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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 November, 2003, 14:15 GMT
Jones joy at iron defence
Reuben Thorne is left in Stephen Larkham's wake
Stephen Larkham was singled out by Jones for special praise
Australia coach Eddie Jones has praised his team's defensive effort after a stunning victory over New Zealand.

The Wallabies ran out surprise 22-10 winners against the tournament favourites in a World Cup semi-final they dominated from start to finish.

"The guys implemented the game plan very well and credit to the players for playing a great game," Jones said.

"They made adjustments and decisions, played well and managed to foil their go-forward runners."

He added: "I said all along we were heading in the right direction and our defence in the World Cup has been pretty good."

Australia took the initiative from the kick-off, holding on to the ball for a full three minutes against the highly-fancied All Blacks.

On 10 minutes, Stirling Mortlock intercepted a pass on his own 22 to run-in unopposed for the opening try - and the Wallabies never looked back.

The victory, in which Elton Flatley kicked 17 points, ensured Australia became the first team to reach back-to-back World Cup finals.

Jones reserved special praise for fly-half Stephen Larkham who kept the team going forward and continually probed for openings.

We identified they may be weak up the middle
Stephen Larkham
"Stevie was absolutely outstanding. He read their defensive patterns very well and shifted the ball wide well," Jones said.

But Jones refused to get carried away and is already focused on the final against either England or France.

"We have got some space for improvement. Next week we will have to improve, although at this stage we are a little unaware of how we are placed injury-wise," he added.

Prop Ben Darwin, who was stretchered from the field after being caught in a collapsed scrum, has recovered full movement of his limbs but was been taken to a Sydney hospital for precautionary X-rays.

The Wallabies totted up a lengthy injury toll during the game, with Mortlock, George Gregan, Nathan Sharpe and Brendan Cannon all in the wars.





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