the pass but he left me for dead," the second-rower said. "He put the rocket boosters on.

"Deeks (Samo) had a storming game and it was good to stand back and watch that.

"I had the hands in the air cherry picking and just willing him away, so it was good. He was flying."

Samo's display leaves returning star Wycliff Palu (shoulder) struggling to break back into the pack while Vickerman, also in his first Test start of 2011, has leapfrogged both Rob Simmons and Nathan Sharpe.

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