Sharpe hails outstanding No 8 Wycliff Palu

RUSSELL JACKSON
Last updated 19:42 02/12/2012

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Wycliff Palu received huge praise from retiring skipper Nathan Sharpe who described him as one of the best No 8s he's played with after his immense effort against Wales.

Palu had a brilliant game for the Wallabies who defeated Wales 14-12 with a late try to Kurtley Beale getting them out of jail in Cardiff today.

The solid No.8 was at his punishing best and reminding Sharpe of one of his former Queesland and Australian teammates.

"He reminds me of Toutai Kefu ... they're the two best number eight's I've played with," Sharpe said.

The highly-regarded Kefu was a powerhouse No.8 and played in Australia's 1999 World Cup winning side.

Palu, 30, produced one of the plays of the game midway through the first half when he sprinted nearly 40 metres to win the race for the ball and prevent a try.

Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny sliced through the Australian backline from deep in his own area before chip kicking and then kicking the ball again off the ground.

Halfpenny lost his footing on the second kick and the ball sat up in the in-goal.

Palu put his head down charged to the line before diving on the ball just inches ahead of Wales No.7 and skipper Sam Warburton.

Deans praised Palu for a terrific European tour.

"Cliffy's been enormous for us. He's played 80 minutes routinely and it's just great to see him out there consistently playing like that," Deans said.

"He's a great source of strength for the rest of the group."

Soon after, Palu was in the action again when he produced an enormous hit which jolted Welsh hooker Matthew Rees.

Palu was penalised for a high tackle despite replays suggesting it was legitimate.

The tackle left Rees reeling and Palu bleeding from an ear and a bit groggy.

"That's Cliffy... he's an intimidating number eight and you love playing with him," said Wallabies captain Sharpe.

Deans wasn't impressed with Palu being penalised for the tackle on Rees.

"He was harshly treated for that tackle," Deans said.

"We've had a few good solid tackles the last two weeks that we've been punished for.

"More because the adjudicators are intimidated by it through no fault of the tackler which is a bit frustrating."

Palu has been linked with a move overseas after next year's series against the British and Irish Lions.

Meanwhile Wallabies flanker Scott Higginbotham will have scans in the coming days on a shoulder injury which forced him off the ground early in the first half.

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- AAP

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