A hard-fought 24-22 win by the Wallabies over the All Blacks in Brisbane put life into what remains of the Tri-Nations, with Dave Rennie coaching Australia to a first win over his home nation of New Zealand.

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Ian Foster’s team will rue a less-than-clinical performance in a wild match impacted by red and yellow cards on both sides. The Wallabies took their points on offer through Reece Hodge to build a slim 17-15 lead before a power cameo by Taniela Tupou secured a crucial try to lift Australia to a two-score buffer.

For the All Blacks, their attack pushed the Wallabies back at times but didn’t look like tearing the side apart despite playing against 14 men – and even 13 at one stage. Many fans weren’t impressed by the performance of halfback TJ Perenara, who received just his 17th start in the black jersey in Aaron Smith’s absence.

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The Hurricanes halfback had a slew of handling errors and took questionable gambles such as a quick tap on his own 10-metre line followed by a territorial kick that gave Wallabies possession back in the first half. Aside from execution, many thought his overall speed was noticably slower than Aaron Smith which contributed to the All Blacks backs not firing.

Fans claimed he ‘should’ve been replaced at half time’, and that he ‘really hurt the ABs’, with another claiming the ‘drop off’ behind Aaron Smith is ‘huge’.

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Despite a lacklustre performance, Perenara wasn’t substituted until Tupou crossed for his crucial try only three minutes from full time, leaving Chiefs halfback Brad Weber on the pine for nearly the entire match.

With test reserves often strategically used to provide impact late in games, many questioned why Weber had not been injected earlier, particularly when Perenara’s night was clearly not his best.

With Weber on the pitch, the All Blacks rallied to score a late try through Tupou Vaa’i, thanks in part to Weber’s improved accuracy and speed around the ruck with less than 60 seconds to go in the game. It gave the All Blacks one final play to go the length of the field to win the game but was ultimately too little too late.

After the game, head coach Iane Foster claimed ‘a lot has changed in seven days’.

“It was a great example of test match rugby, I guess that is what we love about it, it throws games up like that after last week. A clear example of why you can never underestimate a team that’s hungry and really wants to succeed.

“Really, they controlled the game better than us and are presumed winners.”

Captain Sam Cane conceded that the side lacked accuracy and didn’t play ‘smart enough’ in the right areas of the field.

“When I think of the game as a whole, it just reminds me of test match rugby. It doesn’t matter if there is fifteen players on each side or it gets down to fourteen vs. fourteen, the game is based off building pressure, playing smart, intensity and accuracy.

“I didn’t think we were quite smart enough when we got down there, I thought we brought the intensity but lacked a bit of accuracy. Those are the things that hurt us.

 

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