Where do you start with Aussie rugby? They have absolutely nothing to lose tonight. If they can somehow upset New Zealand’s rhythm they may be able to make a competition of this.
The first half was a roller coaster for Australian Rugby supporters! The Wallabies scored three tries but every one of them involved some luck. From Folau’s intercept through Hoopers easy run in, to the ball bouncing off Will Genia’s $800000 knee the ball bounced the Australian’s way. But more important than the luck was an added enthusiasm to get up hard in defence, to compete at the breakdown and slow down the ball, to take the hard line and cart up the ball, and to throw caution to the wind and let the ball do the work.
Australia pushed out to a 17 -nil lead but that could have easily been 24-nil if Foley had been able to kick more than one from four. Of course, no New Zealand is ever out of the game and they roared back into contention with two tries late in the half and could have easily been in the lead if not for a minor indiscretion from Crotty and a dropped pill from Ben Smith. Is that more luck or the added pressure from the Wallabies? The next forty minute might give some answers.
The Wallabies were in this game right until the final minute. They managed to score two more tries but so did the New Zealanders. The difference was Beauden Barrett kicked every shot at goal while Bernard Foley could only manage two from five and missed the only penalty shot of the game. The All Blacks played well but were disrupted by losing Sam Cane to a head injury and had both Barrett and Crotty off for assessments.
The Wallabies definitely stepped things up from their recent efforts but the rugby public will need to see more than one game like this to restore their faith in the Wallaby brand
The Game Changer
Bernard Foley’s kicking. 2/5 conversions and 0/1 penalties is nowhere near acceptable. Now I’m not going to say he should have kicked them all but kicking most of them could have won the game.
The G&GR MOTM
This is the Wallaby player of the match and I can’t go past Will Genia. Rightly criticised last week he was a different player tonight.
Kurtley Beale had a good game and his steal off Sonny Bill Williams will be the stuff of legend. Sean McMahon was more noticeable but Ned Hanigan had another quiet night without doing anything wrong
Score & Scorers
Tries: Reiko Ioane, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett 2, Ben Smith
Conversions: Beauden Barrett 5/5
Tries: Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Kurtley Beale
Conversions: Foley 2/5
Penalties: Foley 0/1
Cards & citings