At the whistle the Wallabies seemed supercharged. Two minutes into the half an Australian back grabbed the ball from a ruck on his 40-yard line, and instantly four or five of his teammates were lined out at 10-yard intervals beside him. What ensued was a classic rugby play—flat, hard cross-field laterals from back to sprinting back, a tackle, another ruck, Wallabies' ball again and a try.
Later an ERU player would recall that moment: "If we had contained that try it might have been close. We didn't, though, and they saw they could run on us."
And now in the rucks one could see Australian weight and conditioning take effect; the ERU backs were a step behind on defense. Minutes after the half's first try, there was another ruck, another pretty pass play and another try. Dick Plant of the ERU came out of one ruck with the back of his shirt ripped off; he played out the game that way, and it symbolized the state of his team gallant, outweighed, bloodied and helpless to contain what a British ERU fan called the "remorseless inevitability" of the Australians.
Afterward, in the ERU locker room, the talk seemed in a way a preamble for Barney Googles. It was in that bistro that an Australian said. "Tell me another game where you can beat the stuffin' out of a bloke for 80 minutes, then put your arm around him at the end, drink with him that night and still think he's a hell of a bloke."
Later, much later, along tow aid dawn in a cab returning to his hotel, an Australian was humming his team's official song, the one that isn't ribald. "Baaa...baaa...baaa." he sang softly, and he began talking about rugby. "Your men have nothing to be ashamed of," he said. "Just work on your passing. That's what we're known for. In Sydney and Brisbane we have to compete with professional rugby, with 13 men, and it's a passing game. They've got blokes like Namath." Tackle that, you Whiffenpoofs.