For a test between no. 1 and 2, there wasn’t much hype in the lead up. Yet, this was still a Bledisloe, and with the Aussies staring down the barrel of an eleventh straight loss, there was something to watch for… From the kick off it seemed there may have been something going on, the ref pinged sir ritchie, albeit for something he DIDN’T do. Kurtley failed to convert though. When Ma’a infringed not long later, there was another chance, but KB failed to convert again.
Australia stole a line out and threatened the line, but a missed Quade around the back not looking pass went to ground and it looked over, but the Wallabies kept their head, even turning down a gift 3 points. Their composure paid though, with a clean scrum delivery from Ben McCalman led to Quade going himself and crossing. Gits kept form, missing the conversion to see the Wallabies profiting from all the early pressure to lead 5-0.
The match settled for some time, with both teams testing the defences equally. A couple of Carter penalties threatened the scoreboard, but he may have borrowed Git’s boots and was off target.
That was until a Nonu breakdown indiscretion led to a line out. The Wallabies won and a couple of passes later, AAC singlehandedly tore the ABs open and he went in untouched. Gits kicked the conversion from right in front.
An amazing demonstration of actual pace from KB got the Wallabies into a good position before a classic refereeing blunder, and some Oscar quality acting from Conrad Smith saw the holding of a scrum raffle, which the wallabies lost. The AB’s piled on some pressure, the wallabies beefed up the defence. KB making an amazing tackle on Keven Mealamu to hold him up over the line. The pressure all got too much with Jimmy Cowan eventually crossing under the posts. Carter converted.
The Wallabies showed they were rattled, with the kick off going out on the full. From the resultant play, it appeared the Wallabies believed they had made enough tackles for the first half and began slipping off first up tackles. Eventually a simple overlap saw Corey Jane cross for another try, with Carters conversion the ABs had taken the lead 14-12
The Wallabies appeared to settle somewhat, with normal transmission resuming and Gits missing another kick to keep his percentage intact. Alain “pretty sure I don’t know what a scrum is” Rolaind had an absolute barry crocker and awarded the AB’s a penalty, I think it was against the Wallabies packing a scrum. Carter dutifully converted it right on half time to head to the sheds at 17-12.
The second half started without much fanfare, The ABs did manage to win a line out though, so they used the half time break wisely – Yay… Some enterprising play saw the wallabies come close, with Elsom even looking to be held up over the line, at one stage, but the ABs were coping with the pressure. Eventually the Wallabies earnt a penalty, Gits duly missed it. At the press conference after the Sydney Bledisloe this year, Gits was asked how much Braam Van Straten was helping with his kicking. He commented that he was helping KB and the others, but he wasn’t working with him. How is that able to happen, why is he above the rules? Now, name one dominant team that DOES NOT have a kicker that puts fear into the opposition. With that in mind, what photos does Gits have, of who, that allows him to stay as first choice kicker.
A massive break by McCaw , with some terrible tackling from the Wallabies saw the ABs deep into wallaby territory, Nonu eventually got the ball and with the line stretched, strolled over for another try. Carter was back and added the extras.
Buoyed by their success, the AB;s rolled on, forcing the Wallabies to remember how to defend. A brief run by Elsom from a Pocock turnover gave some hope, but the ABs were up to it, with the Wallabies being penalised for not releasing.
The 60th minute could go down as a turning point, call it coincidence but Dan Carter went off and some quick hands saw Drew Mitchell get himself a try. With O’Conner taking the kick, we got the extras, making the score 19-24. Well within our capabilities, should we choose to start playing like big boys.
The wallabies were doing their best to play in the ABs half, unfortunately the kicks for the corner were either driven beyond the dead ball line or out on the full. It was not pretty. eventually the ABs started to pile on the pressure again resulting in a penalty within kicking distance. Carter would have kicked it, but Donald pushed it wide.
This gave the Wallabies hope, and with some solid play they ended up in striking distance, with raid after raid going unrewarded, before the ABs turned over the ball. The clearing kick failed to go out and the Wallabies were back on the attack. a few more raids, a threatened yellow card and eventually JO’C went in for a try. The game was drawn, could he convert his own try to win the game?
Yes… fortune changing win before the World Cup? Who cares, we finally got them…
Final Score: Australia 26 (Tries: Cooper, Ashley-Cooper, Mitchell, O’Conner Conv: Giteau (1/2), O’Conner (2/2) Pens: Giteau (0/2), Beale (0/2)) v New Zealand 24 (Tries: Cowan, Jane, Nonu Conv: Carter (3/3) Pens: Carter (1/3), Donald (0/1))