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All Blacks retain Bledisloe Cup with big win over Eddie Jones’ Wallabies

By Finn Morton
All Blacks players celebrate victory following the The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

The All Blacks have piled more misery onto Eddie Jones’ Wallabies, and ensured the stability of the New Zealand economy, by retaining the Bledisloe Cup for another year.

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Playing in front of a packed house at the world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday, the All Blacks put on a second-half clinic as they ran away with a 38-7 win.

But that’s not to say it was easy. Not by any means.

During an action-packed weekend on the Aussie Rules calendar, ‘footy’ obsessed Melbourne embraced rugby and the Wallabies.

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With just over a month to go until the upcoming Rugby World Cup, this was Australia’s last chance to see their rugby heroes in action on home soil – and they packed the stands in their droves.

An incredible crowd of 83,944 brought the noise during a tough clash between two great sporting rivals. When Australia play New Zealand in any sport, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.

Led by skipper Ardie Savea, the All Blacks charged out onto enemy territory at about 7:49 pm. They were met by a loud cheer, sure, but it was nothing compared to the cry that echoed through the venue a minute later.

Prop Allan Alaalatoa charged onto the hallowed turf of the MCG, and his Wallabies teammates followed. The Wallabies were coming off back-to-back losses and were desperate to make amends.

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But the stakes, in a way, were much higher for the All Blacks. New Zealand had an opportunity to lock up the prestigious Bledisloe Cup for another year and secure The Rugby Championship crown.

New Zealand laid down their challenge with an intense rendition of Kapa o Pango, and Alaalatoa met the haka by presenting the visitors with a boomerang.

“Not long now” the fans surely thought.

Moments later, with a blow of the whistle from referee Wayne Barnes, the Test was underway. The ball was kicked high into the Melbourne sky, and just like that, the Bledisloe Cup rivalry was on.

Both teams failed to fire during the opening exchanges. Veteran Aaron Smith threw a couple of wayward passes, and young Wallabies flyhalf Carter Gordon struggled to get things going as well.

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But then, almost out of nowhere, the All Blacks took the lead. Scott Barrett was front-and-centre on the reply screen, and some were left questioning what had just happened.

The reply soon showed that Barrett had sent Wallabies halfback Tate McDermott into next week with a destructive tackle two-metres out from the try-line.

McDermott dropped ball, so the try was there for the taking. Flanker Shannon Frizell who was compared to legendary All Blacks No. 6 Jerome Kaino a fortnight ago, simply placed his hand on the ball. That’s all he had to do to open the scoring.

Australia were down by five points – but it didn’t last long.

Mark Nawaqanitawase nearly hit back a couple of minutes later after breaking through the New Zealand defensive line. But Beauden Barrett cut down the winger 15 metres out.

But that attack eventually led to a try to Rob Valetini. After failing to score out wide, the TMO was called upon for a desperate attempt at the line a few phases earlier. Replays showed that Valetini had just done enough.

Carter Gordon nailed the routine conversion attempt which gave the Wallabies the lead for the first time. Australia actually controlled the Test throughout the opening quarter or so – they looked better.

But a yellow card to world-class winger Marika Koroibete for a cynical foul in the 25th minute was a turning point. The Wallabies lost their way, especially young 10 Gordon.

As for their opponents, the All Blacks began to find their way. Codie Taylor hit back with a try in the 33rd minute, and Will Jordan added another to the score before the end of the half.

New Zealand went into the break with a hard-earned 7-19 lead.

But the All Blacks’ best was yet to come.

The Wallabies refused to throw in the towel, and even came close to scoring on a number of occasions. But once again, discipline let them down – that’s been a common theme for the men in gold.

It was a stalemate for almost 20 minutes in the second term. Both teams packed a punch, but neither corner was willing to throw in the towel.

But once replacement Taniela Tupou left the field – both shown a yellow card and injury – the All Blacks took control.

Caleb Clarke scored one minute later from a pick-and-drive, and Mark Telea crossed for another five minutes later.

Centre Rieko Ioane also added his name to the scoresheet in the 63rd minute as the visitors ran away with a convincing 38-7 victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The All Blacks are this year’s Rugby Championship winners, and will look to extend their 2023 form to 4-0 when they take on the Wallabies next weekend in Dunedin.

As for the Wallabies, they’ve lost their first three matches under new coach Eddie Jones. Australia play New Zealand and France before starting their World Cup campaign in September.

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Comments

22 Comments
J
Jon 349 days ago

“Not long now” the fans surely thought
2:53 into the game in fact!

P
Pecos 350 days ago

Where's Wally, I mean Eddie?

K
Kenward K. 350 days ago

Sport is something that does not matter, but is performed as if it did. In that contradiction lies its beauty.

  • Simon Barnes

P
Paul 350 days ago

What was up with keeping TT on? He should of been subbed earlier. ABs we’re definitely not as clinical as I’d have liked but WBs just didn’t have the forward dominance. EJ will be 4 losses next wk. Can’t see him turning this around with the injury toll especially if both AAA and TT aren’t back for the RWC.

P
Pete 350 days ago

All Blacks far too good

D
Digger 350 days ago

ABs in trouble. Everyone talking up beating a very ordinary Wallabies team who played 20mins with 14 - only time the ABs dominated. French and Irish will be watching and learning. French to smash the ABs by 20 in the first game of the RWC!

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