Wallabies v All Blacks Key Takeaways - Green and Gold Rugby
Wallabies

Wallabies v All Blacks Key Takeaways

Wallabies v All Blacks Key Takeaways

The Wallabies are back

What a performance from the Wallabies at Optus stadium. They outplayed the All Blacks for the best part of 80 minutes delivering a win for the ages.  The confidence, the physicality, the skills was something we haven’t seen from this group for some time and helped to inflict the equal largest-ever defeat on their New Zealand counterparts. It was an outstanding team performance with everyone on the field contributing; however, some individuals stood out.  Micheal Hooper was frenetic, leading from the front in everything he did, while Samu Kerevi continues to be the most dominant ball carrier in the Southern Hemisphere. Marika Koroibete finally looks like a Rugby player and a bloody good one at that, whilst Rory Arnold firmly established himself as a world class lock. It was a performance that will live for a long time in the memories of long-suffering Wallabies fans.

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Controversial selections proved a masterstroke

At the beginning of Bledisloe cup week, the makeup of the Wallabies side was still mostly unknown. It was revealed on Thursday that Micheal Chieka and his selection panel were set to spring several surprises upon naming the team. The most talked-about was the selection of James O’Conner who was named to start at outside centre. The prodigal son of Australian rugby certainly delivered, playing primarily as a link player, something the ABs themselves have employed at 13 for the best part of 10 years, with his ability to put away a winger leading directly to two tries and three line breaks.  Another shock selection came at hooker with the much-maligned Tolu Latu preferred to Folau Faingaa. Latu churned out his most complete performance in Wallaby gold, carrying hard, providing a threat at the breakdown, as well as performing admirably at both scrum and lineout time. The selectors gambled further by dropping the man of the match in Brisbane Will Genia in favour of Nic White in what was the most influential selection. White was outstanding, directing traffic and sniping around the ruck. He had nine tackles to go with his second half try and was a unanimous selection for man of the match, his only real blemish was not playing the whistle in the lead up to Rieko Ioane’s try.  All 3 men stood up when called upon rewarding Micheal Chieka and the Wallabies management for their bold selections.

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A shoulder to the head is a red card

The most significant talking point from the night was the red card dished out to All Black Scott Barrett right on halftime after a shoulder charge on Micheal Hooper. It was just the fourth red card handed out to an All Black and the first since Sonny Bill Williams was sent off against the Lions in 2017. Just like that night in Wellington referee Jerome Garces made the RIGHT decision. Rugby players know the score. World Rugby has made it abundantly clear over the last 3-4 years that a shoulder to the head or neck area = red card. While many, myself included, don’t necessarily agree the infringement was worthy of influencing the match to the degree it did, rules are rules, and it now appears that Scott Barrett will pay an extremely high price for his error as he is set to be ruled out for some of the World Cup.

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World Cup squad starting to take shape.

After months of speculation and conjecture, Micheal Cheika’s World Cup squad is now really starting to take shape. Tolu Latu, James O’Conner and Marika Koroibete all secured their boarding passes on flight QF025 to Tokyo with strong performances. Furthermore, Adam Coleman and Matt Toomua probably leapfrogged Rob Simmons and Bernard Foley in the line on the tarmac with just two tests to go before the squad departs. The backline spine of Nic White, Christian Lealilifano and Kurtley Beale have done enough to lock in the 9,10, and 15 positions for the first pool game against Fiji after combining beautifully on Saturday night, while I suspect most of the forward pack will remain unchanged moving forward.

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The ABs will be hurting.

Make no mistake, despite posting the largest ever score against the All Blacks in Perth the 2nd Bledisloe test next week at Eden Park has now got a whole lot harder. The All Blacks will be absolutely seething about finishing third on the Rugby Championship ladder with just one win from three games. Micheal Cheika was quick to downplay the significance of the win in Perth, stating the Wallabies had merely got a ticket to contest the cup in Auckland. He knows too well how long a week in Rugby can be.  You only have to look back to four years ago where a Nic White try secured a famous Wallabies upset in Sydney. The following week, with the Bledisloe Cup on the line, the Wallabies were destroyed in Auckland, illustrating the ABs are a different beast at Eden Park. A great performance next weekend against a full complement of players will confirm that the Wallabies are indeed a force to be reckoned with in Japan. The nature of the win in Perth, especially the manner in which our forwards bashed theirs will undoubtedly be a real shot in the arm for a Wallabies side that could welcome back David Pocock via the bench. Make no mistake however,  there is still a massive task at hand before this group can calculate how many stubbies the Bledisloe Cup can really hold.

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  • Nutta

    Many thanks Oliver. Drink the wine lads and savour the win. Then buckle up for the opportunity of a lifetime….

    • Crescent

      Certainly enjoyed it for what it was – very satisfying for this week. But have seen too many of these performances that have blown up in our faces just when we thought they had their mojo back to get too carried away about our prospects next week. That said, hope to be enjoying more humble pie, last weekend’s dose was pretty good!

      What I really enjoyed was seeing runners coming in straight and hard from depth to bend the line – a lot less of the receiver taking the ball flat footed and passive in the face of a rush defence. Made me a very happy soul.

      Some things to love – but still a lot more improvement to come, and hopefully we will see it starting this weekend. We may not win, but if we continue to improve on the areas of weakness, I will be satisfied.

      • Nutta

        Your comments on the lack of flat-footer ball carriers was noticeable esp among the Pigs. It has been $hitting me to tears for some years now but I confess I was becoming immune to it and accepting the garbage. I’ve been thinking it must have been an outcome of the pace of our game that guys just had no gas to run onto it or maybe because they were running wider they were getting timing wrong but clearly (and gladly) I was wrong.

    • Funk

      One of the biggest issues the Wallabies have had in the last 16 years is consistency. They have always been able to pull out the odd good-great performance….which is then closely followed up by a steaming hot piece of shit performance, bringing all of us fans back down with an almighty crash.

      • moaning expat

        Yes! Questions to ask and points to raise;
        1) Last time it was a significantly different team that played the second game- but i hear you- i hear you loud.
        2) What game plan will the ABs bring? Will they target someone or something in particular? (me thinks Nic White and not Hooper will be on their radar
        3) They will be wary of attacking the way they have and niggling- methinks they will be very very physical (more so than usual i mean)
        4) They will be very wary of giving away penalties- will this change their game slightly?
        5) They will obviously come out firing. How and what is Cheika plan to mute that? Will they play back physically or for once use some nouse? The last time i saw the Wallabies use their brains and play to the ABs was the RWC semi in 2003…
        6) I just hope they just dont allow themselves be rattled. Jayco is a wild card Ref is my fear but at least hes not Nigel Owens…

  • Keith Butler

    Foley will be on the plane ahead of a Toomua.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think you’re right. TBH I’m not sure that it’s not the right decision either as I think Toomua has struggled even more than Foley at times

      • Keith Butler

        Maybe because Toomua is more a 12 (where he played at Leicester) than a 10. If QC had stayed at the Rebs I reckon that’s where he would have slotted in.

    • Twoilms

      As he should be. Toomua is stealing a living at the moment.

      Having said that. He may take Toomua as he covers more spots (supposedly). Not a lot of room for one position specialists.

      • Who?

        Issue is, with Christian seemingly unable to play the full 80, I think he HAS to take a second 10… It should be Cooper, but it won’t be.

        • Twoilms

          Is that the case or is he just giving Toomua time?

        • Who?

          Possibly, but Leali’ifano looked cooked both games, and in a Bledisloe – even one where you’re incredibly ahead of the opposition – having seen how things went the previous game when the 10 went off, I’d have thought you’d keep him out there to lock in that win…

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Oliver, a great write up and some very good points. The selections for next week will be very interesting for both sides. I’m hoping that Hansen and co forget all this playing people out of position to get them on the park and go back to the players playing where they always have done. If that means Savea doesn’t start because Cane is a better 7 then so be it. Cheika has spent the last 4 years proving this doesn’t work so I don’t know why the hell the Abs started doing it.

    Up until Saturday I’d be confident in saying we’ll be back, today and after watching the game on Sunday, I’m not so sure the turn around will be so complete. I think that Hansen and co are building or the RWC and looking at different combinations for that tournament but I’m not convinced we’re doing it right.

    With this win under the belt and wales getting thrashed by England the Wallabies are looking a lot better than they were even a year ago so things definitely looking up

    • Andy

      If only Kaino didn’t retire. He’s still your best 6. Same with Nonu. How he didn’t get selected is beyond me. He shits all over Sonny Bill still.

  • Happyman

    Aren’t the Kiwi media piling on the Kiwis at the moment. It is actually unhealthy.
    I must admit I looked at our bench and theirs before the game and said ro my son we actually shade them in the bench at the moment.
    Retallick is just such a big loss he gives everyone else much more time and space.
    Not even the good bloke defence will get Barrett cleared for this week and while Retallick to Scott Barrett is a step down in class. Barrett to the next one is a gulf.

    Having said that I expect an All Black victory on the weekend as we are not a consistent team and I do not have faith that that performance is repeatable.

    • Nutta

      Have faith Brother. Have faith.

      • Happyman

        Mate I have faith 10 years of disappointment driving my faith.

        Still hoping this is the year.

    • juswal

      All I had to say about the ABs was ‘gee they miss Retallick and Whitelock’. Then I discovered that Whitelock played. I confess to not paying a lot of attention to the commentary (too busy scoffing tasty takeaway from Louie’s Chinese Restaurant), but he must have had a quiet game because he just did not register with me.

      Now I’m actually interested to see who comes in for Barrett.

      As for next week, all I want from the Wallabies is what I’ve always wanted: committed execution of a smart game plan. If we deliver that, we’ll be competitive and the Bledisloe Cup will go (or stay) where it belongs.

      • Wonky Donkey

        Jackson hemopo maybe

    • I visited NZ for a holiday some years ago and the then PM had just had a meeting with McCaw in which he commented “When the AB’s win, I’d love your job, when they lose, I’m happy I’ve got mine.”

      The NZ press piling on the AB after a loss is common, after a loss to the Wallabies who – lets be honest have been less than stellar for the last few years – it’s going to be brutal. Not necessarily rational, but brutal.

      I certainly expect a much improved performance next week from the Nearlies. It will be interesting to see how the Wobs go. They jumped on the ABs and got a real roll going. Can they back that up? Can they back that up against an AB side that will be hurting and out for revenge?

  • skip

    Behold what might be the greatest whinge article in rugby history. Samu Kerevi should have been sent off for……being too difficult for Beaden Barret to tackle. Yes, that’s right. Because BB took the decision to lower his head into a place where Samu had deliberately, and with malice of forethought, placed his hips while having the temerity to run as part of an attempt (i’m sorry, the horror only gets worse) to score against NZ and (there really is not way to sugar coat this, i’m so very sorry) tried, within the laws of the game (that apparently only apply to NZ), to (don’t let your children read this, it will scar them) make it hard for BB to tackle him the correct decision should have been to send Kerevi off. Jesus sugar coated Christ i have read everything now.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/114924364/inconsistency-on-laws-revealed-in-samu-kerevi-hit-on-beauden-barrett

    • Happyman

      I read that god they go overboard. KRL must faceslap when he sees that sort of rubbish.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Absolutely. Every country has their arseholes and when we lose ours come out

        • skip

          I’d like it on record that the vast majority of what I’ve read has been very sportsmanlike and a credit to the game and the team’s fans. But that article was trash written of sour grapes to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

        • Happyman

          Mate I thought Hansen was very gracious some of my Kiwi mates were not.

        • Happyman

          Fortunately our doughbag journos are ensconced in AFL and League.

    • Who?

      Interesting that they never raised this issue back when the Bus (Julian Savea) was using exactly the same technique to similar effect. It would’ve felt more genuine then…

      • skip

        Inga the Winger, Lomu, Nonu, Savea, there’s a long list.

    • From NooZealand

      Not all think / feel the same. The AB’s were outplayed and the Wallabies deserve their win.
      A reply to that article:

      The ball runner is trying to avoid contact, the tackler is the one instigating the contact.
      Why should the attacking player be penalised if the tackler can’t get his head placement right.

      • skip

        Yeah, i read the NZ press as there’s a lot of good commentary there and there’s been much good sportsmanship after this game but if it wasn’t so unintentionally funny I wouldn’t have mentioned the article

  • bazzar

    Real controversy was the broadcast cutting away from Cheika as the wallabies scored early in the second half, I really wanted to see and hear his reaction

    • Who?

      Channel 10 didn’t even get that. I only saw it on the replay on Fox articles.

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A seagulling, ball playing backrower. Famous for scoring more tries in a season than successful tackles made as well as a better goalkicking percentage than tackle efficiency

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