NZ Herald

Australian rugby great David Campese has admitted a lot can change in test rugby in a week.

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Last week the former winger said the 2020 version of the All Blacks were not living up to the side’s historically high standards following the 16-16 draw in the opening Bledisloe Cup clash in Wellington.

But he’s admitted to eating humble pie following Ian Foster’s side’s 27-7 victory in the second clash at Eden Park yesterday.

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“Yes I am eating humble pie. I would just like to congratulate the All Blacks again,” Campese posted in a video on Instagram.

“Another great victory. It’s always good to gee people up before a game. Unfortunately, the Wallabies didn’t come through. I think the game just demonstrated when the All Blacks are under pressure they play very well.

“A great team effort and also what was important was that they were hungry. The Wallabies just seemed to think that last week’s game was going to help them this week. A very young team. We just need some more leaders on the field and we’ve got to realise if we haven’t got the ball we can’t win.

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“Congratulations again. I’d like to thank all those All Blacks supporters who gave me hell over the weekend. But that’s life. I can move on. I can handle it,” he added.

Speaking with Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford on Newstalk ZB last Tuesday, Campese used the example of Rieko Ioane’s botched try attempt in Wellington as a sign of the cracking of what was once a consistently-dominant side.

Ioane was denied his 25th test try after dropping the ball attempting his signature dive over the line, a mistake Campese believes would not have been allowed to happen in the past.

“Back in 1989 I got in trouble for the British Lions pass. All of Australia bagged me, they got into me and yet an All Black dives on the weekend and – as soon as he put the ball down I said to my son Jason… ‘he didn’t score that!’ – that’s not what normal All Blacks do.

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“I know it’s a different era, I know I’m old, but that changed the game, that allowed the Wallabies to have some self-belief and get back into the game, one little mistake.”

Campese went on to say that Ioane’s mistake was just one of many pieces of evidence in the Bledisloe opener of a side lacking the class of years gone by.

“You can just see little things starting to creep in that weren’t there before, maybe a lot of older guys are not there like Kieran Read and obviously the Richie McCaws who were so entrenched in the traditions and all that.

“Little things change games and that was just one of the things that I noticed… also the amount of mistakes under pressure the All Blacks made last week – yes, it’s the first test and we’ve had a lack of rugby – but that’s just uncharacteristic of the All Blacks.”

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and was republished with permission.

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