Wallabies down All Blacks in Brisbane nail biter. - Green and Gold Rugby

Wallabies down All Blacks in Brisbane nail biter.

Wallabies down All Blacks in Brisbane nail biter.

They say there’s no such thing as a dead rubber, and when I say “they” I mean the marketers entering a third test of the season two-nil down.

In all honesty though, as a Wallaby fan who was dreading this match at the start of the season, this third Bledisloe Cup match still had the feels of somethings special.  Was it the somewhat improved performances over recent weeks? Maybe it was the special indigenous jersey? Who knows. Who cares. It’s Test match rugby and it’s worth getting excited about.

A week of extremely wet weather was more likely to have impacted the training sessions rather the game itself, such is Suncorp Stadium’s superb surface. Come full time the rain had eased (a little) and the crowd had built ready for what would hopefully be yet another memorable Bledisloe moment.

First Half:

From the kick off it was apparent the slippery conditions would impact the flow of the game as it made footing uncertain and the ball difficult to handle.

It made an impact early as there were a couple of early handling errors by both teams. The Aussies looked to be the ones to have the first opportunity to score, but a poor pass by Kurtley Beale led to a Marika Koroibete fumble and All Black ball.

Meanwhile the All Blacks were more clinical and cleared their half simply by making strong metres down field with some astute kicks.

The first linebreak came from the All Blacks when Waisake Naholo ran a nice line to slice through the Wallaby defence, eventually being taken down by Beale and the Wallabies were able to scramble out of trouble.

A Sean McMahon dropped the ball from the resultant lineout and the Wallabies were under all sorts of pressure as the All Blacks set a mid-field scrum on the 22m.

But the play would not as expected as Will Genia read the All Black attack to put pressure on the Lima Sopoaga pass only for Reece Hodge to do another Stirling Mortlock impression and snag the intercept to race away for the try. 7-0

When Keiren Read secured a penalty at the breakdown, and then Rob Simmons was pinged for backchat, the All Blacks were able to get themselves into an attacking position via a lineout within 10m of the line. A series of controlled, recycled ball, each phase putting more and more pressure on the Wallaby folding defence, finally saw an overlap to the kiwis. Israel Folau chose to rush the defensive line but left space outwide for Naholoto have a free run to the line. 7 – 7

The Aussie kicking game was aimless and without the chase that could cause damage in the weather.  Minor handling errors, perhaps due to the slippery conditions, were further hampering Wallaby momentum. With the team, across the park, not working hard enough at the breakdown the always on the edge New Zealanders were dominating.

When Sopoaga kicked a penalty after one such penalty, against Rob Simmons for not coming through the gate, bouncing it off the cross bar in the process, the kiwis took their lead to three points. 7-10

The Wallabies were off their game and it doesn’t take a Level 3 coach to know that you don’t beat the All Blacks by playing average rugby. Meanwhile the All Blacks had the match under control as usual and were patiently waiting for their opportunities.

It looked to come when Sonny-Bill Williams stole the ball from Tevita Kuridrani and released his outside backs. The Wallabies scrambled but again the visitors maintained their cool and it was Dempsey penalised for off-side next and Sopoaga kicked the penalty. 7-13.

In the closing stages of half time the crowd was tense as they had too many times seen these All Blacks hammer a nail in the coffin in those closing stages of the half. Instead it was the Wallabies who made it happen as they backed themselves to attack knowing that had advantage from a Sam Cane off-side. Soon enough it was that man Israel Folau who scored his 12th try for the season running onto a Kurtley pass to weave his way through the AB defence and go over in the corner.

The Wallabies were not great but fought hard and would be happy to go to the break one point down at 12-13.

Wallabies v All Blacks, Suncorp Stadium, 21st October 2017

Reece Hodge dots it down after a memorable intercept try early in the match.

Second Half:

It wasn’t an ideal start to the 2nd half as the Wallabies turned over ball and conceded a penalty.  The Wallabies wouldn’t give up easily though as they defended strongly and eventually Beale and Michael Hooper combined to secure the penalty to give the Wallabies the chance to relieve pressure and get themselves into kiwi territory.

Unfortunately Rob Simmons was forced to leave the field after a great deal of concern was shown when a tackle went a little wrong, as young Queensland Red Lukhan Tui got his first cap at home.

The Wallabies ignited from the lineout as Israel Folau, Marika Koroibete and Beale challenged the All Black defence and had them backpedalling. A strong Scott Sio put the Wallabies well on the front foot but a pass fired out by Genia to Beale was spilled and the chance lost.

A big play by Jack Dempsey to secure the turn over, following a good tackle by Tui, gave Foley the chance to kick the penalty and put the Wallabies back in front. The kick was pushed wide and the opportunity lost.

He’d get another chance soon after when the All Blacks were ruled off. Or so we thought as the crowd shouted “NO” Genia took the quick tap and charged. Thankfully the All Blacks were off-side again and Foley would get another chance to take the penalty shot. Or so we thought as the crowd shouted “NO” the Aussies kicked for touch and opted to back their lineout.

The Wallabies produced the goods through as an initial driving maul put the pressure on and drew the penalty advantage, before they too it wide for Folau to create space and put Koroibete over for another Wallaby try. 17-13

With just 20 minutes to go the Wallabies had a small lead but had looked an improved unit in the second half. Helping was a deteriorating All Black discipline as the number of penalties began to stack up.  Stephen Moore ran on for his last test at home and the hope was he could inspire the team to a famous victory.

When the All Blacks gave away their 7th penalty in a row Reece Hodge stood up and kicked it from close to 40m out to put the lead to a converted try. 20-13.

Sean McMahon put in an incredible run bullocking 50m or so down field and it looked as if the Wallabies could create something again. But a HUGE tackle by replacement prop, Ofa Tu’ungafasai, on Foley stopped all momentum and quite possible his heart for a moment or two.

The All Blacks, the masters they are of sniffing out a weakness, soon were over with Reiko Ioane going over after a wonderful Sonny-Bill offload and a draw and pass by Kieran Read.

Damian McKenzie failed to kick it from the sideline and Australia clung to a 20-18 lead with less than 10 to go.

With minutes to go the All Blacks were very un-All Black in turning over the ball and the Wallabies were able to force their way down field and again force a penalty. Hodge stood up to take the kick and wind down the clock. He absolutely nailed it from his own half and gave the Aussies a five point lead with less than two minutes to go. 23-18.

A late Wallaby penalty gave the ABs a late run for the win with a lineout from 20m out. But this time the Wallabies wouldn’t be denied and a knock on by Sam Cane was enough to send the Wallaby players and fans into joyous rapture.

Michael Hooper bought to ground

Michael Hooper bought to ground

The Game Changer

In a game so close it can only be something coming late in the game, and Reece Hodge’s monster penalty shot in the last couple of minutes was a massive play. In reality though the All Blacks poor discipline in the second half really cost them. 


Jack Dempsey was fantastic tonight making metres through strong kiwi traffic.  The backrow lifted their intensity in the second half, and Lukhan Tui made a big impact from the bench, but Dempsey was a consistent performer all night.

Player  watch

Kieran Read was very good for the All Blacks while Sonny Bill produced some class to prove doubters wrong.  Reece Hodge deserves more recognition for his big plays with the intercept and two crucial penalty goals.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Australia 23:
Tries: Reece Hodge (8th), Israel Folau (39th) Marika Koroibete (57th)
Conversions: Bernard Foley (9th)
Penalties: Reece Hodge (63rd, 78th)

New Zealand 18:
Tries: Waisake Naholo (15th), Reiko Ioane (71st)
Conversions: Liam Sopoaga (16th)
Penalties: Liam Sopoaga (24th, 31st)



Wallabies v All Blacks, Suncorp Stadium, 21st October 2017

Congratulations to Jack Dempsey on his GAGR MOM Award.


15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio. Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Ned Hanigan, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Samu Kerevi, 23 Henry Speight


15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames. Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 David Havili.


  • jamie

    I don’t know how you got this up so quickly. Kudos

    Whoever got the fucking Seiko tonight deserves that thing. What a test match.

    Criticisms and manlove to come tomorrow

    • Dempsey got it.

      • Alister Smith

        He’s never lost a game in the Wallaby jersey and has a 100% record against the ABs – must be tempting to hang up the boots now

  • Moose

    Yay! Going to watch it again right now

  • Hitcho

    Dempsey was good but McMahon was epic and gets the watch for mine…. Wallabies won woohoo!!!

    • onlinesideline


      • Hitcho

        I know right… pure.. unadulterated.. ticker!!!

        • onlinesideline


      • Simon

        That was 100% unadulterated Beast Mode.

      • Andy

        He’s a proper soldier.

      • Raz Gat

        Absolute craziness…

      • gurchin


  • Hoss

    So many emotions, so much pride, so many heroes, but for now this will do

    Tears on the cheek
    The darkness has lifted
    You fucking beauty

    The marker has been laid down

    • Adrian

      Spot on Hoss

  • Moose

    England take note

    • onlinesideline

      of US

  • Greg

    Thanks for the write-up.

    So how good was that!! Now the wallabies have to build form there.

    Folau was running a little straighter, McMahon was great, scrum was strong, mid-field was solid,kick from Hodge was great. I felt for McKenzie as he tried to tackle Koroibete. I thought that the ref did a good job (see also comment below) in that I didn’t notice him overly much. That;’s the way it should be.

    Foley did not have a great game missing 3 kicks, a few handling errors, slipped off the tackle that led to the last AB try… I was nervous with Phipps coming on but he did OK. What a great send of for Moore.

    I know that KRL doesn’t agree with my view…. but teh AB cynical play under pressure is epic. Were there 7 penalties in a row? I just don’t understand how there was not a yellow and possible two. Sonny Bill continues to look like a no-arms-in-the-tackle accident waiting to happen.

    • Strip Chief

      Congrats on the win mate. Well deserved. We just didn’t pitch up and couldn’t cope under pressure.

      Had a little chuckle at your comment: “Folau was running a little straighter”


  • onlinesideline

    One small thing but to me quite indicative was the ABs niggle. They didnt like the conditions as much as I thought they would and from their own drop balls, mistakes, crowding in backline they wore their heart on sleeve. We on other hand got back on horse straight away when we made mistakes, no heads down. Beale and TK were just smiling at Dane Coles and thats a sign the Wallabies have belief again.

    Coleman, Sean Macca, Hooper, Dempsey, Tui !!

    • Simon

      Wallabies seemed to have the edge in fitness too. Whether it was the Brisbane weather or Cheika’s infamous hill runs, there were a lot of exhausted Kiwis out there by about 60 minutes.

      • Rob Malcolm

        Great point. That famous “last 20 minutes” that the kiwis usually own was ours last night

  • Fatflanker

    Epic battle. Folau – the man strolls, skips and jogs into contact and it still takes three men to pull him down. Well done to both teams tonight. I’m off to change my pants.

  • onlinesideline

    I dont think we could have taken another loss in last minute. I know I couldnt of.
    Geezuz we needed that.
    An honest and gutsy win.
    Credit to Cheika too, gotta acknowledge the guy, hes getting there and he was in a dark place 2 months ago. It wouldnt have been fun.

    • Aron

      Last minute loss….. I don’t think I could have stomached watching my philandering namesake celebrate from the bench again.
      I would have turned off the TV before getting afflicted with that

  • Andy

    Most encouraging thing about that performance were the young fellas. They weren’t scared and gave it their all. Guys like McMahon, Dempsey, Tui, Hodge, Koroibete were superb.

    • onlinesideline


      His rush defense on the ABs tonite was so effective and his try. Was like
      “dont even think about it, Im going over”

    • Huw Tindall

      Not unlike when the poms started beating us in cricket again – took a new generation who hadn’t been beaten down repeatedly. Believe and new found aggression when Flintoff was streaming in and Vaughn carving runs all over the place.

  • Simon

    What a game of rugby. That quick ball the Wallabies have been building on really hit its full stride tonight and the ABs looked the most rattled I’ve seen them in years. If you can play the ball that quickly, even the ABs start to open up.

    Not why Foley’s radar seems to fail when we are leading the ABs, that kept it closer than it could have been, but unlike in Dunedin it didn’t ultimately matter. Well done to all the boys, fantastic effort. Great sendoff for Squeak.

    • Brumby Runner

      I’m not certain, but pretty sure that Foley’s poor kicking has let us down against other teams, not just the ABs. Didn’t we lose one or two of the tests v England last year after scoring more tries?

      It seems to me that his goal kicking will not win us any games but it will lose us some where we outscore the opposition on tries.

      • Westo

        Its the consistency more than anything that shits me off. Was it one from 4. 7 point from memory. Admittedly one or two were 70%s but you should be getting one of those. Anyway we won so fuck yeah and I also won £250 at 5:1. Stoked

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah 100% one week and 60% the next. Would rather 80% every week.

      • Rob Malcolm

        He has won us a few at the death too. Important and hard ones like at the World Cup.
        The guy can obviously kick – you don’t put up a string of 19 in a row by fluking it. But he definitely has off-days.
        Great to have Hodge in the team.

    • Aron

      Foley pulled his kick to the left when he slotted his first conversion and i was dreading we might get another Dunedin.
      Lucky for us Hodge is a clutch player

  • Kev


  • Bobas

    Dempsey from you too Reg!

    Not only the seiko watch, that goes to the tah of the match, but also praise from RR himself!

    I will say Dempsey had a Fardy like game! But Hodge would get MOTM from me!

    • RugbyReg

      yeah the media do the 3-2-1s for the game. But generally at the 75th minute mark so it was still close then and before that last Hodge kick.

      Still, Dempsey was great.

      • Bobas

        agreed. Hooper and McMahon would have been there too.

        • Adrian

          And Coleman, and TPN, and Kepu, and Sio, and Folau, and, and, and….

        • Bobas


  • Timbo

    What a game!

    Foley should be renamed to Fold-ly. Holy crap his ribs are going to be sore tomorrow.
    Our backrow was everywhere tonight. McMahon was already spent when he ran 50m. Dempsey was epic and Hooper was just Hooper. Any one of them could have won MOTM.

    The niggle that Coles and co were showing really showed the ABs were worried as they should be.


    I need a beer

    • Big Ted

      Ha ha!! Fold-ly. Love it!

  • Raz Gat


  • onlinesideline

    Someone make a meme of that Sean McMahon run please.

    • BigNickHartman

      memes are hard work…do you just want a video of that run, or do you have an idea?

      • onlinesideline

        firstly I want to know what minute it was so I can rewatch ?

        secondly it shoud be replayed in slow-mo on big screens behind all headmasters at assembly speech every Friday afternoon at all schools across the country during winter semester.

        video will do Nick – what do you reckon ?

        • BigNickHartman

          I’ll be cutting video for Brian Smith later, so I’ll make a note to do it then! Might also cut a video of all the times Dane Coles was a grub

        • Missing Link

          That Dane Coles vid will have to be a 3 part mini series

    • Missing Link

      Sean McMahon is the T1000 out of Terminator 2. I’m fairly certain of it.

  • onlinesideline

    Props scrummaged well too. Thought they did the ABs in front of their posts when it wheeled, Barnes went easy on them I thought.

    • Bobas

      Would have loved to see SIO and KEPU stay on for the full 80

  • joy

    A long black cloud dripping with sorrow descends on the shaky isles swallowing up everything in it’s path. Whoo Hoo.

    • Archie

      Strange comment?! Who’s got all the silverware? Don’t think NZ rugby fans are too bothered with a dead rubber

      • Scotty in Devon

        Every loss bothers them. Every Single One. They are still upset about the absolute thrashing England gave them a few years ago when Lancaster was in charge.

        • joy

          And every win delights us. Well why wouldn’t we be happy after beating the self proclaimed “best rugby side of all time”.

  • Moz

    Wow!! Although a friend called the Wallabies win 5 minutes from the end. I hit him. What was he thinking, trying to jinx us like that !!

    I also like Barnes as a ref

    I’ll watch that again tomorrow and have more thoughts!

  • Tommy Brady

    Thanks as always for the write up.

    As a Kiwi, may I apologies for coming onto a website some regard as only for Australians, but I wanted to congratulate the Wallabies and all their supporters here for a well deserved victory. The more intelligent, more disciplined, more skilled, more committed team won tonight and deserved the spoils. After a difficult season against NZ opposition this year, that should lift spirits and provide inspiration. Congratulations also to Wayne Barnes who once again was all class. Imagine if they all were as good as him.

    • RugbyReg

      Thanks Tommy. Classy!

    • Greg

      Good on you Tommy!

      For info one of the best regarded contributors here is a guy call KiwRugbyLover. A kiwi through and through, living in Australia, and always with something worth reading. Feel free to join in in a similar vein.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Thanks mate

    • idiot savant

      All class Tommy. Your insights are always welcome. The ABs looked tired tonight. Mentally as much as physically. Which exacerbated the discipline issues. Its been a long season with the Lions in June.

      • Who?

        Think they really missed Beauden tonight. Because if he plays, Lima’s on at the end. And it felt like they lacked playmaking experience at the end. It was only DMac out there, and you never see that from the ABs – it’s always Beauden and Lima, or Lima and DMac. Never Beauden or Lima and no experienced second playmaker.

        • I don’t want to take anything away from the Wallabies, they deserved to win, but I agree that the AB really missed Beauden and I’d add Brodie to that too.

          Lima plays a fine, but structured, game and I felt the AB backs lacked their normal incisive flair because of it, although generally under pressure they looked more… not assured but regular and comfortable. I can imagine school rugby coaches around the world taking the tape, or the DVD of this match, and saying “look, do it like this” in a way they don’t when Beauden is playing. Likewise, while I don’t think Scott Barrett did anything wrong, he didn’t have the impact of Brodie Retallik, and it showed fairly often. He’s young and it’s not fair to expect him to really but you can’t help wonder what would have happened if he’d been there.

          All that said, the Aussies were seriously up for this game and simply played better overall. I still think there are serious issues in the coaching staff but I think they’re starting to settle on the best starting 15 at long last and when they get it right, they can play. I know I defended Hannigan, but I was wrong, Dempsey is a far more ready person now – and bringing Hannigan on for some experience at the end of games isn’t a terrible move if he is going to be ready for 2019. It would be nice if Foley could be consistent as a goal kicker. I never thought I’d say he’s worse than Barrett, but 100% one week and 0% the next is harder to watch than 100% one week and 50% the next…

        • onlinesideline

          We were missing Hunt in all 3 Bleds – Rodda in this test. Injuries are no excuse, it goes both ways. It shows that ABs have some depth weakness in some positions. We could also argue that we are also missing Pocock. I know what you said above is not devaluing the win, Im just saying, can you imagine Pocock and Hunt and Sefa back.
          ABs definitely have vunerabilities.

        • Rob Malcolm

          What a great thread!
          A gracious Kiwi; some Aussie modesty in response.
          (Let’s be honest, both of the above are rare beasts: to find both in the same thread…)

        • Agreed, some definite weakness in depth at the moment for the AB… although S. Barrett will improve, some of his issues are just he’s inexperienced.

        • Ben Fox

          Hodge should kick them all

        • loloma8

          This is a great discussion from both sides of the Tasman. Let’s face it, the Aussies had more to play for than the Blacks. NZ coaches were wise in allowing some of their key players to rest. Congrats to the Aussies – they’ve really picked up mentally in spite of a terrible year in Australian Rugby with the Super trouble. The real match for the Aussies comes in a few weeks when they play away to the English (No 2 in the world).

        • Dally M

          No offence, but who did they rest?

          They brought their strongest team available according to all the NZ journo’s leading into the match.

          Oh, the number 2 team in the world that the AIG’s haven’t played for 4 years?

        • onlinesideline

          exactly – it was injuries not resting. Bad luck, we have had to front up many times against ABs with our less than optimal side due to injuries.

        • loloma8

          No offence taken. You’re right – The Blacks would have wished to take on England this northern tour but the Lions result was a fair indication of standings. Stats over the years show that the AB’s just lose intensity and focus when faced with a dead rubber. Again, well done to the Wallabies.

        • Dally M

          What a load of rubbish.

          There was no loss of intensity. Did you even watch the game or just decide to start posting excuses when you saw the result?

        • onlinesideline

          just goes to show again what Cheika inherits at the end of the super season – it must get better in SR for our national side to really flourish.

        • mark conley

          I can cope (the cat is safe) when the AB’s defeat Aus, in fact when anyone else beats us apart from England

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          When Barrett is on the team is unbeatable, but he has had a fair few off days this year for both the Canes and the All Blacks and the team suffered. That said, I think that Mounga should be his understudy, not Sopoaga.

          And I don’t quite understand how Mounga wasn’t on the bench.

        • I think they might think he’s a bit young but will take him to the Northern Hemisphere next month and he might be the replacement next year.

          And I don’t think Sopanga does anything wrong, his kicking is solid, his ball distribution is solid and so on. If you drew a line Mehrtens, Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden, Lima Sopanga is the next player in that mould at 10 really. Barrett is just so good that he breaks the mould – he’s not a reliable goal kicker for example – but he both scores and makes tries so prolifically that you have to play him. I think Moanga might be the closest player to Barrett there is, in terms of being able to inspire the back line, so he might be a better fit. I didn’t see his kicking stats, but I think he’s a better goal kicker too. When he’s got a bit more experience, I think Sopanga will be worried.

        • Who?

          I think Barrett is to 10’s what Hooper is to 7’s. I don’t think either is truly suited to the number on their back, when it comes to focusing on the KPI’s traditionally required for their positions. That doesn’t mean that either is a bad Rugby player – far from it! In fact, the opposite of it! Both are exceptional Rugby players, but they’re hard to position. Beauden’s at his best on the run. Like Kurtley. If he’s static and just distributing, he offers less than no threat. If he’s running, he’s a massive threat, due to his pace. If he’s running, passing, and getting second touches, he’s absolutely lethal. But that doesn’t mean that he organizes a backline as Carter did, or that he picks his runners as well, or has as good a tactical kicking game (though clearly he’s a long way ahead of Foley).
          And I say all that as a huge fan of Beaudy.

      • Tommy Brady

        Sound points my friend – but no excuses. They came up against a side who are settled, injury free with growing skill levels and self belief. Despite the hopes of their fans, the All Blacks cannot win every test match. Pressure them and they become vulnerable. We saw that last night.

    • Happyman

      Always Welcome Tommy. This site is for all but frankly trolls from all sides are not welcome in my view. I follow this site as it does not have the idiots of a some of the others both AUS and NZ.

      I think the AB’s are never the same without Brodie Retailik. Last two games he has missed. Loss to Ireland and AUS and an escape against SA. His ruck work provides so much quick ball for the outside men. Which just goes to show even in this day and age. Numbers one to five win matches an numbers 6 to 15 decide by how much.

  • Chris M

    I love it when the comments contain more discussion about who was best on field and not who ballsed what up when.

    Best Wallabies test in a while and the only one recently that kept me watching every second. Great improvements and great to see young guys stepping up. The back row (and I’m including Tui in that. He played a similar game to Dempsey) was great.

  • Adrian

    The tackling and defence spot on.
    Everyone tried their guts out.
    We stuck to our game plan, … with the exception of being sucked into kicking duels.

    I think that even though everyone made a mistake or two, the wet ball had something to do with lots of them.

    I wished, and still wish the starting front row had stayed on, but the guys who came on hung in there.

    Hunt will have to wait, but what a good position to be in for the team

  • idiot savant

    Congratulations to the boys. A great team performance. This group is growing in confidence and calmness under pressure. Huge improvement in the back row. Great scrum. And backs that worry the opposition. Im looking forward to England.

  • Who?

    Glad Dempsey got the Seiko. Don’t know that he’s the best 6 in the country this year (over the full season), but he’s certainly brought some great skills to the Wallabies these last three Tests. The amount of times tonight that he received the ball flat footed behind the gain line from someone who should’ve just taken the tackle, only to have him shuffle, find the softer shoulder then drive through the gain line was incredible. His body height in contact was excellent.
    I don’t think we played the smarter rugby tonight. I think if we played the smarter rugby, we’d have won it by another 15. We won it because the team played with exceptional heart and commitment. There was definitely adjustment to the game plan – the up and unders, whilst not perfectly executed, but they were the right plan in the conditions, especially with only one kicker in the AB back three. But the ABs kicking game was fantastic, until the second half. I’ve seen it noted a few place that we only missed 11 tackles, but the ABs were making metres without the ball, in defence (some MASSIVE hits), and with their kicking game. I think where they lost the game was that Sopoaga left, and suddenly there wasn’t enough leadership on field at the end. If he were still there, I think they’d have pushed even harder at the end…
    I think we left points out there, though. Folau was still going too far sideways – he ran sideways 15m with a 3 on 2 overlap in the first half, and I honestly thought he’d bombed the try when he scored it. We were 7 on 4, he got the ball and we were 4 on 2, then he ran past Kepu (3 on 2), and was tackled scoring behind the last man with two men still outside him.
    Cheika, interestingly, shares my view of Foley running the ball at the side of the ruck. That it’s stupid! Sure, big hit, but if you’re a 10 and you’re stupid enough to run at a wall at the side of a ruck, that’s what’s going to happen to you! If you’re running at a breakdown off front foot ball, and you’ve got 4 forwards in front of you – as Foley did – then your first instinct should be to spread the ball. Because 4 forwards in front of one runner means there’s space out wide. Whilst Simmo was the one who got marched 10 for talking back, I was surprised that Foley got away with blowing up at Barnes for TJ’s (legal) interference on Genia late in the game when Foley dropped it cold (good pass, but he was looking at the second receiver when the ball arrived). That was pretty ordinary. But I completely sympathise with him kicking the ball out on the full when it was kicked – Barnes was screaming the whole time, but it was loud, and was always going to be hard for Foley to hear him.
    But very, very pleased for the team. Anyone who questions their effort isn’t watching the same game as me (even in games like the loss to Scotland). They give their all – they just don’t always do it the smartest way possible. Tonight was determination winning over a smarter game, which eventually wasn’t executed at the standard needed. I thought our props did well – Sio was excellent in open play. Squeak’s inside ball just after he went on was excellent – the sort of stuff you’d be happy to see from a 12. Tui got hit time and again, but just kept going. There was a good amount of dropped ball, but most of it could be put down to the conditions. Hodge, TK and Koroibete were solid at worst, and excellent at best. So happy when Hodge started taking shots at goal…
    And Barnes, whilst a bit pedantic at times (thought both Read and Hooper were lucky with their turnovers – they had the man more than the ball), but overall he was, as usual, consistent and even handed. His call on Cane for taking out a retreating Taf at the breakdown was excellent – it’s really common for that sort of thing to be missed (every team does it from time to time), so to pick it up was good. It might be said, “Smith made it obvious by running through the gap,” but that doesn’t help refs other times it happens…
    Not a perfect performance from the Wallabies, but certainly a very worthy win.

  • Jonno

    Well done to Cheika and the Wallabies, since losing to Scotland and getting monstered in game 1 this team has demonstrated their courage. Great jersey, great welcome to country….Cooo-eeee!!! It’s fitting the first time we wear the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags on our jersey that we beat the team that honors their ancestors before every single match.
    Dempsey, Hooper and McMahon were everywhere. For all the haters of lightweight mobile loosies, I think we just saw brains and courage beat brawn. Massive shots by the All Blacks but this time David downed Goliath.

    • Who?

      For all that the ARU – or Rugby Australia – gets wrong, their Welcomes to Country have consistently been absolutely excellent. :-)

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Personally, I thought this was the best of these that I’ve seen thus far. It was short and to the point, interesting AND….he got the crowd involved, and that’s no easy task with Australian Rugby crowds. So well done to him.

        • onlinesideline

          I thought we should have had a bit of didgeridoo going to pysche up the boys a bit while the welcome was said. I was worried the ARU were going to start playing – Men at Work song “Down Under” knowing them.

        • Rob Malcolm

          Yeah, save the lecture, just a give us the Coo-eee, the shirt and the digeri
          The Haka doesn’t seem so intimidating when you hear the digeri and know The Ancestors have got our backs and are up for spooking a few paddlers from the Dark

        • onlinesideline

          I hope we wear that jersey occasionally in northern hemisphere especially against the Poms !

        • Jonno

          Hell yes, I was really hoping Kurtley scored at least once and busted out the shake a leg in Coles and Smith’s face. Brrrrr ah ah ah!!!! NZ are not the only mob who can summon the warrior spirits.

  • Very Happy Reds Fan
  • Very Happy Reds Fan
  • Khun Pugwash


  • Huw Tindall

    What a gutsy performance. Couldn’t be prouder. Hat tips all around. Perhaps one of the best signs is we are winning even when Foley and Beale, to an extent, have average games. Other players stepping up. Love it.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Great game and congratulations for the win. The Wallabies wanted it more and the result showed that. I’m almost pleased to see Squeak go out with a win and it was well deserved. Next year’s going to be epic.

  • Nutta

    Thank fk for that.

  • Archie

    As a Kiwi I flew over to Brisbane for the weekend to watch this game. (First time in Brisbane… beautiful city, pity about the weather but at least it is sunny waking up today).

    I booked my tickets months ago thinking this may not be a dead rubber. It’s a shame it was, which made the result palatable, but if you didn’t know it was I think you wouldn’t guess there was nothing on the line. Some of the hits and the general intensity was incredible to be a part of. Glad I came over for this.

    For the ABs, I thought they lacked composure and direction in the second half and really missed the likes of Ben Smith, Beauden, Brodie, Moody and Franks who steer the young guys. I think on reflection Hansen will be very pleased with what he’s achieved so far this season with so many young not-first-choice players, looking to the future.

    But of course congratulations need to go fairly and deservedly to the Wallabies. Well played… it was clear they wanted it more and probably could have won by a few more points in the end. To be quite honest, given the circumstances of the match (rubber) the celebrations in the crowd around me blew me away. It meant so much and that was awesome to see. That made it easy to forget any disappointment and enjoy the rest of the night in a number of Brisbane’s fine establishments, next to happy fans wearing gold.

    As a Kiwi and a fellow ANZAC, naturally I always want the Wallabies to win when they’re not playing us. I’ll be up at whatever ungodly hour of the morning calls to cheer on the Wallabies on your end of year tour… as I will the ABs.

    Best of luck and thanks for a great weekend Brisbane.

    • Greg

      Thanks for that and glad you enjoyed the game and Brissie. Feel free to stay around (on G&G) and contribute to the discussion.

    • Rob Malcolm

      Great post, thank you. ABs are the standard we judge by.

    • joy

      A gracious response, well expressed.

  • Rob Malcolm

    How about a quiet thank you to the coaching staff?
    Let’s start with Defence. Missed tackles 11 v ABs 28. I don’t quite know what has changed or why, but thank you Nathan Gray.
    Scrum. The ABs dominated the Lions a few months ago. Not us. Thank you Super Mario.
    Attack. 3 tries to 2. In fact I have dead-set lost count of how many tries we’ve racked-up over the 3 tests against the ABs. It’s a lot. It’s more than any team has over 3 tests against them. Probably ever (just guessing). Thank you Maestro Larkham.
    Skills. It was wet last night. The stats on Bledisloe matches in the wet are not pretty. We matched up. OK, still plenty of work to do – kicking game was still dreadful – but at least we have progress. Thank you Mick Byrne.
    Strategy. Cheika wants us to play “the Australian way” – the way great teams of our past have played: Tahs ’14, Reds ’11, Wallabies ’07, ’99 etc. That is hard forwards laying a quick-ball platform for ball-in-hand backs to score tries. Note the contrast to the ABs who are happy to kick, play without the ball and counter-attack. Our backrow is 50kg lighter. We kick for touch when we “should” take the 3. Our 5/8 plays so flat that even when he gets POUNDED he has to get up and make the next play just as flat as last time. Despite a mountain of criticism, Cheika has stuck to this strategy. He has uncovered some players who will be greats. He took us to the Final of the World Cup last time. The ABs know who will be there at the next one. Thank you Mr Cheika.

    • juswal

      Good stuff, Rob

    • Who?

      I did note changes in tactics (specifically the decision to try midfield up and unders), but a few points…
      1. Tackling. The ABs kicked a lot last night. They didn’t want the ball at their end, they knew we were going to run it from everywhere (as per usual), which is difficult in the dry. And way harder in the wet. So, whilst Sopoaga was out there, they kicked – very effectively. If you’re playing a territory game, giving territory in exchange for possession, you’re not going to be tackled as many times. So, whilst I haven’t looked at stats, it wouldn’t surprise me if the missed tackles stats, whilst possibly being a bit better percentage than previous games, still aren’t at the level we used to expect of the Wallabies (i.e. under Muggles, or later Deans or Link).
      2. Reds in 2011 kicked away 44% of their possession. They didn’t have big forwards. They played a ball retention game when they felt secure, and were happy to take territory and earn the ball back when they couldn’t find front foot ball.
      3. I don’t think the 07 Wallabies were known for hard forwards… Didn’t we get out muscled by England? The best of that team was that we had some big backs – especially outside backs – that got us across the gain line consistently. Mortlock, Tuqiri, Latham…
      4. Our 5/8 got smashed because he was stupid enough to run an inside line at the side of the ruck. Cheika himself said on Channel 10 that our inside backs shouldn’t be running inside lines on the ruck – it should be tight forwards. It’s good to play flat, but our 10 should be passing, not crashballing. And Cheika agrees with me…

    • McWarren

      Rob we won one game against a poorly functioning under strength AB’s. A great win no doubt, but let’s not get too carried away. There are still plenty of weaknesses in our game that need to be fixed. With proper selections and smarter tactics we could have had that win about this time last year.

      I’ll hold my praise for Cheika for when we win a lot on the trot, a series and have depth.

      I read today where Cheika thinks the part of the problem for Aussie teams in the past was selecting out and out fetchers like Pocock, and not enough ball runners like Hooper?

      • Who?

        Got a link mate? Wouldn’t surprise me, but…
        I do love how everything is now “We’re undefeated in five matches.” Gotta somehow make it look successful – we sound like soccer fans!

        • McWarren


          Towards the end when talking about Liam Wright.

        • Who?

          Thanks. That said, I wouldn’t consider Gill to be an out and out fetcher, as in a one trick pony. Pocock’s been very focused on it for a long time, but he’s also a strong tight tackler and he secures breakdowns (something Cheika doesn’t seem to consider to be important – witness our draws against SA, which were all down to a lack of breakdown security). Gill is, as best I can see, the most balanced openside in Australia in the last five years. Pilfers, tackles, rucks, hits attacking breakdowns, runs, links with the backs… Hits drop goals. So I don’t think it’s fair to characterise him as a pilfer-focused seven, even though he does it very well.

        • McWarren

          Preaching to the converted my friend. I’d have LFG in every team I pick. But I think Cheika sees him as firstly a fetcher and not enough seagulling backline attacker.

  • juswal

    Since the Lions tour, the defensive plan to control the ABs has been clear: tackle the shit out of them for 50 minutes, stay in touch on the scoreboard, and then slow the game when they try to make their second surge. If you keep the pressure on them they will start dropping ball, losing their alignment and giving away penalties.

    Last night the Wallabies did all that, and scored three good tries along the way. They dominated possession and territory in the second half and set themselves up to win. They hit the right balance of attitude and discipline. It was smart, tough rugby by a young team that is developing the mental and physical strength to take on anyone.

    The endgame played out perfectly. The match was there for the ABs to take but unlike last time, the Wallabies wouldn’t hand it over. They had already proved they could defend in their 22 and they didn’t choke. Strong tackles greeted the raid, the siren sounded and the ball was spilled.

    The myth that NZ has the depth for two Test teams is out of date. Thirty Test-quality players isn’t the same as two balanced XVs. Last night’s backline had a dangerous halfback and fullback but the rest were orthodox, powerful finishers who were waiting for someone else to give them opportunities. All the forwards are switched on and ruthless, but this isn’t like last generation’s pack full of leaders.

    But it’s all about the Wallabies right now. The big question to ponder is: have they improved overall since Bled 1, or is it just that the defensive structure got fixed? I think it’s both, but more the latter. They are definitely fitter and mentally tougher.

    Looking to the EOYT, we still need another five-eighth, a competent goal-kicker and a first-choice lock partner for Coleman. The debate about power in the back row will go on, but Dempsey, McMahon and Hooper starred last night.

    • Metootootoo

      Reserve props are also a work in progress. Really not convinced by either Robertson or Alaalatoa

    • Who?

      I think your point about NZ not having 2 Test XV’s is fair, but the real key is that it’s not 2 XV’s – it’s 2 XXIII’s. The ABs were missing experience and decision making at the end, after Sopoaga went off.

  • Dally M

    Kudo’s to Wayne Barnes too. A very composed well reffed match.

    Could have gone to the pocket a few times for repeated infringements & off the ball stuff, but glad that he didn’t as it made the contest all that more intense and the victory sweeter.

    • Moz

      I agree about Barnes< i generally enjoy most matches he looks after. I get the impression that he just wants to see the rugby flow and not get too involved. He may not pick up some of the offences, etc, but its very rarely a stop and start, penalty-fest affair.

  • Missing Link

    Love or hate him, but KB has been instrumental for the Wallabies this year

  • Moz

    So GAGR are handing out the Seiko watches for their MOM Awards as well? Outstanding!!!

  • Greg

    so in the end…. we were only a few minutes from winning the Blidisloe this year.

    That is a pretty good effort all up.

    I really hope that we can build from here.

    Some good young players coming in. Need to continue developing depth at 1 and 3, 6/7/8 will be interesting with Pocock returning – can’t see Hooper on the bench! some thought needed for 9 and 10 backup. It will be interesting to see how Cooper goes next weekend!

  • Dex Stewart

    Great game – Wallabies did an excellent job of putting the ABs off their game. Congratulation of a really dogged win.
    See you guys in the Millennium Stadium next month

  • Bay35Pablo

    “Helping was a deteriorating All Black discipline as the number of penalties began to stack up.”
    Amazing what happens when the Richie McCaw Invisibility Cloak (C) slips.
    Ultimately Wobblies put pressure on them and they cracked. Only way to beat them.


The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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