All Blacks 39 – Wallabies 10
Australia’s Tri-Nation hopes and confidence that had been building under Aussie Robbie took a sizeable dent on Saturday night in Auckland, with the Wallabies being on the receiving end of almost exactly what they dished out to the All Blacks just seven days earlier in Sydney.
The week before the Wallabies had profited by lobbing bombs 5cm outside of the ABs 22, defending in a line and forcing a turnover. This week the likes of Carter, Cowan and even Sivivatu pinned Australia into the far corners of their own 22.
KICKS: Aus 27 for 710m, NZ 39 for 1297m
In the first half Australia would often then oblige the Kiwis with a poor decision like a throw to Burgess at the front (in you’re own 22 – WTF??). In the second half the Wallaby line-out simply imploded. 9 of the 16 line-outs the kiwis won were against the throw, of Australia’s 15 wins, none were stolen.
But that’s only where the wash-up headache begins for AntipoDeans. There were other key basics of the game at which the Wallabies were simply sloppy.
It’s not something that I’ve had to write about for the Green and Gold for a while, but the defence was verging on poor. In Woodcock’s first try he simply stepped off the try-line ruck to isolate Giteau and create a 4 on 3. For his second, there was a hole wide open in the middle of our line-out, and Nonu’s first try was far too easy as well.
TACKLES: Aus 115 (72% success rate), NZ 134 (81%)
You don’t win away from home with gifts like these. Someone get on the blower to Muggo or Kissy.
As for turnovers, we gave away two and a half times more than the Kiwis (12 vs 31). You simply can’t win with a disparity like this.
The break down though was the wild west – Mark Lawrence letting the Kiwis get away with murder among a few random pings. I know I sound like a sore loser, but here’s a quote from a Kiwi poster on Sportsfreak:
One factor in last night’s game was the inconsistency of referees. Well, rather, between referees.
Last week breakdowns were being blown up very quickly for “holding on” free kicks. This week, it happened very rarely.
The point remains though, referees are still interpreting the laws in very different ways. Personally, I find it is a better game when turnovers are a little harder to come by. (of course I would, given that suits the All Blacks better, but would hurt any Deans coached side)
These interpretations together with our own inaccuracies created the slaughter scoreline as Carter hauled in 18 points in penalty kicks from the 39 overall.
As for the positives, well it’s the usual. The attacking play had bite and Ashley-Cooper’s try was actually the pick of the night from a purists perspective. You’ve got to wonder though how many times Giteau needed to try the kick pass off first phase ball before he realised it wasn’t happening.
RUNS: Aus 88 for 406m, NZ 81 for 451m
The winning run had to end some time, but this loss will give the Wallabies more than enough to think about before the tests in South Africa later this month. Unless Australia seriously HTFU in these key areas – the basics – then third place beckons.
For New Zealand:
Tries: Woodcock 2, Nonu 2
Cons: Carter 2
Pens: Carter 5
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Richard Kahui, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Rodney So’oialo, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 John Afoa, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Anthony Tuitavake.
Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Peter Hynes, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c), 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 George Smith, 6 Phil Waugh, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 James Horwill, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Dan Vickerman, 19 Hugh McMeniman, 20 Sam Cordingley, 21 Ryan Cross, 22 Drew Mitchell.
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Touch judges: Craig Joubert (South Africa), James Bolabiu (Fiji)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)