Thursday, March 05, 2009
Last weekend we saw Wallaby Stirling Mortlock kick the crucial winning kick for the Brumbies against the Crusaders in the Super 14. Mortlock called on all his years of experience in international rugby, reminding us of another huge moment in his career, way back in 2000.
It was the Tri Nations nine years back and Australia visited Durban hoping for their first series victory, and an away win against the Springboks.
Making his debut in the same year, Stirling Mortlock had a brilliant first season for the Wallabies, breaking numerous records including becoming the fastest Australian to reach 50 and 100 Test points, scoring the most points and highest number of penalties in his first five Tests, and making history by becoming the first Australian to score 20 points of more in four consecutive internationals.
It was his composure under pressure though that was truly tested in this famous match, as with time almost up, the Wallabies looked to be out of it after a massive Braam Van Straaten penalty.
They snuck in the backdoor though as referee Paul Honiss awarded a penalty close to the sideline. Up stepped the young Mortlock, with his full head of hair and skinny frame, but with the same coolness we saw against the Crusaders recently. He slotted the kick, breaking the hearts of the Springboks and the Kingspark faithful, but sending the Wallaby players and fans into raptures.
"I was not thinking about the championship, just the match. I have been in that situation several times and missed during the last couple of years," Mortlock modestly stated afterwards.
The win secured the visitors the Tri-Nations crown, with the special moment being a stand out highlight in Mortlock's highly successful career thus far.