Australia player ratings: Ben Donaldson nails full-back audition in dominant win

Jared Wright
Australia's Ben Donaldson runs to score a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Georgia at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis

Australia's Ben Donaldson runs to score a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Georgia.

Eddie Jones’ charges have finally ended their losing streak of five games, defeating Georgia 35-15. Here is how we rated the Wallabies in their Rugby World Cup opener.

15 Ben Donaldson: A surprising selection from Jones at full-back, but he repaid the coach’s faith in him with a cool, calm and collected performance. He kicked well out of hand and off the tee and was rewarded with a try after Taniela Tupou’s intercept and another off a brilliant pass – a performance deserving of another start. He hardly put a foot wrong all game. 9

Fast starters

14 Mark Nawaqanitawase: A star for the Wallabies all year and the pressure of the World Cup did not get to him as he set the tone for Australia. It was his 50:22 that led to the opening try and it wasn’t too long after that he found his way over the whitewash. He chased and competed high balls well and gained over 100 running metres. 8

13 Jordan Petaia: A brilliant first half from the 23-year-old put the Wallabies in good stead, scoring the opening try and then setting up the second. It was a starring performance from the centre, who departed the pitch in the 60th minute with Australia comfortably ahead. 8

12 Samu Kerevi: A solid outing from the veteran centre who was in doubt for the opening game and would feature for just 40 minutes. He impressed on attack, gaining 40 metres from his eight carries. He linked well with Jordan Petaia and ran good support lines. 7

11 Marika Koroibete: He made a brilliant break in the build-up to the opening try and constantly proved to be a real threat to Georgia’s defence. He even had a 20-odd-minute cameo in the centres, where he landed a hefty hit. 7

Young half-backs

10 Carter Gordon: A shaky start after being charged down and conceding a penalty, but he recovered well to have a solid game. He mixed up his approach well with his run, kick and pass game. He threw a wonderful pass out to Donaldson for his second try. 7

9 Tate McDermott: Zipped around controlling the Wallabies attack well for the 35 minutes he was on the pitch and picked up a try assist for Petaia’s score. However, a poor tackle technique saw him sustain a nasty head knock, ending his match and potentially ruling him out of the clash with Fiji. 7

Hard-working loose forwards

8 Rob Valetini: Australia spread the carrying duties more evenly, but when the number eight did charge at the line, he thrived, getting over the advantage more often than not. He was good at the breakdown and had little to do on defence. 6

7 Fraser McReight: An all-action display from the openside who went charging around looking for work. He was the leading tackler for the side up to the 60th minute and was crucial at the breakdowns. He also completed an excellent offload. 7

6 Tom Hooper: He proved to be a real challenge for the Georgian defence to contain as he gained more metres than any other forward in the game. He was a good option at the lineout, too, and got through a boatload of work on both sides of the ball. 7

Captain Fantastic

5 Will Skelton: The Wallabies skipper was at his destructive best against Georgia as he dismantled their maul, made his tackles, carried hard and came up with four turnovers. 8

4 Richie Arnold: Ran a tidy shift at lineout time and came up with a steal. He assisted Skelton well in nullifying the Georgian maul and was solid defensively. 6

Strong front-row shift

3 Taniela Tupou: The tighthead prop produced an excellent 69-minute shift where he got the better of Nika Abuladze in the scrum. He made some telling tackles before his highlight of the match, where he intercepted a pass from Davit Niniashvili and got the pass away to Donaldson to score. 7

2 David Porecki: Flawless lineout performance in the opening half, and that continued into the second half. He worked hard at the breakdowns, too and had some good contributions on attack. 6

1 Angus Bell: Game by game Bell is rising up the rankings for the best loosehead prop in the world. Today’s performance was no different as he got the better of Guram Papidze in the scrum and carried strongly to the line. Another strong game from the rising star. 7

Replacements: Nic White was excellent at scrum-half as he controlled the game and initially kept the pace after McDermott’s injury. Lalakai Foketi was strong in the centres while Suliasi Vunivalu had a some bright moments. Overall, there weren’t poor performances from the bench, but Georgia did gain the ascendency during long periods of the second half. 5

READ MORE: Wallabies end losing streak in style as they open Rugby World Cup with clinical win over Georgia